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This week in Shelter Island history


The first Boeing 747 was previewed in Seattle, Wash.

300,000 fans saw Rolling Stone at the Altamont free concert in California.

Rapper Jay-Z was born in New York City and named  Shawn Corey Carter.

Los Angeles Police Chief Edward Davis announced the arrests of members of the Manson Family cult who committed nine murders at four locations, including killing actress Sharon Tate.

And on Shelter Island . . .


Avoid the newscasts

A cartoon appeared in the Reporter of two young children watching television with a newspaper spread in front of them warning of violence on TV.

The caption was: “Mom says it’s okay as long as we don’t watch newscasts.”

POSTSCRIPT: Today we have a renewed battle that the news from Washington ” fake news “and the press is “the enemy of the people.”


Noise committee reviews drafts of new law

Town officials were struggling with the effort to establish a noise ordinance and ways to enforce it. Town Councilwoman Barbara Allen led a subcommittee looking at two drafts and ways to take the best parts of each and combine them into one workable law.

One draft used subjective observations as a means of enforcement while a second suggested use of a decibel meter. James Eklund, a subcommittee member at the time, suggested a simple approach similar to an East Hampton ordinance. The Town Board made plans to see a decibel meter in practice in January 1990.

POSTSCRIPT: Today’s noise ordinance deals largely with limiting use of loud music, particularly amplified music, and decibel meters are used. There are exceptions to limits for public and charitable events. While repeated offenses are punishable by fines and/or jail sentences, Shelter Island Police do their best to issue warnings and try to quell problems before they have to issue tickets for offenses.


Siller says newly organized bow hunting group reducing deer

Supervisor Gerry Siller was assessing the impact  a newly organized group of bowhunters was was having on reducing the deer population.

The town had received approval from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for what was then known as “the anterless hunt,” which focused on culling female deer before they could give birth.

POSTSCRIPT: Having served two terms as supervisor in the 1990s, Mr. Siller has won a third term and takes office on Jan. 1. The issue of how to tackle the continuing problem of tick-borne diseases will be among his newly constituted Town Board’s priorities.


Mega house debate nothing new

The Town Board was examining a proposal from the owner of a site on the Ram Island Causeway that was to replace a house there that burned down in May 2009.

No one was talking specific dimensions, but Alexander Zagoreos and his representative, Matt Sherman, were discussing in broad terms a house that would be larger than the one that was destroyed and would be set on stilts, adding to the concerns Town Board members and neighbors had about the greater size of the new house would have on the area.

POSTSCRIPT: Ten years later, with several large structures that have already been built, there is even more talk about whether the so-called mega houses are changing the Island’s ambiance.

To date, larger projects than the standard 6,000 square feet of living space haven’t been rejected, but have required special permits from the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Town Board. There remains much talk about whether restrictions should be set in place but, so far, no action. It remains to be seen what a new Town Board with Supervisor-elect Gerry Siller might do as the issue reemerges in 2020.

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