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32nd Annual State Of The Island 2018 At The Put-in-Bay Town Hall

The annual State of the Island 2018 evening occurred at the Put-in-Bay Town Hall on Thursday, April 12th. More than 20 speakers from various public entities brought those in the audience current with the latest island affairs. The State of the Island is more than 30 years old.

Started by former Put-in-Bay Resorts manager Chip Weiant, it has evolved from dinner to more of an informal cocktail hour affair. This year, the event was very well attended, and there was a lot of exciting information that was shared. This year’s event was one of the best-attended events in several years. Here are some of the highlights from over 20 speakers at the event.

Mother Mary Staley

Mother Mary Staley from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church announced no more spaghetti dinners for the island employees. The annual dinner was quite popular with all the island employees, some who came to the church to eat and others who used the carry-out service. The dinner will be replaced by three soup evenings at the church with no carry-out service. Mother Mary also talked about the remodeling being done in the Undercroft at St. Paul’s.

Peter Huston & Brad Ohlemacher

Peter Huston from the Put-in-Bay Chamber of Commerce talked at the State of the Island 2018 event about the new Chamber logo and the Foodie Trail insert in Lake Erie Living Magazine that featured island dining. Chamber President Brad Ohlemacher introduced the board members and thanked those who put the evening’s event together.

He also recognized Miyo and Maria Hristovski, owners of Adventure Bay, the Sand Bar, and Harbor Square, on their recently becoming U.S. citizens. He also talked about the goals of the Chamber – marketing, membership development, and working on Christmas in July issues.

Put-in-Bay Village Councilwoman Jessica Dress

Put-in-Bay Village Councilwoman Jessica Dress spoke on behalf of Mayor Mack McCann, who couldn’t make the State Of The Island 2018 event. She talked about the Put-in-Bay Police Department hiring two new officers and a new village administrator, Police Chief Steve Riddle spoke about developing a community-oriented department. Lt. Doug Miller discussed new badges, ID cards, and uniforms for the officers, mutual aid from other departments over the big weekends, and officer training.

Caiti Bolyard

Caiti Bolyard talked about the Brig Niagara visit this summer, plus emphasized the need for volunteers at the many island events that take place on the island over the summer.

Larry Fletcher Lake Erie Shores & Islands

Larry Fletcher, the Executive Director of the Ottawa County Visitors Bureau, reviewed the bureau’s 2017 marketing success plus 2018’s marketing strategy.

Monument Superintendent Barbara Fearon

Perry’s Victory Superintendent Barbara Fearon announced at the State of the Island 2018 dinner that the fee to go to the top of the Perry Peace Memorial Monument was being raised from $3 to $10. Children under 16 would still be free, and the ticket would be valid for seven days. An annual pass will be available for $30.

She said the money collected to go up in the Monument would be used here at the island park; Barbara also said the Perry Peace Memorial Monument would hopefully open on May 19th, but that new cracks have been found by engineers which might delay the opening. Huntington Bank will pay for the first 103 visitors to the top. The “103” is for the years the Monument has been open. There are still some issues with moisture leakage at the Monument.

Barbara also said they are working on a temporary welcome center across the lot from the Jet Express Dock, The Keys Restaurant, and the Dairy Isle. She also said there would be training for historic weapons on May 14th, 15th, and 16th for anyone interested in learning how to fire muskets and the carronade used in demonstrations at the Monument. Call the Monument office if you are interested.

JR Domer Put-in-Bay School Board

Member JR Domer talked about the school’s new track and sailing teams. His comments lasted less than a minute.

Karen Wilhelm, manager of the Erie Island Library

Karen has been the manager of the Erie Island Library for the last three years and talked about the numerous programs for both kids and
adults offered at the library. She welcomes any ideas for additional programs. She also spoke about the services offered at the library – books, DVDs, audiobooks, magazines, copier, public computers, free wifi for computers, fax machine, notary service, and Golden Buckeye sign-up.

Put-in-Bay Twp. Trustee Matt Miller

Put-in-Bay Township Trustee Matt Miller discussed how vital the Resort Tax was to the Township. He also talked about expanding the cardboard recycling program.

Chris Joyce Put-in-Bay Senior Center

Chris Joyce from the Senior Center talked about the increase in usage of the center, the numerous activities and programs offered,
and the recent remodeling of the facility.

