This week in Shelter Island history: Rocket study group launches missile


The Chicago 7, charged by the federal government with conspiracy, inciting to riot and other charges related to anti-Vietnam War and countercultural protests that took place during the Democratic nominating convention in 1968, were found not guilty

The Jackson 5 made their television debut on “American Bandstand”

The 12th Daytona 500 was won by Peter Hamilton by a slim three car lengths

American actress and comedian Niecy Nash was born in Compton, California

“Everybody Is a Star” by Sly & The Family Stone topped the charts in the United States

And on Shelter Island . . .


Rocket study group launches missile

The year was 1970, several months after the United States had astronauts walking on the moon that the Shelter Island School Rocket Study Group under the supervision of Gene  Kinghan, launched their own rocket 800 feet into the air. The solid fuel engine was launched electrically and flew for one minute under propulsion with an additional seven seconds of glide time.

Members of the student group included Larry Lechmanski, Eric Springer, David Klenawicus, Howard and Edward Philipson and Sam Case.

POSTSCRIPT: By today’s standards, the achievement might seem minor, but given this was 50 years ago, the achievement was worth praise. Science students of today have continued to be on the cutting edge of many achievements, including a team of teacher Dan Williams’ science students whose ground-breaking research can lead to improved treatments of illnesses ranging from cardiovascular and thromboembolic diseases, acute leukemia and difficulties in bringing pregnancies to term , to chronic pain and fatigue, nerve pain, migraines and a number of other health problems.

Their work was featured in the prestigious Protein Data Bank. 


Board of Ed calls for committee to study building needs

Responding to a report from Board of Education member George Chimenti 30 years ago, members opted to appoint a Facilities Advisory Committee to look at what Mr. Chimenti said were deteriorating conditions.

Mr. Chimenti was a new board member at the time and was concerned with addressing health and safety issues that could arise if issues in the building were not addressed.

POSTSCRIPT: Most recently, another incidence of asbestos abatement came to the attention of today’s Board of Education. When member Linda Eklund questioned why such incidents kept coming up after past abatement efforts, she learned that whenever an improvement is undertaken in the building, it’s possible that asbestos might be discovered and need to be addressed before work on such projects could proceed.


Board of Ed reviews tech plan

It was 2000 and the Board of Education when Walter Brigham spoke about plans to integrate information technology into the curriculum. Plans called for teacher training and, of course, equipment for teachers and students that he told the Board of Education.

Money, of course, was a concern but Mr. Brigham said he was looking into sources for funding that would make technology the cornerstone of education for the district.

POSTSCRIPT: The Board of Education of 20 years ago would probably be amazed at how quickly computer technology took hold and how far it has come today. Students have iPads and not only use them in the classroom, but communicate with their teachers for assistance when doing homework or needing some extra guidance in their lessons.

And today, it’s not unusual for students to have mobile phones they use in the variety of ways from searching for information to communicating with one another and, of course, games.


Town backs off sign case

Ten years ago, then town attorney Laury Dowd asked that a Justice Court case against real estate professional Penelope Moore be dropped. The reason, Ms. Dowd said, was that the Town Board was contemplating a possible change in the law that at the time prohibited commercial real estate signs that allowed only “For Sale” and “For Rent” signs placed by property owners on their properties. Ms. Dowd said she didn’t want to proceed with a case based on a law that was likely to change.

Ms. Moore had pleaded not guilty to the charge and after the dismissal said she was happy with the result because she believed the law at the time was “unconstitutional, selective and grammatically ambiguous.”

POSTSCRIPT: Today’s code allows property owners to display “For Sale” or “For Rent” signs on property, but they are limited in size and need to be place on the property but at least 10 feet away from any public or street right-of-way. They must be removed within 15 days after a property is either sold, rented or exchanged