By Pamela A. Frucci
Sounds of chainsaws fill the March air
That wind storm on Wednesday, March 8, walloped a huge swath of southeastern Michigan. I called to my husband, Jack, to see the major branch that had blown off our maple tree in our back yard. Then he called me to the front yard and pointed out what had awakened him from an afternoon nap: the sound of a chainsaw. A branch almost the size of a full grown maple tree had blown off our neighbor’s huge maple tree and had fallen over our street, Hickory Circle.
The chainsaw was in the hands of our new neighbor Carl Graves. He’d gotten a call at work from his wife earlier in the day that some branches had blown off their trees in the yard and he said he’d be home that night to pick them up. Then she called again and said half their maple tree had fallen over the road and the school bus couldn’t get by. That’s what Jack had heard. Carl, who used to own a tree-trimming company and still had a bunch of chainsaws, put one to work to clear the tree off the road.
Another neighbor, John Roos, heats his home with wood heat and will make use of the large logs and the Fruccis, who have a path in the woods from Hickory Circle to Macomb Street, will get the chips for the trail when Carl contacts his friend with a chipper to grind up the pile of branches that ended up in our yard.
POST OFFICE MAKES SURE THE MAIL GOES THROUGH
When that windstorm knocked down huge trees, it also cut electricity to homes and businesses, including Kroger on Macomb and the Post Office. Since the Post Office front door to the lobby is run electrically, patrons couldn’t get in, but the mail did get delivered. If you were in their back rooms, you’d see the employees sorting the mail for delivery by flashlight and some stand-up lights on batteries. According to the office manager, “Our employees went above and beyond” to make sure the mail got delivered ‘round the Island.
NOT THE USUAL BOY SCOUT PROJECT!
The other day I was talking to a former neighbor, Mark Smelter, who had built his home on Hickory Circle but now lives on Blauvelt. Currently he’s driving those large auto delivery rigs around the country but is looking to retire in two years. Since his three sons all earned their Eagle Scout badge, he’d like to work with future Eagle Scouts to assemble a plane from a kit that they could own and fly. Until then he’s gathering all the background info on plane building kits so when the time comes, he’ll help launch this unusual Boy Scout project.
WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH CELEBRATED IN MARCH
Women’s History Month is a national organization that our local Grosse Ile Alliance for the Arts has been connected with in one form or another since 2007. WHM is aiming for a major celebration in 2020. That year will be the 100th anniversary of the year women finally got the right to vote. This March 10 the Grosse Ile Musicale, now in its 85th year of bringing good music to its members, honored WHM with their program “Women Who Have Made Their Mark in Art & Music.” The afternoon program took place at the historic St. James Chapel and featured Jessica Grabbe, a woman bass player who plays not only under contract with the Detroit Symphony but jobs out around the world. Another woman, Pat Fisher, played the xylophone and used to play with the Army band in Washington, D.C. She will be the featured performer with the Livonia Symphony on May 6.
Rounding out the program was Nan Washburn, director of the Michigan Philharmonic, who showed excerpts of various concerts she directed in the 18 years she’s been with the orchestra. An added feature that afternoon was an art show mounted by the Grosse Ile Alliance for the Arts which showcased several local and Island artists.
RESIDENTS, CHURCH TO BRING LIVING WATER TO CUBA
When Steve Benton, Toni Mann, and Gene Swift spent time in Oxford, Miss., to be trained by Living Waters of the World in 2015, they came away with the expertise to go into areas that lack clean drinking water and help them set up a system to provide water that’s safe to cook, brush teeth, do their cooking and drink. All that training will be put to use later this summer when they travel to Cuba and work with local people to give them enough training so they can take over the project.
The cost to bring Living Water to Cuba adds up to $25,000, of which $20,000 has been raised through generous contributions and a donation from the Grosse Ile Presbyterian Church’s Mission and Stewardship Committee. The volunteers plan to make four trips to the site in Cuba. The initial one is to meet and work with the team lined up in Cuba to carry on the project and work out a covenant to make sure the project will run successfully for a generation. The second trip will be the actual installation of the Living Water system. The last two trips will be follow-up.
Part of the cost of setting up Living Waters in a Spanish speaking country is to hire a translator, although Steve, Toni, and Gene are all enrolled in the 30-week Spanish class the Grosse Ile Presbyterian Church is offering. The volunteers may not get to be fluent in Spanish but they’ll have enough Spanish to communicate with their Cuban cohorts.
Grosse Ile resident Pam Frucci, one of the co-founders of the original Ile Camera as a junior high student 70 years ago, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.