The year 2019 in review: Part two of stories covered in the Advance

by Richard Lamb–Advance Editor

A look at some of the news covered by the Presque Isle County Advance and Onaway Outlook centers on festivals, fall sports and the people of the county. What follows is the second part of the year in review. 


Lifelong Onaway resident Clark Chapman, was honored as the grand marshal for the Fourth of July parade. He served in the Army during the Vietnam War and worked at the United Auto Workers Black Lake Conference Center for 30 years. 

The arrival of the Kayak Express, a custom-made vessel constructed by Moran Iron Works of Onaway, drew much interest in the Rogers City Marina. After spending a few days at the Rogers City port, the boat arrived in Munising for a life of service to those viewing the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the Upper Peninsula. 

Rogers City manager Joe Hefele was given high marks in his performance evaluation July 2. Mayor Scott McLennan said he received the highest rating overall, which exceeded expectations. 

A possible tornado touched down in Belknap Township causing some property damage but no injuries. The National Weather Service said in spite of the damage, the wind was not classified as a tornado, but those who experienced it begged to differ.

As the nation observed the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, a local man was remembered for his part in history. A front-page feature story about Navy veteran the late Mark E. Baller Sr.  told of his front-row seat to history about the USS Hornet in 1969.3919-1A

Presque Isle County Sheriff Joe Brewbaker defended the actions of deputy sheriff John Eby at the meeting of the Presque Isle County Board of Commissioners. After viewing the video of an event in Onaway, Brewbaker said the deputy’s actions were appropriate. 

Contestants for Miss Rogers City were featured on the front page.  They included Brooklyn Bober, Caitlynn Shadbolt, Cassidy Delekta, Alayna Sorget, Abigail Sterly, Hannah Hentkowski and Madison Tulgestka. Teen Miss contestants included Haley Rose Grulke, Niya Hoffman, Josephine Bellmore, Lylian Bickhardt and Ava Kelly.

Military from seven countries were in the area for training. The exercises included training on the grounds of Carmeuse Lime & Stone in the operation called Northern Strike 19. 

Lakeside Park in Rogers City again hosted the Rogers City Area Chamber of Commerce (RCACOC) Summer Concert Series. A performance of the Petoskey Steel Drum Band, usually the most popular event of the series, drew a large crowd to hear the energetic high school group that has been coming to the park since 2003. 


Four title-winners were named at the Miss Rogers City pageant including Miss Rogers City Alayna Sorget, Miss Nautical City Madison Tulgestka, Teen Miss Rogers City Niya Hoffman and Teen Miss Nautical City Haley Rose Grulke. 

FOUR TITLE-WINNERS were named at last Friday’s pageant including (from left) Miss Nautical City Madison Tulgestka, Miss Rogers City Alayna Sorget, Teen Miss Rogers City Niya Hoffman and Teen Miss Nautical City Haley Rose Grulke. (Photo by Richard Lamb)
FOUR TITLE-WINNERS were named at last Friday’s pageant including (from left) Miss Nautical City Madison Tulgestka, Miss Rogers City Alayna Sorget, Teen Miss Rogers City Niya Hoffman and Teen Miss Nautical City Haley Rose Grulke. (Photo by Richard Lamb)

Rogers City High School (RCHS) 2019 graduate Luke Augsburger will be taking his bowling and high jump talents to Concordia College Ann Arbor. Onaway graduate Brittney Wolgast will be wrestling for the Adrian College women’s team in the fall. 

The Family Dollar Store in Rogers City again suffered damage from a car that punched a hole in the brick wall at the front of the store. It was at least the third such incident that occurred at the location over the last few years and one of many such crashes at Family Dollar Stores throughout the nation. 

Great numbers in the big tent and wonderful weather were highlights of the 2019 Nautical City Festival, said festival chairman Mike Stempky. Kris Sorgenfrei served as grand marshal for the big parade. Another highlight came in the festival tent with the performance of the band led by Tommy K. More than 100 cars were on display at the Westminster Park car show. 2419-1A boats

New public guardian Janice Lemmon pledged to meet the needs of county residents as she assumed her new job. 

The jungle of Africa came to the stage as the “Lion King Jr.” began a four-show run at the Rogers City Theater (RCT). Theresa Gibson directed the play that included a cast of some 20 youth. 

A familiar face is the new athletic director at RCHS. Karl Grambau, who had been involved with RCHS athletics as a coach for more than 32 years, assumed the position after the departure of Samantha Amrhein, who served since the fall of 2016. He also serves on the custodial staff during the summer and is an at-risk tutor and teacher’s aide during the school year.

Brooke Rocco became the first sophomore selected as Miss Posen in the 53rd annual pageant. First runner up was Hailey Styma, second runner-up Alexis May and court members are Madison Menzel and Paige Thompson. 

