February 19, 2018 - Richard’s Almanac: A talk with Barbara Silverstone

COURTESY PHOTO | Barbara Silverstone

COURTESY PHOTO | Barbara Silverstone

“I believe in turnover of leadership,” Barbara Silverstone told me in an interview last week.

Barbara, the Senior Citizen Foundation’s president, took over leadership of the benevolent organization just two years ago and plans to step down from the helm at the group’s April meeting. 

Barbara became involved with the foundation through former president Sy Weissman who left the Island for the Rochester area to be near his daughter.

The firm believer in term limits, Barbara is a social worker who holds a bachelor’s degree from Duke, a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and a doctorate from Columbia.

“I worked for many years with kids, families and older adults,” she said, adding that she directed the Benjamin Rose Institute in Cleveland and there became seriously involved in serving older people.

She was later tapped to lead the Lighthouse and served the organization dedicated to those with vision problems as executive director. She  placed a special emphasis on older Lighthouse clients.

Barbara opened a consulting firm with a colleague in 2005 called SBW Partners.

When Barbara first came to the island in 1990 she and her husband lived in Hay Beach. After his death, she moved to a smaller one-level home in Silver Beach.

“And I can do my work here as easily as in the city,” explained the mother of two daughters and grandmother of five.

In 1976 she wrote a book entitled “You and Your Aging Parents” that was quite popular at the time.

“Now many people write about this very important subject,” Barbara said.

“The Foundation exists to augment the services of the Town for senior citizens,” Barbara said, adding that it determines needs and spends money on them. The organization raises funds through donations. The kitchen in the senior center, the emergency response system, the grant for the handicapped-accessible van and the grant to the Perlman music program are all examples of the results of foundation initiatives. The foundation also helps needy seniors with fuel bills.

“And grants leverage other grants,” Barbara explained.

“The next big project is the urgent care program,” she said, noting that she’s learned anecdotally and through the foundation survey that there’s “lots of interest.”

The foundation will set aside money for a task force on urgent care. Barbara urged the public to contact her with ideas at (631) 268-5723.

“We welcome ideas,” she said, adding that the foundation was born because of the ever increasing number of seniors here on the Island. “The ratio of people over 65 to people under 65 is the highest among communities to New York State.”

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February 19, 2018 - This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.


New Yorker cartoonist Peter Arno died in Port Chester, New York at the age of 64.

Actress Jeri Ryan, best known for her role as Borg Seven of Nine on the Star Wars: Voyager television series, was an Army “brat” born in Munich, Germany, while her father was stationed there.

Novelist Fanny Hurst, known best for her romantic, sentimental and social works — particularly those dealing with women’s rights and race relations — was born in Hamilton, Ohio

The minimum wage 50 years ago in the United States was $1.60 an hour while it is $7.25 an hour federally and on Long Island, $12 an hour

And on Shelter Island . . .


Union Chapel changes hands

In February 1978, the Island’s oldest public building, Union Chapel, changed hands as it was transferred from the Heights Property Owners Corporation to the chapel’s Board’s Board of Trustees.

The building, originally constructed completed in 1875, was an integral part of the Shelter Island Grove and Camp Meeting Association, but with the gradual decline of that group, it was taken over by the Heights Association that agreed to the transfer to the chapel’s Board of Trustees.

POSTSCRIPT: Friends of the Chapel maintain a modest endowment fund that provides financial support for its maintenance.


Assessment error rate at 17.2 percent

The year 1988 when the New York State Division of Equalization and Assessment predicted Shelter Island’s assessment error rate had worsened from the time it was looked at five years earlier.

The state was using a statistical measure to gauge inequality assessments and had determined the town to have errors in 17.2 percent of its residential assessments and 50.3 percent for all properties. The state saw a 15 percent error rate as acceptable for all parcels and 10 percent for residential parcels alone.

At the time, town officials noted the state’s error rate was at 17.7 percent, higher than the town’s.

POSTSCRIPT: Shelter Island today is among the few municipalities that reassessed properties annually.During his long term as head assessor, Al Hammond built up a reputation among real estate professionals of being on the money when it came to accuracy. Today’s assessors, two of whom were trained by Mr. Hammond, continue to enjoy a reputation for accuracy.

POSTSCRIPT: Anyone disagreeing with an assessment has an opportunity to come before the grievance board that will make a final determination.


Fund raiser seeks to put F.I.T. over the top

With $200,000 of the $240,000 needed to pay for the F.I.T. Center, tennis courts and improvements to the baseball field, Garth Griffin and Doug Rilling were pushing for 250 vehicle owners to express their pride in the Island by buying custom made plates that would sport a map of the Island. The cost for the vanity plates was $60 for the initial year with $25 of that fee to revert to the effort to pay for the new center.

