Put-in-Bay Island Diary: July 2020

Matt Keech, owner of Cameo Pizza in Sandusky, and his partner Stuart Wells, from Parallax Lighting, have been on the island in July helping business sanitize their heavy traffic areas. This Ultraviolet-C disinfection is the same technology used in hospitals. It uses a high powered UV-C unit that kills 99.99+% of germs in under 15 minutes. Pictured above are some businesses being disinfected before July 4th weekend. The Boardwalk Upper Deck, Reel Bar, Round House, Mr. Ed’s and Cameo Pizza and Heineman Winery were among the businesses to have the treatment done.

Wed., July 1st – With reports of a few coronavirus cases being supposedly traced back to a bar on the island, one B&B owner reports a dozen reservation cancellations. Another is reported to have twenty cancellations. The orange Camaro driven off the seawall at the end of Conlan Rd. by a rookie NFL player the night before is hauled off the island.

Thu., July 2nd – The kids taking part in the Community Swim/Sail program have their first lake swim lessons. It’s absolutely beautiful weather for this first week of swim/sail. Frosty Bar takes a proactive and responsible stand and closes over Coronavirus concerns. The Kruegers are celebrating Mojito Bay’s 10th anniversary.

Fri., July 3rd – Island Bar owners get an email notice from the Liquor Dept. announcing they have received reports about some places not following state Coronavirus guidelines. The Boardwalk closes its Main Deck after learning the night before that one of its staff tested positive for Covid-19. They implement enhanced cleaning and sanitizing procedures throughout, a responsible choice they make that is not something required by the Health Department. At Mr. Ed’s and Cameo Pizza they are using a UV light treatment that kills microparticles on every surface. Russell Brohl II has made strawberry rhubarb, rhubarb, gooseberry, hot pepper, and mixed berry chambord jam for the Lake Erie Islands Conservancy Jam Sale. $1 from the sale of each jar goes to the Conservancy. There are also 16 oz. jars of German style red cabbage for sale for $7. Patty Bauer meets NFL player Terrelle Pryor while working at the Island beverage center. Friday night Happy Hour at the Crew’s Nest is halted indefinitely due to social-distancing requirements.

Sat., July 4th – Some summer blooms to enjoy in the Cooper’s Woods Preserve are Enchanters Nightshade, Tall Bellflower, Lopseed and the start of the wild leek blooms! Mr. Ed’s Bar and Grille limits admittance to Mist Pool to just hotel guests of The Commodore Resort, Victory Station Hotel and those that have Cabana Reservations. They also permit only a 50% capacity in the pool as they follow CDC-recommended guidelines. There’s a New Member Welcome Party at the Yacht Club. There’s a special 4th of July Antique Car Parade with a post-parade party sponsored by Marc and Nan Burr at the Crew’s Nest pavilion. The Put-in-Bay EMS sends out a big thank you to the Put-in-Bay Yacht Club for providing dinner for their crews. In spite of no community fireworks display, there are plenty to see with scattered fireworks at Heineman Winery, the PIB airport, spots on East Point and Middle Bass Island.

Sun., July 5th – The usual Sunday afternoon Antique Car Parade takes place in the afternoon. Hooligans announces it will close for a few days to deep clean and sanitize, plus get all the staff at Hooligans and the other Boardwalk restaurants Covid-19 tested.

Mon., July 6th – Miller Boat Line announces it will require masks for walk-on passengers riding its ferries starting on Wednesday, July 8th. The Jet Express will also institute the mask policy starting on the 7th.

Tue., July 7th – PIB Mayor Jessica Dress and the Village Council have an hour-long Exit Conference via phone with the Auditors for the completed 2018 Audit of the Village’s finances. During the Council’s workshop session, there is a discussion about requiring mask wearing in the Village while in public. A group of island citizens meets at the ball diamond at 6 p.m. to vote for a new DeRivera Park Trustee. The two candidates for the position vacated by George Stoiber are Marv Booker from the Boardwalk and Craig Cox who owns the home closest to the Bathing Beach at the end of Delaware Ave. Booker is elected to the position. A rainless thunder-bumper comes through the islands about 11:15 p.m. with wind gusts of 58 MPH out of the north. During the flashes of lightning, a waterspout is spotted just northwest of North Bass.

Wed., July 8th – At the Monument, reenactors are putting on their Voices of Victory program. If you missed it, they will do it again August 19th and September 16th. Put-in-Bay’s Safe Island Task Force, after aggressively requesting state and county officials to establish a Covid-19 testing site on the island, is pleased that a volunteer testing for up to 1,000 island employees will take place on Friday, the 10th, and Saturday, the 11th at the fire station. Frosty Bar, The Backyard, and Big Man’s Burrito Stand close until further notice.

