West Shore Bank’s Rhythm & Dunes concerts — previously scheduled for July 25 and Aug. 1 — have been canceled due to COVID-19.
In a press release on Friday, West Shore Bank stated that the decision was not made lightly, and that the health and safety of communities, volunteers, vendors and visitors was the primary concern, as it would be too difficult to ensure proper social distancing with the large crowds the concerts bring.
“West Shore Bank takes extreme pride in providing this community event each year and supporting young musicians in the area,” said President and CEO Raymond Biggs. “Bringing people together for a worthy cause has been part of our mission to make a difference in our communities, but we feel it is also our responsibility, as a community leader, to protect the health and safety of our local and visiting community members.”
The same acts that planned to perform in this year’s concerts have been booked for 2021, and those dates have already been scheduled for Waterfront Park. On Saturday, July 24, 2021, Landsharks Band will perform, and the Mega ’80s Band will perform the following Saturday, July 31.
West Shore Bank’s Rhythm & Dunes concerts also raise money for local music programs, and feature music from local high-school bands.
Visit www.rhythmanddunes.com or follow West Shore Bank’s Facebook page for more information and updates.
Monday is Memorial Day, and though the traditional Ludington service and parade have been canceled due to COVID-19, there are still ways people in Mason County can remember and celebrate departed members of the military.
The Mason County Allied Veterans Council is recommending that people spend the holiday reflecting about the history of deceased local service-people and the various wars and conflicts in which they’ve served, by exploring some significant destinations, according to Michelle Hemmer, council president.
“The first suggestion we have is for people to take an opportunity for self-education and exploration, and visit one of the 34 cemeteries in Mason County and locate any graves — the marked graves are veterans,” Hemmer told the Daily News in a phone call. “There’s a lot of history that can be learned from that.”
She said people can pay their respects by dusting off or cleaning gravestones.
The veterans council is also recommending that people visit some of the area’s tribute sites, such as the Mason County Fallen Hero Memorial located in front of the Mason County Courthouse.
“There is listed the name of every single person in Mason County who died in service to their country. They’re listed by the war or conflict they were involved in,” Hemmer said.
She said the council also encourages people to visit the World War I memorial in Rotary Park.
“(It) includes the names of all of those from Mason County who died in World War I,” Hemmer said, adding that the reason there is a separate memorial World War I memorial is because, at the time, “nobody believed we’d have such a war ever again.”
There’s another spot relevant to that war that the council is recommending as a place to pay respects on Monday.
“Leveaux Park, located on Ludington Avenue and Staffon Street, was named in honor of two brothers who served in World War I, and they died in the war,” Hemmer said.
Those brothers were Cosmer and Emery Leveaux, and the park features a stone bench erected in 1955 by the Mason County Garden club in tribute to them
“I think it would be great for people to put up flags or stick them in the ground and learn about that history,” said Hemmer.
Additionally, people can visit the statue tribute to Civil War soldiers in Lakeview Cemetery.
Residents are encouraged to commemorate the holiday with a placement of flowers at any of these sites or at their homes, or a sign bearing the words, “We remember,” according to Hemmer.
“We suggest that you make sure the flag gets up in your yard, or on your porch or in your window just to display patriotism in general,” Hemmer said.
Questions can be directed to Hemmer at email@example.com.
The VFW Gold Bar Post in Custer will remain closed on Memorial Day, but in a message to the Daily News via Facebook, the post stated that each VA National Cemetery will conduct a brief wreath-laying ceremony, accompanied by a moment of silence and the sounding of Taps. The ceremonies will not be open to the public, but people are encouraged due to CDC guidelines, but people are encouraged to watch via livestream or recorded video through www.va.gov.
Number of confirmed cases in area counties
Mason County: 31 (4 recovered)
Oceana County: 74 (3 recovered; 2 deaths)
Manistee County: 11 (3 recovered)
Lake County: 5 (2 recovered)
Wexford County: 11 (6 recovered; 2 deaths)
Newaygo County: 78 (12 recovered)
— as of 3:30 p.m. Friday according to District
Health Department No. 10, www.dhd10.org
For Jack Bauknecht, 95, who moved to Ludington a year ago, Memorial Day means honoring those who gave their lives for the country he loves and put his life on the line for during World War II.
Bauknecht told the Daily News that he really appreciates the people who come up to him at places like the House of Flavors and thank him for his service.
“People will come over and shake my hand and thank me for World War II and what I did,” he said. “That is the stuff that I remember. It is great for people to say thanks for your service.”
Bauknecht, years after his service time in World War II had ended, wanted to share his story. He did, when he was living in Delta Township near Lansing, and it appeared on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2011, in the Lansing State Journal.
“I have always had this,” he told the Lansing State Journal at that time. “But I have never shared this with anybody besides my family.”
Today, he wants to share it again but with people from his new home. He moved to Ludington last May, he said, to life with his son. This May, he wanted to share his story while marking Memorial Day.
Unfortunately, the Memorial Day services planned for this year had to be canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic, but Bauknecht did attend the service last year and was grateful for that service and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Bauknecht, like many of his fellow GI’s during World War II, received a draft notice. His came during his senior year of high school in 1943.
Bauknecht was drafted into the U.S. Army and become a member of the 483rd Military Police Escort Guard Company. In September 1943, he was in Monticello, Arkansas, where the United States was holding 4,000 Italian captured as allied forces swept through North Africa.