Mark Wilhelm Put-in-Bay Volunteer Fire Department

Mark Wilhelm from the Put-in-Bay Volunteer Fire Department. said that the members range in age from 20 to 70. Some members
have more than 40 or 50 years of service. Al Duff has been in the department for 52 years. Mark said the department had 37 calls last
year and added the department had had no structure fire since the Colonial burned in 1988. He discussed the desperate need for volunteers, education for the volunteers, and the fundraisers the department puts on. He also thanked Karen Wilhelm and Anita McCann for their dedicated help.

Put-in-Bay EMS Director Patrick Rogers

Patrick Rogers from the Put-in-Bay EMS talked a little about the 39 members who make up the EMS, 25 of which are paid, and nine of the 14 volunteers are from the island. He said the physicians serving the island out of the EMS office would not be returning this season. A new medical direction is being taken that includes telemedicine.

Patrick also reminded people about getting their street number signs so emergency forces can find your property. He also reminded everyone to come to the EMS Taco fundraiser at the Put-in-Bay Town Hall on Sunday, May 6th, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Michael McCann

Michael McCann reported on putting up the flags around the village and along Airport Rd. If you’d like to volunteer and help put up the flags, please contact him.

Rick Ziebarth Put-in-Bay Township Port Authority

Rick Ziebarth from the Put-in-Bay Twp Port Authority reported on the authority’s achievements since it was established in 1991 at the State of The Island in 2018. He also talked about the new “public use” hangar allowing the Ford Trimotor to come to the Put-in-Bay Airport. He also mentioned that Russ Brohl is the newest Put-in-Bay Twp Port Authority board member.

Dan Savage Lake Erie Islands Historical Society

Dan Savage from the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society Museum discussed the displays at the museum this summer. One will be about the Colonial, which burned 30 years ago this month. The other is a display of historic island photographer Otto Herbster’s panoramic photos of Put-in-Bay.

There will also be a display of the photography of Kelly Faris. The Music Festival at the Monument is scheduled for June 9th. There is a real need for volunteers for the event. If you can help, contact Scott Market. Dan said the museum’s fundraiser auction would take place on August 9th this year, plus the always popular golf cart trip to North Bass will take place on August 16th. It will be $75 per person.

The theme this year is “Bass Vegas.” The North Bass Church will be turned into the Chapel of Love. Not only will you be able to renew your vows, but one couple will be married there that day. The last event of the season for the museum is the Wine Fest at the Put-in-Bay Winery the first Saturday in October. Again, if you would like to volunteer your help, please get in touch with the museum.

Kelly Faris Put-in-Bay Township Park District

Kelly Faris discussed the vital work of the Put-in-Bay Twp. Park District and how the islands are so crucial for migratory birds. Kristin Stanford, well-known to islanders as “the Snake Lady,” discussed the Ohio Sea Grant Program, algae blooms, the Aquatic Visitor Center, Stone Lab programs, and tours of Gibraltar and the South Bass Island Lighthouse. She mentioned the weekly lecture programs on Gibraltar Island that are open to the public, plus the date of July 12th for the annual Algae Bloom Forecast.

Jackie Taylor & Amy Huston – Lake Erie Islands Nature & Wildlife Center

Jackie Taylor from the Lake Erie Islands Nature and Wildlife Center said at the State of The Island 2018, the center was celebrating ten years in operation this year. An anonymous donor has helped with completing the new addition at the center. Jackie also discussed the Nature Camp program, Wild Tuesdays, the Road Scholar program, and Island Green Week.

The center’s fundraiser, the Star Gazer cruise, will be held on August 6th, and the pig roast will be held at the Goat again this year on August 8th. Amy Huston talked about developing a curriculum for school groups and the annual plant exchange.

Lisa Brohl Lake Erie Islands Conservancy

Lisa Brohl spoke on behalf of the Lake Erie Islands Conservancy and the importance of preserving land on the islands. Currently, there are 250 members of the group. She also discussed new signage in some of the preserved areas and the work being done for bird habitats. One of the important fundraisers for the group in the Middle Bass Island Music Festival at Lonz Winery is scheduled for July 14th.  The event is sponsored by the Middle Bass Dock Company,

Deacon Mike Leahy

Deacon Mike Leahy closed the State of the Island 2018, but not  before mentioning the there will be services at Mother of Sorrows Catholic
Church on Wednesdays this summer at 5:30 p.m. for those working on weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

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