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This week in Shelter Island history


Golda Meir was sworn in as the first female prime minister of Israel.

“Cloud Nine,” the ninth studio album by The Temptations, was released and would go on that year to win a Grammy as the Best Rhythm and Blues Performance by a Duo or Group and would become the Billboard Album of the Year.

Crime boss Vito Genovese died at age 71 at  the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri.

Country singer Tammy Wynette wed musician George Jones. The marriage ended in divorce in 1975.

And on Shelter Island . . .


East End papers condemn inaction of legislators

Seven of nine East End newspapers united in their condemnation of legislators, reminding Assembly Speaker Perry Duryea Jr. and State Senator Leon Giuffreda that, in a referendum, residents had spoken loudly and clearly asking the state to act on a proposal to create Peconic County, separating the East End towns from Suffolk County.

The Reporter was among those devoting a strong voice to the arguments that residents here weren’t being served by interests of Suffolk County.

POSTSCRIPT: Fast forward 50 years and East End interest in a separate county remains. But inaction by the state has continued to leave Shelter Island, Southold, East Hampton, Southampton and Riverhead in limbo. Just a few years ago, when there was a major leadership change in Albany, there were murmurs that maybe the situation would change and the New York State Legislature would finally address the issue. But inaction is the status quo.


ZBA approves Brander Parkway flower shop

Rebecca Smith sought approval of her flower shop business on Brander Parkway. Ultimately, the ZBA approved the operation with stipulations, including that it not morph into a garden shop operated on the premises.

POSTSCRIPT: Ms. Smith went on to operate her business  in a shop on Grand Street in the Heights and now operates out of a store in the Center.


Taxpayers buy new Town Hall complex

It was once a funeral home, but in February 1999, the building was purchased for $395,000 to be converted for use as Shelter Island’s new Town Hall. The campus today includes three buildings — the main building, a structure housing the Building and Engineering Departments, and a side building that provides offices for the assessors and tax collector.

Back then, it was said that the complex provided plenty of space to grow. 

POSTSCRIPT: Last year, the town purchased an adjacent building on Route 114 that currently is a residence, but eventually will provide office space. This spring, work will begin, providing additional parking space in the rear of the house. But it will likely be a couple of years before residents of the house are relocated and conversion would start to provide additional town office space.


Contracts approved, but what are terms?

Ten years ago, the Board of Education approved contracts with the Shelter Island Faculty Association and custodial staff, but revealed no information on what was contained in those agreements.

Retired teacher Frank Emmett was the main negotiator on behalf of the teachers. The lack of details didn’t please residents attending the meeting at which the agreements were ratified by the Board of Education.

POSTSCRIPT: In more recent years, the flow of information about agreements as well as other issues being considered by the Board of Education has been provided.