Put-in-Bay Island Diary: December 2021

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Island Diary December 2021

Wed., Dec. 1st – Looking around the harbor there are still a dozen small boats at the docks that have not been pulled for the winter yet. Tim and Jeanette Luecke are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.

Thu., Dec. 2nd – The high schools on Mackinac Island and Washington Island cancel their participation in this year’s Great Lakes Islands basketball tournament due to positive covid tests on their teams. There’s a birthday party for 2-year old Maritima Market at the Town Hall in the early evening.

Fri., Dec. 3rd – The boys and girls basketball teams from Beaver Island arrive on the island to participate in the tournament. The Beaver Islander boys team is victorious, but the PIB Panther girls reign supreme with a win over the Beaver Island girls. The annual community tree lighting ceremony takes place in DeRivera Park thanks to the volunteers from the PIB Recreation Committee. Friends and family celebrate Bill Jellison’s 93rd birthday.

Sat., Dec. 4th – The PIBVFD is busy serving hot pancakes at their annual pancake breakfast fundraiser at the fire station. At the basketball tournament at the school gym, the PIB girls enjoy another lopsided victory over the Beaver Island girls to take championship honors in the tournament for the third time in a row. The Panther boys, in spite of a lot of hustle, fall for the second time and the Beaver Islanders take home the boy’s trophy. Miller Boat line has a “last minute” shopping day trip to the mainland for those on Middle Bass. The dinner special at Put-in-Bay Yacht Club is Chicken Parmesan. There’s a baby shower at the Ørchard Farm Stand on Catawba for Ally Urge Blumensaadt (PIBHS Class of 2011).

Sun., Dec. 5th – If you live on Pelee Island, this is the last day for ferry service for the 2021 season. Taylor’s Tae Kwon Do, Tumbling & Dance holds its last class for the PIB youngsters at the Town Hall. There’s rain in the late afternoon and evening

Mon., Dec. 6th – Due to high winds, Miller Boat Line has only two trips in the early morning. Before noon the winds are out of the west, blowing steadily at almost 40 mph. Bob Bahney records a 49-mph gust at his home on Peach Point. They’re putting up the Christmas tree in the Bayview Room at the yacht club. The PIB Twp. Board of Trustees holds a special workshop meeting with the Middle Bass Fire Department followed by one with the PIB Port Authority.

Tue., Dec. 7th – Ice conditions on the Catawba dock hold up the first ferry trip to the mainland. There’s also no last trip from the island. The Put-in-Bay Village Planning Commission votes unanimously against a zoning change from Residential to Commercial-1 for 424 West Bayview Ave. next to the Put-in-Bay Winery. Its recommendation goes to Council for it to hold a public hearing and final vote on the matter. When they forgot to move Cupcake the Elf, before leaving the island, Justine and Brian Cultice asked their friend Audrey Socha Bodenbender to move it. The couple comes home with their daughter Evie and find the inside of their house toilet papered by “Cupcake.” Marie Schroeder, who runs the kitchen at Hooligans in the summer, is delivering homemade lasagna dinners. The 140-ft. CGC Neah Bay (WTGB-105) Icebreaker makes a stop at the Jet Express dock.

Wed., Dec. 8th – The M/V Mary Ann Market leaves Duluth in the morning on its way to the Sturgeon Bay area in Wisconsin where it will stay for the winter while it has some finishing touches added. A 106-ft. long C-160 transporter lands at the PIB Airport.

Thu., Dec. 9th – At noon, Deacon Jim O’Donnell from Mother of Sorrows conducts a memorial service at the Carillon in memory of the four men, Bruce Mettler, Michael Sweeney, Duane Dress and Robert Rigoni, who lost their lives 39 years ago when their plane tragically crashed into the lake while on a rescue call to Kelleys Island. The PIB School Board meets and Superintendent Poe reports school is closed today and won’t resume until Monday. Ten students have tested positive for Covid.

Fri., Dec. 10th – School is closed for the second day due to covid concerns. Tickets for the 2022 Bash on the Bay go on sale through eTix.com.

