Island Diary

April 2020 Island Diary

Wed., Apr. 1st - It’s April Fools Day. We got quite a few people again to believe our April front cover story. The Toledo Blade releases a nice article about Put-in-Bay and how the residents will carry on even if the tourist season is slow to come. Dustin Shaffer pulls a great prank on his 2 sons, waking them up and rushing them off to school.

Thu., Apr. 2nd - Governor Mike DeWine extends the statewide stay at home order until May 1st. It’s a beautiful day in the 50s with sunshine and blue sky. Residents of Jeris Lane have a social distancing driveway/porch block party. The Island Guide Facebook page has a live stream of the sunset.

Fri., Apr. 3rd - Cameo Pizza turns on their pizza light signalling they are open for the season. Melinda Myers and her daughter Erin are busy in the afternoon putting scores of colored plastic Easter eggs on the lawn in front of the Put-in-Bay Winery and the old Schnoor/Knabusch home next door. Ray Fogg does a live streaming show on Facebook from the stage at the Reel Bar.

Sat., Apr. 4th - Several private boats are spotted out in the lake around the islands. Not only are they fishing, but one cabin cruiser docks at one of the Crew’s Nest docks for a couple of hours. We kind of wonder what they expected since everything on the island is basically closed.

Sun., Apr. 5th - It’s another beautiful day, and we’d normally be expecting the first few golf carts driving around the island. Not a golf cart in sight. Oliver Thwaite, PIBHS Class of 2008, celebrates his 30th birthday. The USCG Cutter Bristol Bay is spotted cruising between Middle Bass and the East Point on its way to Cleveland.

Mon., Apr. 6th - Over on Kelleys Island, the Kelleys Island Ferry announces on social media a reduction in the number of scheduled trips, but will still run on Saturdays and Sundays. The gas station on Put-in-Bay announces special hours, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., for seniors and immune-compromised customers who can pull up to the pump, honk their horn and get their tanks filled by a masked and gloved attendant. You can stay safe by having a note ready to show the attendant through your closed window what you want. Jackie Taylor and Glenn Cooper enjoy a nice boat ride to North Bass Island.

Tue., Apr. 7th - Rain with thunder and lightning begins about 5 a.m. The buoy between Kelleys and South Bass is being put out for the season by the Coast Guard. The PIB Chamber of Commerce announces they are moving forward with Founder’s Day, scheduled for Saturday, June 13th. A group from Heineman Winery goes over to North Bass to check out the Yelensky and Seinfield houses. A Homeland Security boat escorts a boat to the Boardwalk’s gas dock. It would seem, the boat strayed over the “closed” Canadian border. Did we mention the boat belongs to an islander? The high temperature for the day comes at 9 p.m. when the mercury hits 66 degrees. About 10 p.m., a severe thunder and lightning storm with 50 mph wind gusts and 1.2 inches of rain goes through the islands. As they say, April downpours bring May flowers.

Wed., Apr. 8th - At 7 p.m., it’s so foggy that you can’t see Gibraltar Island from the Crew’s Nest. In the morning, the board members of the Put-in-Bay Twp. Park District and the Put-in-Bay Village Tree Commission hold their monthly meeting by phone rather than at the Put-in-Bay Town Hall. Lisa Brohl sees her first green darner dragonfly hawking while working in her vineyard. Darners migrate back in successive generations. The Reel Bar has its first night of deliveries and curb-side pick-up! The Middle Bass School Board meeting takes place with each member social distancing on their computers.

Thu., Apr. 9th - Winds pick up from the west. About 10 p.m., a tree falls across Langram Rd. bringing down power lines. Gene Zajac, the island’s resident astronomer and his wife Pam Zajac move off the island after recently selling their home on East Point. On Kelleys Island, Mayor Ron Ehrbar puts out a statement with, among other things, announcing that packages arriving via the Kelleys Island Ferry Boat Line will be delivered directly to homes and businesses.

