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This week in Shelter Island history


Haskell Karp received the first temporary artificial heart implanted by Dr. Denton Cooley at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston, but succumbed four days later.

Massive anti-Vietnam War protests occurred in many United States cities.

The Milwaukee Bucks signed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Anthony Tucker, who was a forward for the New York Knicks, was born in Washington, D.C.

And on Shelter Island . . .


Three to quit school board

Residents got word that three members of the  Board of Education announced they were quitting or not seeking re-election, citing the amount of time the work entailed.

The three — H. Otis Dickerson, Mrs. Arnold Gershon and Mrs. Eugene Fuller — announced their intentions to leave the board.  While Mrs. Gershon’s plan not to seek another term was expected after serving for six years, the other two announcements came as a surprise.

Mrs. Gershon cited her workload. She said she regretted making the decision, but couldn’t manage what had become an almost every-day board meeting.

Mr. Dickerson, who also served as judge on the Justice Court and had his own contracting business, explained the workload was more than he could continue to handle. He had served on the board between 1939 and 1945 and then returned in 1958.

Mrs. Fuller had been appointed to the board in 1968 following the resignation of May Piccozzi.

It was not determined if there would be candidates stepping up to run for any of the three open seats.

In May of 1969, three of five candidates who ran for the Board of Education — John Hallman, Melva Sherman and Peggy Dickerson — were elected.

POSTSCRIPT: Board President Thomas Graffagnino is stepping down after 12 years. Two incumbents — Mark Kanarvogel and Jason Lones — are seeking relection.


Lions pick Diane Kilb as Citizen of the Year

There are a number of families on the Island who have given of their time and energy to volunteer efforts that help to meet community needs. Certainly the Kilb family has a long history in this regard.

Thirty years ago, the Shelter Island Lions Club chose Diane Kilb as its Citizen of the Year for her work as Director of the Shelter Island Chapter of the American Red Cross, secretary of the Advisory Board of The Nature Conservancy at Mashomack Preserve and her efforts in chairing the Camp Shelter Island Day. She was also secretary and director of the 10k Community Fund and senior warden at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. Ms. Kilb served as a Girl Scout leader and participated in many other community organizations.

POSTSCRIPT: This year, the Lions selected another stellar community member, and will honor Richie Surozenski as its Citizen of the Year at a May 23 dinner at the Pridwin.

Mr. Surozenski has been a long-time fire commissioner and joined the Fire Department in 1965. He came up through the ranks and twice served as department chief. He was also twice selected Firefighter of the Year.

He has given numerous volunteer hours to maintaining Taylor’s Island, and for 25 years he maintained the tradition of placing a fully decorated Christmas tree in the middle of Chase Creek. This year, he prepared Bill Cummings to take over that job.

For 40 years, Mr. Surozenski served the Village of Dering Harbor as its highway superintendent before retiring from that post last fall.


Hearing set on zoning changes

The Town Board was about to schedule a public hearing on long-awaited revisions to the zoning code  that were needed to implement policies in the town’s 1994 Comprehensive Plan.

But residents ultimately rejected the proposed zoning changes, essentially relegating the Comprehensive Plan to little more than a dust catcher on the shelf.

POSTSCRIPT: There has been talk about taking the old Comprehensive Plan and updating it to meet current needs.


Shelter Island Country Club looks to greener fairways

The Shelter Island Country Club (SICC), beginning its 109th season, received word from the New York State Division of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation that the site would be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Ron Lucas, who was SICC vice president at the time, said he hoped the listing would result in access to grant money.

At that point, there were concerns about how to afford improvements to the grounds. George Blados and then Gretel French had worked hard as grounds keepers, but they had lacked funding to make substantial improvements.

When Mr. Lucas became president, he was still struggling to make improvements. He and subsequently Marc Scola, the current club president, have been able to make some changes, but there is still work to be done.

POSTSCRIPT: In February, club members voted 116-2 to pursue status as a nonprofit corporation. That would enable the club to take contributions with donors receiving tax deductions.

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