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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.


Franz Stangl, the former commandant of the Treblinka and Sobibór extermination camps, was arrested in São Paulo, Brazil.

The United States performed a nuclear test at a site in Nevada.

The movie version of “Thoroughly Modern Millie” starring Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore was released.

Frank Sinatra and producer Jimmy Bowen won Grammy Awards for “Strangers in the Night.”

Actor George Eads of CSI fame was born in Fort Worth, Texas.

And on Shelter Island . . .

Miss Moser plans a May wedding

Not usually the subject of a history piece, but this couldn’t be ignored. It was an engagement announcement for Patricia Moser to James Edward Shillingburg 50 years ago with plans for a May wedding.

Obviously, Ms. Moser went on to be known on the Island as Patricia Shillingburg, a woman who worked with her husband to secure some of the Island’s history through books they co-researched and wrote.

Ms. Shillingburg served on the Zoning Board of Appeals, was once a member of the Deer & Tick Committee; and known to many for her efforts in preserving nature and the beauty on the Island as a member of the Garden Club of Shelter Island.

POSTSCRIPT: Ms. Shillingburg died in January 2016, while her husband of almost 50 years continues to practice law on the Island.

Committee ponders new ferry zoning

After South Ferry lost its bid for a variance needed to accommodate its office space and crew facilities, then town attorney Helen Rosenblum in 1987 suggested creation of ferry zones to enable both South and North ferries to meet their operational needs, despite limitations that would otherwise be imposed on them by residential zoning.

It took about a month before legislation would be crafted and adopted. But the new legislation came with opposition from some quarters among Islanders worried that special exceptions could create inappropriate business operations in residential areas.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, the code provides for operators of the ferry services to apply for special permits to build structures germane to ferry operations. But the code requires that such structures not alter the general character of neighborhoods and be designed in accordance with height, area and setback requirements.

Proposed applications must be in line with promotion of public convenience and welfare.

Educational Foundation seeks money

Two years after its founding in 1995, members of the Shelter Island Educational Foundation were making an appeal for contributions to enable the group to continue to provide money for non-school programs to serve Island youths.

Planned funding would go to providing cultural and scientific programs outside the scope of the school curriculum, Superintendent Lydia Axelrod said. Ms. Axelrod’s comments came at an informal breakfast meeting in 1997 where she appealed for residents to support the program.

To maintain the foundation under Internal Revenue Service guidelines, at least one-third of its money must come from the general public while other money could come from grants. In the previous year, the foundation had secured a $5,000 grant from New York State and between $2,000 and $3,000 from contributions.

POSTSCRIPT: The foundation is alive and well today under new leadership from JoAnn Kirkland and begins the application process on March 6 for spring grants with the deadline for submission, April 3.

Should Shelter Island have affordable housing?

Islanders were focused in the first quarter of 2007 on the subject of whether there should be affordable housing in town.

Responses from interviews by staffers expressed concerns about where such housing might be built but generally agreed it needed to be a priority.

The responses came about 10 years after six affordable houses had been built along Bowditch Road, but there was no follow up to that project.

POSTSCRIPT: Affordables are very much on the minds of Islanders today with a planned public forum at the end of March hosted by the Community Housing Board to hear views and explore options.

The Community Housing Board has been trying to identify possible sites for rentals with prices that would fall within Housing and Urban Development Guidelines for Suffolk County.

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