Around the Island

A look back: This week in Shelter Island history

COURTESY PHOTO | South Ferry President Cliff Clark provided this picture in February 1994, of the ice flow hampering efforts to keep traffic moving between Shelter Island and North Haven.
COURTESY PHOTO | South Ferry President Cliff Clark provided this picture in February 1994, of the ice flow hampering efforts to keep traffic moving between Shelter Island and North Haven.

An obligation
An editorial in the Reporter 50 years ago this month celebrated the fact that the Suffolk County Board of Supervisors allocated money to purchase land for public parks in nine of the county’s 10 town, excluding Shelter Island.

Why the celebration? At the time the thinking was that money would be used to establish a county park here, not a town-owned park. The fear was that it would encourage an “exploding populace” that would “holler for bridges” to be built between the Island and Greenport and North Haven. The editorial called on the town to take steps to establish its own parks.
POSTSCRIPT: The Community Preservation Fund that is funded by purchasers of properties now provides money for land to be bought and kept from development. Many purchases of such protected properties are made in combination with the town paying part of the price from CPF money and the balance coming from the Suffolk County Legislature.

Players get Arts Council grant
In February 1984, the Shelter Island Players received a $900 grant from the New York Council on the Arts. It was the first grant the group received, according to then Players president Paul Shepherd. The money was earmarked to underwrite production expenses for the production that spring of three one-act plays. The effort to apply for the grant was spearheaded by Peter Berger, a Players group member. He had led the effort to gain tax-exempt status for the  10-year-old amateur production group. The plays were staged at St. Mary’s Parish Hall.
POSTSCRIPT: Today, Paul Shepherd plays on a different stage, elected to the Shelter Island Town Board in 2011. The Shelter Island Players group is no longer in existence. The group faded out, although some members have gone on to pursue other theater activities, Mr. Shepherd said.

Island experiences 13th storm of the season
A frigid winter beset by snow storms and ice had South Ferry resorting to  one ferry to push another through the ice flows so it could make the crossing from Shelter Island to North Haven. That last week of February 1994, the Island was experiencing its 13th snow storm of the winter season.
POSTSCRIPT: The headline might well have been written today as the Island has seen more snow this winter than in many years. Storms — some minor and others severe — have been coming every few days and kept the Highway Department crew hopping to keep the roadways passable.

One carrier in use on tower
In February 2004, town officials were told that T-Mobile was the only carrier that had completed its contract to place an antenna on a new cell tower installed at the recycling center. But a spokeswoman for Highlander, the company that installed that tower, said Sprint was moving forward and AT&T and Nextel were expected to place antennas there within three months. The company was still in negotiations with Verizon to place an antenna on the tower. Joy Mooney, director of site acquisitions for Highlander, said the new tower was expected to be in place by Memorial Day of 2004.
POSTSCRIPT: Highlander is the same company looking to erect a second cell tower on Shelter Island, this one at the Manhanset Firehouse. Ed Mooney pitched the idea to Shelter Island Board of Fire Commissioners in January, but some area residents have questions about whether there might be alternative ways to boost reception without erecting a tower.