Beaver Island Fire Chief Tim McDonough is issued a fire warning for Beaver Island and all of the outer islands.  This warning is in effect immediately and for the indefinite future.  ANY BURNING MUST HAVE A PERMIT! If you have any questions or need to apply for a burning permit, please contact Chief McDonough.

A Letter From TDS Telecom

To Island Customers

August 24, 2001

Dear Beaver Island Customer;

This was definitely a summer of change on
Beaver Island .  Here, at TDS TELECOM, we introduced to you a new Customer Service Technician, Rick Bucholtz.  Rick has spent the past few months getting used to serving you and adjusting to life on the Island .  Rick has had quite a baptism by fire this year.  Beaver Island is growing and improving by leaps and bounds.  The number of access lines on your Island grew to 973 this year, with many of these installations requiring Rick’s personal attention. 

Most recently the reconstruction of the downtown area has occupied a great deal of Rick’s time.  With the massive project we have seen damage to the cables with which we provide your phone service.  Rick has been diligently trying to repair these damages as the contractors report them or as soon as a customer tells us there is a problem.

It has been a challenging year for TDS TELECOM’s
Island residents and employees.  We, the employees, want to thank you for being understanding in this sometimes difficult year.  Many of you have patiently endured a longer than normal wait for your service to be installed, others have found themselves mounting their own satellite dishes, while still others spent quiet hours at home with no dial tone.  We realize that these were inconveniences that you are not used to.  It is our hope that this summer is one that won’t be repeated any time soon.  Thank you for your understanding!

TDS TELECOM - Island employees

Charlene L. Burnison, General Manager Sales & Service

Sister Mary Alvesteffer, OP

                         SisterMaryAlvesteffer.jpg (149174 bytes)Entered eternal life on August 22, 2001

at the age of 85

after 67 years of religious life

Mass of Christian Burial

Saturday, August 25, 11:00 a.m.

Dominican Chapel/Marywood

Evening Prayer with Remembering

Friday, August 24, 7:00 p.m.

Dominican Chapel/Marywood

                                       We commend Sister Mary to your prayers.

“I have called you by name, you are mine” was a favorite Scriptural quotation of one whom her parents called Mary Philomena, and to whom Mother Eveline Mackey later gave the name of Sister Mary Roch.  Disliking the phonetic connotations of the saint’s name, Mary dropped it after some 40 years.


Mary Philomena Alvesteffer was born in 1915 on a little farm in Fern Township , Mason County, Michigan to parents who both came from large families.  They were without a parish church and Sunday Masses were rare — only when a traveling Franciscan father visited.  On other Sundays, Mary and her older brother, George, were given Coffin’s Devout Instructions to ponder.  After that they turned to their preferred illustrations in the Sear’s Catalog.  From her self-educated mother, Mary became interested in reading at an early age.


In 1920 financial difficulties forced her parents to sell the farm and move to Ludington.  There the children (six of them in time) could get a Catholic education at St. Simon’s school.  Life during the depression years was hard, but economic and social challenges bound the family together.  Their entertainment was reading books from the public library.  When old enough, Mary worked after school and during the summer to help pay book bills.  She loved to visit her grandmother in Weare, especially when the visit coincided with that of her aunt, Sister Frances Clare.


When Mary considered joining the Sisters of Mercy, her family insisted that she wait until she was 16.  At that age she started a novena for “I do not know what.”  At the close, she received a letter from Sister Jerome Smithers that led her to enter the Marywood aspirancy.  She received the habit in 1934.  She made her First Profession of Vows on August 24, 1936 and her Final Profession on August 23, 1939 , both to Mother Euphrasia Sullivan.   Mary was graduated in 1936 from Catholic Junior College.


