Leslie's articles from the Put-in-Bay Gazette
All the jokes about Ohio’s changeable weather are true. This has been a winter for the records. Summer days mixed with sub zero temps, high winds, and the ice coming and going, The MAIL was interrupted several times. One 3-day stint resulted in three bags of mail and 50 boxes of backlogged mail. Even the Village office and the transfer station closed during one of the coldest days. Before the lake froze over, high winds drove water, sand and stones across E. Lakeshore and Police closed the road. The FIRE DEPT responded to a small fire in a greenhouse on Division Street. There were several power outages.
The low temps played havoc with pipes too. By the end of January the POLICE reported finding frozen pipes in two different homes causing major water damage. Leaks inside may not be noticed from the outside. The best advice is to shut your water off, winterize your home and fill out a house check form so the Police can check your house. There were a couple of major waterline leaks as frozen pipes thawed out during one of the warm spells, causing water to flow across the roads.
The last FERRY ran on January 22 and the lake was completely frozen over just two days later. Four inch slabs of ice were everywhere and the entire lake at one point was filled with ice balls. There wasn’t a flat area to be seen. ICE FISHING geared up and a backhoe was brought down to the State Park beach to clear a path out to the lake. Three days later, all the shanties were back on land. After that, there was spotty fishing, mostly on buckets, before a few brave people dragged shanties out once again.
So what do we do during the winter? There are pot lucks at both the VFW and the church. The ICE PARTY of February 19 brought out about 40 people. It was moved from the State Park (no electricity) to one of Seaway Marina’s pavilions. Needless to say, a good time was had by all. We are nearing the end of the Wii bowling tournament and the banquet will be held in March. There is an EXERCISE CLASS at the school on Wednesdays and ART CLASS keeps quite a few people really busy. We also hang out at the LIBRARY which is a pretty busy place. How busy? Stats for 2018 include: Adult circulation-2,220 items; Children’s circulation-849 (Total 3,069). Items added to the collection: Adult-467; Teen-25; Childrens-315 (Total 807). 682 items were withdrawn from collection. The Sandusky Library takes really good care of our little community.
What can we look forward to? The first COUNCIL MEETING of the year has been moved from March 8 to Tuesday March 12 at 9 am. The Pump celebrates 50 years. Snow drops and daffodils will be coming up soon and we expect Spring is just around the corner.
February is that odd month when people try to get their vacations out of the way in preparation of the coming spring openings. We certainly are well-fed this winter. Potlucks and social evenings at the VFW, fresh produce at the Island Market, football gatherings and so on. It’s a good thing the weather was so nice, we can walk off some of those calories, or exercise at the weekly Silver Sneakers classes at the school. Real Estate Tax Bills should be coming out soon so be sure that Erie County has your correct mailing address.
The weather has been the topic of conversation. There it was mid-January and no sign of ice. The ferry was scheduled to close down on January 13, then it extended to January 20 and finally announced that January 27 would be the last day. After holidays sales, grocery store specials – we got to take advantage of them all. What a treat - except for the ice fishing. Sad faces everywhere. Surprisingly, with the mild weather and calm waters, there have been quite a few fishing boats out on the lake. There are predictions of a great Walleye season in 2019. Everything changed just a week later. That big storm? It hit the Island pretty hard with 4-6” of snow and high winds (not to mention the drifts) everywhere. It hit Saturday and roads were still being cleared on Tuesday. We had a power failure (part of the Port Clinton outage) for about 1.5 hours but like our pioneer settlers, we survived admirably. Which begs the question – how did they do it?
New Year’s celebrations were low key. Usually we hear a lot of guns and fire crackers going off – but not this year. There was a pre-celebration gathering at the VFW followed by a lovely dinner at the Kelleys Island Wine Co., not to mention a whole bunch of private parties. All in all, a delightful welcoming of the New Year.
COUNCIL – it looks like Council is on hiatus until March as no meeting is scheduled. Make a note though that the March meeting has been postponed until Tuesday, March 12 at 9 am.
VFW POTLUCKS started on December 9 there is a new face behind the bar, Erica Pogalies Poston. We bid a sad goodbye to Patti Fresch who brought some new faces into the VFW (particularly in the winter!). The Kelleys Island BOARD OF EDUCATION announced that they will not collect eight mills of real estate taxes for 2019. This results in a savings to Island property owners of about $627,160. This is the 19th consecutive year property owners have realized a savings. The KELLEYS ISLAND FERRY BOAT LINE said thanks to Islanders with a free trip the second week of December. This is a much looked for treat for us; a bonus day where we can take the time shop and to sit down for lunch. It is always disorienting to see people from the Island in the stores.
Christmas on the Island is celebrated in many ways. The holidays begin, with the help of so many volunteers, with the decorating of the downtown park. There are wreaths, lights, more lights, and this year there are more candy canes than you can count. The official lighting came the day after Thanksgiving. Santa arrived in a fire truck and had a sit down chat with every child present (and probably some of the adults too). The park has a real wow-factor at night and is worth driving by. The next official Christmas event was the CHRISTMAS POT LUCK at historic Kelley’s Hall. A feast to behold and devour, followed by Santa visiting with all the children. There were carols, jolly good cheer and loads of fun.
Work on the ANTENNA PROJECT at the Transfer Station is moving forward quickly. You can easily see the tower from the West Bay as it grows every day. They brought over a really big crane to continue work on the upper regions of the tower. The new Hancock Wood ELECTRIC CABLE PROJECT is complete as the cable got connected and the power transferred back, shared by both cables on December 19. [After note – cable is not quite complete. They had to order a few connectors).
COUNCIL NEWS –LEGAL – Dick Grubbe and Mike Kaufman talked about Mayor’s Court and litigation. The Village was complimented on its clean handling of cases, that everyone is on the same page, and the court cases run like clockwork. EMS reports that pediatric trauma training has been successfully completed. The SAFETY COMMITTEE announced it received two $5000 donations towards the purchase or lease of a vehicle and Council approved the lease of a 2019 Ford F-150 for the Police Dept. The POLICE DEPT issued two tickets (stop sign and speeding), issued 5 warnings for speeding, and has started HOUSE CHECKS. BUDGET ISSUES surfaced again, however, several ordinances dealing with the budget were not approved as emergencies, and stood as a first reading (Village solicitor, zoning inspector, new base pay salary range for full and part-time permanent employees, and an ordinance combining the duties of the Clerk/Treasurer into an appointed office known as the Village Fiscal Officer). Access to the lake by residents of Lincoln Rd. has been resolved. The GOLIAS HOUSE issue is finally decided as Council approved offering the property for sale. There is still tension between Council members as the line between an official’s actions and those taken as a private citizen becomes blurred. Criticisms flew over sending letters regarding a court case and to by-passing the chain of command when seeking a clarification. Recently the tension has spilled over onto Facebook. Catch up on the minutes at www.KelleysIsland.us.