December Gazette -Kelleys Island News

December Gazette -Kelleys Island News

By Leslie Korenko

THE BAD NEWS – It was only a matter of time, COVID-19 reached the Island. The first rumors appeared on October 26th, when (supposedly) a visitor who wasn’t feeling well got the results that he was positive. Did he leave? Nope, he stayed and partied. This led to at least one household self-quarantining. Then came our ever popular Halloween weekend. Two weeks later and there are at least three confirmed cases on the Island and two people are undergoing testing. The Health Dept. and Village have been remarkably quiet about this. No mention on their website or at the Council meeting of November 15th. One business closed ‘temporarily’ on November 2nd. The village’s first priority should be to its residents, letting them know they might have been exposed and encouraging them to self-quarantine and monitor their health closely and Erie Co. Health Dept. has been silent on this issue. As I write this, the governor has placed additional restrictions on gatherings, travel and large meetings. It looks like we are back to attending Council meetings online again.

SOME GOOD NEWS – Shout out to TOM BARTLETT for receiving the 2020 Shieldcastle Award from the Black Swamp Bird Observatory for outstanding volunteer service! Tom has been banding birds at our Scheele Preserve on Kelleys Island for 25 years now – and just celebrated his 95,000 bird banded in his lifetime! Tom is a gifted biologist, and his work in bird conservation has led to significant properties being preserved by the Museum and partner organizations. Another thank you to his amazing wife, Paula, who is with him every scientific step of the way and who deserves her own award!

THE ELECTION – This was an exciting election, even here on the Island. Precinct details show that we have 324 registered voters and 260 voted (80% turnout) with 117 voting in person and 143 absentee. The results: Trump 155 vs Biden 97, and Kaptur 123 vs. Weber 130.

VETERANS DAY was brief and poignant. Easily 50 people showed up. The ceremony was followed by a flag retirement ceremony at the fire pit.

KELLEYS LIFE – Miss your newspaper? Make sure to visit and click on Old Newspapers to catch up while you are away. There are also loads of old Island newspapers on the site from the 60s through the 90s.

LIFE FLIGHT – MetroHealth is officially our new Life Flight provider (taking over from St. V’s). Legislation was passed on October 21st and took effect 30 days later. The Village took action to establish an EMS coordinator position. The EMS Coordinator will organize and lead the EMS services for the Village and must be a certified paramedic. The deadline for applicants is/was December 4th.

The School Board and Village are considering opening up Kelley’s Hall for EXERCISE CLASSES this winter, while the library remains closed. The Chamber announced the results of their election: President-Todd Hanes, vice President-Dawn Soldner, Treasurer-Dan Hazard, and Secretary-Janet Wermuth.

The FERRY’s new December schedule is 7 days a week.

COUNCIL NOTES – A record 40 minute meeting. Hardly any reports, poor microphones so that anyone attending online could not hear anyone but the Mayor. Our EMS had seven runs and one clinic patient. The POLICE DEPT. issued two tickets (failure to control which resulted in an accident and expired license plates) and five warnings (speed and allowing an underage driver). The Mayor swore in our new officer James Bartus. Winter House Check and Wellness check forms are available at the Village office or online ( The gate at the TRANSFER STATION will be re-installed after a survey of the property is completed. People have been entering the grounds and the result is trash blowing everywhere. Not cool. The TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE reported that they met with Frontier engineers who changed out the data equipment on the six test phones, naming the test a success. After November 20th, a new improved Wi-Fi plan will be available everywhere on the Island – but you can still keep your current DSL line. The WATER DEPT. recommended an increase in water rates, but Council wants a better explanation of why it is needed. The new CAMPING PERMIT legislation passed, you can request a copy from the Village office. A Lower Cliff resident complained about TARGET SHOOTING within 200 ft. of houses, at all hours. Target ranges must be inspected and approved and there are set hours for target shooting. WINTER COUNCIL MEETINGS – For the last several years, council has taken a hiatus from the January and February meetings. Eric Longbrake asked Council to reinstate those meetings. Originally it was because so many council members travelled and were unavailable – so no quorum, but with online attendance, that is no longer an excuse. When it came to a vote – it was 3 to 3 and the Mayor broke the tie voting no. The reasons were that people were upset when Council passed legislation during the winter when they could not comment and that Council Members “needed a break.” It is hard to imagine that this is a valid argument with online meetings that last less than an hour, and can be held anywhere.

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