Put-in-Bay News June 2020
Lodging Taxes -With the rise of third-party rental companies such as Airbnb and VRBO, it has been discovered that not all rental owners may be paying the proper lodging and local taxes. Soon, Ottawa Co. Trustees, Lake Erie Shores and Islands representatives, Village of Put-in-Bay council members, Put-in-Bay Township trustees, and the Ottawa Co. Auditor’s office will be working together to inform the public that all businesses and rental properties have an obligation to their share of the taxes.
Rental properties must pay 1.5% gross island receipts tax, 3% Ottawa County lodging tax, and 1.5% Village of Put-in-Bay lodging tax (if in the Village Municipality) or 1% Put-in-Bay Township lodging tax (if in the Township). There are a number of Airbnb and VRBOs that have been identified and listed that are not paying their share of the taxes, and those businesses will soon be notified. Officials are planning a campaign to contact these non-compliant businesses to make sure that the proper taxes are being paid.
The method used by these officials will be to inform the business about the taxes, educate on proper taxes that should be paid, provide amnesty for past non-compliance and enforce a penalty if not paid in future years. If you feel that you are currently not paying the proper taxes for your rental, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Ottawa Co. Auditor’s office, as it is the collector for all three taxes. Visit ottawacountyauditor.org and click on the Put-in-Bay Hotels tax to find the necessary registration forms.
Great News June 2020 Community Swim/Sail is a Go!
The island and cottage kids and their families will be glad to know the Community Swim and Sail programs are on for this summer. They will run from June 29th until July 23rd, rd. The CSS Board is working on guidelines and expectations to allow safe summer programs in and on the water. Registration is limited to 50 kids in each program. To sign up, visit the Community Swim/Sail website at pibswimsail.org.
Put-in-Bay Pirate Fest Canceled
Fest Committee has made the difficult decision to cancel Pirate Fest for the 2020 season. Pirate Fest is an incredibly interactive, social, and hands-on event. At this time, we do not feel we can hold a significant event like this while maintaining proper social distancing along with all health and safety guidelines set forth by the State of Ohio and the CDC. This was a tough decision, as Pirate Fest is one of our favorite family-friendly events of the year.
We are looking forward to planning Pirate Fest 2021 and seeing all of our “Pirate Friends” next year. We would like to ask you to keep the spirit alive, we may not be able to be in the park, but we are there in mind. Let’s not let the enthusiasm fade!
Island Living At Put-in-Bay in the Pandemic
The Lake Erie Islands may be offshore from mainland Ohio and the rest of the country, but nonetheless, our small island community is feeling the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic even with no reported cases so far. So far, the islands have been a safe haven from the Covid-19 virus, but as we are beginning to see, there’s more and more activity since protocols for opening are now in place.
This brings us to the reality that we will, at some point, have to contend with the virus coming to Put-in-Bay and the other Lake Erie Islands. For all we know it may already be here, but at what point do we go from being a healthy safe haven to a possible Covid-19 hotspot?
The change in our safe-haven status is inevitable. We can’t just pick up and move to North Bass Island and avoid any outside world contact. At this point, more than 1,500,000 Americans have contracted Covid-19. That is one out of every 220 Americans.
We can’t be naive and discount the health and economic risks of exposure, considering the thousands of visitors the island attracts. Better testing and contact tracing are coming. These will not only help in the fight against Covid-19, but they will also help health officials fight any future outbreaks as they learn how to home in on the hotspots.
The islands certainly don’t want to be identified as a hotspot. We saw what that did years ago during the water crisis that basically shut down the island, and that was a piece of cake compared to Covid-19.
As we open up and go into our front-line customer service mode, we all need to take every precaution to keep ourselves safe and those visiting the island. That will mean face masks, hand sanitizer, protective gloves, social distancing, lots of handwashing, cleaning, sanitizing, and other appropriate cautionary measures.
That being said, it’s not a matter of just opening up for the season but constantly and continually providing customer service smartly and safely so that everyone stays healthy so those island businesses and the island community successfully navigate the challenges brought on by Covid-19. Stay safe and healthy, and let’s get ready for whatever 2020 will bring. Expect this to dominate News June 2020.
Pelee Island Council Wants New Ferry to Run More Often
On Pelee Island, there’s a push to add more ferry capacity to make it easier for people to get to Pelee Island. At a meeting in mid-May, the council unanimously agreed to send a letter to the Ministry of Transportation to ease travel restrictions to allow more taxpayers on the island to get back and forth to the mainland. Deputy Mayor David Dawson introduced the motion and said he wants to see the larger Pelee Island II in service more often in case it is needed.
