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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.


Mets pitcher Tom Seaver, with a record of 16 and 12, was named the National League’s Rookie of the Year.

U.S. General William Westmoreland told news reporters that he thought in 1965 the Viet Cong were winning the war, but by November 1967, he was confident they were losing.

The British Broadcasting Company unofficially banned the Beatles song, “I Am the Walrus,” thought to be critical of capitalism and the social system when, in fact, it was a period in which John Lennon was writing gibberish lyrics for many songs after hearing that people were studying Beatles’ song meanings.

The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution providing a guideline for negotiating an Arab-Israeli peace settlement

And on Shelter Island . . .


DEC sets deer season on Island

Forty years ago, the Department of Environmental Conservation opened a deer hunting season to run from January 9 to 20. The department said 150 permits would be issued as compared with 250 the year before. While the number was down, the DEC noted that only about 170 permits were used in 1976. Dropping the number of permits to 150 was designed then to reduce the number of deer that could be taken.

POSTSCRIPT: Forty years later the hunting season runs from October 1 through the end of January and then a two month deer damage period permits hunting through the end of March with every effort being made to increase the number of deer taken, especially does who may be pregnant.


Island leads way on water restrictions

The Village Board in Dering Harbor led the way to be quickly followed by the Shelter Island Town Board in adopting restrictions on lawn and turf watering back in 1987. Recognition came with the need to protect the water supply here by limiting the hours of operation of automatic sprinkler systems.

It may have rankled some who had the automatic systems installed, but it would turn out to be critical to protecting the fragile aquifer.

POSTSCRIPT: The 1987 move would turn out to be just the beginning as incremental steps were taken on the Island through the years. Today, there are not only limits on use of the automatic systems, but also on any watering of lawns, flower beds and plantings.

Add to that new efforts to deal with identification of contaminants in Island water where a three-year study in underway to deal with pollutants and Suffolk County and Shelter Island are engaged in providing rebates to homeowners upgrading septic systems to replace aged cesspools and septics to nitrogen-reducing systems.


Lame duck supervisor seeks fire commission seat

Hoot Sherman, while serving a third two-year term as town supervisor, announced in 1997 that he would not seek a fourth term. Instead, he opted to seek election to the Board of Fire Commissioners in the first year since the two independent departments in the Heights and Center had merged with a single board.

He was successful in his bid and was elected to a three-year term as a fire commissioner.

POSTSCRIPT: Outgoing Supervisor Jim Dougherty, who has served the town for 10 years in that position was asked about his future plans . He indicated his intent to travel but when it was suggested that he had achieved much as chairman of the Community Preservation Advisory Board, he acknowledged that was among the accomplishments he must cherished in his service to the town.

It’s certainly too early to tell whether that’s a board on which he would like to serve in the future.


Teens reach out for peace

It was at this time 10 years ago that facilitators Karen Tudor and Christine McFall, having attending a Peacejam conference in Denver, brought the program to Shelter Island students, challenging them to become involved with projects that would inspire peaceful interactions among international communities.

Students had already been working through the Save the Children Foundation on a project to sponsor a child from Zimbabwe. The students got the opportunity to meet with Bishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Laureate, whose literary agent, Lynn Franklin, lives on the Island, and to move forward with a number of projects.

POSTSCRIPT: Today’s students continue to participate in projects to contribute to their local community and other places. They have volunteered time and raised money for Habitat for Humanity as well as both group and individual projects aimed at helping others. Among the leaders of many of these efforts has been Janine Mahoney, advisor to the local chapter of the National Honor Society.

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