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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.


President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed an amendment to the Fair Labor Act extending the $1 minimum wage to farm, restaurant, hotel, nursing home and dry cleaner workers as well as to state and local government and school workers.

The U.S. Senate failed to give two-thirds approval needed to amend the Constitution to allow voluntary prayer in schools.

Dr. Timothy Leary in a speech to the New York Advertising Club, announced the formation of the League of Spiritual Discover as a new psychedelic religion with the theme, “turn on, tune in, drop out.”

American broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien was born in St. James, New York.

The Motion Picture Association of America adopted a new code for film production, eliminating a number of prohibitions in place for 36 years and establishing the “G” rating for general audiences and “M” for mature audiences.

And on Shelter Island …

Route 114 plans progress

In the fall of 1976, state and town officials met to discuss plans for widening Route 114 from South Ferry to the town dock at Bridge Street. Work was slated to begin the following spring.

POSTSCRIPT: Work is just beginning in East Hampton to resurface Route 114 from Stephen Hands Path to Route 27, but until now, there was no indication the part of the roadway crossing Shelter Island and ending in Greenport would get the same attention. But now Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) and Senator Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) indicated they have requested funding for resurfacing to occur here.

When that might happen is not known since the money for the project hasn’t yet been allocated by the state.

Town agrees to provide senior services

In 1986, under a plan proposed by resident Clara Barksdale, the town agreed to help develop senior services with an office to operate out of the Medical Center building on Route 114.

The aim was to direct Island seniors to various health, nursing and other services they might need. Ms. Barksdale, a former social worker, told the Town Board many seniors might not know where resources are they would need. Working with a committee, the aim was to investigate seniors’ needs and develop a clearing house manned by locals volunteers to direct them to various resources.

POSTSCRIPT: What started as a referral service has greatly expanded to providing socialization for seniors, nutritional needs, including home food deliveries for those unable to get to the Senior Activity Center, transportation and host of other services. Until last year, Henrietta Roberts headed the operation and now Laurie Fanelli is the director of senior services.

Shelter Island Fire Department approves budget

The budget approved 20 years ago for operation of the Center Fire District was $365,350 and no tax hike was anticipated. Of the total amount, $343,350 was to be raised by taxes, representing $2,100 less than had been raised from property taxes to support the previous year’s spending.

Among the allocations in the new budget was a $15,000 allotment for professional services to help study the proposed merger between the Center and Heights fire districts.

POSTSCRIPT: Of course today there is only one fire district and fire commissioners have just begun to study the budget for 2017 and details are expected to emerge shortly.

In recent years, the commissioners have been able to avoid raising taxes. What is known at this juncture is that preliminary numbers appear to be coming in at less than the state-imposed tax cap, according to the district’s Secretary-Treasurer Amber Williams.

What was a 2 percent tax cap when the program began a few years ago is, based on previous spending, likely to be .76 percent for the fire district this year, Ms. Williams said.

Panel scolds, but Kilb stand firm

“Your committee as a whole was unnecessary in its present state,”  Supervisor Alfred Kilb Jr. told the Deer & Tick Committee 10 years ago. The supervisor had called the committee into a Town Board executive session a week earlier to try to disband it.

Members fought back, questioning the town’s commitment to the 4-poster program. That was two years before the Cornell Cooperative Extension-Cornell University pilot program would place 60 units on the Island.

They also accused the Town Board of failing to provide reliable liaison and stabbing committee members in the back.

POSTSCRIPT: Certainly today’s Deer & Tick Committee has differences of opinion, but there is an open dialogue and Supervisor Jim Dougherty is among those who regularly attends meetings and is supportive of the group’s efforts  for solutions to abating the incidence of tick-borne diseases.