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Shelter Island Reporter editorials: July 21, 2022

Honoring The Clip

A special tribute from Islanders of all ages was enacted Saturday, July 16, at the barber shop on Grand Avenue. Louis Cicero, better known as Louie the Clip, turned 85 (see story: Honoring the the town’s top trimmer: Louis ‘The Clip’ Cicero turns 85)

Anita, his wife and business partner for half a century, organized a full lunch and All-American cupcakes for friends who have, as Charity Robey wrote, gone to the shop run by the man many consider equal parts town historian, mayor, and confessor.

Like all good barbers, Ms. Robey wrote, Louis knows that people in the chair need to talk. “They tell me their secrets and problems,” he said, “They know I won’t tell anyone.”

Generations have gone to the shop on Grand Avenue. Recently the Reporter had a story on a tradition that remains unbroken, when little Luca Clark became the sixth generation of Clark boys and men, beginning with C.Y. Clark, to be shorn by The Clip.

Gathering at the barber shop, the family brought photos of forefathers Donald Clark, ferry captain, and Robert Clark, who was Louie’s close friend and Dave Clark’s father. Robert’s grandson Michael was fulfilling a promise to Louie to bring his first son to keep the tradition unbroken.

“You promised me, and you made it happen,” the barber said, in an emotional high point recalled by Michael’s wife, Liza.

Memories flowed from person to person at the celebration Saturday, and the joyful time seemed a fulfillment of all the hard work and dedication to the community that Anita and Louis have given to Shelter Island.

Happy Birthday, Louis. 

No laughing matter

Is it July that’s causing “overheated” to be the best word describing what’s going on over the planning for the possibility of affordable housing? No, it’s been on the boil for months.

On our letters page, in full-page paid ads crammed with text, and at public meetings, some of the rhetoric is alternately concerning and hilarious, and sometimes both at the same time.

There has been a straight-faced comparison of the government of Communist China with the Shelter Island Town Board (no, really), as well as comparisons of Staten Island with Shelter Island, with an acknowledgment that the commute to and from Staten Island is longer.

And the condescension toward those who favor affordable housing or those who are on the fence about the issue, is remarkable. Islanders, you see, have to be told, because they wouldn’t realize it themselves, that volunteers to committees are actually conspiring against them, running con games, actually trying to transform Shelter Island, via bait-and-switch maneuvers, into the Bronx.

Again, hilarious, if it wasn’t so offensive, implying, with no subtlety at all, that Islanders are so dim they have to be told they’re sheep ready for the shearing.

Condescending, and absurd on its face.