john rokos, johnny rokos, peninsula grill, old mission peninsula, old mission gazette, old mission people, omp, old mission, old mission michigan
Johnny Rokos, Friendly Bartender at Peninsula Grill | Jane Boursaw Photo
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Here’s a roundup of recent OMP news and photos…

Beloved OMP Bartender Suffers Stroke. I learned this morning that Johnny Rokos (aka Johnny Rock), everyone’s favorite OMP bartender at Peninsula Grill, suffered a stroke and is currently in ICU at Munson. From the Grill’s Facebook page:

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We need all your positive thoughts and prayers for our one and only Johnny Rock! John is in the hospital after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke which has affected his right side and will have a long road to recovery. His name says it all, he is our “rock” our anchor, the guy that always is early to work, never complains, remembers your drink and your name, always has a smile on his face and enjoys serving his customers at Peninsula Grill. John is family to many and has touched so many of our lives. John is happiest when he has a fishing pole in hand, watching Michigan football, taking a Harley ride on a sunny day, spending time with his grandkids and telling fishing stories to his customers. Prayers up for Johnny!!!!

Update from the Grill’s Facebook page, 2/5/23:

Thank you for the outpouring support and prayers for John.🙏 As of today, John remains in ICU and is scheduled to have an MRI in the next day or two. At this time, the family is asking that there are NO visitors allowed outside of the immediate family. Please kindly respect the family’s decision regarding this. As we have further updates, we will post them here. Thank you again for your positive thoughts, continued support, and prayers for John!

Jennifer Davies, owner of the Grill, has also started a GoFundMe page here – every big and small donation helps our guy.

Guy in a Fox Suit gets takeout from Peninsula Grill; Also pictured, Johnny Rokos and Grill owner Jennifer Davies | Jane Boursaw Photo
Guy in a Fox Suit gets takeout from Peninsula Grill; Also pictured, Johnny Rokos and Grill owner Jennifer Davies | Jane Boursaw Photo, 2020

Help a Neighbor Out. I’ve been following the journey of Patrick and Sarah Rigan, whose family owns Rigan Estate Vineyards on the OMP, and Patrick is part of the wine team at Chateau Chantal. Their lives changed in an instant back in 2019 when CT scans of their 6-month-old son, Conor, revealed a large amount of fluid in the frontal lobes of his brain and a mass in the back of his head next to his brainstem. Since that time, Conor has had multiple surgeries, including the most recent on Dec. 6, 2022, where it appeared that all of the visible tumor had been removed. But in January, scans revealed that a small nodule had tripled in size, and more surgery was deemed too risky. So the Rigans now find themselves at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where Conor is participating in a trial.

Keep this OMP family in your thoughts and prayers as they endure yet more medical efforts in a hospital far from home. As someone who endured 20 years of my husband’s medical traumas – right down to thinking appointments would be routine, as in the Rigan’s experience, but instead having Tim whisked away to emergency surgery – I know full well how comforting it is to have a community of people behind you. Read their story here, and help support the family here.

And Speaking of Our Community… I was on my way home from town yesterday when I saw a car in a ditch on McKinley Road, just off Center Road on the right as you come over that first hill. By the time I realized it and turned around to come back and see if they needed any help (and preparing to call Jeff Kane at Harper’s Ridge Farm down the hill and the guys at Fire Station 2 to come help push him out), there were already two cars there, and the young gentleman driving the car said his dad was on his way to help. Thanks for being an awesome community, OMP.

Sleighbells Ring. At this week’s meeting of the OMP Historical Society, that is, happening on Thursday, Feb. 2, at Peninsula Community Library, 2893 Island View Road (on the corner of Center Road). Following a short business meeting at 6 p.m., local historian Laura Johnson will present a slide show and talk on the history of sleigh bells, primarily in Northern Michigan. She will also have several displays of historical types of sleighbells. The meeting is open to the public, and all visitors and residents of the Old Mission Peninsula are welcome.

Horses at Mission Point LIghthouse courtesy of Buggy Down Carriage Co. of Houghton Lake | Jane Boursaw Photo
Horses at Mission Point LIghthouse courtesy of Buggy Down Carriage Co. of Houghton Lake | Jane Boursaw Photo

Legion Dinner Coming Up. The menu for the Feb. 7 community dinner at the Old Mission Legion Hall is Mostaccioli pasta with Italian sausage, green beans, Caesar Salad, garlic bread, appetizer meatballs and a cheese tray. Dessert to be determined (but I’m sure it will be fantastic). Don’t forget you can also pick up a take-out dinner, but be sure and call it in by 4:30 to 5:30 on Feb. 7 at (231) 223-4433. The Legion Hall is located at 4007 Swaney Road in the village of Old Mission. The doors open at 6 p.m., with dinner served promptly at 6:30 p.m. The cost is $15 per person, and dinners take place on the first and third Tuesday each month.

Legion Hall Pig/Turkey Roast 2019 | Jane Boursaw Photo
Kitchen Crew at the Legion Hall Pig/Turkey Roast 2019 | Jane Boursaw Photo

OMP Vineyard Wins Big. Bowers Harbor Vineyards sent along a press release announcing some big news. (Got a press release? Send it to [email protected].) The Vineyard brought home multiple gold medals from the 2023 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the biggest competition in the country. More than 60 judges representing various North American wine regions evaluated 5,500 wines from nearly 1,000 wineries.

Bowers Harbor Vineyards received Double Gold medal awards for their 2021 Late Harvest Riesling and 2020 Medium Dry Riesling, as well as Gold medals for their 2019 Blanc de Blanc, 2018 Brut Rosé and 2020 Medium Sweet Riesling. “It’s North America’s best and biggest competition,” says Spencer Stegenga, Owner of Bowers Harbor Vineyards. “We are extremely happy that the judges felt that our Northern Michigan wine deserved Gold and Double Gold medals.”

He adds, “We are truly excited to celebrate these awards with all of our customers. We will be having all our award-winning wines front and center at the vineyard for everyone to enjoy.” Established in 1991, learn more about the Vineyards and their wines at their website.

(Editor’s Note: I can’t access the Chronicle’s Wine Competition website because it’s behind a paywall, but if you’re an OMP winery that also won awards, feel free to chime in below in the comments section at the bottom of this story. -jb)

Also Read…

SUPPORT YOUR INDEPENDENT LOCAL NEWSPAPER: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever. Thank you so much for your support! -Jane Boursaw, Editor/Publisher, Old Mission Gazette

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation.

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