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This week in Shelter Island history


Apollo 12, the second manned moon landing, was launched with lunar module pilot Alan Bean, Charles “Pete” Conrad Jr. and Richard Gordon Jr. aboard.

The first Jackson Five record, “I Want You Back,” became the group’s first to enter the top 100.

Negotiators from the Soviet Union and the United States met in Helsinki to being the SALT I negotiations aimed at limiting the number of strategic weapons on both sides.

An estimated 2 million protestors, including 500,000 in Washington D.C., demonstrated throughout the United States demanding an end to the Vietnam War.

Wendy’s Hamburgers, founded by Dave Thomas opened in Columbus, Ohio.

And on Shelter Island . . .


School rejects sending secondary students off Island

The Board of Education voted  to reject a proposal to send junior and senior high school students off Island to continue their education. The proposal said that, besides providing adequate space, it would give the students a better educational experience.

Not the case, board members decided. They didn’t believe education would be improved for their students by sending them off Island. Instead, they began talking about a building project, although at the time, it was unclear when that might get underway.

POSTSCRIPT: In recent years, enrollment numbers have declined, but the Board of Education continues to try to find ways to hold Island students here rather than have them attend private or parochial schools off -Island. They’re  educating four-year old students in preschool and expect to expand the preschool program to 3-year-old children.

They are also exploring ways to attract students from other districts who might pay tuition to be educated on Shelter Island.


Simes celebrates third successive victory

Supervisor Jeffrey Simes, running on the Republican Party ticket, won a third term at Town Hall in 1989, besting Democrat Mal Nevel who had been supervisor in 1982 and 1983.

As for Mr. Nevel, a Reporter editorial said he was innovative in his approaches to issues facing the town, but had an “autocratic” approach to problem solving at Town Hall.

When the race ended, Mr. Nevel pronounced himself finished with government, the town itself and the newspaper.

“The voters made their choice and it’s sick,” Mr. Nevel said.

POSTSCRIPT: Following the 2019 election, there was a show of sportsmanship from both sides as Supervisor Gary Gerth arrived at the Democratic gathering at Ram’s Head Inn to congratulate winner and former two-term supervisor Gerry Siller on his victory. He was gracious in wishing luck to Mr. Siller and the Democrats were gracious in greeting his arrival with applause.


Island preps for Y2K glitches

It was only a month and a half before the march of time would usher in the next century and there was real concern that dependence on a computer system that would recognize the year 2000 was alive throughout the world.

Police Chief Jim Read, who oversees emergency responses called a meeting with then supervisor Gerry Siller and representatives of the Fire Department, the Shelter Island Red Cross Chapter, the Senior Citizens Advisory Council and Shelter Island School to discuss efforts to ensure the town’s computer system would work correctly.

Concerns about electricity were absent, but there was the possibility that telephone lines might pose a problem, the chief told the gathering. He noted that months earlier, an outage in Amityville had resulted in loss of phone service out to Orient. Another outage on the South Fork had interrupted 911 calls for several hours. If land lines were to go down, he speculated that cell service would be swamped.

That would cause dependence on amateur radio operators, he said.

POSTSCRIPT: As we know years later, there was no crisis based on computers, but each time there’s an issue, generally related to foul weather, Chief Read examines needs and ability to serve the community and to improve on any areas that might have been problematic in the past.


County champs again

For the sixth straight years, the Shelter Island varsity girls volleyball team emerged Suffolk County champions and prepared to go to New York Regionals where they would emerge winners and be headed for New York State Championships. It would be the first time the team headed to states with the regional championship title in hand.

POSTSCRIPT: This year’s varsity girls team has had an excellent year and demonstrated not only fine play, but a determined spirit that has carried them far. The team ended the regular season as County Class Champions, the best finish since 2015.

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