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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.


The Beatles signed a contract to stay together for 10 years, but split up just three years later in 1970.

New York Mets pitcher Tom Seaver won his first victory, beating the Chicago Cubs 6-1.

The USSR performed a nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk.

Svetlana Alliluyeva, daughter of former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, defected to the United States, but would return to her homeland years later.

And on Shelter Island …

40 years ago

It took awhile 40 years ago for the Suffolk County Legislature’s Office of Budget Review to make its recommendation approving a revised fare hike proposal for North Ferry, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Heights Property Owners Corporation. Finally, the company got the OK for a two-stage increase.

In May 1977, rates would increase from $$2 to $2.25 for a one-way trip for car and driver and round trips would go up from $2.50 to $3 for a round trip. But in May 1978, that one-way rate was to go to $2.50 and the round trip fare for car and driver would jump to $2.50.

A five-day commuter book would go from $7.25 to $9.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, that five-day commuter book cost Island residents $27. There has been speculation from some quarters about either or both North and South ferry companies seeking a raise this year, but no one has filed a request.

Greenporters have been pressing for a $1 per vehicle surcharge to cover maintenance of roads leading to the ferry from that village. But if that were ever to be allowed, it would have to start with a request from North Ferry to the County Legislature to provide for such payment.

Greenporters remain ever hopeful, but Islanders generally assume that won’t happen.


Thirty years ago, when the Board of Education was working on the budget it would present to voters in May, a group of concerned residents stepped forward at the invitation of the board to review the proposal and suggest ways to reduce spending. A number of ideas that committee suggested were adopted by the Board of Education.

Among them were setting aside money to employ independent negotiators to handle salary contract talks.

POSTSCRIPT: It has been a relatively quiet run-up to the May 16 school budget vote this year with only one issue arising — a request to bus elementary school students to Our Lady of the Hamptons School in Southampton, about a mile and a half beyond the 15-mile radius that the district currently buses students going to Ross or Hayground schools.

That issue will be decided by a referendum on May 16 and if voters approve, it will cost about $68,000 for another bus and ferry fare, since the timing for the parochial school doesn’t coordinate with timings for the other two private schools. If the resolution passes, 16.5 miles will become the district’s new limit for busing and result in added costs both for the next and future budgets.

Battle for Dering Harbor Village Board seats

It had been many years since there were more candidates vying for seats on the Dering Harbor Village Board than seats that were open. But in April 1997, there were four candidates seeking election to two seats.

Incumbent Ian Brownlie filed, but Mary Walker opted not to seek re-election. Other candidates included Ethelyn Herman, John Baker and Richard Smith. In the June election that year, Mr. Brownlie secured his seat for another term and Mr. Smith won the second open seat.

POSTSCRIPT: In 2014, it took a runoff election to keep Mayor Tim Hogue in power after he was challenged by Patrick Parcells while Rob Ferris failed in his bid to wrest a seat from Mary Walker.

The insurgent candidates said they ran with the hope of making village government more transparent and charged that both the election and runoff were tainted. They were especially critical of new voters registered to cast ballots in the runoff election, insisting that many were friends or relatives of villagers, but not village residents.

None of the charges were ever pursued in court.

Open space efforts need to double

That was the message from The Pine Barrens Society in a report issued 10 years ago warning that more money and effort were needed to preserve open space, farmland and to maintain the character of the area.

It would take about $3 billion to purchase and preserve land that was needed, according to the report. At the time, the Community Preservation Fund was up and running and money had been pouring its East End town coffers and some had been spent, but the pace of funding and spending had to pick up, the report said.

POSTSCRIPT: With the latest report issued by Assemblyman Fred Thiele, as of the end of March 2017, the CPF had generated $1.2 billion in funds and all five towns that benefit from the money had voted last November to allow up to 20 percent of revenues to be used for specific water quality projects while the rest will continue to go toward preserving more land.

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