Students dive into aquatic science at Lake Sturgeon Bowl

March 1, 2010

By Jennifer Yauck

Skiers have the Olympics. Football players have the Super Bowl. And Wisconsin high school students with a passion for the Great Lakes and oceans? They have the Lake Sturgeon Bowl.

Since 2002, UWM’s Great Lakes WATER Institute (GLWI) and School of Continuing Education, together with UW Sea Grant, have been hosting the annual academic tournament in which students are quizzed on their knowledge of all things aquatic. The Lake Sturgeon Bowl is one of 25 regional competitions around the country that lead to the Consortium for Ocean Leadership’s National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB). The competitions aim to raise interest in aquatic science.  »Read more

Sturgeon: Special Report (Part 2 of 2)

November 5, 2008

By Jennifer Yauck

SturgeonNetResearchers capture a female sturgeon. They will collect weight, length, and other data before releasing her back to the river.(Photo by Fred Binkowski) When people the world over need advice on how to restore struggling sturgeon populations, they look to Wisconsin.

The state’s largest inland lake-Lake Winnebago-and its connecting waters are home to the largest and healthiest population of lake sturgeon in North America, thanks to a longstanding program of management, enforcement, public involvement, and research efforts headquartered right in Milwaukee.

An ancient species that looks the part with its bony plated armor and shark-like tail, the sturgeon first appeared in the fossil record 150 million years ago during the age of the dinosaurs. It survived the dinosaurs’ extinction. »Read more

Sturgeon: Special Report (Part 1 of 2)

September 27, 2008

By Jennifer Yauck

Wolf River (Photo by Jennifer Yauck)High above the water, Jennifer Yauck joined one researcher on his weekly hunt for radio-tagged lake sturgeon in the Lake Winnebago system.

It was early morning on a nearly cloudless day this summer when Great Lakes WATER Institute senior scientist Fred Binkowski took to the air in search of lake sturgeon.

As his plane, piloted by Heath Van Handel of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, flew northwest out of Oshkosh, water dominated the view below. To the rear was the 138,000-acre Lake Winnebago; ahead, a chain of smaller lakes-Butte des Morts, Winneconne, and Poygan-that empty into Winnebago after being fed by the Wolf River from the north and the Fox River from the south. He has been flying over these connected waters-collectively called the Lake Winnebago system-almost weekly since releasing 12 juvenile sturgeon on the west end of Lake Poygan in April 2007. »Read more

Gov. Scott Walker Signs 23 bills into law

December 12, 2013

Source: Press Release from office of Governor Walker

Governor Scott Walker signed 23 bills into law today in the Governor’s Office.  Authors of each bill were present for the signings.

Assembly Bill 380 – creates a cumulative preference system for applicants for each year they do not receive a sturgeon spearing permit.  This bill also changes the start date that permits can be transferred to minors to October 1st instead of November 1st of each year.  Senator Michael Ellis (R-Neenah) and Representative Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) authored this bill, which passed the Senate and Assembly on a voice vote.  The bill is Act 64.

Assembly Bill 61 – allows retailers to file civil action against individuals who attempt to purchase alcohol while underage.  Senator Rick Gudex (R-Fond du Lac) and Representative André Jacque (R-De Pere) authored the legislation, which passed the Senate and Assembly on a voice vote.  The bill is Act 65.

Senate Bill 290 – requires mortgage servicers to provide a payoff statement that closing agents can rely upon and reduces the delay in receiving a clear title for homeowners.  Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) and Representative Duey Stroebel (R-Cedarburg) authored the legislation, which passed the Senate 32-1 and passed the Assembly on a voice vote.  The bill is Act 66.

Senate Bill 310 – clarifies the definition of an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and a utility-terrain vehicle (UTV) and corrects current statutory language regarding crossings at a bridge, culvert, or railroad.  The bill aims to improve the safety of ATV/UTV riders.  Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) and Representative Erik Severson (R-Osceola) authored the bill, which passed the Senate and Assembly on a voice vote.  The bill is Act 67.

Assembly Bill 174 – streamlines the payment of county medical examiners by removing the stipulation that they are paid semimonthly.   Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) and Representative John Murtha (R-Baldwin) authored the bill, which passed the Senate and Assembly on a voice vote.  The bill is Act 68.

Senate Bill 189 – allows the Department of Natural Resources to establish an electronic means to receive reports of violations of the Department’s statutes.  Also gives the Department authority to use its current citation procedure when regulating discharge of certain materials into wetlands.  Senator Neal Kedzie (R-Elkhorn) and Representative Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz) authored the bill, which passed the Senate and Assembly on a voice vote.  The bill is Act 69.

Senate Bill 190 – eliminates the current Department of Natural Resources prohibition requiring publicly owned sewage treatment or collection systems to have more than one wastewater discharge permit.  Senator Neal Kedzie (R-Elkhorn) and Representative Al Ott (R-Forest Junction) authored the bill, which passed the Senate and Assembly with unanimous consent.  The bill is Act 70.

Assembly Bill 8 – states that local government cannot impose restrictions on hunting with a bow and arrow or crossbow within the municipality except within 100 yards of a building, unless the owner of the building allows such hunting.  Representative Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc) and Senator Neal Kedzie (R-Elkhorn) authored the legislation which is Act 71

Senate Bill 134 – allows the Department of Natural Resources to spend a maximum of $564,500 each fiscal year on sea lamprey control activities.  Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) and Representative Chad Weininger (R-Green Bay) authored the bill, which unanimously passed the Senate and Assembly.  The bill is Act 72.

Assembly Bill 373 – permits property and casualty insurance providers to deliver electronic notices and documents, if the consumer has given consent.  Senator Frank Lasee (R-De Pere) and Representative Chad Weininger (R-Green Bay) authored the bill, which passed the Senate and Assembly on a voice vote.  The bill is Act 73.

Senate Bill 314 – streamlines application permits for related residential, commercial, or industrial development, based on current ordinances.  Senator Frank Lasee (R-De Pere) and Representative David Murphy (R-Greenville) authored the legislation, which passed the Senate 18-15 and unanimously passed the Assembly.  The bill is Act 74.

Assembly Bill 352 – allows for the placement of net pens in navigable waters with a statewide general permit and with additional requirements set in place for fish farms.  Senator Frank Lasee (R-De Pere) and Representative Garey Bies (R-Sister Bay) authored the bill, which passed the Senate and Assembly with strong bipartisan support.  The bill is Act 75.

Senate Bill 179—aids tenants by eliminating the possibility they will be evicted if they are a victim of a crime by enforcing landlords to provide specified notices of domestic abuse protections.  The bill also helps landlords to recover any damages caused by tenants and allows them to deal with property left behind by tenants in a more effective manner.  Senator Frank Lasee (R-De Pere) and Representative Duey Stroebel (R-Cedarburg) authored the legislation.  The bill is Act 76.

