2017-08-17 / Columns

Officers chosen; what about ‘dark’ funds

Fun in Omena
By LESLIE DISCH
Phone/fax 386-5686

The Omena Historical Society (OHS) held its Annual Meeting Sunday at Shady Trails Camp. Congratulations to new OHS Board members Nancy Craker Enyart, Bill Loveless, Sally Shapiro, and Meg Wilkes. Congratulations also to returning Board members Mary Hallett Stanton, Mary Ziegeler, and Ty Wessell, who were elected for their second terms. President Keith Disselkoen thanked outgoing Board members John Ray and Helen Putnam Bradley for their years of service. There was also a tribute to Larry Bensley for his many years of service to OHS, and for being instrumental in the relocation and restoration of the museum building.

Accomplishments over the past year included Omena being placed in the Register of Historic Places, the repainting of the Putnam Cloud Tower House museum, and the installation of the Heritage Garden at the museum. Things to look forward to in the coming year include the fourth triennial Omena Mayoral election, OHS website enhancements, and the 175th anniversary of the formation of the original congregation of the Omena Presbyterian Church. The original congregation began in 1843 with Reverend Peter Doughtery on Old Mission — although it was not called “Old” Mission until after Peter Dougherty moved his Indian school to Omena in 1852, and set up his “new’ mission.

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The program at the OHS annual meeting was a walk down memory lane with Mary Helen Ray and Cathy Stephenson, both of whom came to Omena every summer starting when they were infants. Both remembered when all of the phones where party lines. Mary Helen’s early years included the World War II years, when gas, among many things, was rationed, so many of the cottages sat empty as people could not make the trip. She also remembers collecting bags and bags of milkweed pods, which the Air Force used for insulation in the flyers’ jackets. They got 5 cents per bag. At the end of the summer, her family would go to Bahle’s and Gronseth’s in Suttons Bay for back-to-school clothes and shoes.

Both MH and Cathy have great memories of Ernie and Ester Barth, owners of Barth’s Cash Store, now the Omena Bay Country Store. Cathy had the privilege of working there several summers and getting to know Ernie and Ester even better. She was also a lifeguard on Omena Beach. Cathy remembers picnics on Gull Island, before the cormorants and when the house was still standing and you could walk around in it. Her family would come in the winter and back then the road on Omena Point was deserted enough that you could tie a coaster to the back of your car and the kids would have a great time being pulled behind. Lunch at the Happy Hour was always a special treat. These are just a few of the many, many memories that resonated with the long-timers in the audience and fascinated those who didn’t know Leelanau County in that time.

Mary Helen enjoyed having her niece and her husband, Nancy and Michael Goodman, who were visiting the Rays from Tucson, at the OHS event to hear about some of the old days.

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There was a question about “dark money” in the Mayoral elections, but President Disselkoen sidestepped the issue.

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This weekend Denver Kiersey and his friend Carol will be here from Hastings, Mich., staying at the Ray Guest Cottage.

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Congratulations to Jack Joyce on earning his first degree black belt in Taekwando on Aug. 10. Jack is the son of Bob and Diane Joyce of Omena. Jack was also at the Northport Dog Parade last Saturday with his father and their golden retriever, Parker, who is the Mayor of Omena.

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Congratulations also to Trish and Rick Bryan who had a great fishing expedition last week with Captain Jim Munoz aboard the Carol Dee out of Leland. Trish caught a 26.2 pound salmon, and Rick caught a still-respectable 18 pounder. Way to go, Trish!

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I mentioned in last week’s column that it was fun to see four generations of the Smith women together. It is worth adding that the youngest, six-month-old Audrey Elliott of Portland, Ore., is a sixth generation Omena-ite. Her third great grandfather and great great grandfather, Thomas S. and George S. Smith, were the owners of Thomas S. Smith and Sons, which purchased the Smith Orchards on Omena Heights around 1920.

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Linda Kemper, Doni Lystra and Kanda McKee attended a workshop at Leland Gal hosted by Maggie Revel Mielczarek, the owner. Katherine Farley, one of Southern California’s most celebrated floral designers, shared her skills in creating a bouquet. During the class they met Sue Holt from New Zealand and Leland. While making the bouquets, they learned that Sue is a concert pianist, composer and singer. In fact, on Sunday she is giving a concert at the Performing Arts Center in Leland. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at Roxanne’s in Leland or at the door. An afternoon tea will be provided after the concert.

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On Sunday, the Omena Presbyterian Church welcomes Rev. Dr. Philip Reed back into the pulpit. He is the pastor of Grosse Ile Presbyterian Church. Rev. Dr. Ewen Holmes of the Mackinac Presbytery will also be assisting in the service. James Moore will provide the special music. Everyone is invited to attend worship service from 10-11 a.m.

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Happy Birthday to George Husted, Jenni Singer, Alexander Bronke, Rink Smith, Frieda Putnam, Rat Renz, and Ernie Pearson. Happy 5th Anniversary to Dylan and Emily Hawkins. Happy Anniversary also to Matt and Kelli Fitzgerald, Clay and Mary Coste, and Scott and Ruth Walker.

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