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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.


The Monkees’ “Daydream Believer” topped the charts in the United States.

Dr. Christian Bernard performed the first successful heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital in South Africa.

Dr. Benjamin Spock and poet Allen Ginsberg were arrested in New York City during a protest against the Vietnam war.

Actor Nestor Carbonell, perhaps best known to audiences today for his role in the recent A&E series “Bates Motel,” was born to Cuban parents in New York City.

Musician Otis Redding was killed in a plane crash in Madison, Wisconsin at the age of 26, but four months after his death, his “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” was released and reached the top of the pop charts in the United States.

And on Shelter Island . . .


November vote not certified until December

Because of some close races on Shelter Island and outstanding absentee ballots in 1977, the Board of Elections didn’t certify the November results until December.

Dorothy Ogar was making her first run for town clerk, having served as deputy town clerk.

She ran unopposed and received the highest number of votes of any candidate that year.

POSTSCRIPT: Ms. Ogar continues to serve as town clerk and continues to run unopposed. She was re-elected to the post this November.


Town Board criticized for closed doors

When Daniel Dickerson  willed nine acres of parkland on Menantic Road to the town, it was clear that he intended it to be preserved and not developed. But when the town indicated it might turn down the request, a provision in Mr. Dickerson’s bequest stipulated the site would go to Shelter Island Presbyterian Church and Eastern Long Island Hospital, questions arose.

Was the land then meant to be sold or could it be a site for affordable housing as church officials requested? The will was clear that the site not be developed and the land was to revert to the Dickerson estate that could then dispose of it and share proceeds between the hospital and church.

The Town Board set a closed meeting to discuss its options and the Reporter took it to task, arguing that the discussion should be in open session.

POSTSCRIPT: Ultimately, the Town Board accepted the bequest of the land and provide that it was to be preserved as parkland.


Coalition formed to rescue East End from development

The East End Rescue Coalition formed with representatives of area municipalities and a determination to take steps to keep the area from becoming overly developed.  Concerns 20 years ago were that open spaces were disappearing and if action wasn’t taken, the recreational and vacation ambiance of the area would be lost.

The group was determined to identify sites that could and should be preserved to maintain the quality of life on the East End.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, East End towns have the Community Preservation Fund that was created by the New York State Legislature in 1998 and began preserving land the following year. CPF receives money from property buyers on the East End who pay a 2 percent tax on their purchases. Until this year, the receipts were totally devoted to maintaining open spaces and farmland. But in November of 2016, votes in each town resulted in up to 20 percent of CPF money being devoted to improving and preserving water quality.


Experience or time for change?

It was 2007 when Stan Beckwith ran against Richard Surozenski for a seat on the Board of Fire Commissioners. Mr. Beckwith argued it was time for a change and that meant electing a younger man with new ideas.

Mr. Surozenski responded that the voice of experience was valuable and that he had a history of involvement that would ensure firefighters had the best equipment they needed and would continue to operate safely. He had been a commissioner for 12 years and joined the fire department in 1965.

POSTSCRIPT: Mr. Surozenski prevailed with vote 242 to 67 and he continues to serve as a fire commissioner.

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