Put-in-Bay News October 2020

Put-in-Bay Wins Golf Cart Case Supreme Court Sides with Village on Golf Cart Tax

Ohio’s Supreme Court ruled in September that the Village of Put-in-Bay’s tax on rental vehicles doesn’t violate the state’s constitution. The decision was unanimous. The Village has an ordinance that requires those renting out vehicles to visitors to pay a fee. The fee varies per type of vehicle, but for
golf carts, it is $50 per cart annually.

Five years ago, the Village brought charges against Mark Mathys from Delaware Carts and the Islander Inn for allegedly not paying the fee to rent out their golf carts. The case went to court where their attorney argued the law violates the constitution because it duplicated the tax people already pay to drive on roads when they get a license plate. Ottawa County Common Pleas Judge Bruce Winters dismissed the charges because he saw the law was “improper and impermissible.”

The Village appealed that ruling to the Sixth Court of Appeals in Toledo and won according to news October 2020. The cart renters then took the case to the Supreme Court. The court ruled against the Islander Inn and Mathys saying the tax was not on motor vehicles, but on the businesses that rented the vehicles.
From what we understand, both companies (and possibly others) have withheld payment of the taxes as they awaited a final decision. Village officials now have the task of collecting the back taxes which is unlikely.

This & That In October News 2020

Political Sign Bandits If you’re a fan of social media, you’re probably aware of the battle of political signs that is going on. Several islanders have had their Biden/Harris signs removed or run down. One resident of Mitchell Rd. chased down three Michigan women on a golf cart who had removed her Biden/Harris sign.

A Trump supporter also reported he had his signs removed. It reminds us of years ago when there was a three candidate run for the mayor’s position. One candidate, Kendra Koehler, had so many signs removed each night that she and her friend Barb Chrysler would get up at the crack of
dawn and replace all the ones that turned up missing. Apparently, the political sign game is not new here on the island.

Correction- In last month’s Gazette, we had a photo of shingles being put on the old post office building and waiting room on North Bass. We misidentified the worker as Rick Harlan on the roof. It was Rob, Rick’s brother.

Hearing Results- Two more island establishments had their hearing before the Ohio Liquor Control Commission and the results were: T&J’s Smokehouse was cited for “recklessly causing inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm to another by creating a condition that presents a risk of illness” on July 25th. The
commission issued a 30-day suspension of its liquor license beginning at noon on Oct. 9th. The Commodore Motel received no punishment after being cited for disorderly activities

On July 24th. Kitchen Chemistry with Sue We joined Erie Islands Librarian Mrs. Susan Duff with her first installment on Facebook of “Kitchen Chemistry”
this past month and learned how to make Skittles Rainbows! You can also stop by the library to pick up your own kit to make this colorful activity. For this and other library events, go to Erie Islands Library on Facebook.

Pet Peeve-Everyone gets their mail on the island in a post office box at the post office. We are always surprised when we go to look for business or organization mailing addresses on the internet and the only address they have on their website is their street address.

Put-in-Bay Makes More Lists Last month, Put-in-Bay was on another internet list. This time it was on the Entrepreneur Magazine post with Tips For Planning A Vacation where the island was mentioned as an example. Stanford University had an informative article about how to save on your hotel rates, Nice to see the island getting attention from such prestigious universities. The Lake Erie Lighthouses were featured in an article that included the Put-in-Bay Lighthouse on South Bass Island as well as other well-known lighthouses.

Lost & Found Roger Rhoad from East Point apologizes for those who called him on his phone recently and only heard a gurgling sound. He says his phone ended up at the bottom of Lake Erie and he didn’t get it replaced for a couple of days. He posted online, “But not all was lost as its departure enabled me to reconnect with my beautiful wife of 43 years who informed me that we have three great kids and six awesome grandkids! I did know that, even though I spent too much time on my phone! Still confused about the pet dog we never had.”

Deer on South Bass Island – It was reported to News October 2020 that a mother deer and her three fawns have been spotted on the island.Nellie Bell
Robin Burris Cadez, the daughter of Dale Burris from North Bass, reports that her dad’s 1928 Model A ice car, Nellie Bell, is now up and back in operation and running great. The A is one of two left still traveling the ice. Besides having been to the bottom of the lake, it also caught fire last year. Nellie is due for new red paint soon.

Thank you! It has been wonderful watching as the new signs, fencing, bicycle rack, trail entrance, mulching, and benches are installed at the Cooper’s Woods Preserve. It is watching a 23- year-old dream come true! The Put-in-Bay Township Park District hired Gump Construction to do the work – a good partnership with Richard Gump, Kenny Fox, Eric Nowak, Nicki Fresch, and Luke Lydon.

Food For Thought -We had a suggestion for the ladies, Rose Kahler, Joan French, Sally Duffy, and Anne Dailey when we saw them dining out the other night at the Goat. We suggested they have Anne’s hubby, Pat, join them next time when they get together to dine. They could confabulate while Pat sells autographs
to fans to pay for their dinners.

