Fire Departement Receives Gift

Submitted by Fire Chief Tim McDonough

Photo by Beaver Beacon

Anna and Karen Steinbach have been coming to Beaver Island since 1962. Encouraged about plans for an East Side Fire Station they wanted to contribute to the cause. Realizing that the Fire Department is self-sufficient with no mutual aid they have made a donation of $150,000.00 to the Fire Department for the purchase of a new pumper in memory of Fritz Steinbach. Fritz was the husband of Anna and father to Karen. He was a great supporter of Beaver Island and of the Fire Department. Their very generous gift is a prayer answered to the Beaver Island Fire Department needs.

Sherry Lyn Burris 1956-2004

Sherry Lyn Burris, 48, passed away at her home on Beaver Island on May 17, 2004 following a long illness.

Sherry was born February 16, 1956 in Lapeer, Michigan. Her family moved to Beaver Island when she was a teenager. Sherry received her GED from the Beaver Island Community School. She had an incredible talent as a craftsperson as those who saw her displays at various Christmas bazaars. Her creations from dolls to wreaths were beautiful to see and those who purchased them knew that they were "one of a kind" as was their creator.

She is survived by her mother, Patricia Burris, one daughter; Holly Jade (James) Thomas, two sons; Derrick Aaron and Patrick Morgan and three grandchildren: Skylar Williams, Elijah De'Lynn and James De'sShawn Thomas, II. She is also survived by her sister Sandra "Sandy" (Perry) Fortier, two nieces: Amy and Renee, one nephew, Jeremy.

Visitation will be Thursday evening from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Beaver Island Christian Church. Funeral services will be held on Friday at 11:00 a.m. at the Beaver Island Christian Church. Burial will be at the Beaver Island Township Cemetery. Memorial gifts may be sent to the Burris family, Box 123, Beaver Island, MI 49782.

Special thanks to Carol LaFreniere who gathered the above information.

It's 'Shrooming Time

If you're on Beaver Island right now, well heck, if you're anywhere in northern Michigan right now, you'd have to be blind and deaf not to know it's mushroom season. There's an old Russian saying that goes something like this: "All mushrooms are edible, sometimes only once." If you don't know your morel from your false morel or toadstool you might want to consider taking up another hobby.

To be an avid 'shroomer you have to prepare yourself for the season. This is usually a six week training period that requires both physical and mental exercises:

Six weeks prior to the season - You begin your physical training by thinking about being in shape.
Five weeks prior to the season - You practice climbing over your neighbor fence while carrying an onion bag and pretending to swat at midges and gnats
Four weeks prior to the season - You walk around the block once just to get your heartbeat going while pretending to swat at midges and gnats.
Three weeks prior to the season - Increase that walk around the block to three times while adding the exercise of lifting your knees to chest level miming walking through mud
Two weeks prior to the season - Have your better half hide pieces of brown sponges in the yard and you go find them
One week prior to the season - Begin practicing out-loud "Got some over here!"

Top Ten Lies Told by Mushroom Hunters*

  1. They taste terrible. It's the fried butter I like.
  2. Yes, as a matter of fact, I do own this property.
  3. No, I'm not mushroom hunting. I love crawling through briar patches.
  4. I don't know any good spots. Let's check yours.
  5. Sure I'll tell you where I found 'em.
  6. No, I didn't find any.
  7. Of course I have permission to hunt here.
  8. It's too early for morels
  9. I think those are poisonous - better give them to me for proper disposal.
  10. The biggest mushroom I ever found had a shadow that weighed three pounds.

*From the 1966 Morel Mania

Many, many thanks to Al and Kathy Brouard for sending in photos of morels (and of course they told me exactly where the photos were taken)

Junior-Senior Banquet

Submitted by Frank Solle

For this year's Junior Senior banquet, held last Friday at Holy Cross Hall, the junior class opted to move away from the prepackaged, theme-based design layout for decorations and went instead with a very nice evening focused on quiet elegance.

The eight-seat tables, complete with center piece, were classically laid out with assigned seating for all guests. The dinner, by everyone's assessment, was the best ever for this event. Begining with a fresh garden salad and rolls, a lightly breaded chicken breast with sauce mornay and sautéed mushrooms followed. In addition there was a baked potato and Prince Edward vegetables - a medley of green and yellow beans. All of that was followed by a decadent brownie topped with both ice cream and whipped cream. Service was pleasantly provided by the seventh-grade students.


Seniors left to right: Mike McDonough, Laura Bousquet, Christine Runberg, Rachel McDonough, Kerrie Gillespie, Barry McDonough. Front: Daniel McDonough

Juniors left to right: Dillon Butler, Keith Szczepanski, Matt Kuligoski, Melissa Bailey, Emily Gray, Danielle Cary

The senior video was projected on a large screen during the meal. The video featured photographs of each senior, following them from infancy through grade school and up to their senior portraits. It was a touching tribute that shared their lives with the gathering.

