Tuesday, August 28, 2012


An afternoon sail with Steve Schwandt
Detroit Harbor, Washington Island -

I received a few emails from regular readers of this blog, which in itself is a great ego boost to know folks notice when I don't write!

A few thought my lack of frequent postings may have been prompted by health reasons (and I think they may have been right - a streak of laziness!) since there was only one blog since July 5th, and that one blog was about the buoy situation in Detroit Harbor.

My lack of frequency really had more to do with the many things going on here, both work and play, that the idea of a blog just took a back seat to those other activities.  But that's how summers are,  packed with lots of activity:  work (in my case a long stint as Cherry Train driver / narrator) and family.  I've also been a regular contributor to the revamped Island Observer, our community newspaper.  In a way, that writing competes for my urge to write something here every so often.

A plug for the island newspaper

I may as well use this opportunity to recommend - for those not already subscribers - that readers of this blog consider also taking out a $30 subscription to the Island Observer, if they are not already subscribers.  It's a great little newspaper with varied topics, filled with community information, generally upbeat in tone, accurate reporting of island news, with important background on unfolding news.    If you change locations several times each year as many readers do, just let the Observer office know where & when to deliver.   A great many people are working behind the scenes, both on the business and the editorial end, to bring a quality product to you.  Numerous friends I am aware of have renewed their subscriptions after a long absence, and in a few cases (which always surprises me) they've signed on for the first time.   I happen to think it is the quality of contributing writers and the strong editorial direction of Managing Editor Mary Marik that has made the greatest difference, but in fact, this has been a team effort from many, including folks behind the scenes you may never hear about.  It is, in my opinion, a great small newspaper success story these first six months under new ownership and management.

Island's BBQ a success 

The Death's Door Barbecue (DD-BBQ) held Saturday at the Island airport drew 25 contestant teams as well as many Kansas City Barbecue Assn. certified judges, plus hundreds of members of the public who did their own private assessment of barbecue product, fresh from the smokers and grills.  (Do they use grills?)  The Lions Club set up their big tent at the end of the runway, anchor for many of the food-related activities and booths, while the teams with their specialized sauces and rigs were tucked around the fairway between rows of hangars.   This was a community event in every sense of the word, headed up by a committee that had been hard at work since the snow began to fly last December.  Many people and organizations, including the Town of Washington and the REA, contributed.  Their hard work paid off, without question, and the day's weather cooperated to provide an activity that visitors and local residents enjoyed.

The 2012 DD-BBQ may well be the start of a new, annual island summer activity.  Event organizers will certainly refine their ideas for hosting this event based upon this first experience, so that increasing numbers of visitors may be attracted and entertained.  We heard "well done" from many.  (They referred to the event itself, and not the brisket and ribs.)

In like manner, thanks should also be given to those many other island organizations that host events during the year, too many to list here without risking leaving someone out.

But, a special note of recognition should go to the Lions Club members for their annual sponsorship of the Island Fair with its strong community-based activities, such as the Main Road parade, the bingo tent, providing the framework for many others to build upon.   This year, just weeks before that event, Club members installed new electrical service and water for the various games, food booths and other activities set up on the school grounds.  This installation replaced the multiple extension cords streaming from receptacles, overloading that often blew circuit breakers.  This was a very timely and considerate project on the part of the Lions.

And buoys are still not resolved

Amid the range of summer activities, and the ferrying of people and vehicles, came the controversy over removal of buoys in Detroit Harbor.  A discussion with several officials from Cleveland's Ninth District last week, August 21st, brought some hope that at least further review will be given.  But as of this moment, no word has been received.

Late summer's water levels continue to drop.  Mud flats were exposed in the shallows since the last major high pressure system blew our water to Muskegon and Charlevoix.  I hadn't seen that much mud since last January.   Where did the water go?  Why doesn't it blow back toward us?  What will we do if we don't get dredging help to deepen the channel?   How, in all of this, will two large cylinders replace the several floating navigational aids we formerly used to stay within deep water?

A number of issues, and many of these are controllable by man through policy and funding.  We hope to be able to report positive news at some future date.

Labor Day, the big wind-up to summer, is just around the corner.   I've got a seat with my name on it - upper bleacher, back row - at the Red Barn, to see Eric Lewis and friends Friday night.

Its fortunate we're offered so many choices on Washington Island, deciding when and what to participate in.  Thanks to all the people who work behind the scenes for these offerings of quality and variety.

More blogs to follow...promise!    -  Dick Purinton


Bill Tobey said...

Great to see you back here, Dick!

Just a picture from your sail with Steve Schwandt??? :-)

Just renewed our subscription to the new and improved Observer. We enjoy theinputs from the significantly expanded team of contributors. I do miss the regular crossword puzzles (they can be NASTY) and the Sudokus.

I've heard from islanders about the BBQ success. Lots of attendess and great food and fun.

Good luck with the buoys. Using their logic, the highway department should eradicate white road-edge lines because they can't repaint them regularly.

Again, welcome back. Looking forward to "more blogs to follow"!

Anonymous said...

Great- You're back! You were missed. I get the Observer but weekly just doesn't quench the thirst for Island news. Checking your blog for new posts is part of my (almost)daily routine.