Right now, the 62-meter-long Pelee Islander II, which can transport 399 passengers and 34 cars, operates only a few days a week. Still, Dawson said it’s important to add the ferry capacity in case taxpayers want to use it. “We would like to be able to allow the taxpayers to easily get to the island, especially on the high peak times on Friday nights and Sundays, to get back and forth,” said Dawson. So far, there haven’t been any Covid-19 cases on the island. The 42-meter-long Pelee Islander is currently operating, but it has limited space for vehicles and passenger space given physical distancing protocols.
Wearing Facemasks at Put-in-Bay May Be Uncomfortable
But there is little doubt that they effectively reduce the number of people who catch Covid-19. The island has reopened with the virus hanging in there and people desperately needing to return to work. You will notice that businesses must have their employees wearing masks to protect themselves and you.
Please wear a mask to protect yourself and the islanders you meet. And please don’t forget to wash your hands often and social distance. The faster we slow down the virus and kill it off, the quicker we can return to summer fun on the islands.
There’s an exciting parody on the Internet about the island dealing with the pandemic as it opened for the summer. It’s called “Hitler Reacts to Put in Bay Reopening Businesses.” Do a Google search and check it out. Come July 1st, Ohioans will no longer be required to have a front license plate.
This sounds like a great opportunity for some island business owners to create and sell a plate with an island message on it. We’re anxious to see what even the islanders do when those front plates are no longer required.
John Deneau, one of Heineman Winery’s newest employees, has been working on North Bass getting the vineyards in shape. He is also working on the old Jim and Sandy Yelensky house. Kenny Dezsi is back behind the counter at the Island Beverage Center this summer. People on the mainland report that the huge swarms of midges flying over the island recently looked like smoke from a fire. Now that’s a lot of midges! Midges hatch over Lake Erie in the spring and then go inland. They do not bite and are considered a sign of a healthy lake, but they can be annoying.
Ohio never had Covid-19 restrictions closing beaches. With the high water this season, we doubt too many people will be using the Bathing Beach at the end of Delaware Ave. by the Monument. With the lake’s high level of water and the easterly winds, the beach is basically gone. Next time you’re down that way, take a look for yourself. Signs of beavers have been observed on North Bass, Middle Bass, Kelleys, and Pelee Islands this spring.
One good thing that has come out of the Coronavirus pandemic is the idea of to-go drinks from Put-in-Bay bars and restaurants. We’re thinking this should remain in effect even after the Coronavirus safety guidelines are long gone. Walleye fishing this year has been absolutely spectacular, according to reports from around the Western Basin of Lake Erie. The Ohio Division of Wildlife has a new rule allowing each angler to fish with three fishing rods instead of just two.
Marilyn Paselsky tells us her new hobby is proofreading signs on island buildings. She emailed the Gazette asking, “Is there a reason the “S” is upside down in the “PUT-IN-BAY SCHOOL” sign/letters that are over the side door of the school? I just now noticed it when I was on the school website.” We don’t know the answer. Does anyone out there have one? Do you remember the Trash Can Races at the Roundhouse in the 1980s? Do you remember when you got your windshield washed, your oil level checked, and your tires filled with air for free when you got gas for your car at Parker’s Garage?
Do you remember having Yvonne Galvin cook your breakfast at the Log Cabin? Did you ever ride in the cockpit of the Ford Trimotor with pilot Harold Hauck? Al and Marcia Ashley were spotted cleaning up the Commodore’s Memorial in DeRivera Park on Bayview Ave. one day in May. It’s amazing how many things like this get done around the island by those who aren’t looking for a thank you or recognition.
Someone posted on the Talk of Put-in-Bay (uncensored) internet page a suggestion on how to make money on the island this summer: make face masks with “Don’t Give Up the Ship” printed on them. They’d probably sell like hotcakes. You could also have them read “Don’t Give Up the Sip” masks and put an opening for a straw in them for those who enjoy
We found a figure on the internet we won’t soon forget. It’s 7.73 miles from Middle Bass to Kelleys Island in a southeast direction. There is no driving route between the two locations. You might be interested to know that Kelleys Island Parsonage Resale Shop is open by appointment only for your shopping pleasure. Masks are requested, and only one shopper or shopping group is allowed at a time, and practicing social distancing as much as possible is very much appreciated.
If We Had Told You… More News June 2020
If we had told you a year ago that we’d be seeing the following on Memorial Day Weekend 2020, you’d have thought we were going bonkers. But here we are! Passenger capacity aboard the Miller Boat Line is reduced by one-third to allow better social distancing. The Jet Express also limits the number of passengers it allows aboard.
Over the Memorial Day Weekend, Mad Dog Adams is not performing at the Round House Bar. There is a host at the Round House to seat you. Ryan Stoiber is the host for Frosty Bar. You can (and must) wear a mask when you go to the bank to withdraw. You’re not supposed to get out of your car on the ferry (and who would want to?). No American Flag is flying at the Monument on Memorial Day.
