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Beacon Archive

January 2003
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On This Date

Ten Years Ago

The January Beacon reported that St. James Township was preparing to go to court against the Charlevoix Road Commission, and had added another charge to the list: Bad Faith, for the CCRC not having fulfilled its promise to apply for a grant to cover the cost of repaving the King's Highway. Other roads received new names: Darkeytown Road became Barney's Lake Road, and Sloptown supposedly became Old Orchard Road–despite the objections of residents such as Sherri Timsak, who wrote to the editor to suggest keeping the old names and educating the public about what they mean.

E. B. Lange consulted with CMU about our Gypsy Moth and Birch Tree Disease problems.

The Boat Company made a presentation to St. James Township about establishing a Transportation Authority, which could apply for grants to fund the construction of a new ferry. The Township took action, adopting articles of incorporation for BITA and appointing Don Vyse, Kitty McNamara, Ken Taylor, Larry Malloy, and Vince Olach.

Bill Boelter wrote to the Editor to say that his occupation of the Island predates that of Murray and Wave Wanty (who were profiled last month:) Walt Wojan poured his slab in 1956, and he then built his own cabin. He flew here from Saginaw in his own plane, and wrote a book about it which is in our library: 610 trips to Beaver Island. He flew more trips after the book came out.
Kitty McNamara made a suggestion about how to supervise young people and create appropriate entertainment opportunities. She challenged the parents to organize and divide up the year; 15 sets of parents could each take 3 weekends, sponsoring proper activities and opening their homes to the group of kids but staying out of the way.

Twenty Years Ago

The Beaver Island Fire Department selected a site for the Fire Hall: behind the public bathroom, where it in fact was built. Santa arrived on December 18th to pass out gifts to 72 kids under the age of 11 at the Shamrock Bar. The Civic Association began to plan a "Memorial to the Dead at Sea." The date for the Winters Games at Barney's Lake was set: February 12th.

Sherri Timsak shared a story she'd been told by her father about TVs early days: “We had one of the first 3 sets, so neighbors would come over to watch. One night my mother and dad and my brother Gene and I were watching a murder mystery with Peter Johnson, who lived nearby. A singer, referred to as a “'canary,' had been killed, and the gist of the show was to catch the killer. But before the end, the power went out–a not uncommon experience. We sat there in front of the lifeless set for awhile, speculating, but eventually we gave up. Peter went home, and Gene and I went to bed. But early the next morning, here's Peter pounding on the door. 'What d'you want so early?' Ma asked him. 'They caught that guy.' 'What guy?' 'The guy who killed the canary.' 'How d'you know, Peter?' 'They announced it on the radio just a few minutes ago, so I come right over to tell you.' 'On the radio? Peter, you darned fool! That was just a story last night. It wasn't real.'”

Sherri's sister Dawn contributed a poem, The Sounds of Winter, which included this: "Listen very carefully/you can hear the snowflakes fall/you can hear the whisper of the wind/you can hear the blue jays call.
You can hear the sounds of chain saws/as they cut the winter wood/Or the gentle sound of silence/which always sounds so good."
An article written by long-time occasional reporter Jacque LaFreniere announced the impending merger of Joe McPhillips and Bill Welke to form Island Airways.

Thirty Years Ago

The January, 1973 Beacon opened with a little game news: there were more bunnies than bunny hunters, and Perry Gatliff had not yet had a chance to haul his shanty onto the ice because of the weather. Dick Burris had no such trouble at Geneserath, but had a problem of a different kind: using small perch as bait to fish for pike, things were going along fine until his bait bucket fell through his hole in the ice. Not one to ever give up, he simply got into his diving gear and went in after it.

Doc Christie presented a progress report on the proposed expansion of the Med Center. (The Med Center's Constitution provided for each Town Board to appoint two members to the Med Center Board, plus a member was chosen from the Civic Association and another from the Medical Auxiliary; these six then chose a seventh and final member.) The expansion plan provided five additional beds, two emergency rooms, and supporting facilities. At this point the Board was still seeking funds for construction.
Bob McGlocklin used the off-season to remodel the Circle M, expanding the bar and dining area.

Peter Johnson, a bachelor who spent many years on the lakes, passed away at age 93.

Bill Welke was appointed a year-around Deputy Sheriff by the Charlevoix County Sheriff's Department; formerly he was paid for full time work during the summer and part time the other 9 months--although he was always on call. (Bill, a true Renaissance man, was also named as President of the Civic Association.)

Forty Years Ago

The Beacon had 385 subscribers.

Skating on the glare ice in the Harbor was excellent, with a large bonfire built on the far edge of the designated area every night. (Brian Gallagher recently recalled how as a kid he and two companions skated out of the harbor, and, pulled eastward by the fine ice, skated on and on; when they finally looked back, they discovered Beaver Island was farther away than the mainland.
Walker Hill and his wife left for India on a two-year assignment, but their daughters stayed behind; Mary to study at Antioch, and Ellen to take part in a Chicago Ice capades-style skating extravaganza.

Amaritta Ludwig, owner, with her husband, of the Beaver Lodge, and author of Russian Doctor in Paradise, passed away, as did Herbert Boyle and Mrs. William (Alice) Belfy, Erwin and Delbert's mother.

Barry Pischner became an officer in the Grand Rapids Furniture Designers' Association, which, among other things, donated books on design to libraries and awarded design scholarships to Kendall.

A number of professional coyote hunters descended on the Island and, together with a bevy of local men, began to chase down these annoying beasts. The pros had bagged 286 coyotes around Indian River, but in 3 days of tromping our trails only four wild animals were taken. As soon as there's fresh snow on the ground, they've vowed to return and try again. The Game Club gave Robert and Elaine Smith's son Steve a prize for having caught 1962's largest bass. The rabbits are running for cover, with the beagles of Milt Bennet, Perry Gatliff, Archie LaFreniere, and Karl Kuebler not far behind.

A campaign has been started to raise the estimated $6,000 needed to build the Episcopal Church on property donated by Warren Townsend (former owner of High Island.) This log building will replace the old house in which services have been held since 1934. The Holy Cross Parish Hall was repainted with paint donated by the owner of the Kreuter Paint Company.


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