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This week in Shelter Island history

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Hap Bowditch Jr., who had lost the Republican primary in 2005, announced he would conduct a write-in campaign.
REPORTER FILE PHOTO Hap Bowditch Jr., who had lost the Republican primary in 2005, announced he would conduct a write-in campaign.


Then Cuban President Fidel Castro announced that Che Guevara was resigning his post in the government to fight for Marxist revolutionary causes in his native Argentina and in Guatemala and Bolivia.Pope Paul VI visited New York City, speaking at the United Nations and holding a Mass at Yankee Stadium.

President Lyndon Johnson signed an immigration bill abolishing quotas based on national origin.

France performed an underground nuclear test in Algeria.

The Chicago Cubs tied a record for three triple plays in one season.

And on Shelter Island …

The times, they are a-changin’

In a column submitted to the Reporter by the Democratic Town Committee in October 1965, the writer lamented how much the Island was changing.

Among the changes cited were both ferry services carrying more people than ever before; the Island’s first fatal hit and run accident; more new houses being constructed; brawling in a local bar; and several instances of thieves breaking and entering into premises.

The responses at the time was to involve more good people in running for office with the hope they would adopt policies to deal with what was then seen as a decline in the quality of life here.

POSTSCRIPT: We continue today to hear laments about how the Island is changing and mostly, people say, not for the better. There are likely no easy answers to curbing some of the bad behavior. Among the negatives that appear more and more frequently in the Reporter police blotter are instances of people being stopped for driving while intoxicated.

While the Island may be separated from the rest of the world with no bridges and only ferries, it’s clear that the decline in human behavior seen elsewhere has found its way here.

Hurricane Gloria: What a knockout!

There was news that Hurricane Gloria, in 1985, headed for the East End,  hit with winds estimated at 110 mph, uprooting trees, downing electrical wires and careening boats into rocks and shorelines. Houses were damaged by falling and flying tree limbs and debris.

The entire Island lost power about noon on the day the storm struck and most were out for several days with some lacking power for more than a week.

POSTSCRIPT: This August, the Island was hit by an unexpected storm that knocked out power for most Islanders from one to several hours. But some areas were without power for several days.

If there was a silver lining, Police Chief Jim Read said it gave the town an opportunity to examine its preparedness for potentially worse storms and to identify shortcomings that could be addressed.

Supe calls for zero percent tax hike for town

Hoot Sherman was town supervisor in 1995 and his preliminary budget submitted to Town Board members called for no increases in taxes. However, there was skepticism at the time since both Police and Highway department workers were in contract negotiations. Mr. Sherman’s budget draft included no raises for either.

He submitted his draft to the Police Benevolent Association that was in arbitration with the town labor counsel. Police had been working without a contract since January 1995. Mr. Sherman said  he hadn’t included any raises for workers in either department pending the settlement of new contracts. The final budget adopted that year for 1996 would raise taxes for most Islanders by 7/10 of one percent.

POSTSCRIPT: Supervisor Jim Dougherty was expected to present his draft budget to the Town Board by week’s end. Then the Town Board will go through each department’s requests to arrive at a proposed budget. A final budget will be adopted before late November.

A message of thanks to all his supporters

After Hap Bowditch Jr. lost the Republican primary for supervisor in September 2005, he announced in an advertisement in October that he would run a write-in campaign. He reminded readers that writing in a candidate’s name wasn’t the new way of voting, but the original old way of supporting candidates in an election. But his efforts fell short when Al Kilb Jr. won the election in November.

POSTSCRIPT: There has been no undercurrent indicating that anyone is launching a write-in campaign for supervisor or two open Town Board seats this year. But with Councilman Ed Brown stepping down from the Town Board at the end of the year and plans afoot for an appointee to take his place, anyone could submit a letter of interest in the appointed seat.

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