On This Date
Ten Years Ago
The Beacon announced the traditional breaking of the ice by a Coast Guard cutter, this time the Biscayne Bay, which stopped at the dock long enough to let 20 or so Islanders have a quick tour before heading back out to sea. Spring was in the air, as evidenced by Sally Smith trying to organize a women's slow-pitch softball league. A series of Beaver Island Community plays was begun, the first being Doctor Death, starring Jennifer Wojan, Mike Myers, Cindy Gillespie, and Jim Stambaugh. Interlochen said it would send up a student quartet led by instructor/violinist Julia Bushkova.
The decimation of our birch trees by the gypsy moth was addressed in an article by E. B. Lange, who included a report from Jim Gillingham in which he stated that the 25 retrieved traps showed more gypsy moth activity than those of the previous year, but the average of 23 moths per trap was considerably below the 100-moth yield which the Department of Agriculture feels marks the beginning of a problem. Land owners were urged to prune, water, and fertilize their birch trees to help them survive.
The engagement of Debbie LaFreniere and John Robert was announced.
A compromise was reached in the rezoning battle over the Pingel property. This began when the developers of this 2600' tract of frontage south of Cable's Bay asked it be rezoned to R-1, a request that was withdrawn when the rules for R-1 were revised. The new requirement of a minimum width of 200' hindered their plan for 20 "site condo" lots, so they then asked for a variance on the grounds that this rule was not in effect when they submitted an application. A March meeting was postponed when neither the ZBA Chairman (Curt Petrak) nor the Township Attorney could attend. This led to a protest by residents who wanted to voice their opinions. Finally a compromise was reached: if the site plan was downsized to 16 parcels, a variance from the minimum width requirement would be issued.
An item in the proposed Peaine Township budget calling for health insurance for its Board was decried, and a vote negated this line item and moved the funds it required into the "contingency" category. A letter from Bud Cruikshank complimented everyone concerned for taking this action. St. James Township sent out a grant application asking for $80,000 for the tennis courts. The Township Attorney claimed that a charge of conflict of interest brought by Alan Gillespie was without merit.
A DNR biologist was scheduled to visit to help the Wildlife Club determine where it should best plant clover and rye for the deer.
Twenty Years Ago
The Civic Association, predecessor of the Chamber, decided to raise money for the events it sponsors on the Fourth of July by once again having a "Spring Fling" at the Shamrock, featuring local musical talent.
A letter from Billy Bennett, who lived here from 1940 until 1957, warned Beaver Islanders to identify and protect what it values most. When Beaver Island gets parallel parking lines, a stop light, and its first fudge shop, then it's all over. There'll be no need to go there because it'll be just like everywhere else!
Sherri Timsak submitted a story about Tatch O'Donnell. "One day he asked his friend Lano McCafferty to find him a ride to Chicago. That evening Lano went to tell Tatch he'd succeeded, but found Tatch sleeping in his bed under a half-dozen quilts and dressed in unwashed clothes. After waking him, Lano asked if he wanted to put on a clean suit. That was a good idea, he thought, proceeding to slip into his only suit, putting it on right over his clothes. He asked Lano to fetch his suitcase from upstairs, which Lano did, but all he wanted to put in it was 3 packs of Plowboy chewing tobacco. He made it to Chicago all right, and immediately went off to a party. When he failed to return, his sister, with whom he was staying, called the police. Knowing where to look, they found Tatch sleeping in an alley. 'Are you Tatch O'Donnell?' an officer asked him, shaking his shoulder. Tatch replied that he was. 'Well, where d'you live?' the officer asked. 'If you know I'm Tatch,' he shot back indignantly, 'You sure as heck oughta know where I live.'
News was received of the passing of Jimmy Floyd, who had been born on Beaver Island in 1892 and worked here as a lumberjack and fisherman before heading off to see the worldor at least Alaska. He had lived in Charlevoix for the preceding 20 years, and could be counted on to be at the dock when the Beaver Island ferry came in.
Thirty Years Ago
March was so mild (a boat, Jackie Cross's fish tug Jackie II, docked in the harbor on March 15th, and the Beaver Islander made her first trip on March 30th) that the Beacon editor worried that April would exact nature's revenge by turning wet and cold. Bill Wagner, the DNR officer, reported the weather, including a high of 63 degrees on March 11th.
Paul Ken (picture above) reported that on a trip to High Island he saw a black and white dog with a collar and a bell running wild. When he tried to coax it closer it ran into the woods.
Archie LaFreniere sold the Shamrock to Barb Beckers, and Perry Crawford sold the Erin to Terry VanArkel. Grace Cole decided to close her restaurant, the Killarney Inn.
The St. Patrick's Day festivities had to be different than last year's, which featured snowmobile races on the Harborbecause all the ice and snow was gone. Martha Miller organized a Treasure Hunt for the kids and a Scavenger Hunt for everyone else.
The Beaver Island Christian Church celebrated ten years of existence; many of those who attended the first service (organized by Dr. Haynes) returned for it.
Lydia Lehey lost the handles on a roast she was pulling from her oven and severely burned herself, spilling hot grease over half of her body, but thanked Dr. Christie for helping relieve her pain. Our former physician, Dr. Palmer, who was living in Florida, suffered a stroke and slipped into a coma. Ray Penwitt, who married Frank Skopp's third daughter, Geneva, passed away in Pomona, California.
The Coast Guard revealed a policy change: no longer would it put a boat and six men at the St. James substation. Instead the Island waters will be watched by both Charlevoix and St. Ignace.. If necessary, the Coast Guard said, the boat kept on the Island by the DNR could be used. Restrictions of the budget were to blame.
Forty Years Ago
The Community Calendar listed some events: trout season would open on April 27th; the smelt run would take place in May; and a mushroom hunt was scheduled for June. The Chicago party and Lansing party had already taken place, with a few celebrants (such as Russ and Joy Green) making it to both. Jewell Gillespie played in Chicago with Russell Palmer and Manistee's Ed Boyle.
In medical news, the Beacon reported that the Island's two Lillian Isabels were each in the Medical Center at the same time to deliver children: Paul Cole and Ronald Gregg.
The Game Club stated that 15 turkeys had been spotted, and more white ducks would be released in the harbor. The 85 Herfords being raised along the Jordan River ran out of hay, so the Sundew had to make an emergency run on April 2nd. It took her 10 hours to smash through all the ice coming here with 5 tons of feed, and 8 hours, after the wind shifted, to smash her way back to Charlevoix.
Several trappers were eagerly awaiting the April 1st opening of the season: Karl Keubler, Rogers Carlisle, and Walt Wojan. One of Walt's first traps snapped shut on a beaver's tail, and it was angry when Walt arrived. Once again butcher Lawrence Malloy was ready to skin any he's brought, and provide ample beaver meat.
Fifteen year Island resident Joe Dillingham, who was the Island's telephone man since the phone arrived, accepted a job in Flint. He was also the assistant manager of the generating plant, Clerk of Peaine Township, Vice President of the Civic, and a member of the school board.
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