Assembly Bill 119 – permits the sale of a more effective pepper spray and allows minors to carry pepper spray when it is purchased by their parents.  Senator Frank Lasee (R-De Pere) and Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) authored the legislation, which passed on a voice vote.  The bill is Act 77.

Assembly Bill 248 – simplifies the process for parents and guardians who are trying to put a security freeze on the credit report of a minor, or those over the age of 16.  Parents and guardians must provide “sufficient proof of authority” and violations may result in a civil forfeiture of no more than $1,000 per violation.  Senator Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) and Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) authored the bill, which passed the Senate and Assembly on a voice vote.  The bill is Act 78.

Senate Bill 40 – allows law enforcement officers to search residence or property of an individual on parole or under supervision, if the individual is believed to have committed a crime or is in violation of the terms of their probation.  This is only applicable to individuals who had been convicted of felonies involving life and bodily security, crimes against children, and the Uniform Controlled Substances Act.  Senator Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan) and Representative Mike Endsley (R-Sheboygan) authored the legislation, which passed the Senate and Assembly on a voice vote.  The bill is Act 79.

Senate Bill 183 – streamlines shoreland zoning ordinances by removing county ordinances when the area is incorporated.  Senator Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) and Representative Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz) authored the bill.  The bill is Act 80.

Senate Bill 278 – focuses on the health and safety of visitors and workers at mining sites.  Senator Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) and Representative Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh) authored the legislation.  The bill is Act 81.

Assembly Bill 359 – allows the Department of Natural Resources to lease state forest land within the town of Boulder Junction to the Boulder Junction Shooting Range for a maximum term of 30 years.  Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) and Representative Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander) authored the bill, which passed both the Senate and Assembly on a voice vote.  The bill is Act 82.

Assembly Bill 62– broadens the definition of an “intoxicant” to include substances that are inhaled ingested, or consumed.  Representative Garey Bies (R-Sister Bay) and Senator Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) authored this legislation, which passed the Senate and Assembly on a voice vote.  The bill is Act 83.

Assembly Bill 28 – helps ensure Wisconsin’s safety by updating current laws regarding sexually violent persons and aligning these statutes with most recent psychological standards and treatments.  The Joint Legislative Council authored this legislation, which passed both the Senate and Assembly on a voice vote.  The bill is Act 84.

Assembly Bill 30 – provides clarity to hunters and law enforcement regarding the rules of transporting game into Wisconsin from another state or from tribal land.  The Joint Legislative Council’s Special Committee on State-Tribal Relations authored the bill, which passed the Senate and Assembly on a voice vote.  The bill is Act 85.

Senate Bill 346 – eliminates grants for stage II vapor recovery systems because vehicles are now equipped with these systems on board.  Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) and Representative Dan LeMahieu (R-Cascade) authored the legislation, which passed the Senate and Assembly on a voice vote.  The bill is Act 86.

A beautiful life on the water

August 1, 2013

By Katherine Keller

 Bay View’s Alvin Anderson is one of the last of those hardy souls who made a living fishing the waters of  Lake Michigan. For nearly seven decades, he began his day at 3:30am, chugging out over the water to set his nets or lift his harvest. But those days have slipped away. The once abundant wild fishery has been decimated by lampreys, viruses, and zebra and quagga mussels. With the devastation of the these species came the destruction of a way of life that once characterized many of the communities along the Lake Michigan shore. For decades commercial fishing was a way of life — a way to support a family and to provision a market hungry for the local catch.

Alvin’s wife Sandy and their sons Dan and Steve were vital to the operation of the family business. Both sons actively fished until the altered fishery forced them to dramatically alter their course. Dan Anderson and his family moved to Alaska, where he is still able to support himself as a commercial fisher. Steve Anderson left the vocation and is now employed in a local manufacturing shop.

These are some of the stories you will hear if you sit down and talk to Alvin “Gabby” Anderson. They resulted from an interview with Alvin and Sandy Anderson. Scott Slick, also a commercial fisher and friend of the Andersons, was an interview participant.  It is the first of an occasional series we plan to publish that will chronicle the stories told by Bay View’s elders.

Alvin Anderson spent a lifetime plying the waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior fishing for trout, chub, whitefish, and perch. —photo Katherine Keller

Alvin Anderson spent a lifetime plying the waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior fishing for trout, chub, whitefish, and perch. —photo Katherine Keller

Cherries!

Bay View resident Alvin “Gabby” Anderson was born in 1933. His mother Anna Carlson Anderson was Swedish and his father, Oscar Anderson, was Norwegian. Oscar owned a parcel of land between Ellison Bay and Gills Rock in Door County. He worked a number of jobs to make ends meet. He sailed the Great Lakes, kept the boilers burning in a cherry factory in Sturgeon Bay, and he worked with rock crushers, part of road-building crews. The family kept a cow and an orchard of about 200 cherry trees. He helped his family earn a living during the Depression by picking cherries in Door County. If you want to get Anderson’s dander up, ask him about cherries.

Have you ever picked cherries? So you haven’t picked cherries? You haven’t went to prison then!

“When you were little back then, you had to help the family. If you made a dime, 50 cents, that went into the family. You know, we were so poor, you know. I mean, it was all the same them years because everybody was poor, you know?

“I had a little rotten pair of tennis shoes, and one of them had hole in it. Okay, you’re walking through the orchard early in the morning when there was a lot of dew around and the tennis shoe filled up with sand and you were walking in that. The tennis shoes got wet from the dew and you were walking in that all the time, all day.

“And then, when the owner would assign you to a tree and you would hadda pick that tree clean, every cherry. Up on the ladder, yah. Walking around the tree wasn’t bad because you could pick them off but after that you had to go up to the ladder. You got so high up. There was a branch and all of a sudden, you reached up and your head was hit a cherry bunch. The juice would run down your head.

“And then you’re gonna sit down on top of the ladder and the branch got on seat before you did, and you sat down, and ooh! Real fun! Nice! You gotta be that way all day. Sticky!

“I think, if I got ten pails a day, I was lucky. If I come back with just a level pail, they’d take me back to fill it up. They wanted a heap on that pail. I love cherries, but them suckers, oh, they got the best of me!”

Reprieve

In 1941, Anderson began his six-and-a-half decade career, working on a commercial boat catching whitefish and trout.

“When I was eight years old, right before cherry season in Door County, way up in Ellison Bay, a fishermen, Clarence Lind, he come down to the house one evening and asked if I wanted to help him. I was small, real short. Well, I jumped at the chance because I knew cherry season was coming right around the corner. I never asked how much I was going to get. I was so happy because those cherry trees…no way!

