Put-in-Bay Island Diary: June 2020

The Put-in-Bay High School Class of 2020 was very fortunate to be able to have their graduation ceremony on the steps of Perry’s Monument on June 18th. After the ceremony they were treated to a ride around the island in the Zimmerman’s old firetruck. Left to right are Alexandra Knauer, Morgan Stacy, Joe Byrnes, Cecilia Glauser, Carin Kirsch and Hannah Lentz. -Photo courtesy of Susan Byrnes

Mon., Jun. 1st – There’s a boat and diver working along the north seawall at the Monument. It’s a beautiful day for Miller Boat Line and the Jet Express to have some “mutual aid” training. Monumental Charters fishing guide Todd Rowles takes a crew from the Boardwalk, Hooligans and the Keys out on the lake and they pull in 48 walleye in record time.

Tue., Jun. 2nd – At the Village Council meeting at PIB Town Hall, members discuss the revised budget for 2020, plus other issues which will be put on the agenda for the regular Council meeting on June 9th.

Wed., Jun. 3rd – The crew at the Goat partakes in a little wine sampling so the employees have an idea about what they are serving their patrons. At Heineman Winery, they’re bottling a fresh batch of Concord grape juice.

Thu., Jun. 4th – There’s a very nice turnout for the Chamber of Commerce’s meeting at the Boardwalk’s Upper Deck where a new advertising logo and rebranding of the island’s image are gone over. The Chamber Strategic Marketing Committee worked hard on this project. Members of the committee are Paul Jeris, Brad Ohlemacher, Kim Stoiber Morrisson Caitlin Bolyard, Brian Cultice, Sara Booker and Julene M. Market. The Garden Club holds a plant exchange at the yacht club in the afternoon. We didn’t attend because no one wanted our crab grass.

Fri., Jun. 5th – It’s warm and humid out. Our furnace and A/C are fighting each other….one day it goes from cold to hot, then back from hot to cold. For a first weekend in June, Friday seems pretty busy with lots of boats already docked in the harbor.

Sat., Jun. 6th – For a first Saturday in June, the island is jammed with visitors. It’s like everyone can get out and let their masks down after being cooped up due to the beer disease. The mooring buoys in the harbor are all taken. An incident at Adventure Bay involving police pulling an overloaded golf cart gets out of control as police swarm in and arrest everyone on the cart. It’s crazy in town. There’s a fight in the street in front of the Round House, plus incidents outside on at T&J’s, and at the Jet Dock.

Sun., Jun. 7th – Shortly after midnight 36 deputies from three counties arrive on the island to help out the island police. There’s a “drive through” graduation party for PIBHS senior Hannah Lentz. People comment on social media about this being the busiest first weekend they’ve ever seen in June. There’s an “unofficial” antique car parade in the afternoon. Police respond to a call concerning a man brandishing an assault weapon on one of the arriving ferries at the Lime Kiln Dock. It turns out to be a paintball gun. At about 5:36 p.m. it sounds like multiple shots being fired near the Town Hall. Nothing comes of it.

Mon., Jun. 8th – The June meeting of the PIB Chamber of Commerce takes place via Zoom. Propellers are being installed on the new “M/V Mary Ann Market” ferry at the shipyard in Superior, Wisconsin. A big U.S. Coast Guard boat anchors off Middle Bass Island’s East Point for the night. The Put-in-Bay Upscale Wine Club meets. The Safe Island Task Force meets at the Town Hall to discuss events of Saturday night, June 6th.

Tue., Jun. 9th – At the Village Council meeting, Police Chief Steve Riddle announces that a group of National Guardsmen are coming to the island for breakfast and to familiarize themselves with the island in case they are ever needed. They end of not coming to the island, but do have lunch at the Catawba Inn (FOOD BEER) near the Catawba Dock.

Wed., Jun. 10th – It’s hot! – A small group of employees and family enjoy a preview dip in the Crew’s Nest’s new pool. Mayor Jessica Dress contacts members of the Village Council that Police Chief Steve Riddle has been put on administrative leave and that two full-time officers, Lt. Russo and Sgt. Wilde, have resigned. A storm goes through the island area with lots of rain and wind. More trees and branches are blown down than we can ever remember. A tree behind the Mammoth Cave building planted by the founder of Heineman Winery, Gustav Heineman, more than a hundred years ago is one of the tree casualties. The State Park is particularly hard hit. Many islanders are without electric, phone and internet service. At Doraine Toms’ corner at West Shore Blvd. and Mitchell Rd., a tree comes down over some electric wires and she and her neighbors don’t get their power on for a full two days. Leslie Korenko on Kelleys Island reports the “mini-hurricane-like” storm damages one home and brings down loads of trees.

