Put-in-Bay Diary March 2020 – Island Gossip & News

Sun., March 1st – A weekend blast of cold has brought in the most ice we’ve seen all winter. Ice, albeit not very thick, has filled the harbor in front of the Monument all the way to Middle Bass. A few islanders are spotted taking their airboats out for some fishing.

Mon., March 2nd – Put-in-Bay School kids are back in session after a week-long break. Temperatures rise to the ’40s in the afternoon, making that ice that appeared over the weekend break up and floated away. Heavy fog hits the island in the afternoon prompting all flights to be put on hold until it clears up.

Tue., March 3rd – It’s another very foggy day on the island. So far, we haven’t heard any flights take off or land in the morning. Some of the crew of the Miller Boat Line are seen prepping the decks on the M/V Put-in-Bay and M/V Wm. Market. We can only hope that is a sign of ferry horns in the near future.

Wed., March 4th – The Put-in-Bay High School versus the Put-in-Bay Community Quiz Bowl Match is taking place at the High School in the afternoon. The Forge is reopening in the evening after being closed during winter break.

Thu., March 5th – Miller Boat Line announces in the morning that they will start ferry service for 2020 on Sunday, March 8th. The Library is hosting Jessie Greene’s jewelry-making class in the late afternoon. Afterward, friends gather at the Forge for martinis.

Fri., March 6th – There’s high water in the road in front of the Monument and down at Miller’s corner on Bayview Ave. and the wind is out of the northwest. Lucille Schneider is announced as a winning entry in the Ida Rupp Library bookmark contest. Topsy’s is hosting their first Lenten Friday Fish Fry in the evening. It’s an EMT training weekend at Kalahari Resort in Sandusky. Some islander EMT’s are meeting at the Shore House in Sandusky for dinner according to Diary March 2020

Sat., March 7th – The crew from Innovative Excavating is putting some finishing touches on Miller’s Catawba Dock car lanes in order for the ferries to start running on Sunday. In the afternoon, the Put-in-Bay Volunteer Fire department is conducting some training on radio communications, driving, and addresses. All the fire trucks are spotted cruising around the island. Allen and Marcia Ashley are in Detroit representing Put-in-Bay Yacht Club at Ford Yacht Club!

Sun., March 8th – Miller Boat Line starts service for the 2020 season in the morning. Deacon Mike from Mother of Sorrows Church offers a blessing for a safe and Photo of Diary March 2020prosperous year. A few islanders gather at the dock with champagne in celebration. Is this the start of a new island tradition? Later in the day, a beaver is spotted following the boat to shore at the Lime Kiln.

Mon., March 9th – Kate and Joe Byrnes, Doug Steidl and Jacob King are spotted picking up trash at the Scheeff East Point Preserve in the morning. The Put-in-Bay
Chamber of Commerce is having its monthly meeting in the afternoon. Among the topics discussed is the new strategic marketing plan for the summer. Maria Hristovski from Margarita’s on the Rock is celebrating her birthday with her family at The Forge in the evening.

Tue., March 10th – Put-in-Bay Village solicitor Susan Anderson appears before the Ohio Supreme Court in the case of an appeal brought by Mark Mathys concerning a fee imposed by the Village on Put-in-Bay golf cart rentals vehicles. The live broadcast is being shown on some of the local PBS stations. On social media, Jake Market reminds those with minnow carts at Miller’s downtown docks that they should remove them so the boats will have dock space when they are put back in. There’s a fondue party at Topsys in the evening.

Wed., March 11th – Forget about Gibraltar’s Needle Eye being gone! It’s so foggy that it’s a “no Monument” kind of morning. Pat Finney gets his birthday wish and catches a couple of nice-sized walleyes.

Thu., March 12th – Parents learn Put-in-Bay School will be closed starting Monday, March 16th, for three weeks after Governor DeWine announces all schools in the state will close due to Coronavirus concerns.

Fri., March 13th – There’s a lunch of pulled pork over mac & cheese, carrot salad, Greek salad and pasta salad at the Legion on Pelee Island. All hard surfaces, handrails, door handles, tables, chairs, the bar area, and door frames were sanitized before lunch. There is also a new hand sanitizer station in the hallway. A virus scare hasn’t stopped anyone from coming to Topsys for dart night. Quite a few friendly summer residents came over for the weekend also.

Sat., March 14th – The Stoiber’s are celebrating their daughter Skylar’s birthday at their home on Ibis. Griffing Flying Service makes a trip to North Eleuthera Island, in the Bahamas to pick up a passenger. That’s one way to avoid a contagious disease in public airports.

Sun., March 15th – Amid the Coronavirus precautions, the Erie Islands Library announces it is closing until April 5th. Mother Mary and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church holds their first Facebook Live feed worship service. To anyone’s knowledge, this is the first-ever virtual church service to be offered on South Bass.