“I worked six days a week about, about 11 — 10 to 12 hours a day, and I walked just about three miles to work and I was never late. I always had to be there by six, or before, in the morning.

“I helped pick the fish (out of the nets), put the nets in the box, and helped them set back (in the water).

“The trout had teeth and you had to be careful and you didn’t dare want to bust the nets either. They was all cotton in them years and they was so fragile that you looked at them and they were practically bust.

“And on the way home, most of the time, Lind dressed the fish, and I steered the boat home.”

Anderson took to fishing from the get-go, even though he got seasick the first two summers out on the water.

“I absolutely loved it. Loved it. I used to get seasick though. Oh, man, oh, terrible! Boy, if the boat rocked a little bit too much… But soon as I hit the dock, stepped a foot on the dock, I was fine.

“I got five dollars a week. To me that was big money. You know, in the 30s. And I worked the next summer when I was nine for him for the same price. I wasn’t happy with the same wage…I remember that.”

Ten-year-old entrepreneur

“When I was 10, I had another couple guys up there. They had some nets and I made a deal with these couple of guys that had these nets (that) if I could borrow them I’d give them half of what I caught. And then I told Clarence, ‘I’ll work for the same but I want to fish these two nets. (He agreed to the terms.) Well, that worked out fine. Oh, yah. I was thinking you know, hey! Hey, you have to use your head once in a while.

“And then, when I was 11, I think the nets went to heck because they were bad in the first place. They were all cotton, you know. So Clarence wouldn’t raise my wages, no. So I quit. I quit Clarence.

“All of a sudden that evening, Howard Weborg must have heard I quit Clarence. All of a sudden he come driving into our yard by our home in this pickup truck and he asked me if I wanted to work for him. Well, it was getting close to cherry time again, I remember that! So I jumped on the chance, oh, yah!

“And I didn’t have to walk to work. Howard picked me up every morning. What a relief that was.

“Well, I never asked Howard what I was going to get, you know, whatever he was willing to pay me. I’ll never forget that, never! Never ever! The first whole week, on the way home was on a Saturday afternoon, Howard handed me the check. I still can’t believe it. I should have never cashed it. I should have framed it. I should have. I looked at the check—$54! Nine dollars a day. Wow! I thought I was the first millionaire to ever hit Door County.

“Course, I don’t want to brag but I was fast. I was fast. I don’t care, I could dress, out-dress them guys, like chubs and that, I could out dress them two to one. String nets, I was faster than them. I knew everything, you know. I could mend nets, whatever. Whatever they needed me to do, nobody had to stand over my shoulder. I could do the same thing as a regular man. I knew how to do everything and I was probably faster than another man that they would have hired. I could do everything.

“Howard and them, they had orders, they’d ship them, most of them went to Chicago. Them years they put them in wood boxes, a 100 pounds in a box. Ice on the bottom; ice on top. They were shipped by truck. See, my uncle way back then, he owned a trucking a company up in Door County. Charlie Anderson. He was my favorite uncle. Oh, yeah. He was great.”

1945 school photo Alvin Anderson

When Alvin Anderson looked at his 1945 class photo, he joked, “I should have been in Hollywood instead of going to fishing!” He is the boy on the far right in the second row from the top. Lief Weborg is second from the left in the third row from the top. Four decades later Weborg and his two crew members, Scott Matta and Warren Olson, perished December 11, 1998, when his commercial fishing tug, the 42-foot Linda E, was struck by a 452-foot integrated tug and barge. The Linda E sank off the shores of Port Washington, Wis.

“Newport School. That was Newport ‘College!’ You learned more in them eight grades there than people going four years to college today. College today is all sports. What the hell are you going to do with sports? You know? We went to learn! Anyway, when I was in eighth grade, my teacher, there was six or seven of us in the class, that’s all there was, you know? The teacher called me, called each one of us up to his desk and he asked each person individually, what we wanted to be, or do in our life. Well, I had no question. I said I want to be a commercial fisherman. He looked at me, he said, ‘Good luck.’ And I never changed my mind. No. And then, we bought our first boat.”

An old photo of Anderson’s boat Aloha chugging back to shore through the ice at the Algoma, Wis. pier. —courtesy Alvin and Sandy Anderson

An old photo of Anderson’s boat Aloha chugging back to shore through the ice at the Algoma, Wis. pier.
—courtesy Alvin and Sandy Anderson

“There was four of us brothers in company. AB Fisheries. Anderson Brothers. But I worked for Harvey Olson for a while, from Ellison Bay. And, actually I worked for him until we bought the second boat.”

Fish stories

“Oh, that one sturgeon—this was way back, in 1947, when we were fishing out of Sturgeon Bay, that time with the old Pelican,” Alvin said. (Laughs). “We were lifting down off of Snake Island, my brother was by the wheel. All of a sudden, he looked out over the rail, and he thought it was a great big log coming up. I tried the lifter and all of a sudden that log started to move. Oh, my god. That doggone thing had to be nine feet long. I’m telling you, that was incredible. I don’t know, I wouldn’t even now how much it would weigh. Oh, cripes, three, four hundred pounds, at least.

“We didn’t get it. It made a couple big splashes, and it ripped itself right out of the net and went. Well, man it was a big, big thing, man. A couple of swats the tail and he was, zoom, gone. Oh, he was big.”

Anderson said the sturgeon was the biggest fish he saw in the Great Lakes, though he saw bigger fish — halibut, in Alaska. But he saw another spectacular fish in Lake Michigan.

“I could still take you within 500 feet of where I saw that fish in the bay. Green Bay. Off of Ellison Bay, right west of Ellison Bay. That was in ’70 — about ’75, I think.

“I’ve seen a lot of 18-, 20-pound whitefish. You know? Back then, a normal whitefish was four or five pounds. That thing…when I seen that, coming up, I looked out and the first thing that entered my mind was, ‘That’s mine. That is mine.’ I could just picture him on my wall, you know, mounted. That’s the first thing that come to mind. That’s mine!

“I had a great big dip net. He come out of the water. I couldn’t get him in the dip net. He would not fit in that net. He had to go 30 pounds, I would say. I don’t know. I never got him but he was three-feet, plus. I never saw a whitefish that big in my life. Never. You know, and I was so angry at myself because he was going to be on my wall. He wouldn’t fit in the net; he was that big! He got away! You know, something big like that, he busted out of there. Never got him back, I’ll tell you.

“Another time fishing out of Algoma something came up in the net. I didn’t know what the heck it was, except I knew it was some kind of a weapon. It was about that long, about that big around (three feet long and six inches in diameter). Oh, it scared me. I didn’t know if it was live or what it was. I didn’t have a clue. But I put it in the truck and I brung it over to the police station.

