Shelter Island Editorials

Anu and John Kaasik, the Shelter Island lions Club People of the Year
Anu and John Kaasik, the Shelter Island Lions Club People of the Year

Pride of Lions
The Shelter Island Lions Club is an organization that is a beacon of hope bringing practical actions to bear to help the lives of Islanders of all ages, and especially for those in our community who are in need.

Each year the Lions crown a Citizen or Citizens of the Year rewarding those who have sacrificed their time and efforts to make Shelter Island a better place. This year is no exception, with the Lions announcing that John and Anu Kaasik will receive their most prestigious honor at a reception at The Pridwin Hotel on May 24.

For the past 12 years, the Kaasiks have organized, directed and produced the annual school play with a tireless dedication to Shelter Island’s youth. “Anu and John truly exemplify the Lions Club motto ‘We Serve,’” said the Lions Club in a statement.

We all got a chance to see the Kaasik’s extraordinary work by attending the school play — a rollicking musical titled “Nice Work If You Can Get It” — which ran this past weekend at the school auditorium.

We’re fortunate to have the Kaasiks and their team to provide such first-rate entertainment for Island audiences. More importantly, they have given their young cast and crew guidance and a sense of accomplishment.

That achievement comes only through cooperation and hard work. The Kaasiks are invaluable members of our community who haven’t forgotten that young people need more than a basic curriculum to learn how to live. It’s a lesson learned that will stay with these students for the rest of their lives.


This past week’s continuation of the multi-part history project, where Times Review Media group reporters are examining the history of the North Fork and Shelter Island, continuedwith a look at a dark era when enslaved people worked at the Shelter Island Manor Educational Farm.

It’s to the Manor’s credit, as the story states, that nothing has been hidden out of shame at what happened on our Island in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Manor has been proactive in bringing the story to light, encouraging scholars, writers and scientists to investigate the period, and hosting symposiums and projects to let the Island and the world at large know what, why and how it happened.

There is always a question by some about the usefulness of history. Katrina Browne, a filmmaker, activist and creator of the documentary “Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North,” chronicling her Rhode Island family’s involvement in the slave trade gave an answer to the Reporter this week on one reason to study the past.

“As I’ve steeped myself in my family’s history, it’s become more and more obvious to connect the dots between the past and the present,” Ms. Browne said. “It’s not accidental that African-American communities are still struggling  with income inequality or red-lining of neighbors, which are the legacies of slavery and segregation.”

The Manor is not only a major institution on the Island, but is also a regional and national treasure.