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This week in Shelter Island history

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Officials gathered at the Dory 10 years ago to try to resolve issues over summonses owner Jack Kiffer had received.
Officials gathered at the Dory 10 years ago to try to resolve issues over summonses owner Jack Kiffer had received.


Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer appeared on television for the first time.Approximately 800 students were arrested during a University of California at Berkeley Free Speech Movement protest.

President Lyndon Johnson presented Army Captain Roger Donlon of Saugaties, New York, with the first Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War for heroism in continuing to battle the Viet Cong despite sustaining major injuries.

Actress Marisa Tomei was born in Brooklyn.

An apple tree planted 50 years ago could have yielded more than 4,440 apples and fed 7,450 people by now.

And on Shelter Island …

Bootleggers related to rum running?

In December 1974, a program on the Island about the history of the town claimed that Bootleggers Alley was named because of rum running activities in the area during Prohibition.

Not so, according to a letter from Isabel Johnston Bowditch a week later.

The former Park Place received the nickname Bootleggers Alley back in the day because it was an area considered dangerous to be in at night. The beach area was too dangerous for boats at night, Ms. Johnston Bowditch said in her letter, so it couldn’t have been used for rum running.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, the former Park Place is posted as Bootleggers Alley.

Cluster zoning clause dropped

In 1984, the debate was over cluster zoning where density is determined for an entire area, rather than on a lot-by-lot basis. Cluster zoning had been allowed for a dozen years, but in revising the town code, the decision was made to instead have all subdivision proposals reviewed by the Planning Board. Town Board members were concerned about leaving cluster zoning in the code they said could result in an increased number of motels and garden apartments on the Island.

POSTSCRIPT: Today’s concern is house sizes related to sizes of lots and the Town Board is exploring whether there are needs for changes in the code to limit how much of a lot, especially in environmentally sensitive areas, can be built out.

Elections for two Center fire commissioners

It was 20 years ago when Ignatius “Iggy” Avona faced off with Andy Steinmuller and Herb Sherman in quest of a one-year term appointment to replace the late Blake Laspia as a fire commissioner. Mr. Avona won his bid and then Commission Chairman Phil Power won a full five-year term to continue on the board.

POSTSCRIPT: Mr. Steinmuller was later elected as a commissioner and continues to serve in that capacity today. On Tuesday, current Commission Chairman Keith Clark is running unopposed for another five-year term. Voting takes place at the Center Firehouse between 6 and 9 p.m.

Dory deal could end battle

A long festering battle with Dory owner Jack Kiffer appeared to be winding down as he met with town and Department of Environmental Conservation officials at the restaurant to discuss steps needed to bring his business into compliance with regulations that had led to several summonses. A deal would still leave Mr. Kiffer with issues to resolve with the Suffolk County Department of Health Services involving the property’s septic system.

POSTSCRIPT: Jack Kiffer remains at the Dory and continues, from time to time, to make headlines with his outspoken opinions on various matters that garner Town Board attention. The last big flap was over the need for a public bathroom around Bridge Street to avoid his having to open his restaurant and bar facilities to non-customers. It resulted in installation of a Port-A-Potty in a parking lot on Bridge Street in 2013.

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