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Island Diary April 2020

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 an excellent article about Put-in-Bay and how the residents will continue even if the tourist season is slow. Dustin Shaffer pranks his two 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 a 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. 2020 Census Forms begin to arrive in the mail.

Fri., Apr. 3rd – Cameo Pizza turns on their pizza light, signaling 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 in the lake around the islands. They are fishing, and one cabin cruiser docks at one of the Crew’s Nest docks for a couple of hours. We wonder what they expected since everything on the island is closed.

Sun., Apr. 5th – It’s another beautiful day, and we’d generally be expecting the first few golf carts driving around the island. Not a golf cart insight. Oliver Thwaite, Put-in-Bay High School 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 – On Kelleys Island, the Kelleys Island Ferry announces a reduction in the number of scheduled trips on social media but will still run on Saturdays and Sundays. The gas station on Put-in-Bay broadcasts special hours, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., for seniors and immune-compromised customers who can pull up to the pump, honk their horns, 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 at about 5 a.m. The buoy between Kelleys and South Bass is being put out for the season by the Coast Guard. The Put-in-Bay Visitors Bureau 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 ship 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. At 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 monthly meetings 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 curbside pick-up! The Middle Bass School Board meeting occurs with each member’s social distancing on their computers.

Thu., Apr. 9th – Winds pick up from the west. At 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, moved off the island after selling their home on East Point. On Kelleys Island, Mayor Ron Ehrbar puts out a statement, 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 canceled 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 severe damage to 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 about a severe storm coming in on the day after Easter.

Sat., Apr. 11th – Marc Wright from the Forge celebrates his 35th birthday in a 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 typically spend this day having happy hour together on the island, instead have a four-way cellphone chat between themselves during cocktail time.

Diary April 2020 picture of Easter Bunny At Put-in-Bay

This year the Easter Bunny toured the island on Easter Sunday, waving to everyone who came out of their houses to take a little break from the confines of social distancing. Thanks go out to Put-in-Bay’s volunteer fighters and EMS for brightening up the holiday

Sun., Apr. 12th – It’s Dolores Kowalski’s birthday—the Put-in-Bay Vol. Fire Dept. gives the Easter Bunny a ride around the island so everyone can enjoy some Easter fun. Several islanders have put out Easter treats in their front yards for those who drive by.

Bernie and Mary Ann Meyers from the West Shore pick 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 Putin- Bay EMS.

Mon., Apr. 13th – It takes a bit of time for the wind to pick up. Before canceling 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 Put-in-Bay Ohio Visitors Meeting general membership meeting does not happen due to Governor DeWine’s shelter-in-place order through April 30th.

The Chamber’s executive board will meet “virtually” on Tuesday, the 14th. Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial send a press release canceling all 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 Put-in-Bay 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 Put-in-Bay Village Council meets in the Town Hall Assembly Room for its April meeting. 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 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 enormous concrete blocks to Middle Bass for shoreline protection there. In the afternoon, plenty of snowflakes fall 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 State of the Island event at the Put-in-Bay Town Hall, but the event is postponed.

Fri., Apr. 17th – Diary April 2020A very light snow begins to fall over the islands in the morning and 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 a few people on the island haven’t been here since before the Covid pandemic hit. They are the ones who are driving by everything very slowly and check things out. Anyone on the rock for a while moves along quickly and keeps their eyes on the road. The excitement on Middle Bass is that you can get a rib dinner delivered from the Middle Bass Island General Store at dinner time. On this date in 1864, Confederate prisoners played baseball in the Union prison camp on Johnson’s Island in Sandusky Bay.

Sun., Apr. 19th – Lake Erie Islands Historical Society Board members 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 to purchase masks to protect workers when visitors return. 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 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, Put-in-Bay High School honored the Class of 2020 by lighting up the gymnasium at 20:20 hours, as did other high schools in Ohio. The PIBHS Class of 2020 members 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 Put-in-Bay 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 the nod to the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. More than two dozen masked Put-in-Bay 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 that his tentative opening day is Friday, May 22nd, as reported to Diary April 2020.

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. The 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 an evening Zoom party for the NFL Draft.

Fri., Apr. 24th – If you 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 on sponsoring 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 of 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 but great news for the Diary April 2020.

Sun., Apr. 26th – Put-in-Bay dodges a bullet as predicted nor’ Easter doesn’t entirely turn out as expected. The winds are a little less intense and 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 as reported to Diary April 2020

Mon., Apr. 27th – Winds and high water overnight brought in so much lake debris that crews at the Miller Boat Line have to shovel rocks off the dock to load cars. At Gloria Kindt’s house, squirrels are sheltering in the old backyard playhouse where she stores hoses and garden statues. “Don’t Give Up The Ship” flags appear 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 Put-in-Bay 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 Put-in-Bay High School students are helping pull the invasive garlic mustard plants out of Cooper’s Woods.

Wed., Apr. 29th – Islanders are saddened to hear that Bob Engel passed away overnight.

Thu., Apr. 30th – A group of island leaders, including the Village Mayor and Township Trustee Chairman, released a statement regarding South Bass Island’s reaction to the Responsible RestartOhio initiative. Until 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.

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