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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.


Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson,” written by Paul Simon and used in the Mike Nichols’ film, “The Graduate,” became the number one song on the Billboard Charts.

Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy won the Oregon Democratic primary, giving hopes to his supporters that he would be the party’s candidate, but it was not to be as Senator Hubert Humphrey got the nod that year. Senator Humphrey went on to lose to Richard Nixon in the presidential election.

Bobby Unser won the Indianapolis 500 with a time of 3:16:13.786.

Zacarias Moussaoul, who was convicted of conspiracy in the 9/11 attacks and is in prison, was born in France to Moroccan parents.

French President Charles De Gaulle announced he would dissolve the National Assembly and call for a new national election.

And on Shelter Island . . .

Town Board debates Goat Hill purchase

Forty years ago, the Town Board appointed a committee to weigh the pros and cons of purchasing the golf course from the Shelter Island Heights Owners Corporation. Ultimately, plans called for a town wide referendum on the issue.

Among the early issues  discussed were how to finance the purchase and  how the HPOC would use money it would receive from the purchase. The question was whether the money would be used to improve roads and utilities in the Heights or land in the coffers of the corporation.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, the town owns the clubhouse at the Shelter Island Country Club and leases it back to the club at a token $1 per year. Currently, the Town Board and SICC Board are discussing what the town will pay in terms of maintaining the clubhouse and what is the responsibility of the club. The specific issue at the moment is an aging stove that needs to be replaced and whether it is the responsibility of the SICC or the town. It appears the town may front the money, estimated at $5,000, for a new stove and then deal with the club on whether it might pay part of the cost.

ZBA focuses on Reel Point concerns

Thirty years ago, George Seward sought ZBA approval for development of a parcel at Ram Island’s Reel Point. At the time,there were questions about where a septic system would be located and the overall effect on wildlife, potability of water and safety. The house was to be the first that would be built on pilings.

Before the ZBA could act, Mr. Seward was required to compete a detailed environmental study. There were serious considerations about the house that would be built in a flood zone that could jeopardize the town’s federal flood insurance.

POSTSCRIPT: Today’s concerns deal with efforts to save Reel Point, considered vital to the protection of town-owned property, private residences and businesses surrounding Coecles Harbor.

FDA gives cautious support to Lyme vaccine

Twenty years ago, tick-borne diseases were already plaguing Islanders and visitors. The Federal Drug Administration offered a cautious green light allowing use of a Lyme vaccine expected to be released for use by the end of the summer of 1998. Lymerix was produced by SmithKline Beecham and  hit the market, only to eventually be withdrawn when it was discovered to cause more problems than it solved.

POSTSCRIPT: This year there’s talk of a new Lyme vaccine, but so far, none is on the market for humans in the United States and it appears unlikely any vaccine will be relased in the near future.

School to cut admin additions

Following a trouncing of its $9.62  million budget by voters at the polls, the Board of Education went back to the drawing board the following week and began cutting its original proposal before resubmitting it to voters for a second vote that would come in just a few weeks.

The board began by cutting back planned administrative positions and other costs.

If the revised budget were to fail, the district would have to operate on a contingency plan that Superintendent Sharon Clifford said would be “a disaster.”

The budget was scaled back to $9.49 million.

POSTSCRIPT: Voters were more pleased with the revision and passed 340 to 186.