Mr. Richard Gillespie, BICS class of 1973, was the keynote speaker. Mixing humor with words of wisdom, Rich shared a life lesson learned shortly after his graduation from his father, Jewell. Telling his father he was "grown up" and didn't need to be told what to do, Jewell promptly directed him with a swift kick in the seat of the pants and told him, "Don't waste a day of your life."

Rich shared another lesson learned from his father: that the word "can't" doesn't exist. He implored the soon-to-be graduates to go out and do their best.

The dinner was followed by a cruise on the Emerald Isle, although the cloudy and cool evening left a little to be desired. The evening wrapped up back at the Hall for the Senior Bash which included music, dancing and games.

Letter to the Editor

May 10, 2004

Letter to the Editor:

As an outcome of last fall's mediation between the BIRHC and the CCG, the CCG agreed to give the BIRHC board an opportunity to make positive changes in its conduct, relative to the public's interest, without being under constant criticism. It must be noted that over this time, criticism has been held and some improvement has been made. However, there continues to be areas of growing concern that warrant comment at this time in the hope of further improvement.

  1. After retaining a $160,000 consultant as a transition manager for the new Health Center , the board redirected her duties to developing and improving the Health Center 's billing procedures. For 18 months, her time was largely consumed in developing a billing process and training the staff to administer it. At the end of her contract, the board has now made the decision to outsource the billing process to a third party at additional cost. A decision that should have been made prior to the hiring of a consultant or at least the early-on recommendation of that consultant. The wasted time and money expended will never be recovered. In addition to the more than $160,000 paid to the consultant, the board has now had to extend her services beyond the 18 months in order to complete her original task of transition. The additional $7,500 being paid to her could have been spent on other needed equipment or services. It should be noted that a donation to the BIRHC was made to cover the additional cost but again that donation could have been used for other needed expenses.
  2. Another primary responsibility of the consultant was to obtain grant money for BIRHC. To date and at the completion of the consulting contract, there has been no grant money. There is a question as to whether any grants were ever applied for during her consulting period. A donation of $25,000 was obtained from the Chippewa and Ottawa Band of Native Americans and $15,000 of available State funds. Neither of these proceed amounts required a grant application. The money was obtained with the simple clerical process of requesting it. Any board member could have accomplished this task. It should be noted that both Beaver Island Public Schools and the EMS received similar contributions from the Tribe without having to hire a high priced consultant.
  3. After putting the island's only practicing dentist through a year of intense contract negotiations involving board meetings, special meetings, committee review, multiple attorney's review, and legal costs in the thousands, a new optometrist is retained without board approval. There was no board involvement, no deliberation at any board meeting, no contract, no action whatsoever; in fact the board didn't even have knowledge of it happening. When questioned at the BIRHC board meeting on May 1 st , the quorum of board members present all admitted that they had no knowledge of the service which commenced last month. This raises two issues: One, the question of fair and equitable treatment of the dentist with an obvious lack of consistent policy administration relative to fair and equal employment practice. Two, continued violation of the Michigan Open Meetings Act and the public's trust as a result of the decision to retain an optometrist being conducted outside the confines of a posted board meeting. It should be noted that when challenged on this issue, the acting chair of May's board meeting declared a special meeting of the BIRHC board would be called to rectify this matter prior to the next scheduled visit of the optometrist.
  4. The board has stated at several meetings there is a financial concern for the Health Center 's future and that large personal donations will be critical to assure continued operation. The board may soon start the process of mortgaging the new building which was paid for with the State funded $1.5 million. This could place our new building at high risk of foreclosure if there are financial difficulties with operations or future funding. The financial reports that are given out at the monthly meeting to board members and the public are extremely difficult to understand and interpret. Board members are charged with making financial decisions based on the data presented, some find the reports confusing and conflicting. It was recommended by one board member that some financial reports now be generated on a quarterly basis and discontinued monthly. Hopefully the board has decided no on this matter. This would not make good business sense under the current possibility of financial calamity. A board can not make good timely decisions from reports they do not understand and with financial data that is three to four months old when issued.
  5. The board has also recommended that it will no longer hold open public meetings on a monthly basis but instead go to an every other month schedule. The intent would be to allow the board to accomplish more between meetings. This would be a further breakdown in communication and direct involvement with a concerned public. In tough times, the board needs to become more transparent in its decision making process and not conduct its business out of the public's view. In light of the current issues facing the BIRHC, this is the time to be more proactive as a board and interactive with the public. The same public it will depend on for much of its future financing.

The CCG hopes that the board will learn from its past and present mistakes in order to improve its future conduct. Over 30% of the BIRHC budget comes from the public's local tax dollars. The public expects and deserves better in return for its financial support. The CCG welcomes board response to this letter, however, time and energy would be better spent with the board reevaluating some of its decisions and practices that continue to minimize public concern and jeopardize the future of OUR Health Center .

Kirk D. McBride, Chair
Concerned Citizens Group

Guess Who

This one might take some thinking about but it's someone who is very active in the community. Put your thinking caps on until next week when I'll reveal who the mystery person is.