“And here I come walking in to the police station with that damn big…well, all the cops, when saw me, they tore off running out the back door. (Laughter.) But I mean, I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t have a clue! Later I found out that they were them dummies (unarmed missiles) that they were firing for practice. I think the Navy was doing that all up and down the Lake Michigan shore.”

Alvin and Sandy Anderson partners in life and in their family’s fishing business.  —photo Katherine Keller

Alvin and Sandy Anderson partners in life and in their family’s fishing business.
—photo Katherine Keller

A different catch

Alvin joined the Army, serving in the Korean War from 1951 to 1953. Stationed near Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan, he was part of the amphibious corps, where he skippered a Landing Ship Tank (LST) landing craft that carried tanks in its cargo hold. Prior to his military service and again after he returned to civilian life, Alvin and his brother Floyd lived in Port Wing, Wis. and fished Lake Superior. In 1956 Alvin moved to Algoma, where his brothers Clarence and Clyde has established a fishery. The following year he met Sandy Dier, an Algoma native. Her father, Raymond Dier, was German and Bohemian and her mother, Laverne Corbisier was French Canadian and Native American. Sandy said she liked Alvin right away.

“It was the parade in Algoma, “ Sandy Anderson said. “You were in your fancy car with all these college girls and you seen me. And then you pointed me out to Regina and Regina introduced us. He was 22 and I was 16.”

“Oh…yeah,” Alvin said. “I never regretted. Almost 56 years.”

“And we were married when I was 16,” Sandy said. “We met in March of ’57 and we were married in August of ‘57.” (She turned 17 the following month.)

“We got married on her mother and dad’s anniversary,” Alvin said. “Thirty-first of August.”

“I told my mom, either you let us get married or I’ll have to get married,” laughed Sandy. “He proposed to me on the second date.” (She accepted.)

“When you know you got the right one, you better put the hook in,” Alvin said, with a twinkle.

Unbundled new net meshes

New meshes, still in their original bundles. —photo Katherine Keller

Sandy Anderson was a whiz working the needle to sew the nets to the lines that supported the floats, leads, and meshes (netting).

Sandy Anderson was a whiz working the needle to sew the nets to the lines that supported the floats, leads, and meshes (netting). —photo Katherine Keller

These trapezoidal net boxes, (lower right) are marked “A B” for Anderson Brothers, the name of Alvin and his brothers’ first fishing company.  —photo Katherine Keller

These trapezoidal net boxes are marked “A B” for Anderson Brothers, the name of Alvin and his brothers’ first fishing company. —photo Katherine Keller

Family business

Not long after they were married, Sandy began working with Alvin. She learned to mend and string gill nets. Floats are attached to the top lines and leads are attached to the bottom lines. The floats and leads keep the net vertical in the water. Fish swim into a gill net and get caught in the meshes—the net. When the nets are hauled up into the boat with a mechanical “lifter,” the crew picks the fish from the nets. The nets are folded and stored in net boxes until they’re set out again.

“Sewing nets started out when we first got married,” Sandy said. “And soon after that, I was pregnant with Dan and I wanted to be with the husband, you know. “So he was making new nets and I was [threading] needles for him.”

“We were making new nets. We bought the meshes and then you’d sew them on to the lines. That’s what we did,” Alvin said.

“All of a sudden he said, ‘Well, you’re good at crocheting and embroidery — needlework. I want you to learn how do to this.’

“And I said, ‘Oh, okay,’ you know, to please him. I can tell you after a week, I was faster than he was,” Sandy said.

“She never made a mistake. And the best part, she never made a mistake. Never made a mistake and that was very critical,” Alvin said. “If you made a mistake, it was wrong all the way through…”

“And then it doesn’t fish right,” Scott Slick explained.

Scott Slick demonstrates how a net box serves as comfy quarters to rest or sleep. He slept in boxes like these on board fishing boats. Sandy and Alvin Anderson tucked their infant son Dan among pillows and blankets when Sandy was sometimes called on help crew the boat.                       —photo Katherine Keller

Scott Slick demonstrates how a net box serves as comfy quarters to rest or sleep. He slept in boxes like these on board fishing boats. Sandy and Alvin Anderson tucked their infant son Dan among pillows and blankets when Sandy was sometimes called on help crew the boat. —photo Katherine Keller

Baby on board

Alvin and Sandy Anderson have two sons, Dan and Steve. When they were first married, Sandy helped out on the boat, in addition to sewing and mending nets. Not long after their firstborn Dan joined the family, he joined the crew. Alvin hired a crew member but needed a third. Dan was three-months-old the first time he was out on the water with his mother and father.

Anderson was given a model of his boat the D & S. The boat’s initials stand for his sons’ first names, Dan and Steve. —photo Katherine Keller

Anderson was given a model of his boat the D & S. The boat’s initials stand for his sons’ first names, Dan and Steve. —photo Katherine Keller

“We used to fish mid-lake, 40-45 miles out. It would take four hours or plus to get there. I think we used to leave the dock around 4 in the morning, 3:30 or 4 in the morning. It was eight hours, at least eight hours running time. When we were catching chubs. They were right on the bottom — 28, 30 to 30 fathoms. (A fathom is six feet.)

“I was his crew, you know. Alvin had one crew member, but he wanted three in the boat, so, I was one of the crew. And then when one of the guys got sick, then I crewed after Dan was born,” Sandy said. “We used to take a fish box, I had a good one at that time, and I had pillows and a blanket in there so it was nice and soft. I put the baby in there and made sure he was fed and changed before we got to the nets.”

“The boat rocked. What better kind of cradle could you get?” Alvin said.

B:W shot of olden days shacks

Looking west from the Becher Street bridge at Alvin Anderson’s fishing sheds and boat. Date unknown.
—photo courtesy Scott Slick

Boats & Shacks SCOTT SLICK

Fishing boats moored next to Alvin Anderson’s sheds on the Kinnickinnic River when his fishing business was still operating. —photo Scott Slick

Shacks on KK when active SCOTT SLICK

Alvin Anderson’s dockside fishing operation when it was still active, when there were was still a commercial fishery in Lake Michigan. Date unknown. —courtesy Scott Slick

“There was a couple reasons we moved down here,” Alvin said. “The fish seemed to be getting less up there and it was getting harder to transport your product to the market. There was so many more fish down here.

“Down here I made a deal with a big fish company in Chicago (Joe’s Fisheries, 1438 W. Cortland St.) They came and picked up the fish and everyday. We got along perfectly. Never no problems. If they quoted you a price, that’s what you got paid.

