Arranmore/Beaver Island Twinning

As most everyone knows, a large contingency of islanders headed back to the old sod to complete the twinning with Arranmore that was started in October 2000 when a group of individuals from Arranmore came to Beaver Island.  This year the islanders traveled the other way to follow their roots.  Rich Gillespie has been kind enough to send a few photos ahead along with descriptions of what they are.  Check on his Irish site in a few days for more.  In the meantime, here's what he sent last night along with his descriptions of the pictures.  All photos are thumbnails so click on them for the larger version.

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All aboard!!!  Everyone was working their way aboard the AHRAIN MOR' to depart Burtonport for Arranmore and the 'homecoming'.

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This was the scene as we approached the dock at Arranmore.  There were many more people off to the right including the local pipe band.  Many of the people on the boat were extremely excited at this moment.

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This was the scene as the ramp came down and 150 years of history came back together.  Many were wiping tears from their eyes at this moment. It was truly amazing!

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Rich Gillespie and Dr. John Duffy who spent a lot of time on Beaver Island.  He had a cousin on Beaver Island named Mary Duffy who was married to Willie John Gallagher.  He has a great knowledge of the history of both islands and is a true gentleman.  We had the good fortune to visit with him and his wife Nora two days later in Galway.  Nora sang 'Dark Island' for us.  A song she brought to Beaver Island in the early 70's.

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This sign is posted just beyond (West) of the Twinning memorial along the lighthouse road.  There has been a picnic area established there just behind it which overlooks the memorial across the road.

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The scene at the lake where the twinning occurred.  The wind was extremely heavy which made it uncomfortable for many but there were a good number of brave souls who showed up for the moment.  It certainly was a small price to pay for the difficulty our ancestors endured.

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This is the beautiful memorial that was placed at the lake on Arranmore.  As you can see there is an otter on the left and a beaver on the right with a trout/salmon in the center symbolizing the unity of the two islands.  Great credit goes to an Arranmore man 'Donnelly' Donnell who did most of the work himself and for little pay.  He accepted what was left in the kitty for the twinning project as compensation.  He is known on Arranmore as a tireless worker who does not stop until the project is done.  He is also credited with doing some major work at the local cemetary to improve access.

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John O'Donnell in a classic pose picking sod to burn in his fireplace.  This has been taken to share the difference in what we use, firewood, and their heat source, peat.  It is said that Arranmore will 'run out' of peat in the next 25 years.  The government apparently is trying to get the use of peat on the island to stop (unless perhaps it is 'imported' from the mainland).  Reminds you a little of a song doesn't it??  Some of the words include, "The strangers came and tried to teach us their ways, and ridiculed us for being who we are". The Arranmore experience taught us that island life is very similar, almost uncanny.

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A shot of the Beaver Island group as they backed away from the shores of Arranmore Sunday afternoon.

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The "Quiet Man" home!!  This is the building that the classic movie with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara was shot in.  Many in the group were very excited to see this cabin and chatted a lot about having been in the same spot as two of movie lands icons had been.

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This was a group photo taken near Galway.  We had already lost about 5 of the people (Linda Wearn and company) who had to head back sooner.  This was taken near an ancient castle which I cannot remember right now.  However I can report that there was a bit of a siege there!! 
From there we went to the Connemara Jewelry Shop where they produce and sell the beautiful green Connemara Marble jewelry.

Many, many thanks to Rich for sending these pictures so that those of us who didn't/couldn't travel to Ireland could enjoy seeing what we missed.  For more of Rich's pictures of the Arranmore trip, please check out his site forum at in the next few days as he'll be adding to his photos once he's back on Beaver.  Thanks again, Richie!

Beaver Island Community School has Two School Board Seats up for Reelection

Candidates interested in running for trustee positions with the Board of Education at Beaver Island Community School have until 4:00 p.m. on April 7, 2003, to file paperwork for their name to appear on the June 9, 2003, ballot.  Two (2) four-year terms are up for election.  It is expected that current incumbents Vice-President John Fiegen and Secretary Linda McDonough, whose terms both expire this June, will run for re-election.  Nominating petitions are available from the school office.

Joddy's Pool?

For years now Beaver Island Community School board member, Joddy Croswhite, has repeated that we need a community pool on the island.  The powers that be must have taken his frequent wishes to heart because during the night of March 3rd - when the temperature dropped down into the minus double digits - water pipes at the school burst sending gallons upon gallons of water through the ceiling.  Flooded were the teachers lounge, part of the office area and, it just so happens, Beth Croswhite's pre-school and kindergarten room which received about 4 inches of standing water before the deluge was discovered.  Joddy had his pool for just a few hours as crews quickly arrived to remove all of the water and all the damaged items - carpet, books, printers, computers.  A total damage amount is not available as of today, but perhaps next time Joddy wishes for that community pool maybe he can direct that it be placed in a more accommodating place.  Kudos to all those who helped getting things back to normal at the school, a long list of folks.  The pre-school and kindergarteners had a few days off but now are back into their classroom - minus carpeting.

