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This week in Shelter Island history

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Alfred Kilb Jr. surrounded by his family on the day 10 years ago when he was sworn in as town supervisor.
REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Alfred Kilb Jr. surrounded by his family on the day 10 years ago when he was sworn in as town supervisor.


Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, future wife of John F. Kennedy Jr., was born.The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was the first African-American civil rights organization to publicly denounce the Vietnam War.

General William Westmoreland, Time’s Man of the Year, was featured in a story in the January 7, 1966 issue.

“Doctor Zhivago” was packing movie audiences.

The Beatles “We Can Work It Out” topped the music charts in the United States.

And on Shelter Island …

Committee named to study planning and appeals boards

Fifty years ago the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals were suffering an inability to muster quorums necessary to do their work. The problem resulted from several members who migrated to Florida for the winter and others who were ill and unable to attend meetings regularly.

The Town Board named a committee to study the matter and suggest solutions to ensure that both boards would be viable in 1966. Two suggestions came out of the committee — increasing the numbers from five to seven on each board and appointing women, who Supervisor Evans Griffing said were “equally capable of exercising brain power.”

POSTSCRIPT: Today, it’s two committees struggling for quorums — the Water Management Advisory Committee and Deer & Tick Committee. Deer & Tick has fewer problems since it seldom needs votes to move its work forward and some members participate with ideas via telephone.

But it’s a different scenario with the WMAC that expects to have at least three members absent this winter and a fourth likely to miss some of its monthly meetings. Accordingly, the Information Technology Committee led by Police Chief Jim Read is looking at a Skype-type hookup for committee members to participate in discussions and vote from remote areas. But until the system can be set up, the WMAC postponed its January 4 meeting to January 21 with the hope that a system would be in place by then.

Manhanset Chapel is donated to Historical Society

It was announced at the beginning of 1966 that Meyer Osofsky, who owned Manhanset Chapel, built in 1890, was donating the building to the Shelter Island Historical Society. Plans called for the Society to preserve the chapel and maintain a museum there bearing some of the artifacts that were held at Havens House.

The Historical Society restored the building to reflect its look in 1924 when it was moved from the slope behind the old Manhanset Hotel to its present site on Route 114 and Duvall Street.

It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.

POSTSCRIPT: In 2011, the Historical Society lacked the funds to maintain the building and the Osofsky family had the right of first refusal to buy the building and did so with plans to convert it for use as a center for performance and display arts.

Supe looks ahead to 1996

Hoot Sherman was supervisor in 1996 and in a column he wrote that year for the Reporter, he mentioned money coming from the state to pay for the capping of the old town landfill. But also on his mind was the formation of Peconic County Now, Inc., a group formed to push forward a proposal to separate from Suffolk County.

Then state legislator and now Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) was president of the committee and Mr. Sherman was vice president.

The aim was to determine costs associated with establishing Peconic County, separate from Suffolk County and procedures necessary to achieve the aim.

POSTSCRIPT: A separate Peconic County remains an elusive dream for many East End residents and officials. When there was a change in leadership in Assembly and Senate in Albany in 2015, it was predicted that new leadership might bring serious consideration of such a move since those who had blocked it were no longer in office. But since that early speculation in 2015, the subject appears to have slipped from the radar.

New era begins at Town Hall

Alfred Kilb Jr. took the oath of office as supervisor surrounded by family members in January 2006. Although he officially became supervisor on January 1, the official swearing in occurred that year on January 3.

Justice Helen Rosenbaum presided over the swearing in ceremony, reminding Mr. Kilb of an earlier conversation the two had in which he spoke of his love for Shelter Island. She told him he would do well if all individuals feel respected, regardless of their views.

It was reported that Mr. Kilb had tears in his eyes as he took his seat at the Town Board table.

POSTSCRIPT: Tuesday marked the day when Jim Dougherty was sworn in to his fifth term as supervisor and two new members of the Town Board — Jim Colligan and Mary Dudley — were officially sworn in as council members.

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