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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.


The Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey met with Pope Paul VI in Rome to issue a Common Declaration pledging to inaugurate a serious dialogue founded on the Gospels and ancient common traditions.The Sports Car Club of America debuted the first true road racing series in the United States, the Trans Am Series.

Ozzie and Harriet ended its 14-year-run on ABC Television.

George Chuvalo of Canada became the first challenger to go a full 15 rounds against heavy weight champion Muhammad Ali who had a 22-0 record, but Mr. Chuvalo lost the bout by a unanimous decision.

Sergeant Barry Sadler’s “Ballad of the Green Beret” topped the music charts for five successive weeks.

And on Shelter Island …

Reporter to publish Island’s first almanac

The year was 1966 when the Reporter announced it was launching an almanac that would include data about Shelter Island that had never appeared between the covers of a single publication.

Among the entries were listings of elected and appointed officials, a complete compilation of clubs and organizations with their purposes and achievements; a total rundown of ordinances; and historical points of interest.

The almanac was priced at $1 and available at local newsstands or $1.25 for those who needed it mailed to them.

POSTSCRIPT: The almanac is gone, although much of the information it contained is readily available on the town’s website. But each May, the Reporter publishes a phone book of both residential and commercial listings.

Heights proposes changes in traffic flow

While Shelter Island Heights roads are private and maintained by the Heights Property Owners Corporation, a plan to revise traffic flow was introduced to the Town Board that was responsible for signage.

There was some concern at the time about the town’s potential liability in installing new signs and the proposal had to be studied and worked through with the HPOC before it could be implemented.

POSTSCRIPT: Many of the one-way streets proposed in 1986 are in use today while in a few cases, there were changes. The roads remain private, despite the reality that they are used by traffic going to and coming from North Ferry that also belongs to the HPOC.

Center agrees to resume merger talks

By a vote of 3-2, Center Fire Commissioners agreed to resume talks with their counterparts in the Heights Fire District about merging the two units.

Although Center Commission Chairman James “Zippy” Reeves favored a resumption of talks, he had been stymied by others who objected.

Commissioners Fred Ogar and Maurice “Tut” Tuttle both objected, with Mr. Ogar saying at the time that the Heights needed the merge while the Center had nothing to gain.

POSTSCRIPT: It took a lot of years of on-again off-again talks between the two fire districts before agreement could be reached on a merger, but by the mid 1990s, it finally became a done deal.

Kilb: Upgrade cabins as affordable rentals

Alfred Kilb Jr.,  town supervisor and called for converting Card’s Cabins and King’s Cabins on Route 114, A-frames on Manwaring Road and the old Kempster’s Cabins on West Neck Road into affordable housing by easing permitting requirements and developing incentives for removing specific existing properties to make them reasonable rentals for Islanders with limited incomes.

The plan called for retaining the units for qualified tenants as affordable in perpetuity.

POSTSCRIPT: There are stirrings today for an effort to identify affordable rentals by the Community Housing Board, but since the board can’t raise money, the Shelter Island Housing Options Committee is a 501(c)3 independent group that can raise money while giving contributors tax deductions.

Funds could be used to help landlords who want to offer apartments where renovations are needed to bring them up to code, or, possibly, to help tenants offset the cost of rentals.

There’s work to be done, according to Mary-Faith Westervelt, who is co-chair of the town’s Community Housing Board, but she has hopes that with a reactivated SIHOP, the Island could resolve some of its housing issues.

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