Wildflowers planted on Peninsula Drive to encourage bees and butterflies | Jane Boursaw Photo
Wildflowers planted on Peninsula Drive to encourage bees and butterflies | Jane Boursaw Photo

Here’s a roundup of recent news and photos on the Old Mission Peninsula…

Turtle Crossing. At the bottom of my driveway lives an ancient turtle with shrubbery growing out of his back who just loves to cross the road during prime traffic times. Thankfully, whenever my awesome neighbors, Pat and Deb, see him, they run out there to make sure he crosses Bluff Road without becoming a green splotch. Thanks, Neighbors!

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Bluff Road Turtle | John Earnest Photo; OMP News
Bluff Road Turtle | John Earnest Photo

Chicken and Potatoes on the Menu. The menu for this Tuesday’s (August 2) dinner at the Old Mission Legion Hall is Chicken Cacciatore, Red Skin Potatoes, Vegetable, Stuffed Mushrooms and Southwest Salad, with cake and ice cream for dessert. Gathering starts at 6 p.m., with dinner served promptly at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $15 per person, and takeouts are available. Everyone is welcome to attend this twice-monthly community dinner. The Legion Hall is located at 4001 Swaney Road in the village of Old Mission, before you round the corner to Haserot Beach.

Wunsch Farms To the Rescue. Does this girl look familiar? Why, yes, that IS Barb Wunsch of Wunsch Farms on the OMP. From the Food Rescue of Northwest Michigan Facebook Page: “Two of the things we’re grateful for this summer: delicious rescued cherries from Wunsch Farms for pantries and meal sites, and Barb Wunsch herself, helping us load the Food Rescue truck. We love playing a role in helping local farmers get their fresh, healthy food to area neighbors who struggle to access the nutritious food they need.” What a great picture, and way to go, Barb!

Barb Wunsch of Wunsch Farms helps load the truck for Food Rescue of Northwest Michigan | Food Rescue Photo
Barb Wunsch of Wunsch Farms helps load the truck (with Wunsch cherries) for Food Rescue of Northwest Michigan | Food Rescue Photo

Steel City Rovers at PCL. This looks like a blast! The Steel City Rovers, a Canadian-born, nationally-acclaimed Celtic and “Celtibilly” group, will play in the Peninsula Community Library garden on August 5 at 7 p.m. Pack a picnic and bring chairs. Rain venue is the Community Room in the library (no picnic). Here’s a little sample of their lovely music.

PCL Book Sale. Also in library news, the Friends of Peninsula Community Library will host their annual book sale starting August 12. The sale will take place in the Community Room and the Carriage House. Checks and cash only, and masks are encouraged. Thursday, Aug. 11, 4 – 6 p.m. is the pre-sale for members of PCL Friends. Regular Hours are:

  • Friday, August 12, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 13, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Monday – Friday, August 15 – 19, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (August 18 is 1/2 off sale, and August 19 is $5 bag sale.)
  • Saturday, August 20, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. is a Charity Giveaway for organizations, facilities, Little Free Library owners, preschools, senior centers, etc. (Bring proof of eligibility.)
Friends of PCL gang accepting used books for the used book sale | Jane Boursaw Photo
Left to right, Robbin Stott, Gladys Maguire and Michele Westcott; Friends of PCL gang accepting books for the used book sale | Jane Boursaw Photo

Toilet Removal and Beach Beautification. You might have heard that someone dragged a toilet onto the beach near the Lighthouse and was using it to fire off fireworks (neither of which is allowed, by the way). While I was trying to figure out how to rally my son and his buddies to go out there and take it away, the OMP’s best neighbors ever – Dave and Deb Allen – did just that.

“The residents out here on Old Mission complained that someone left a toilet in their sunset view,” writes Deb on her Facebook page. “Dave and I care deeply for our water and world. We went and removed the toilet so everyone can watch the sunset and no more crappy sunsets!” Thank you, Dave and Deb!

Toilet removal at Lighthouse Beach | Allen/Sanders Photo
Toilet removal at Lighthouse Beach | Allen/Sanders Photo

Dougherty House Updates. The Dougherty Mission House volunteers report that it’s been a beautiful season at the historic house that gave Old Mission Peninsula its name. The Garden Committee has done a beautiful job of planting and maintaining the Demonstration Gardens, flower beds and foundation plantings. The “Three Sisters Garden” features plants you probably thought were weeds but are actually medicinal plants. The Cole Memorial Pavilion – named for Dougherty House champion Bill Cole, who passed away in 2020 – is in the process of being built by the Tuesday Crew of volunteers.

In fact, the Dougherty House operates by volunteers stepping up to do a myriad of duties to share this incredible 1842 home with visitors. Tour hours include Fridays and Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m., and group tours can be arranged at other times, as well. The trails on the 15 acres are always open. For more information or to get involved, visit the Dougherty House website.

Dougherty House Gardens and Cole Memorial Pavilion in progress | Barb Hansen Photo
Dougherty House Gardens and Cole Memorial Pavilion in progress | Barb Hansen Photo

Traverse City Triathlon. This year’s race will take place on Sunday, August 21, 2022, starting with a looped swim at Bowers Harbor, followed by bicycling past orchards and vineyards, then a run along Neahtawanta Road and the Pyatt Lake Nature Preserve, ending at Bowers Harbor Park. Visit their website for more info.

