September 2023 Gazette - A Few Thoughts By Jeff Koehler

September 2023 Gazette – A Few Thoughts By Jeff Koehler is proud to present this piece from the Put-in-Bay Gazette. For the best South Bass Island journalism, visit and subscribe to the Gazette today!


A Few Thoughts By Jeff Koehler

Business Up or Down?

Every summer we all wonder if business on the island is up or down. This season we’re hearing mixed things about that topic. We’ve heard some restaurants are a whopping 30% down, but others are about the same as last year. On the other hand we’ve heard about a business breaking its all-time, one-day record. We’ve also heard that rentals are off a bit. All in all, we’re betting island business people won’t be giving up those winters in the south.


Saturday, July 22nd, was a tough day for the island. Both Village police and township sheriff deputies were overwhelmed with the misbehaving crowds who many attribute to the several tour buses that came from the Detroit area. There really weren’t that many people from a few buses, so it appears the word had spread far and wide about this particular day on the island.

Anyway, Put-in-Bay got one hell of a lot of bad publicity. Articles in the mainland press and social media used words like mob, unruly people, unruly crowd(s), unruly guests, unruly group, mix of fights (6 to 10 broken up by police), brawls, chaos, out of control, hectic, drinking openly, police overrun, total congestion, riots, Swat teams swarmed dispersed thousands …and “people just having fun.”

You’d think “Put-in-Bay has come to an end!” But the next morning, the sun came up and it was a peaceful Sunday morning with nary a hint all this had all gone on.

You can see why I’m confused.

What Does The Island Do?

We heard a lot of solutions about how to handle the unruly crowds like the island saw on July 22nd. Lot of solutions have been put forth, both legal and illegal, some practical, some impractical, some simple, some complicated, etc. Here are a few: Require dress codes in all businesses; Limit golf cart rentals; Just refuse to serve or rent to people; Have more police on that weekend; Go back to the promoter of the tour buses and reemphasize the issues; Have drug dogs at the ferry departures on the mainland; Ban coolers; Play different types of musics in bars; Put up more surveillance cameras; Ban outside speakers; Bring transportable jails to the island; Use pepperballs for crowd control; among others.

One of the most interesting was to collect all the litter left that weekend and take it to the promoter’s home and dump it in the yard. We are sure there are more. Send your solutions to

No Return Now!

How many times have you run into people who comment how they visited Put-in-Bay years ago and how things have really changed. Well, I hate to say it, but yes indeed they have (and maybe not always for the good). Jeff Bykowski from East Point has been putting old photos of the island on Facebook for ages now and if you feel the need for the “good old days” at Put-in-Bay, friend him on that platform and enjoy. For those who continue to keep on yearning to turn back the PIB clock to the way it used to be, it may be time to get over it. There’s one thing in life for sure, and that’s “You can’t go back!”

Public Hearing

The Put-in-Bay Town Hall’s assembly room was crowded with more than 80 people, plus the members of the Village’s Planning Commission on Monday, August 1st, for a public hearing concerning two zoning variances for the new project to be built at the old Crescent Tavern property on Delaware Ave.

The one variance was for a reduction in the number of parking spots required under the Village’s zoning ordinance. The other was for a reduction of an accessory building setback. Variance requests like these are not unusual and public hearings rarely draw more than a few people if any.

It’s a matter of fact that islanders are concerned about the owners’ intentions, and it was interesting listening to the comments, some quite relevant to the topic and others completely off base. People getting up and talking about the people involved in the project, diagonal parking issues on Delaware Ave, water and sewer issues and more, drew the hearing out for about an hour, longer than any recent public hearing we know of.

Keeping that in mind, perhaps public hearings should be left to just the issues at hand. For everything else, perhaps the island should have a general “Bitch Session” meetings from time to time. These Put-in-Bay Bitch Sessions would have the acronym “PIBBS.” Meetings could be as often as needed, attendance would be optional, and an open mic would be available to anyone who wanted to get up and ask questions and speak on any island topic for any length of time. Island officials would be invited, and best of all would stream the meetings live for those who couldn’t attend.

If you would like to comment on this great idea, please email Thank you.

Seawall Construction

We’ve been watching the progress on the seawall reconstruction on the north side of the Monument along Bayview Avenue. It’s been impressive to say the least. The aquadam that allows workers to put in a seawall footer below lake level is a marvel. Although it was breached by Mother Nature during the Bash at the Bay storm, it was pumped out and ready for workers when they went back to work after the weekend. I want one for Christmas!


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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