Around the Island

A look back: This week in Shelter Island history

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | In 2004, when Islanders were required to assure their correspondents addressed them at Post Office boxes, not street addresses, there were reports of difficulties getting mail. Throughout 2013, the Reporter has documented ongoing problems with residents’ difficulties in getting mail because of ZIP code problems.

Town Board changes meeting date

It was in January 1964 that the Shelter Island Town Board moved its regular monthly meeting date from Tuesday to Friday. The reasoning at the time was that many Islanders are here only on weekends and would be able to attend meeting then. The time of the meetings was set for 8 p.m.
POSTSCRIPT: Today’s Town Board meets monthly at 4:30 p.m. on a Friday, with upcoming meetings slated for January 17, February 7 and 28,and March 28. There are exceptions to the Friday scheduling.  A full list is available on the town’s website. Weekly work sessions are held at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays.

Politicos join tourism plan meting here

Politicians and business leaders from East End towns gathered at the Dering Harbor Inn in January 1974 to discuss ways of functioning during the energy and fuel crisis affecting the nation. The aim was to unite to work to attract metropolitan vacationers to the area at a time when it was deemed likely people would be less apt to fly to more distant places. The group wanted to improve East End transportation and work together on advertising and promotional campaigns aimed at attracting tourist.
POSTSCRIPT: Forty years later, the beat goes on in efforts to attract tourists to the East End and to improve transportation in the area. The transportation issue remains a challenge, but there are more efforts aimed at extending the tourist season with special events in the winter when typically the area might be deserted, except for year-rounders.

Lyme vaccine to be tested here

Shelter Islanders were among the guinea pigs for tests of a Lyme disease vaccine in 1994 in connection with Long Island Jewish Medical Center’s testing of a product developed by Connaught Laboratories in Pennsylvania. Tests had been conducted in mice, but not yet proven to be effective in humans, requiring the tests here. Ultimately, it was SmithKline Beecham (now GlaxoSmithKline) that became the licensed manufacturer of the only Lyme Disease vaccine licensed for human use in the mid 1990s. But ultimately, the company pulled the vaccine from the market.
POSTSCRIPT: A May 2013  story published by Lancet Infectious Diseases reported that Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Brookhaven National Laboratory and Baxter International were showing promising early results for a new Lyme Disease Vaccine based on safety and immune responses of doses among 300 people in Germany and Austria. But the vaccine hasn’t yet been released for use in the United States.

Mail change

It was 10 years ago that the crackdown took effect requiring that Islanders have their correspondents address them strictly at their Post Office box numbers, not street addresses. It may have been the beginning of the difficulties with some Islanders complaining then that they were failing to receive some of their mail and having to track more closely what bills and other mail could be expected at various times so they could follow up if they weren’t receiving all of their expected communications.
POSTSCRIPT: The problem hasn’t gotten a lot better for many Islanders as in 2013, despite the best efforts of Postmasters at both the Heights and Center Post Offices. The Reporter began tracking difficulties many have had in getting important mailings, including bills and correspondence from such government agencies as the State Department of Motor Vehicles and federal Medicare, Social Security and even Internal Revenue Service mailings. Some report no problems, but many still complain about missed mailings and difficulties in ordering products through websites that don’t recognize Shelter Island and Shelter Island Heights Zip Codes.