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This week in Shelter Island history

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Vision Air aerial photo designed to survey the number of deer on Shelter Island back in 2005. Back then, it was said that five deer were captured in this thermal image.
REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Vision Air aerial photo designed to survey the number of deer on Shelter Island back in 2005. Back then, it was said that five deer were captured in this thermal image.


Dr. Timothy Leary, Harvard psychologist and LSD advocate, was advising people to “Turn on, tune in, drop out.”A 100-pound meteorite landed in Leicestershire, England.

Life magazine published a special double issue on city life, featuring Chicago and asking if “it’s greatness is at stake?”

General William Westmoreland was Time’s Man of the Year.

The Dave Clark Five topped the charts in the United States with “Over and Over.”

And on Shelter Island …

Island ferry services cut back hours

Both North and South ferries revised their schedules 50 years ago, dropping late night trips during winter months.

North Ferry had its last boat departing Greenport at 11:10 p.m. and the last boat from the Island at 11:30 p.m. as of December 19, 1965.

South Ferry, which had been providing 2 a.m. service on Fridays and Saturdays, cut back as of January 2, 1965, to midnight.

POSTSCRIPT: North Ferry now runs its final boat from Shelter Island at 11:45 p.m. and its final run from Greenport at midnight, while South Ferry’s schedule from Labor Day until June 25 runs its last boats at 11:45 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 1:45 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. During the summer months, South Ferry runs its boats until 1:45 a.m. every day.

Island school to get facelift

Just before Christmas in 1985, the Board of Education held a special meeting to approve renovations to Shelter Island School.

What was considered safety and maintenance work to be done during the Christmas break included painting of gym wing doors; repairs to library and cafeteria tables; installation of some new library bookcases; repairs to bathroom stalls and plumbing work; welding of steel plates on gym bleachers; and installation of safety bars and panic devices at two building entrances.

POSTSCRIPT: This Christmas, the Board of Education is looking ahead to repairs likely to start in the fall of 2016, when the buildings heating and ventilation system is due for replacement. Other repairs in connection with a performance contract that guarantees money saved in energy costs will exceed what is spent on construction work.

Islanders open $620,000 Christmas presents from state and county

The economy was solid in December 1995 as county and state representatives came bearing gifts — promises of grants for various Island needs. Then County Legislator Greg Blass delivered word that $350,000 would enable dredging of the mouth of Coecles Harbor.

State Senator Ken LaValle delivered $270,000, to offset the cost of restoration and storm protection on the Ram Island Second Causeway. That project was temporarily sidelined by two piping plover nests that delayed work.

But the senator said the state would also put up another $115,000 as a loan to be paid back. The town was still awaiting $715,000 in federal funding.

POSTSCRIPT: Money isn’t flowing so easily these days and while the town has qualified for grants, only some of it has been delivered. Highway Superintendent Jay Card Jr. is still awaiting grant money he expected to have to offset work on road improvements here.

On the other hand, he got more than expected from the town and when the grant money arrives, he’ll be in position to do much of the critical work the roads need.

Aerial survey used to track deer numbers

Vision Air Research of Boise, Idaho conducted aerial surveillance over Shelter Island 10 years ago using infrared sensing equipment to try to determine the number of deer here. Shelter Island and North Haven shared the approximate $7,500 cost for the aerial surveillance and photographs.

North Haven had twice before used Vision Air to help structure its approach to deer management. The aim was to determine how effective a nuisance bow hunt might be in each community.

POSTSCRIPT: If the aerial tracking of deer was considered cutting edge to track deer 10 years, it is out of favor now. The town’s Deer & Tick Committee said the effort proved ineffective then and no reliable method other than anecdotal evidence has replaced it.

What experts look for today is the effect deer have on vegetation, the number of patients reporting tick bites to local physicians and confirmed cases of tick-borne diseases. They also estimate numbers based on collisions between deer and vehicles, although Police Chief Jim Read has called that unreliable since not all accidents are reported and others may blame deer in the roads for accidents caused by other means.

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