2018-12-06 / Columns

Vice mayor at the helm

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OMENA’S VICE MAYOR Punkin Anderson-Harder, a Cavapoo, poses with one of his owners, Gina Harder, in front of the Christmas tree at the Omena Historical Society in downtown Omena. Photo by David Lightner OMENA’S VICE MAYOR Punkin Anderson-Harder, a Cavapoo, poses with one of his owners, Gina Harder, in front of the Christmas tree at the Omena Historical Society in downtown Omena. Photo by David Lightner It’s December already! Less than a month until it’s 2019. Where did this year go??

The holiday season is upon us - Hanukkah began on Sunday and ends at sundown Monday, Dec. 10, and Christmas is less than three weeks away. Nevertheless, things are pretty quiet around Omena. That is good news to Omena’s Second Vice Mayor, Punkin Anderson-Harder. The Cavapoo puppy, a freshman member of Omena Village Council, is currently in charge of things in the village while the Mayor and First Vice Mayor are both on vacation. This is Mayor Sweet Tart McKee’s first holiday season at the helm. The Norwegian Forest cat is Omena’s first feline mayor, and she is taking an extended holiday leave so that she can take her sweet time making sure everything is ready for the New Year. First Vice Mayor Diablo Shapiro, a Coton du Tulear, celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas, so with Hanukkah being early this year, he is also taking an extended holiday leave in order to enjoy both holidays with his family.

Hanukkah (or Chanukah) is an eight-day festival which begins each year on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev. Because the Hebrew calendar is based on the lunar cycle, the dates of Jewish holidays according to the Gregorian calendar change from year to year. For this reason, the beginning of Hanukkah can range from early November to late December. Next year, Hanukkah will overlap with Christmas, running from December 22 - 30. Its frequent proximity to Christmas is responsible for the gift-giving aspect of the festival.

Hanukkah commemorates events that took place in Judea more than 2,000 years ago, when the Syrian king Antiochus ordered the Jews to abandon the Torah and publicly worship the Greek gods. This act provoked a rebellion led by Judas Maccabeus, climaxed by the retaking of the Temple in Jerusalem, which had been desecrated by the Syrians. The army of Jews won, despite their small numbers.

In an eight-day celebration, the “Maccabees”, as the rebels came to be known, cleansed and rededicated the Temple (chanukah means “dedication”). According to the Talmud, there was only enough consecrated oil to relight the candelabra for one day, yet, miraculously, it remained lit for eight days.

The central feature of the observance of Hanukkah is the nightly lighting of the Chanukiah or menorah, an eight-branched candelabra with a place for a ninth candle, the shammes, used to light the others. One candle is lit on the first night of Hanukkah, and an additional candle is lit on each successive night, until, on the eighth night, the Chanukiah is fully illuminated. Hanukkah is also called the Feast of Lights or Festival of Lights due to the importance of the candle-lighting.

Punkin has a few issues she is looking into. Greg McMorrow reported that the deer around his property are getting bolder and bolder, and he suspects one of his neighbors (maybe the one up on the hill) might be training them to harass him and sending them to his house. There is also the issue of Bob and Mary Smart’s Christmas tree that keeps falling down. The tree is outdoors on their porch and Punkin wonders whether the McMorrow’s deer are widening their territory. It seems unlikely that it would be a deficiency in the setting up of the tree. The Omena News may have more on this story next week.

While Punkin is fretting over affairs in Omena, Gina Harder, one of her owners, is enjoying events in the area. She has been attending the Inland Seas Education Association’s (ISEA) monthly discussion group, ISEA Cafe. Its theme this year is the book, “Death and Life of the Greater Lakes” by Dan Eagan. You do not have to read the book to come and participate in the discussion, but the book is available at Enerdyne, and ISEA has a few copies to loan. Gina said that it is a very interesting and educational discussion, and she loves the book. The December meeting is coming Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m. at ISEA in Suttons Bay. This month’s discussion will focus on salmon, ballast water, and zebra mussels.

This coming Tuesday is also the community forum about the future of the Bay Theater. The meeting begins at 6 pm at the theater.

Bill Sulau and Kay Nolen’s daughter, Katie Sulau and her husband Ryan Werder left right after Thanksgiving for their 2-month honeymoon to Australia, New Zealand and parts of Asia. They were married this past September at Fountain Point Resort in Lake Leelanau. Bill and Kay spent Thanksgiving with them at the Werder’s home in Chicago. They live downtown right on the river, so they were all able to walk to the parade Thanksgiving morning. Bill and Kay returned to Omena before the blizzard hit later that weekend.

There’s plenty to do in the area. Today from 5 to 7 p.m. is the “Art is Powderful: Ski for Yourself” student art show in the Northport Public School lobby.

This Saturday is the Northport Women’s Club Holiday Bake Sale at the Township Fire Hall in Northport from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Sunday is the annual Christmas Concert with the Northport Community Band and The Village Voices in the NCAC Auditorium at 2 p.m. They will be joined this year by the Northport School Wildcat Band. It’s a not-to-missed holiday event.

Congratulations to Omena residents Brooke Duffiney and Dean Hulett for making the Northport Public School (NPS) honor roll. Brooke is a freshman and earned all A’s. Dean is in the sixth grade and earned all B’s or better.

Happy Birthday to Alice Littlefield and Tess Edgley. Happy Anniversary to Benjamin and Suzanne Woessner Cherry.

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