A Note From Ann Johnson's Cabin In The Woods
Ann Johnson At Work
Ann and Gerry Johnson for several years published a periodic letter to Harbor residents about Township happenings. Their "letter to taxpayers" was a Harbor institution, eagerly anticipated and read by many Township property owners, especially those who are yet to make Eagle Harbor their permanent home. Gerry died in 2004, but luckily for us, Ann is continuing the tradition, now with her "A Note From Ann Johnson's Cabin In The Woods." She's a wonderful writer and an astute observer of the local scene. A big "Thank you" to Ann for contributing her letter to George's Eagle Harbor Web.
A Look Back At 2004 - A Year Of ChangeAlthough many things remain constant in our wonderful community, there are always new happenings, new neighbors, a new generation coming of age and lots of happy times to report.
Summer came and went with the speed of light.In fact, there were only two days that I can remember in June that could be called “summer”. Fourth of July was perfect as usual with so many families participating in the parade and games. Canoe races were postponed due to windy conditions, but were held at Pig Roast time in August. We had such a late spring and summer that the fall was really delayed. Color season lasted until the third week in October. Snow came before the leaves had fallen from the trees, and although it was beautiful, the weight of the snow caused broken limbs, fallen trees and power outages.
Eagle Harbor celebrated the acquisition of the Dunes-Marshes acreage in September. Doug Sherk, supervisor from 2002 until 2004, worked so hard to make it possible for the Township to acquire and preserve that 360 acres of beautiful forest. Once again, private donations and grants provided the funds. I was privileged to go on a walking tour of the area with the naturalist who did the baseline study for the conservation easement. I hope tours can be arranged next summer for everyone to see the treasure we have in Eagle Harbor Township. I do recommend that you stick to the open trails–our group climbed a number of steep hills after crossing a beaver dam that we were sure would be a more direct route back to the road. Wrong!!!
The Township is the new owner of 160 acres from the shortcut road to Cedar Creek. Months of negotiations with Lake Superior Land culminated in that purchase to preserve an area for a future sewer treatment plant site. We hope that does not become a necessity for many years, but the Township Board recognized the need to prepare for a time when individual septic systems will no longer be adequate in the eyes of the DEQ and public health departments.
Thanks to the generosity of Barbara and Don Koop, the beach from the range light to Cedar Creek just east of the village is now Township property. It has always been a wonderful beach for swimming our dogs, skipping rocks and enjoying the wild flowers along the roadside. The view of the lighthouse from there is perfect for photographers.
November elections brought only one change in the Township Office. Doug Sherk did not run again. We all appreciate the wonderful things he did in his three years. The new supervisor, Ed Kisiel, had been serving as deputy clerk. Ed lives at Lake Bailey with his wife Staci. The Township office will reflect Ed’s expertise in organization and computer skills. He is designing a web site which will make available Township information via the internet. Meeting agendas, minutes, financial statements, policies, and ordinances will be posted for anyone interested. Go to www.eagleharbortwp.org and watch the development of the site if you are on line. Jeane Olson’s new deputy clerk is JoAnne Marutz from Gratiot Lake. She has served as clerk in a Michigan charter township and will be a welcome addition to the office staff. I am happy to report that Barb Been will continue to help me as deputy treasurer.
The 911 addresses were finally activated last fall. Old box numbers are still being recognized during the transition, but should be phased out by next fall. Ginny Schubert has spent many, many volunteer hours working on the county committee.Thanks to her efforts, Eagle Harbor has very few problems with the new system.
Our Volunteer Fire Fighters and First Responders hosted a spaghetti dinner at the Shoreline in August. They were most appreciative of the support they received from all the people who filled the restaurant to capacity. Donations were used for equipment by both groups. There are currently two new firefighters taking the training course which will last until April. It is an amazing commitment of time, study and physical effort. Specifications are still being considered for a truck to be purchased using the grant and loan set aside for us last year. The last payment has been made on the current truck.
We have two new neighbors the village. The Charles Hartmann family built on Cedar Street which required extending the water line from Center to Cedar on Third street. Ruth Probst (Dick’s mother) now lives in a new home at the end of Fifth Street. A water service line for her was run from Center to North Street (M 26). September was a busy month for digging up streets and laying water pipes. Some major problem areas along Third Street were corrected with the new water main. So far the water department has been unsuccessful in finding grant money to redo the entire system. Pleas for assistance have gone out to our US Senators and Representative. We keep hoping. The cost of upgrading the system is at least two and a half million dollars.
I lost my editor and husband of 54 years in October after several years of declining health. He was a perfectionist when it came to journalism–“use as few words as possible for clarity.” Anne Bach was tragically killed in a car accident down state in November. Marion Thomas, Ginny Schubert’s mother, died Christmas day in Chicago. We lost Phil Medlyn last spring. He was a devoted member of the Historical Society. Memorial services were held last summer for Pauline Opland and Helen Knight. Our thoughts are with Margaret Crawley who lost her husband, Vic, this past week. Other neighbors lost since last spring are Fred Vincent (a long time volunteer at the lighthouse complex), Edwin Roeske of Silver River Loop, and Martha Royston who spent summers on the Marina Road.
The Christmas Eve service at St. Peter’s By The Sea was especially lovely this year. It was a musical delight with a group of six talented singers forming an a capella choir, a soloist, and Pastor Al Goodrich prefacing his message with a song and his guitar accompaniment.
Since this letter was started last week, we have had constant snow, high winds causing white-outs, and zero or below temperatures for four days. No planes have landed at our airport; therefore, no passengers have been able to fly to sunny Florida or Arizona. Nancy and John Wakeman have settled in for two more days (they have already been here three days longer than expected). They had generously given their remaining supply of food to Frank Carlton–now they have demanded it back. Snowmobiles still zoom past our driveway, and the ski trails were in constant use until it became dangerously cold to be out for any length of time.
It is hard to imagine the sunshine, warmth and beauty of our Eagle Harbor summers in the midst of winter, but that anticipation helps me through the weeks of getting up in the dark and bringing in wood for the fireplace. It will be wonderful to see all of you at the potluck suppers, church services and other community events in a few months. In the meantime, enjoy the winter activities and your families, wherever you may be. Personally, I plan a trip next week to Las Vegas and Tuscon, then a month in Germany with my son’s family March to mid April.
Your Eagle Harbor Correspondent,
680 Pine Street
Eagle Harbor, MI 49950
Ann and Gerry's " Letters To Taxpayers" Archive:
Winter, 2001 Fall, 2001
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