Snow is on the Pumpkins
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 – 2002
Snow is on the Pumpkins
FALL NEWS FROM YOUR EAGLE HARBOR CORRESPONDENTS - 2002 Snow is on the Pumpkins!! The brilliance of fall leaves is fading fast, but before the leaves have dropped, they are all frosted with white. In fact, there are several inches of "frosting" on everything-and it is still October. There is a rush to drain cottages and turn off water for the long winter hibernations. Any bear that escaped the hunters must be thinking seriously about finding a cozy den.
To review a bit since out last communication, there was a late splurge of snow in March. Then the Eagle Harbor summer came and stayed for residents, visiting families, tourists and all. Fourth of July Parade had more entrants than ever. There were so many costumed dogs (the majority golden retrievers) that an impromptu pet-judging stand was set up on the steps of the store. What a wonderful family time!
During the annual art fair weekend there was alot of fund-raising activity to provide money for defibrillators and other life-saving equipment for out six certified First Responders. Over $6,000 was raised by a bake sale, yard sale and food concession stand. The Township had purchased two defibrillators from the General Fund and now two more are on order with the funds from the art fair projects. We thank Bruce Olson, Barbara Been, Ginny Schubert, Dick Lantz, Patty Asselin and Kris Callog for the time and effort they have devoted to becoming certified First Responders. They have answered a number of calls the past few weeks. They are dispatched by a call to 911 and are under the program of the Keweenaw County Sheriff.
A big project during the summer was the organization and execution of a "Junk Jettison Day". Doug Schubert and Bruce Olson along with a committee of volunteers managed the disposal of tons of throwaway metal items, construction material, and household goods (mattresses, furniture & rugs) for the Township residents. After all the junk was hauled to the Houghton transfer station, the cost of the project was slightly over $4,000. All expenses were covered by the Solid Waste Assessments paid with tax bills last winter. The Solid Waste Committee is planning to repeat the project next summer, just in case you missed it in July this year. Items that cannot be handled by the Township, even on Junk Day, are large appliances (washers, dryers, refrigerators, etc.), tires, batteries, computer monitors (they contain something toxic), or any toxic liquids (paint, oils, etc.)
As leaves turn, our snowbirds go flying south. There has been a general exodus, leaving us in a quieter, calmer Township. As anticipated, election activity has picked up with absentee ballots in great demand. Our supervisor, Doug Sherk, is on the ballot to finish out the four-year term started by Jim Boggio. Our neighbor, Don Keith, is running to retain his seat on the Keweenaw County Board of Commissioners. Rumor has it that Don will have write-in challenges.
Land-use plans for the County have been completed by local committees and merged into an overall plan by WUPPDR (Western UP Planning & Development Region). That plan has been submitted to the County Zoning & Planning Commission for review before being given to the County Board of Commissioners. The work that has gone into this effort, creating a foundation for a County Zoning Ordinance based on the long-range objectives of the individual Townships, is staggering. Keweenaw County has five Townships and one "cookie-cutter" plan does not meet the needs of all-each has different concerns in tailoring zoning to control development and retain the character of their area. It will be interesting to see how the County Zoning Commissioners and County Board of Commissioners respond to this grass-root effort.
Our prisoner crew has been working hard this year to renovate the old water pump house on the lakeshore. It is now a maintenance building, housing tools and space for a workshop. The crew can work all winter there as soon as a heating system is installed next month. They have finished the regular fall cleanup of the beach, helped flush all the water lines (done twice a year) and put away all the play equipment from the ball-yard. Currently they are installing a rustic rail fence around the back of the cemetery and will be making pickets for a fence to go across the front of the cemetery next summer.
After several years of below average rain and snowfall, it has been wonderful to see that we exceeded the average for rain in the month of September. October is proving promising in the moisture department, also. If this week is any indication, the monthly and yearly snowfall guesses on George Hite's web site had better be generous. Perhaps we will see a rise in the lake level next spring and summer. It would be nice to be able to float a boat in our boathouse again. Speaking of the water in the lake-it has been requested that we remind everyone to check the labels on any soaps or detergents used in the lake (just in case you wash yourself, your hair, your dog, or any other item in the lake). Actually, those activities are discouraged, but if you must-be sure there are no phosphates in the soaps or detergents. Such pollution is illegal!! Besides it could degrade the quality of our beautiful lake if too many of us abandoned our in-house showers and bathtubs.
The Township's effort to secure the Long Lake Nature Preserve acreage should be successfully completed before year's end. Two grants totaling $160,000 have been approved toward the $174,000 purchase. This will add 399.4 acres to the 164+ acres already owned in the Eliza Lake-Long Lake area. Lake Superior Land Company (International Paper) has been super in cooperating with the Township's efforts to acquire land to preserve and protect as it is offered for sale. The Nature Conservancy, of course, has purchased Mt. Baldy and is currently working with the Township to maintain access to the summit for hikers. There have been instances this fall of 4-wheel drive trucks and SUV's driving to the summit. The trails have been widened and damage done to sensitive areas by such traffic, as well as smaller 4-wheel ATV's. Access is now limited to foot traffic.
There have been some wonderful apple harvests this fall, but one tragic result of apple picking. Don Koop fell from a ladder while picking, sustaining severe back injuries. He is in Marquette General Hospital after surgery and will be having extensive rehab. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, Barb and all the family as they go through the recovery process. Don has always been a wonderful neighbor, helping whenever needed with plowing, winterizing homes, and pulling stranded drivers out of snow banks.
We are happy to welcome the new owners of the Eagle Harbor Store, Richard and Colleen Grove. They will have the traditional carved Pumpkin Patch on the steps of the store next week, and we will be privileged to meet and welcome them at an open house Tuesday evening.
On the subject of winterizing homes-please call the office for water turn-off or turn-on. When Rick, the water "baron", is not available, the office can redirect your request for service to be sure it is done. A 48-hour notice is required, and the service will be done by appointment, or during regular weekday working hours. Only emergency service is done on weekends without extra charge.
We have celebrated weddings, rejoiced in the birth of a number of next generation beach-babies and mourned with the families of Marcia Davis, Dick Flood and Dr. Ruth Rhines among others this year. The pattern of life goes on in a wonderful way in Eagle Harbor. We feel so fortunate to be a part of it. We are glad you are part of it, too.
The sun is finally breaking out of the snow clouds and our spirits soar as we enjoy the beauty around us. If you are not fortunate enough to enjoy the beauty of the scenery in person, may your imagination stretch to visualize it through the coming Holidays and winter months. By January we may borrow a vision from you of warm sunny beaches or desert sands.
Your Eagle Harbor Correspondents,
Ann and Gerry
Ann & Gerry Johnson
HC 1 Box 280 B
Eagle Harbor, MI 49950
Ann and Gerry Letter Archive:
Winter, 2001 Fall, 2001
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