Around the Island

A look back: This week in Shelter Island history

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Section of the town dump burning back in April 1964, before the practice was banned in favor of a landfill operation.
Section of the town dump burning back in April 1964, before the practice was banned in favor of a landfill operation.

State halts garbage burning
It has been 50 years since New York State stepped in and banned the burning of garbage at dumps and by individuals after reviewing studies that determined there were health hazards to allowing the practice to continue.

The town supervisor Evans K. Griffing declared the ban a threat to  the budget, predicting that heavy expenses would have to be incurred to create the landfill operations to replace burning. New machinery alone was expected to cost $15,000.

POSTSCRIPT: Yesterday it was burning that was banned, only to be followed years later by an end to landfills that got capped and now the Island has the Recycling Center where plastics, glass, cans, cardboard, newspapers and wet garbage are separated, some handled at an expense to taxpayers and others bringing revenue to the town.

Brewer, Clark elected department chiefs
The year was 1984 and Shelter Island still had two separate fire departments —one in the Center and the other in the Heights. The two station houses are still viable, but today there is a single fire department. In 1984, Jeff Brewer became chief of the Heights Fire Department while Keith Clark was chosen to lead the Center Fire Department.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, Mr. Clark is chairman of the Shelter Island Board of Fire Commissioners and on April 28, Will Anderson will take over as chief of the fire department, succeeding John D’Amato.

Town appropriates funds for Peconic County feasibility study
In April 1994, the Shelter Island Town Board agreed to spend up to $5,000 as its share in funding a study about the feasibility of creating a Peconic County that would be divorced from Suffolk County. The proposal at the time was to unite the five East End towns — Shelter Island, Southold, Riverhead, Southampton and East Hampton into a separate Peconic County.

The $100,000 study was to be funded half by New York State and the other half by the five East End towns based on population proportions.  The motivation for the proposed separation was a belief that decisions made by Suffolk County benefitted towns to the west, while failing to respond to interests of those on the East End.

POSTSCRIPT: Suffolk County remains a viable entity today, but from time to time, there is still a call for a separate Peconic County whenever there is an action or appropriation that appears to be an advantage to the western towns and a disadvantage to those on the East End. Will it ever happen? Stay tuned.

Southold supervisor asks others to join lawsuit over ferry issue
Josh Horton was Southold supervisor in April 2004 and, plagued by heavy traffic accessing Cross Sound Ferry, was campaigning to get an East Hampton ban on such ferries overturned so that the South Fork would have to share in ferry traffic. He called on Shelter Island and Riverhead to join in his challenge.

The three towns had lobbied for direct ferry service between the South Fork and New London, Connecticut to reduce the so-called “bridge” traffic that passes through those towns from New England to the South Fork. Shelter Island’s Town Board agreed to continue to monitor Mr. Horton’s efforts, but not to sign on the effort to try to overturn the East Hampton ban in court.

POSTSCRIPT: The East Hampton ban on ferry service remains today despite Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. joining the effort to pressure for South Fork to New England ferry service.

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