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Beacon Archive

June 2003
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McDonough’s Market - 70 Years serving Beaver Island

Don't bother trying to fix it … if it's not Baroque

Graduation Time

Beaver Island Chamber of Commerce Plans for the 4th of July

The Historical Society releases the schedule for Museum Week

BIPOA Nature Lecture: Painted Turtles of the Beaver Archipelago

CMU Summer Nature Walk series

BIRHC to Raffle Truck

Health Center Groundbreaking

The State of the Internet on Beaver Island

Honoring Bev and Mike

On This Date

One Hundred Years Ago

A Fine Spring Concert

An Environmental Protection section proposed for our Zoning Ordinance

Passings: Robert Smith; Gary Tepe; Margaret Way; Dan Green

Rural Arts & Culture Grant Update

Mary Gets a New Gallery

Roasting Jerry

The Sun Also Rises … over PABI's Community House: Summer Solstice Celebrations

The Class Play: A Class Act

Lighthouse School News

News from the Townships

Work at Beaver Head

BICS Students get Handhelds

Island Airways Hanger Party

Emerald Isle Security Exercise

Making a Walleye Pond

The Leadership Retreat suggests an approach for the Lansing Reception

A Report on The Lansing Reception

Peaine Township helps the Island move closer to a Master Plan

The AmVets in Action: yellow ribbons and posters

Weather or Not

Camp Quality Returns

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The Leadership Retreat suggests an approach for the Lansing Reception

At the 5th annual Leadership Retreat, held on May 10th 2003, 20 people had to deal with the frustration of a mainland contingent being unable to fly over because of fog. The purpose was to share accomplishments since the last retreat, agree on priority issues that affect most organizations for 2003, build skills to advocate at the state and local level, and plan effective strategies for the Lansing Reception. The original agenda for the morning was built around a presentation by Chris Kindsvatter, a Lansing lobbyist who represents several Northern Lower Peninsula property owners’ associations. He had agreed to fly his own plane over, bringing materials on state government and contact numbers for new legislators, and coach the group on best strategies for the Reception. Facilitator Anne Glendon asked him to send his material to the Island for distribution prior to the Lansing trip.
Following the organizational reports, three subgroups were formed to discuss issues facing the Island in the coming year that should be priorities for advocacy and lobbying. Despite the many excellent points made by various organizations, there was a great deal of consistency. As each subgroup reported its findings, it became clear that some issues affect all Islanders. The issues that rose to the top as priorities in the coming year were:

Loss of state funding to support BIRHC operations was unexpected and will cause great hardship and a substantial loss this fiscal year. We need to lobby for reinstatement of a minimum annual state allocation of $75,000.

  • BICS is considered “out of formula” by the state, but the formula is based on assumptions about the availability of resources that are irrelevant (and inaccurate) for such a remote community. The result is that BI sends far more tax dollars to Lansing than it gets back, and the Community School is unduly penalized.

  • The imposition of unfunded mandates for increased security should be waived. If the Boat Company is required to enclose the dock areas with fencing, screen passengers and freight, and comply with other security measures being discussed, it will drastically affect tourism and the transport of essential goods and materials.

  • Coordinated communication of Beaver Island's unique character and needs must be shared with government, funders, the population at large, and permanent and seasonal residents; it must be timely and accurate.

Following closely behind the top four concerns were related issues that everyone saw as important:

  • BI leaders should work with other islands and remote communities in the state (and maybe regionally) to obtain special status legislation so that punitive requirements are removed.

  • There needs to be an overarching strategy for Beaver Island that all local organizations support and subscribe to. The Island is too small to work effectively with many competing agendas.

  • Preservation of Beaver Island's culture and natural features is a priority for everyone.

  • It may be time to consider having a paid lobbyist for Beaver Island to monitor what is happening in Lansing and at the County level so we are apprised of impending decisions in time to advocate and educate legislators and department officials before a vote is taken.

  • Affordable housing and assisted living accommodations need to be a part of the Island's development plans.

  • There needs to be better information-sharing within and among Island organizations on an ongoing basis, not just at the annual Leadership Retreat.

After the reports and consolidation of issues, the facilitator gave a brief presentation on the legal rights to advocacy and lobbying. She also outlined the restrictions on tax-exempt organizations, and cited strategies for advocacy and building awareness that are most effective, including how to respond to current or impending crises. Many resources are available that offer excellent suggestions about how to be effective advocates; one of them is the Lobbying and Advocacy Handbook published by the Amherst Wilder Foundation, with sample worksheets included in the folders. Since the guest speaker was unable to appear, the retreat concluded with a planning session for the Lansing reception.
It was pointed out that this will be the 4th annual reception, and that the previous years have produced impressive local results, including: funding for dock improvements, a new ferry, paved roads and sewer system in town, $1.5M for the new medical center, and improved relationships with legislators and department officials. This year the challenge is to begin developing relationships with a whole new set of legislators, most of whom have never been to Beaver Island. Therefore the first strategy is to educate them about who Beaver Islanders are, what we stand for, and what we want from them. These action steps were agreed to:

  1. 1. Present a united front, know what we want and communicate it succinctly, and accurately tell why Beaver Island is important to the region and state, and why it merits their support;
  2. Get information on legislators and their committee assignments from Chris Kindsvatter;
  3. Create a Beaver Island Fact Sheet that provides a compelling case for our unique qualities and also compares our size and resources to other, more famous, islands; make sufficient copies so it can be distributed to everyone who attends the reception;
  4. Create a Power Point presentation based on the Fact Sheet that can be given at the reception when we have the largest captive audience;
  5. Put the four “talking points” agreed to as priorities on a 4"x6" card so every BI representative advocates for the four specific issues; distribute to attendees;
  6. Organizations that need or want to deal with other issues (like housing, roads, township needs) should make separate appointments with appropriate officials.
  7. Create nametags for Beaver Island representatives showing organizations they represent.