Sister Roch’s first assignment was to grades 3 and 4 at Beal City , but after three weeks she was reassigned to Holy Rosary Academy .  She later taught grade school at St. Joseph , West Branch; St. Mary, Lake Leelanau ; and Visitation, North Dorr.  “Those early years of teaching and mission life were day-by-day and year-to-year experiences of joy and sorrow, hope and awakening, weakness and strength.”  By choice of the community she became a science teacher.  “Educationally, I swept the streets and the El of Chicago earning a coveted B.A. from DePaul in 1954.  I capped this with an M.S. in biology 1962 by doing research on the parathyroids of rana pipiens in the course of which a couple thousand (more or less) green creatures from Oshkosh , Wisconsin became my personal concerns.  I learned a lot of respect for scientific advancement and became a better teacher.  The wonder of life on all levels saturated my mind and soul, and gave a new meaning to my spiritual life.”  She taught high school at Ss. Peter & Paul, Saginaw ; St. Michael, Maple Grove ; St. Mary, Gaylord; and St. Mary Cathedral School, Saginaw .


For reasons of health, Sister Mary went to West Branch for three years of home-making and healing outreach.  This second career was interrupted by a call to serve as administrator of Aquinata Hall (1977-80).  “I learned a lot watching the fruit mellow and mature for the final harvest.”  She also spent many hours on a ladder repainting walls.


Then a dream was fulfilled when Sister Marie Eugene Charbonneau invited Mary to share living and service on Beaver Island .  She helped the new lay principal learn the ropes and assisted in the work of the parish at a time when it was going through a crisis.  Eventually a painful decision was made:  To bring to closure 93 years of Dominican life and service on Beaver Island .  “On July 15, 1991 , we said goodbye to these faithful friends of the community.  The Beaver Islander blew its whistle for us the last time, and we watched the Island fade from sight.”


After that Mary lived with three other Sisters in Apartment 301 of the renovated West Wing of Marywood.  There she had leisure to indulge in her desire for quiet and time to enjoy the Lord, especially in his Word.  Her assignment was that of Congregational Vita Collector, for which she was “volunteered” by the late Sister Letitia.  “Strange and ironic, it plunged me back a half-century, when the natural bent for writing, which I felt sure I had, was relegated in favor of becoming a science teacher.”  In 1997 ill health necessitated her relinquishing vita writing and moving to Aquinata Hall.  


Those who have lived with Sister Mary have found her presence a joy.  She was prayerful, generous, kind, and had a great sense of humor and a special gift with the sick and dying.  Her hobbies and interests were cooking, herb gardens, needlework, and reading with a preference for —what else?—biographies.


Sr. Mary is survived by her Sisters Frances Adams of Ludington , MI ; Rita (Dwight) Johnson of Eau Claire, WI; Pauline Kibbey of Dunedin , FL ; nieces, nephews, friends and a loving community.


Sister Mary reposes at the Dominican Chapel/Marywood, 2025 East Fulton Street .  Visitation will be held on Friday, August 24 from 2:15 to 9:00 p.m. with a Vigil and Remembering Service at 7:00 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 25 at Dominican Chapel/Marywood. Burial will be at Resurrection Cemetery . Memorials in Sr. Mary’s name may be made to the Grand Rapids Dominicans’ Ministry Fund.

Very special thanks to Sister Elizabeth Amman, OP of Marywood who graciously sent me the above obituary.

"Help"ing Summer Along

Jamie.jpg (93468 bytes)Some of the island "helpers" come from far off places...Jamie Cheng comes the longest distance since she is from Taiwan.  Her name in her native language is Li-Hwa Cheng, which is quite difficult for most Americans to get their tongue around, therefore she uses the name Jamie while here.

Jamie is a student at Tamkang University and is studying French.  She will be graduating next year so won't be returning to the island for a third year of employment.  At the present time she returns home every three to six months for visits.

Jamie is probably a familiar face to many as last summer she was employed at the Shamrock and Beachcombers.  This summer she worked at Daddy Franks and at Stoney Acre Grill.  Asked what her favorite thing about spending the summer on the island was, she answered, "go out with friends to see the island, sunset, etc" and least favorite thing was "working for the whole day long".

How did someone from Taiwan end up on Beaver Island?  I asked her and the response was, "I joined a program called "Work and Travel USA".  The sponsor is Council exchange.  The program gives international students a chance to work and travel in the USA and feel American life.  I got a job from their website."

Jamie will be leaving the island Labor Day and heading to New York for a visit.  We'll certainly miss her pretty face but hopefully she'll come back to the island again some day for a visit.  Good luck Jamie, we wish you a wonderful future and are so glad to have met you.

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