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Front Page News

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The Put-in-Bay High School Girl’s Basketball Team came back victorious once again after playing in the Great Lakes Islands Basketball Tournament on Mackinac Island. The ladies defeated three teams from other islands in the Great Lakes, Washington Island, Wisconsin, Beaver Island, Michigan and Mackinac Island, Michigan. In the game against Beaver Island, Hannah Lentz shot a 3 pointer with 30+ seconds left to tie the game. Then, Kate Byrnes shot a 2 pointer at the buzzer for a win of 27 to 25. In the game against Mackinac, Hannah Lentz shot a 3 pointer at the buzzer to tie the game. In overtime, with 10 seconds left on the clock, Elena Schroeder shot a 2 pointer from high post to win the game 24 to 22. Left to right are the back to back champions: Nora Ladd, Lyla Steidl, Ava Heineman, Lilian Frederick, Lucy Schneider, Elora Hubner, Elena Schroeder, Cecilia Glauser, Kate Byrnes, Hannah Lentz (holding trophy), McKenna Stacy (back), Alice Lentz, and Coach Schuffenecker.

Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020!

By Jeff Koehler

Like every year I’ve lived on the island, this past year has not been like any other.
2019 will certainly go down as memorable because of the flooding and the record high water level in Lake Erie. The one bright spot is that the flooding was not as severe as flooding in the 1970s. Unfortunately, predictions for even higher water levels in the Great Lakes this coming year are out there. We all know what that means for the islands.

The greatest success, in my opinion, was the success the Safe Island Task Force had in curtailing the Christmas in July issues and literally making it a non event on the island’s busy event calendar. The past few years, the weekend had become an event that put all the good island publicity out there into reverse gear. The misbehaving crowds and the extremely negative posts on social media made the weekend money loser for many businesses and a nightmare for residents. A big thank you goes out to those who volunteered countless hours of time working on the SITF.

We were also very pleased with the island’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of the burning of the Hotel Victory in 1919. Curator Dan Savage had a wonderful display about the Hotel Victory, plus Renee Market certainly pleased those interested in the historic structure with her tours of the Hotel Victory site in the South Bass Island State Park.
2019 will also be remembered for the Kid Rock concert. Estimates vary, but about 15,000 people were on the island to hear him and the other musicians at the third annual Bash on the Bay. The event showed that Put-in-Bay can accommodate a really big event. Interestingly, promoters are looking for a double, two-day concert this coming season in 2020. We’ll have more about this as plans progress.

Island politics were rather interesting this year. Jessica Dress became acting mayor after Mayor Mack McCann resigned in the spring. Then in November, she ran against former mayor Judy Berry to retain her seat. Jessica squeaked out a win by only two votes! Every vote really did matter.

Again this year, I jotted down the different nationalities of visitors to Put-in-Bay I met this past year. I really didn’t go much out of my way to meet people this past year, but here is my list: Turkey, Austria, Mexico, Jamaica, Poland, Bulgaria, Thailand, China, Mongolia, Columbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, India, Germany, Taiwan, Albania, South Korea and Canada. One of the most memorable was a young lady whose mother was Vietnamese and father was Russian. She grew up in Siberia, but now lives in Germany, and she somehow found her way to Put-in-Bay. I only wish I could hear more of the stories our visitors have to tell.

I don’t know about you, but I personally saw more kids driving rental golf carts this past year than I’ve ever seen in one season. People must not be reading those new signs around the island and stickers on the steering wheels warning people not to let kids drive carts.
One of the interesting things that happened on North Bass Island this fall was the paving of the North Bass Airport and the stabilizing of the island’s main dock. The airport improvements ran a cool $2,000,000 paid from a federal airport improvement grant. The work on the island’s main dock was funded by $500,000 from the state’s transportation bill passed last spring. Fewer than a dozen residents call North Bass their year-round home. In contrast, Kelleys Island with a population of about 300 people received a mere $101,079 Federal Aviation Association (FAA) grant for improvements.

The saddest thing islanders dealt with this past year was the passing of Patrick Myers, the creative and multi-talented islander who made Put-in-Bay a great place to live. He is missed by all and his shoes will be difficult, if not impossible, to fill.

With 2019 behind us, we are certainly looking forward to the New Year. New to the island will be two back-to-back Bash at the Bay concerts at the airport at the end of August, and the hosting of the Great Lakes Islands Alliance and the Great Lakes Ferry Boat Association meetings in October. We also play host to the Great Lakes Islands Basketball Tournament in December.