Sat., Dec. 11th – Stiff southwest winds cancel ferry trips in the afternoon. Islanders 60 or older are notified to come to the fire department in the afternoon to pick up their complimentary fruit basket from the PIB Recreation Committee. TJ Burgess (PIBHS Class of 1990) is at the yacht club in the evening entertaining Michele Heineman, Linda Parker (PIBHS Class of 1965), Sue Latham (PIBHS Class of 1964), Linda Goaziou and Sue Seaberg (PIBHS Class of 1975).

Sun, Dec. 12th – The Lake Erie Islands Browns Backers are at Topsy Turvey’s and very happy to have their team squeak out a win over Baltimore.

Mon., Dec. 13th – PIB School students return to classes after the Covid outbreak of late last week. After school activities are cancelled for the week and the Holiday Concert for Wednesday is cancelled. At the library, Tom and Stephanie Thanasiu drop off a Christmas wreath completely decorated with different types of wrapped candy. The PIB Vol. Fire Dept. is using one of its trucks to take Santa and a few elves around to the homes of the good little island boys and girls to pass out chocolate and gifts courtesy of the PIB Recreation Committee. The old “Boopy Market” house gets torn down.

Tue., Dec. 14th – The sound of duck hunter shotguns booming can be heard all morning. Tom Thanasiu tells us he stops at the Senior Center for soup and a movie at lunch time, but ends up with a hotdog and socializing and neither soup nor movie. Ohio Edision’s Terry Jenkins gives islanders a heads-up about a major power outage that will see parts of Ottawa County and all the Bass Islands without power for a short period later in the day. The Lake Erie Islands Conservancy has its Christmas Party at the yacht club. The 18 guests are served a basta buffet. The desserts are potluck style. Lisa Brohl announces two new acquisitions, a portion of Duff’s Woods and several vacant acres at the corner of Meechen and Put-in-Bay Rd.

Wed., Dec. 15th – There’s rain in AM. The Holiday Concert with the islands little cherubs does not take place as earlier scheduled due to Covid concerns.

Thu., Dec. 16th – Demolishers finish up the demolition and debris removal of the Edwin “Boopy” Market home on Catawba Ave. across from Cooper’s Woods towards town from the Goat. You’d never even know a home was ever there after they’re done.

Fri., Dec. 17th – Tom Thanasiu is helping clean the rain gutters on the top of Annie Parker’s House, the Niagara Guest House and D.J. Parker’s Toledo House. He takes a few moments to take some interesting photos while up high that he posts on social media. Dustin Shaffer hosts the winter soltice poker party at his home on Lakeview Ave.

Sat., Dec. 18th – At Miller Boat Line’s downtown workshop, Mark Keiser is working on something to appease Ullr, the God of Snow and Ice, so the island can have a good ice fishing season. What Mark creates will end up being burned in the water off the lakefront by the Boardwalk after Christmas. At the Put-in-Bay Yacht Club, guests enjoy the first-ever yacht club Christmas party with a turkey dinner and a cozy fire in the fireplace. Justine and Evie Cultice are at Jack and Lorraine Zimmerman’s Hopfinger Zimmerman Memorial Park near Fremont to see Santa Claus and his Reindear Noel.

Sun., Dec. 19th – The annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count takes on the Lake Erie Islands. Participants are collecting data on Kelleys, Pelee and the Bass Islands during the day. There’s a form that helps with observations recording time of day, time spent, distance traveled, weather conditions and a bird checklist. Among the hotspots include Massie Cliffside Preserve, Dodge Woods, Scheeff East Point Preserve, Cooper’s Woods, Jane Coates Wildflower Trail, and the Lake Erie Islands Nature and Wildlife Center. On Pelee Island, 11 watchers record 55 species. On this day in 1958, “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!” in its syndicated newspaper feature for the day a ‘believer it or not” about the glacial grooves on Kelleys Island.

Mon., Dec. 20th – School’s out for two weeks for Christmas vacation. Former PIB EMS director Keith Kahler and his wife Tammy are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary.

Tue., Dec. 21st – Rich Hahn, Jim Anteau, Sally Stuckey, Rudy Rence and Diane Nemec enjoy lunch at Topsy’s shortly after the Winter Solstice officially arrives at 10:59 a.m. Up on Pelee Island, they announce the winners of this year’s Christmas lights contest. There are 40 decorated homes and the top prize is for a home decorated like the Griswold House. Unfortunately, there is no contest on South Bass this holiday season. The last of fuel for the winter is hauled to the island on Cantankerus. Mike and Susan Byrnes and Michele Heineman celebrate the Solstice with a kayak paddle around Gibraltar Island.

