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This week in Shelter Island history

REPORTER FILE PHOTO The goody pile at the town Recycling Center at a time when it was very chaotic. It has gone up and down through the years.
The goody pile at the town Recycling Center at a time when it was  chaotic.


The Beatles “Help” was released in the United Kingdom.

President Lyndon Johnson signed the Coinage Act eliminating silver from circulating dimes and quarter, diminishing the silver in half dollars from 90 to 40 percent and forbidding the minting of silver dollars for five years.Bob Dylan sparked controversy from folk music purists when he went electric at the Newport Folk Festival.

“Flora the Red Menace,” for which Liza Minnelli won a Tony Award as best actress in a musical, closed at the Alvin Theatre after 97 performances.

The average cost of a new car in the summer of 1965 was $2,650 with gasoline  priced at 31 cents a gallon.

And on Shelter Island …

Urgency of radio communication

A letter to the Reporter 50 years ago from first assistant foreman Mal Nevel of the Shelter Island Heights Fire Department applauded the work of both departments in fighting a blaze while lamenting the loss of life of a young woman in West Neck.

But Mr. Nevel warned  about an inability for the two fire departments to smoothly communicate with one another. The Center had converted to upgraded radios, while the Heights still lacked the ability to do so.

POSTSCRIPT: Praise goes to today’s Fire Commissioners who are alert to upgrades being made by both Suffolk County and the Southold Police Department, upon whom our locals depend for dispatching services.

In addition to all the other work they’ve done, the commissioners have been attentive to the needs that are developing for upgraded radio communications and how to finance the change-over process.

Communications are important not just among the town’s volunteer firefighters, but with other communities that provide mutual aide.

Nevel to seek top job again

Mal Nevel, who was supervisor between 1981 and 1983, lost the job to George Kontje. But in July 1985, Mr. Nevel announced another bid for the job. He said he would continue the work he had started during his previous administration.

But in November, voters turned their backs on Mr. Nevel and Mr. Kontje. The Integrity Party’s Independent candidate Jeffrey Simes won the race handily with 558 votes, while Mr. Nevel got 473 and Mr. Kontje placed last with 326 ballots.

POSTSCRIPT: This year it’s shaping up as a race between current Supervisor Jim Dougherty, seeking his fifth term, and former supervisor Art Williams, who won office in 2001 and 2003, then fought a primary battle to get the GOP nod in 2005, but lost to Al Kilb in the general election.

Western Bascome places fourth in Special Olympics half marathon

The year was 1995 and Western Bascome placed fourth in his division in the half marathon —13.1 miles — at the Special Olympics World Games held in New London, Connecticut.

It was the first ever half marathon for the Special Olympics. Mr. Bascome completed his run in 2:05:58.

POSTSCRIPT: Twenty years later, Mr. Bascome continues to run, not only participating in the Shelter Island 10K, but regularly running on the Island between formal races.

Goody pile patrons get new instructions

Ten years ago,  Mark Ketcham, at the helm at the Highway Department,  had to place new restrictions on use of the goody pile at the Recycling Center when he became aware that people were leaving pharmaceuticals, hypodermic and diabetic needles and other dangerous items on the tables.

The pile is typically accessed by families, often with children in tow, Mr. Ketcham said. To stop the problem, he routed goody pile traffic through the scale so workers could monitor what was being contributed.

POSTSCRIPT: It wasn’t pharmaceuticals this year, but people leaving clothing they should have put in the St. Vincent de Paul receptacles,  pillows and other bed cloths that can’t be redistributed to new owners. That’s why Highway Superintendent Jay Card Jr. has fenced the area and listed restricted hours when workers can monitor what people are adding to the tables.