SHERRI SUROZENSKI PHOTO | Life-saver: When an ambulance couldn’t make it through the water and over the angle between the ramp and this South Ferry boat deck during Super Storm Sandy, police, fire and ambulance workers commandeered a driver with a four-wheel truck to do the job.
10 YEARS AGO
Hurricane overdue? Town says it’s prepared
The headline is from 10 years ago when Police Chief Jim Read and then Red Cross representative Joy Bausman were reporting on the state of the Island’s emergency services to respond should a major storm hit. Plans included how to maintain communications; potential evacuation needs for Islanders in low-lying areas; efforts to respond to needs of seniors, some of whom might need special care during a storm; providing emergency shelters; and coordination of other services. Then Police Sergeant Jay Card III — now the town’s public works commissioner and highway superintendent — was the front man, working to ensure coordination of various services.
POSTSCRIPT: Irene in August 2011 and Sandy in October 2012 left their marks on the Island. But both storms weren’t as severe as originally threatened. But in the ensuing 10 years since that headline appeared, Chief Read has continued to work with emergency responders to improve the town’s ability to cope with needs that typically arise during such storms. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this week repeated its earlier warning that the Atlantic hurricane season would be above normal. The season runs until the end of November, but typically peaks in August and September.
20 YEARS AGO
Undelivered mail found discarded
When Jimmy Payne found a large amount of mail discarded in the town paper-recycling bin 20 years ago, he thought it was curious. Quite a few of the pieces had originated with the Department of Social Services, one of which was addressed to him, but had never landed in his post office box. His own letter contained important information about a change in his benefits and that prompted him to look through the discarded mail that revealed other important mail, including recall notices issued by Ford Motor Company. He took it upon himself to deliver mail to the people he knew and turned other mail over to police. But Center Postmaster Estelle Simes said the discarded mail was third-class and lacked post office box numbers, making it “undeliverable.” Police determined that such disposal is typical, according to the Postal Inspector’s office personnel. Ms. Simes said she tries to get important mail to customers, but said without correct addresses, that isn’t always possible.
POSTSCRIPT: Residents and business owners have been raising complaints this year about mail not reaching them and being returned to senders. Just this week, postal officials blamed the problems on list compilers whose software often doesn’t contain space for “Shelter Island Heights.” Postal officials advise those with boxes in the Heights to use the following abbreviation: “Shelter Is Ht.”
30 YEARS AGO
Chicken barbecue is Saturday
Firefighters and auxiliary members were preparing for the 20th annual chicken barbecue at this time 30 years ago. The event is a major fund raiser for the department each year and 3,000 people were expected to be on hand for that 1983 event.
POSTSCRIPT: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Shelter Island Fire Department’s chicken barbecue set for Saturday between 4 and 8 p.m. at St. Gabriel’s Field. Tickets are available at Shelter Island Hardware, Schmidt’s Market, Piccozzi’s Gas Station, Cicero’s Barber Shop, Hubbard’s Repair Shop and Shelter Island Pharmacy at a cost of $25 for adults and $15 for children. Tickets may also be purchased online at brownpapertickets.com.
50 YEARS AGO
Planning Board seeks public participation
It was considered an unprecedented move 50 years ago when Planning Board chairman Dr. Alan Dowling asked Island residents to attend a special meeting to offer their opinions on how they would like to see the town look at that time and in the future. The meeting was to take place just a couple of weeks later, but no record of what might have been said at that session appears in any of several issues of the Reporter printed in weeks after the meeting.
POSTSCRIPT: Many of today’s Islanders lament some of the developments that have occurred through the years. While they still believe the area is unprecedented for its beauty, they continue to complain about over-development in some areas. Most recently heard was a long-time Islander complaining that handshake agreements of yesteryear have given way to legal contracts of today.