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This week in Shelter Island history

Engorged ticks.


President Lyndon Johnson signed the Medicare/Medicaid bill into law.4,000 paratroopers from the 101st Airborne Division landed in Cam Ranh Bay, South Vietnam.

Author J.K. Rowling was born.

Satirist Tom Lehrer recorded “That Was the Year That Was.”

British television banned cigarette advertising.

And on Shelter Island …

Jelly fish win battle for town waters

An invasion of large jelly fish 50 years ago threatened swimmers and the Town Board had agreed to seek solutions to take back their waters, making swimming safe again. But after exploring various suggested means, by the end of July 1965, Supervisor Evans Griffing announced there appeared to be no solution and Islanders would have to wait for Mother Nature to do the job.

The Passionist Fathers, who were based at St. Gabriel’s along Coecles Harbor, had tried netting, only to find it wouldn’t hold for more than a day and wave action had the jelly fish coming over the tops of the nets.

POSTSCRIPT: Man of war siphonophores, related to the jelly fish family, have been seen in northern waters and even parts of Long Island, but not around Shelter Island this year. They rarely come this far, but water temperatures and weather conditions have resulted in their presence in the northeast this summer.

Town Board passes waterways ordinance

During July of 1985, in an effort to protect waterways from pollution, the Town Board passed an ordinance that would prohibit nonresidents from anchoring their boats for more than three hours except in designated areas — parts of West Neck Harbor adjacent to Shell Beach and parts of Coecles Harbor near Sungic Point where they’re allowed for up to 48 hours in any 72-hour period.

Many residents welcomed the limits, while others voiced concerns it would hurt tourism.

POSTSCRIPT: Anchoring of nonresident crafts continues to be an issue today with some who want to expand the amount of time boats can anchor to visit Shelter Island stores and restaurants and those concerned with overcrowding in the harbors that can make it difficult for residents to maneuver their boats to moorings and docks.

Peconic County tax savings would exceed predictions

The results of a study 20 years ago on how separating out the five East End towns from Suffolk County to form a new Peconic County revealed that real estate taxes would be reduced by more than 20 percent for residents.

Prior to that study, it was anticipated the savings in taxes wouldn’t exceed 20 percent. The increase resulted because what was seen as $50 million in sales taxes on the East End would more likely come in at $70 million.

POSTSCRIPT: The debate persists as East Enders and their representatives continue to complain that needs here are insufficiently met by the Suffolk County Legislature.

High infection level in ticks here

Lone star ticks collected on Shelter Island and in Manorville, Montauk, William Floyd Estate and Fire Island 10 years ago revealed that those from here were more likely to carry ehrlichia and Lyme diseases than those from the other places. Tick nymphs were also collected, but showed a lower infection rate.

POSTSCRIPT: While efforts continue to try to curb tick-borne diseases, Shelter Island continues to face problems and struggle with efforts to both kill ticks and reduce the deer herd on which the ticks feed.

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