2018-01-04 / Columns

Ice for New Year’s dip in bay

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A GOOD crowd visited Northport for its annual Ball Drop. A GOOD crowd visited Northport for its annual Ball Drop. A good crowd turned out on a bitterly cold New Year’s Eve to watch the 6th annual Northport Ball Drop. Many thanks to Russell Madsen, Brian Tennis, from the Northport-Omena Chamber of Commerce, and Bob Bingenhimer, from the Northport Inn, for making it happen.

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It wasn’t much warmer on New Year’s Day when Rink Smith took his (almost) annual New Year’s dip in the bay. The worst part this year was that he had to contend with large patches of ice in the shallows that had to be moved or carefully traversed. It’s a lot nicer when you can run straight out once you’re wet.

Rink also noticed that two huge rafts of red headed ducks found shelter on Omena Bay over the New Year’s weekend. He estimated that there were over 500 ducks.

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The Ball Drop wrapped up a festive holiday season in Omena and Northport that included a Winter solstice Dance. The Winter Solstice may be the longest night of the year, but the time sure flew for Northport and Omena fans of dancing to swing and rock-a-billy music.

The Northport Arts Association (NAA) turned into a dance hall when winter officially began with a pretty good new coating of snow, but inside everyone was warmed up dancing to new and old tunes played by The Hot Biscuits. Jonah Powell, who is also choirmaster for the Village Voices, and fellow band mates kept everyone on the dance floor with oldies as well as some great Lyle Lovett songs.

Joan Kalchik-Ten Brock dressed for the occasion in diamonds but no spurs. Joan and Mike are such snappy dancers, they must be practicing during the winter down in Arizona. Mary and Bob Smart said they hadn’t danced that much in ages and were working on a few old country western line dance moves with limited success, but still say it was so much fun they hope for a 2018 Solstice Dance party.

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We may not all appreciate the frigid weather, but Mother Nature provided a real treat with a spectacular full moon. The Native American nickname for the January full moon is “Full Wolf Moon.” This January, a second full moon will rise on January 31. A second full moon in a month is called a Blue Moon.

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Congratulations to Jenny Smith who completed her postpartum doula certification. She is now officially Jennifer Smith, CPD. A postpartum doula provides support and information on things such as infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, mother–baby bonding, infant soothing, and basic newborn care. A postpartum doula is there to help a family in those first days and weeks after bringing home a new baby.

She completed her work in Westchester County, N.Y., where she is staying with her cousin Sarah Hodgson’s family.

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The Leelanau Conservancy is offering opportunities to get out and enjoy the snow. This Sunday at 1 p.m. there is a snowshoe hike at the Clay Cliffs Natural Area. Then, on Saturday, Jan. 13 at 10 a.m., you can join docents Peter Wolcott, Laura Paine, and Mary Petterson for a guided ski through their newest natural area, Palmer Woods Forest Reserve. Enjoy groomed trails at one of the best-kept secrets in Leelanau for skiing.

The Conservancy does request that you sign up in advance. You can call or go leelanaucconservancy.org for more information or to sign up.

Happy Birthday to twins Ryan and Sara Harris, and to their grandfather, John Harris. Happy Birthday also to Judy Balas, Linda Cherne, Tabitha Pearson, Richard Bronke, who is 4, and Bryn Waskiewicz, who turns 7.

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