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Island Diary December 2023
Fri., Dec. 1st – It’s a rainy and gloomy day. The aquadam that held back the lakewater as workers put in the new seawall on the north side of the Monument is completely gone and waves are now lapping along the new wall. The annual winter party at Island Hardware & Market takes place in the evening.
Sat., Dec. 2nd – Nora Ladd, PIBHS Class of 2021, turns is 21. The Panther basketball team beats the Monclova Christian Thunder team by a score of 64-45. Lear Cooks leads the scoring with 21 points. The annual sacrificial burn to appease Ullr, the God of Ice and Snow, takes place on the waterfront between A-Dock and the Boardwalk. This year, Mark Keiser constructed a giant milk carton that was set afire. Over on Middle Bass, they have their own sacrifice to Ullr. Both sacrifices were followed with fireworks. There was a holiday party at Melinda McCann’s home for the Crew’s Nest employees and their families. Cantankerus makes the last fuel trip of the season until next spring.
Sun., Dec. 3rd – The low visibility in the morning does not stop the duck hunters. If you pass the Monument, you’ll see the remains of the aquadam that held back the lake during the seawall construction. Ty Winchester fires up the pizza ovens at Pasquale’s so islanders can satisfy their pizza fix at dinner time. Sunstopper’s Laurie Utterberg celebrates her 70th birthday.
Mon., Dec. 4th – Aaron Patton, PIBHS Class of 1992, celebrates his 50th birthday.
Tue., Dec. 5th – Among the discussions at the Village Council meeting is paid parking in the downtown area starting this coming season. With the passage of legalized marijuana issue on the November ballot, Council decides to have a moratorium on marijuana production and sales in the Village until the state clarifies the options communities will have.
Wed., Dec. 6th – It’s movie night at Put-in-Bay Yacht Club.
Thu., Dec. 7th – Heather Durdil is at the library helping those who knit, crochet, needle point and/or cross stitch with their projects.
Fri., Dec. 8th – There’ a memorial service at the Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church Carillon for the four brave men who lost their lives 40 years ago today going to the aid of the police chief on Kelleys Island who had suffered a heart attack. The Put-in-Bay Panther basketball team wins its only game at the Great Lakes 4-Island Basketball Tournament beating Beaver Island 39 to 22.
Sat., Dec. 9th – A strong Washington Island team wins the Great Lakes 4-Island Basketball Tournament at Mackinac Island, and the PIB Panther team loses to the Mackinac Islanders 37 to 32.
Sun., Dec. 10th – Before church services begin, the PIB Fire Dept. answers a mutual aid call to Middle Bass. Millers fires up a ferry at their downtown dock within minutes to make the trip. Fortunately, it was nothing serious. Jackie Taylor turns 40. The Browns Backers are at Topsy Turvey’s watching their team beat the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Mon., Dec. 11th – Council meets to discuss the Village’s budget for 2024, housing for police officers, golf cart regulations and sewer and water issues. Up on Pelee Island, the Pelee Islander 2 makes its last crossing in the morning, and air service for the winter starts in the late afternoon.
Tue., Dec. 12th – At the Village Council meeting a new record for the most emergency legislation votes is set. Paul Ladd addresses Council about keeping his boat at the Village Docks for the winter. At the Erie Island Library you can learn about book folding to make a Christmas Tree. Members of the PIB Vol. Fire Dept. do live fire training at EHOVE on the mainland. They practice different techniques for both exterior and interior firefighting. The island Girl Scouts are out judging Christmas lights. Members of the Lake Erie Islands Conservancy are at the South Bass Island Lighthouse enjoying the group’s annual holiday potluck.
Wed., Dec. 13th – Sue and Mike Byrnes and Russ and Lisa Brohl are out kayaking. Librarian Karen Wilhelm hosts Words & Wine Book Club at her home on Trenton Ave. The kids’ movie at the yacht club is The Grinch that Stole Christmas.
Thu., Dec. 14th – The OWLS (Old Women’s Literary Society) meet for their holiday brunch at the home of Linda and Dave Frederick on the West Shore. Put-in-Bay students in grades K through 8 sing on stage at the annual Holiday Concert in the school gym. This year’s program directed by Gay Pippert was really creative with one song complete with ugly sweater cutout costumes. There was one song using sign language, plus a percussion presentation using 5-gallon plastic buckets. Ten years ago on this date the island was snowcovered.
Fri., Dec. 15th – From today until April 15th, prepaid gasoline cards can be used on pumps 3 and 4 at Erie Islands Petroleum Pit Stop.
Sat., Dec. 16th – The PIB School Panthers B-ballers beat Waite 43 to 31 in a home game. Lear Cooks leads the team with 19 points. Nineteen volunteers are placing wreaths of the graves of 189 veterans on South Bass and Middle Bass Islands as part of the Wreaths Across America Day program. There’s a potluck, ugly sweater and white elephant exchange at the yacht club. Deacon Jim and Christy O’Donnell celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary at the Forge followed by a stop at the yacht club.
Sun., Dec. 17th – Island seniors head to the fire station to pick up their holiday fruit baskets. Later in the afternoon, Santa travels the island in a fire truck with siren and horn followed by an entourage of island helpers passing out gifts to the island children. Both the fruit baskets and the gifts are courtesy of the PIB Rec Committee.