“Way back when we first moved down here, we caught three, four thousand pounds a day.” Alvin said. “Chubs were big back then. So they were probably two fish to a pound. The biggest lift I had was 4,900. I think we got around 25 cents a pound. But then when the fishing got a little scarce, man, then at the end we were getting a buck a pound, or a buck and a quarter, you know.”

“A thousand pounds a day, that’s a thousand bucks,” Sandy said.

 

 

This old style wooden fish box and and the newer plastic versions were packed with ice and fish to take the harvest to market. — photo Katherine Keller

This old style wooden fish box and and the newer plastic versions were packed with ice and fish to take the harvest to market. — photo Katherine Keller

When the boys were in school, Sandy began to take the fish to market.

“When Dan was in high school (Boys Trade and Technical High School) and Steve was still at Fritsche (Middle School), I used to haul fish to Chicago. I’d leave about 3:30 in the morning and I’d drive to Chicago, unload the fish, and then I would come back home and get the boys up, and off to school,” Sandy said.

“It was a pickup truck. We put built a wooden box so we could haul a lot more fish. One year, (about 1980 or so) I got caught up in, in the trucker’s strike. I used to go to Russell Road to the truck stop and I used to go there to fuel up sometimes I got caught there with the truckers. But I had two dogs with me and when the truckers would come to the window, I’d roll the window down, they’d see the dogs and they’d back off I drove in and out of the pumps and away I went! I prevailed.”

Alvin Anderson’s fishing sheds along the Kinnickinnic River, east of Second Street, are dormant now, a vestige of a vocation that disappeared from Lake Michigan with the trout, whitefish, chub, and perch, earlier this decade.            —photo Katheirne Keller

Alvin Anderson’s fishing sheds along the Kinnickinnic River, east of Second Street, are dormant now, a vestige of a vocation that disappeared from Lake Michigan with the trout, whitefish, chub, and perch, earlier this decade. —photo Katheirne Keller

Decimated fishery

“Something that I never ever thought I’d see is that the chubs would disappear. That, and all the invasive species. They come in through the ocean ships. They put all that garbage in our lake and now we got nothing, lamented Alvin.

“Perch was always, most species, always were a cycle. Up and down, up and down, but then when all these zebra mussels came in, took the food away. And they clarify the water and there’s no food. They’re worthless. And four or five years ago or so they had that virus in the water here. See, a chub is a very delicate fish and it don’t take much to do them in. I still think probably that virus that was in the water. I’m just curious if that didn’t do the chubs in.”

The good life

Anderson reflected on his 65-year career on the water.

“You’re free. You’ve got beautiful fresh air. It’s a way of life. It’s a good life, but you gotta like it,” he said. “It’s a wonderful life. I would not trade or change my life for anything. Never. I never got put in a shop. I never punched a clock. Ha! Sure, the hours were long but I never minded it. Hey, it was a way of life!”

At the end of the interview we asked Mr. Anderson if he ever considered operating a charger fishing business after his injury and developing arthritis?

“Noooo!” he said. (Laughter) Now you just swore at me!”

Wire rim spectacles hang over a bathymetric (depth) chart of Middle Lake Michigan on the wall of Alvin Anderson’s net shed. —photo Katherine Keller

Wire rim spectacles hang over a bathymetric (depth) chart of Middle Lake Michigan on the wall of Alvin Anderson’s net shed. —photo Katherine Keller

 

Starkey House

July 7, 2011

Storm of November 1913 with waves breaking against the shore directly below the bluff. Note the pavilion precipitously on the edge of the bluff in the background. ~photo courtesy John Ebersol

Leading family’s estate still stands

SCN05199

The Starkey place on S. Shore Drive during the winter of 1944-45. ~photo David Eva

The lakeside Starkey home, with hood moldings over the windows, was built on lots of the P.M. Pryor subdivision, acquired by the Milwaukee Iron Company in 1874. In 1890, George Starkey bought the home from the company, then known as the Illinois Steel Company.

George had four children. That the Starkey home became a grand estate is due to the effort of one of them, Daniel B. Starkey (1862-1949).

Starkey 3

Starkey in front of his house, before 1898. ~photo courtesy John Ebersol

Dan Starkey was fond of politics, parks, and publications—somewhat in that order (see sidebar). When he was just 19, Dan became an editor of the Bay View Herald newspaper. In 1882, he acquired the paper and in 1886 sold it to Beulah Brinton, who then ran it with her son Warren.

SCN05200

In 1893, Dan bought the lot to the south of his father’s home, which contained the old Pryor farm’s barn. Now with three lots, plus his income from both the steel mill where he was a foreman and from his newly published book (George Rogers Clark and His Illinois Campaign), Dan started developing the estate.

The Starkey Estate

First, major additions were made to the house. In 1897, the architectural firm of Ferry and Clas (who also designed Central Library) designed Dan’s library to the north and a solarium to the south.

Starkey House Pavilion

The pavilion, formal garden, and bridge to the pavilion (ca. 1956). Note the formal garden in front and bridge and drive down to garage below. ~phtoto courtesy John Ebersol

Often neighborhood perch dinners, receptions, and parties were held in the pavilion during the summer. The board of directors of the South Shore Yacht Club met in the pavilion in the 1920s.

Starkey 4

Storm of November 1913 with waves breaking against the shore directly below the bluff. Note the pavilion precipitously on the edge of the bluff in the background. ~photo courtesy John Ebersol

But the fate of the pavilion grew precarious, as it perched atop the bluff increasingly eroded and at the mercy of storms. The fall of 1913 saw a particularly severe storm that damaged equipment being used to build a seawall intended to protect the bluff. Hathoway Company’s equipment was damaged, but Edward E. Gillen Company finished the job, also extending the “bluff” eastward with iron slag fill from the nearby Thomas Furnace Company. The eventual completion of the seawall preserved Starkey’s pavilion, and other properties, and created the modern shore including the present-day yacht club parking lot and park and bike trail to the north.

Starkey map

What Remains

Though the Starkey pavilion and formal garden were removed in 1964 to allow for construction of a modern ranch-style home, much of Dan Starkey’s estate still exists behind the extant 2582 S. Shore Dr. home. Most of a spatter-dash-faced concrete wall survives, with concrete balusters and light poles extending for some 150 feet along the top of the bluff. The northern 50 feet of that wall extended off Starkey’s property onto land then occupied by descendents of the Pryors.

However, there was much more to the estate. A gravel drive completed a circuit around the house, connecting to the street (originally Erie Street, renamed Beulah Avenue, and today S. Shore Drive) to the north and south.

This gravel drive also descended below a concrete bridge heading east to a parking garage underneath the pavilion. Directly behind the house there is still a sunken garden with a fountain centered between two reflecting ponds. Just west of the pavilion, and surrounded by another baluster wall, was a formal garden.

