Easter Morning – Passover 2020

This isn’t our usual Easter or Passover. Both are usually time that we gather in our houses of worship or share traditional meals with family and friends. We have Easter egg hunts and watch the kids eagerly look for the basket the bunny left them. But not this year.

As we practice social distancing we aren’t going to church or synagogue. Instead we are watching services on TV or our laptops. We’re no less grateful but I think all of us miss the sense of community we have when we attend services.

I was talking with a fellow town resident and she was saying how she missed attending the Senior lunches. It isn’t just the food, it’s also the social connection that drew her to attend. A time to see friends and have a conversation. She has encouraged me to attend but I haven’t gotten there yet and now it’s on hold indefinitely. I still have it marked on my calendar so when it does start back up I’m planning on attending.

So many things I miss right now but I remind myself of how blessed I am to live in this beautiful area, have food on the table, good health and so much more.

This is a time of renewal. We see it everyday. Trees starting to bud, a bit of green here and there poking up through last years leaves. Yesterday I happened to look out the patio door and thought I was seeing my first returning loon. But once I got the binoculars out I realized what I was seeing was a male Hooded Merganser swimming in the open water off our shore. Earlier in the week I had my first yellow finches at the feeder. All signs of the coming spring. Which, by the way, could hurry up and get here.

I hope that with our quarantine we’ve come to realize that there is time to pause and notice our surroundings, that there is time to have a thoughtful conversation with another, that we can slow down for a moment to appreciate all we have. That we take the time to listen to one another.

Wishing everyone a blessed Easter and Passover.

April 7th Election Updates

April 7, 2020 Election

Here is a copy of election updates I sent out with my final newsletter. Information about our upcoming election on April 7th. I hope you find this useful.

Bill and I chose to vote early/absentee last week due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It will reduce the number of people gathered at the polling site and we fall in the 60+ age bracket that is considered high risk. So better safe than sorry.

If you have any questions about voting absentee, contact Chelsea, our town clerk. She will be able to answer all your questions. (715) 462-3977 or you can also email her at – clerk@townofspiderlake.com.

Newsletters 1, 2, 3 Here are copies of the newsletters mailed out

If you have any questions concerning the information provided on any or all of these newsletters please contact me so we can discuss it or I can clarify any questions you may have.

The purpose of these newsletters was to get more information out to all of our property owners and businesses. Too often we are left in the dark and are not fully informed about what the town board has in mind.

We are also left with so many questions. What research has been done? Any at all? What are the potential costs the town will incur? How are these costs going to be paid for? What is the environmental impact? Do they know? We need for our town board to provide us with well researched and documented information before they make any changes going forward.

On April 7th we will have two new supervisors. I hope that you feel that I have earned your vote. If elected I promise you that I will do the work that is needed for our town to move forward with decisions that are knowledge based, well researched and that our taxpayers have had ample opportunity to give their opinions and have their questions answered.

Candidate for Supervisor Town of Spider Lake last newsletter sent out

Remember to vote on April 7, 2020

I just finished up my third newsletter and have sent it out to the voters here in our town of Spider Lake. I hope that you have found them informative and helpful in making your decision on who to vote for on April 7th. I also hope you feel I have earned your vote.

On that note I want to make it very clear that my one and only promise to the voters is that if elected I promise to do the work required to make informed decisions. That each decision I make will only be done after all aspects are well researched. What are the economic and environmental impacts the decision will have? Does the decision follow the guidelines of the Town of Spider Lake Comprehensive Plan? Does it preserve and protect the town? Have we heard from the majority of our stakeholders, business owners and property owners alike? Have we, exhausted all avenues of research available to us? Then and only then would I be willing to make a decision. A decision based on knowledge, not my own personal agenda or anyone elses.

With only 19 days before the election results I hope to be able to talk with many of you. With the current restrictions for public gatherings we made the decision to cancel our Meet the Candidates event we had scheduled for March 26th at the Black Iron Bar and Grill. So my plan is to call and/or email as many people as possible. I want to hear your concerns. And of course, ask for your vote.

Wish me luck, and absentee vote if you can. Keep safe.

Town of Spider Lake in the news once again

Should our Town of Spider Lake be towing or plowing out residents?

At our last TOSL board meeting one of the issues addressed was the use of the town’s road crew to plow out our town Chairman from a snowmobile trail in Bayfield County. He had turned down an unplowed snowmobile trail at night and gotten stuck.

I certainly wouldn’t want any elderly couple stuck, at night, in the cold anywhere. But we have to make the policy of the use of town equipment, personnel and resources very clear going forward.

If calls can be made via cell service to Hayward, Cable and Spider Lake you can also reach 911. I spoke with the 911 personnel and they recognize being stuck late at night in freezing weather as being an emergency. They will either call a towing service for you or their emergency responders will get out to you.

