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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.


New Yorker cartoonist Peter Arno died in Port Chester, New York at the age of 64.

Actress Jeri Ryan, best known for her role as Borg Seven of Nine on the Star Wars: Voyager television series, was an Army “brat” born in Munich, Germany, while her father was stationed there.

Novelist Fanny Hurst, known best for her romantic, sentimental and social works — particularly those dealing with women’s rights and race relations — was born in Hamilton, Ohio

The minimum wage 50 years ago in the United States was $1.60 an hour while it is $7.25 an hour federally and on Long Island, $12 an hour

And on Shelter Island . . .


Union Chapel changes hands

In February 1978, the Island’s oldest public building, Union Chapel, changed hands as it was transferred from the Heights Property Owners Corporation to the chapel’s Board’s Board of Trustees.

The building, originally constructed completed in 1875, was an integral part of the Shelter Island Grove and Camp Meeting Association, but with the gradual decline of that group, it was taken over by the Heights Association that agreed to the transfer to the chapel’s Board of Trustees.

POSTSCRIPT: Friends of the Chapel maintain a modest endowment fund that provides financial support for its maintenance.


Assessment error rate at 17.2 percent

The year 1988 when the New York State Division of Equalization and Assessment predicted Shelter Island’s assessment error rate had worsened from the time it was looked at five years earlier.

The state was using a statistical measure to gauge inequality assessments and had determined the town to have errors in 17.2 percent of its residential assessments and 50.3 percent for all properties. The state saw a 15 percent error rate as acceptable for all parcels and 10 percent for residential parcels alone.

At the time, town officials noted the state’s error rate was at 17.7 percent, higher than the town’s.

POSTSCRIPT: Shelter Island today is among the few municipalities that reassessed properties annually.During his long term as head assessor, Al Hammond built up a reputation among real estate professionals of being on the money when it came to accuracy. Today’s assessors, two of whom were trained by Mr. Hammond, continue to enjoy a reputation for accuracy.

POSTSCRIPT: Anyone disagreeing with an assessment has an opportunity to come before the grievance board that will make a final determination.


Fund raiser seeks to put F.I.T. over the top

With $200,000 of the $240,000 needed to pay for the F.I.T. Center, tennis courts and improvements to the baseball field, Garth Griffin and Doug Rilling were pushing for 250 vehicle owners to express their pride in the Island by buying custom made plates that would sport a map of the Island. The cost for the vanity plates was $60 for the initial year with $25 of that fee to revert to the effort to pay for the new center.

POSTSCRIPT: Under the leadership of recreation director Bethany Ortmann, the F.I.T. Center is getting some new equipment this year and Ms. Ortmann has also launched some new programs.


County Budget Review Office has message for South Ferry

It was 10 years ago that South Ferry sought a hike in its rates. An analysis for the Suffolk County Budget Review Office (BRO) told South Ferry principals that a proposed rate hike leaned too heavily on occasional users and too little on residents and regular commuters.

The proposal called for raising the one-way fare from $10 to $12 while residents, who paid $4.70 for a round trip would pay $5.20 and the general round trip discount fare would go from $7.50 to $8.50.

Advice from the BRO to the full Suffolk County Legislature was to seek a restructuring that would shift some of the savings to the more occasional commuter.

POSTSCRIPT: South Ferry has been mum about whether there’s any new fare hike being contemplated in the foreseeable future.

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