January 2021 Front Page News - Burn the Germ!

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Burn the Germ!

The future is looking bright as we enter the New Year. Now that there are vaccines that combat Covid-19, there is hope that Put-in-Bay may be able to return to business as usual. We may still be wearing masks and social distancing as the projected herd immunity takes hold, but islanders, seasonal workers, visitors who are protected will certainly feel better about working at and going to the shops, attractions, bars and restaurants on the island when the new season starts.
In the meantime, keep those masks on and social distance. You don’t want to be that one last casualty just as the war against Covid is finally being won.
We want to acknowledge the hard work being done by those volunteers who stepped up to work on the problems posed by the rentals of hundreds of golf carts on the island. The group faces an uphill battle trying to get all the golf cart companies to get onboard with all the suggestions for changes. It may also be nearly impossible to get new legislation from the Village seeing as four out of six Council members can’t vote on golf cart legislation due to conflicts of interest.
Last season was probably the best weather season for visiting the island and boating that we’ve seen in years. Sadly, due to Covid, fewer people were in and around the islands to enjoy it. Let’s hope the weather is just as good as last season and that there are more people around to enjoy all the fun.
From what the water level in Lake Erie was looking like on January 1st, we’re going to go out on a limb and predict considerably lower levels this coming summer.
We’re especially looking forward this spring to the arrival of Miller Boat Line’s new ferry, the M/V Mary Ann Market. Once complete, the ferry will set sail from the shipyard in Superior, Wisconsin, on Lake Superior through the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, down Lake Huron and the St. Clair River into Lake St. Clair, then down the Detroit River and into Lake Erie.
Please stay safe as you cheer in the New Year!

Christmas Season a Bit Different

Put-in-Bay in December is usually a joy-filled month with plenty of holiday activities. Thanks to Covid-19, December 2020 was certainly a bit different as activities were either cancelled or changed to keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible.
The usual Holiday Bazaar took place much earlier so that it could be held outdoors at the Goat in the good weather of late October instead of indoors at the Town Hall closer to the holidays.
The Hardware Store had its annual holiday Ladies Night with masks and social distancing in November.
When it came to getting the holiday gift fruit baskets out to the senior citizens of the island, the Rec Committee with the help of high school students put together 150 baskets and had seniors drive to the fire station to pick them up. Normally, the baskets would be delivered or the seniors could pick them up at the Senior Center at the annual holiday senior lunch. The holiday lunch was cancelled this yule season, but seniors found a gift certificate to The Forge in their gift baskets to help make up for not having the luncheon.
The always-popular Lake Erie Islands Conservancy Potluck at the South Bass Island Lighthouse was also cancelled. Plus the annual Christmas party at Tipper’s did not take place because the restaurant is closed for the winter. The open house at the grocery store did not happen. The usual holiday Christmas parties put on by businesses for their employees took a big hit, too.
A few things did take place. There was an outdoor gathering downtown for the official lighting of the Christmas decorations in DeRivera Park. The annual Audubon Bird Count took place as normal simply because participants were pretty much on their own or not in large groups.
One event that took place was Santa Claus’s visit to the island children. Although the traditional pancake breakfast with Santa at the town hall was cancelled, Santa was able to visit island kids individually. He pulled up to each kid’s house on a fire truck, passing out gifts to every child!
Another event that was changed for the sake of avoiding crowds was the annual Christmas concert the school kids put on in the gymnasium. This year, the performances were digitally filmed and put up on social media for families to enjoy.
The annual judging of Christmas lights and decorations also took place. Girl Scouts from the island’s Troop 10828 judged the lights and awarded cash prizes to Bill and Sherri Kowalski (first place), Tim and Jeanette Luecke (second place) and Mark and Karen Wilhelm (third place). In general, it seemed like there were fewer Christmas lights around the island. The only lights on Delaware Ave., other than in the park, were at Misty Bay, the Round House, Park Hotel and the Country House.
We were pleased to hear that seven youngsters went out and sang carols at 14 homes a few days before Christmas.
The hard working crew at Miller Boat Line had a joyous holiday when the ferries stopped early on Christmas eve and didn’t run on Christmas Day.
The best part of the entire holiday season was Christmas morning when islanders woke up to the whitest Christmas they experienced in years. By the end of the day, there was about a half foot of snow on the ground.
And of course, it wouldn’t be the holiday season if there wasn’t a ceremony to please the Ice God Ullr. This season was a bit different as islanders attended a ceremonial burning of a huge Covid germ ball to usher out 2020 and welcome 2021.
New Year’s Eve was certainly subdued compared to those of the past, but at least Topsy Turvey’s and The Forge were open in the evening to help usher in 2021.

There Were a Few Good Things About 2020

2020 will be remembered by us all for the mostly bad things, but there is another side of the coin, too. There were a few good things we experienced on the islands this past year.
The predicted Harmful Algal Bloom Severity Index of 4.5 that measures the algae blooms in the lake in 2020 turned out to be much smaller than forecasted in July by NOAA.
The fishing in Lake Erie around the islands was excellent.
Islanders learned new skills like Zoom, plus the island students learned how to attend school remotely from home.
The summer weather this past season was absolutely spectacular.
Islanders had a respite from the hordes of visitors that usually ascend on the island during the summer months, and without most of the events and activities going on, it was somewhat relaxing.
We all learned more about a pandemic than we ever cared to know about, plus we learned about wearing masks and social distancing, skills we won’t soon forget.
Business owners learned how to adapt to adverse conditions.
And lastly, we had the first truly “White Christmas” we’ve had in years.

Out of the Archives

Last month we re-published our very first issue of the Put-in-Bay Gazette for our 40th anniversary issue. Below is the second issue of the Gazette that ran in January 1981. The newspaper grew from two pages to four pages in that month span and picked up a few more advertisers. Subscribers could get the Gazette delivered to their home for a mere $6 per year. That would be about $17.50 in today’s dollars, a little cheaper than our $20 per year subscription rate. The cover story in this issue featured life on Put-in-Bay in the 1930s, when the original Put-in-Bay Gazette was published. You’ll also notice the “Island Shorts,” what we now call Moss on the Rock. Enjoy!


Editor’s Note:

All the news in the Put-in-Bay Gazette is based on facts, either observed and verified first, second or third hand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources or from wide-spread rumors. We never use fact-check websites because our island news is too new for the fact checkers to accurately check.


To subscribe to the Put-in-Bay Gazette please visit their website by clicking here.

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