Fri., Apr. 10th - Strong westerly winds push Lake Erie’s waters crashing onto the rocky shoreline at the Anchorage on East Point, sending waves and spray into the trees. Ferry trips are cancelled in the morning, but resume after lunch. It’s one of those “Free Car Wash” days on the ferry and on Bayview Ave. by the Monument. Just before lunch, Bob Bahney on Peach Point reports constant 35+ mph winds for the last 24 hours. On Pelee Island, the strong winds and waves result in some serious damage on the West Rd. Mother Mary live streams Good Friday services from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. At the Village Pump on Kelleys Island you can get a take out Perch dinner from The Pump. Ray Fogg does a live show from the Reel Bar and raises $665 for the Put-in-Bay Volunteer Fire Dept. There’s word going around about a severe storm coming in on the day after Easter.

Sat., Apr. 11th - Marc Wright from the Forge celebrates his 35th birthday in Coronavirus quarantine outfit. Kevin Cody spots two coyotes running in the area of the woods across the street from the post office. On the mainland, four West Shoreians, Bill Boag, Jim French, Larry Schrader and Gil Terry, who would normally be spending this day having happy hour together on the island, instead have a four-way cellphone chat between themselves when it’s cocktail time.

Sun., Apr. 12th - It’s Dolores Kowalski’s birthday. The PIB Vol. Fire Dept. gives the Easter Bunny a ride around the island so everyone can still enjoy a bit of Easter fun. There are several islanders who have put out Easter treats out in their front yards for those who drive by. Bernie and Mary Ann Meyers from the West Shore are picking up twigs and branches off the lawn at St. Paul’s in the afternoon. Since the forecast for running trips on Monday looks very iffy, Miller Boat Line runs afternoon trips from Put-in-Bay and Middle Bass to the mainland. Island entertainer Ray Fogg pays tribute to some of his friends, Daisy, Teri, Wayne, Shawn, Billy, Joe, Duff, Eric, Scott, Greg, Cheryl, Kurt, Laura, Marissa, Roger, Joan, Mallory and more, during a Facebook Live show from the Reel Bar. All tips go to Put-in-Bay EMS.

Mon., Apr. 13th - It takes a bit of time for the wind to pick up. Before cancelling ferries for the afternoon, Miller Boat Line squeezes in some morning runs. Just before noon, Bob Bahney on Peach Point records steady 40 mph winds with at least one gust just over 50 mph. The scheduled PIB Chamber of Commerce general membership meeting does not happen due to Governor DeWine’s shelter in place order through April 30th. The Chamber’s executive board will be meeting “virtually” on Tuesday, the 14th. Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial sends out a press release cancelling all of the events there through June. There’s a drive-by birthday celebration for Erin Stapleton on East Point.

Tue., Apr. 14th - At 6:30 a.m., five PIB High School girls, Nora and Macy Ladd, Elena Schroeder, Kate Byrnes and Alex Knauer, leave the school for a 26-mile marathon walk around the island. The PIB Village Council meets in the Town Hall Assembly Room for its April meeting. In order to mow the grass at the Put-in-Bay Winery, Mac McCann has to go around and pick up scores of plastic eggs that his daughter Melinda and granddaughter Erin put all over the lawn several days before for Easter week. Friends have a drive-by birthday celebration for Justine Cultice at their home on Jeris Lane.

Wed., Apr. 15th - Innovative Excavating is having Miller Boat Line haul two loads of huge concrete blocks to Middle Bass for shoreline protection there. In the afternoon, there are plenty of snowflakes falling from the sky, but none are sticking. Bob Gatewood does a Facebook Live show from his living room on Put-in-Bay right after dinner. The Homeland Security boat takes a spin through the harbor just before dusk.

Thu., Apr. 16th - This would have been the night of the PIB Chamber of Commerce’s State of the Island event at the PIB Town Hall, but the event is postponed.

Fri., Apr. 17th - A very light snow begins to fall over the islands in the morning and pretty much lasts until mid-afternoon. Dale Burris makes a round-trip grocery run to the mainland in his boat. Visibility is hampered by the snow going both ways.

Sat., Apr. 18th - You can tell there are a few people on the island who haven’t been here since before the Covid pandemic hit. They are the ones who are driving by everything very slowly and checking things out. Anyone who has been on the rock for a while drives along at a fast pace and keeps their eyes on the road. Excitement on Middle Bass is that you can get a rib dinner delivered to you from the Middle Bass Island General Store at dinner time. On this date in 1864, Confederate prisoners were playing baseball in the Union prison camp on Johnson’s Island in Sandusky Bay.