Mon., March 16th – The bar and dining areas are closed at Topsy Turvey’s, but David Hill announces he is still up and running providing carry-out. You can give Topsy’s a call at 419-285-4511 to order.

Tue., March 17th – It is a quiet St. Patrick’s day on the island as the mandatory bar and restaurant shutdown is in effect. That doesn’t stop Hank Bayles from doing the traditional “polar plunge” off “A” Dock, next to the Boardwalk. Hank raised $175 for Wounded Warriors in return for doing the polar plunge. The Senior Center would normally be busy with islanders voting today, but voting is called off due to Coronavirus concerns.

Wed., March 18th – For everyone’s safety, Island Hardware posts on social media, “If you’d rather not come into the store, we’ll deliver your items for free. Call us at 419-285- NUTS.”

Thu., March 19th – It’s a really foggy morning at Put-in-Bay. Billy Market stops in at the school in the morning to see all the teachers doing virtual teaching. Island Hardware created and is selling a mini marshmallow gun kit for children being homeschooled, only $8! Miller Boat Line announces a notice to customers discouraging people from visiting Put-in-Bay and Middle Bass unless they are residents, employees or doing business.

Fri., March 20th – Middle Bass residents are overjoyed to receive their first ferry of the season. The Erie County Economic Development Corporation is offering a free business FAQ COVID-19 webinar at noon to all local businesses.  The Put-in-Bay Police announce they are offering free delivery of supplies and groceries to “at-risk” individuals on the island.

Sat., March 21st – Middle Bass General Store is busy delivering pizzas to Put-in-Bay residents.

Sun., Mar. 22nd – One thing that hasn’t been mentioned lately on the islands is high water. That changed overnight as the public docks are underwater in the morning. Governor DeWine issues a “stay at home” order for the state of Ohio, essentially locking down all non-essential businesses. It looks like it will be another quiet couple of weeks on the islands.

Mon., March 23rd – The Put-in-Bay Village Council holds a public hearing and its April meeting in the Assembly Room at the Town Hall. Four
members of the council, the mayor, the police chief, and the village administrator are physically there. Still, council members Jeff Koehler and Kelly Faris and the village solicitor are on the phone. Miller Boat Line announces a curtailment of the ferry schedule, which includes no Saturday and Sunday trips, and that they will not be hauling non-essential travel to Put-in-Bay and Middle Bass Island until the state of Ohio lifts restrictions. This includes the first sign of the season, the recreational fishermen with all their boats and trailers.

Tue., March 24th – The statewide “stay at home” order started at midnight. Township and Village workers are busy cleaning off the sand and stone on the roads laid down for ice and snow in the winter. Steve Stapleton is busy trying to pump out the standing water near the Monument. Put-in- Bay’s only gas station goes on abbreviated hours.

Wed., March 25th – Island General Store goes on shorter opening hours. On Middle Bass, Penny Schmidlin reports her grandsons, son-in-law, Jeff Marshall, and John Schanz are putting in the docks in their marina on East Point. In a sign of hope, The Boardwalk is flying a “Don’t Give Up The Ship” flag from their archway. Mike and Susan Byrnes kayak around the island and say they notice lots of new shoreline erosion. They also checked out the north side of Gibraltar Island, where Needles Eye collapsed early in March. Susan says it looks like more of the cliff is about to cave in. The Cantankerous takes its first journey of 2020 to pick up fuel from the mainland.

Thu., March 26th – A secret AntiCovid scribe has put several messages on the island roadways. “This too will pass” and “Only in the darkness can you see the stars” are two of the creative ones we’ve seen.

Fri., March 27th – The Flagship Niagara League announces the US Brig Niagara will be delayed from sailing until at least August 2020. Miller Boat Line relit the holiday star at Miller Marina in the evening to help brighten islanders’ spirits.

Sat., March 28th – A booming thunderstorm hit the islands overnight. Luckily, it doesn’t seem that anyone lost power. Heavy fog rolls over in the afternoon. It’s so foggy you can’t see the boat delivering pizzas for the Middle Bass General Store until it reaches C dock.

Sun., March 29th – Water levels have dropped to +56 inches as it’s been blowing out of the southwest all day, but strangely, there’s water on the lawn on the west side of the monument. On this day, five years ago, the island was completely closed in by ice. Hard to believe, given the mild winter, we had this year.

Mon., March 30th – Ohio Sea Grant announces that all trips to OSU’s Stone Lab have been canceled through Diary March 2020 was informed.

May 31st, due to COVID-19 precautions. Governor DeWine extends the school closing date to May 1st. It looks like parents will be homeschooling for another month.

Tue., March 31st – The Put-in-Bay Gazette April edition is printed. One of the front-page stories for our May issue is happening today. All the details will be coming soon. Th at’s all for Diary March 2020