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This week in Shelter Island history

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Mimi Brennan with members of her family at the 2005 Lions Club Citizen of the Year celebration.
Mimi Brennan with members of her family at the 2005 Lions Club Citizen of the Year celebration.


Legendary war correspondent and CBS News journalist Edward R. Murrow, who also served as director of the United States Information Service, died of lung cancer.Life magazine featured Frank Sinatra on its cover with an  interview with the singer/actor on his music and life.

Actor Kevin James, best known for his television role in “King of Queens,” was born.

Herman’s Hermits saw their “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter” rise to the top of the music charts.

The “Odd Couple” with Walter Matthau and Art Carney was pulling in Broadway audiences.

And on Shelter Island …

Guest editorial favors establishing building codes

The year was 1965 and County Executive H. Lee Dennison penned an editorial in the Reporter encouraging municipalities to adopt state building codes or their own codes to control the types of expansion that was beginning to happen in Suffolk County.

Already there were developments being “jerry-built” at low costs with cheap materials to turn quick profits. Unless municipalities moved to control such growth, there would be a rash of slums throughout the county, he warned.

Towns were free to adopt and adapt state building codes and Mr. Dennison encouraged cooperation so all 10 towns in the county would eventually have the same codes affecting electricity, plumbing, heating and other aspects of construction.

POSTSCRIPT: Shelter Island didn’t procrastinate and by 1966, had building codes in place that have continued to be updated year-to-year as various Town Boards have made adjustments.

Costello gains okay for Island Boatyard dock improvements

Thirty years ago, John Costello travelled a tough path getting town approval to improve the former Tuthill’s Boatyard on Menantic Creek, and won the OK for new bulkheading, restoration of docks and other improvements.

At issue for some who fought him was whether his plans would be compatible with protection of surrounding wetlands. There were also rumors that eventual development would include efficiency apartments.

There were also concerns about navigation in the narrow channel, but Mr. Costello made concessions, dropping a few boat slips that had been included in the original plan.

He also said he had no plans to relocate his Costello Marine business from Greenport to the Shelter Island site.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, James Brantuk manages his family-owned Island Boatyard that has in recent years embraced the popular SALT Restaurant.

Center firefighters gear up for vote on benefits

The Center Fire Department in 1995 was facing a townwide vote on a plan to extend pension benefits based on length of service to firefighters.

The vote that occurred in late April of that year turned the plan down by a 301 to 171 tally. It would be a few years before the firefighters won their bid for a pension plan.

POSTSCRIPT: The public was in a better mood in 2012 when Shelter Island Ambulance Service members sought the same type of pension benefits and 92 percent of voters endorsed the plan, with a vote tally of 180 in favor and only 13 opposed.

Mimi Brennan named Lions Club Citizen of the Year

Ten years ago, the Reporter’s senior correspondent Mimi Brennan, was named Lions Club Citizen of the Year. Ms. Brennan, a former teacher and long-time volunteer with Island seniors and at Mashomack Preserve, was chosen for her countless hours helping others.

“We’ve all been touched by Mimi’s actions one way or another,” said her long-time friend Dorothy Sieberling, who was president of Shelter Island Friends of Music, one of the organizations that nominated her for the honor.

POSTSCRIPT: Mimi Brennan died on Monday. Her life will be celebrated at a memorial service at the Mashomack Preserve Manor House at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 2.

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