2018-07-05 / Columns

In Omena, new candidate looks to rule the roost

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AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR Heather Holm (pictured second from left) talks native bees at a recent Saving Birds Thru Habitat workshop in Omena. 
Photo: Bert Thomas AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR Heather Holm (pictured second from left) talks native bees at a recent Saving Birds Thru Habitat workshop in Omena. Photo: Bert Thomas With elections beginning on Tuesday, July 10, and the deadline for applications looming, the political buzz around who will be the new Mayor of Omena is the talk of the town.

Will the Joyce family dynasty of golden retrievers continue to dominate the political scene? Will former Mayor and English setter Maya Deibel return for an unprecedented second term? Will Vice Mayor Sweet Tart McKee, a Norwegian forest cat, finally break the glass ceiling of canine dominance?

Mirroring national trends, this year’s election season promises many firsts for the Omena Mayor. From its first elections in 2009, the Omena Mayor’s only required qualifications were to be a “non-human” seasonal or full-time resident of greater Omena. That quickly became referred to as the “four-legged rule.” In the last elections in 2015, Polly Loveless, a three-legged Golden Retriever, raised everyone’s sensitivity to that potentially discriminating term, and went on to become Mayor.

This year there is a two-legged candidate — Penny Labriola, a chicken. She and her owner/manager Lilia have high ambitions for her. She claims to unearth all worms, crack all corn, and cross all roads. If successful, Village Council may have some negotiating to do, since Penny’s starting salary request is one million meal worms. Will the Putnam Road peacocks show their colors?

Golden retriever Tucker Joyce was Omena’s fist Mayor from 2009 to 2012. Maya Deibel, who was the first candidate to announce this year, was Mayor from 2012 to 2015. Tucker’s son, Parker Joyce, was elected Vice Mayor in 2015 and became Mayor after Polly Loveless’s death. That moved Sweet Tart to Vice Mayor — the first for a feline. Village Council members have also included a horse.

Just days before the deadline for applications, the field includes both experienced Omena Village Council members Bailey Adelson, Duff Kemper, and Brit Walker; and political neophytes Bailey Kondrat, Shatzi Putnam Bradley, Bonnie Wilkes, and Penny Labriola. There is no Joyce candidate registered yet. Now there is a third generation of the Joyce dynasty, Parker’s son Clyde. Who will run?

Voting begins on July 10. The elections are a fundraiser for the Omena Historical Society (OHS). Votes are $1 each, and it is “Chicago-style” — anyone can vote as often and as much as they want. Tune in to the Ron Jolly Show on Tuesday morning, July 10, on WTCM 580 AM. OHS president Keith Disselkoen will be kicking off the voting with a discussion of the full slate.

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On a different note, OHS is very proud to be offering a special lecture series. It is a three-part series titled “Pre- and Post-Euro Anishnaabe Talks.” The presenter is JoAnne Cook, a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. She is a lawyer, former Tribal Council member and currently teaches about Anishnaabe culture at Northwestern Michigan College. The three lectures are July 10, July 17 and Aug. 7 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Omena Presbyterian Church. Many thanks to Gayle Madison for organizing this.

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The Saving Birds Thru Habitat (SBTH) annual workshop was again a fascinating and educational event. Native bee and pollinator expert — and award-winning author — Heather Holm traveled from her home in the Twin Cities to headline. Among many other interesting facts about bees, butterflies and other pollinators, she debunked several myths. Dandelions are not good hosts for bees, as some information on Facebook is claiming, and “bee hotels” are not good hosts for native bees. Unlike hive bees, native bees are typically solitary so concentrating them attracts predators that could wipe out the entire nest.

Bat expert Dawn Vein talked about the planet’s only flying mammal. She debunked several myths about bats. First, they do not take strands of human hair to line their nests, since they do not have nests. Secondly, they do not commonly carry rabies. While they can contract rabies, it is rare. In the U. S., only one to three cases of rabies in humans caused by bats occur annually.

After the presentations and lunch, both speakers led field trips. SBTH Executive Director Kay Charter was thrilled to visit her bat roosting box with Dawn and find that 15 big brown bats are using it for their summer roost.

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The season is in full swing and people are enjoying visits from family and friends.

Dennis and Kim Armbruster recently had a great time with their 10-year grandson, Isaac, who is from Lansing. They all spent a very hot week in the St. Louis and St. Charles, Mo. area where they participated in a Road Scholar lead program focusing on science, robotics and space exploration. There were 10 other grandparent/ grandchildren participants. The Armbrusters built and programmed a robot, simulated a space mission at the Challenger Space Center, built and launched a rocket, attended the St. Louis Science Center and McDonnell Planetarium, and had great fun at the City Museum — an amazing and interesting architectural marvel. And, of course, they went to the top of the Gateway Arch.

Frieda Putnam’s son Bill and his wife Bev are here from Albuquerque for a two-week visit.

Bill and Susan Krusel and their sons, William and Karl are here from Germany, where Susan is working now. They are delighted to be back in Omena.

Molly Smith is back from visiting her sister Jenny in West Chester County, New York. While there, they also got to go camping in Maine and visited the ocean there.

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The Omena Presbyterian Church welcomes Rev. Bryant Anderson to the pulpit this Sunday. Bryant is pastor at Milford Presbyterian Church. Northport seasonal residents Wendy and Tom Hofman will provide the special music. And if that’s not enough to encourage you to wander into the service, Patrick Kuhl will be behind the organ. The worship service is from 10 to 11 a.m. and everyone is welcome.

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Happy Birthday to Omena’s Grande Dame Bea Kimmerly. Happy Birthday also to Allan Dalzell, Jan MacDonald, and Hope Kathleen Weist.

Happy Anniversary to David and Kathy Spohn.

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