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Beacon Archive

July 2003
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4th of July Festivities

BITA - BIBCO Reach an Agreement

Environmentally Sensitive Areas Ordinance on the Agenda

Vanishing Sturgeon

PABI's 1st Annual Goofy Golf Tournament

Rita Gillespie Memorial Blood Drive

Tara runs like the Wind

News from Beaver Island Hospice & Helping Hands

On This Date

Rutan Experimentals Fly-In at the Township Airport

Annual Firemen’s Picnic

Barry Pischner's New CD: Sailing On

The Island Welcomes New Sheriff Jim Campbell

The Bike Path: an Unqualified Success

Museum Week 2003 Schedule; Museums hold Open House

Some interesting occurrences at Meetings

A Solstice Celebration: The Second Annual High Tea

Whiskey Point Restoration; Rectory Auction

Camp Quality does Beaver Island

Charlevoix County Commission Meetings

Celebrating Flag Day

Charlie's Model A: on the way to the Shop

One Hundred Years Ago

The “Seven Sisters” Opens

BIRHC Board has Opening

Sunset Cruises available Once Again

Bob Hannon: 1950-2003

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On This Date

Ten Years Ago Four pairs of loons were nesting safely on the inland lakes. Two other stories seemed related, but weren't. The Young Eagles in one of them referred to a program started by Paul and Ellen Welke for students, in which each were allowed to take the controls of a Piper Cub for ten minutes; the 13 students were thrilled. The other story, The Eagle Has Landed, concerned the plight of new editor Chuck Hooker's Jeep Eagle, which somehow decided it was time for a bath and wound up in the harbor.

The Wildlife Club announced its four priorities: mow, fertilize, and plant fields with rye, clover, and buckwheat; place mineral blocks; eliminate poaching; and reduce predation by live-trapping coyotes.

The court case against the Road Commission was postponed because their witness list was too long. A $10,000 Frey Foundation recreation grant helped complete the Master Plan and to create the Gull Harbor Nature Preserve. Peaine Township tabled a bid from Processing Concepts Limited to computerize its records for $7,950 plus $120 a month.

Jewell Gillespie won the Michigan Heritage Award for serving as a bridge between the lilting jigs he grew up with and more modern tastes. He taught himself to play the ocarina, mouth organ, piano, and fiddle, and began entertaining his family and friends as a teenager. He wrote many songs as well, including his signature tune, On the Beach at Beaver Island. The award was generated by the popularity of Beaver Island music that resulted from field recordings made by Ivan Walton and Alan Lomax, in which he was featured as back-up guitarist for Pat Bonner's fiddle.

Ray and Claire Cull celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in a party hosted by Rich Gillespie, with Tammy McDonough and Barry Pischner acting as soloists in the preceding mass. Their ten children, twenty grandchildren, and three great grandchildren led Ray and Claire into the Parish Hall.

Twenty Years Ago The July, 1983 Beacon was unusually thin. The primary story concerned the candlelight installation ceremony for the Sweet Adelines, organized through the efforts of long-time near-professional barbershopper Harriet Rafferty and her equally talented daughters.

The Civic Association raised money by raffling a lot in the Port of St. James, donated by Morty Brous at the insistence of Ed Wojan. The winner decided to build a house on it and stay on the Island: our own cross between Bob Dylan and Burl Ives, Joddy Croswhite.

The Game Club was worried about inbreeding in the deer herd, descended from 12 deer brought to the Island sixty years before. They hoped to introduce new blood, but inducing deer to swim over from the mainland was proving difficult.

Passings noted were Elsie O'Donnell, 93, who left 7 children, 33 grandchildren, and 36 great-grandchildren, and Gilbert High, a brother to Fred, Albert, Arthur, and Lydia Lewis.

The Beacon contained a poetic paean by Godwin Heights valedictorian Daniella Williams that concluded with these lines:

Here on Beaver Island in full array
All the boats lined up in the bay;
Wildflowers, ferns, and sandy shores,
This is Nature, opening her doors.

Thirty Years Ago The July Beacon contained the story of Jewell Gillespie in the American Girl towing the Oil Queen from Charlevoix when rough seas caused its deck load to shift. Jewell stood helplessly watching as it began to roll and then turned over. He managed to get the capsized barge into Sand Bay, and then obtained Coast Guard permission to tow it to Paradise Bay. To remove the fuel, he plugged up the vent pipes and unscrewed the drain plug, and pumped it out. The next step was to attach cables to the bottom from two cranes and a winch truck, and other cables tied to the American Girl and the Eager Beaver. The Oil Queen flopped back over, with only minimal seepage.

Two separate cases of the Coast Guard helicopter flying ill Islanders to the Little Traverse Hospital were reported.
The Island Players began rehearsing Neil Simon's Plaza Suite for an August performance.

The Island ferry, the Beaver Islander, was laid up for a week with a broken clutch. During repairs the former ferry, the first Emerald Isle, was leased from the Arnold Line. Captain Russ Green flew to Mackinac Island to bring her back.

Frank Nackerman retired as Postmaster after serving for 34 years; Mary Minor, who had been his assistant, took his place.

An episode in the ongoing Beaver Tales series recalled the history of the Silver Top Saloon–so-called because they served that brand of beer. Johnny Green, a musician, businessman, and politician, had a lot on Main Street where he decided to build a two-story structure. Started on a Saturday, it was finished the following Saturday. The lower level served as a tavern run by Willie Boyle; the living quarters upstairs held so many card games that a hole was cut in the floor to allow drinks to be sent up in a box on a rope. With prohibition, the building became a tailor shop, where Frank Nackerman was fitted for his first pair of long pants. After the tailor moved out the doors disappeared, and dogs, cats, and even cattle could be seen milling around inside. In 1923 the building became the Post Office, with Willie Boyle serving as Postmaster, the 14th on Beaver Island.

Joe Moore, a student at Grand Valley State, took part in an overseas program in which he studied in Vienna for six weeks.

Forty Years Ago The Beacon opened with a fish story: tired of all the broken lines and loosened hooks “amateur” fishermen reported from Lake Geneserath, Walter Wojan and two of his sons decided to show the world how it was done. Rigged up to go after the big ones people whispered about, they pushed off early in the day. Walt hooked onto a real lunker, but managed to stay with it. Within fifteen minutes he had guided it into his net. Its size was such that they immediately headed for town to have it weighed. Three separate scales averaged 23 ½ pounds for the 42"-long pike. Two weeks later Ron Wojan went back on his own and caught another 42" northern, this one weighing a respectable 18 pounds.

LaDonnis and Eleanor Mooney were blessed with twin daughters, Terri and Sherri.

The Historical Society received a windfall from the daughter of James Dormer, who ran a store here in the 1800s–including King Strang's personal Bible–which of course he rewrote.

Plans were announced for a log chapel to serve as the St. James Mission, with a vicarage nearby scheduled for the following summer. Right Reverend Charles Bennison, Bishop of Western Michigan, planned to dedicate it on September 1st.

Walter Chase visited the Island to see the site where his brother, David Chase, was killed in a train wreck, now marked with a cross, near Protar's Tomb.

The 1st annual Golf Tournament was held at the Beaver Island course, owned by the Beaver Lodge. The winning score was 73, with Doug Wilson of Ypsilanti and Ted Kondratko of Dearborn tied.

Dr. Sorensen announced he would take appointments for dental work in August at his Beaver Island office.
Turkeys planted on the Island were sighted on Mrs. Redding's Trail.

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