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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.


Thurgood Marshall, then solicitor general, was the first African-American appointed to the United States Supreme Court.

China tested its first hydrogen bomb.

Following the Six Day War, Egypt blockaded the Suez Canal and it remained closed until June 1975, trapping 14 cargo ships for eight years.

In Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court declared bans on interracial marriage throughout the United States were unconstitutional.

Mariner 5 was launched from Cape Canaveral to Venus and it sent back information that the planet was very hot and the atmosphere much more dense than had been expected.

And on Shelter Island . . .


Historical Society seeks Havens House purchase

The Shelter Island Historical Society 50 years ago was appealing to the Town Board to consider the purchase of Havens House to be used as its headquarters. The house was then owned by Mrs. Benjamin Sherman.

Speculation by members then was that the house’s historical background would make the town eligible for state and federal funding to help with the purchase, but the price was not identified.

POSTSCRIPT: Not only is Havens House the center of activities for the Historical Society today, but construction is underway to add an addition that will provide more space for researchers, displays and, most important, storage of records that are now crammed into a tight space in Havens House.


Town Board seeks extension on landfill closing

Although three years still remained in 1987 for the town to meet the deadline imposed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation to close the landfill operation, the Town Board was requesting an extension to allow time to examine new technologies. It cited the town’s low level of domestic solid wastes and absence of industrial contaminants as reasons for the extension.

At the same time, there were no efforts underway in the town to find a cost-effective way of handling the wastes.

POSTSCRIPT: These days, the recycling center is efficient and profitable and under a proposal from Public Works Commissioner and Highway Superintendent Jay Card Jr. is expected to be more profitable after the purchase of a new brush grinder, according to Town Board members.


Board member wants more parent involvement

Twenty years ago, Board of Education member Matt Bonora called on his colleagues and the school administration to develop a plan to enhance parent involvement with high school level students.

His concern was that if parents didn’t attend parent/teacher conferences and other events, their children wouldn’t necessarily be getting support needed with homework.

At the same time, students responded that those having academic problems may not spend a lot of time with their parents anyway. Nonetheless, Mr. Bonora wanted more outreach to parents.

POSTSCRIPT: The school has a very active and involved PTSA and if a recent virtual walk to Disney World is any indication, parents and even grandparents are very involved with student activities.


Fireworks up in the air

Ten years ago and just a few weeks before Shelter Island was due for its annual fireworks show, the Town Board was expressing concern that no application had yet been received from the Chamber of Commerce for a permit and Police, Fire and Highway departments had yet to receive information needed to plan for the event.

But in response to a question from the Reporter, Chamber Vice President Sean McLean said the application for the permit had been filed and the show would go on as expected at Crescent Beach.

POSTSCRIPT: For the third successive year, the fireworks show is now in the hands of a group of residents who took on responsibility for fundraising and arrangements for the annual event. The fireworks, again presented by Grucci, are expected to light up the sky on Saturday, July 8, weather permitting. The rain date is Sunday, July 9.

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