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This week in Shelter Island history

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Town Board watchdog Emory Breiner (left) congratulated Al Kilb Jr. on his defeat of then supervisor Art Williams in the November 2005 election. Mr. Kilb and Hap Bowditch Jr. had both tried unsuccessfully to take the GOP banner from Mr. Williams in a September primary. When they failed, Mr. Kilb ran on the Conservative and Independence lines while Mr. Bowditch mounted a write-in campaign. There were no Democrats in the race.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO
Town Board watchdog Emory Breiner (left) congratulated Al Kilb Jr. on his defeat of then supervisor Art Williams in the November 2005 election. Mr. Kilb and Hap Bowditch Jr. had both tried unsuccessfully to take the GOP banner from Mr. Williams in a September primary. When they failed, Mr. Kilb ran on the Conservative and Independence lines while Mr. Bowditch mounted a write-in campaign. There were no Democrats in the race.

50 YEARS AGO IN HISTORY

In the wake of the bloody Selma, Alabama march, civil rights issues were dominating the news with President Lyndon Johnson introducing what would become the Voting Rights Act. President Johnson also ordered federal courts in Alabama to take steps to require local  officials in Alabama to protect the rights of peaceful protestors.Israel and West Germany established diplomatic relations.

The rate of inflation in the United States was 1.59 percent.

A loaf of bread cost 21 cents.

The Beatles’ “8 Days A Week” rose to number one on the music charts where it would stay for two weeks.

And on Shelter Island …

50 YEARS AGO
Dots and dashes

All right. It was 50 years ago — long before the Internet and smartphones and, yes, today there are still active ham radio operators who will tell you that there have been emergencies when they’re the only ones left who can communicate. But back in mid-March of 1965, there was the first of what was hoped would be a series of seminars at Town Hall to teach people Morse Code and how to use ham radios.

The concern then was to get more people on board who could communicate when telephone and electric lines were down.

POSTSCRIPT: One of the first lessons learned in recent years is improving communication among first responders and residents’ ability to reach police, fire and ambulance services during a storm.

As recently as last October, Police Chief Jim Read, the Island’s emergency management coordinator,  proposed adoption of a “Code Red” system run by a Florida-based company that would establish a reliable emergency communications network.

The web-based system provides information and notifications to residents during emergencies providing important information and directions, working across multiple platforms, including voice mail, texts, email, social media and a mobile alert app.

As good as it sounds, if all phone and electrical service is down and cell service is flooded with calls or your phone just isn’t charged, our ham radio friends would suggest they shouldn’t be forgotten even in today’s world of sophisticated technology.

30 YEARS AGO
What’s new at the library?

Thirty years ago this week, the Shelter Island Public Library was boasting about some of its new book acquisitions.  Titles such as “Significant Sisters” that told of the grass roots of active feminism covered the period from 1839 to 1938.

Jeff Lyon’s “The Chip” traced the invention of the microchip and the revolution it was bringing to the world. In the fiction category, the library had acquired John Toland’s “Gods of War” and William F. Buckley Jr.’s “See You Later, Alligator.”

POSTSCRIPT: This week, the library is boasting of its latest acquisition, not a new book, but a new director as the board announced that Terry Lucas would succeed Denise DiPaolo who is now director of Montauk’s library. Ms. Lucas starts her tenure here in mid-April.

20 YEARS AGO
School spending up slightly, but taxes expected to drop

As it every year, it was budget time for the Shelter Island School District in March 1995 and the administration and Board of Education were looking at a plan expected to increase spending by about 0.5 percent. At the same time, they were primed to see a cut in school taxes because of increased revenues. The final budget won easy approval 233 to 33.

POSTSCRIPT: As the Board of Education continues its budget hearings on Mondays, March 16, 23 and 30, it expects to put forth a budget that stays within the tax cap while still enabling expansion of some existing educational programs and introduction of some new initiatives. Voting on the 2015-16 budget takes place Tuesday, May 19.

10 YEARS AGO
Two emerge as possible challenges to Williams

It may have been only March, but already there was speculation that incumbent Supervisor Art Williams was going to face opposition from two of his fellow Republicans who wanted to unseat him. Hap Bowditch Jr. and Al Kilb were both expected to mount challenges.

Looking ahead, they did, indeed, but in a squeaker that took weeks to resolve, Mr. Williams emerged as the GOP’s candidate, garnering 33.99 percent of the vote to Mr. Bowditch’s 33.33 percent and Mr. Kilb’s 32.79.

In November, with no Democrat on the ballot, Mr. Kilb went on to victory, running on the Conservative and Independence lines while Mr. Bowditch mounted a write-in challenge.

POSTSCRIPT: There are hints that Supervisor James Dougherty will seek another term as supervisor this year and that he could face a challenge from Glenn Waddington, the man he beat in a tight race in 2011. But no one is ready to confirm a candidacy this yearly in the year.

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