Featured Story

This week in Shelter Island history


It’s known today as the “Heidi Game,” when NBC interrupted its telecast of the Oakland Raiders-New York Jets football game with Oakland trailing 32 to 29 to present “Heidi.” It proved to be the most popular program of that week, but football fans lit up NBC switchboards complaining as the Raiders went on to score two touchdowns, besting the Jets 43 to 32.

The United States Supreme Court declared unconstitutional an Arkansas law banning teaching evolution in public schools.

Yale University announced it would admit women students to the class of 1969-70, the first time in its 267 year history that it opened the doors to women.

“National Turn in Your Draft Card Day” was marked by burning of draft cards to protest the ongoing Vietnam War.

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson was selected as the National League’s Most Valuable Player, beating out the Cincinnati Reds’ Pete Rose.

And on Shelter Island . . .


Court rules against plaintiffs in ‘Tax Conspiracy’ case

The State Supreme Court ruled against 10 plaintiffs who charged there was a conspiracy between Town Board members and assessors to reassess Island properties. Justice Arthur Cromarty in a six-page opinion said there was no indication that there had been anything illegal or unfair about the reassessment.

The plaintiffs had argued that improper notice of the reassessments had occurred and had failed to give sufficient notice of Tax Grievance Day, when property owners could present their cases for seeking a lower tax bill.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, the reassessment process happens annually on Shelter Island.


Thiele seeks resident ferry discounts, subsidies

In November 1988, Fred Thiele Jr. was a Suffolk County legislator working on improving transportation options on the East End. Among them was exploring possible subsidies to both North and South ferry companies to enable them to offer discounts to Island residents.

His one concern in seeking state aid for subsidies was that he didn’t want to see the state interfering with operations of the two ferry services.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, North and South ferries offer resident and worker discounts and Mr. Thiele has just won another term in the New York State Assembly.


Rumors of sale abound

It was just 20 years ago that a story appeared in the Suffolk Times quoting Gardner Cowles III, who had recently purchased Sag Harbor Express,  saying he had spoken to then Reporter owner Barbara Dunne about buying the paper to add to his collection. In an editorial, Ms. Dunne said Mr. Cowles and his associate, Warren McDowell, were in the process of working out a mutually agreeable agreement for their purchase of the Reporter.

POSTSCRIPT: Today’s Shelter Island Reporter is among three newspapers and multiple special publications owned by Times Review Media Group based in Mattituck.


Who pays for capital projects and when?

Ten years ago, a resident at a public budget hearing asked whether town money would have to be used to front capital projects being largely funded by grants. The answer at the time was originally “no.” But then supervisor Jim Dougherty said money would come from the town’s fund balance initially, but be returned when grant checks were cashed.

There were two major grant projects at the time — Shell Beach and the Ram Island Causeways. The First Causeway project raised the roadway 3 feet while the Second Causeway was secured by the Army Corps of Engineers with rocks that until now have effectively provided concerns about the roadway flooding.

The Shell Beach project involved beach and road remediation, but there remained a question about how money would be laid out for both when there would not be enough money in the town’s contingency fund.

POSTSCRIPT: As the Town Board is looking at current projects, there needs to be funding set aside to cover outlays of money until grants replenish the coffers, a subject the Capital Projects/Grants Committee is discussing.

[email protected]