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This week in Shelter Island history

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Dering Harbor on a typically busy summer weekend back in 2006.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Dering Harbor on a typically busy summer weekend back in 2006.


Beatle George Harrison married model Pattie Boyd.Indira Gandhi was elected Prime Minister of India.

In a controversial move, the first four finishers of the Monte Carlo Rally in Monaco were disqualified from the race because of the headlight types on their vehicles.

President Lyndon Johnson said the United States should stay in South Vietnam until communist aggression ends there.

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

And on Shelter Island  …

No bridges here

Fifty years ago, the County Board of Supervisors developed a master plan that included bridges that would connect Shelter Island to the North and South forks.

The plan called for a bridge from East Marion to Hay Beach and then a new roadway from a corner of Gardiner’s Bay Country Club, across meadows and woodlands to connect with St. Mary’s Road, taking traffic to Route 114 as far as Havens House before cutting through the Oliver farm and Deer Park to a bridge proposed at South Ferry.

Evans Griffing was Shelter Island supervisor at the time and let county executive Lee Dennison know that the idea of bridges needed to be scrapped from the plan immediately

POSTSCRIPT: Shelter Islanders continue to strongly resist any suggestion of bridges.

Insurance rates jump

Despite an excellent record on liability claims, Shelter Island, like other municipalities, learned in January 1986 it would face a 148 percent increase in its liability insurance premiums, jumping from $27,000 to $67,000.

The new rates were set to affect municipalities, businesses, childcare centers, property and casualty insurance in general.

POSTSCRIPT: Among costs that have skyrocketed in today’s economy are increases the town and school district will be facing in health insurance premiums.

Residents await property revaluations

After years of living with what was considered an “arcane” means of determining tax assessments on Shelter Island, assessors Bob Lanahan, Fred Dinkel and Maureen Sheehy announced in January 1996 that a three-year process of revaluation was complete.

Taxpayers would be looking at revised assessments  of their properties linked to current values on the real estate market.

About 40 percent of property owners would see lower tax bills amounting to as much as $500, while about 20 percent would see increases of up to $500.

POSTSCRIPT: Assessments now take place annually.

Volunteer water testers see issues

Concerns that boaters discharging wastes into water surrounding Shelter Island, a group of volunteers 10 years ago began taking water samples after busy weekends.

The results showed that coliform bacteria was, indeed, resulting in levels that would affect the shellfish population in Dering Harbor, West Neck Harbor and, occasionally, Coecles Harbor.

The volunteers, who called themselves the Shelter Island Water Quality Monitoring Program, turned results over to environmental enforcement organizations.

What prompted their action was learning the state Department of Environmental Protection was taking its readings in mid-week, before the weekends instead of just after busy weekends and the group saw its findings as faulty.

POSTSCRIPT: Progress was slow in focusing attention on water quality, despite some environmental groups pushing for improvements. But Shelter Island has now allocated money to begin a three-year testing program of water quality, including contaminants and salt water intrusion.

Plans call for the Water Advisory Council to begin meeting with representatives of the United States Geological Survey in February to draft specifics for which tests will take place at various sites.

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