POSTSCRIPT: Under the leadership of recreation director Bethany Ortmann, the F.I.T. Center is getting some new equipment this year and Ms. Ortmann has also launched some new programs.


County Budget Review Office has message for South Ferry

It was 10 years ago that South Ferry sought a hike in its rates. An analysis for the Suffolk County Budget Review Office (BRO) told South Ferry principals that a proposed rate hike leaned too heavily on occasional users and too little on residents and regular commuters.

The proposal called for raising the one-way fare from $10 to $12 while residents, who paid $4.70 for a round trip would pay $5.20 and the general round trip discount fare would go from $7.50 to $8.50.

Advice from the BRO to the full Suffolk County Legislature was to seek a restructuring that would shift some of the savings to the more occasional commuter.

POSTSCRIPT: South Ferry has been mum about whether there’s any new fare hike being contemplated in the foreseeable future.


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February 18, 2018 - School honors ‘decency’

JULIE LANE PHOTO A simple word says it all about the goal of the Shelter Island School community.

JULIE LANE PHOTO A simple word says it all about the goal of the Shelter Island School community.

When a student is called to the superintendent’s or principal’s office, it typically means trouble. Not the case for a group of students so far called to be honored for their random acts of kindness to others.

They come in wondering what they have done wrong and are told they are school heroes and often don’t even remember what is so special about their behavior because decency is the standard that has been set and to which most naturally gravitate, according to Superintendent Christine Finn, who talked about the honors at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting.

A mural was created by Reporter cartoonist and artist Peter Waldner (see above)  at the school to honor to the students.

It’s all part of the ongoing “decency” campaign campaign that was created by Islander Lisa Cholnoky and featured in a February 1 Reporter story.


The district held another lockdown drill aimed at protecting students and staff in the event a threatening intruder enters the building. Students are told that the exercise is a drill so as not to cause any alarm, but their responses are expected to be exactly what the school and police have deemed are necessary if a real situation happened, Ms. Finn told the Board of Education.

The one change she will make going forward is to post signs on the door during such a drill so that parents or other visitors trying to enter the building are aware of what is happening.

Details of drill responses are not made public to maximize protection for those who could be targets of any intruder, but at each drill, police and school officials work together to identify any security lapses and to make adjustments as necessary.

In other business, the Board of Education:

• Will decide on whether to grant a request from teacher Michelle Corbett to take 11th graders on a one-day field trip to New York City on April 17 to visit several sites including the World Trade Center 9/11 Museum. This is the last class that will have been old enough to have lived through the attack on the World Trade Center where those who follow will be looking at the subject as part of the country’s history, but not their own experiences, Ms. Corbett said. She noted that her brother and other family members are or have been firefighters, explaining why the visit of these students who are studying American history in their classrooms is so important to her. Much of the funding comes from two grants Ms. Corbett received, including one from the Shelter Island Educational Foundation.

• Approved a minimum wage increase for cafeteria staff substitutes from $10 to $11 an hour as of December 31, 2017, in line with the New York State wage rate schedule

• Announced that all varsity level players of winter sports have been named scholar-athletes for thei academic achievements and athletic abilities

• Accepted contributions of $2,000 from the Shelter Island Educational Foundation to fund field trips and $700 from the foundation for the proposed New York City History Tour Ms. Corbett outlined.

• Accepted $100 from Robert P. Brown and Katheleen O’Neill Brown for athletic department expenses.

• Endorsed the nomination of former Shelter Island Board president Stephen Gessner to continue to serve on the EAstern Suffolk BOCES Board.


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February 18, 2018 - Shelter Island Photo Op

MARTIN BURKE PHOTO Nature’s abstract art Lichen and bark on a tree on Manhanset Road.

MARTIN BURKE PHOTO Lichen and bark on a tree on Manhanset Road.

The post Shelter Island Photo Op appeared first on Shelter Island Reporter.

News & Events 5.6.15

Dering Harbor Report

By Shelter Island Reporter Julie Lane 05/05/15

WMAC needs details on Dering Harbor dock

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Local News 2.19.18

Richard’s Almanac: A talk with Barbara Silverstone

COURTESY PHOTO | Barbara Silverstone “I believe in turnover of leadership,” Barbara Silverstone told me in an interview last week. Barbara, the Senior Citizen Foundation’s president, took over leadership of the benevolent organization just two ...

Read More