Wed., Dec. 22nd – Kroger in Port Clinton begins picking up and transporting groceries to the islands. This will continue through the winter months. Islanders with any questions or concerns for Kroger can contact Kara Theis (Pick-up Supervisor) at (419) 734-7911. On this date in 1958 an early freeze stops ferry traffic on Lake Erie, leaving residents on Put-in-Bay without groceries and supplies, forcing transport by aircraft. Many things are half price at the Island General Store as they prepare to close for the winter.

Thu., Dec. 23rd – PIB Chamber of Commerce president Brian Cultice and his wife Justine host a party at their home on Jeris Lane. Among the guests were Audrey and Joe Bodenbender, Phoebe and Barry Koehler and their kids, Jake and Maritima Market, Jenni and Ryan Stoiber and their kids, Madeline Pugh, Jackie and Zach Kowalski and Amanda and Bryan Gilles. To the delight of the kids, Santa pays a surprise visit and peeks in the windows to check on the kids. Ryan Stoiber is in charge of the Tom & Jerry’s just like his father did at Stoiber family Christmas parties a generation ago.

Fri., Dec. 24th – There’s a true rumor going around the island that Natalie Ontko Price (PIBHS Class of 1994), her husband Stephen and their two children Cassie and Vivian are on the island visiting family for the Christmas holiday.

Sat., Dec. 25th – Santa dons rain gear as he delivers presents to the homes of the islands’ good little boys and girls. At 9 a.m. the temperature on the island is 56 degrees, but heads slowly downward the rest of the day. Mother Mary Staley is livestreaming the Christmas morning worship service at St. Paul’s. There is no ferry service for the holiday, but Dustin Shaffer from Island Air Taxi is flying between periods of fog. The island’s Browns Backers are at Topsy’s watching their team play the Green Bay Packers. Larry Herold and Cathy Schwind enjoy their first Christmas on the island in more than 20 years. Their sons Larry and Armand and their families join them.

Sun., Dec. 26th – Jack and Janet Bergan from Victory Ave. return to the mainland after spending Christmas with their daughter, Kim Pugh, and granddaughter, Madeline Pugh. Jack can’t believe how quiet and deserted the island is. Joan Booker is celebrating her 80th birthday. Father Tom conducts Christmas Mass at the Star of the Sea Catholic Church on Pelee Island. Covid safety protocols are in order.

Mon., Dec. 27th – Miller Boat Line has a delay in the morning. Monday night as it gets dark, islanders gather on the shore between the Boardwalk and the Village’s A-Dock to burn a floating trash can with a big 2021 on in an attempt to appease Ullr the Ice God. There’s also a ceremony at Middle Bass to appease Ullr with a floating ice shanty. On this day, Dec. 27th, 1951, Kelleys Island municipal power plant almost ran out of fuel oil. The Coast Guard Cutter Tupelo saved the day by delivering 260 drums of oil.

Tue., Dec. 28th – Miller Boat Line’s new boat, the “Mary Ann Market” arrives at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, to get the last finishing touches before it’s ready to be put into service.

Wed., Dec. 29th – Miller Boat Line is recommending everyone get their mainland vehicles off the island no later than Friday, New Year’s Eve. Mother of Sorrows holds a community Christmas hymn sing-along to help raise funds for the victims of the tornadoes in Kentucky. Andy and Courtney Blumensaadt have an open house at their new residence at the old Feather B&B on Langram Ave. across from the airport.

Thu., Dec. 30th – Wet snow flakes start the day at Put-in-Bay.

Fri., Dec. 31st – PIBYC is open for New Year’s Eve for a special dinner and to bring in 2022. Lucas Guy provides live music for the night’s ringing in of the new year. Many islanders also ring in the new year at Topsy Turvey’s with the Jamtastic band.

Putinbay.com is proud to present the Put-in-Bay Gazette’s Island Diary for November, in the December 2021 issue of the Gazette.

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

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