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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.


Eugene McCarthy was cheered at the Washington State Democratic convention, but when the votes were counted, it was Vice President Hubert Humphrey who won the votes from that state and ultimately went on to win the Democratic nomination for the presidency. He subsequently lost in the general election to President Richard Nixon.

William Styron’s “The Confessions of Nat Turner” was a best seller and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize.

Center fielder Willie Mays of the San Francisco Giants was named Most Valuable Player of the All Star Game, becoming the first player to be so named twice.

The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz married model Samantha Juste.

And on Shelter Island . . .


Closed beaches

An editorial in a July 1978 Reporter questioned an attempt to block a portion of beach in the Hay Beach neighborhood from use by anyone other than Hay Beach residents.

The editorial questioned the legitimacy of putting up No Parking signs on Menhaden Lane and also questioned the practice of regulating parking when the purpose would be to limit beach access, not just at Menhaden Lane, but other areas of the Island.

The editorial pointed out that open waters  and beaches up to the high water mark are by law open to the public.

POSTSCRIPT: Shelter Island requires beach parking stickers at Crescent and Wades beaches. They are free to town residents and hotels and B&B owners can generally provide them to their guests. Over the last couple of summers, the town has allowed others to purchase day passes to park at town beaches, but the number sold each weekend is limited. Those without stickers will be ticketed.  


Tick hot spot needs burning

In July 1988, a test was conducted at Mashomack Preserve with several areas cleared through controlled burning and one area left without burning. Results were that burning had markedly reduced the tick population.

POSTSCRIPT: State code has largely banned much of burning, and while Shelter Island’s Town Code allows for some restricted burning, it must be approved by the fire marshal and done under strict conditions.


Speeding on St. Mary’s eyed by police

Complaints by residents of St. Mary’s Road about speeders  on their residential road had police on notice to try to deal with the problem.

The problem was particularly prevalent during rush hours.

POSTSCRIPT: The more things change, the more they stay the same, it seems. Residents today along St. Mary’s have been putting up signs in an effort to slow the traffic and try to advise drivers that there are many young children in the area.

Again, police have been vigilant about ticketing speeders on the roadway.



The 2008 fireworks show went off  as usual, but the Chamber of Commerce, which had long raised the money for the event, was already debating whether it could continue to do so. Fewer people were contributing money to the event, and the Chamber was finding that too much of its money and attention was focused on this single event.

POSTSCRIPT: In 2015, the Chamber finally had to give up the effort, but a group of residents took up the cause and have continued to raise funds to keep it going. Their efforts at the start were quickly supported and they brought in not only enough money for that first year but some surplus to push forward for a second year.

But fundraising is slowing and the group is hard at work holding special events to close the gap between the money it has raised so far and the cost of this year’s event. The show went on Saturday July 7, but organizers said that while the event is as popular as ever, raising funds has become increasingly difficult.

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