Webmaster's note Oct. 2, 2008: This page was added in April, 2008 but I just found out that college students writing papers on Middle Bass Island didn't realize that this was an April Fool's page. So for the record: None of the stories on this page contain any truth at all.
The first three articles on this page are from the Put-in-Bay Bayzette, an enclosure in the April, 2008 Put-in-Bay Gazette. The articles are reprinted here with permission.
The fourth article is from a source who wishes to remain anonymous.
Ferries Being Drafted for Border Patrol
Homeland Security officials and ferry boat line owners in the Lake Erie Islands will team up this coming season to provide security on the U.S./Canadian border. As part of a new offensive in the War on Terror, ferry boats bringing passengers, cars and freight to the islands during the day will see double duty patrolling the Canadian border crossing the Western Basin of Lake Erie at night.
The new program could begin as soon as May 1st, depending on how quickly additional crew can be hired and modifications made to the ferry boats.
A Homeland Security District Manager, who preferred not to be identified for security reasons, said, "The new captains and crews will be given new federal ID cards and trained in border patrol techniques by top Border Patrol personnel from the New Mexico/Arizona district of Homeland Security."
Included in the training will be martial arts, small firearm handling and methods of psychological profiling. For the average new recruit, this will take about three days of very intensive training. Recruits will also be fitted for the new "red, white and blue" border security patrol uniforms.
The ferry boats will also be repainted in "battleship gray" and outfitted with new radar systems capable of detecting border intruders up to four hundred miles away. "Running light dampers" will also be installed so the ferries can run undetected at night with their running lights off. Officials did not specify what types of armament would be instaIled on the ferries.
Once the program is underway, areas will be assigned to each ferry company. The ferries serving Kelleys Island will do nightly patrols from Middle Island east to a point directly north of Huron, Ohio. Ferries from Put-in-Bay will patrol from Middle Island West to border marker buoy "C," and from that point to Middle Sister Island, the border will be checked by those speedy Jets from Port Clinton. The Sunny-S, the ferry serving downtown Put-in-Bay with Middle Bass during the day, will patrol the passage between Middle Bass and North Bass each night.
While on patrol, the ferries will be on the lookout for suspicious boats crossing the border which will be stopped for inspection, interrogation, passport checks and harassment.
The cost for the program will be shared by the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Border Patrol, the Ohio EPA, the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department, the Department of Natural Resources, the ferry companies and island property taxes.
Put-in-Bay Police Chief Ric Lempale was relieved when he found out about where the funding was coming from. Initial discussions concerning the program had the Put-in-Bay and Kelleys Island police departments funding the patrols. ''Thankfully, officials found funding elsewhere, said Lempale, whose budget this year is already tight at a half million dollars.
During daylight hours when the ferries are hauling tourists to the islands, two Goodyear blimps will patrol the border from the sky and lookouts with binoculars will scan the open waters for signs of border intrusions from the top of the Monument.
One Homeland Security official said, "No one will cross the border illegally this year. I repeat, no one!"
Now that spring is here, it's about time islanders will be seeing work on the Lonz Marina begin in earnest. Officials concerned about what to do with the dredging material from the Lonz Winery project have asked the Army Corps of Engineers to build a new island or re-connect Sugar Island and Middle Bass. Complaints from land owners near where dredged material was dumped on the island precipitated the action which could see a land bridge to Sugar Island from Middle Bass for the first time since the early pioneers settled the islands. The other possibility would be an island made of dredgings somewhere between Lutes Point (East Point) and Ballast Island.
State to Re-open Secret Tunnel
Recently the State of Ohio Park Service announced that they plan to reopen a secret underwater tunnel from South Bass Island's Eastpoint to Middle Bass Island. This announcement is in response to the Lonz Marina project which will keep the marina closed for the 2008 boating season.
Used in the days of Prohibition for bootlegging, the network of secret tunnels among the Lake Erie islands was thought to be just a popular myth. They were originally closed when test firing of big artillery at Camp Perry on the mainland prior to and during World War II caused officials to be concerned when they found loose rock on the tunnel floor.
Officials now say the tunnels are safe enough to use, and for the first time in history, The State of Ohio Park Service is saying, "They do exist" and ''This one tunnel will be available to the public this summer." The State hopes this will handle the concerns of the business owners of Middle Bass regarding people coming to the Island while the marina project takes place.
Throughout the winter, the Park Service has been repairing the tunnel to make it safe for the public to use this summer. Officials stated that, "Overall, the tunnel remained in fairly good condition over the years." A fee will be charged for those using the tunnel. Owners of boats docked at the marina will not be charged upon showing proof of vessel registration.
Cottagers and residents on Middle Bass will be able to buy a season pass to use the tunnel year-round. The tunnel will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Don't expect the tunnels to be paved or anything fancy. The electrical system for the lighting is being upgraded and debris from the path that has accumulated over the years is being removed. State inspectors say the tunnel stays relatively dry even during the rainy season.
With a little gravel and the removal of rock at a few tight spots, officials believe they will eventually be able to run golf carts through the tunnel. One islander who has already been down in the tunnel says it reminds him of parts of Perry’s Cave. "Obviously, there are parts of the tunnel that must have been caves," he said.
When Sunny Snyder, owner of' the Sunny-S ferry service, was asked how the tunnel will affect his business, he said, "If people want to go all the way out to Eastpoint and then pay to walk all the way across to Middle Bass Island, let them. They must be crazy! For a reasonable fee, I will take them from 'Downtown Put-in-Bay' and they can ride comfortably aboard the Sunny-S ferry."
Put-in-Bay Runway Expansion Plans revealed
Homeland Security and the Federal Aviation Administration have joined forces to plan new airports that will contribute to national security as well as to local economies. One of the first designs to come out of the joint effort is a plan for the expansion of the runway at Put-in-Bay, Ohio on South Bass Island. The design is shown in the image below. The expanded runway will provide a base for a small contingent of jets and helicopters to patrol the U.S./Canadian border in Lake Erie and provide rapid response services for the nighttime ferry patrols (see above article). At the same time, it will provide a much needed runway expansion to support commercial jets that will bring more tourists and improve the economy of the island.
The runway will be the first anywhere to use an innovative and extremely strong transparent concrete for both the surface and the supporting pillars, and will not require the destruction of any waterfront homes, although a few homes further inland will need to be torn down. There has been some discussion of combining airport security and ferry security near the southern tip of the island, because there is no real reason why the two should be different.
While the local zoning board opposes the construction, they probably will not be able to stop it, and the board does agree that the construction will bring more tourists and more jobs.
All Contents Copyright © 2000-2008 by Middle Bass on the Web, Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction without written permission is forbidden for any purposes other than personal use.
Revised: 02 Oct 2008 07:15:14.
This page has been accessed times