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By Peter Huston

Up on the top of the ticket booth building at Fox’s Dock here in downtown Put-in-Bay is the Jet-Express Camera. Updated last year to be full HD ( high definition for broadcast use) the camera looks south east at Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial. On a clear day the camera captures a little of the Sandusky skyline and a glimpse of the tallest roller coaster at Cedar Point too.

 If you live in the Toledo area and get WTOL that camera shot is a regular “go to” shot for the WTOL weather team. You can find it at Jet Cam !

Recently, the WTOL camera feed was “discovered” by the national CBS Morning show staff and has been featured several times in just the past few weeks. I’m thinking that someone in the CBS New York control room is from Ohio! Not only has this been great to see, but I think there will be viewers all over the USA who will start to wonder where “Put-in-Bay, Ohio” is.

img_9118While this winter has not produced the quality ice that brings ice fisherman to the island yet, there is mystery and intrigue that surrounds what winter island life is all about. Back in early December Cleveland’s WVIZ “Ideastream” reporter Elizabeth Miller and PBS producer Margaret Thompson came to Put-in-Bay to do a story about island life.

 Their story “No Ferry, No Problem”! caught the ear of NPR and so the national NPR management have sent the team back to the island again as Miller explains it to do “interviews with Steve Poe (Put-in-Bay School Superintendent) and [Put-in-Bay] students, [Then] we’re planning to use Friday evening and Saturday for a story on culture/community on the island.

 In Miller’s earlier WVIZ story, island resident Caroline Conrad had a message for those who might take pity on folks stuck on an island all winter: “People shouldn’t feel sorry for the people that live here because we’re not bored.” Which I think perfectly captures the spirit of winter residents.

 Winter for islanders is special. Sometimes I wonder if people think we go into hobbit holes and hibernate. There is so much to do here during the winter and unless you just plain hate winter you will keep you plenty busy. Not only is it a great time to do home repairs and catch up with friends, almost daily there seems to be something going on. From aerobics and yoga at the Put-in-Bay Senior center, Wednesday Euchre at Tippers Restaurant, Friday darts at Topsy Turveys, Saturday night dinner at the Reel Bar, Sunday morning breakfast crepe from the Old Forge, to daily pizza home delivery from Blu Luna!

 And with the islands growth in recent years, construction crews are working 10-hour days to complete new projects before spring rolls around. And it is an islander tradition to drive around the island in the winter exploring, checking on construction progress, and looking for wildlife. It’s all part of the mystique of winter here on the Bass Islands.

So the next time you see the live camera shot from the top if Fox’s Dock, look for the cars going by and rest assured that there is life here. As one island resident stated; “In the winter when cars go by the house, you know who they are, where they’re going and when they’ll be back”!

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