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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.


President Lyndon Johnson and his advisers known as “The Wise Men” — former Secretary of State Dean Acheson, Army General Omar Bradley, Ambassador at Large Averell Harriman and former South Vietnam Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge — agreed that Americans needed to be given more optimistic reports on progress in the Vietnam War.

Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin and 2016 candidate for the Republican nomination for President, was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Lulu’s “To Sir With Love” was topping the music charts in the United States.

“Cool Hand Luke,” starring Paul Newman and George Kennedy was drawing Americans to movie theaters.

Readers were propelling Mary Stewart’s “The Gabriel Hounds” to the best seller list as the story of an impetuous rich girl and her adventures in a strange world was proving popular in the United States

And on Shelter Island . . .


Cross country runners compete

Six East End schools sent cross country runners to compete in a 2.5 mile race at Sag Harbor 50 years ago.

Islander Steve Bartilucci crossed the finish line in second place.

POSTSCRIPT: At the 2017 5k Run/Walk, it was members of the Shelter Island School cross country team who shined with runner Kal Lewis placing first, teammate Joshua Green coming in second and for the women, Emma Gallagher, Lindsey Gallagher and Justine Karen being the first Islanders to cross the finish line.


Zoning Board implements new rules

In an effort to stop the rush for ZBA members to render decisions, a new set of rules went into effect in 1987. There would be no more immediate vote following a public hearing.

Instead, the ZBA would have time to consider requests for variances and to discuss them at a subsequent meeting at which they would outline the terms they wanted included in a formal resolution reflecting their opinions. That resolution would be acted on at a subsequent meeting.

Prior to the change, because there wasn’t time allowed for writing a formal resolution, terms that could affect future activities on a property had failed to be retained, except as a record of the meeting minutes.

POSTSCRIPT: That system in still in place so typically, a property owner and/or representative would come before the ZBA to outline the reasons for a variance request and a public hearing would be scheduled. At the meeting following the public hearing, ZBA members discuss the application and lay out terms that Town Attorney Laury Dowd uses in drafting the formal decision. At the nest meeting, the ZBA votes on the resolution.


Siller sails in

That was the headline in early November 1997 when Democrat Gerry Siller took 61 percent of the vote to become town supervisor, beating two-term Republican Town Board member Hal McGee.

The vote at the time broke records on the Island for the highest number of registered voters on the Island, the largest off-year voter turnout and the largest number of votes for a Town Board candidate. The biggest winner of the night was incumbent Democratic Councilman Glenn Waddington who would in 2011 go on to try to oust Supervisor Jim Dougherty. In that race, Mr. Waddington appeared to win by a slim margin on election night, only to have Mr. Dougherty emerge as victor in a recount of ballots.

POSTSCRIPT: Mr. Dougherty, a Democrat, still occupies the supervisor’s office and is seeking a sixth two-year term, opposed by Republican Gary Gerth.


Heads up — helicopter landing

At this time 10 years ago, residents were advised to expect a helicopter landing at Shelter Island School.

It wasn’t for a medical evacuation or a police department emergency. Instead, the helicopter was being allowed to land so that students in kindergarten through the fifth grade could see the helicopter up close as they were studying forms of transportation.

POSTSCRIPT: The town banned helicopter landings except at a private airstrip at Westmoreland Farms with the owner’s permission and for emergency landings for medical and public safety emergencies or practice safety drills and government business at Klenawicus Field.

In 2012, there was a request from organizers of the Spur Ride to honor veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and specifically to honor First Lieutenant Joseph Theinert who lost his life in 2010 in Afghanistan, had asked permission to land a helicopter at Fiske Field. The Reporter was filled with letters between supporters and opponents. Ultimately, the request to land at Fiske Field was rejected.

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