Miss Posen 2019 is surrounded by contestants (from left) Paige Thompson, Madison Menzel, first runner-up Hailey Styma and Alexis May. (Photo by Peter Jakey)
Miss Posen 2019 is surrounded by contestants (from left) Paige Thompson, Madison Menzel, first runner-up Hailey Styma and Alexis May. (Photo by Peter Jakey)

Teachers at Rogers City Area Schools (RCAS) began the new school year with a new contract. Superintendent of schools Nick Hein said the agreement is a “tribute to the employees who work in the unions. They are not just employees, they have kids that go to school here and live in the community and want the school system to succeed, just as much, if not more, than anyone else.” 

Bicyclists on the Huron Sunrise Trail were rerouted around a set of barricades as high-water levels washed out a portion of the trail. 

“We can no longer afford to neglect our business community,” said mayor Scott McLennan during his introduction at the presentation on the Michigan Main Street program. The program could aid help businesses expand, modernize and improve. 

The return of the Onaway Car Show to Chandler Park proved to be a popular decision. There were 39 vehicles on display along the park’s paved trail. 

Rogers City’s Duane Haneckow Sr., who served more than four decades in the Army, was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony was Sept. 17 at 10 a.m. Ted Beck, owner of Beck Funeral Home, had the honor of transporting Haneckow to Washington, D.C.

THE BODY of Rogers City native Duane Haneckow Sr. is brought to his final resting place by a military honor guard.
THE BODY of Rogers City native Duane Haneckow Sr. is brought to his final resting place by a military honor guard.

A special section in the Advance paid tribute to St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Church. The Rev. James Fitzpatrick served as the main celebrant of the 100th anniversary commemortive Mass. 

Questions about the future of vacant land along Lakeview Avenue in Rogers City brought out a crowd to the city’s planning commission. In response to citizen concerns, the planning commission recommended to the City Council that the current zoning change from low-rise multiple-family residential to single-family residential.


Football season kicked off in the county with lots of experienced players returning for their senior seasons. At RCHS seven seniors were on the squad with 10 seniors in Posen and four playing for the Onaway Cardinals. 

A new contractor will assume control of The Brook Retirement Communities’ project along Third Street in Rogers City. The 26-unit facility is planned for a portion of land south of St. Ignatius School. 

A great weekend of events entertained people in Millersburg over the weekend. 

Grand marshals Randy and Laura Idalski greeted well-wishers along the parade route at the Posen Potato Festival. The grand parade capped a weekend of activities.

Members of the Onaway City Commission talked about the future of what had been the office of the Lobdell, Bailey & Company. The Onaway Masons donated the building to the Onaway Historical Society five years ago to house a future museum. 

Overall income at Rogers City’s small boat harbor was up substantially from 2018 with more income expected in the final two months of the season. Much of the increase is attributed to increased fuel sales due to the closure of fuel sales at Presque Isle State Harbor. 

RCHS senior MiKaela Bannon completed for the title of Miss Michigan Teen USA at the McMorran Place Theater in Port Huron. 

A medical marijuana grow facility is proposed for a location on Quade Highway in Rogers Township. Scott Schroeder, owner of Scill’s Grill and also owner of Meds Café has proposed the business enterprise. 

“Fishing University” filmed a program in the area. The crew of the national television series fished the waters of Grand Lake for an upcoming edition of the show. 

A feature story highlighted the rising career of RCHS grad Kelly Vogelheim, named chef ambassador for South Carolina. 

Cars were parked all the way out to Petersville Road to watch the release of a rehabilitated female bald eagle by Wings of Wonder founder Rebecca Lessard. 


Ominous black clouds rolled overhead for a brief, but powerful storm that brought high winds and dangerous lightning strikes all over the county. 

The 40-Mile Point Lighthouse Society received permission to apply for a $50,000 grant to fix the brick chimneys and historic brickwork of the tower building. 

Students at RCHS selected Kyrsten Altman as homecoming queen and Lewis Fleming as Mr. Football in a school-wide election. 

Posen let a 20-point lead slip to four after Hale scored touchdowns and two-point conversions on consecutive possessions. The Vikings (3-2) held on for a win. 

RCHS came away with a 3-0 win over Posen in volleyball action. Kristin Brege had 21 assists and three ace serves for the Hurons while Makayla Kamyszek had 10 digs and a block for Posen. 

The Onaway volleyball team, with coach Steve Watson gaining his 500th-career coaching win, improved to 5-0 in the Ski Valley Conference with a sweep of Pellston.  Breya Domke had 20 kills in the match. 

Mandy Polaski was selected as the teacher of the year for Rogers City schools. She is a fine arts/technology teamer at Rogers City Elementary School (and a former staff writer at Presque Isle Newspapers).

Sgt. Jamie Meyer will be the new chief of police in Rogers City once the retirement of chief Matt Quaine becomes official in December. The 17-year veteran of the force has served the past 11 years as sergeant. 

Residents of Presque Isle Township celebrated the rebuilding of the local fire department with an open house. 

A commercial delivery truck rolled across the parking lot and slammed into the west side of City Hall in Rogers City causing damage to the meeting room area of the building. 

