Body Confirmed as Island Woman

The Charlevoix County Medical Examiner has confirmed that the body of a woman discovered Saturday, December 7, is that of Judy Ellen Bellamy, 55, of Beaver Island.

Sheriff George Lasater said that his department turned over the remains to the county medical examiner's office and that an autopsy was ordered to make a positive identification which was done through dental records.

Bellamy and her husband, Melvin, were returning to the island after a trip.  They were last seen fueling their plane in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin on November 10.  When their plane was reported missing, United States Coast Guard, Civil Air Patrol and many local pilots hunted the waters around the archipelago for clues but were unable to discover any sign of either the couple nor their plane.  Melvin Bellamy's body and the plane have not been found as of yet.

According to Jeremy McBain, editor of the Charlevoix Courier, Charlevoix County Sheriff George Lasater stated that the Coast Guard made a search on December 11 from Fisherman's Island to Nine Mile Point in search of the missing aircraft and Melvin Bellamy and on December 12 the Sheriff's Auxiliary hiked the beach on foot from Fisherman's Island to Nine Mile Point.

Our thoughts and prayers continue for Mel and Judy's children; Missy, Jenny and Mike and their families.


Sleeping Santa or...

I went to the ferry this afternoon, Wednesday, to pick up my oldest daughter who was coming home for the holidays when Edward Palmer asked me to take the picture below.  According to Edward, this is "either Santa sleeping because we have no snow or Budger" (Edward's brother).  Click on the picture to enlarge it.

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Winter Has Definitely Arrived!

With high winds blowing across northern Lake Michigan the wind chill is something that those braving the outdoors have to content with.  Monday morning the ferry, Emerald Isle, returned to the harbor after venturing out.  Last Friday was a wild day for those who traveled via ferry but today was even worse.  After hearing that the ferry had returned I drove out to Gull Harbor to take a peek at the lake.  Wow! Some wave action there.  Unfortunately the photos don't really show how huge the breakers coming in are but you can see the spray as they crashed into the ice that has already formed along the shoreline.  Incidentally, I understand that John Works, Jr. was sending some cattle across on the boat today.  I'm thanking my lucky stars that I don't have the clean-up job after those cows were seasick!

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Bill Welke 1922 - 2002

Bill passed away on December 7, 2002.  He was born on June 28, 1922 in Detroit, the son of Elizabeth (Oberle) and William Welke.  

Bill was a graduate of Walled Lake High School as well as the Detroit Police Academy.  He also served two years in the United States Army Air Force.  Bill also attended the Wilbur Wright trade school where he trained as a machinist.

He worked at many occupations over the years, most recently as owner and chief pilot of Island Airways.  Through the years Bill owned and operated contracting, excavating, and saw mill operations.  In addition, he served as the Deputy Sheriff on Beaver Island and as a member of the Detroit Police Force.

Bill began flying in 1943 when he was twenty-one years old and his first landing strip was a 600 foot strip cut out of his fathers' wheat field.  He was a talented flight instructor and he enjoyed passing on his love of flying to his students.  Bill was at his happiest surrounded by airplanes, people, and his dogs (most recently Marney, Katie, and Kellie).

Bill was a long time member of Holy Cross Catholic Church on Beaver Island.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years Betty (Cutler) Welke and their five children and their spouses: Jean and Bruce Kinsley of Beaver Island; Paul Welke and Angela LeFevre of Beaver Island; Mark and Sue Welke of Marquette, Michigan; Carl and Laurie Welke of Tecumseh, Michigan and Anne Welke and Bruce McPhilips of Charlevoix, Michigan.  He is also survived by his brothers and their wives: Robert and Sue Welke of Beaver Island; Donus and Dory Welke of Archbold, Ohio; and Charles and Catherine Welke of Beaverton, Michigan.  Bill is also survived by many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be directed to Beaver Island Emergency Services or the Beaver Island Rural Center c/o General Delivery, Beaver Island, Michigan 49782.

Bill wished to be cremated and a memorial service will take place at Holy Cross Catholic Church in early 2003.


Change Coming to the

News on the 'Net

After January 1, 2003 the News on the 'Net section will become a business operation and like any other island news, will be accessible via subscription.  The subscription will ONLY be for the News on the 'Net portion of the website, the tour will always be open to everyone.  A subscription will be $30/year for individuals.  For businesses who wish to support the site it will be $150 per year and will include links to their sites and I will post their events or sales or coupons as they request.  So why am I doing this when it's obvious it will probably make money?  The reason is to cover the costs incurred, to be able to upgrade equipment (computer, camera, scanner, etc.)  and to add to the site (archives, no pop-ups, etc.).  Since I spend a good share of the week working on this it's become a part-time job and if it's a breaking story,  I'm on it constantly and I think it's only fair to get something back for all the time spent.  I realize that some folks don't agree and that I'll lose some readers and for that, I'm sorry.

Please be sure and let me know your current email address so that I will be able to send you your password once the subscription portion of the website goes into effect.

Beaver Island Virtual Tour

c/o Phyllis Moore

26450 West Carlisle Road

Beaver Island, MI 49782


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