Thu., July 9th – NOAA releases its 2020 Harmful Algal Bloom forecast for Lake Erie during a live-streamed webinar hosted by Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory on Gibraltar Island. The Boardwalk’s Main Deck reopens and starts serving their delicious lobster bisque to those who need their fix. Organizers of the annual Put-in-Bay Vintage Sports Car Races announce the cancellation of this year’s event planned for this September. The Animal Wellness Clinic previously scheduled for this day does not take place as originally planned.

Fri., July 10th – Sisters Carole Craigs and Elaine Martens are driving around the island on their golf cart passing out their homemade masks to their island neighbors. The two made 100 masks. More than 665 coronavirus tests are given to island employees at the Fire Station. A big shout out goes to the Ottawa County Health Department, Magruder Hospital, the PIB Vol. Fire Dept., the PIBEMS and the National Guard people for turning the fire station into an amazingly efficient testing center. If you were one of those tested, you probably came away saying “No big deal!” Kelleys Island also tests about 106 people, but when tests results were released a few days later, there were no positive cases. About two inches of much needed rain falls on the island over the course of the day and night.

Sat., July 11th – Miller ferries are on hold for the morning as water floods the line up lanes on its Catawba Dock. The Monument maintenance staff sets up two pumps to drain the road going by the memorial. The waves keep throwing the hoses back onto the shore and making things difficult to drain. It takes almost 6 hours of the pumps running before the water finally gets drained off the road. A big ‘High Five” goes out to Park Maintenance who worked so diligently to keep the water off the road as numerous golf cart drivers felt like they had to drive through that high water, some going as fast as they possibly could. If you waited to get your free Covid-19 test, the long line of early Friday at the fire station is now a “just-walk-up-and-get-a-test line.” Any non-employee islanders can get a test. Sophia Schroeder (PIBHS Class of 2017) was the subject of a wonderful feature article in Toledo Blade about her charting a course to lake stewardship. Sophia was also featured in Twineline, Ohio Sea Grant’s print magazine. Ohio Sea Grant is a statewide program that supports greater knowledge and stewardship of Lake Erie and the Great Lakes.

Sun., July 12th – The numbers of visitors on the island is a fraction of what it would be on a beautiful July Sunday in a normal year! It’s obvious the press about the few cases of Coronavirus on the island has taken its toll on visitors coming to Put-in-Bay. There’s a beautiful orange sunset.

Mon., July 13th – The Put-in-Bay Chamber of Commerce holds its July meeting via Zoom. Across the border, the Pelee Island Council also is on Zoom for its monthly meeting. Those who were mass tested for coronavirus at the fire station on Friday and Saturday are beginning to hear the results. Early figures indicate 66 out of 984 people tested positive for the virus. The 6.7% positivety rate is relatively close to the state of Ohio average of 6.2%.

Tue., July 14th – Hooligans Irish Pub reopens after being closed for the last several days. Openings and closings have been changing daily. The Chamber of Commerce posts a list of the businesses open on Facebook. Father-to-be Austin Bolyard turns 30. Billy Market takes off work for a day on the lake with his family. They leave Put-in-Bay and go all the way to the Ambassador Bridge over the Detroit River. The round trip takes 5 hours.

Wed., July 15th – Frosty’s reopens! Chad Thomas has hardly anything left after an “everything free” garage sale starting the day before at the former home of Mary Sutphen. If you’re a walleye fisherman, you’ve noticed the fish are moving north and east of Kelleys Island into cooler water. Billy Market watches visitors getting off the 10:30 a.m. boat and comments it’s the most people get off in the last two weeks.

Thu., July 16th – The Garden Club’s tour of Commercial Gardens scheduled for today doesn’t take place. It’s the last day to have applications in for the full-time physical education/health teacher position at PIB School. Both the USCG Hollyhock and Morro Bay anchored off the south end of Put-in-Bay.

Fri., July 17th – There are a lot of cool Jeeps running around the island. It’s the beginning of the 2020 Jeep Invasion, one of the few events that hasn’t been cancelled this season. Rob and Maria from the Black Squirrel drop some delicious lasagna off at the Lime Kiln for the Miller Boat Line employees. A crew from Stone Lab puts one of its water quality monitoring buoys back into the lake.

Sat., July 18th – Interim PIB Police Chief Jim Kimble and PIBEMS Manager Patrick Rogers are the guest speakers at the Put-in-Bay Bay Property Owners’ Association’s meeting at the pavilion at Perry’s Cave in the morning. About 150 fancy Jeeps are on display on the lawns in front of Heineman Winery and Mammoth Cave. They are part of the 5th annual Jeep Invasion. After the judging, the Jeeps parade downtown. Over on Middle Bass, “The Glausers R Great” fundraiser takes place in the evening. High temperature on the island for the day is 89 degrees.

