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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.


Fiat concluded an agreement with the Soviet government to build a car factory there that would produce 600,000 small- and medium-sized cars per year.San Francisco Giants center fielder Willie Mays hit his 512th homerun, breaking the National League record that had been held by Mel Ott, New York Giants right fielder, since 1937.

Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong issued a directive resulting in professors, teachers, government bureaucrats and other white collar workers being moved to rural areas to work and live as peasants, laboring on farms.

The Montreal Canadiens beat the Detroit Red Wings four games to two to win the Stanley Cup.

Josh Weinstein, television writer and producer best known for his work on “The Simpsons” was born in Washington, D.C.

And on Shelter Island …

Town Board to consider beach ordinance

Fifty years ago, the Town Board was poised for a hearing that would establish hours and dates on which it would be necessary to display a beach sticker in order to park a vehicle adjacent to town-owned or leased beaches.

POSTSCRIPT: As warm weather creeps in slowly this year, the town is again offering a limited number of day beach passes to nonresidents who must apply for them at Town Hall.

Liability hikes force bus rebid

A letter to the Board of Education from Sunrise Coach Lines 30 years ago told the locals the contract they had with the company would have to be renegotiated. The reason, according to Robert Brown, the company’s president at the time, was the company’s liability insurance rates had escalated.

It was a factor school board members knew might happen, so it wasn’t unexpected when the official word came, but it did have an impact on the district’s budget, raising contractual transportation costs from $52,979 to $64,504.

POSTSCRIPT: The combination of bus and ferry costs makes transportation costs high on Shelter Island to this day.

But this year district officials were concerned about health insurance premiums increasing. They were higher, but not by as much as had been originally anticipated and that was part of why the budget proposal is a bit lower than the Board of Education had expected.

Program poised to monitor salt water intrusion

Islanders, dependent on wells for their drinking water, have long discussed problems with salt water intrusion into their supply. But until 1996, little was being done to address the issue.

Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services and the town joined forces in May 1996 to launch a two-year pilot program to determine whether fresh water aquifer conditions could be forecast in water-sensitive, near shore areas.

The aim was to try to forestall salt contamination of private wells.

POSTSCRIPT: Fast forward 20 years and salting remains a problem in some areas and the effort to deal with the issue continues. There are construction limits on near-shore properties and most recently, there’s attention to avoid salting neighbors’ wells while residents have construction on their own properties.

Assessment angst plagues taxpayers

Ten years ago, as property owners were getting notices of their new assessments, Al Hammond said he had more calls than usual complaining about increases. He speculated that was the result of an average 20 percent increase and noted that those who wanted to do so could grieve their taxes in the hope they might receive reductions.

POSTSCRIPT: Those who are now working in the assessors office have just completed the tentative assessment roll of the 2016-17 fiscal year and anyone wishing to review the tax rolls may do so until the third Tuesday in May.

The Board of Assessment Review will meet at Town Hall on May 17 between 10 a.m. and noon and 7 to 9 p.m. to hear taxpayer complaints.

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