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This week in Shelter Island history


Prince Charles was invested as the Prince of Wales.

78,000 fans attended the Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island.

There were 140,000 attendees at the Atlanta Pop Festival where Janis Joplin was on the bill.

Ann Jones upset three-time defending champion Billie Jean King to win the Wimbledon tennis championship.

Canada’s House of Commons approved equality for the English and French languages.

And on Shelter Island . . .


Gypsy moth infestation defoliates more than 50 acres

Gypsy moths invaded the Island, defoliating more than 50 acres. A debate among Islanders ensued about whether to spray the insects with Sevin, a chemical that would kill them, or allow nature to take its course with natural predators eventually wiping out the moth population.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, it’s deer that are eating plants of all types throughout the Island. The debate is over culling the deer herd or using 4-poster units to kill ticks that land on the necks of the deer feeding at the units. Both are currently part of the town’s approach to dealing with the attempt to decrease tick-borne diseases here. But the cost of the units is high and using local hunters  has not yet proven sufficient to cull a large herd of deer.


Celebrating the Fourth Shelter Island style

Mike Anglin described the 1989 Shelter Island Fireworks, then a project undertaken by the Chamber of Commerce, as attracting “the biggest boat crowd I have ever seen in my life.”

On Crescent Beach, police had to keep moving barriers so more people could view the event.

The Chamber had sponsored the event through contributions for eight years and Legion Fireworks of Wappingers Falls put on the show.

POSTSCRIPT: In 2015, the Chamber, having devoted much of its energies and money to the annual event, decided it could no longer continue. A group of Island residents picked up the challenge and began fundraising to keep the annual fireworks going.

This year, the show is slated for Saturday, July 13, and contributions have continued to flow to the organizers, while special fundraising events have continued to be held each year in order to pay for Fireworks by Grucci.


Island has league of its own

Shelter Island formed its own chapter of the League of Women Voters with P.A.T. Hunt at the helm. An ad hoc committee of women worked to identify others who would help to build the league during its initial formative year. Thirty to 40 women unanimously chose a new board to lead the fledgling group.

Ms. Hunt expressed pleasure with the diverse group of members who signed on as league members and within a year, the group had nearly 90 members.

POSTSCRIPT: The Shelter Island League of Women Voters continues to thrive under the leadership of  Lois B. Morris and, in addition to its other efforts, organizes the annual State of the Town address by the supervisor.


Storm blows down trees, closes roads

A severe and unusually brutal storm blew down trees, causing road closures and blackouts as tree limbs hit wiring. Early reports were that no part of the Island had been spared from the destruction and that several Long Island Power Authority poles had also been downed. Crews were already on the Island rushing to get power back up and more crews arrived to assist with what became a massive repair and clean-up process.

POSTSCRIPT: This year, the problem has been heavy rains, winds and fog, washing out a lot of spring and early summer days. But the Island has not sustained any major damage compared to what occurred here with a single storm 10 years ago.

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