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This week in Shelter Island History

Old, open book with a damaged cover.


Martin Luther King Jr. denounced American involvement  in the Vietnam War during a religious service at Riverside Church in New York City.

Gasoline was selling in the United States for an average of 33 cents per gallon; the average yearly income was  $7,300 a year.

The United States Department of Transportation was inaugurated.

The Beatles made the first master tape of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band  that had no gaps between tracks, a unique technique at the time.

“Double Trouble,” starring Elvis Presley was released to in theaters throughout the United States.

And on Shelter Island . . .

Waters in danger

In early April 1967, the Reporter was pleased that the State Conservation Department finally did something about waters around Shelter Island and Greenport by posting that shellfishing was prohibited because of pollutants.

Signs were up around Dering Harbor, the Shelter Island Yacht Club, at Town Hall and in Greenport with warnings about the dangers of taking shellfish from the water.

POSTSCRIPT: Not that signs aren’t important, but in today’s world, there are efforts afoot to improve the quality of the water, including steps to upgrade many antiquated septic systems that contribute to the problem.

While these efforts are still in their infancy, environmentalists applaud the efforts to do more than simply post that taking shellfish from polluted water poses dangers.

East Enders give more for less

Many in Suffolk County complained when Republicans arranged to appoint Michael LoGrande county executive after Peter Cohalan left the job to take a judgeship. Democrats wanted a special election to fill the seat, not an appointment.

But Mr. LoGrande gained some traction with East Enders when he promised to review the impact county taxes had on residents here.

However, three months into his term, Legislator Tony Bullock complained that Mr. LoGrande hadn’t given any voice to his pledge.

POSTSCRIPT: Thirty years later, East Enders are still complaining that they send much more money to the county than they get back in services, explaining why, from time to time, there’s a call to establish a separate Peconic County.

Town Board contemplates senior needs

Two major initiatives were on the Town Board agenda in early April 1997 — creation of a senior center for activities for the Island’s aging population and senior affordable housing.

The Island’s population, according to census figures at the time, was 2,263 year-round residents with 658 residents 65 years old or older. Another 179 were between the ages of 60 and 64 and 139 were between the ages of 55 and 59.

Supervisor Hoot Sherman pointed out that other communities provided a number of services to seniors that were lacking on Shelter Island.

POSTSCRIPT: The Senior Center operates out of the Medical Building, but the issue of affordable senior housing remains an issue. At a recent Community Housing Board forum, co-chair Mary-Faith Westervelt said there has been an outreach to seniors with the thought that some may be living in houses too large for their needs where an apartment could be created within the house and the rest of the area rented to families in need of housing.

That would give senior property owners rental income as well as people living in the rest of the house who could help to maintain properties for the aging seniors. But she said there appeared little interest from the seniors.

Randos primed for second restaurant

It was April 2007, James and Mary Rando and James’ brother Anthony and his wife Kim were primed to open a second restaurant on the Island — this one, “A.J.’s On the Hill” at Goat Hill.

They had been operating Sweet Tomato’s in the Heights since 2003. A.J.’s was to be an addition, not a replacement for Sweet Tomato’s. But their fortunes at Goat Hill proved similar to other operators who couldn’t make a go of it at the Shelter Island Country Club under the previous practice of bar revenues going to the club, not the restaurant operator.

POSTSCRIPT: A.J.’s On the Hill was one of several restaurant efforts to give up the effort because, like others, it was difficult to operate at the Shelter Island Country Club venue at Goat Hill where the club kept bar revenues.

For the first time in many years, the Board of Directors of the Shelter Island Country Club has entered into a three-year contract beginning this summer that will give all bar and restaurant receipts to operator of “The Flying Goat,” to be run by veteran restaurateur John DeLeo. In stripping the club of the revenues from the bar operation, the club is also relieved of the expenses associated with running the bar.

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