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This week in Shelter Island history


Hafiz al-Assad became the head of Syria by way of a military coup and his son, Bashar al-Assad, leads the country today.

Major league baseball got its first pension plan through collective bargaining.

Actor Robert Sean Leonard, known for roles in the television series “House” and the film “Dead Poets Society,” was born in Westwood, New Jersey.

American singer/songwriter Pat Monahan, lead singer of Train, was born in Erie, Pennsylvania.

The average price of new car was $3,270 and gasoline was averaging 35 cents a gallon.

And on Shelter Island . . .


One-way beach traffic subjected to public hearing

There was a resolution being considered to make Shore Road along Crescent Beach a one-way roadway during the summer months. But when it came to a public hearing on the subject, only eight people showed up and three strongly opposed the idea.

While the thought was to lessen traffic on that heavily travelled roadway from June 15 to September 15, people generally thought the change would be inconvenient.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, the roadway remains a two-way street. Despite the need to slow down through the beach area for pedestrians and vehicles pulling in and out of parking spaces, there has been no renewal of a call for a one-way street during summer months.


Fiscal issues of a Peconic County

County Legislator Fred Thiele Jr. was fighting for a Peconic County made up of the five East End towns.

His reason for favoring legislation to separate from Suffolk County  was to protect the interests of East End towns. If the effort gained support from the state, which would have to act before separation could be achieved, much work would lie ahead in terms of how residents envisioned Peconic County. He didn’t want to see it operate with the debt Suffolk County had built and wasn’t looking to create an expensive bureaucracy, he said.

POSTSCRIPT: Thirty years later, the thought remains a dream and the needed support from the state legislature to separate remains elusive.


Town gets Ram Island open space

Just as the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund was about to kick in as a way to preserve open space, the Peconic Land Trust (PLT) made a gift to the town of a 1.3-acre site on Ram Island that the PLT had received from Drs. Helen-Ann and Alex Garcia. It was to be the first of several parcels the town had declared would be part of the Shelter Island Nature Preserve System and would include Mashomack Preserve, Wades Beach, Shell Beach, Sachem’s Woods and the Ice Pond.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, thanks to the implementation of the CPF, which provides money for acquisition of both farmland and open spaces on the East End, preserved land here is extensive. The CPF Advisory Board continues to explore other parcels that can be purchased and maintained as open spaces.


Peddler permits on tap

The Island’s long prohibition against peddlers came to an end when Supervisor Jim Dougherty told the Town Board that the New York Supreme Court had deemed it a lawful occupation.

That meant a coffee truck that had been making the rounds to construction and other sites would be permitted to operate legally.

POSTSCRIPT: Residents have questioned businesses operating at the beach in summer months with particular concerns that they are only paying token fees for a permit, yet are able to erect tents and take up room at the beach for their operations.

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