New town emblem draws applause

PETER BOODY PHOTO | Councilman Glenn Waddington (left) and Supervisor Jim Dougherty admire a new town emblem painted by Danielle LiCausi, part-time clerk in Town Hall, after its unveiling by Councilman Peter Reich (right) at Tuesday’s Town Board work session.

A new Shelter Island town emblem appeared in the Town Hall board room Tuesday, unveiled from behind the Town Board dais by Town Councilman Peter Reich at the start of the board’s weekly work session. The audience and board members roundly applauded the new emblem.

Painted by Danielle LiCausi, a part-time clerk in Town Hall, the work is on plywood and measures about 3-by-4 feet. It replaces an aging flag that Mr. Reich said had been bothering him since he first was sworn in as a councilman seven and a half years ago.

He said the flag, mounted with Velcro, “was up here always falling down” with its “nasty town seal,” a coarsely executed image of a Native American paddling a canoe. Its replacement follows the same general design but its execution is finer.

Saying he had an announcement to make before the board moved to its agenda, Mr. Reich explained that he’d “procrastinated a little bit” but finally formed “a little ad hoc committee to kind of research it.” The committee — Town Clerk Dorothy Ogar, Deputy Clerk Sharon Ogar, Mr. Reich and Ms. LiCausi — found only a 1952 blueprint for the town emblem that’s over the police station; it differed in some details from the flag mounted in the board room.

There was some decision-making required, he said, because the town does not really have an official seal and every emblem bearing that basic design had “something different — different Indians, different canoes, different headdresses, different armbands,” Mr. Reich said. As a result, “a lot of committee work” had been necessary to settle on a design.

But “the person who did all the work,” Mr. Reich said, “was Danielle LiCausi, who really did an amazing job,” he said just before he pulled a covering off the emblem and revealed it publicly for the first time. Ms. LiCausi, whom Supervisor Jim Dougherty called very talented but very modest, wasn’t present.

“I am not a sign painter, so I was concerned with the lettering,” Ms. LiCausi said in a later interview by email, “but I just forged ahead and did my best. Watercolor is my choice of medium, so this was a new venture for me. I used mostly Benjamin Moore paint and acrylics. I also work in ‘buttercream,’ as I have a passion for cake decorating.”

Mr. Reich said he had created a template for the painting using the 1952 blueprint, which he scanned, digitized and projected onto the plywood after it had been primed in white paint. Ms. LiCausi traced the emblem onto it. She took about a month and a half to finish the project in her office upstairs in Town Hall, he later explained. The only extra charge to the town was lumber and paint, Mr. Reich said.

Highway Department employees mounted the new emblem or flag, as Mr. Reich called it, and took the old one away.