A new group, The Put-in-Bay Strategic Marketing Committee (PIBSMC), will be working to improve Put-in-Bay’s image with a campaign to entice more visitors through the week during season. This has been a goal for years, but this may be the first time there has been a truly coordinated effort to specifically address the issue of family visitation through the week. You’ll be hearing more about this effort in coming issues.

Best of all, 2020 will see Miller Boat Line’s new ferry, the M/V Mary Ann Market, going into service. This new queen of the fleet will serve the island for many years to come. With any luck, the ferry will start the first of its island runs before Labor Day.

On the Calendar...

Put-in-Bay Volunteer Fire Department Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser - January 11th
The Put-in-Bay Fire Department will be holding a Spaghetti Dinner at the fire station on Saturday, January 11th, from 5 to 7 p.m. Dinner will include spaghetti, meatballs, garlic bread and salad. Please come check out the trucks and equipment and see what the department has to offer in an emergency. All proceeds will go towards new equipment to better serve the community. Everyone is welcome!

Progressive Insurance Cleveland Boat Show - Jan. 16th - 20th
Put-in-Bay will be well-represented at this year’s Progressive Cleveland Boat Show from Thursday, January 16th, through Monday, January 20th, at the IX Center at Hopkins Airport. New this year is the Fishing Expo, so everyone who loves the Boardwalk’s lobster bisque, boats and fishing should put at least one of these dates aside on your calendar. Besides your favorite island folks from the Boardwalk, you’ll see island volunteers at the Put-in-Bay Chamber of Commerce booth, some of the staff from the Keys and the Crew’s Nest and representatives from Stone Lab, among others.
The Chamber of Commerce is looking for a few volunteers to help manage their table. The event dates are: Thursday, January 16th, from noon to 9 p.m. on “Island Night;” Friday, January 17th, from noon to 9 p.m.; Saturday, January 18th, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, January 19th, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Monday, January 20th, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Three to four-hour shifts would be greatly appreciated. The Chamber will create a schedule and have tickets for volunteers available at the IX Centers Ticket Booth (unless other arrangements are made).
Please let the Chamber know if you or one of your employees would be able to help them represent Put-in-Bay at the Boat Show this year. Email us your time(s) available to pibcc.coordinator@gmail.com.

PIBYC Winter Doldrums - Jan. 15th & 16th
Put-in-Bay Yacht Club members will be meeting at the Holiday Inn Express in Westlake, Ohio, on Friday, January 15th, and Saturday, January 16th, for their annual Winder Doldrums Weekend. It starts off with a BYOB cocktail party at 5 p.m. on Friday. The next day, it gets a bit more serious when a board meeting starts at 9:45 a.m. to conduct some club business. Lunch is at 11 a.m. with a Put-in-Bay Community Swim/Sail meeting at 2 p.m. and a Women’s Auxiliary meeting at 3 p.m. Winding up the day will be cocktails at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m.

Kurt Rohrbacher Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament - Jan. 31st & Feb. 1st
Start thinking ice for the Kurt Rohrbacher Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament which will begin with a sign-up party on Friday, January 31st, beginning at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. at The Forge. If you can sign up at The Forge, please contact Dan Petro at (419) 341-2274. The next on Saturday, February 1st at 7:30 a.m., fishing will take place followed by a the weigh in at Topsy Turvey’s between 3 and 4 p.m. The banquet will be held at Topsy Turvey’s at 6 p.m. At the banquet, there will be a 50/50 and Chinese raffle, plus a gun raffle. All proceeds will be going to support the scholarship in Kurt’s name. On Sunday morning, the Put-in-Bay Fire will host pancake breakfast as in years past. If you would like to donate or be a sponsor for the event, please contact Dan Petro, Lindsay Petro, Barb Rohrbacher, Jeff Rohrbacher, Kiel Rohrbacher, or Katie Wertenbach. Commodore Resort Hotel will have rooms available for those wanting to stay the entire weekend or the night! Please call (419) 285-3101 direct to book.

It’s a Birthday Party! - Feb. 2nd
Everyone is welcome to come to Topsy Turvey’s on Ground Hog Day, Sunday, February 2nd, to celebrate Lisa Wrobbel’s 30th Birthday. Lisa’s father, Chef John, says the celebration will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. and will feature lots of great food. Please stop by for a good old island afternoon of winter fun! If you have questions, please call John at (419) 967-0425.

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