A look back: This week in Shelter Island history

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Town officials Paul Mobius (from left), Mark Ketcham and Art Williams participated in a ribbon cutting in 2003 marking the official opening of a youth center at the town landfill.

It’s official — we have a youth center

Town officials, politicians, citizens and Island kids celebrated the opening of a youth center at the town’s landfill in September 2003. It was a temporary move until a more permanent solution could be found. Kudos went to Recreation Director Garth Griffin, Supervisor Art Williams and Highway Superintendent Mark Ketchum along with Town Board members and recreation committee members for making it happen. The center was a refurbished former portable classroom building.
POSTSCRIPT: The Legion Hall, acquired by the town in 2008 for the token payment of $1 with legionnaires retaining a life tenancy to use the property, houses today’s youth center and also  provides a home for many other community events.

Town’s ‘no soliciting’ law is questioned

The year was 1993 and highway superintendent candidate Mal Nevel in September was questioning why Town Police weren’t enforcing a ‘no soliciting’ local law that banned non-Islanders from going door-to-door to sell products or services. George Ferrer, who was police chief at the time, confirmed that the law wasn’t being enforced, saying it was unconstitutional As the law was written, a sales person would have had to have advanced permission from a homeowner. The law exempted residents or business owners who had been on Shelter Island for at least six consecutive months prior to the solicitation.
POSTSCRIPT: The law continues to appear in the town’s municipal code.

Protecting shellfish industry

A meeting on Shelter Island in September 1983 that included supervisors of three East End towns, and representatives of the Suffolk County Fisheries Development Council discussed how county funds could best be used to support the shellfishing industry and ways to limit out-of-state boats from over fishing squid in local waters. At that time, figures showed that more than one million pounds of squid had passed over East End docks during the month of June of that year.
POSTSCRIPT: Today’s concentration is on lobsters with local lobstermen generally supporting the state Department of Environmental Conservation closing Long Island Sound waters to lobster harvesting through to November 28. That decision was in line with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission that regulates southern New England fisheries and marks the first time New York State is shutting down harvesting in the Sound.

Equipment antiquated; Greenport plant in trouble

Why 50 years ago would Shelter Islanders care that Greenport’s light plant was, with the exception of one generator, considered outdated? Hareleggers old enough to remember would tell you that in 1963, Greenport Village provided Shelter Island electricity. In 1960, Long Island Lighting Company purchased the Shelter Island Light and Power Co., a move Greenport opposed, saying it needed the Shelter Island business to keep afloat. For reasons not divulged at the time, LILCO, rather than linking Shelter Island up to its own generators, continued to buy power from Greenport to keep this town bright. The great debate at the time was for Greenport to decide whether to upgrade its plant or purchase its electricity from LILCO.
POSTSCRIPT: The Greenport Electric Plant continues in operation today, having undergone major upgrades in the last few years and the building, itself, is currently being upgraded. As for Shelter Island, it, of course is part of the Long Island Power Authority system that is currently engaged in a prolonged effort to provide backup power here since one conduit was knocked out by Super Storm Sandy and a second is aged.