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This week in Shelter Island history

REPORTER FILE PHOTO SEEDS General Manager Gerry Bogaz tried to rally support for a South Fork ferry service to Connecticut during a Shelter Island presentation in the spring of 2005.
SEEDS General Manager Gerry Bogaz tried to rally support for a South Fork ferry service to Connecticut during a Shelter Island presentation in the spring of 2005.


The Herald-Tribune reported the world’s first “porpoise to porpoise” long distance call made by Moby Dick, star of the porpoise show at Floridaland in Sarasota, to Keki,  one of the performing porpoises as Sea Life Park in Hawaii. The two “talked  in high pitched tones, for five minutes over a specially designed phone.

China exploded its second atomic bomb.

Life magazine featured skateboarding on its cover and in a feature story calling it the “new craze.”

Belva Gaertner died at 80 and while you likely don’t know her name, her life as a woman accused and later acquitted of murdering her lover was the basis for the Broadway play and movie, “Chicago.”

The average cost of a new car in the spring of 1965 was $2,650; a loaf of bread 21 cents; and average renters paid $118 per month.

And on Shelter Island …

Relocating ospreys

As Islanders well know, ospreys return to their nesting spots year after year. But in 1965, a LILCO crew apparently didn’t know the routine when workers spotted four pairs of the birds resting on a transformer box.

The workers disturbed the birds, concerned about possible power outages or even fire, only to raise the consciousness of a number of Islanders and the Department of Environmental Conservation.

The birds were more gently relocated with an effort to make them accept their new home in which they wouldn’t have the threat of injury or disturbance.

POSTSCRIPT: This year, a bird — not an osprey — surrendered its life after chewing through an electrical wire on the Island that resulted in a blackout lasting from a few minutes in many places to several hours in others while a PSEG crew repaired the wire.

Kontje recommends new mandate for fresh water pools

Supervisor George Kontje recommended to the Town Board in the spring of 1985 that a new regulation be adopted to require owners of fresh water pools on Shelter Island to fill them with water trucked in from off-Island to conserve the water supply.

Although the move wouldn’t happen immediately, Mr. Kontje noted that the Town Board could at any time impose emergency restrictions if rainfall levels were lower than usual.

POSTSCRIPT: Pool owners are required to fill with trucked in water today and new restrictions affecting the use of automatic irrigation systems have been implemented this year to require registration, inspections and upgrades to conserve the water supply.

Departments learn official steps to merging

Fire protection specialist Brian Rousseau and Shelter Island Fire Department Attorney Helen Rosenblum outlined steps the Center and Heights Fire Districts would need to take to move forward with a merger.

A petition bearing signatures of owners of at least 50 percent  of each district’s assessed property would need to be secured along with a petition signed by a majority of each district’s Board of Fire Commissioners.

The Town Board would then schedule a public meeting and finally vote on whether or not to grant the merger.

POSTSCRIPT: While there remain three firehouses on the Island, there is but one Shelter Island Fire District with a single Board of Fire Commissioners.

Future shock: ferry from South Fork to Connecticut

The idea of a passenger and vehicle ferry service between the South Fork and Connecticut was suggested by Sustainable East End Development Strategies to lessen North Fork ferry traffic bound for Cross Sound Ferry in Orient.

In a presentation on Shelter Island by the group, members envisioned such a scenario happening by 2025. At the time, the group estimated that 700 vehicles traveled the road to the Orient-based ferry during typical commuter hours of 6 to 10 a.m. They estimated the number would increase to 1,000 vehicles by 2025.

POSTSCRIPT: North Fork groups have been rallying for the South Fork to take its share of ferry traffic, but it has been blocked and remains an unlikely scenario if South Fork residents have anything to say about it.

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