News from 2014 at Put-in-Bay

Top News Stories from 2014-Another year on the island has ended. 2014 at Put-in-Bay was filled with events and happenings which make for great soap operas. There was love, danger, good, evil, controversy, fun, tragedy, drama, mystery and more.
We won’t go into all the love affairs of this past year, but here is a recounting of some of the major news events of 2014.

January 2014-January was completely different from recent past years. The ice was already in as well-below normal temperatures gripped the islands. The renovation work on the Put-in-Bay Docks ground to a halt, but Put-in-Bay Ice fishing was some of the best in years.

February 2014-In February the news was snow and frigid cold of January continued. The drama of breaking the ice to have a tug and barge bring over much-needed construction material for the village dock project was a hot topic. The announcement was made that Tony ’s would become the Reel Bar. There was no hint of an ice melt by the end of the month.

March 2014- A tragedy on the ice was in the news when three islanders, Mark Wilhelm, Jim Booker, and Bob Hilt, went into the icy waters off Green Island in early March. All were rescued, but Mark spent several days in the hospital in critical condition. The near-death experience on the island spurs the island’s volunteer fire department to purchase its own rescue airboat. The ferries are still iced in at the end of the month. Gasoline sales are limited to so much per day due to the long winter.

April 2014- April had islanders on needles and pins waiting for the first ferries of the 2014 season to run. The first ferry to the mainland ran on April 6th, well past its scheduled begin date. Work goes into high gear on the village dock project, but it’s really behind schedule. One of the biggest island weddings in years takes place at the airport. Stephanie Thompson and Jeremy Berman are wed on the lakefront at Joe DaPore’s home. It is announced St. Hazard’s on Middle Bass Island will open with former owner Ed Gudenas at the helm. At the end of April islanders sadly learned the news of Johnny Martens’ passing in May 2014

May 2014- May first arrived and there were a few signs of small ice shoves along the shoreline of North Bass still melting. Bayview Ave. between the Jet Dock and Boardwalk is closed to traffic as workers continue work on the long-delayed Village dock project. For the first time in years, the doors of the Cargo Net are closed. Bill Timmerman and Bob Stone retire. The state announces it will be spending $6 million on a Lonz Winery rejuvenation. It looks for input as to what can be done there.

June 2014- Seven seniors, Arthur Wolf, Casey Pippert- Ladd, Victoria Wertenbach, Zoly Urge, Madeline Pugh, Cody Porche, and Anna Rence, graduate from Put-in-Bay High School in June. Portions of the Village Docks are opened to boaters late in the month. The end of the month is marred by news of vandalism at Perry’s Monument. Put-in-Bay makes USA Today’s “10 Best Great Lakes Destinations for Summer.”

July 2014-In July, the hot news topic around the island is the reporting and bad publicity in the mainland press of rapes and drink
druggings at island bars. The Village Docks finally open almost two months after its scheduled completion date. The Sandusky Register continues with articles about alleged problems in the Put-in-Bay Police Department. At the end of July, the police chief and mayor held a public hearing addressing complaints about the police department. Concerns center around officer conduct, targeting people, civil rights violations, police brutality, false arrests and more.

August 2014- There’s a ton of news publicity in the mainland press about the algae problem in Lake Erie. This can’t be good for business. On North Bass, there’s a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the role the Lake Erie Islands played in the Civil War.
The historic Bretz home on Middle Bass was vandalized. At the end of the month, it is announced the Ottawa County Sheriff
will begin an investigation into alleged wrongdoing within the Put-in-Bay police department By Ric Lampela and Steve Korossy. Ahead is an investigation one islander called great fodder for a Reality TV show. Bob Gatewood promotes a video shoot around DeRivera Park on the last day of the month.

September 2014- September 10th marked the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie off Put-in- Bay’s shores. The Toledo
Symphony returns Historical Weekend for a great concert at the Monument. Greg Shadler becomes the new Put-in-Bay EMS
director on the island after Keith and Tammy moved to the mainland. Richard Warren picks the largest pumpkin ever grown on the Lake Erie Islands. This year’s grape crop is not too good because of the cold 2014 winter.

October 2014-Repaving of parking areas at the Put-in-Bay Airport keeps things busy as loads of asphalt are hauled in for
the big job. The Chamber of Commerce’s reverse raffle takes place on the mainland at the Liberty Aviation
Museum. The controversial case of two Put-in-Bay Resort and Conference Center employees arrested by Put-in-Bay police officers in September 2013 goes to trial. Jurors returned with a unanimous verdict of not guilty on all counts after only 45 minutes of deliberation. Boaters from a sailboat grounded on the reef between Oak Point and Gibraltar Island are picked from the water by a Coast Guard helicopter rescue crew on a very windy night. The people could have just as easily and safely walked to shore. The finishing touches are being completed on the addition at Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church.

November 2014- Things got a little quieter on the island in more ways than one. The Village Council passed a “new and improved” noise ordinance. The Ohio Attorney General’s office becomes involved in the investigation of the Put-in-Bay Police Department and the actions of Ric Lampela and Steve Korossy, the controversial police officers who were involved in the false arrest of the Put-in-Bay Resort employees. The ferry dock at the Lime Kiln is partially closed as workers begin modifications to the dock to better accommodate ferries. Frigid weather going into Thanksgiving has islanders thinking the ice will be coming in quite soon.

December 2014- News from the December meeting of the Put-in-Bay Village Council the Village Clerk, Joy Cooper, tells Council and the Mayor its insurance carrier may not renew the Village’s liability insurance. It appears this may be due in part to the bad press the Put-in-Bay Police department has been getting in recent months from the actions of Steve Korossy. The holiday season sees a flurry of parties and events rivaling the snowfall of last winter. Hopefully, you had a chance to attend many of them. With relatively moderate weather in December, the ferries are still running at the end of the month. This is just a bit of an overview of the past year. There were many, many great achievements and interesting things which took place. Sorry, we cannot review them all. Next month we will have a preview of the news of things to come in 2015.