December 2023 Gazette - Moss on the Rock

December 2023 Gazette – Moss on the Rock is proud to present the Put-in-Bay Gazette’s “Moss on the Rock”. For the best South Bass Island journalism, visit and subscribe to the Gazette today!

Moss on the Rock

Never To Be Forgotten

On December 9th, 1983, 40 years ago, dispatcher Michael Sweeney (Put-in-Bay Police), Sergeant Robert Rigoni (Port Clinton Police and pilot), Deputy Bruce Mettler (Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office), and EMT/Firefighter Duane Dress(PIBPFD) were tragically killed when the plane they were riding in crashed into Lake Erie. The officers were attempting to go from Put-in-Bay to assist the police chief on Kelleys Island who was suffering a heart attack. There was a still night with a thick fog and the four never made it to Kelleys.

Rec Volleyball League

Starting Monday, December 4th, Rec Volleyball League play sponsored by the PIB Recreation Committee will kick off at the school gym. The league is open to all island residents over 18 years of age. Teams will play Mondays from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Please bring clean “indoor” gym shoes. Call or text C.C. at (440) 289-9071 to sign up or for more information.

Audubon Christmas Bird Count

The Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count will be held in the Lake Erie Islands Count Circle on Sunday, December 17th, 2023. Participants will be needed on Kelleys, Pelee and the Bass Islands that day. On South Bass, volunteers are needed to listen for owls in the early morning, travel the island bird watching during the day, and watch their home bird feeders. On South Bass, it would be great to have someone spend time at the island preserves to watch that day – any amount of time is good. There is a form that will help with observations recording time of day, time spent, distance traveled, weather conditions and a bird checklist. These areas are also listed as bird hotspots: Massie Cliffside, Dodge Woods, Scheeff East Point, Cooper’s Woods, Jane Coates Wildflower Trail, Lake Erie Islands Nature and Wildlife Center, etc. If you are interested in watching your feeders or traveling the South Bass Island for all or part of the day, call Lisa Brohl at (419) 366-2087 or e-mail to There may be a get together for a potluck afterwards at the Brohl home.

Also needed are birders or feeder watchers to help with Middle Bass and North Bass. Contact Teddi Keith Morris(614) 373-7533)or (419) 285-0042 to participate on Middle Bass. Tyler McClain and Mariah Sherer will be watching there also.

John Pogacnik, the official Count Circle Compiler, will be coordinating the efforts on Kelleys Island. Please correspond with him at or with Tom Bartlett at if you wish to help at Kelleys.

Participation in the Christmas Bird Count is free and a lot of fun! The data gathered over 100 years of the count show important trends in bird populations.

The 2023 Algal Bloom

The algal bloom in Lake Erie was bigger than expected this year. One federal scientist says it’s possible that climate change could be the reason, as the blooms are getting started earlier. In late June, scientists gathered at Stone Laboratory at Put-in-Bay to issue the algal bloom forecast for this year. They predicted an algal bloom that would measure as a 3 in severity, on a scale of 1 to 10, with a potential range in severity from 2.5 to 4. In early November, measurement was revised to 5.3. Fortunately it was less than the 6.8 measured in 2022.

Fruit Baskets For Island Seniors

Community Fruit Basket season is here! Are you or anyone you know new to 60 this year? Are you or someone you know 60+ and didn’t receive a Fruit Basket last year? Fruit Baskets will be given out on December 17th this year, so if you will not be on the Island then and are on the list, please let Suzanne Kostura know. This wonderful Community event is sponsored by the PIB Recreation Committee!

Chili Cookoff A Big Success!

The first PIBVFD Chili Cook-off was a huge success! Thank you to everyone who came to taste the incredible chili selection and thank you to all of the contestants. Every single chili was fantastic and so unique in flavor. When the votes were counted, it was a close race. Tied for second place were Bryan “Gilly” Gilles and Logan Burwell. First place went to Andy Burns and Casey Back for their chili. Congratulations gentlemen! And congratulations to everyone who came to compete, a fun time was had by all.

Winter Weather Prediction

El Niño makes its return this winter season and meteorologists are predicting above average temperatures for the islands January through March.