Dan Starkey eventually moved to Illinois to continue publishing with members of his Sportsman Corporation. His sisters, Carrie and Mary, continued to live in the house on S. Shore Drive with relative Delbert Wentworth. Dan, 87, died in 1949, leaving no children. In 1951, the south lot with the pavilion was sold to Bill Lawrie, neighbor to the south. Today only the stately Italianate home of Dan Starkey remains to remind many Bay Viewers of the once grand estate.

John Ebersol is an amateur historian and the archivist of the South Shore Yacht Club.

Dan Starkey — Man of Politics, Parks & Publishing

In 1904, Starkey incorporated the Sportsman Publishing Company, which produced Northwestern Sportsman magazine. Over the next 10 years experiments in Country Life, Outdoor Life,and other magazines finally led to success with a magazine called Outers Book (1916-25).

Starkey Wahl Wedding

Milwaukee started buying land for parks in the 1890s. The “father” of the city parks and president of the Park Commission from 1889 to 1899 was Dan Starkey’s friend Christian Wahl. Wahl’s nephew Donald Wahl married Dan’s niece, Virginia Starkey, in a ceremony in Dan’s backyard in 1936.

Starkey always longed for a lake park in Bay View. In 1909, he and neighbor Theobald Otjen advanced their own money to purchase the land that became South Shore Park. The community celebrated the park’s opening June 16, 1909 at Starkey’s pavilion. By 1913, Dan began a four-year term on the City Park Board, serving with his architect friend, Alfred Clas.

In 1915, Starkey acquired the schooner Lilly E., which served as the South Shore Yacht Club’s clubhouse until 1922. For their efforts securing the shoreline and towing the Lilly E. from Sturgeon Bay to Milwaukee, Starkey and his friend Eddy Gillen were named the club’s first life members. Starkey was also married to Harriet Wentworth.

Early evolution of Wisconsin’s largest yacht club

October 1, 2010

By Anna Passante

A blue-collar neighborhood is not an obvious location for a yacht club, but that didn’t stop Bay View. On Oct. 3, 1913, six Bay View men met at the home of J.W. Campbell on Bishop Avenue (now known as Wentworth Avenue) to sign the original charter of the South Shore Yacht Club, according to the club’s 75th anniversary yearbook.

The purpose of the club, according to the articles of incorporation, was to “encourage yacht building and naval architecture” and “to bring about closer fellowship among those having an interest in the art of yachting…”

SSYCsteel

Steel Mills Yacht Club building formerly at 2530 S. Shore Dr. Source: Bernhard Korn’s Story of Bay View

Barr REVISED

William “Pop” Barr, one of the founders of SSYC. ~courtesy South Shore Yacht Club

The first clubhouse was a rented house at 2540 S. Shore Dr. owned by James R. Williams, a steel worker at the Illinois Steel Mill; but by April 23, 1915, the club had moved their meetings to Commodore William Barr’s residence at 2600 S. Shore Dr.

A Floating Clubhouse

Lily E (SSYC)Club member Daniel B. Starkey suggested that the club purchase an 1869 three-mast lumber schooner, the Lily E., and convert it to a floating clubhouse. In May 1915 the Lily E. was purchased, with the terms of $50 down and the $300 balance to be paid in one year. The Lily E. was then pulled from the mud of a Sturgeon Bay boneyard and towed to the Leathem & Smith dock in Sturgeon Bay for temporary repairs. Club member Edward Gillen organized the towing of the Lily E. to the foot of E. Nock Street in Bay View. The ship arrived on July 5, 1915.

The ship’s hold was converted to a large clubroom, a galley, men’s and ladies’ lavatories, locker rooms, and a den. The main deck was used for dancing and the cabin was used for a ladies’ reception room and officers’ quarters. A hurricane deck, built over the main deck, served as another dance floor.

In 1915 the yacht club membership split, with some members forming a new club, the Steel Mills Yacht Club.

Lily E2 (SSYC)

The Lily E. clubhouse was well used by members for picnics, dances, regattas, and other gatherings. However, by the spring of 1921, the schooner had so deteriorated that the club’s fire insurance was cancelled. A decision was made to abandon the Lily E. and find a new clubhouse.

On Dec. 20, 1921, the South Shore Yacht club merged with the Steel Mills Yacht Club, reuniting the divided club membership. They kept the name South Shore Yacht Club. Members met at the old Steel Mills Yacht Club located at 2530 S. Shore Dr. (now razed), owned by the Illinois Steel Company. The following summer the club destroyed the Lily E. by setting it afire at its mooring. What remained of the incinerated schooner was then covered with landfill.

A Permanent Clubhouse

In 1925, the Illinois Steel Company reclaimed the Steel Mills Yacht Club building for company offices, causing the club to relocate. The sailing club’s next home was a welded steel barge moored at the foot of Nock Street. In October 1929 a fierce storm caused the barge to break free of its mooring, forcing the barge ashore and completely destroying it. The late George T. Burns remembered seeing the yacht club piano floating among the wreckage.

Thoughts turned to a new permanent clubhouse. The city of Milwaukee created land for the new clubhouse by extending the Lake Michigan shoreline at the foot of E. Nock Street, near the buried Lily E. The city dumped landfill of gravel and slag (a byproduct of ore smelting) into the lake. In essence, the city was reclaiming land that had been lost due to erosion decades before.

Lawrie REVISED

William T. Lawrie (club commodore in 1944). ~courtesy South Shore Yacht Club

Largest in State

The original building is no longer recognizable due to additions constructed in the 1950s and ’60s. Extensive remodeling was done in the 1970s and ’80s.

SSYCfront

SSYCrear

1937 photos from South Shore Yacht Club Anniversary Yearbook 1913-1988. ~courtesy South Shore Yacht Club per John Ebersol

The South Shore Yacht Club, the largest yacht club in Wisconsin, now stands behind security gates, installed in 1976 over the remains of Lily E.’s bow. Club membership is open to everyone, with no restrictions.

“At one time, the majority of our members all lived ‘up the hill,’” club member Bob Aring said. “Now less than 20 percent live in the 53207 Zip Code.”

There are 230 boats in the slips, another 100 boats on moorings, and rest are moored boats in a federally designated area and supervised by the Port of Milwaukee, Aring said.

Leading family’s estate still stands on Shore Drive

August 30, 2010

By John Ebersol

 



SCN05199

The Starkey place on S. Shore Drive during the winter of 1944-45. ~photo David Eva

The lakeside Starkey home, with hood moldings over the windows, was built on lots of the P.M. Pryor subdivision, acquired by the Milwaukee Iron Company in 1874. In 1890, George Starkey bought the home from the company, then known as the Illinois Steel Company.

George had four children. That the Starkey home became a grand estate is due to the effort of one of them, Daniel B. Starkey (1862-1949).