BITA: Barb Schwartzfisher said that this has been a difficult year working through issues surrounding the relationship with the Boat Company. BITA is pleased that the two groups are coming together and that an agreement should be signed in the next week.
PABI: Judy Lanier reported that the group has met its $500K challenge locally, and now will seek other funds in the hope of breaking ground for the Community Center by the end of the year. She also said the Preservation Association is returning to the values and mission on which it was founded, gaining greater clarity about the role of the Board and its vision for the future.
BIPOA: Krys Lyle cited the high turnout at last summer's Nature Lecture Series, held in conjunction with CMU Biological Station. This year they will host Dr. John Rowe from Alma on June 30 for a presentation on Painted Turtles; and Dr. Ed Leuck will speak on Alien Plant Species of the BI Archipelago on July 21. The group will do another roadside clean-up this year, and continue to help with the Recreation and Master Plans. Priorities include obtaining 503 (3)(c) status; placing a video on shore property management at the Library; and providing information to new and existing Island property owners.

BI Wildlife Club: Lois Williams said that their purpose continues to be preserving and protecting all Beaver Island wildlife, with a special focus on whitetail deer and wild turkeys. A representative from the Gaylord DNR office came to BI and met with club members. In all likelihood there will not be a turkey hunt this fall.
BI Hospice: This all-volunteer group provides home care and support at times of need. They work closely with the Med Center to assist patients.

BI Boat Company: Bill McDonough reported that the 40-year-old Beaver Islander and the Emerald Isle passed their inspections. They hope to resolve the remaining issues with BITA so an acceptable agreement can be signed. He commented on the potential impact of security regulations on Island transportation. He said most of the rules and procedures were created for large urban areas and are simply not realistic for our resources. He warned that the costs and restrictions could be devastating for our economy and culture.

BI Emergency Medical Service: Gerry LaFreniere said that last year was their busiest ever, and this year is starting out to break that record; they have already had 13 emergency runs Their hopes for 2003: to increase the number of people trained to give CPR; remote placement of defibrillators to improve the chance of surviving a heart attack; and having better emergency medical resources on the Island to compensate for time lost in the “golden hour”due to isolation and weather. BIEMS was celebrated as “Citizen of the Year” at the recent Chamber of Commerce banquet.

BI Chamber of Commerce: Steve West said the Chamber had its most successful year ever, with 97 full members and 15 associates. They have produced an expanded directory; launched the annual Citizen of the Year awards banquet; begun the Bite of Beaver Festival; and are working with the West Michigan Tourism Association to expand the shoulder season. They want to consolidate past gains and further develop the Bite of Beaver by including a 10K run and an old car festival.

BI Housing Committee: Pete LoDico reported on efforts to obtain funding to build 6 assisted living units on the site of the new Health Center. In response to 75 questionnaires, 15 responders applied for admission. They are obtaining 501(c)(3) designation.

BI Historical Society: Bill Cashman said the BIHS has become more focused and strategic in their planning and will concentrate on developing the Oral History project and taking a sequential approach to three building projects: 1) further development of the Heritage Park; 2) expansion and refurbishment of the Marine Museum and surrounding exhibits; and, 3) expansion of the Print Shop. BIHS will increase its collaboration with other organizations and the BI Partnership.

BI Rural Health Center: Barb Murphy said the Medical Center has been focused on issues related to building the new facility; overhauling and improving the billing system; developing partnerships with mainland medical resources; establishing better communication and a more collaborative relationship with BIEMS; creating a sustainable funding base; and establishing a realistic budget and business plan. Priority issues include ensuring delivery of high-quality medical services; replacing or reinstating annual state funding; securing new funding for staffing and other resources; continual improvement of internal systems; and preparing for a smooth transition and move to the new facility.

BI Community School: Joddy Croswhite reported on a successful year despite deep concerns about funding and state cutbacks. The school celebrated passage of the Sinking Fund Millage, allowing for building improvements and maintenance over the next 5 years. They also are celebrating their strong academic program; receiving the Governor's Cup for the third year in a row; having a student place 16th in the State Geography Bee; receiving a grant from the Grand Traverse Band to implement the Strategic Plan; the creative arts program funded by MCACA; more stable Internet access; and first ever district wins in soccer and volleyball. Priority issues include implementing the Learner Support Program, which includes student mentoring; developing a strong community service learning program; and insuring better, more secure school funding.

BI Community Partnership Project: Jim Haveman said the Partnership Agreement now includes 30 signatories from key Island and mainland organizations, including most of those listed above, several from county government, and the BI Lighthouse school. The Partnership is actively supporting initiatives of local organizations, including providing letters of endorsement for grant proposals, supplying advocacy and leadership when requested, and providing access to state resources that have not been available in the past. They are planning a fall presentation by the MSU Extension Service on eco-friendly tourism and economic development.

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