Living “Up North” we should all keep our cell phones charged, have cold weather gear in our vehicles at all times. I try to have a winter kit in my truck that stays in there until spring, late spring.

Here’s the list of what you should have:

  1. Sturdy Ice Scraper and Snow Brush
  2. Small or Collapsible Snow Shovel
  3. Warm Gloves, Outerwear & Boots
  4. Blankets
  5. First Aid Kit
  6. Cell Phone Charger
  7. Emergency Flares or Reflectors
  8. Rock Salt, Sand or Kitty Litter
  9. Flashlight
  10. Rope or Chain
  11. Jumper Cables
  12. Small Tool Kit
  13. Extra Windshield Washer Fluid
  14. Sunglasses
  15. Water and Non-perishable Snacks. I have snack packs of nuts and protein bars.

We do quite a bit of driving since my family lives in Minnesota. There are some long stretches where it would be a long walk to a house if we went off the road. I would be reluctant to approach someones home late at night.

So while I understand the fear of being stuck during a winter’s evening I don’t think our town road crew should be the ones going out on those calls. I say this for several reasons. 911 should be the first call you make. They know what tow and plowing companies service the area you are in. Those companies are licensed and insured for those activities. The call also makes them aware of where you are and can also dispatch emergency services if needed.

This policy needs to be reaffirmed at our next board meeting. Our road crews are not insured for towing and plowing of private citizens, even if they are the town chairman.

Responsible Stewardship

Tracks in the fresh snowfall on Hahns Road

I’ve been lax in posting here for the past few weeks. Who knew that running for Town Supervisor could be so time consuming yet at the same time joyful. I have met so many new residents and property owners of Town of Spider Lake in the past couple of months. It has been a joy to find that they see the value of good stewardship of our lands and waters.

When listening to their concerns about what is currently going on concerning the changing or trying to sunset the very ordinances that make this town so special I was impressed by the passion so many showed. They love this town and don’t want changes that will take away from what they sought and found here.

Being good stewards of this town is imperative. If we fail at this what we lose can never be regained. We are unique in our governance of this town. We cannot allow special interests to take that away from us.

Change is inevitable but any change should be well researched, have ample public input and always use our Comprehensive Plan as the starting point. We need supervisors who set aside their personal wants and pledge that they will always put the town first.

I will say this over and over, this town is not broken. What is broken is the process of making decisions. No one is doing their homework. As an example is the overturning of the ATV/UTV ordinance.

I own a UTV, a Polaris Ranger so I’m not anti-ATV/UTV but I felt strongly that there was no homework done prior to changing the ordinance other than the survey that was done. The survey showed that 65% of the property owners did not want the ordinance changed. Many of the residents, both pro and con, listed safety issues they were concerned about. Yet none of those were addressed prior to passing the new ordinance.

No study was done to examine the potential safety concerns, potential road repair costs, roads that were unsuitable for use by ATV/UTVs or any other aspect of what this change would bring about. There was a compromise that could have been done but as one person said, “Our town Chairman promised he would open all the roads up to ATV/UTVs during his campaign and he made good on that promise.”

As a candidate for supervisor the only promise I will make is this. I promise to do the work needed to make responsible decisions that are good for our town. I will always put the town above my personal wants or opinions.

Our town deserves good stewardship. What we have here and now is a unique and beautiful place to live, work and play in. For our children, grandchildren and all who will come in the future we must pass on to them a town that has done everything it can to protect and preserve what is a very special town.

Great turnout at the first “Meet the Candidates” event!

your vote matters stars strips election clipart

We had our first “Meet the Candidates” event at Boulder Lodge and what a fantastic turnout. All four candidates were there, myself included, and we couldn’t have asked for a better result. Everyone was respectful, questions were asked and answered and all of this was done with civility. It was all I had hoped for. If you missed it we are in the process of scheduling another event at the Black Iron Grill. I will post date and time when it is confirmed.

Previously we all, myself included, depended on what we heard or read. In our last election there were unfounded allegations and, let’s be honest, lies put out both within the town and in the Sawyer County Record. It was done both with ads and letters to the editor. I don’t want to see this happen again.

Our town is not broken. Certainly, there are always issues that need to be addressed but we’re not broken. Fast change that is done without any type of reasonable research, community input and thought is not the way to a better future for our town.

We cannot allow small special interests to define what we are and will be in the future. We have a town that has been called, “One of the jewels of Northern Wisconsin.” Do we throw that jewel in the mud or do we embrace that designation and continue to preserve and protect it? Do we want to be like every other town and have unfettered development? Do we want RV’s parked on lake lots? Do we want sheds and boathouses crowding the shorelines?

There is a tv show currently on, “Yellowstone” which addresses development. I remember one scene that really resonated with me. In it one of the characters was sitting on a bench on the main street with his young son. The son asked who are all these people and the father said, “They are people who came here because of what we have and now are trying to make it into what they left.” This isn’t verbatim but you get the idea.

