Investigative Report

Sometime this year A&E, the Arts and Entertainment network, will be showing an investigative report on small plane crashes in the United States.  The program is being done by Granada Television of Manchester, England and the New York Times for A&E.  Gurbir Dhillon, Assistant Producer for Investigative Reports contacted me a week or so ago about some of my photos of the tragic crash here in February.  On Monday, April 28th, Paul Clarke, Assistant Producer; Steve Haskett, Cameraman; and John Quinn, Sound Recordist met with the United States Coast Guard in Traverse City and then traveled via Coast Guard helicopter to Beaver Island where Mike and Bev Russell and I met with them at the Township Airport.

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This time it was a very different trip to the crash site than with the people from DateLine
in February.  First of all, no snow to content with - Monday being the warmest day of 2001 so far - and no plane.  Jim Wojan and crew have done a marvelous job of removing the aircraft (and cleaning up the area) which is now on a barge and will be shipped to the mainland.  The insurance company now owns the plane, which they will eventually dispose of.  In the meantime, the only things to be found at the site are tiny bits and pieces of metal and glass...things you won't even notice within another year or so.  However, one definitely can tell this is the site as trees are broken half-way as they were in February and every so often the smell of aviation fuel over-rides the pine odor this far back in the woods.

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Clarke interviewed Mike Russell about the search and finding the wreckage.  As with any filmed interview it was repeated a couple times with slight changes each time.  Clarke also interviewed the Rob McCaskey, the helicopter pilot and Trent Ganz the Flight Mechanic for the U. S. Coast Guard for their parts in the Gault crash.

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All in all, it was an interesting day and I'll keep everyone appraised as to when the program will air.  At the moment, the only thing known is that it will be sometime this year on A&E.  As we left the crash site I managed to grab the picture below which is probably a similar sight to what Mirth Gault and the kids saw on the morning after that fatal crash.

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While the island does take the name of this mammal, this year there seems to be an abundance of them.  They are interesting, industrious critters, however, in some places they are causing a lot of destruction.  Thanks to a tip from Elaine West, we took a trip out the old Fox Lake road to see for ourselves.  Didn't notice much along the road, and decided to pull in at the boat launch.  Walking down to the beach a beaver lodge could be seen off to the left, not too far from shore so we hiked down that way.  We didn't even get half-way to the lodge before noticing what Elaine had been talking about.  Just up the bank it looks as though a tornado has passed through.  Huge trees are down thanks to the beavers living here.  There are enough down to get a good start on a small cabin if you wanted to build one.  Most of the trees are at least a foot across and evidently this is a large beaver as they are chewed quite high up.  I took several photos of the damage and you'll find them here.  

School Trip

Submitted by Mrs. Stambaugh's 6th grade class

On April 16th, the 6th grade class and their chaperones headed to Lansing.  The Lansing trip was our 6th grade graduation trip.  We were going to see the capital.

We drove to Fredric Meijer Gardens.  We saw a 28 foot bronze horse outside.  When we went inside we saw lots of South-American butterflies.  It was fun.

The next day we went on a tour of the State Capital.  We saw two senators being sworn in.  The senate gallery was so full we had to watch the swearing in on TV.  After the Swearing we went to the senate floor.  Senator Hoffman invited us onto the senate floor.  We met Representative Andy Newman.  Dave Schwartzfisher got to sit in his grandfather, Representative Varnum's chair.  After that we ate pizza in Senator Hoffman's office.

When we took a tour of the State Historical Museum, it was very interesting.  We learned about the first settlers in Michigan and we also learned about the White Pine Era in the 1800s.  There was also a gigantic piece of copper called floating copper.  Most of it was green because after a long period of time it turns green just like how metal rusts.

Thank you to all who made this trip possible.  Special thanks to our hosts Barry and Marylee Pischner who let us stay for two nights at their home in Belmont.  Bill and Tammy led us on a great adventure in their van.

Brenna Green, David Bousquet, Jared Wojan, Bailey McDonough, Dave Schwartzfisher, Rita Palmer, Cory Sowa, Saygan Croswhite, Emma Adams


Word has been received that John Wayne "Jack" Martin of Sand Lake, Michigan died April 6, 2001.  He is survived by his wife, Marge; one son, Douglas (Tanya) and two grandchildren.  He was preceded in death by his daughter, Marcie Kay in 1988.

Word has also been received that Robert Eugene Martin died on April 24, 2001 in Arizona.  He is survived by his wife, Donna; six children and six grandchildren. 

Both Jack and Robert were the sons of Jack and Eileen Martin who began the "Circle M" restaurant (now the Old Rectory).   Our sympathies to their families.

What IS That Thing?

It sits beside the Beaver Island Historical Society's Marine Museum.  It's deteriorating quickly.  People always ask, "what is it?" "Was it used for oil?" "...a gigantic nut cracker?"

It's a pile driver.  Years ago the island would be ringed with pound nets.  This floating driver would be towed to where the fisherman wanted to install his passive - stationary - gear for live-entrapment of fish.  A motor at the base would haul up a heavy weight that would be dropped on a piling to drive the piling into the bed of the lake.  Once all the piling were in place, netting could be supported from the series of stakes or pilings.  

Fifty years ago, the harbor was encircled with net sheds, fishing docks, net reels and pile drivers.  Twenty years ago visitors could see the stakes, or pilings out in Sand Bay or the Gull Harbor area.  It's unfortunate, but it looks as though this last pile driver will soon be gone.  As time passes fewer and fewer people can remember fishermen like Charlie Martin - who owned this one - using them. What a shame it will be to lose another part of our heritage to neglect or lack of interest.

Did You Know...

...that Island quilter Gwen Marston has a terrific website?  If you are "into" quilting and love Beaver Island, you'll want to check it out.  Gwen does a Quilt Retreat every September at the CMU Biological Station and imports her son, Matthew, from Rome, Italy to do the cooking.  What a great way to relax... quilting, sight-seeing and eating marvelous meals.  Visit Gwen's Liberated Quilting site.

Turkey Season

April 23rd marked the beginning of turkey season here on the island.  The season will end on May 31.  In the meantime, there will be at least one home having a bird for dinner - and not as a guest.  Bud Rouch bagged the first turkey as far as we know which weighed in at 19.75 pounds!  Way to go, Bud!

Your Library

Submitted by Jean Palmer, Treasurer of the Beaver Island District Library

The Beaver Island District Library millage will be up for renewal at the special election to be held on July 17, 2001 by both St. James and Peaine Townships. The millage is for 1.0000 mill. Over the years the Library Board has recommended only levying 3/4 of the amount allowable. Conserving in this manner has still allowed for the purchase of most of the best sellers, and a large selection of videos. The Library now has two computers for public use at no charge. There also is a fax service and a copy machine for use at minimal charge. There is also a large selection of recorded books acquired thru donated funds.

In the year 2000 there were over 11,000 visitors to the library, with an adult circulation of books of over 12,000 and 4,100 to children. All of these numbers are up over 10% over the previous year. There were 93 meetings held in the Library with no rental charge for use.

When you go to the polls to vote, we hope you will vote yes for the Library mileage, so the Library can continue to provide this excellent service to the community.

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