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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.


Baseball’s former Milwaukee Braves played their first game at Atlanta Stadium becoming the Atlanta Braves and losing in 13 innings to Pittsburgh by a score of 3-2.In a case of Miranda vs. Arizona, the Supreme Court upheld what today are known as the Miranda Rules requiring that criminal suspects must be informed of their rights prior to questioning.

Bob Hope hosted the 38th Academy Awards where “The Sound of Music” took home best picture honors.

The 747 airplane — capable of carrying 490 people, more than double what existing planes could carry — was unveiled, but the first planes wouldn’t be delivered to Pan Am until 1969.

And on Shelter Island …

Teachers pay impasse in school negotiations

It was 40 years ago that the Shelter Island Faculty Association reached an impasse with district negotiators on a new contract. Issues at the time were pay and the number of personal leave days a union member could take.

Both sides called for a mediator from the Public Employees’ Fair Employment Board to assist in resolving the contract.

The district’s entire budget was about $1 million and starting teachers were paid $10,506, while the highest salary was about $21,000.

POSTSCRIPT: The SIFA and district are currently engaged in contract talks with a projected budget of about $11 million; starting teachers earn $55,000 and some high salaries are over $100,000.

SIFA President Brian Becker, without revealing anything about the negotiations, has said he understands this is a tight time for the district that is looking at having to pierce the tax cap since it was imposed a few years ago by New York State.

Village maintains ban on spec houses

Despite a litigation threat, 30 years ago the Village of Dering Harbor  held to its ban on spec housing. Plans called for a 36-acre, 11-lot subdivision on the Hird estate and Esther Hunt, who was Village mayor, recommended eliminating the wording from the code. But by a 3-2 vote, the Board of Trustees chose not to rescind the ban.

The ban was put into effect to ward off developers locals feared would change the character of the village. Before anyone could build, a lot owner would have to certify that the house being constructed would be used only as the owner’s dwelling.

Both the Village Attorney and the Planning Board attorney had previously warned that the language in the ban might not be defensible in court.

POSTSCRIPT: The Village’s Architectural Review Board just gave provisional approval for a spec house at 1 Dering Woods Lane. There are still issues to be resolved before construction could begin.

Shelter Island’s ramp to the information highway

Just 20 years ago, the Shelter Island Library was preparing Internet accounts to its users. It was a step that libraries throughout the country were taking and then director Kathleen Henry said locals would have access through SuffolkNet, a private company providing online services

POSTSCRIPT: In today’s world of ubiquitous connections to the Internet through computers, tablets and smartphones, it’s likely to seem to many that the Internet has always been at our fingertips. But not so long ago, it was new and many depended on libraries for access to the information highway.

School budget carries a tax drop

The 2006-07 school district budget proposed a spending increase of 6.8 percent, but was expected to result in a tax cut of 8.9 percent.
The $8.39 million budget was projected to increase from the previous year’s $7.86 million, but an estimate of property value assessments was expected to result in a drop in taxes.

POSTSCRIPT: Faced with another year of state-imposed tax levy limits, Shelter Island is anticipating it will pierce the cap it’s allowed. The Board of Education is continuing its line-by-line review in an effort to cut spending, but still expects that it will need more tax money since it can’t close a gap with money in its fund balance that has been depleted in the past few years.

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