Prepare For Winter!
Ann Johnson At Work Gerry Johnson Building Fitzgerald
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.
Fall Letter From Eagle Harbor – 2001
Prepare for winter
----but enjoy the beautiful Fall. As we sweep pine needles from the roofs and move plants inside with the hope that some will survive the winter, we revel in the colors all around us. Trees put on their scarlet and golden robes about two weeks later down here by the lake. When the drive to town loses the brilliance at roadside and on the cliffs, we look forward to beauty on Sixth and Seventh streets on our dog walks morning and evening. The first white flakes fell as a warning early in October, followed by days of balmy south breezes and bright sunshine.
There have been so many significant events in the Township since our last letter. The most important news to report is the purchase of 169 acres of Lake Superior Land Co. property around our pump house site. The property adjoins the cemetery and includes shoreline of Eliza Lake and Long Lake. The grant from the DNR Trust Fund finally came through and we completed the purchase. Better yet, no taxpayer money was used for the $360,000 purchase. Former Supervisor Jim Boggio masterminded the negotiations and the financing over the three years it took to make the purchase.
The purchase of acreage needed for the water tower to improve fire protection is finally complete. The five acres are south of the village and across the cut-off road from the solid waste site. Though the installation of the water tank is several years away, the land had to be secured before LSL sells their holdings in Eagle Harbor Township and the rest of Keweenaw County. Lake Superior Land Company, now under International Paper, has yet to set prices on the 45 lots in the Eagle Harbor South subdivision. " Next spring" they say. We will welcome new water customers when those lots are developed.
(Click image to enlarge.)In an effort to protect more of our Township's primitive areas for summer and winter recreation, and to preserve wetlands and dune areas, Eagle Harbor has applied for more grants for land purchases. There is a scramble by Keweenaw County townships to find money for purchase of acreage to keep it from falling into private hands. We have had access for so long to Lake Superior Land property for hunting, fishing and other recreation, that it boggles the mind to realize we could lose that access to many areas around us. The Nature Conservancy has purchased property leading to Mount Baldy and is negotiating to buy the top of Baldy from private owners. It seems there are rare species of plants up there among the blueberry bushes. We can only hope that the beautiful view and exhilarating climb will still be available to us and our grandchildren.
Construction of new homes and garages continues at a rapid pace all around the Township. Building permits are being issued daily. At last we are receiving building permit notices and notices of variance requests. Hearings have been held on zoning questions and Township representatives have made our recommendations known to the zoning officials. A land-use committee has been working very hard all summer to put together information for the County Board. The survey sent out to all taxpayers has had close to 50% response. That high participation indicates how much this area means to property owners and residents.
To recap some of the highlights of the past summer: The Fourth of July Celebration was a great family time as always. The 10K "Popeye Run" celebrated its twentieth year. The August art fair brought crowds. Many of the visitors shopped at the huge community yard sale benefiting the Schoolhouse renovation. The Community Building was used extensively under the management of Nancy Clarkson. There were wedding receptions, weekly bridge nights, a luncheon-game party, community dances, aerobics, weight-lifting and meetings of the Township Board, Keweenaw Historical Society, Land Use Committee, Agate Harbor Land Pool and the Gratiot Lake Conservancy. Many of the events were moneymakers for the continued work at the facility. Additions to the building this year include the walkway and handicapped-accessible ramp and an increase in parking area. A special addition has been a new piano purchased by donations from several residents and money from the white elephant drawings at the potluck suppers. Paul Freshwater at the keyboard was a great addition to the Harborites at the last dance.
The Volunteer Fire Department has had a busy summer. The most tragic loss in the Harbor was the Westlake Hotel. Thanks to the new truck and help from neighboring fire departments much was saved. We are so happy to see that the original logs (circa 1850) are still intact and the hotel is being rebuilt. Unfortunately, Carol Westlake lost her battle with cancer in October. We will miss her decorative talents and bridge expertise. (Click image to enlarge. Photo by Mark Anderson)
We have lost other long-time neighbors since our last letter. We cherish the happy memories of Alice Black, Clarence Bach, Annie Laurie Fish, Jane Krenitsky and Ruth Pippenger. They will always be part of the charm of Eagle Harbor in spirit and family legacy. Dick Lantz and his committee continued the tradition of a meaningful Memorial Day service at Pine Grove Cemetery honoring all of the veterans buried there.
Our list of Township officials has changed recently. After many years of service on the Township Board and the last nine years as Supervisor, Jim Boggio has turned over those duties to Doug Sherk. Jim and Doug traded places as Supervisor and Deputy Supervisor. Doug is a retired MD. He and Nancy live between Cat Harbor and Sand Bay. The office is running smoothly through the transition even though Doug insists on being in the office almost daily. The Clerk and Treasurer believe he is trainable---Jim never was!!
Our new cemetery sexton is Michael Braman. Michael has also taken over the management of the solid waste facility. Now that winter hours are in effect (Saturday morning 10-12), we see the remaining population of the Township for weather updates and conversation only during those two hours. The other opportunity for fellowship is still the Eagle Harbor Inn on Friday nights.
Construction of new homes and remodeling of older ones has been going on at a fast pace all summer and continues this fall. Former summer-only residents are making this their retirement home and adapting the cottages to year-round living. We welcome the additions to the voter registration and to the census count. Can you believe that this Township increased from 80 in 1990 to over 300 in 2000. Our State revenue sharing for this year will be close to $20,000 more than last year because of the increase. Remember last year when we were urging our snowbirds to be counted here? It really made a difference!!
911 is coming to Keweenaw County in the next year or two. Re-addressing has been done by a contractor and we anxiously await our new numbers for official addresses. All the roads (private and public) in Keweenaw County now have names. There was a bit of controversy over some of the names, but the Keweenaw County Board made the final decisions-sometimes in opposition to requests by homeowners along the roads. At least we have someone other than neighbors to blame if we aren't thrilled with the outcome.
The winter tax bills will be handled by the Township Office rather than the County this year. There will be a net saving to the Township over the next years as we eliminate a lot of paperwork and duplication of receipts and printouts. Your receipts will appear the same as the summer tax ones-a full sheet instead of the half page forms. The modern computer age is rapidly taking us over!!
Along with the rest of this great country, we are flying flags, wearing flags and saluting our flags with pride and appreciation for the freedoms we enjoy. We may be personally isolated from the immediate dangers faced in urban areas across the country, but we all have family and friends at risk. It is our war, too, and we support the leaders and troops involved wholeheartedly.
Your Eagle Harbor Correspondents,
Ann and Gerry
Ann & Gerry Johnson
HC 1 Box 280 B
Eagle Harbor, MI 49950
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