Thu., Jun. 11th – Ohio State Senator Theresa Gavarone meets with the PIB Twp. Trustees. They tour the islands and to discuss upcoming issues and projects. She also met with Middle Bass residents outside of the town hall. Perry’s Cave and War of 18 Holes mini-golf are doing business after being not allowed to open due to Coronavirus. Electric service is restored to much of the island just before lunch, but not all. Don Thwaite is happy to be back on the island after two extended stays in the hospital. Susan Byrnes is putting gift baskets together for the six graduating seniors from Put-in-Bay High School. Rudy Cooks and Island Girl Christie Ontko tape their next WPIB.com radio show and then take time afterwards to help Scott Jackson from the Goat celebrate his birthday.

Fri., Jun. 12th – Some people are still without electricity on the West Shore. Keri Burris posts on social media, “To all who are spreading the fake news! There is no Coronavirus on North Bass! A summer person with a cottage had it and lives around Cleveland. He is fine now. He was not on North Bass. People are starting to see Mayflies. Gov. Mike DeWine may be in favor of allowing to-go drinks around the state with carry out dinners, but PIB Mayor Jessica C. Dress of the Village of Put-in-Bay wants to curtail it. On Friday, June 12th, Dress issued a notice to island bar and restaurant owners that the Village of Put-in-Bay wants them to refrain from selling drinks out the door.

Sat., Jun. 13th – Roger Parker counts steps as he cleans his yard of storm damage stuff. He counts 22,493 (7.6 miles). There are more people around than you can shake a stick at. It’s cool with easterly winds and high water in the usual flood-prone streets. Realtor Lee Hisey from is holding open houses on Middle Bass. Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial begins demonstrations of muskets and the carronade begin. The visitor center is open and rangers are available on the grounds to answer questions.

Sun., Jun. 14th – High lake water covers the parking lot at the Jet Express in the morning. Brandon “Kong” Copeland from Muscle Bay Fitness is celebrating his 40th birthday. The island Ohio Edison man, Terry Jenkins, finds a guy sleeping in one of the company trucks when he goes to work in the morning. Terry reports he was confused and a little scratched up from a spill he must have taken. As Terry pointed out the direction of the ferry. The man has the gall to ask him for a ride to the boat. Purple Hairy Beardstongue is now blooming on island cliffs. Entertainer JD Owen is at the Ship House on the West Shore streaming live at sunset.

Mon., Jun. 15th – The Erie Islands Library opens with limited services. Computers have been spread out and usage will be limited to 30 minutes a day. There will be a maximum of 5 patrons permitted in the library at a time. Unattended minors will not be permitted in the library. The librarians ask that you please wear a face covering when you are in the library. One on one computer assistance will not be available at this time. Seating has been removed from the library. The Safe Island Task Force meets at the Town Hall with Sheriff Steve Levorchick in attendance. He tells those in attendance the importance of having police officers learn de-escalation techniques. Laura Schanz posts on social media, “Lock your doors tonight. There was a police call for a person with a gun. Threatening to shoot. Not sure here on mbi or on a boat going around the island. Keep your eyes open and be safe.” Ryan “Doc” Daugherty throws a little get together for Super Joe Charboneau at Joe’s Bar.

Tue., Jun. 16th – Terry Jenkins gets a much-needed massage from Brittany Nesbitt after numerous long days working on getting everyone’s electricity on after the storm of the previous week.

Wed., Jun. 17th – The PIB School Board meeting originally scheduled for June 10th, takes place in the school multipurpose room. The Boardwalk begins Lobster Mania. A young woman falls off a golf cart right in front of the Monument and needs to be Lifeflighted off the island. Shorthanded Put-in-Bay Cameo Pizza closes for the evening to give its overworked staff a much deserved break.

Thu., Jun. 18th – Council meets to approve appointment of Yuri Linetsky as temporary police chief. The Resale Shop begins daily hours for the first time this season. A delayed Put-in-Bay High School graduation ceremony takes place at Perry’s Monument.

