12/12/13 3:07pm
FILE PHOTO | South Ferry photo taken in 1988.

FILE PHOTO | South Ferry photo taken in 1988.


Will seek bridge study

With cancellation in 1963 of ferry service between Orient Point and New London, Connecticut, then state senator Elisha Barrett and assemblyman Perry Duryea were pushing a plan for a Suffolk to New England bridge. The theory was that such a bridge would spur economic growth in Suffolk County. The plan was for a study to be funded by New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island

POSTSCRIPT: We can only imagine that Shelter Island residents would join those on the North Fork in shuddering at such a suggestion. As it is, despite its convenience, there are those who object to the Cross Sound Ferry’s effect on North Fork traffic.


Slick situation probed by state

Reports in December 1978 of a serious runoff of oil into Coecles Harbor brought New York State Department of Environmental Conservation inspectors to Shelter Island. Turns out the Highway Department had elevated the second Ram Island causeway and applied a mixture of penetrating oil and road oil. Heavy rains had washed away a sand topping, allowing some of the oil to drain into the harbor. After inspection, the DEC announced the problem wasn’t serious and no further action would be necessary.


Ferry group proposes $5 cash fare

A Shelter Island Ferry Study Group that functioned in 1988 suggested that both North and South ferry companies adopt a straight $5 cash fare for residents that could be used for either a one-way or same-day roundtrip. At the time, residents were paying $4.50 for a one-way trip and $5.50 for a same-day roundtrip so the result would be a 50 cent raise on the one way fare, but a 50 cent savings on a roundtrip. The suggestion at the time was that the same arrangement apply to non-residents on the theory that most of them would be paying a higher fee for a one-way trip, using the Island as a bridge between the North and South forks.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, both ferry companies have discounts for Island residents that they extend to those who may not live here, but work here.


Nobody wants MD center job

It might appear to be a headline out of today’s news, but in December 2003, it wasn’t the search for a doctor to serve the Shelter Island public. Rather, it was a search for a contractor to take on the work of renovating the town’s medical center to provide handicapped accessibility to the bathroom, greater storage capacity and improved efficiencies of operating the practice there.

The work was budgeted at $83,000 with money coming from the Gladys Brooks Foundation, but architect Fred Stelle told the Town Board he was “stumbling finding somebody to do the work.” Four contractors he contacted — three of them from the Island — declined the job while a fourth form off-Island came in at costs beyond what the town could afford.

POSTSCRIPT: Today’s search goes on for a doctor to staff the town medical center with the possibility that Winthrop Hospital might ultimately agree to take on the challenge. Island Urgent, which operates medical practices throughout Long Island, was the most recent organization staffing the medical center. 

10/15/12 12:00pm

PETER BOODY PHOTO | Relatively little runoff appeared to reach the Bay through dirt extension of Community Drive in Hilo, according to then Highway Superintendent Mark Ketcham.


Hilo drainage problems solved

An ongoing conundrum of how to tap into state funds to prevent stormwater runoff from going into West Neck Bay may finally have a solution, then highway chief Mark Ketcham told the Town Board back in 2002. The problem was that plans to put drains on private property meant the town couldn’t tap into state funding restricted from being used, except on public property. Mr. Ketcham suggested that the 10 drains instead be placed on public property in the area of Stearns Point Road and Behringer Lane, still accomplishing the effort to avoid rainwater runoff from Hilo from running into the Bay.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, government mandates require that all communities participate in an MS4 program to deal with ending pollution from stormwater runoff, and several efforts have been undertaken with others planned. But the costly problem of providing adequate drainage to protect the waterways remains a challenge with tight budgets in place at all levels of government.


Scallop season opens

Back in 1992, the scallop season opened in early October, but historic scalloping grounds — Coecles Harbor and West Neck Bay — were still feeling the effects of brown tide algae infestations and then supervisor Hoot Sherman was anticipating there would be no rush of scallopers expecting to reap a rich harvest. Since brown tides invaded many East End waters in 1985, efforts to replenish the supply by seeing areas hadn’t taken hold. But Mr. Sherman was promising that the effort would continue with the hope of restoring East End scallops.

POSTSCRIPT: The Cornell Cooperative Extension SPAT program to replenish oysters has been successful and, while the scallop season doesn’t begin now until the first week in November, there is optimism among scallopers. But the question for some is whether, as was the case last year, the prices will be so high that they might discourage some people from buying scallops, except for special occasions.


Town stalls budget plan

Town Board members in 1982 held off on voting on a $1.5 million budget proposal from then supervisor Mal Nevel who told board members he wanted taxpayers to weigh in on his plan. Councilman Ralph Gross said he was willing to go along with the request and let taxpayers suggest spending cuts, but then councilman Ken Lewis argued there was $140,000 in unexpended funds and he preferred that the board take some action to pare down the budget. But Mr. Nevel said the money was needed as a “buffer” in case an emergency expenditure was needed. The following week, the board approved by a 3-2 vote a preliminary budget calling for a 30 percent increase in spending, instead of the 48 percent spending hike that was contained in Mr. Nevel’s plan.

POSTSCRIPT: Town Board members have been engrossed in budget meetings this month, working to pare down Supervisor Jim Dougherty’s $10.4 million proposal that would increase spending by about 0.5 percent from the current year.


Gardiner entourage invades Hall of Justice

Shelter Island Police arrested Cyril Madison, campaign manager for Robert D.L. Gardiner, who was running for the First Congressional District seat on the Republican ticket opposing Congressman Otis Pike. Mr. Madison was charged with defacing traffic signs by affixing labels on them that supported Mr. Gardiner’s candidacy. Mr. Gardiner lost the race to Mr. Pike the following month.

