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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.


Abbie Hoffman led the Youth International Party in shutting down the New York Stock Exchange by tossing dollar bills from the visitor’s gallery onto the floor where brokers abandoned their work to grab the flying bills.

Henry Kaiser, founder of the Kaiser Shipyard, Kaiser Aluminum and Kaiser Permanente and the father of modern ship building, died in Honolulu Hawaii at the age of 85.

Thurgood Marshall was confirmed as the first African-American to serve on the Supreme Court with a vote in the Senate of 69-11.

Ken Harrelson became baseball’s first free agent when he walked off from the Kansas City Athletics following a dispute with team owner Charlie Finley and subsequently signed a lucrative contract with the Boston Red Sox.

And on Shelter Island . . .


Kraus Beach vote pending

Some members of the Shelter Island Association 40 years ago were opposed to a referendum on whether the town should use land preservation money to buy a 720-foot strip of property adjacent to Crescent Beach from owner Charles Kraus for a reported $7,500. It had been a sever-year battle over whether or not to purchase the beach property.

Because Mr. Kraus would retain a perpetual easement on 75 feet of the property for open storage of boats and a dock, there were those who saw the deal as a bad one. Those who opposed the vote wanted the Town Board to hold a public hearing instead and then make its own decision.

But despite the pressure to do that, the vote went ahead and the sale was approved by a vote of 221 in favor and 186 opposed.

POSTSCRIPT: The enlarged Crescent Beach remains a popular place with Islanders today who flock to its sandy shores.


Bicyclists, follow the rules

An editorial appearing in the Reporter at this time 30 years ago appealed to bicyclists to obey traffic laws to avoid unwanted encounters with vehicle traffic. It was prompted by a bicycle-vehicle accident caused by the cyclist riding on the wrong side of the road. He also failed to stop for a stop sign and was going down hill at a fast rate of speed. Fortunately, the cyclist sustained only minor injuries.

POSTSCRIPT: Many cyclists are obeying the rules, but there are some narrow roads on the Island. New York Avenue is particularly narrow when you consider it accommodates two-way vehicle traffic, walkers and bicyclists. The town and Heights Property Owners Corporation continue to seek a solution to keep traffic from speeding on that road and to keep all users aware of the need to use caution and respect others with whom they’re sharing the roads.


History made as merger is approved

It was 20 years ago that the Center and Heights Fire departments obtained the long pending final vote by Center fire Commissioners to merge the two districts. It was a unanimous vote by the Center Fire Commissioners with the Heights Fire Commissioners having previously approved the merger.

There were still issues to be resolved as Center Commissioner Fred Ogar pointed out it would be a challenge to budget for the following year in time, but the wrinkles were worked out.

POSTSCRIPT: A remnant of the separate fire districts remains as the Chicken Barbecue, a major fundraiser for the Heights, and the Country Fair, a Center fundraiser, fall within a week of one another in the now merged district.


State reps ask AG to intervene with North Ferry

When North Ferry received permission in 2006 to raise its rates, residents complained and they finally got the attention of their state representatives who asked thenAttorney General Andrew Cuomo to intervene. At issue was the ownership of North Ferry by the private Heights Property Owners Corporation (HPOC).

Senator Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) and then Assemblyman Mark Alessi asked Mr. Cuomo to investigate the ownership relationship and why the Suffolk County Legislature’s Budget Review Office doesn’t take the ownership arrangement into consideration in assessing rate hike requests.

There was no immediate answer at the time.

POSTSCRIPT: The HPOC continues to own North Ferry Company.

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