2021: another year of Covid
Publisher John Schaffner’s Year in Review
In February 2020, the Covid-19 virus hit Ottawa County. Lots of people got sick, including me. The virus still plagues us here and around the world.
However, in the summer the masks started to come off and the boating season flourished in 2021. The kettle’s annual campaign set records in December 2020, bringing in more than $ 100,000 raised locally. Longtime juvenile and estate court judge Kathleen Giesler has resigned. His replacement was the former municipal judge Fritz Hany.
The new 26,000 square foot Port Clinton Field House training facility opened with financial assistance from Fred and Dawn Zink of Port Clinton.
Towards the end of the year, we all got the chance to enjoy the playoffs for the Port Clinton Redskin football team, who won a record 14 games, including four postseason tournament games, before losing in the State Division IV semifinals to Youngstown Ursuline.
In 2021, the Port Clinton Kiwanis Club celebrated its 100th anniversary while the Port Clinton Rotary Club celebrated its 75th anniversary.
The Oak Harbor Wrestling Team continued their annual fixture with excellence, sending 11 wrestlers to the District Tournament and six to the State Tournament. Wyatt Miller of Oak Harbor has gone undefeated this season, winning the 185-pound Division III State Championship. Meanwhile, the Oak Harbor and Port Clinton High School swim teams sent numerous competitors to the state tournaments in Canton.
Construction began in early 2021 on repairs to the Lake Erie beach in downtown Port Clinton. The new Portage River Footbridge connects downtown with a boardwalk leading to the East Harbor Light. Downtown Port Clinton also introduced the Music On Madison (MOM) program, closing much of Madison Street for picnic tables, the LiveNation stage, and weekly entertainment.
The 2021 fishing season officially opened with the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit tournament in April with 119 two-man teams participating from across the country. The 2021 season for Lake Erie walleye has been a very productive one, producing lots of limit catches for recreational anglers and tons of very large walleye.
One of the big additions to Port Clinton was the conversion of the town’s maintenance garage on West Perry Street into a brand new art gallery known as The Arts Garage (TAG). Despite the pandemic, bird watchers from around the world have once again descended on Ottawa County for the largest annual birding week in the United States.
Ottawa County was to receive nearly $ 8 million in recovery funds from the federal government’s pandemic relief programs. Among the sad news for May 2021 was the passing of Joy Roth, Founder and Director of the Ottawa County Community Foundation. The foundation’s assets hit the $ 10 million mark last year.
In the summer of 2021, the harmful algal blooms (HABs) that were such a problem in 2019 and 2020 have declined significantly, largely thanks to the high water situation we experienced in 2021. One of the most Large occurrences of high water came the early stages of the walleye festival as Waterworks Park was inundated on Memorial Day weekend, with a severe snowstorm forcing a short postponement of the walleye festival.
Close to 500 senior high school seniors in Port Clinton, Oak Harbor and Danbury once again showed us the quality of our local schools this year.
In June, Shea McGrew took over from Joy Roth as Executive Director of the Ottawa County Community Foundation. Danbury Township opened a new fire station, Bistro 163 celebrated its 5th anniversary, local authorities sought to expand the crowded Route 53 corridor from Port Clinton and Port Clinton Police Chief Rob Hickman , retired, handing over the reins to the longtime sergeant. David Scott.
Ottawa County greeted July 4th with a big bang, as usual, and crowds gathered for the 57th Ottawa County Fair. Speaking of crowds, the summer “after the summer of Covid-19” has started to draw large crowds again to beaches, campgrounds and local hotels, as pent-up demand and low rates of travel interest has taken local real estate sales to new heights.
A nature reserve named after former veterinarian Bob Nehls has opened in Catawba. The Arts Garage in Port Clinton saw a lot of traffic with the exhibition of photographs from the Vietnam War by Pulitzer Prize winner Eddie Adams.
The Knights of Columbus from Port Clinton brought back their annual fishing, perch, pierogi and polka festival which once again drew large crowds. Catawba Trustees dedicated a section of State Route 53 as a Veterans Memorial Route in honor of William Galloway, Jim Davenport and Lance Kohanke, servicemen who gave their lives for their country. The citizens of Ottawa County also took the time to remember the September 11 attacks. Hundreds of alumni gathered from near and far for the Port Clinton High School Biannual Alumni Weekend.
In October, Oak Harbor completed a health trail in Veterans Park just in time to welcome thousands of people to the annual Apple Festival. Construction continued on the Portage River walkway at Port Clinton. Three Oak Harbor High School legends, JD Bergman, Pat Kania and Gary Quisno have been inducted into the Rocket Athletic Hall of Fame.
Portage Resale Center in Port Clinton celebrated 10 years of operating its high-quality, pay-it-forward second-hand store, boasting over $ 200,000 in community donations in 2021 and surpassing over $ 1 million since the start of its activities.
The election year was quiet in 2021, with one exception. Port Clinton voters categorically voted yes in favor of a massive local infrastructure project designed to fix nearly 100 years of neglected water and sewer hook-ups and pipes beneath city streets.
Largely due to the 2020 Ohio Redistribution Plan, Ohio’s 9th Congressional District has been drastically altered, losing heaps of territory to the east – almost to Cleveland – and adding significant territory in more rural areas of northwestern Ohio. In light of these changes, longtime MP Marcy Kaptur will have major challengers in the midterm elections next year. Three Republicans, including State Senator Theresa Gaverone and Port Clinton resident JR Majewski, will be vying for the Republican nomination alongside former Miss USA Gesiotto Gilbert, a Canton lawyer.
Finally, with victories over Toledo Scott, LaGrange Keystone, Sandusky Perkins and defending State Champions Van Wert, the Port Clinton Redskin football team made history before finally falling to Youngstown Ursuline. during the Ohio Division IV football series.
Many locals and good friends have passed away in 2021. They include: Bob Snyder, John Lukac, Eva Castillo, Tom Hetzel, Connie Link, Helen Nemecek, Dave Glasser, Stephanie Richard, John Bennett, Nancy Bailey, Dr Bob Geiger, Barb Drusbacky , Phil Gravengard, Joe Von Thron, Mim (Gabel) Somers, Duke Benevento, Paulette Weirich, Jerry Rusk, Catawba historian Don Rhodes, long-time former employee of The Beacon Ginny Wise and former Mayor of Port Clinton, Lock Zeis .
Now comes 2022, which follows two years marked by Covid-19 and its local impact. May 2022 be “maskless” and healthy for everyone.