Ann Johnson


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AJ's Letter

Ann and Gerry Johnson are Eagle Harbor veterans and astute observers of the local scene. Luckily for us, Ann is also a wonderful writer. Their quarterly "letter to taxpayers" is a Harbor institution, eagerly anticipated and read by many Township property owners, especially those who are yet to make Eagle Harbor their permanent home. A big "Thank you" to Ann and Gerry for contributing their letter to George's Eagle Harbor Web.

October, 1997. News from the Johnsons at Eagle Harbor.

Dear Friends: Greetings from the Camelot of North America - "In short, there's simply not a more delightful spot for happy summering and wintering than here in ---- EAGLE HARBOR!!

This fall turned into a second fabulous summer for the remaining residents of the Township. A moose wandered through the village this week. It checked out the ballyard and fire hall, then explored Eliza Creek before heading up the Peninsula toward Copper Harbor. She was spotted near Lake Bailey and Agate Harbor. I guess she was taking a color tour up the Peninsula along with the tour buses and color watchers clogging M-26.

The tour was well worth it this year. Fall foliage was breathtaking. The Delaware Road and Gratiot Lake area were spectacular when we toured them. The weather had been so warm that there were still lots of wild flowers and beautiful gardens blooming with blazing colored leaves above, making a feast for the eyes everywhere.

Predictions are that El Nino will push dry air north causing a very light snowfall this year. Through the first ten days of October we felt we were in the banana belt with 75 degrees every day. It will be interesting to see how accurate the weather pundits are.

Turning back to summer-there were very few rainy days-in fact, too few. The flower gardens needed lots of sprinkling and grass turned brown in between showers. The Fourth of July was a beautiful day, warm and sunny. The parade was enjoyed by families and friends as some of us "older" participants surprised the spectators with an aerobic routine that thoroughly embarrassed some grandchildren. "Meemaw, you're too old for that", was my Adam's comment-----NOT!! If you didn't run, walk or bike the Popeye Race, you missed the bear patrol trying to keep our resident bear off the road for the contestants. (Two-Tags, as he was known, has now gone to bear heaven after wandering into a downstate bear hunter's bait pile for a meal.) There were bears around all summer, like the huge one we chased off our porch in the middle of the night. It came through one screen to get in and rudely exited through another.

Lake Superior cooperated this summer by warming up to a pleasant swimming temperature. There were no wild storms with high waves pounding the shore and discouraging boaters and water skiers-in short, a lovely summer.

More people are discovering this area as evidenced by quite a few property sales and more homes being built. Just when we think real estate prices have peaked, land and cottages are going for amazing amounts. Assessments will probably rise, but those of us who are not buying won't see much change in what we pay in taxes since there is still the Michigan Cap on tax increases.

The new fire truck issue is still alive. The survey replies indicated agreement that new equipment was needed and that financing should be based on a special assessment rather than vote extra mills on present taxable values which are not equitable. More hearings will be held to discuss pro and con the equipment needed before the Township Board makes a decision. The delay in hearings, etc. has been caused by lack of information requested from legal sources. The Township Board finally changed attorneys and the process will be moving forward.

We are so grateful to Clarence Bach for stepping in to man the transfer station on Saturdays following the resignation of the previous solid waste manager. Gary Everest has left the area, so winter hours were started a bit earlier than usual. The biggest problem faced since the advent of the compactors has been thoughtless people leaving trash on the ground beside the compactor outside of scheduled hours. Bad scene and happy critters!!

Our TV cable operation has been moved to the transfer station site. A portion of the building now houses electronic equipment and the dishes are installed on site. All improvements in the building were made at Cable America's expense and rent will be paid for the space. There is still plenty of room in the building for storage of Township property such as benches and barrels, and for future recycling when it becomes a viable option.

A welcome addition to the area came in August when Keweenaw Memorial Medical Center opened a primary care facility in the Community Building. Until October 1st, a doctor and nurse were on duty three afternoons a week handling a wave of virus, bronchitis and sore throat calls that ran through the area. On October 16th there will be flu shots available there, saving us a trip to town. Hopefully, the regular hours will start early next summer to handle medical needs of the residents and visitors. No more trips to town on beach days for allergy shots, blood pressure checks, stitches (we hope none), etc., and waiting, waiting, waiting for a turn at the doctor's office.

The Community Building Restoration fund had a great start this summer with an anonymous donation of stock. The Board set aside a required matching $5,000 and by the time the stock was sold, we had over $11,000 in the fund. This will be used to replace the windows on the lower floor to match the upper story windows and to scrape and paint the building. The work had already been done to shore up the building and the posts had been replaced in the lower floor to stabilize the second floor. Restoration funds are also being raised by the ladies of the Thursday morning coffee group. They held a bake sale and tea to start a fund for redoing the kitchen. More fund raisers are being planned for next summer. Dick Lantz heads a committee for planning the restoration of the building.

The aerobic group has been faithful all summer and fall. From a maximum of fourteen participating during the summer, we have dropped to four or six daily. Thanks to the Schuberts for a second TV (needed for the larger group) and to the July Fourth Committee for funds for more tapes. There is even a branch of the group in Singapore led by Xuyen Lindblom.

Now for news of happenings at the Board meeting of October 13th: A new Board member was appointed to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Peter Van Pelt. Nancy Sherk will serve until the election next fall. She lives between Cat Harbor and Sand Bay with her husband Doug (an MD). Nancy has served on the Solid Waste Committee and Doug on the Board of Review in the past. There were three other outstanding candidates to choose from which is unheard of in this Township. Never have there been so many willing to serve. Others who volunteered were Jean Olson (Cat Harbor) Bruce Wagner and Virginia Jamison (both from Gratiot Lake). It is great having our neighbors from Gratiot Lake participating in the discussions at the Board meetings and accepting committee responsibilities. We will hope to see more names on the ballot when the trustee position is voted on by the electorate next November.

New neighbor from the marina road, Jack Hartmann, voiced his objections to the Board concerning the use of soap and shampoo at the East Beach by locals and tourists. After discussion, he has taken the responsibility of putting up a sign to discourage the practice. Signs will be posted at the West Beach asking people not to allow their dogs on the beach. This has resulted from some dog owners not cleaning up after their animals. There is a Keweenaw County leash law and no dogs in this Township are legal if off a leash. Seems a bit harsh for some of the beautifully trained dogs that follow their owners around town.

Supervisor Boggio has proposed a restroom facility adjacent to, or attached to the fire hall to replace the privy that is currently in the area. The Board will be considering that at the next meeting. The facility would be heated and available year-round. It would be connected to an adequate septic system with state-of-the-art flush toilets, no less.

Now, Tuesday, the 14th can go down as the day the snow started in the Keweenaw. We went to town and there was actually a white cover on the roadside from the top of our hill to Quincy Hill in Houghton. It wouldn't be too cold except for the wind chill that was registered in the teens. This weather was ushered in last Sunday night by the most spectacular display of northern lights we have seen in years. They were rolling across the sky and shooting to a dome in the sky. They didn't last too long-only about 40 minutes, but what a sight. Our good neighbor Don Keith alerted us and we left the shelter of our woods to enjoy the spectacle from Cat Harbor. What a blessing to see some of nature's wonders in this beautiful place!!

Have a lovely fall and wonderful Holidays. We will check in again in January.

Ann and Gerry

Ann & Gerry Johnson
HC 1 Box 280 B
Eagle Harbor, MI 49950

Ann and Gerry Letter Archive:

November, 1996
January, 1997
March, 1997

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