AJ's Letter Ann Johnson Gerry Johnson


Eagle Harbor Web

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

Tis Time For The Fall pumpkin Frolic!

Ann Johnson At Work                                                                                 Gerry Johnson Building Fitzgerald

Ann and Gerry'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.


Dear Friends:

‘Tis time for the Fall Pumpkin Frolic – and time to pass along the happenings in our corner of the Keweenaw since the beginning of a lovely summer. It was a warm and beach-friendly July and August. In fact, there were sun-worshipers on the beach through the first two weeks of September. The annual Fourth of July Celebration was enjoyed by families and friends from far and near. The Popeye Run observed its 20h anniversary. (My how time flies!)

Donations for the restoration of the Community Building/Schoolhouse have come in through the last few months enabling the project to go forward with outstanding results. The Ladies’ group held another successful bake sale during the art fair and has earned enough to furnish the kitchen with new cabinets, stove, refrigerator and sink. The plans call for a rolling serving island and a retractable divider to close off the kitchen area during meetings or dinners. The handicapped accessible rest room is complete and in keeping with the era of the building. Carpenter John Clarkson and his dynamo of a wife, Nancy (the painter) are finishing the interior during the next few weeks. Rewiring was a major challenge to insure the safety of the building from possible fire. The new furnace and air-conditioning system is working. A lease agreement for use of the building is being developed by the Township Board.

The dedication of the building and the burial of a time capsule are scheduled for Sunday, July 2, 2000. The school bell will be ringing and a Township-wide party will be planned for the day. Be Here!! If you have suggestions for items to be included in the time capsule, send them to Mary K. Masnado (HC 1, E.H. MI 49950) Keep in mind the box is only the size of a bread box and anything placed in it will be there for 100 years or more. What will be the technology at that time to view a video tape or listen to an audio tape? Gives one pause, right?

Bruce Wagner of Gratiot Lake will be handling the duties of the clerk for the months that John and Nancy Clarkson flee to the south. Bruce has been writing the minutes of meetings and posting the agendas as he prepares to take over the rest of John’s office duties. Voter registration, elections, payroll records and bills are all part of the Clerk’s duties and could well be a full time job as the township grows. Welcome to chaos, Bruce!!

The office work has tripled these last months with three special assessment districts – (1) The township-wide district covering the cost of the new fire truck; (2) Hebard Plat Assessment District covering the cost of surveying to correct property line discrepancies; and, (3) Little Grand Marais East Road Improvement District. Add to those the application for the DNR Recreation Grant to purchase land from Lake Superior Land Company around Eliza Lake and Long Lake and you have panic time in the office to keep up with deadlines. The Fire Truck Loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture alone will generate pounds of paper (much of it in the waste basket, per all government projects.) Without Trustee Jeane Olson’s support and help in the office duties, my part-time office manager position would be inadequate for the task. Can you believe we now have fourteen bank accounts to deposit in, write checks on, balance and enter in accounting records in this small township?

A word about the Eagle Harbor Water Department. The pipe is stacked in the ballyard for the new line down Center Street. Construction will begin this week and final hook-up will be done in the spring when any potential leaks or problems will be easier to handle than in cold, snowy weather.

Don Keith is retiring as our Water Superintendent and the new man in that position is Rick Finke. Rick and his wife, Elaine, are relocating here from Houston, Texas. Don’t worry---Rick was raised in Duluth and Elaine (our daughter) was born in Marquette and has spent lots of wintertime in Eagle Harbor. All of you who are customers of the water department can help the new water operator by following the guidelines in the information sent out last spring for notifying the township office when water is to be turned off or on at your cottages. Do pass the information on procedures on to the caretakers of your property if you do not handle closing and opening yourself.

The DNR Recreation Grant mentioned before would make it possible for the township to own or control the undeveloped land from Eliza Lake to the stamp sands, insuring its use for cross-country skiing, hiking and snowmobiling rather than having residential developments. Lake Superior Land Company has been very cooperative in this endeavor and our grant request was recently re-submitted after we missed out on the first round of allocation.

We get used to the idea that many of our best friends and neighbors are going to depart for several months during the Keweenaw winter, but we are always unprepared to see them go permanently. Bob and Joan Taylor have sold their beautiful home and will be moving in November to Florida. Friday nights at the Eagle Harbor Inn will not be the same without lovely Joan and "joking" Bob. Bob has served the entire Township diligently as our assessor, creating order out of confusion, and as deputy supervisor. We just say " Thanks for the years you have served us – and keep looking for that perfect summer cottage in Eagle Harbor" We hope to welcome you back soon.

The Volunteer Firemen are looking forward to delivery of the new fire truck in January. A delegation should be going to Wisconsin to check on progress in the next few weeks. A permit was finally issued last week for the dry-well to be installed at Silver River on M-26. That will make water available year-round for replenishing the tankers without a drive all the way back to the village when there is a problem toward Copper Harbor. The one mill that was renewed for the VFD last summer will cover department expenses and provide some special extras on the new truck.

Thanks to Sexton Pat Keith and the on-site straw boss, Don Keith, two projects have been completed in our beautiful Pine Grove Cemetery. New drives have been graded and surfaced in the recently acquired back area of the cemetery. With the help of the prison work crew, permanent steel markers now identify the corners of the 25-foot grids throughout the cemetery. Don continues to map the purchased burial sites. There was a land rush this summer before the purchase price increased form $100 to $200 per lot and all of the certificates of purchase have not been mailed out. That will be done as soon as possible. The next project is to enclose the entire area on two sides and the back with closely planted cedar trees. They may take a few years to reach maturity, but will make a beautiful boundary line instead of a wire fence. This project will be done in the spring.

Did you all send in your snowfall predictions to George Hite? In looking at the web site, it seems there are interested people monitoring the happenings in Eagle Harbor from the corners of the earth. The most interesting prediction (for those of you without access to the internet) came from John Linblom in Singapore. He says we will have 453 inches total, including 14 inches in June and 3 in July, but the skiing will not be too good in August. A meteorologist was quoted in the Gazette this week – "Not a recording breaking year for snow, but it could be heavy." We’ll see.

Did anyone miss the story of the sailor who fell off the ore boat five miles off the Eagle Harbor beach, swam to shore following the cellular tower light and the lighthouse beacon, then knocked on Clarence Bach’s door at 3:40 AM asking for help? Clarence and Ann are now local celebrities, quoted in newspapers from Minneapolis to Cleveland and interviewed by TV and Radio stations. There was even an editorial in the Gazette saying the sailor should give us more details of his ordeal. So far he is avoiding statements – probably saving his story for the paying media of TV and Magazine.

The project that is dear to my heart is the expansion of the Township Hall and the building of public restrooms to serve tourists and ballyard locals!! Looks like it will be done next spring – God willing and the price "don’t" rise. With two computer stations and lots of work going on in the office that requires people and space, it would help to have "enough room to swing a cat." (Old Texas expression. We have no intention of being cruel to animals.)

It is time to start carving pumpkins for the big display on the Eagle Harbor Store steps. Our creativity and artistic talent will be judged by Mary Probst, Patty Crampton and web site editor, George Hite.. Such pressure!!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and then Christmas. We will report on those happy times in January after the celebration of the Y2K. Until then we wish you all Health and Happiness.

Your Eagle Harbor Correspondents,

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
Fall, 1998
Winter, 1999
Spring, 1999

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