Mon., Dec. 18th – The East ramp at the Lime Kiln Dock is still unusable, and with the high winds, several of the ferry trips are between Catawba and Miller’s downtown dock. No large trucks, large trailers or semis are hauled. The PIB High School Panther B-ball team is able to make it off the island on the noon ferry to play a game on the mainland. Cody Kowalski fills the basket twice in the last few minutes of the game and they beat Jones Academy 38-33 and give Craig Schuffenecker his 200th win as basketball and volleyball coach for the teams. The blow up reindeer in front of Put-in-Bay Winery at the Doller Estate are dancing in the wind. The only thing missing is music.
Tue., Dec. 19th – What a difference a day makes! The wind dies and the temperature pretty much tiptoes around the freezing mark all day. The deer in the front yard of the Doller estate have totally collapsed, but later are brought back to life.
Wed., Dec. 20th – Millers runs an extra ferry trip for Middle Bass residents. Some Put-in-Bay Chamber of Commerce board members meet at the Chamber office while others who are off island attend by Zoom. Dave Holscott from Mitchell Rd. and the Goat Biergarten celebrates his 80th birthday on South Padre Island in Texas.
Thu., Dec. 21st – Christmas vacation begins and there are no classes at PIB School. It’s the first day of winter and 40 degrees out and Barry Koehler spots a watersnake while walking his dogs. In the evening a group of poker players compete in the annual Winter Solstice tournament.
Fri., Dec. 22nd – With many people from the island away on the mainland for the long holiday weekend, the most exciting things on the Rock are the bright and festive Christmas lights in DeRivera Park along with the ones on the Round House, the Park Hotel and Pasquale’s.
Sat., Dec. 23rd – It’s a gloomy winter day with rain and fog. There are three small boats docked at the public docks. Emergency forces are called out after a car is flipped on the road going by Billy and Allie Market’s house between the Lime Kiln Dock and the SBI Lighthouse.. The driver is transported to the mainland by the Coast Guard because of the low visibility. Some of the island kids and their parents enjoy a little play time upstairs in Town Hall. The last ferry trip of the day leaves PIB at 2 p.m. and returns from Catawba at 230 p.m. The Lime Kiln freight barn closes at 2 p.m., so if you don’t pick up those last minute Christmas packages you’ll be waiting until Tuesday, the 26th to do so.
Sun., Dec. 24th – It’s Christmas Eve, and dense fog keeps the island children from seeing Santa’s sleigh in the evening even though his bells can be heard ringing over Billy Market’s home by the Lime Kiln dock.
Mon., Dec. 25th – The fog of Christmas Eve lifts and the temperature hits just below 50 degrees. There are no ferry trips on Christmas Day, but Dustin Shaffer from Island Air Taxi makes sure those who want to get to or from the mainland or the island can. Rudy Rence from Put-in-Bay Rd., Rob Hard from the Black Squirrel and Johnathan Lautzenheiser from the Keys take time to swing their clubs on the golf course at Saunders Resort. Jeff Bast tools around the island on his Harley. Susan Byrnes spots and photographs Santa Claus kayaking in the lake off the South Bass Island Lighthouse.
Tue., Dec. 26th – Temperatures on the islands are in the 50s all day. The Erie Islands Library reopens after being closed for the Christmas holidays.
Wed., Dec. 27th – The temperature hovers around 40 degrees all day. On this date in 1887, the Village of Put-in-Bay was established amid fanfare of great and rowdy celebration. Island Transportation bus driver of many years Dale McKee celebrates his 70th birthday.
Thu., Dec. 28th – The island is pretty quiet except for the duck hunters. Perhaps the fog, light rain in the morning and above freezing temperature have something to do with it. Eddie Sheller brings a group from Middle Bass for a little holiday cheer time at Topsy Turvey’s. Mike and Sue Byrnes are out on the flat lake getting the last of their 2023 kayaking in.
Fri., Dec. 29th – Big excitement of the day on PIB is a three-way tie between Courtney Blumensaadt walking her dog, loads of Canadian Geese grazing around the Christmas lights in DeRivera Park or Matt Fuchs taking some delicious cookies to Topsy Turvey’s that were made from the mix the Girl Scouts were selling at the Holiday Bazaar.
Sat., Dec. 30th – It’s been four weeks since islanders made their annual sacrifice to Ullr, the God who supposedly is the one who brings ice to the islands for ice fishing and other winter fun. There isn’t even a hint of ice in the lake. A group of island folk enjoy lunch at Hooligan’s in Westlake. Fr. Bob at St. Paul’s hosts a Christmas Open House in the afternoon.
Sun., Dec. 31st – Some islanders end 2023 with a New Years Eve Dinner at PIB Yacht Club and then enjoy Lucas Guy playing until 2024 is rung in with a champagne toast. Others are at the Forge for dinner and NY’s Eve fun. At Topsy Turvey’s there is live music to bring in the New Year.
Putinbay.com is proud to present the Put-in-Bay Gazette’s Island Diary for December 2023, in the January 2024 issue of the Gazette.
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