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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.

50 YEARS AGO IN HISTORY

English model, writer and political activist Heather Mills — considered for a Nobel Prize in 1996 for her work on behalf of amputees hurt in land mind explosions — and former wife of Beatle Paul McCartney, was born in Aldershot, Hampshire.

Lyle Menendez, who would be convicted in 1996 with his brother Erik of killing their parents, was born in New York City.

Beatles Film Production Ltd. changed its name to Apple Film Production Ltd.

The night version of Hollywood Squares premiered on NBC.

The Green Bay Packers defeated the Oakland Raiders 33-14 in Super Bowl II played at the Miami Orange Bowl.

And on Shelter Island . . .

50 YEARS AGO

Griffing opposes rock salt

During the winter of 1968, Supervisor Evans Griffing sided with scientists who argued against the use of rock salt to treat slippery roadways. He was concerned that use of rock salt would result in over salinization of surrounding waters. Instead he argued for mining salt from the ocean and using it and allowing it to go back into the ocean.

But despite his stance, his colleagues voted him down, deciding 4-1 to continue use of rock salt.

POSTSCRIPT: Highway Superintendent Jay Card Jr. works to reduce the use of salt on the roadways, using a mixture with sand, but a Suffolk County inspector told him a short time ago that the town was prohibited from using salt. Mr. Card said he thinks the warning was a formality, and he can get a waiver to continue its use.

30 YEARS AGO

Large deer herd in poor condition

Thirty years ago, Mike Scheibel, then senior wildlife biologist for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, reported a record number of deer taken by hunters, but he said the overall condition of the herd was poor.

Mike Laspia, who was then director of Mashomack Preserve, said he thought the number of deer shot there would exceed those taken during the previous year’s hunting season.

Mr. Scheibel said he thought an over-abundance of deer and a below average acorn crop coupled with severe winter weather all contributed to the situation.

POSTSCRIPT: The Deer & Tick Committee, chaired by Mr. Scheibel, is exploring ways to reduce the herd now, concerned that current efforts remain insufficient to cut the incidence of tick-borne diseases.

20 YEARS AGO

Project FIT takes form

The footings for Project FIT’s fitness room had been laid during the Christmas break in 1997 and in January 1998, the committee overseeing development of the FIT Center met to assess progress and push the project forward.

Among those who were bringing the center to reality were Island contractor James Eklund of Reich/Eklund; Mark Labrozzi of Shelter Island Concrete; Peder Larsen of Shelter Island Sand and Gravel; Cliff Clark  of South Ferry; and Board of Education President Robert Reylek, a general contractor.

The student council had started the ball rolling when they agreed they wanted to launch a project to leave to the school and community in their graduating year.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, the FIT Center continues to thrive, getting heavy use from both students and community residents.

10 YEARS AGO

Fire engulfs Dering Harbor co-ops

Fire crews fought wind-driven flames 10 years ago at the Dering Harbor Inn where an unoccupied three-unit co-op was destroyed and a second co-op — this one occupied — sustained heavy damage.

While then chief Ron Jernick said the flames could  have jumped to other buildings, he and his men were able to contain it to the two buildings and no one was injured. A picture carried in the Reporter of January 20, 1968, showed two auxiliary members — Debra Speeches and Janine Mahoney — providing food for the firefighters who braved the harsh weather to bring the blaze under control.

POSTSCRIPT: Islanders endured below freezing temperatures over the past several days, but fortunately had no major events such as the Dering Harbor Inn fire.

Ms. Speeches and Ms. Mahoney continue today to serve the Island in many volunteer roles.

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