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This week in Shelter Island history


Scientists at Harvard University announced they had isolated a single gene.

Elbert Frank Cox, an African-American mathematician who was the first of his race to receive a doctorate degree in mathematics at Cornell University, died in Washington, D.C. at age 73.

“They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” was one of the most viewed movies.

Music lovers in the United States were listening to “Come Together” by The Beatles while the most popular song in the United Kingdom was ”Sugar Sugar” by The Archies.

“My Life And Prophecies” by Jeane Dixon was one of the best selling books.

And on Shelter Island . . .


Group meets to discuss open space acquisition

Town Board members and the Conservation Council met to discuss ways to preserve open spaces on the Island. The effort was an outgrowth of a New York-based Open Space Institute.

POSTSCRIPT: The effort was a pre-runner to today’s Peconic Bay Conservation Preservation Fund that began in the late 1990s through legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I- Sag Harbor). That group now raises money resulting from a 2% tax paid by property purchasers to invest primarily in preserving open space and farmland in the five East End Towns and up to 20% for water quality improvement projects.


DeStefano leaves Board of Education

Bob DeStefano, who was a member of the Shelter Island Board of Education for 15 years and its president for six years, resigned in late November 1989. In a letter of resignation, he said he would be out of state for the first three months of 1990 and then involved with other business matters.

He was the second member that month to resign, following the earlier resignation of Nancy McGayhey. After her resignation on Nov. 13, 1989, the board had advertised for new members and received five applications. Gerry Siller and George Chimenti were appointed to fill the two positions.

POSTSCRIPT: Mr. Siller, who later served as town supervisor for two terms was just elected supervisor for a two-year term beginning in January 2020. Mr. DeStefano, retired after a long career as the golf pro at Gardiner’s Bay Country Club, remains an active volunteer for a number of Island activities and his son, Bob DeStefano Jr. is town attorney.


Reporter changes hands

In s late November 1999,  owner Gardner Pat Cowles III announced the sale of the Shelter Island Reporter to Times/Review, owned by Troy and Joan Gustavson. Islander Art Barnett took over as editor with Joann Sherman returning to the paper as associate editor.

At the time of the transition, Mr. Gustavson said Mr. Cowles agreed to oversee the business operation until the end of the year, at which time, it would be managed by the new owners.

Mr. Gustavson announced that it had been a dream he and his wife have harbored for more than 15 years.

POSTSCRIPT: The Reporter continues to cover Shelter Island, providing the only full coverage of news, sports and community activities available to Islanders.


Fresh face at Sweet Tomato’s

Ten years ago, brothers Jimmy and Anthony Rando were taking over management of the popular Heights restaurant from their parents, Mary and James Rando, who had opened the restaurant in 2003.

Son Jimmy announced that the market was tough and it was time to put a new face on the restaurant with the hope of boosting it in the community. Their efforts were successful and the restaurant remained in the family until 2017.

POSTSCRIPT: Isola opened in the space with Brad Kitkowski at the helm and Chef Set Nathan in the kitchen. The restaurant continues to operate in the space today.

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