Rural Arts Grant House Party

Saturday afternoon, March 8th, was another Beaver Island House Party sponsored by the Rural Arts Grant.  Cindy Ricksgers was having her turn with the dreaded flu bug that has traveled the width and breath of the island so her right-hand man/woman, Michelle LaFreniere took over and did a terrific job despite a low turn out due to a blizzard.  Phil Becker generously opened his home for this months' gathering while John McCafferty and Joe Moore kept the music flowing.  They even provided words to some of the songs so that folks could sing along.  Just learning to read, little Hannah Robert followed along as best she could with Aunt Michelle's help.  Bill Detwiler brought along his harmonica, Joe Moore had his violin, guitar and bass while John McCafferty had his well-played guitar in hand.  Voices included our hosts' Phil Beckers wonder baritone, members of the Community Choir: Shirley Detwiler and Tina Morgan along with soprano Martha Guth.  Courtney Moore, Michelle LaFreniere, Amy Burris and others joined in making it a fun afternoon.  Considering that a goodly number of islanders are in Ireland for the Twinning Ceremony and that it was snowing so hard that even the mail didn't make it in, about twenty folks braved the elements to enjoy music, conversation, great company, and lots of goodies to snack on.   Here's a few scenes from the Saturday House Party.

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And The Beat Goes On

Victoria drums 2.jpg (48737 bytes)... and on and on.  If you'll remember back to Christmas time, you'll remember that MR. Santa presented our youngest with a complete set of drums... not the quietest gift going.  Andrea has learned - thanks to my hollering "QUIET!! I'm on the phone!" to play only when I'm out of sight, out of the house, or just out of the room.  This week-end we had a young visitor, my grand-niece Victoria Mogford, daughter of Kevin and Angie Mogford of Pellston, Michigan.  Now Victoria arrived wanting to play Rapunzel (notice the long scarf on her head - the 4 year-old's version of long blond hair) with Andrea, however once she saw that drum set nothing would do but "let's play band".  So "play band" she did until her grandmother, Ruthie Gregg and great-grandparents, Phil and Lil Gregg, arrived to take her home.  I suggest that MR. Santa get Victoria her own set... I'm really not crazy about hearing "In-A-Ga-Da-Da-Vita" in stereo.

Covering The Conflict

As most everyone knows, reporters have been "embedded" into various combat units.  Since I have a brother who's now in Kuwait, I've been searching online for the one who is covering his group.  Thanks to my sister-in-law, we can now keep track of my brother and his unit via and take the link via Front Lines.  Sky News is out of England and so puts a different twist on things.  Another source I keep checking is the online newspaper The Leaf Cronicle from Clarksville, Tennesee who has a reporter embedded with the 101st.

If anyone knows of any other island folks who have been deployed please send their APO address and, if you have it, a link to whatever news source the reporter with their unit uses.  I'll be happy to post them so that soldiers can receive mail from home while they are so far away.

Citizen of the Year

Tickets for the second annual Citizen of the Year banquet went on sale Monday, March 3rd at the Chamber of Commerce office and the Shamrock.  The price is $24.00 per person and includes hors d'eourves, prime rib or chicken.  A portion of the proceeds will go to support the chamber budget and purchase the award.  Cocktails will be available starting at 6:00 p.m., with dinner slated for 7:00 p.m., and the award presentation at 8:30 p.m.  Seating must be limited to 100 a the Shamrock.  Tickets will be sold strictly on a first come-first serve basis.  Following the award presentation, Dianna Stampfler, Marketing and Media Director for the West Michigan Tourist Association will present a very popular slide show about haunted lighthouses of the Great Lakes.  If you'd like to submit a nomination for Citizen of the Year, please click on the link on the left side menu bar, where you can print out a nomination form to send to the Chamber.  The deadline is March 21st, so time's running out.  Anyone may submit a nomination, or attend the banquet, you do not have to be a member of the Chamber of Commerce.  The Chamber Board of Directors will select the winner at a special meeting on March 24th and the winner will be kept secret until the announcement at the banquet on April 12th.  The selection criteria is: An individual, couple, organization or business that has made a significant contribution to making Beaver Island a better place to live, work or visit.

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