Sun., Apr. 19th - Board members from the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society have a phone conference meeting in the afternoon. Ray Fogg is live streaming a Virtual Whiskey Light Celebration show on Facebook directly from the Roundhouse in the afternoon. He is soliciting donations for island charities for them to purchase masks to protect workers when visitors start returning. With Ray’s new goatee, we almost mistook him for Reese Dailey when we logged on to the virtual ceremony.

Mon., Apr. 20th - Spear Bros. from Sandusky begin putting in the low pressure sewer line that is going down to the end of Toledo Ave. where Joe Sebring is having a new home built. They are starting way up at the filling station and the post office. Governor DeWine says schools will be closed for the remainder of the school year. Another month of homeschooling for island students! In the evening, PIB High School honored the Class of 2020 by lighting up the gymnasium at 20:20 hours as did other high schools in Ohio. Members of the PIBHS Class of 2020 are Alex Knauer, Carin Kirsch, Cecilia Glauser, Joseph Byrnes, Hannah Lentz, Joseph Byrnes and Morgan Stacy.

Tue., Apr. 21st - In the morning there are whitecaps in Put-in-Bay harbor due to steady 30-knot-plus winds out of the west northwest. The road going by the Monument is flooded.

Wed., Apr. 22nd - A small Coast Guard tender sets buoys along the channel in PIB harbor. A group of island seniors gathers at the I-LYA’s Commodore’s Memorial in DeRivera park for a mask social right after lunch to help Bob Smith celebrate his 80th birthday and give a nod to the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. More than two dozen masked PIB seniors gathered to enjoy cupcakes, snow flurries and a little conversation, plus others drove by honking their horns and wishing Bob a happy birthday. Tip Boyles, the manager at the Park Hotel, posts on Facebook his tentative opening day is Friday, May 22nd.

Thu., Apr. 23rd - Susan Byrnes, Maria Hristovski, Michelle Heineman and Simona Michael spent part of their day cleaning invasive garlic mustard plants out of Cooper’s Woods. Highlight of Linda Parker’s Day - looking out her window and seeing the neighbor’s dog crossing the road. Ryan Stoiber, Brian Cultice, Joe Bodenbender and Craig Schuffenecker have a Zoom party for the NFL Draft in the evening.

Fri., Apr. 24th - If you take time to look out on the lake, you probably would have seen a fishing boat or two. In the evening, Ray Fogg performs a Facebook Live show from Reel Bar with tips going to sponsor meals at Reel Bar for island service industry workers.

Sat., Apr. 25th - Al and Marcia Ashley, from Chapman Rd., are spotted at the post office for their daily get out of the house routine. Sue Thwaite, after several days looking for help on social media to fix her dishwasher, takes matters into her own hands and repairs it herself. She should have made a “how to fix your dishwasher” YouTube video while she was doing it, but didn’t. What a loss for humanity!

Sun., Apr. 26th - Put-in-Bay dodges a bullet as a predicted nor’easter doesn’t quite turn out as predicted. Not only are the winds a little less intense, but a bit more to the north. There’s a bit of flooding in the streets, but nothing like it could have been. The Forge opens for carryout brunch.

Mon., Apr. 27th - Winds and high water overnight brought in so much lake debris that crews at the Miller Boat Line has to shovel rocks off the dock in order to load cars. At Gloria Kindt’s house, squirrels are found sheltering in place in the old backyard playhouse where she stores hoses and garden statues. “Don’t Give Up The Ship” flags go up on the Crew’s Nest clubhouse. There’s an online event for Scott Pugh in the evening. Allie Market is playing music on the top deck of the Benson Ford ship house and the Island Guide Facebook page is streaming the event.

Tue., Apr. 28th - The Chamber of Commerce has a Covid-19 workshop in the afternoon to discuss Gov. DeWine’s reopening plan. Several PIBHS students are helping pull the invasive garlic mustard plants out of Cooper’s Woods.

Wed., Apr. 29th - Islanders are saddened to wake up to the news that Bob Engel passed away overnight.

Thu., Apr. 30th - A group of island leaders, including the Village Mayor and Township Trustee Chairman, release a statement regarding South Bass Island’s reaction to the Responsible RestartOhio initiative. Until the Ohio Stay at Home order is lifted, leaders have agreed travel to and from the island will be limited to homeowners, workers and essential services only.