BY BENJAMIN J. GOHS, NEWS EDITOR
If it seems like it wasn’t that long ago that the calendar rolled over from 2014 to 2015, you’re not alone.
It seems like the older you get the faster time goes by.
Now, as you get ready to begin the year of 2016, the Boyne City Gazette offers a brief overview of some of the notable happenings of the last 12 months.
• In January, St Marys Cement Company—which resides in both Charlevoix and Norwood townships—announced that it had plans for a $130 million plant modernization which would create hundreds of temporary construction jobs, increase the tax base, make the facility more efficient and environmentally-friendly and create up to 10 full-time jobs. As of December, the company is moving forward on the plan.
• The beginning of the year also saw Roy C. “Joe” Hayes III sworn-in as the new judge for Charlevoix County’s 33rd Circuit Court.
• Leadership Charlevoix County received its nonprofit status, Boyne City voters approved up to a $7 million millage to pay for city facilities improvements, and it was determined the city’s historic clock could be saved—though the cost to do so has not yet been figured.
• On Jan. 23, Boyne City Police Officer Craig Remsberg saved a 5-year-old dog from the icy waters at the Boyne City Marina.
• Months after Hugh Conklin retired from the position, Lori Meeder was unanimously named the new head of the Boyne City Main Street Program. Conklin went on to best several other candidates to win a seat on the Boyne City Commission.
• 2015 also saw an area family celebrating their son’s second chance at life when Taylor Fulkerson donated bone marrow to his brother Cody Fulkerson.
• Some major developments in the area of health care included Grandvue Medical Care Facility’s plan to construct a terrace with walking paths, a greenhouse, children’s playground and more, and the merger of Munson Healthcare system with Charlevoix Area Hospital, which is now Munson Healthcare Charlevoix Hospital.
• The discrimination case against the Boyne City Housing Commission was dismissed last year after Judge Hayes found Sheila R. Smith’s claims of age and mental health discrimination to be insufficient.
• Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof was warned by the Charlevoix County Board of Commissioners to stop using a taxpayer-funded credit card to make personal purchases.
Complaints by a county resident against Telgenhof regarding the credit card usage and several other assorted issues went all the way to the Michigan Court of Appeals where all but one—dealing with a campaign finance issue—were dismissed.
• Just what caused years of records and at least $125,000 in taxpayer moneys to go missing in Beaver Island’s St. James Township resulted in months of investigation and numerous recommendations on how records and fees are to be kept and collected in the future.
• A woman named Bunny Easter celebrated her birthday on Easter for only the second time in 70 years. Melrose Township resident Bunny Easter Marquardt turned 73 on Easter Sunday in 2015.
• A student teacher at Boyne City High School was arrested on charges of sexual communication with a female student younger than 16. Benjamin Walter Bolser, 24, of East Jordan, was later sentenced with six months in jail and 36 months on probation.
• Six candidates fought for two places on the Boyne City Commission this year. As previously mentioned, Hugh Conklin took one. The other winner was incumbent Tom Neidhamer. Former one-term Boyne City Commissioner Derek Gaylord lost in the August primary.
• Also this past year, the former Devlon property located at 475 North Lake St. in Boyne City was purchased by two concerned citizens and leased to the city in hopes that funds can be secured to turn the open space into a permanent public park.
• Named for Ed Hughes, the brother of local Kiwanis member, Bernadette Beyer, the Kiwanis Club of Boyne City celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the Eddie Essay Contest in May.
• In mid-May, Charlevoix County Sheriff Deputy Cpl. Fred Hasty was shot while on duty by alleged gunman James Franklin Cook. Hasty made a full recovery and court proceedings for Cook continue.
• Concerns by a few Boyne area residents that a large metal bull sculpture was too anatomically correct didn’t stop Boyne City’s walking sculpture tour from featuring nine pieces of art around the town. The issue came to a head—or tail—when photos of the bull wearing makeshift underpants surfaced.
• In other business, Industrial Magnetics, Inc., of Boyne City—a manufacturer of industrial magnetic products—announced a 16,000-square-foot addition to its local manufacturing center. The expansion is expected to create an additional seven to 12 jobs in the first two years following the expansion.
• The national issue of gay marriage really hit home for the LGBTQ community when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday June 26 that all consenting adults—gay and straight—have the right to marry one another.
Unlike clerks in some states, Charlevoix County’s Clerk said she would not hesitate to issue licenses to same-sex couples.
• Feeding the needy in Boyne City got a little less hectic now that the Good Neighbors Food Pantry has opened at the Boyne Area Free Clinic’s building at 624 State St.
• The future of Boyne City’s waterfront parks was examined in detail over several public informational and input-gathering sessions this year. The Boyne on the Water initiative culminated in potential plans that could turn Boyne’s waterfront into a connected, user-friendly system for myriad outdoor activities.
• The crime beat also saw a string of illegal activities from a man who allegedly shot at the tires of a vehicle, to a stabbing death and more court appearances for the owner of the Walloon Lake Water System—who was most recently ordered to pay $50,000 for his alleged refusal to follow an agreement with the county prosecutor in regard to dealings with his water system customers.
• Despite seeing a serious reduction in its scope, the Glen Catt multi-use SOBO District development—which could feature a restaurant and pub, a bank and other businesses—is moving forward.
• Dr. Tom Veryser, who formed the Michigan Community Dental Clinics for people in need, retired this year. He founded the organization in 2006.
• The Boyne Arts Collective moved from its former 210 Lake St. gallery to a new location near Ace Hardware at 202 Water St.
• This year, Lisa King took over as the new Boyne City Public Schools Elementary principal.
• A disappointment to much of the community, Boyne City’s Veterans Park playground was found to have high levels of toxic arsenic. A community-wide effort to remove the affected material and possibly seal the pressure treated lumber leaking the arsenic is ongoing in hopes of saving the playground.
• Some bright news this past year included plans to fund-raise for a $50,000 bronze statue of a logger which would be situated on the Boyne River.
• Several well-known and beloved Boyne residents left us this year. Among those were school board member and volunteer Ed Vondra, Marleen Schraw and librarian Nancy Fulkerson.
• County-wide outrage was sparked when a kitten was found in Boyne City with a broken tail and a face covered in orange spray paint. A 40-year-old Boyne City man was later charged with animal cruelty.
• MDOT officials announced that the bridge in Charlevoix will have to close overnight on several dates so that maintenance can be performed next year.
• Newly re-elected Boyne City Commissioner Tom Neidhamer was unanimously elected Mayor of Boyne City by his fellow commissioners.
• The Ironton Ferry closed early this year after a vehicle fire severely damaged it. Charlevoix County officials are working to determine costs to repair it.
• The Charlevoix Circle of Arts board of directors chose Gail DeMeyere as its first full-time executive director. Since 2004, DeMeyere has been the Visual Arts Director/Curator at the Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey.
• After 70 years of enriching the lives of children in Boyne City, the Child Study Club disbanded.
In 1945, a group of local mothers formed the Child Study Club of Boyne City as a nonprofit organization that would work to educate members to be better parents and improve the lives of the children of Boyne City.
• The Dilworth Hotel renovation project won a $1 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Once completed, the three-story, 28,000-square-foot, 103-year-old Dilworth Hotel will provide accommodations with 26 rooms, a restaurant, a banquet room and a pub.