Bash On The Bay Headliners Announced

Jelly Roll, who recently won Best New Artist at the Country Music Awards, will headline the first day of Put-in-Bay’s Bash On The Bay music festival in August. He will join country star Hardy who will headline night two on Thursday, August 22nd, 2024. He was the most nominated artist at this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards (ACM) and walked away with three wins.

Island Folk Traveling

It’s not even winter, but island folk are already starting to travel. Chris Krueger from the Surf Shop and her daughter Jessica were in Greece. Viktoriya Zakharova from the Boardwalk was nearby in Istanbul, Turkey.

Put-in-Bay Gazette editor Kendra Koehler, Caroline Conrad from Tipper’s and Sue Thwaite were in Paris, France. Before Kendra and Caroline arrived in Paris, Sue Thwaite enjoyed a cruise to Croatia and Greece.

Mark Ahner and Amanda Roesch from East Point were in Aruba.

Simona Michael from the Park Place Boat Club at the Keys and Kevin Eden from Windsor took in the sights along historic Route 66.

Jason Buttrey and Amanda Singh from Put-in-Bay Subway traveled to 11 countries in Europe in 30 days. One of their stops took them to Austria where they met up with former island resident Joe Suttmann. Mike, Sue and Kate Byrnes from the Arbor Inn also flew across the Atlantic to visit their son Joe who is studying in Luxembourg.

Paul and Nancy Kohrs from the Reibel House visited el Castillo de San Marco in Florida. Also in Florida spending a couple of weeks in Key West were Adam and Acka Riley and their son Dylan.

Deacon Jim and Christy O’Donnell were in Southern California while visiting their son Chris.

Dustin Shaffer and family were also in Southern California. Scott and Caroline Jackson from the Goat visited wine country in Northern California. Dave Shafer from Ashley’s Island House was not only in Oregon on the West Coast, but across the continent in Baltimore.

PIBYC Christmas Potluck

Everyone is invited to the Christmas Potluck at the PIB Yacht Club on Saturday, December 16th at 5 p.m. Wear your ugliest sweater, a side dish and a white elephant gift to exchange. The club will provide the entree.

Clothing Swap Wednesday At Nature Center

Don’t forget that Wednesdays is Clothing Swap Day from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Nature Center. When you bring clothes in, please sort them according to the signs. Please DO NOT drop clothes off at our door outside of these open hours. When shopping for items, the clothes are free, but a donation is encouraged if you are able. The Nature Center is very excited to provide this service to the community, but it needs your help to make it work!

Holiday Bazaar

The Holiday Bazaar at the Town Hall on Thursday, November 16th, was a fun-filled event. There were numerous vendors selling their crafts, treats and other items. Among them were Lisa Brohl selling 2024 LEIC Calendars and jellies and jams made from the island grown grapes, Sandy Funtal from the Perry Holiday had cupcakes, cookies, candies and framed pressed flowers, Jessie Greene-Hill from Jessie’s Jewelry, Jeff Koehler from the Put-in-Bay Gazette selling near-antique issues of the paper, Kendra Koehler from the LEIC and the Museum, Kelly Mohn from the Browns Backers, Artist Sara Cochran, Mary Ann Meyers selling note cards and Mary Kay cosmetics, Jill Cooks selling her sail bag items, Kim Pugh from the Scott Pugh Foundation, Sue Seaberg selling her son Nate’s woodwork, the Island’s Brownies selling cookie mix, and many others. Rich Roberts won the holiday ham and Vivian Scarpelli won the bird house raffles.


The previous piece is published in this month’s Put-in-Bay Gazette. The Gazette has been producing incredible independent Put-in-Bay island news for over 40 years. If you have any interest at all in what is happening on South Bass Island, we urge you strongly to subscribe to the Put-in-Bay Gazette. One-year online subscriptions are only $15, and print subscriptions are available as well. To subscribe please visit the Put-in-Bay Gazette subscription form. This piece of Put-in-Bay journalism has been provided to courtesy of the Put-in-Bay Gazette, Put-in-Bay’s only local newspaper. Visit their website for more information and to subscribe!

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