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This week in Shelter Island history


John Lennon and Yoko Ono released their second album, “Wedding Album,” in the United Kingdom.

American actor Matthew McConaughey was born in Uvalde, Texas.

Rapper Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs was born in New York City.

“Bridge Over Troubled Waters” was recorded by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel

Sesame Street premiered on PBS

And on Shelter Island . . .


North Ferry applies for rate increase

Increase costs of fuel, labor, repairs and supplies forced North Ferry officials to apply for a rate increase. It would fall to Suffolk County to assess the need, since ferries operate under a franchise from the county. It would take a two-thirds vote of the County Legislature to pass the increase.

POSTSCRIPT: This year, both North and South ferry companies applied for and gained rate increases. Both cited costs of new boats, which would join their fleets and other expense increases.


Kelt weighs in on Lyme disease

A lengthy letter from Dr. Peter Kelt appeared in the Reporter expressing his concerns about the incidence of Lyme disease on the Island.

Dr. Kelt wrote he dreams of the day when Lyme will be eradicated from Shelter Island. He believed then that the opportunity existed to wipe the Island of the threat, which affected so many residents and visitors. He was probably ahead of his time in recognizing that while many patients could be bitten by a tick and treated sucesfully, he was also seeing patients who had more serious illnesses from tick bites, including one person who had to be put on a respirator for three days.

Dr. Kelt wanted people to know the importance of seeking treatment early.

POSTSCRIPT: Dr. Kelt and Dr. Nathanael Desire continue to see patients who need to be treated after a tick bite. But despite their best efforts, Lyme and other tick-borne diseases continue to take their toll among residents and visitors. Many have reported chronic Lyme disease, particularly among visitors who came to the Island not knowing about the dangers of ticks.


Peconic Estuary meeting highlights problems

Federal, state and county officials focused on a Comprehensive  Conservation Management Plan for the Peconic Estuary. Kevin McDonald, from the South Fork, delivered a warning that there were already “alarming trends” threatening the Estuary on the East End.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, there is more recognition of remediation efforts taking place, but the alarming concerns that were voiced 20 years ago haven’t vanished and the need to protect surrounding waters as well as the groundwater that feeds wells on the Island is critical, and getting attention.


School works to get lead out of water

Shelter Island School revealed low levels of lead in two sink faucets — one in the cafeteria and a another in a sink in the superintendent’s office. The reading in the cafeteria sink was 0.023 mg per liter while the other faucet showed a reading of 0.32 mg per liter. Drinking water standards at the time called d for lead not to exceed 0.015 mg. per liter.

School officials followed steps provided by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services to mitigate the problem. School Nurse Mary Kanarvogel said the lead was not in any area of the school where students would access it, because no lead had been detected in a well serving the building. She noted that had lead been detected in areas that provide drinking water for students, the Health Department would have shut down the building.

The detected lead was thought to have come from old pipes and steps were being taken to deal with that and to replace the two faucets.

POSTSCRIPT: Today’s concerns are with nitrate levels detected in several areas in the Center. School officials have joined town officials, fire department commissioners and the Shelter Island Library to detect the best means of dealing with the problem. An original plan had called for linking a system that would serve the American Legion Post/Youth Center and one-third of the school to a new septic system. But current thinking is that a system capable of serving the entire school, several town-owned buildings, the library and the Center Firehouse would be more effective.

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