Starkey 3

Starkey in front of his house, before 1898. ~photo courtesy John Ebersol

Dan Starkey was fond of politics, parks, and publications—somewhat in that order (see sidebar). When he was just 19, Dan became an editor of the Bay View Herald newspaper. In 1882, he acquired the paper and in 1886 sold it to Beulah Brinton, who then ran it with her son Warren.

SCN05200

In 1893, Dan bought the lot to the south of his father’s home, which contained the old Pryor farm’s barn. Now with three lots, plus his income from both the steel mill where he was a foreman and from his newly published book (George Rogers Clark and His Illinois Campaign), Dan started developing the estate.

The Starkey Estate

First, major additions were made to the house. In 1897, the architectural firm of Ferry and Clas (who also designed Central Library) designed Dan’s library to the north and a solarium to the south.

Starkey House Pavilion

The pavilion, formal garden, and bridge to the pavilion (ca. 1956). Note the formal garden in front and bridge and drive down to garage below. ~phtoto courtesy John Ebersol

Often neighborhood perch dinners, receptions, and parties were held in the pavilion during the summer. The board of directors of the South Shore Yacht Club met in the pavilion in the 1920s.

Starkey 4

Storm of November 1913 with waves breaking against the shore directly below the bluff. Note the pavilion precipitously on the edge of the bluff in the background. ~photo courtesy John Ebersol

But the fate of the pavilion grew precarious, as it perched atop the bluff increasingly eroded and at the mercy of storms. The fall of 1913 saw a particularly severe storm that damaged equipment being used to build a seawall intended to protect the bluff. Hathoway Company’s equipment was damaged, but Edward E. Gillen Company finished the job, also extending the “bluff” eastward with iron slag fill from the nearby Thomas Furnace Company. The eventual completion of the seawall preserved Starkey’s pavilion, and other properties, and created the modern shore including the present-day yacht club parking lot and park and bike trail to the north.

Starkey map

What Remains

Though the Starkey pavilion and formal garden were removed in 1964 to allow for construction of a modern ranch-style home, much of Dan Starkey’s estate still exists behind the extant 2582 S. Shore Dr. home. Most of a spatter-dash-faced concrete wall survives, with concrete balusters and light poles extending for some 150 feet along the top of the bluff. The northern 50 feet of that wall extended off Starkey’s property onto land then occupied by descendents of the Pryors.

However, there was much more to the estate. A gravel drive completed a circuit around the house, connecting to the street (originally Erie Street, renamed Beulah Avenue, and today S. Shore Drive) to the north and south.

This gravel drive also descended below a concrete bridge heading east to a parking garage underneath the pavilion. Directly behind the house there is still a sunken garden with a fountain centered between two reflecting ponds. Just west of the pavilion, and surrounded by another baluster wall, was a formal garden.

Dan Starkey eventually moved to Illinois to continue publishing with members of his Sportsman Corporation. His sisters, Carrie and Mary, continued to live in the house on S. Shore Drive with relative Delbert Wentworth. Dan, 87, died in 1949, leaving no children. In 1951, the south lot with the pavilion was sold to Bill Lawrie, neighbor to the south. Today only the stately Italianate home of Dan Starkey remains to remind many Bay Viewers of the once grand estate.

John Ebersol is an amateur historian and the archivist of the South Shore Yacht Club.

Dan Starkey — Man of Politics, Parks & Publishing

In 1904, Starkey incorporated the Sportsman Publishing Company, which produced Northwestern Sportsman magazine. Over the next 10 years experiments in Country Life, Outdoor Life,and other magazines finally led to success with a magazine called Outers Book (1916-25).

Starkey Wahl Wedding

Milwaukee started buying land for parks in the 1890s. The “father” of the city parks and president of the Park Commission from 1889 to 1899 was Dan Starkey’s friend Christian Wahl. Wahl’s nephew Donald Wahl married Dan’s niece, Virginia Starkey, in a ceremony in Dan’s backyard in 1936.

Starkey always longed for a lake park in Bay View. In 1909, he and neighbor Theobald Otjen advanced their own money to purchase the land that became South Shore Park. The community celebrated the park’s opening June 16, 1909 at Starkey’s pavilion. By 1913, Dan began a four-year term on the City Park Board, serving with his architect friend, Alfred Clas.

In 1915, Starkey acquired the schooner Lilly E., which served as the South Shore Yacht Club’s clubhouse until 1922. For their efforts securing the shoreline and towing the Lilly E. from Sturgeon Bay to Milwaukee, Starkey and his friend Eddy Gillen were named the club’s first life members. Starkey was also married to Harriet Wentworth.

Diving the deep wrecks

March 1, 2010

By Michael Timm

During the winter months, Bay View resident Jitka Hanakova works as a business analyst. But from April to October, she takes scuba divers to some of the deepest, least accessible shipwrecks on the Great Lakes.

Hanakova started diving in 2000 and quickly fell in love with the sport. She found a good, local charter boat operator in Jerry Guyer and started exploring area shipwrecks. In 2004 she got her captain’s license and worked on Guyer’s boat as a captain. In 2008, she bought her own boat and started her own charter business, Shipwreck Explorers, with Chicago partner Lubo Valuch.  »Read more

Flood of ’08 served up feast for fish

May 28, 2009

By Jennifer Yauck

One year ago this month, a series of severe storms moving across the Midwest dropped nearly a foot of rain on the Milwaukee area in just 10 days. The deluge caused widespread flooding that damaged homes and businesses, washed out roads, closed the airport, and belched plumes of sediment, debris, and sewage into Lake Michigan.

But the flood may also have delivered food to some of Lake Michigan’s fish when they needed it most.

Among the many things the area’s swollen rivers carried out to Lake Michigan during and after the storms was a mix of the rivers’ microscopic algae (phytoplankton), including diatoms, said Carmen Aguilar, a scientist at the Great Lakes WATER Institute. Diatoms are one of the largest forms of phytoplankton and the only form having glass-like cell walls made of silica. Diatoms also are packed with lipids, making them a nutritious meal for newly hatched fish and the tiny aquatic animals that newly hatched fish also eat.  »Read more

Q&A with filmmaker Michael Matzdorff

January 30, 2009

By Matthew Sliker

Filmmaker Michael MatzdorffLongtime film editor and Green Bay native Michael Matzdorff will return to Wisconsin in February to film Feed the Fish, a romantic comedy about a burned-out children’s book author who had a hit book a few years back and is now trying to get his career and life back in order.

