Ann Johnson


Eagle Harbor Web

An unofficial source of Eagle Harbor, Michigan news, views and information.

PUMPKINS, Pumpkins everywhere---and not a pie to eat!!!

Ann Johnson At Work

AJ's Letter

Ann and Gerry Johnson are Eagle Harbor veterans and astute observers of the local scene. Luckily for us, they are also a wonderful writers. 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.

November, 1998. News from the Johnsons at Eagle Harbor.


Dear Friends around the US and the Globe:

PUMPKINS, Pumpkins everywhere---and not a pie to eat!!! That was the consensus as we admired the artfully carved entries in the first annual (we hope) Pumpkin-Carving-and-Display Festival Halloween week. Great imagination and talent were displayed. The awards for the winners in all categories are still to be announced as this is written. (Like in the Fourth of July parade, there is a category and award for every entry.)

Yesterday was Election Day for our new trustee. Jeane Olson will be completing the term of Peter Van Pelt. Bruce Wagner of Gratiot Lake was strongly supported and we look forward to working with him in other capacities until the next election when another place on the Township Board may be open. Nancy Sherk has served in the interim since Peter's resignation last fall, and she has contributed thoughtful and wise counsel. Thanks, Nancy. (80 per cent of EH registered voters came to the polls or voted absentee.)

This has been the year of the SUMMER. We enjoyed beautiful, warm sunny beach days from June almost through September. We would have appreciated a lot more rain than we had-especially if it had rained between midnight and 6:00 AM so that our days weren't disturbed, but all in all it was a fantastic season. Now we are waiting with bated breath for the promised snow to start falling. Here it is November and twenty-two small flakes have fallen. There have been predictions of up to 600 inches by some forecasters. That is hardly possible. How in the world could the snow thermometer be raised to accommodate such quantities? We really are hoping for lots more X-country skiing than we had last year. Now, it is Nov. 5th and the ground is covered with the first light layer of snow. Trees have taken on the special lacy look that snow on the branches brings. Seems like all the pickups in the Copper Country have snowplows attached, and maybe just in time.

This has also been the year of the land grab. Lake Superior Land Company has sold the property joining the platted village to the west. The land up to Eliza Dam across from the Cemetery is in private hands now, as well as lots on the west side of 7th street and around the corner on M-26 toward Cat Harbor. We are glad to report that we have protected the ski trail by purchasing some of those lots that adjoin our cabin-in-the-woods property.

The fire truck purchase is going forward. After the hearings this summer, the Board voted to set up the special assessment district to fund the purchase. A grant application has been submitted to the Rural Development Board of the U.S. Agriculture Department. The Township has been notified that the Grant application was accepted and we are in line for a $70,000 grant and a 4.75% interest loan of $130,000 for the purchase of the truck. We have our fingers and toes crossed that the recently passed Federal budget will enable the grant to be awarded before the end of the year. The assessment would then be on the winter tax bills in 1999. The truck could be ordered next spring after bids are received.

Expansion of the Township hall is in progress. We will have more office space and a public restroom will be added. Next 4th of July might be a bit more comfortable with modern facilities available. The required expanded septic system is already in place and the foundation for the addition has been poured. Construction will be completed before July next summer. The work on the Community Building is still going forward. Our professional (volunteer) architect, John Dawson, has submitted plans for some of the renovation. The outside was painted this year and new windows installed. Next will be the construction of a handicapped accessible restroom replacing the two outdated toilets currently in use. Because we have requested a Federal grant for the fire truck, we have to meet all the requirements for handicapped accessibility in our Township facilities.

The Friday evening gathering at the Eagle Harbor Inn has been resumed as the population decreases. Also, a new social function has been added. Wednesday afternoons finds a cutthroat game of dominoes called "Chicken Foot" going on at the Township Hall. This is a great game and we will send instructions if anyone is interested. The aerobics or strength training group meets every morning. Yes, we do manage to keep busy in our remote village.

Changes will be occurring in the people we have relied on for the last few years to carry on much of the work of the Township. Don Keith has made a decision to leave the post of Water Operator for the Village system. The position will be posted and advertised soon and by next summer there should be a new person serving. The new water ordinance has been passed and will be published. Leave us face it, the relaxed approach to Township services has to be replaced with a few rules and regulations if we are to meet state and federal standards and make it possible for the water operator to meet service requests.

On a more personal note, the Board approved a part-time office manager position for up to 24 hours per week. Since the deputy treasurer (Ann) has been doing most of the record keeping, filing, accounting, corresponding, etc., for the past six years, she has been given that position. The office will be open on a more regular basis, and scheduled hours will be posted. If you have questions or concerns, you just might get a person, instead of an answering machine. You can always fax to us at (906) 289-4111. In the near future, we might even go high tech and add e-mail to the office. Mercy!! What is Eagle Harbor coming to.

Our dedicated assessor (with his joke of the day), Bob Taylor had tendered his resignation. That position has been advertised and a new assessor will be taking over after the first of the year if a qualified one responds to the request for applications. What a large pair of shoes another assessor will have to fit into. Bob has really set high standards in accuracy, quality, completeness, and most importantly, fairness in the position.

Every time we go to the freezer for anything, we have to move the frozen berries, apple pies and strawberry pies aside to get to the meat and veggies. The pantry is loaded with homemade applesauce and strawberry preserves. As good parents, we gave all the Thimbleberry jam to our wannabe Yooper kids. In spite of the lack of rain during the summer, the crops of berries and apples were outstanding. The wild life should be well prepared for the winter. We watch deer browsing in our yard, and geese are still pecking around lawns (and destroying them). Many bears were wandering around the village during the summer and fall, raiding bird feeders and stuffing on apples. The DNR trapped several, but we think the relocated animals were beating the DNR trucks back to the area. We could always tell when one was outside the cabin, because Mikey, the golden puppy would refuse to go into the back yard and would sit and shake in terror. Smart dog.

Good news department: The lighthouse compound will be turned over to the Historical Society by spring. Peter Van Pelt has had official notice from our Washington representatives that as soon as the president signs the Bill already passed by the House and the Senate, the transfer will be made by the General Services Administration. The Coast Guard will continue to maintain the light for the present.

We look forward to lots of snow, family during the Holidays, and a healthy and happy 1999. After January rolls around, you will hear from us again. Until then enjoy the fall and winter wherever you might be.

Ann and Gerry

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

Ann and Gerry Letter Archive:

Fall, 1996
Winter, 1997
Spring, 1997
Fall, 1997
Winter, 1998
Spring, 1998

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