How Do Things Like This Happen? One of the unusual things that happened this past month was finding a swimming pool ladder up in a tree at the parking
lot of the Dodge Woods Preserve. You can’t make these things up! If you see Richard French from Fox’s Den, please excuse his confusion. We saw him getting off the ferry the other day when the senior island men went off the island to play golf. Richard had a garden string trimmer in his roll cart instead of his golf clubs. Apparently, he thought he was going to trim the course, not play. Confusion like this is such a terrible thing. We wish him the best.

Island Golf Cart Dilemma

We have become a golf cart neighborhood! There is no refuting it, and we’ve got to embrace it until the day magically comes when another viable way to travel and experience the island manifests itself. Over the years, Put-in-Bay has had a love/hate relationship with golf carts. Some people utterly hated them and at the time there were only a few on the island.

Now the number has grown to a couple thousand, plus. With the high numbers come numerous problems. Visitors who rent golf carts often operate them with total disregard for safety. We can only imagine them operating their car in the same way they drive when they drive a cart on the island. Over the years, renting a golf cart has become one of the top fun things to do at Put-in-Bay

How often have we seen drivers crisscrossing all over the roads, making U-turns in the center of the road, driving with open containers, operating under the influence, letting a kid drive, dragging a foot off the side of a cart, not wearing seat belts, hanging off the sides or tail end of a cart, driving through yards, hugging the left side of the lane, operating with turn signals constantly blinking and constantly beeping their horns?

Who hasn’t seen a reckless driver flip a cart full of tourists after a foolish maneuver that defies common sense? In worst-case scenarios, passengers have been pinned under or fallen off carts causing lasting bodily impairment. As Capt. Mark Hummer of the PIBPD told the homeowners at their September meeting, “Golf carts aren’t a Cedar Point ride.”

Now there’s a different golf cart problem that has become a matter of anxiety. People are now renting carts overnight and running them around all night instead of renting a room for the night. Criticisms about the crazy driving and rowdy behavior on the carts in the middle of the night have increased considerably.

It’s the 21st Century version of people sleeping in the midtown park back in the 1960s and 1970s when they didn’t have a place for the night. There have been calls for halting overnight cart rentals or at least, having renters show proof of their accommodations before they can get one which is likely illegal. There have been calls for banning carts on the roads after dark or after 11 p.m., but for cottagers and residents who use their carts in the evening or late at night, this poses a huge concern. The same applies to those staying at Put-in-Bay Hotels

And of course, the problem always exists that the Village can legislate the use of golf carts, but the township can’t. For the first time, a Village Council delegation has been meeting with those who manage cart rental companies and seriously discussing these multiple issues together. At the committee’s second meeting on September 23rd, an independent committee was set up to look into the problems and come up with some details, figures, and resolutions. Everyone want golf carts to remain as one of the interesting things to do at Put-in-Bay

Interestingly, one of the best recommendations for all the golf cart dilemmas came from Christie Ontko, who said she hoped for an app on her cell phone that would allow her to decrease the speed of any cart whose operators were seen violating the rules and laws for their safe use. That, indeed, would solve 99.9% of the problems.

Moss On The Rock – Tidbits of News October 2020

Flu Shots- Flu shots for island seniors will be available at the Senior Center this month on Thursday, October 22nd from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you are interested in getting the vaccine, you will have to sign up/register for it through the Ottawa County Health Dept. at 419-734-6800.

M/V Mary Ann Market Update-Jake Market spoke at the Put-in-Bay Property Owners meeting at the Perry’s Cave Pavilion on Saturday, Sept. 19th, and brought everyone up to date with a report on the new Miller Boat Line ferry, the M/V Mary Ann Market, now in the stages of final construction in Superior,
Wisconsin. Originally scheduled for delivery last spring, the new date for delivery will be spring 2021. Issues involving the steel tariffs and Covid kept the new ferry from being delivered as first planned.

Jake also told about how the vessel was computer-designed and built-in seven hull sections and four superstructure sections all put together in a drydock where it is now being painted and getting the final details worked on. The new vessel will be quite different from the one currently running between the Lime Kiln and Catawba Docks. It will have a computer-designed, fuel-efficient hull, wider stairways leading upstairs, restrooms on both decks (ADA accessible on the main deck), heat and A/C in the passenger cabins, plus some interior seating on the main deck.

Thank You… A big thank you goes to those who pick up the garbage and unfortunately dog poop in the Cooper’s Woods Preserve. One of the recent good samaritans was Sue Ferguson. Please remember the Preserve is posted to keep your pet on a leash and pick it up after your pet. Please do not ruin the experience of walking the Preserve for others or for wildlife that makes it their home.

