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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.


The United States and the USSR signed an agreement prohibiting nuclear weapons in space.

In what many Yankee fans considered a terrible trade, slugger Roger Maris was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for pitcher Charlie Smith.

Musician Sinéad O’Connor was born in Dublin.

282 people perished when the Greek ferry the Heraklin sank in the Aegean Sea during a raging storm.

Barbados, one week after becoming independent from the United Kingdom, was admitted to the United Nations, but the Island continues to recognize the British monarchy as its head of state.

HPOC unveils sewer proposal

It was at this time in 1986 that the Heights Property Owners Corporation laid out a $380,000 proposal, including a new sewer treatment plant to serve the 100-year-old system.

Upgrades were mandated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation requiring action by the end of June 1987 to bring the system into compliance. Hanging over HPOC was the threat that failure to act in time could cost the corporation up to $500 per day for each successive day that the new plant was delayed.

At the time, a study showed the existing plant met DEC standards nine months of the year, but failed to meet the standards during the summer season when the Island’s population swelled.

POSTSCRIPT: Through the years since the new plant has been up and running, there have been various upgrades necessitated by changing DEC standards. Today the HPOC system meets all current DEC requirements and has not been grandfathered into any lesser agreement, according to HPOC General Manager Stella Lagudis.

Town Board eyes helicopter ban

It was just 20 years ago that the Town Board began a debate on banning commercial and private helicopters from landing on Shelter Island. Until then, they had been landing with some regularity at Klenawicus airfield, much to the consternation of neighbors disturbed by their noise.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, the only helicopters that  land here are medical transports along with an occasional helicopter shuttling state or city officials to or from the Island

The major attention to helicopters comes from those cutting across the Island to land at East Hampton Airport and while East Hampton has taken steps to control the noise problems, that town is battling a decision that overturns its efforts to limit these flights that affect residents not only in East Hampton, but throughout Shelter Island and North Fork hamlets.

USGS set to report on water quantity and quality

The United States Geological Survey 10 years ago was preparing to update town officials on the latest data it had collected on well water levels and also on results of some quality tests it had been doing.

In general, water levels were up and the company conducting the tests found little evidence of pesticide intrusions in the water.

POSTSCRIPT: The news on water levels now is less optimistic despite recent heavy rains. The Island, as with the rest of New York State, is in a drought condition and not expected to see a turnaround at least until the end of January.

As for water quality, the town entered into a new three-year contract with USGS to undertake major tests of water quality. But despite plans to start quality tests, particularly aimed at nitrogen levels in the water, this fall, USGS has fallen behind and it’s unclear just when the first set of quality tests will be conducted.

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