Most of the Put-in-Bay pool bars don’t have water in them. Everyone who is working is wearing a facemask. There is a limit on the number of customers who enter the Island General store. You can’t stand or dance in a bar.
News June 2020 – New Businesses At Put-in-Bay
There are several new businesses and other things on the island this year. The first is the “Zen Cafe Put-in-Bay” located here. The Village Bakery was located at the Depot at the corner of Toledo and Delaware. The new owner, Tom Duffy says he’ll be open daily starting in early June. Obviously the planned “grand opening” won’t occur due to COVID issues, but hopefully will take place later this summer. In the meantime, Tom plans on being open daily, and ill be offering staples such as coffee, breakfast sandwiches, and a small variety of confections.
Another business will open where Mama Maria’s was located on Delaware Ave. between Mr. Ed’s and Lovella’s. Lester Lopez is offering up some delicious Nicaugran-style tacos, and he has taken over the pizza business located at the Blue Marlin. The popular Put-in-Bay Pizza Delivery will be delivered island-wide along with the family’s excellent tacos & bowls. So far, a name for the business is still being kicked around. We’re always happy to see a variety of food being offered up on Delaware Ave.
Dustin and Chontel Shaffer, who operate Island Air Taxi in the winter, have taken over operations at the Put-in-Bay Airport Terminal from Dave Washtock and Sharon Gray, who moved their Erie Island Carts rental to the Cargo Net a few years ago. Chontel tells us they will not only have a couple of dozen carts for rent but also those popular electric bikes. New in the lobby will be an ATM.
The couple’s sons, Donovan and Jaxson, will sell lemonade and cook hotdogs to earn some money. Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, the popular parachute jumps won’t be happening this year, plus Dustin is waiting to see how things go with the Covid-19 issue before he resumes scenic tours in his plane.
Chan Stevens has sold his Baycarts building to Danny Drake from the Getaway Inn but hasn’t completely retired from the golf cart business yet. Not only does he have plenty of well-used carts to sell, but he’ll be helping Carlos Rico, who has rented part of the Baycarts service garage, to continue serving and maintaining carts.
At the Put-in-Bay Winery on Bayview Ave., some landscaping work has been done on in the flower beds lining the walkway leading to the front entrance. The Crew’s Nest will soon open its new swimming pool with its new waterslide. Covid-19 issues delayed the opening for the Memorial Day Weekend, but it should be opening soon.
The patio area at the Put-in-Bay Yacht Club has been expanded. This is especially important this year since the COVID-19 virus doesn’t spread as easily in the outdoors.
Experts Predict Algal Bloom Will be Smaller in 2020
With the warmer days of Summer upon us, more and more people will be out on the water. Covid-19 or high water won’t stop fishermen and pleasure boaters. What they will be finding according to scientists who study the lake is they believe the seasonal algae bloom won’t be terribly bad this summer.
On a scale of 1-10, experts from NOAA predicted a range of 4-6. In comparison, the bloom in 2019 rated 7.5. When asked what the factors are in the reduction, the experts attributed it to education about phosphorus levels and algal blooms in Lake Erie and less rain in April, reducing nutrient runoff from farm fields in the watershed.
Depending on wind, rain, and other factors, things may change as the summer heat up in the coming weeks. Remember that any bloom that develops will change with time and move with the wind. Experts believe eliminating the bloom will take time but are optimistic signs are looking better for controlling blooms. Covid-19 is not playing much of a role in one way or another in the bloom this year, so fishing and boating on the lake are safe things to do.
As water sampling data from the lake and its tributaries are gathered over the next few weeks, scientists will refine the forecast and become more accurate. A final algal bloom forecast will be issued on July 9th in a virtual event from Stone Lab on Gibraltar Island.
Get Out and Enjoy the Islands’ Preserves Safely!
Everyone on the islands is welcome to come out and enjoy walking the trails in the Put-in-Bay Township Park District Preserves. The wildflowers, plants, trees, birds, and other animals you’ll see make for a relaxing change after being cooped up this spring. Please be safe and practice social distancing while at the preserves – maintain 10’ between other walkers and avoid high contact areas like brochure boxes. Information about the island preserves can be found at www.lakeerieislandsconservancy.org Watch for the new Put-in-Bay Township Park District website soon!
Please remember your courtesy to other walkers and wildlife by keeping your pets on a leash while at the preserves (no dogs allowed at Jane Coates Wildflower Trail) and picking up after your pet! Bags and garbage cans are provided. Please use the recycling containers for any beverage containers
you may toss them out, and please sort by aluminum, plastic, and glass.