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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.

50 YEARS AGO IN HISTORY

John McCain was shot down as a U.S. Navy pilot over Vietnam and would spend 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war with two years in solitary confinement.

Singer-songwriter Keith Urban was born in New Zealand.

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi crowned himself Emperor of Iran and ruled until he was overthrown in 1979.

The Soviet Venera 4 became the first probe to send data back to earth from Venus.

And on Shelter Island . . .

50 YEARS AGO

Guest editorial against con con

Fifth years ago, a guest editorial from Supervisor Evans Griffing urged residents to vote against a Constitutional Convention, arguing that it would be “devastating to your way of life, to the way of life of your grandchildren and their grandchildren.

POSTSCRIPT: Fast forward 50 years and there will be a proposition on the ballot calling for another Constitutional Convention. This paper has not taken a stand on the convention, but one bit of advice Mr. Griffing offered then deserves to be followed now. Read about the pros and cons or have a thorough talk with those who have and know the pros and cons and then vote, one way or the other, on the issue that will appear on the back of your November ballot.

30 YEARS AGO

Board ponders landfill closing

Although the scheduled closing of the landfill operation was still years away, both residents and commercial operators had the Town Board pondering whether the operation could be kept open beyond the 1990 date until a solution for disposing of solid wastes.

Supervisor Jeffrey Simes said the town would hire a consultant to look at the options and recommend solutions while his opponent, Mal Nevel, said as a worker at the landfill, he knew the issues and had ideas about how to create a Recycling Center but would need some guidance.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, the landfill operation doesn’t exist, but the town has a Recycling Center and not only takes in a wide variety of materials, but under Jay Card Jr.’s leadership, has revenues returning to the town for sale of some materials.

20 YEARS AGO

Town delays action on nature preserve law

In 1997, the Town Board was debating a proposed law to establish a nature preserve system on the Island. Not surprisingly, the first parcel that would be included if the law was adopted would be the Mashomack Preserve.

Although the discussion couldn’t be resolved quickly at the end of October 1997, it was only because there was a need to work out some minor changes before opening it to a public hearing for further discussion.

POSTSCRIPT: The law took effect before the end of 1997, establishing criteria for inclusion in the nature preserve system and how properties included in the system could be used.

10 YEARS AGO

Assessors, Affordables top election issue list

Ten years ago, candidates seeking local posts on the Island were focused on two major issues — whether assessors should be full- or part-time and what to do about housing. There were three Town Board candidates — Don Bindler, Peter Reich and Glenn Waddington.

Mr. Bindler thought low interest loans would be the answer to helping people afford to live on the Island. Mr. Reich said he needed more information to demonstrate the need for affordables and Mr. Waddington said he wanted to emphasize workforce housing over affordables.

As for assessor terms — Al Hammond said he would prefer appointment, not election, of a single full-time assessor and wanted to be that person. BJ Ianfolla and Ted Lapides were also running for assessor and Ms. Ianfolla offered a classic response, saying if Mr. Hammond failed to get elected and she and Mr. Lapides won, they would look at one another and ask, “Do you know what to do?” She has now long been an assessor who learned well from Mr. Hammond, who is now retired.

POSTSCRIPT: Call it what you want — affordable, community housing, workforce housing. But a lot who attended this year’s Candidates Forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Shelter Island and the Shelter Island Association thought the need to provide housing that would serve young people wanting to return to the Island after college, elderly residents who wanted to downsize from their houses or workers who wanted to live near their jobs remains a critical need.

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