Bauknecht told the Lansing State Journal that later in 1943, the 483rd crossed the Atlantic Ocean to oversee German prisoners in a transit camp and escort 3,000 of them back to the states by way of steamship. On one of those crossings back to England — by way of Scotland to avoid submarine attacks — was abroad the Queen Mary, a luxury liner that was converted to a troop carrier.
While on the Queen Mary, during one of those crossings, Bauknecht bumped into Winston Churchill, he told the Lansing State Journal.
“I was standing first in to get on the elevator to get up a few more decks,” he told the Journal. “The door opened and there is Churchill with his wife and four of his generals.”
The British prime minister put his hand up with fingers in a “V” for victory and told the Americans to remember, “We British are in this war, too,” he told the newspaper.
He also told the Lansing State Journal on Sept. 29, 1944, that he and and his fellow MPs crossed the English Channel into France, just three months behind the Allied invasion on D-Day.
After that he said the MPs moved along with the infantry rounding up prisoners and they moved from ton to town.
Prisoners were not kept in jail cells but in any place they could be secured like barns, houses and buildings.
“We interrogated them, got information, found out where the next battle might be coming up,” he told the Lansing State Journal.
In April 1945, Bauknecht told the Lansing State Journal that the Allied troops eventually advanced far into Germany to liberate the first of many concentration camps, this one located in Ohrduf.
On April 12, the MPs took over another concentration camp this time to use as a prison for the German prisoners of war, he told the newspaper. By May 8, Bauknecht told the State Journal the was over in Europe. From there, he along with others, headed for the Pacific where he first served in the Philippines then Japan.
Bauknecht returned to the mainland on Dec. 26, 1945, and arrived back in Saginaw in February 1946.
Reminder: Check to be sure if you need a burn permit
Local fire officials are reminding residents and visitors of the need to check what is permitted for burning.
According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, burning permits are being issued for all townships in Mason County with guidelines and restrictions of burning after 6 p.m.
The state updates its burn permit website each day at 10 a.m. at www2.dnr.state.mi.us/burnpermits.
The DNR also recommends checking with local city, township and village officials before lighting a fire.
As the state re-opens, it is clear to some businesses that customers have changed their purchasing habits during the stay home order.
For Carter Lumber in Ludington, customers were more likely to request materials be dropped off, according to the manager, Kim Wild.
Wild said the primary base of customers is typically builders, but when construction projects were closed, it changed to home improvement customers.
“We are doing a lot more cash sales than normal, but revenue was down,” he said. “During that first month-and-a-half, it was mostly cash customers.”
When the outbreak of coronavirus began, Wild noticed more customers purchasing decks and pole barns.
“We sold more treated lumber this year. We usually order a truck of treated a month. I ordered two trucks of treated in the same week,” he said.
Carter Lumber did reduce its staff and just recently re-opened its showroom. The store took curbside orders for the first part of the stay home order.
“I thought it was a good idea. I wasn’t keen about opening the showroom,” he said.
If the restrictions continue, he expected Carter Lumber will do more on-site deliveries.
“People tended to want to have (material) delivered. We like that, too, because it limits our exposure,” he said.
Aaron Schmock, manager of Larson’s Ace Hardware in Ludington, said the first few weeks were quiet, though they were able to be open under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s orders.
“I think people were scared to get out of their houses. They didn’t know what they should do. When they realized they could (shop safely), sales picked up,” he said. “Now, we are back to pretty much average. It’s hard to gauge because this is our busy season.”
The first month of the stay home order, the store reduced its hours. The store is normally open on Sundays during the summer, but has decided not to be for now. The bathroom is also closed to the public at this time.
He also noticed more people purchasing home improvement materials.
“I definitely noticed an increase in paint (purchases),” Schmock said. “I think people being inside their houses made them realize, ‘Hey, we could paint the kitchen.’”
Ryan Cox, location manager for Standard Lumber in Ludington, said there was a significant increase in customers focused on home projects.
“Typically our customer base is 90 percent professional contractors. During the COVID crisis, it switched to 95 percent homeowners,” he said. “Now that the showroom is open, there are more people looking for assistance. They are checking out decking and interior type materials. When the showroom was closed, they did their shopping online.”
His opinion was that people are working on their homes because they have been staying at home more.
Standard Lumber has been open during the stay home order, with certain restrictions, he said. The showroom was closed for five weeks, during which the store offered curbside pick up.
“We turned into a drive-thru lumber yard,” he said.
The pandemic could cause a shift from box stores to small businesses, Cox predicted.
“It’s nice for customers to come here. At the big stores, there are lines and more people interact. People find it easier and safer to come to a smaller business to get their products,” Cox said. “It was nice to see faces in our store than we hadn’t seen in years.”
Julie Van Dyke, co-owner of Cottage Works, said people were spending more money on docks, boat lifts and swim rafts.
“Everyone is saying they have extra cash right now because they haven’t been out to eat or shopping. They said, ‘So we decided to buy the dock this year,’” she said.
The store was closed from March 24 to May 7. Cottage Works is only open for its landscaping and construction services at this time.
Van Dyke said their business is seasonal and many customers have not returned to the area yet.
Positive Chimney & Fire Place representative Jason Warne observed businesses are trying to be conscientious of consumer’s feelings.
“We want customers to feel respected, safe and understood. Moving forward, I think more businesses will incorporate this ... because there is value attached to that,” he said.
Positive Chimney re-opened for service and repairs when building was allowed to resume earlier this month.
“We make sure the customers are comfortable. Nothing is scheduled until the customer is comfortable with the service,” he said.