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This week in Shelter Island history

50 YEARS AGO IN HISTORY

The nation’s 34th president and World War II general Dwight David Eisenhower died at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center  in Washington D.C. of congestive heart failure at age 78.

The Black Academy of Arts and Letters was formed in Boston.

The United States launched Mariner 7 that flew 2,190 miles above southern Mars.

The Soviets launched the Meteor 1 weather satellite.

Kurt Vonnegut’s classic novel, “Slaughterhouse Five,” was published and is considered one of the greatest anti-war novels.

And on Shelter Island …

50 YEARS AGO

Peconic County bill killed in committee

Word came 50 years ago from the New York State Legislature that a bill to create Peconic County had died in the Assembly’s Governmental Operations Committee.

Committee Chairman John Terry said there were not a sufficient number of home rule resolutions supporting separating the five East End towns from Suffolk County. Mr. Terry said he would only release the bill from committee if he received approvals from all 10 Suffolk County municipalities. While all five East End towns had filed their approvals, the towns in western Suffolk had not.

POSTSCRIPT: Fifty years later, Peconic County is an idea that still resonates with many East Enders, but despite some hopeful moments, such a bill has never passed the state Legislature.

30 YEARS AGO

Asbestos blows school budget

The issue of  asbestos abatement in the school building killed any hope the Board of Education had of containing budget expenses for the 1989-90 school year.

Superintendent Marlene Berman told the Board and Budget Review Committee a $218,000 cost of asbestos removal would send the budget into an 18.6 percent increase. The State Education Department had required the removal of asbestos no later than the summer of 1989, forcing the district to take immediate action.

POSTSCRIPT: The budget for the 2019-20 school year won’t pierce the tax cap, but does include some funding for asbestos removal that was discovered in the teacher’s lounge and must be removed. The estimated cost of asbestos abatement and new flooring to replace what has to be ripped up for the removal is $18,000.

20 YEARS AGO

Six parcels nominated for preservation

The Town Board set public hearings on six parcels recommended to become the first in the new Nature Preserve System. They were The Nature Conservancy’s Mashomack Preserve, Sachem’s Woods, the Ice Pond Preserve, Shell Beach, Wades Beach and a parcel on Ram Island.

POSTSCRIPT: Today’s map of preserved lands includes most of the sites and new ones have been added thanks to money from the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund, which has allowed the town to protect more of its land from development.

10 YEARS AGO

4-poster reduction avoided

Concerned about budget restrictions, Supervisor Jim Dougherty had implemented a cutback in the number of tick-killing 4-poster units the town would deploy for 2009. There were 20 fewer units initially deployed — all within Mashomack Preserve. But Suffolk County was about to step in and work with Preserve Director Mike Laspia to work on restoring the units at Mashomack.

POSTSCRIPT: At its height during the Cornell University-Cornell Cooperative Extension pilot program, there were about 60 units deployed throughout the Island. In recent years that number has averaged fewer than 40 units because officials were able to determine that some of the units deployed around the Island were not needed.

The Deer & Tick Committee continues to fund the program with some state aid, but members hope the day will come when deploying and servicing the units won’t be necessary. Already, a decision is in place for the current season to refill the corn in the units less often, since the tickicide permethrin that is rubbed on deer necks while they feed lasts longer than initially realized.

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