Featured Story

This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.


The unmanned Soviet spacecraft Luna 13 landed on the moon.

Actor Diedrich Bader, who played Oswald on the old Drew Carey Show and is now in the ABC comedy, “American Housewife,” was born in Washington, D.C.

‘Winchester Cathedral’ by The New Vaudeville Band was most popular among pop music lovers in this country.

Director John Frankenheimer’s “Grand Prix” starring James Garner, Eva Marie Saint and Yves Montand was drawing movie crowds.

Robert Crichton’s “The Secret of Santa Vittoria,” about the efforts of a small Italian town to save itself from the Nazis after the fall of Benito Mussolini was among the most popular books and would be made into a movie three years later.

And on Shelter Island …

Say no to food concessions

Fifty years ago at this time, letters to the editor at the Reporter were blasting a proposal to create a service building with a food concession at an Island beach. To allow what one writer said was a hotdog stand would spoil Shelter Island.

“Such stands near a beach have traditionally attracted a rowdy and even criminal element,” the writer said. Town officials have wisely resisted such ideas, the letter writer said.

POSTSCRIPT: A couple of years ago, a vendor wanted to sell ice cream from a bicycle-driven cart at Crescent Beach.

The two existing ice cream shop operators chose not to make public statements, but weren’t happy about the idea of beach visitors buying ice cream from the cart and believed it would cut into their business. The idea never came to fruition.

Earlier this week, a resident questioned two operations on Crescent Beach — massage therapists and paddle boat renters.

Is the town liable should there be any problems with these businesses? the questioner wondered. And if they’re allowed, should these business operators be paying a fee to operate at Crescent Beach?

Supervisor Jim Dougherty said he hadn’t thought about it, but agreed it was a subject for the Town Board to consider in the year ahead.

Supervisor looks back and ahead

As 1986 was drawing to a close, Supervisor Jeffrey Simes sat down with Art Barnett for a talk about where the town stood on issues that had been consuming his time in the past years and what he thought the year ahead would bring.

Among the major issues still on the table were creation of a wastewater district with requirements in place for pumpouts and other maintenance that might be required; improvement to the landfill site and plans to close it; developing restrictions on pools; and zoning changes.

Many were major tasks and wouldn’t be achieved in a single year.

POSTSCRIPT: Among the major issues facing Shelter Island today is how to deal with aging and, in some cases, failing septic systems. A lot of effort has gone into development of new systems, but pricing is still an issue. A three-year study of water quality through testing of wells was to have started this fall, but has been delayed.

Officials hope costs of newer systems, once priced at as much as $30,000 will continue to decrease to make them viable for more home and business owners.

Landfill neighbors not so cheery

It may have been the holiday season, but neighbors along Menantic Road were spreading complaints, not cheer about plans to build a new highway building on property across from their houses. The previous highway facility had been on Route 114.

A delegation of Menantic Road residents came to the final Town Board meeting of 1996 with expressions of concerns about what they feared would be smells, noise and traffic resulting from the new building.

POSTSCRIPT: It has been a number of years now that the highway building has been in place. Much of the building houses office space and is located along Bowditch Road at the corner of Menantic.

Areas where garbage is collected are in the far eastern end of the site away from the houses and the Recycling Center operates with little worry about disturbing neighbors. Even those neighbors along Bowditch Road who were able to purchase affordable houses  have created a quiet community buffered largely by trees and bushes to create privacy and quiet for residents.

Happy holidays, here’s your bill

Ten years ago at this time, it was Receiver of Taxes Nancy Kotula on the job sending out tax bills to residents and business owners who would find that Christmas and New Year’s cards weren’t the only mail in their boxes.

Taxes vary year to year based both on budgets and assessments that could increase or decrease the value of properties.

POSTSCRIPT: This year, those bills will be coming from Annmarie Seddio who is the receiver of taxes, appointed after Ms. Kotula moved to become clerk of the Justice Court in 2014.

[email protected]