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Supervisor: I’m working to enhance medical services


One the issue of limited medical services on Shelter Island, Supervisor Gary Gerth said at Tuesday’s Town Board work session that he has yet to speak with Dr. Peter Kelt.

But Dr. Nathanael Desire, Mr. Gerth said, has agreed to submit a proposal that could lead to more medical coverage here.

The supervisor said he was pleased with a conversations he had with NYU Winthrop Hospital officials who responded quickly in assigning a physician’s assistant during a period when Dr. Kelt was on vacation. The town has a contract with Winthrop that ensures coverage five days per week by two doctors, according to Town Attorney Bob DeStefano Jr.

Seniors on the Island have expressed concern about not having enough coverage here, particularly in off hours when the only option available is a ferry trip to a hospital emergency room for care that typically doesn’t rise to that level.

Shelter Island has the highest ratio of seniors to the rest of its population of any municipality statewide, according to Barbara Silverstone, president of the Shelter Island Senior Citizen Foundation.

By next month, a physician’s assistant is expected to be assigned to work with Dr. Kelt, according to Winthrop officials, so his office will be open five days a week instead of the current four,

The Reporter called Dr. Kelt’s office several times for comments, but there was no way to leave a message.

Dr. Desire couldn’t be reached by press deadline for more information on the proposal Mr. Gerth said he’s developing.

There is another physician’s assistant from Greenport who has expressed interest in providing some medical services to patients on Shelter Island, Mr. Gerth said, and he’s investigating that possibility.

Following word last week that the Smith-Ransome Japanese Bridge has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, Mr. Gerth announced the town will seek funds for repairs to railings and bannisters for the 1905 bridge.

“You’re not looking at a big ticket item,” Mr. Gerth said about the needed repairs.

He also plans to have cherry trees planted around the bridge and is looking to provide some public access to the site, which is located on private property, but maintained by the South Ferry Hills Association.

Sometime this spring, the town plans a public opening of the site that will include a display of posters produced by Shelter Island students.

For the 51st consecutive year, there will be fireworks in July, again presented by Grucci with a show on Saturday, July 7, at 9 p.m., weather permitting. The rain date is July 8, according to Brett Surerus, who leads the group of volunteers who have organized the fireworks show since 2015 when the Chamber of Commerce opted out of the event. Chamber members decided they could no longer devote as much time and money to one event, given other activities the organization is committed to.