11/20/14 8:00am
COURTESY PHOTO Eleven heaven. The 2014 Suffolk County Class D Volleyball champs with Assistant Coach Jim Theinert and Coach Cindy Belt, celebrating the school’s 11th consecutive title after defeating rival Stony Brook Monday. Kneeling from left: Alexis Perlaki, Kelly Colligan, Melissa Frasco, Colibri Lopez and Kenna McCarthy. Back row: Taylor Rando, Amira Lawrence, Margaret Michalak, Emily Hyatt, Serina Kaasik and Liz Larsen.

 The 2014 Suffolk County Class D Volleyball champs with Assistant Coach Jim Theinert and Coach Cindy Belt celebrating
the school’s 11th consecutive title.

Something remarkable happened here recently, when a group of young people, skillfully taught and brilliantly led, achieved a measure of greatness. (more…)

11/18/14 10:12am
AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO Ted Campbell, left, and Christopher Angotta, from the Melvilee-based Nawrocki Smith accounting firm, addressing the Board of Education Monday night. The auditors gave the district the highest classification on all reports.

Ted Campbell, left, and Christopher Angotta, from the Melvilee-based Nawrocki Smith accounting firm, addressing the Board of Education Monday night. The auditors gave the district the highest classification on all reports.

The Shelter Island Board of Education got a good report from their auditors Monday night and was briefed on special education trends and teaching English as a new language.

The board also heard from two parents who questioned the new policy of blending pre-school children into a kindergarten class. (more…)

01/10/14 10:30am

JO ANN KIRKLAND PHOTO | School Superintendent Michael Hynes will meet with state education officals and other superintendents in Albany to discuss the controversial Common Core standards.

Shelter Island Superintendent Michael Hynes will be joining colleagues in Albany Monday night at the Superintendents/Regents dinner. In Albany Dr. Hynes will have an opportunity to voice his views about the rollout of the Common Core standards. (more…)

11/29/13 8:00am

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Motor vehicle accidents involving deer are occuring since development has overtaken habitats and the deer population has increased.

Deer advice for drivers

Ten years ago, the New York Insurance Association was proactive in advising motorists to be cautious about a growing incidence of deer on roadways that was resulting in increased motor vehicle accidents. Claims resulting from encounters with deer were averaging about $2,000 each and the association warned then that as the deer population continued to grow and new developments encroached on their habitats, more accidents would result.
POSTSCRIPT: Fast forward to 2013 and Shelter Island continues to experience a concrn about accidents involving deer as town, county and state officials work to counter the problem.

Shared decision budget action committee created

The Shelter Island Board of Education, following the advice of then superintendent Dr. Lydia Axelrod, established a Shared Decision Budget Action Committee of board members, parents, other community members and teachers to provide input to the development of the district’s annual budget. The new committee was to replace the Budget Review Committee that similarly reviewed and offered input to budgeting in the past. That unit had eight community volunteers and a single board member while the newly constituted committee was to be balanced between school and community members.
POSTSCRIPT: Today’s Board of Education provides ample opportunities for teachers and staff and community members to weigh in on the budget process at a series of public meetings, but the initial draft budget created by the administration is shaped by elected school board members with what has been in recent years little community input. At the same time, discussions of choices to be made are well publicized, both through newspaper stories and the district’s website where budget presentations can be viewed.

LILCO resumes hookups after utility law snafu

The Long Island Lighting Company, predecessor to today’s Long Island Power Authority, was stopped in its tracks as it was installing lines to new houses on Shelter Island in late 1983 because of a local law that was at first interpreted to ban overhead wires, requiring that lines be buried. But Town Board members then rescinded the law, saying its intent wasn’t meant to stop house hookups, but to apply to high tension transmission lines.
POSTSCRIPT: With much of the South Fork having underground lines, there have been rumblings from time to time in other parts of the East End to get similar treatment from LIPA, but the company has maintained the expense would be prohibited and overhead lines are the norm on Shelter Island and the North Fork.

To aid Planning Board

John Sengstaken, a retired engineer living on Ram Island, accepted the unpaid post of consultant to the Shelter Island Planning Board 50 years ago.
POSTSCRIPT: Since October 2012, John Cronin has served as a part-time engineering consultant for Shelter Island. His maximum annual salary was set at $29,000.

03/29/13 12:00pm

PETER REICH PHOTO | County dredge off Shell Beach at the mouth of West Neck Harbor.


DEC halts shellfish harvesting
In 2003 the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation closed all of Shelter Island’s creeks, bays and harbors to shellfish harvesting because heavy rainfalls raised concerns about excessive amounts of stormwater runoff that might result in shellfish “taking up” bacteria from warm-blooded animals, potentially contaminating the shellfish.  Such closings aren’t considered rare, according to DEC officials.

POSTSCRIPT: Despite the wrath of Sandy and Nemo and subsequent other storms, there has been no word of a shut down this spring.


BRC recommends zero growth school budget
Twenty years ago, in an effort to control rising costs of school operations, a citizens group, The Budget Review Committee, recommended scaling back a proposed $4.8 million budget to $4.5 million scraping all additions the Board of Education had recommended. That brought spending down to about $4.2 million and then the BRC added back  increases for salaries, workmen’s compensation, pensions, Social Security and health insurance. The board fought back pointing out how various cuts wouldn’t work. Voters ultimately approved a $4.6 million budget.

POSTSCRIPT: The district is struggling to meet expenses now while staying within a state-imposed 2 percent tax cap. Good news came  last week with word that state aid cuts had been restored, but no total figure is yet available, although school officials have said it’s likely to be in the area of about $10 million.


Christine Lewis runs again
Then Board of Education president Christine Lewis sought her fourth term in 1983, having first been appointed in 1972 to the post vacated by  Charles Dalton. At the time, the school board controlled a budget of $1.85 million while the town’s budget was $1.3 million. Running unopposed, Ms. Lewis received 169 votes for an easy re-election in a year when voters turned down the school district’s $1.9 million budget request. The same budget was resubmitted to voters in June who again turned it down, prompting school board members to opt for a cooling off period before deciding how to proceed.

POSTSCRIPT: Today, Ms. Lewis serves as a councilwoman on the Shelter Island Town Board.


Telco Trencher blocks out TV
Nearly 900 homes on Shelter Island and nearby North Haven were without their cable television programs 40 years ago after New York Telephone crews cut the cable system’s main trunk line. The telephone crew was working near Ketcham’s Corner despite being warned there were cable lines in the area. A telephone company crew member said there weren’t plans to go near the cable, but shortly thereafter, service was cut. The work being done by the telephone company was part of its planned expansion of service to the Island.. It took Cablevision crews about six hours to reactivate some sections of the Island by running an emergency line across the Shelter Island Country Club grounds. But much of the Island remained blacked out from their favorite television shows until the following day.

Ironically, several months earlier, telephone company officials had warned farmers, well-drillers and others who excavate for any reason to call the company for advice on where phone lines were to avoid a loss of service.

POSTSCRIPT: This year, concerns over cutting cable and telephone lines delayed dredging at South Ferry until maps could be checked to determine that the lines were sufficiently buried to allow the dredging operation to take place. It’s now expected that the dredging will take place this fall.