POSTSCRIPT: Today’s battle for that same seat is between incumbent Tim Bishop, running on the Democratic ticket, and Randy Altschuler, running on the Republican, Conservative and Independent lines. The campaign has had its share of differences between the two men. Mr. Bishop brought his campaign to Shelter Island School students this week and Mr. Altschuler is expected to do the same prior to the November 6 election.

10/08/12 8:00am

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Pieter Ruig at his home on Ram Island Road in 2002, when he was appointed to the town’€™s ZBA.

New member looks ahead to serving on zoning panel

Pieter Ruig was tapped in October 2002 to take a seat on Shelter Island’s Zoning Board of Appeals, a post he continues to hold today. At the time of his appointment, Mr. Ruig told the Reporter that, while he had never served on a ZBA, he had plenty of experience appearing before the board as an applicant. Among his applications was one for Mr. Ruig and his wife, Ellen Lear, to establish a horse farm at the top of Ram Island Road, a locale known as John Tut’s Hill. The couple won the day with an agreement to protect 29 acres of the property from residential development.
POSTSCRIPT: That property is on the market today with a $7.95 million price tag. Mr. Ruig has declined comment on the reason, except to say, “We just decided to sell.”

Townspeople make demands at LILCO hearing

During a more than three-hour public hearing on a plan by the now defunct Long Island Lighting Company to run a cable across Shelter Island connecting North and South forks, residents got the Town Board to agree to seek an independent study of the proposal. When it was completed later, the study found that residents wouldn’t benefit from more reliable service as a result of the 69,0000-volt cable because it was only meant to serve the two forks.
POSTSCRIPT: Today, South Ferry is expecting to engage in talks with Long Island Power Authority, LILCO’s successor, about being able to dredge in the area where the cable goes underground and enters the bay bottom west of the ferry service’s two slips. Cliff Clark told the Reporter this month he and his father had a verbal okay from LILCO that the cable would not intefere with dredging but LIPA now says dredging could damage it.

Jernick denies broken promise

Supervisor Thomas Jernick denied a charge by the Shelter Island Senior Citizens Association that he was avoiding a meeting with the group to discuss issues of importance to the Island’s older residents. He maintained that it was SISCA officials, not him, who had postponed such a meeting. SISCA President Edward Killam charged that the town was failing to fight for Suffolk County tax relief for low income seniors; failing to use a portion of recreation funds for senior needs; and not fighting for reduced ferry fares for seniors.
POSTSCRIPT: On the senior front, the news these days has been about the long effort to make the the kitchen at the Senior Activity Center compliant with county health regulations. The renovated kitchen is expected to reopen this fall after a two-year closure.

Food sale at aid library

The Shelter Island Hospital Club was raising money at a food sale to benefit the building fund for the Shelter Island Library. At the time, the fund exceeded $23,500. Library construction began in 1964 and the building was dedicate in August 1965. It’s total cost was $70,000. There was no explanation in our story as to why a “hospital club” was raising more for a library.
POSTSCRIPT: Community dedication to the library has been evident in recent years as more than $800,000 was raised for renovations and expansions to the building.

09/10/12 12:01pm

MARIA SHIELDS FILE PHOTO | Shelter Island Historical Society members in 1992 took a break from a game of croquet during the society’s 20th annual “Day in History” celebration.

Study looks at spanning the Island with bridge
Shelter Islanders generally react with anger to any suggestion that they be linked to the mainland via a bridge. When a small group of concerned residents got wind that the state- and federally-funded Strategic East End Development Strategies might be exploring such an option, they were burning up phone and fax lines and emailing to alert one another. SEEDS officials were quick to squelch the rumors, noting that while all options pertaining to East End transportation needed to be on the table, there was no serious consideration of a bridge.
POSTSCRIPT: Ten years later, if you leave or return to the Island in a vehicle, its via ferry and no one expects that to change despite ongoing studies of ways to improve East End transportation.

Historical Society takes Shelter Island back in time
The Shelter Island Historical Society celebrated the 20th anniversary of its “One Day in History” program as members dressed in garb typical of the mid-1600s. They played croquet, demonstrated weaving techniques and displayed various items that help to tell the story of Shelter Island’s early days. And no such celebration would be complete without the sale of boutique items to benefit the society’s coffers.
POSTSCRIPT: This is the first year for new director Nanette Breiner-Lawrenson, a former Island summer and weekend resident, whose life and career took her from her family home in HiLo Shores. While her work as a Tiffany Co. executive sent her to New York City, Boston, New Jersey and eventually Florida, her love for Shelter Island remained in her heart.

Sun heats Islander’s water
Abraham Pinto of Osprey Road was the first Island resident to install a solar energy hot water heating system on his property. His system used three panels to collect the sun’s energy. Water from his well that started out at 40 degrees was fed into the collectors so that water coming out was heated to 80 to 100 degrees. The hot water fed his electric heaters, raising the temperature to between 130 and 150 degrees. Mr. Pinto’s panels were manufactured by an Israeli firm, but all work of installation — structural, plumbing, electricity — were handled by local companies.
POSTSCRIPT: If Shelter Island was early to the party in 1977, it has been slow to spread the use of solar energy. There are a few business and residential installations, including North Ferry and Shelter Island Hardware on the Island, and there is currently talk about its use at town sites.

Flushing Lions aid Island library fund
The Flushing Lions Club contributed $50 toward the construction of the Shelter Island Library. The money represented one year’s interest on the Lions Club Rev. Benjamin Mottram Trust Fund deposit. The contribution was arranged by H. Albert Johntra of Shelter Island and Flushing, the son-in-law of the late Rev. Mottram.
POSTSCRIPT: This year, thanks to contributions and a small state grant, the library was able to renovate its downstairs space for community events, book sales and other activities and add an elevator. The project cost about $875,000 compared with the $70,000 it cost to build the original structure back in 1965.