Sun., July 19th – The Sunday Antique Car Parade takes place between scattered rain showers. Shortly after 4 o’clock, Bob Bahney on Peach Point records 68 m.p.h. northwest winds in a huge rain squall that goes through the islands.

Mon., July 20th – Through Imagery Analysis, scientists spot a bloom of cyanobacteria, Microcystis, as it develops in the western basin of Lake Erie, but still nowhere near the islands. Some scum formation was observed approximately 8 miles northwest of West Sister Island. Scientists warn, “Keep pets and yourself out of the water in areas where scum is forming.” Miller Boat Line eliminates the 9 p.m. run leaving Put-in-Bay and the 9:30 p.m. trip leaving Catawba on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays only.

Tue., July 21st – At the PIB Village Council meeting in the morning, there’s a discussion about passing an ordinance that would require the wearing of masks in public. Many island residents voice their opinions, including Ray Fogg, Marv Booker and Kendra Koehler. After a lengthy discussion, the issue is finally tabled until the next council meeting.

Wed., July 22nd – Lake Erie’s walleye fishing is focusing on the cooler, deeper waters east of Kelleys Island. Just like the weather, there’s hot fishing action northeast of Kelleys. At the Safe Island Task Force meeting, PIBPD Chief Jim Kimble mentioned he just returned from RITE (Racial Intelligence Training & Engagement) training in Middletown, OH. Chief Kimble is now able to train officers in de-escalation training techniques.

Thu., July 23rd – The Community Swim/Sail awards are handed out to the participants at a presentation ceremony at the State Park. Kathy Schrader is busy tending the flowers at Mother of Sorrows. The Put-in-Bay Police Department releases a policy statement concerning guidelines and enforcement of the new state-wide mask wearing mandate announced by the governor to begin today. Brad Ohlemacher and Paul Jeris have a soft opening of their Swipe Right Pizza trailer, located in the parking lot next to Joe’s Bar.

Fri., July 24th – Visitation to the island is well below normal for a July Friday, but comments are heard that it seems to be getting better. Plain clothed members of the Ohio Investigative Unit are on the island and give out two citations to PIB businesses after receiving complaints of blatant violations of Ohio Department of Health orders in place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Sat., July 25th – What used to be the busiest Saturday of the summer, Christmas in July, is now just your everyday average island Saturday. The island is busy, but not even close to the crowds of people we’re used to seeing. However, a few people are still in the Christmas spirit as Santa is spotted at the Round House in the afternoon. Cousin Eddie from ‘Christmas Vacation’ is also spotted at the Reel Bar in the evening.

Sun., July 26th – There’s an afternoon birthday party at the home of Scott and Caroline Jackson for their daughter Liesl, who turned 4. Many of the guests were people who worked or visited the Goat in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, this past winter. It’s Assistant Chief Mark Wilhelm’s 65th birthday, plus his 50th year anniversary of serving on the PIB Vol. Fire Dept. Island naturalists Renee Fultz and Jackie Taylor are out and about on the island looking for Monarch butterflies to tag, plus making a video for Facebook about pollinators.

Mon., July 27th – Due to coronavirus concerns, the previously-announced Celebration of Life at the Crew’s Nest for Teri Winchester, the longtime manager of the Roundhouse, does not take place. It’s terribly warm in the morning, but afternoon and evening showers cool things off. The Round House has a special lemon shaped sign hanging from their porch in honor of Teri Winchester’s birthday.

Tue., July 28th – According to the Sandusky Register, the PIBPD over the weekend saw smaller crowds than in years past. In total, officers arrested five people, issued five misdemeanor citations and gave 23 verbal warnings for traffic violations. Dane Urge is celebrating his 60th birthday! The 125-ft. yacht Eccentric is tied at the dock in front of the Put-in-Bay Winery.

Wed., July 29th – There is a video open house so the public can weigh in on the new seawall project at Perry’s Monument. Monument Superintendent Barbara Rowles says $29 million has been appropriated for the seawall. Construction will start on the north seawall in spring 2021, with work on the south seawall slated for 2022 if all goes as planned. It’s island versifier Woody Widmar’s birthday!

Thu., July 30th – The Put-in-Bay Gazette August issue is printed and hits newsstands.

Fri., July 31st – At the PIB Yacht Club, the Hobie waves are tasked with keeping the ILYA regatta alive after it was cancelled.


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