So many of us are from somewhere else. Other states, towns or cities. For me it was the decision to leave the Madison, Wisconsin area and move here to live full-time.

I left behind congested roads and highways, rush hour traffic, living in a subdivision with no privacy in my yard, light pollution, and noise. What i arrived to was a beautiful natural setting, privacy, quiet, wildlife, night skies filled with stars and a community that for the most part valued all the same things that are important to me.

My pledge is this. If elected as town supervisor I will do the homework needed to make informed decisions that are good for the town. My personal opinions will be set aside as my job would be to represent the interests of the town and all property owners. I will put in the work needed to make our town better and be a good steward of the lands and waters. We truly are a “Jewel of the North” and it deserves our protection.

What we leave behind

Today while working on my speech for the Tuesday evening “Meet the Candidates” event, I had the tv on. Suddenly there was a breaking news alert. They announced that basketball star Kobe Bryant had died in a helicopter crash.

I’m not a basketball fan but I recognized his name. What I immediately thought is “what did he leave behind?” What is his legacy?

He left behind a loving family who are now without his presence in their lives. He left behind an impressive basketball legacy. I only know this because I looked up his records. But even without knowing much about basketball, it’s impressive.

It sounds like he was a difficult man but everyone agreed, he was one of the hardest working players in the NBA. Studied the game and practiced, practiced, practiced.

While his career was impressive it was what he’s done since retiring from basketball that I found more interesting. Wrote a children’s book, won an Emmy and an Oscar for his animated short film, “Dear Basketball.” Plus he took up tennis.

But what was truly impressive was his charity work. His Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation works to eradicate youth homelessness in the Los Angeles area. He was also a supporter of numerous charities. Many of these were charities that helped children.

Most of us aren’t in the position to do great works but each of us have the ability to do small works. Reaching out to someone in need. It may only be a shoulder to cry on, providing a meal when tragedy strikes, donations to charities or volunteering. Small works of kindness and charity have as much value and can sometimes be that one thing that makes someone elses life more bearable or gives them hope that tomorrow will be better.

For the greater good. For me that has always meant looking past my own wants and needs and doing my part for the greater good. There will be no “breaking news” when I leave this world but my hope is that I left behind a legacy of kindness. That my hand was always held out to help someone else up. I may fail at times but I will never stop trying.

Life is finite. We only have so many days on this earth so make the most of them. Be kind, be generous, be thoughtful, apologize when you’re in the wrong, forgive and try to always do the right thing.

Update: The news just reported that Kobe’s 13 yr. old daughter, one of her teammates and their parent along with the pilot also died in this crash. They were on their way to a basketball game. Two young women with lives not fully realized, three families in all whose lives will never be the same. So very tragic.

It just keeps getting worse. A total of nine lives lost. It is always hard to hear about young people dying young. I lost my nephew in a car accident. He was only 23. There has always been those questions, who would he have become, would he have had children? So many questions.

My prayers go out to all the families of the lost.

Bald Eagle Comeback

Photo by Jean Beaufort

Every spring I start my kayak rides with one to the island on Big Spider Lake that is home to the eagle’s nest. Then once the pontoon boat is in the water our evening rides include stopping by the island to check out their nest. Every year we are rewarded with a nest of chicks.

The Clean Water Act and the banning of DDT was instrumental in bringing Eagles back from the brink of potential extinction. Every time I see them soaring over the lake I thank those people who thought ahead to the future.

Here is an article about the eagles in Wisconsin.


This winter we have at least one mature eagle who makes a daily trip over the house. Sometimes swooping low over the ice and other times soaring high. This is when I am reminded of how very lucky I am to live and share this beautiful area of Wisconsin with these majestic birds.

Save the Date – January 28, 2020, 6:30 to 8:30 pm

Our spring election on April 7, 2020 is fast approaching. We will be electing two supervisors to the town board of Spider Lake. I have arranged with Boulder Lodge to do the first of at least two “Meet the Candidates” events. They very graciously gave us permission to have this first event at their facility.

The four candidates for supervisor are, Tim Sheldon, Mike Wheeler, Deb Amery and Pete Huot. The voters of town of Spider Lake are encourage to attend.

I think it’s important for our voters to have the chance to meet and get to know the candidates, have their questions answered and know where the candidates stand on the issues confronting our town.

When: Tuesday, January 28, 2020 Time: 6:30 to 8:30 pm Where: Boulder Lodge, 7296 Hwy-77, Hayward, WI

I hope to see you there.

P.S. If you are going to be out of town or working on April 7, 2020 here is the link on how you can vote absentee/early. It’s easy. https://elections.wi.gov/elections-voting/voters/absentee

Remember, your vote is your voice. Use it.