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Beacon Archive

December 2002
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On This Date

Ten Years Ago

The December Beacon's cover story was about the school addition. The architect held an open meeting, primarily for Island contractors and tradesmen. The state required the General Contractor to be bonded, which in turn required a company's net worth to exceed the amount of its bid. Thus almost all of the Island contractors would be ruled out, although it was hoped an off-Island General would sub out much of the work to locals. To facilitate this, wording was inserted in the request for bids to indicate that weight will be given to those Generals listing several locals in their list of subs. Joddy Croswhite was hired to act as Project Supervisor.

The St. James Town Board requested Supervisor Neal Boyle to ask the DNR to limit the number of deer taken on the Island until the herd is built up. Bud Rouch won the big buck contest with a 205-pound eight-pointer. All in all, about 55 deer were taken during the combined seasons.

Word was received of the passing of long-time Island summer resident Gerry Keidel. Gerry first arrived in 1961; falling in love with Beaver, he bought lots at Sand Bay and Lake Geneserath. First he built a rustic sportsman's cabin on the Little Lake; then, in 1973, three years before he retired as the head of the International Division of Chicago's American National Bank (he opened their London branch in 1969), he added a cabin at Sand Bay. Known as "The Mayor," he was always ready to open his door to anyone and sit down to talk. He is still missed to this day.

Two Kalamazoo couples, the Tom Lammon, Ray Sears, and their wives, were declared legally dead five months after their Cessna 172 disappeared from radar after passing Northport on its way to Beaver Island. A few fiberglass shards that washed up near Good Hart could not be positively identified.

Archie LaFreniere celebrated his 80th birthday. His grandfather had been a logger who worked his way north late in the nineteenth century as the big pine disappeared, finally crossing the ice on foot and settling on Beaver. Archie was in the Coast Guard in its last days, and then bought the Village Inn, moved it across the street, and renamed it the Shamrock, which he owned and ran for 35 years. After selling it, he opened the Island's first gift shop, where he sold small paintings he did on stones he picked up on the beach.

Twenty Years Ago

In December of 1982 the Island went dark when a tug dragging a line severely damaged the cable connecting us to Cross Village. Power would have to be supplied by the generator until repairs could be made in the spring--its constant chugging became a feature of St. James–so Island residents were asked to reduce their power use during peak times and relinquish, wherever possible, electric heat. A back-up generator was located and delivered to the Island.

The Volunteer Fire Department was organized, with Tim McDonough and Jim Wojan accepting the top posts.
BJ Wyckoff spent two intense days teaching basic CPR to 80 residents.

The Island got its first bank when the First State Bank of Charlevoix opened a branch in the building now housing the Tanning Salon.

The Game Club announced that 56 bucks were taken on Beaver and 14 on Garden.

Richard Hodgson and Paul Welke announced the merging of their flying services to form Island Airways.

Thirty Years Ago

The Game Club reported a comparable harvest to the preceding year: 25-30 deer taken on Beaver, 3 on Garden. Several coyotes were shot, most suffering from the mange. Snowshoe hares and partridge were hunted as well.

Archie's daughter Judy married Rick Hansul. Audrey (Wojan) Potter delivered her son Jason, and Buddy and Coleen welcomed Katrina into their family. New winter residents included Vivian Visscher, Phyllis Townsend, Martha and George Miller, Shirley and Dave Gladish, and Annie and Tink Hayhoe.

A meeting was held at the School in which both townships' Boards introduced various mainland agency representatives to interested Islanders to tell them about their options for receiving technical and financial assistance. Included was the County Executive Director of the United States Agriculture Stabilization Conservation Service, Pete LoDico.

Thanksgiving dinner at the Christian Church was attended by 36 people.

Forty Years Ago

The December Beacon, which was edited by Sheldon Parker because Phil Gregg was at outboard motor school, relayed a hunting story that demonstrates Beaver Islanders' ability to improvise: “While Timmy McDonough, age 5, and Jimmy Wojan, age 8, were playing in the back yard of Skip and Bud McDonough's home, their beagle pup, Butch, chased a rabbit past them. Tim and Jim took off in hot pursuit, armed with a mop handle and a pocket knife. Leaving a wake of dust and swirling leaves, they gained enough on their quarry to warrant a hefty swing on the mop handle, which found its target. The knife, thrown by Tim, brought the chase to and end, and two proud hunters came strutting home with meat for the table.”

Another hunter was not so lucky. As 16-year-old Bob Tricker Jr. from Pontiac changed his rifle from one hand to the other it went off, imbedding small particles from the blast in his cheek and eye as the bullet passed through the visor of his cap. He was treated by Dr. Haynes and then flown to Munson by the Coast Guard helicopter.

The deer season produced 260 hunters, who took 120 deer: 62 antlered bucks, 31 adult does, 12 female fawns, and 15 male fawns. Two high school students bagged their first buck: Johnny Gillespie and Danny Gallagher. One hunter, Floyd Fasset from Charlotte got lost trying to hike from the mouth of Iron Ore Creek to Nomad, where he'd arranged to be picked up. By dusk he'd reached the southwest edge of Lake Geneserath, but was mired in a wetland. He waded along the shore until he reached high ground, and then built a fire and prepared to spend the night. Keeping it going kept him from sleeping. At dawn he set off again to the north, and found an old logging trail that carried him to a half mile west of Wicklow Beach. Just past noon he was spotted by a member of the search party–Phil Gregg, who drove him to town and treated him to a hearty breakfast.

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