The Birds- Have you been over to Peach Point to watch the Chimney Swifts fly in and out of the chimney at the Natural Resources’ old fish hatchery building? Watchers say they fly into the chimney about sundown and fly out when the sun comes up. They have counted about 400 birds who do this during a 20 to 30-minute period. The birds roost inside the chimney and go out and feed on insects during the day.

Islanders will tell you they knew nothing about this until this year. It kind of reminds us of the tens of thousands of Monarch butterflies that were spotted roosting in island trees a few years ago.

In Canada, Ontario’s cormorant hunting season opened this past month. A law was just passed in July 2020 to allow hunters to have a 15 bird limit per day and the season runs from July 15th to December 31st. Cormorants are protected in the United States.

Lighthouse Weather Station For those who follow island weather, the weather station, “Station SBI01 – South Bass Island, OH,” at the SBI lighthouse that is owned and operated by the National Data Buoy Center has been down since July 25th. The station is one of about 60 in Coastal-Marine Automated Network (C-MAN), a meteorological observation network along with the coastal United States. According to the website, the Station will be restored to service when it can be worked into the schedule.

Telling It Like It Is… If you heard Capt. Mark Hummer and Acting Chief James Kimble from the PIBPD speak at the Put-in-Bay Property Owners meeting in September, you were probably impressed with what they had to say about enforcing the law when it comes to dealing with the public. Hummer, in particular, made it clear that as things have changed in society, so must island police officers learn new ways how to handle the many people and problems they deal with especially in light of the limited resources the island force has.

He said he and the chief are getting to know the community and will be working over the
winter to come up with ways to effectively police the islands. Hopefully, both Kimble’s and Hummer’s decades of public safety experience will go a long way
into preparing the island police department for the many seasons to come.

Island Kids Back To School-South Bass Island’s kids are back in school and according to one report the students are living with Covid by following all the safety protocols put in place by school officials. The students are checked each day before they enter the school building, plus they wear masks in the classes. Interestingly, there are several students from the mainland who are attending school here this year.

Dodge Woods Update

We are pleased to announce that the Put-in-Bay Township Park District purchased a .7478 acre addition to the Dodge Woods Preserve recently with fundsPhoto Of Dodge & Coopers Woods Workers in News October 2020
from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund and the Lake Erie Islands Conservancy. It will be additional habitat and a buffer to the Put-in-Bay StoryWalk® Trail in place now. Thanks to the John Dodge family and Bridget Wise for working with us!

And thanks to all of you members who make the donations to keep making this land protection happen! A special thank you to John for selling us his property at less than appraised value-a partial bargain sale. This qualifies as a tax deduction for him and can aid property owners who may have capital gains issues. It also helps our Park District as we have less money to raise because it qualifies as part of the 25% match required for Clean Ohio Conservation Fund grants.

Something to consider if you have family properties that you would like to see the Conservancy Park District preserve!

Senior Center News October 2020

What a year 2020 has been! Fall has officially arrived and we’ll soon be enjoying cool crisp evenings, beautiful changing colors, and falling leaves. At the time of this writing, we are still not sure of the exact date that the Ottawa County Senior Centers will reopen. It will be different than in the past, but we will make it through. As we roll out the guidelines for the re-opening of the senior centers, we will be calling you to see if you are interested in coming back to
the center.

to guidelines set forth by the Ohio Department of Aging and the Ohio Department of Health, we will need reservations and pre-screening of all participants completed prior to all visits. This will be done by phone a call prior to the activity and then a health survey upon entering the Senior Center. In addition, all Ohio Senior Centers must have their staff and volunteers tested for Covid-19 prior to reopening and then every two weeks ongoing. We must also a program in place for strategic testing of participants.

The county is working hard with the state to facilitate who will do the testing and who will pay for it. During this initial phase of reopening masks will be required for all participants, with no exceptions. We will all have to be patient and work together to facilitate a smooth transition to a new way of using the Senior Center while following the mandated guidelines. While this might be overwhelming for most of us, the guidelines are set up to protect all of us. We are looking forward to the day when we can return to normal, but as we work toward that end, we want to make sure everyone is safe and gets to join in.

So, with masks on our faces and sanitizer on our hands, we will hopefully be ready to once again exercise and socialize with our friends in the near future. There will be a Flu Vaccine Clinic for the Put-in-Bay Seniors at our Senior Center on Thursday, October 22, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you are interested in getting the vaccine, you will have to sign up/register for it through the Ottawa County Health Dept. at 419-734-6800.

If you have family or friends planning to visit the island, there is a great article about what you need to know about Put-in-Bay you can share with them. It also addresses the best time to visit Put-in-Bay.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns. Until next month … continue to stay “socially distanced” while doing your daily activities. Wear your mask and wash your hands frequently. Remember exercising, eating healthy and other activities will help keep your mind and body active and healthy. I miss everyone and hope to see you all soon!