This week in Shelter Island history

PETER BOODY PHOTO | The newly created Shelter Island Town emblem was created by boards secretary Danielle LiCausi in 2011 replacing an original flag that had been dedicated in 1983. Here Supervisor Jim Dougherty (standing), Councilman Peter Reich (right) and former Councilman Glenn Waddington unveiled the new emblem.

Rare clash over money and staffing for landfill

With the political season drawing near and municipalities everywhere dealing with revenue shortfalls, things got testy at Town Hall in late May 2003. Then Supervisor Art Williams and Highway Department Superintendent Mark Ketcham clashed over the issues of productivity and efficiency. Mr. Ketcham was arguing for a 15th crew member that had been promised when the budget was drafted. Mr. Williams wanted to wait to assess what revenues were being generated by the landfill operation. Councilman Ed Brown joined the argument, mentioning young people on the Island who need jobs. Mr. Williams argued that the budget called for adding another worker in the second half of the year, but he said landfill revenues were “off dramatically” and hiring should be delayed. Mr. Ketcham blamed bad weather and higher tipping fees for the declining revenues.
POSTSCRIPT: The issues may be different today, but there’s apparently something about spring that gives way to heated Town Board arguments as Supervisor Jim Dougherty and Councilman Paul Shepherd, whose tempers simmered throughout a May Town Board meeting and  erupted  during the “around the table.”

Board needs fifth vote to move on affordable housing

With the January 1993 death of Ccouncilman Lou Price, the Town Board was left with a four-member split opinion on the future of affordable housing for Shelter Island. Then Supervisor Hoot Sherman and Councilman George Chimenti favored building six houses while Councilmen Alfred Kilb J. and Hal McGee favored a four-house development on Bowditch Road. Mr. Chimenti tried for a five-house compromise until Mr. Sherman suggested back-burnering the issue until a new Town Board could be seated as a result of the November 1993 election.
POSTSCRIPT: It took some doing, but eventually, a six-house development was constructed and last year, the Reporter followed up with residents, learning that all the original owners were still living in the houses, but many had undergone structural expansions as their financial fortunes enabled them to add to the houses that had been built.

Visitors jam the Island on weekend

The headline might well come from any Memorial Day issue of the Reporter. But what made the June 2, 1983, celebration special was the dedication and flying of the new town flag at Town Hall. Supervisor Mal Nevel issued a proclamation officially adopting the seal on the flag. The seal depicted Indian Chief Pogatticut in his canoe.
POSTSCRIPT: To everything there is a season and the flag unveiled in 1983 had seen many seasons. By 2011, the aging banner was always falling from the wall where it had been mounted. A new town emblem painted by Danielle LiCausi, secretary to the boards, was unveiled The work is on plywood and follows the same general design as the flag, but  its execution is finer than what Councilman Peter Reich said was a coarsely executed image of a Native American paddling a canoe on the original flag.

Town adopts licensing of plumbers, electricians

Shelter Island’s streak of independence runs deep and in 1971 the town had rescinded a requirement that plumbers and electricians doing business here didn’t have to be licensed by Suffolk County. But 40 years ago, in the spring of 1973, moved by arguments that those hiring such workers had no way of knowing their qualifications, the Town Board finally rescinded its ban on licensing, joining every other municipality in Suffolk County in requiring licensing.
POSTSCRIPT: The argument against ‘dark skies legislation’ festering today among Town Board members is another sign of that famous Island independent streak that eschews regulation. While some argue that such legislation is designed to protect the few with neighbors who aren’t considerate, others see it as an infringement of their freedom to do as they please with their property.