A Fall of Glorious Contrasts!
Ann Johnson At Work Gerry Johnson Building Fitzgerald
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.
Fall Letter From Eagle Harbor – 2000
A Fall of Glorious ContrastsSince the last week of September we have had record-breaking warm sunny days, brilliant color along roadsides and massed on the hills, wild crashing waves with low hanging clouds, an occasional rumble of thunder, hail, sleet, spectacular northern lights and the first fluffy snowflakes of the winter to come. The rush to stockpile fireplace wood is ongoing and the futile search for "good apple trees" becomes more disappointing. Our homemade applesauce will be in short supply until fall of 2001 (sorry, Grandson Adam)
The annual celebrations were outstanding this past summer. There were more participants than ever in the 4th of July parade and games. The pig roast brought families and friends together with music, dancing and, of course "pigging out" on delectable dishes from all those in attendance. The Art Fair was a success in spite of Saturday's rain. It just increased the crowd on Sunday. Monthly potluck suppers brought us together for visits with friends and summer neighbors. The annual chili supper hosted by Mike and Marianne Hohner had the Community Building filled to capacity this Saturday, followed by music for dancing by our own Jan Arnold. If you think it is time to find a rocking chair before the fire, forget it. We still have books to read, crafts projects to complete (they wait for years up here), Christmas trees to scout for in the woods before the snow gets too deep, and, of course, pine needles to sweep from roofs before we settle in for the winter.
The Community Building dedication was held in July and what a treasure the facility is. The donations from so many in the Township made it possible for Nancy and John Clarkson to transform the meeting area and kitchen into a wonderful place for Township functions as well as rental space for private functions hosted or sponsored by Township property owners. There have been two wedding receptions and family reunions recently. The aerobics group or weight lifters used it daily with as many as sixteen "glowing" ladies (we don't sweat) burning fat.
Now to the business of the Township. Lake Superior Land has tied in their Eagle Harbor South development to our water system, paying a substantial fee to hook up. The 45 wooded lots (all at least an acre) will probably be for sale beginning in the spring. The road will be paved, the utilities all buried and we can look forward to some lovely homes and delightful new residents coming to our special community. The management of Lake Superior Land Company has been very cooperative and helpful in all of our dealings with them. The purchase of the recreation area from Long Lake to Eliza Lake is going forward and it should be completed before the holidays, if the bureaucracy can get its act in gear. We are still waiting for the final steps to be completed by the DNR to finalize negotiations with the company. After all it has only been a year (November, 1999) since we were told "The Request for a Grant has been Approved." Since then we waited for the Michigan Legislature to pass the bill (June, 2000), the Governor to sign the bill (July, 2000), and, now, the DNR to approve the appraisals (submitted in July). Patience is a virtue!!
With the development of Eagle Harbor South, the snowmobile trail will be rerouted. The Tourism Council, County trail-groomer ( Lyle Peterson) and Jon Davis have been working on a new trail that will bring the riders in to town at this end of the shortcut road. If it works, it should cut down on the sound, speed and fumes that we contend with from the cemetery down Pine Street during the season. The ski trail will be the same with a few minor changes. In fact, there may be advantages to the skiers if the snowmobile trail cuts off somewhere before the water pump house.
Our Volunteer Fire Department has been busy this last week. They were called out for a structure fire at Lake Medora and found the Miron property engulfed in flames. The capacity of the new truck allowed them to save a nearby cottage. The cause of the fire is under investigation as there were no residents in the area at the time the fire broke out. The day following the fire the department responded to a rescue effort on Brockway. Although our volunteers and first responders from Copper Harbor risked their lives in an effort to save a man who fell 200 feet over the cliff, he did not survive his injuries.
There were successful rescues on the water during the past months. A father and children were rescued after a canoe capsized and was swept out from Eagle River. Harborites Dick Lantz and Jim Boggio were the heroes of that potential disaster. George Hite's beautiful sailboat, Peregrine, was saved from serious damage after dragging the anchor shoreward in a fierce gale. Tracy Clevenger (new proprietor of the Shoreline) swam to George's rescue, aided by our ever-vigilant private coast guard service, Lantz and Boggio. There never seems to be any hesitation in Eagle Harbor when it comes to helping a neighbor, or a stranger for that matter.
The general election November 7th has prompted many of our voters to fill out absentee applications. If you haven't already done so, send a request now to the clerk at the Township office address (HC 1, Box 263). There has to be time to mail you the official request form, for you to mail it back, and then for the clerk to mail you the ballot and receive it by November 7th. The ballots should be available from the County Clerk by Oct. 9th or 10th, but once again, patience! There are several proposals on the ballot. The proposal concerning zoning that could affect the Mt. Bohemia development is a bit confusing. We are told a "yes" vote would approve the decision made by the County Board allowing the development to go forward without restrictions on future development. A "no" vote returns the zoning to the previous status. Depending on the interpretation of that zoning ordinance, the ski runs might be allowed, but there could be some control by the County over future building higher up on the mountain. At this point the first runs have been completed and the developers say skiing will begin in December.
Hearings will be held this month on placing the Solid Waste fees on the winter tax bill starting with the tax bill to be mailed in December 2001. Bills will be done as usual this year as any decision by the Township Board will be too late for inclusion on this year's winter bill. There would be a saving in postage, office time and duplication costs if fees can be handled as part of the tax payment instead of separately. There is no change planned for the collection at the solid waste facility or in the fee structure, just a different method of collecting the fees. To be placed on the tax bills it must be a Special Assessment District requiring hearings.
The 911 committee has tackled a major project involving the naming of every road, lane and logging trail in the Township that has a structure on it. We will all end up with astronomical house numbers as the system starts in Gay and moves north with the County all on one system of numbering. Our recently posted fire numbers will be obsolete. Who said this would simplify things? (If it saves time and lives in an emergency, it will be worth the aggravation.)
If you read the Daily Mining Gazette you may have seen the story claiming only a 19 percent return of census forms from Eagle Harbor Township. Don't believe it!! Maybe that few were mailed back from the original forms hung on the doors in February, but the area was canvassed at least four more times and every structure was identified as to occupancy (counted residents or seasonal non-residents). We are anxiously awaiting the results of the count. Our population should have more than doubled since 1990.
The Township Hall construction is finished. We lived with dust, dirt and chaos for most of the summer. Now there is a computer room where Ivan Fisher reigns and plenty of meeting space for well-attended hearings. The new public bathrooms have met with approval from residents and tourists alike. Come by and check them out!
This letter is being mailed a little early as your correspondents will be travelling for three weeks in October. We do want to add an official disclaimer-The views and information in our letters are in no way connected to the Township. It is our personal endeavor and has been a pleasant connection to many of you who love this area as we do. Thank you for the positive feedback and for the contributions to the mailing costs. We will be reporting again after the Holidays and the true millenium celebration for the arrival of 2001.
Your Eagle Harbor Correspondents,
Ann and Gerry
Ann & Gerry Johnson
HC 1 Box 280 B
Eagle Harbor, MI 49950
Ann and Gerry Letter Archive:
Harbor Web Page Menu
Harbor Web Home Page