Winery Lawsuit News. On July 27, the 6th Circuit Court reversed the decision of District Judge Paul Maloney and granted Protect the Peninsula (PTP) the right to intervene in the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula (WOMP) litigation. “As impacted neighbors, the residents of OMP should have a seat at the litigation table,” notes Mike Dettmer, a member of the PTP Board of Directors. “Our highest regard to our legal counsel, TJ Andrews. She is a seriously great lawyer. And thank you to all of our supporters. We sincerely appreciate your help and donations.”

In other news, Judge Maloney issued three orders in response to Peninsula Township’s appeal: a Preliminary Injunction whereby the Township is enjoined from enforcing certain subsections of the Winery Ordinances (read here); an Order Denying Motion to Stay Injunction (read here); and an Order Denying Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment and Motion for a Certificate of Appealability (read here).

OMWC Flowers. Have you noticed the gorgeous containers of flowers near the door to the Township offices? You can thank the Old Mission Women’s Club for those. And I would like to report that the flowers remained alive during my week to water them. Whew. I was so hoping they wouldn’t die on my watch. (Old) Mission Accomplished.

Old Mission Women's Club Flowers at Township Hall | Jane Boursaw Photo
Old Mission Women’s Club Flowers at Township Hall | Jane Boursaw Photo

Happy Flowers. In other flower news, if you’ve driven on the north end of Peninsula Drive, maybe you noticed the stunning field of flowers on the left side of the road before you get to the Old Mission Road intersection. I haven’t talked to the Manigolds about this field, but I believe it’s the same program I wrote about last year, whereby wildflowers are planted as part of a program of the Natural Resources Conservation Service to attract and nurture the bee and butterfly population. Whatever the reason, they’re absolutely amazing.

Wildflowers planted on Peninsula Drive to encourage bees and butterflies | Jane Boursaw Photo
Wildflowers planted on Peninsula Drive to encourage bees and butterflies | Jane Boursaw Photo

New ISO Rating Begins Sept. 1. Fire Chief Fred Gilstorff says the new rating from the Insurance Service Office (ISO) will be a “3” in the hydrant areas and a “4” outside of 1000 feet of a hydrant in the south all the way to the north end of the Peninsula. Ratings are scored on a 1 to 10 basis, with 10 being the worst. The previous rating was a “3” on the south end where there are hydrants, a “5” in the middle of the township to from 1000 feet north of a fire hydrant to five road miles from Fire Station #1, and a “10” outside of the five road miles from Station #1. The improved rating comes in part because of the addition of Fire Station #3 on the north end of Center Road.

Fred notes that residents should call their insurance carrier and inquire about the new rating as of Sept. 1, and that the new rating signals a significant savings for those residents in the “10” zone prior to Sept. 1. “The fire department has been working very hard to improve our service and lower our rating,” he says. “The above ratings are a testament to the hard work we have put in and the support of the community to fund the needed improvements. The department is dedicated to continue improving all our services. Thank you again to the Township Board and residents for their support. We look forward to continuing to serve our community.” If you have any questions, contact the Peninsula Township Fire Department.

Riding for Ryan. In other Fire Department news, the department is honored to partner with Riding for Ryan, a Michigan non-profit organization named after a boy who passed away after being hit by a driver who didn’t see him on his bicycle. The group helps to promote biker safety for kids and make them more visible while out riding their bikes. Stop by Fire Station #1 (14247 Center Road) or Fire Station #2 (8150 Center Road), Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to pick up your free bike flags.

Peninsula Township Fire Department partners with Riding for Ryan, a non-profit devoted to promoting bicycle safety and visibility for kids on bikes | PFD Photo
Peninsula Township Fire Department partners with Riding for Ryan, a non-profit devoted to promoting bicycle safety and visibility for kids on bikes | PFD Photo

Other Township News. The Peninsula Township Board and Planning Commission will hold a joint meeting on Tuesday, August 9, at 7 p.m., which includes a public hearing on the proposed adoption of amendments to the Zoning Ordinance related to Farm Processing Facilities and Winery-Chateaus, including:
• Removing the Winery-Chateau use under Sections 6.7.3(22), 8.7.2(11) and 8.7.3(10);
• Updating the Farm Processing Facility as a use by right under Section 6.7.2(19);
• Adding new uses for Retail Farm Processing Facilities that are approvable with a Special Use Permit under Sections 6.7.3(22), 8.7.2(11) and 8.7.3;
• Modifying Section 3.2 – Definitions as they pertain to Farm Processing Facilities and Winery Chateaus;
• Modifying Section 7.6.3(9) – Off-Street Parking and Loading Requirements by removing Winery-Chateaus and adding requirements for Farm Processing Facilities, and
• Updating the Table of Contents as appropriate for all proposed amendments.

Also, there are vacancies on the Planning Commission, Parks Committee and Zoning Board of Appeals. For more info about what’s involved and how to apply, visit the Peninsula Township home page. (Note: The deadline to apply is August 1 at 4 p.m., which is probably today if you clicked through to this story from the email newsletter I just sent out.)

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A lifelong resident of the Old Mission Peninsula, Jane grew up on a cherry farm (Johnson Farms), married the boy next door (Tim Boursaw), and raised two kids there (Will and Marissa). Her 35-year career as a photojournalist includes bylines with the New York Times and Ladies' Home Journal, and interviews with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. But she loves writing about the OMP most of all.

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