Matzdorff has directed two short films, but Feed the Fish will be his first time directing a feature length film. He has a wide array of credits to his name, mostly as editor or assistant editor. Most recently he edited Code Name: The Cleaner, a comedy starring Cedric the Entertainer, Nicollette Sheridan, and Lucy Liu. Other films he has edited are From Within, Motel, and National Lampoon’s Pledge This!, starring Paris Hilton. He was also the editor of the second season of the TV show Monk.

Additionally, he worked in the editorial department of the films Fight Club, Analyze This, Black Sheep and Meet Joe Black.

At the time of our interview in mid-January, last minute casting decisions for Feed the Fish were still being made. But a few talented actors have already signed on for the project.

Tony Shalhoub, from the USA Network’s Monk, will play the town sheriff. Later this year, Shalhoub will tape the eighth and last season of Monk, for which he has won three Emmy Awards and one Golden Globe.

Veteran actor Seymour Cassel is set to play Axel, an inspirational mentor the main character meets while in Wisconsin. Cassel is an Academy Award nominee who has appeared in over 100 films and dozens of TV shows.

Actress Vanessa Branch is also on board. Branch’s film credits include the three Pirates of the Caribbean movies and roles on the TV shows CSI: Miami, Lost, Gilmore Girls, and Port Charles.

In mid-January, I spoke with Matzdorff – who was deep in the pre-production stage of the project. He filmed Jacksonport’s annual “polar bear plunge” on New Year’s Day and will return to Door County in February to film the rest of the movie.


Q: I know you’re no stranger to Wisconsin…

A: Well, I’m originally from Green Bay. Also lived down in the Milwaukee area, in Delafield. My parents moved west to California when I was 13 years old.

Q: Was that your main motivation for setting the story here?

A: Yeah, it was actually. My family is up there every summer, as am I. We have some family property up there that we use, and a couple of them will be main [filming] locations. And I know just because my father and mother have been up there since the early 60′s, and my mother’s family has been up there since the 40′s and 50′s, that there’s a lot of people who know the name. That has sort of allowed us to get help and favors from people who know the name. I’ve met a lot of them over the years in passing, but they’re really better known by my mother, my father, my grandfather and other people who preceded me up there.

Q: What do you think about Wisconsin as a filmmaking destination?

A: Winter, of course, is an issue because it’s cold, it’s slippery, and the weather is a little unpredictable. But that being said, I think Wisconsin is a fantastic destination for filming. It’s got a ton of elements that are used in every story. It’s got big cities, it’s got open water like an ocean, it’s got hilly country, it’s got forests, it’s got farmland, and little towns in-between. And I think that its beautiful landscape and I don’t know why more productions don’t go there. And I’m hoping that with not only the tax incentives, but also places like RDI Stages in Milwaukee –and I’m sure that more of them will spring up– that it brings more business.

Q: You filmed the Polar Bear Plunge in Jacksonport on New Year’s Day. I heard you’ll be re-shooting that?

A: We’re gonna do a reenactment with our main actors. We’re gonna be looking for some spectators who are willing to come out and put themselves in the movie. Probably about 100 people. And we’re also gonna be looking for about 100 people who are willing to go in [the water] again. We’re gonna send in four groups of 25 or so, just so we don’t torture anybody too much. I think it’s going to be Feb. 21st. If anyone is interested, they should contact feedthefish@triplefinger.com. Just in case anybody wants to subject themselves to some pain.

Q: Where in Door County will you be shooting?

A: We’ll be in Sturgeon Bay, Sister Bay, Ellison Bay, Gils Rock and Jacksonport. And a few points in between all of those.

Q: How many people do you expect to be working on the project in Wisconsin?

A: We are expecting probably between 25 and 35 crew members depending on the day and the need. I know we’re also looking for some local folks who can help us with some things. There are both paid and unpaid positions that we’re offering. Like intern-type positions.

Q: How have the communities up there responded to the project so far?

A: They’re extremely gracious and have been very generous with their time and their help. Really, we could not be doing this without so much local support, without question.

Q: You’ve directed two short films, No Regrets and The Belt. Can you tell me a little about those?

A: Well, I’ve always looked at short films as a great way to practice for a feature length film because generally you run into all the same problems and the same issues, the same needs. It’s very much sort of a miniature version of a feature film and it’s a great way to learn. And both of them have played festivals and won awards at festivals. And both of them were made for basically no money at all.

Q: Feed the Fish will be the first feature length film you’ve directed. Much of your work in the industry has been as an editor. How has editing helped prepare you for directing?

A: I think editing is a great place to learn about filmmaking because what you end up doing in editing is actually the last rewrite.  Story is very important, obviously, in filmmaking and storytelling in general. In editing, you take everything that’s been shot and figure out what’s required to convey the information on the screen. And because I wrote and will be directing and probably taking part in the editing of “Feed the Fish,” I’m hoping that I’ve guessed right with the writing and will do well with the directing. There’s been a lot of editing already done, in my opinion. And hopefully my opinion is the right one!

Q: When did you write the screenplay?

A: Started working on it in 2006 and I’m gonna be working on it this afternoon. (Laughs) It was basically to a state of completion, I would say, early last year. Storytelling, I think, is a really complicated thing and it’s hard to do well. It takes a great deal of time, at least for me, to make a good story. And I think that we have a great story here, but it hasn’t come without a lot of help and input and showing it to people, getting feedback. So it’s not a solitary process. Nothing about filmmaking is a solitary process.

Q: Will you premiere Feed the Fish in Wisconsin?

A: Yeah, the plan is once we are finished, I would like to run the film in Sturgeon Bay for everyone in Door County and everyone who helped us out.

Related Items

  • To read a report on RDI Stages’ grand opening, click here.
  • To visit the film’s official website, click here.
  • Contact Matthew Sliker at matt@bayviewcompass.com.

Bay View’s Christmas tree ships

November 25, 2008

By Anna Passante

Christmas trees arrive in Bay View 1931 In the early 1900s ships sailed Lake Michigan hauling Christmas trees from Michigan ports to coastal cities in southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Christmas tree lots were set up at the docks and the trees were sold to area residents, excitedly performing their annual ritual of picking out the perfect Christmas tree.

The most infamous of the Lake Michigan Christmas tree ships was the Rouse Simmons, which sold its trees at a dock in Chicago. On Nov. 22, 1912, under threatening gray skies, Captain Herman Schuenemann left the Thompson harbor near Manistique, Mich., loaded with 3,000 to 5,000 Christmas trees. During a violent storm the ship was lost northeast of Two Rivers, Wis. and the entire crew of 16 perished.

Bay View had its own Christmas tree ships in the 1920s and 1930s-owned by a native son who resided at 2602 S. Shore Dr., Captain William J. Lawrie. Lawrie came from a family of “lakefarers.” His father was a boating enthusiast, and his grandfather, William Barr, was a shipbuilder. »Read more