Ann Johnson

Gerry Johnson



Eagle Harbor Web

An unofficial source of Eagle Harbor, Michigan news, views and information.

The Calendar Says It's Spring!

Ann Johnson At Work                                                                                                           Gerry Johnson Building Fitzgerald

Ann and Gerry's Letter

Ann and Gerry Johnson are Eagle Harbor veterans and astute observers of the local scene. Luckily for us, they are also a wonderful writers. Their quarterly "letter to taxpayers" is a Harbor institution, eagerly anticipated and read by many Township property owners, especially those who are yet to make Eagle Harbor their permanent home. A big "Thank you" to Ann and Gerry for contributing their letter to George's Eagle Harbor Web.


The Calendar says it is Spring — but the snow flakes floating down indicate we have a way to go even though the crows are back and most days the temperature reaches above the freezing mark. Maybe it is because with advancing age the seasons seem to fly by that this winter has seemed shorter than usual. We just settled in to the “snow every day” routine in January and a thaw arrived in February with no new snow for a couple of weeks. Last weekend we had a blizzard, but that was triggered by our Texas visitors scheduling a flight out on Sunday. “Plane leaves Minneapolis headed for a crowded Keweenaw terminal. Plane circles Keweenaw terminal. Plane heads for Marquette to deplane passengers and bus them to Keweenaw Terminal. Outgoing passengers flock to the rent-a-car desks.” (Normal operating procedure in the Copper Country.) For us, in our cozy cabin, it was all worth it. A wonderful visit with family, a fabulous snowman constructed and admired as well as deer arriving on the doorstep on cue.

There are at least a dozen deer that have taken up residence in the village and near surrounds this winter. The powers in Lansing in their infinite wisdom (but failure to recognize there are two distinct areas in the State of Michigan), banned all deer feeding this winter. The outcry from the UP was finally heard about the first of February and our huge herd can now be seen at Eagle River munching happily. There are several hundred to be seen in the park or crossing back and forth across the highway. We have our own group, and we suspect they were convinced to stay here by anonymous donors of feed during the ban.

There seem to be fewer residents in the village this winter but more staying in the outlying areas. More of our longtime neighbors are opting to become snow birds–leaving for two or three months, some for the entire winter. Our Township Board meetings have dwindled to the Board and, perhaps, five or six interested residents. The biggest news from those meetings has been the purchase of 360 acres to complete our cross country trail all the way to Sand Bay. The Township now owns property from the cemetery to Sand Bay and the acquisitions have been made with grants and donations–not your tax money. These areas will be available for future generations in our Township to enjoy as we do now. Most all of the acreage was in Commercial Forest Reserve. Very little loss of revenue will be realized from a tax exempt status.

There is a new face in our Township office. Jeane Olson’s deputy clerk, Chris Black, has joined the ranks of the snow birds, and her replacement is Ed Kisiel, a Lake Bailey resident. Ed is a computer guru and shared a small part of his knowledge with some of us in a computer class the first part of March. The most important thing I learned was that “you can’t break the computer. You may goof and lose some data, but it is all fixable.” The second most important was “there are many ways to do most tasks. If you get the correct result, you have done it right.” Seriously, Ed’s patience and clear instruction has opened up a whole new world for me. The fact that he will be around to get me out of trouble in the office is comforting, too.

There are faces we will sadly miss after this winter. We lost our dear friend, Pauline Opland, recently. The ladies’ coffees at the Shoreline have been organized by Pauline for many years. We were also sorry to hear of the death of Dr Ralph Cooper, who, with his lovely wife Ann, spent summers at Agate Harbor.

How could anyone miss the fact that this is an election year? Township offices will be on the primary ballot in August as well as the renewal of the present township operating millage. Every four years the three mills for operation of the township comes up for renewal. There are no plans to request an increase in millage for the township. Our budget is balanced and there will be a regular audit this summer. The final payment will be made on the current fire truck this year. A decision concerning the acceptance of a grant for the purchase of a second truck will be made during the summer. As treasurer, I (Ann) handle19 bank accounts (checking and savings) and received almost one million dollars in taxes this year. Approximately sixty-seven percent (over $650,000) goes to the schools, 20 percent to the County and we subsist on the leftover 13 percent to cover general operating expenses for the township and the volunteer fire department.

The Board of Revue met this month with few inquiries or appearances by property owners. There was a very modest increase in the taxable and equalized values of property this year compared to some of the huge increases in the past.

We are still waiting official notice from the postoffice to start using the new 911 addresses. Some residents are already using them and mail is being delivered. The telephone company won’t add service without the new numbers. The important thing is that if 911 is called now your correct location should come up automatically at the dispatcher’s location matching the new address sign on your house.

Driving to Eagle Harbor from any direction might be an adventure this summer. A schedule of highway projects has just been released by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). Reconstruction at the lift bridge over Portage will be done between April and October. Reconstruction of U.S. 41 from Calumet to Mohawk (6 miles) is scheduled to begin in May and continue until September. As far as we know, there is no alternate route from Keweenaw County to Calumet. Relocation of the road from South Range to Houghton is beginning in early July. U.S. 41 downhill lane on Quincy Hill in Hancock will be done from mid-July until late September. There are also plans to replace the culverts on M26 under Garden City Creek at Eagle River and at the Jacobs Creek falls. That will close the road between the two except for local traffic out of Eagle River. To reach Sand Bay, a detour by way of the Eagle Harbor shortcut road and back on M26 would have to be followed. No time frame for that project is known yet. Thank goodness for the well- stocked Eagle Harbor Store to cut down on those trips to Calumet and Houghton..

Summer plans for community activities are appearing on the calendar. The ”Reading the Landscape” series will be offered again. Potluck suppers will begin, hopefully, by the end of June. Fourth of July is always a wonderful family time. The “Eagle Harbor Book Club” is busy deciding on titles for the presentations and contacting as many interested people as possible. Contact Clint Thomas at if you would like to have more information. The art fair is scheduled for August 14th and 15th. There will be weddings and special events at our Community Building. With the return of the snow birds, the bridge players, aerobics and weightlifting enthusiasts will add to the fun.

It is hard to imagine the hustle and bustle of summer as we look around at the snow, ice and bare trees, but it gardening season will be here in a very short time. Personally, we are looking forward to lots of warm beach days, blueberry picking, many red thimbleberries, fresh lake trout, and especially friends and family back for the summer, creating wonderful memories for another year. .


Your Eagle Harbor Correspondents,

Ann and Gerry

Ann & Gerry Johnson
HC 1 Box 280 B
Eagle Harbor, MI 49950

Ann and Gerry Letter Archive:

Fall, 1996
Winter, 1997
Spring, 1997
Fall, 1997
Winter, 1998
Spring, 1998
Fall, 1998
Winter, 1999
Spring, 1999
Winter, 2000
Spring, 2000
Fall, 2000
Winter, 2001 Fall, 2001
Winter, 2002
Fall, 2002
Winter, 2003
Fall, 2003

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