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This week in Shelter Island history


Volatile manager of the Baltimore Orioles, Earl Weaver, ejected through his career from more than 100 games, became the first manager to be ejected from a World Series game in October 1969 losing to the Amazin’ New York Mets

American writer form the Beat Generation, Jack Kerouac, perhaps best known for his autobiographical “On the Road,” died in St. Petersburg, FL, at age 47 from an abdominal hemorrhage

The artificial sweetener, sodium cyclamate, was banned in the United States but many other Western countries allowed its use without safety concerns

used in many other Western countries without safety concern

Professional golfer Ernie Els, who won the U.S. Open in 1994 and the British Open in 2002, was born in Johannesburg, South Africa

Rod Stewart left the Jeff Beck Group after two years to join Small Faces

And on Shelter Island . . .


Island is a million dollar town

It was at this time 40 years ago that a Reporter editorial saw the proposed budget that was still being worked on by the Town Board as a responsible spending plan that appeared to be offering a decrease in taxes.

The editorial said the movement downward would seem a step in the right direction “if it can be done without impairing vital services.”

POSTSCRIPT: Today’s Town Board is looking at a 5.3% spending increase with a budget of $12.7 million. There are still a few undecided items that could be added and possible cuts that could occur, as well as an Oct. 22 public hearing on the proposal before Town Board members take one more hard look at the budget before accepting it in November.

But the key now is the same as it was 40 years ago: Cuts can only be made if they “can be done without impairing vital services.”


Town Board sees 7% budget decrease

No, it’s not for 2020 but rather, 30 years ago that then supervisor Jeffrey Simes presented a budget for 1990 that called for a 7% decrease in spending. It took Town Board members little time to review Mr. Simes proposed budget and approve it with only minor tweaks.

POSTSCRIPT: The supervisor’s budget for 2020 came in at a 15.7% increase in spending, not because Gary Gerth was proposing tat kind of proposal, but because he preferred that the Town Board see the raw requests that had arrived from town departments and committees. But it took only a couple of weeks for the Town Board to whittle down spending to a 5.3% increase. The final number awaits an Oct. 22 public hearing and another look at the proposal by the Town Board to consider a few increases and scour the budget for a few more cuts before it’s adopted in November.


Town Board shows off new digs

It was once a funeral home, but 20 years ago, that building was converted for use as a Town Hall. Prior to the conversion, the old town headquarters was in cramped space shared by the supervisor, town clerk, assessors, tax receiver and several staff members.

Now there was room to spread out and operate more efficiently.

POSTSCRIPT: In the past year, the Town Board has purchased an adjacent house that enabled creation of an enlarged parking lot and eventually will house more staff office space because with the passing of time, that large, shiny town Hall is feeling cramped.


What’s in a soil sample

Four soil samples retrieved from Clark family property on South Ferry Road revealed the presence of the tickicide permethrin used on 4-poster units just a year into the pilot program launched by Cornell University and Cornell Cooperative Extension 10 years ago. What did it mean. The samples were taken by Bill Smith, who organized and funded the effort, concerned about possible dangers from the chemical used to kill ticks as they feed at 4-poster units. None of the results were conclusive.

POSTSCRIPT: Fast forward 10 years and there have been no long-term studies, despite insistence from some quarters that the tickicide doesn’t remain viable for a long time and doesn’t seep into groundwater. Still, others worry that long term, the effectiveness of permethrin might not be viable and, worse, might present dangers.

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