Fri., Jun. 19th – Miller Ferry adds more trips to PIB with the last trip leaving the mainland at 9:30 at night. Lisa Brohl from the Lake Erie Island Conservancy posts that there are some native plants left over from their sale. Among them are common and swamp milkweed, fox sedge, switch grass, grey-headed coneflower, hairy beardstongue or penstemon and a few others. Entertainer Westside Steve returns to the stage at the Keys for the first time this season. On WPIB.com radio, Rudy and the Island Girl (Rudy Cooks and Christie Ontko) discuss how real world problems are coming to PIB and how the island is dealing with them and changing, too.

Sat., Jun. 20th – This is the longest day (summer solstice) of the year on Put-in-Bay, and it looks like everybody and their uncle came to the island to celebrate it. The Butterfly Exhibit is open and offering everyone a special rate of $5. If you’re got a cottage out by the airport, you can tell it’s busy on the island. The helicopter rides over the island are continuous.

Sun., Jun. 21st – Ava Heineman and Joe Blumensaadt are confirmed at Mother of Sorrows in the morning by Fr. Jeff Smith. Ava’s confirmation name is Vera, after her great grandmother Vera Dodge. She was sponsored by her aunt Elizabeth Heineman. Joe’s confirmation name is Michael, after his uncle Mike Buttrey, who sponsored Joe along with his brother Peter Buttrey. Lake Erie Islands Softball League play begins with a double header. The Blue Marlin team plays the Boardwalk and the Round House goes up against Heineman Winery.

Mon., Jun. 22nd – Members of the Put-in-Bay Garden Club and the Put-in-Bay Property Owners Association meet at the intersection of Airport Rd. and Meechen for a group photo around the new directional sign.

Tue., Jun. 23rd – There’s rain in the morning, plus a stiff northwest wind in the afternoon. For a time, there was a lot of water blowing from the lake over the Monument’s north seawall onto the road. If you were on a cart, you could have gotten a good shower if you weren’t careful. In the late afternoon the man who was filling in for the islands’ Ohio Edison man Terry Jenkins and his two young children were hit by a drunk driver on a golf cart while at a stop sign on their bikes. Hopefully, they are all OK.

Wed., Jun. 24th – The 225-ft. U.S. Coast Guard Cutter HOLLYHOCK, a Seagoing Buoy Tender responsible for nearly 150 aids to navigation on the lower Great Lakes is docked at the Jet Express Dock. Did you see the bit of damage to the dock it did?
The Safe Island Task Force meets upstairs at the Town Hall in the late afternoon. About 60 people attend the meeting to hear about the reality of policing the island during these trying times.

Thu., Jun. 25th – If you are connected to the Village water supply, your water bill is due today. Shortly after dinner time, a huge a huge c-17 military transport aircraft flies in low over the southern tip of the island and makes a sharp turn to the east over the south end of the PIB Airport. A short time later, the maneuver is repeated. Some of those who witnessed it, estimated that the plane was flying not much higher than the Monument. We never saw anything like it before. We find out later it was PIBHS Class of 1999 Aaron Wilson who is the pilot.

Fri., Jun. 26th – Council approves Mayor Dress’ choice of James Kimble, a former Wood County sheriff’s deputy, as the new interim chief of police. Council discusses the establishment of an “auxiliary” police force, plus votes to have an outside firm, Paragon Investigations, to review the June 6th police incident.

Sat., Jun. 27th – Before lunch, there’s a fairy garden class at the Butterfly House. Also before lunch, a rental cart that went off the long dock just east of the Monument property during the night is pulled out of the lake. In the Cornerstone Room at Mother of Sorrows, there’s a Farewell to retiring Deacon Mike Leahy and his wife Judy in the early evening. About 6 p.m. Arizona Cardinals rookie wide receiver Jermiah Braswell drives his bright orange Chevrolet Camaro down Conlan Rd. by Fox’s Den through Dave and Sheri Murphy’s yard, over their patio, on the breakwall and lands in the lake. One report says Braswell tries to keep on driving while in the water and tells officers he is stuck. He is charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Sun., Jun. 28th – Another beautiful day at the Bay and the crowds keep coming and stay late. The sun goes down at 9:09 p.m., right on time according to the internet.

Mon., Jun. 29th – Due to Coronavirus, this year’s Community Swim/Sail Program got a late start. This is the first day of lessons.

Tue., Jun. 30th – Mossbacks’ popular employee Mariah Loud turns the Big-4-0! Happy Birthday, Mariah! There’s a Succulent Planting Party at the Commodore. The Put-in-Bay Gazette July issue is printed in Sandusky.


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