Students at Posen High School selected Riley Krajniak as homecoming queen and George Kroll as homecoming king in a vote. The theme of homecoming week was  “Boys of Fall.” 

A photo of the John G. Munson graced the front page of the Advance in the Oct. 17 edition. The photo, also posted on the newspaper’s website, drew the largest number of views and likes of any item posted on the Facebook site for the year. The post was viewed by more than 64,000 people garnering more than 1,000 likes and nearly 100 comments. 

The play “Death By Design” featured a cast including Denise Perrault, Carol Rundell, Pennie Hoeft, Carrie Wilson, Ed Perrault, Magnus Wilson, Bill Powell and Theresa Gibson. Karl Heidemann directed the play for the Rogers City Community Theatre production. 

The 2019 Onaway High School (OHS) fall homecoming queen and king were Malaurie McLean and Ian McDonald. Both received their crowns from 2018 king and queen Gage Northrop and Britney Hoffmeyer. Jeff and Colleen Whitsitt were honored at halftime of the homecoming game for their support of Onaway athletics for many years. 

 Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel continued her trek across Michigan to inform citizens about their rights under the Open Meetings Act. Her appearance in Alpena was covered on the front page of the Advance. 

The Hurons’ football team finished the season strong with wins in three of their last four games. The last came in a 18-16 win at Manton for coach Jesse Fenstermaker and his charges. 

Posen’s football team earned a playoff berth for the third time in five seasons. Senior rushing star Tyler Hincka ran for a record 300 yards in the game against Manistee Catholic Central to end the regular season, putting him over 2,000 yards for the season. The Vikings fell to Cedarville in their playoff appearance. 

Morgan Baller and Matthew Wilbert of RCHS were each conference champions in cross-country. 


Harry H. Whiteley earned a day in his honor on the occasion of his 100th birthday Nov. 8, 2019. Whiteley made a name for himself locally, as publisher of the Presque Isle County Advance from 1962-1985, and at the state level as chairman of the Natural Resources Commission for a record number of years. 

Young Harry was captain of the football team, class president and editor of the school newspaper. He turns 100 Nov. 8, 2019.
Young Harry was captain of the football team, class president and editor of the school newspaper. He turns 100 Nov. 8, 2019.

Rogers City’s Morgan Baller and Nina Hansen along with Onaway’s Teddy Peters gave their all at the Division 4 state cross-country finals at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. Morgan Baller was the top finisher among the trio, taking 73rd place out of 238 runners at the event. 

The RCACOC awarded Ted and Cheryl Beck, owners of Beck Funeral Home, the honor of business of the year. The Becks purchased their business in 1996 and have become the longest-serving family-run funeral business in Rogers City history. 

A meeting of stakeholders of the Nautical City Festival, Inc. showed that the 2019 festival turned a profit. Preliminary figures show income from the 2019 event at $102,987 with the biggest share coming from tent receipts at $39,813. 

The first snow of the season fell on the area with Onaway getting more than six inches of the white stuff Nov. 1. 

A highlight of the Veterans Day service in Onaway came when sisters McKenzie and Morganne Stiles sang a patriotic song for all veterans. 

A throng of walkers turned out in support of ailing deputy sheriff Jim Budnik in an event organized by his co-workers. The highly-regarded Budnik later lost his life in December after a battle with cancer.

A refunding of bonds to cover the sewer project in Onaway is projected to save the taxpayers thousands of dollars over several years. 

Onaway (28-17-2) defeated Pellston to earn a berth in the volleyball regional finals where they lost to Rudyard. Posen and Rogers City were each eliminated in district play. 

Between 275 and 300 pies sold out nearly as fast as they were put on display at the annual pie sale at St. Michael Lutheran Church in Belknap Township. A capacity crowd snatched up the crusted creations minutes after the opening of the event. 

OHS grad Emily (Estep) Ptasnick, a summa cum laude graduate of Lake Superior State University in 2017, is on track to become a physician with the goal of returning to serve in her hometown. 

Hurons Lewis Fleming, J.D. Ellenberger, CeJay Bixby, Jaylen Fleming, Johnny Chamberlain, Isaac Hein and Clayton Henry were named to the all-league squads for the North Star League. Rogers City’s Kyrsten Altman, along with Posen’s Riley Krajniak, Makayla Kamyszek and Madison Menzel earned all-league in volleyball.

Earning all-conference for Posen football were Tyler Hincka, Gabe Jakubcin, Gage Kaszubowski, Cameron Paull, George Kroll, Wyatt Romel and Eyan Hincka. 

All-conference for Onaway football were Kevin Pearson, Russell Leach, Spencer Nash, Blake Decker and Daniel Price. 

People of the community came together for an ecumenical celebration at Westminster Presbyterian Church under the direction of the Revs. Dr. Greg Zurakowski and Karen Zurakowski. 

The Rogers City Optimist Club put lights on 132 Christmas trees in anticipation of the annual lighting ceremony at Westminster Park. 

Thanksgiving came early at the Rogers City Area Senior & Community Center with 85 being served by head cook Diane Schultz and her crew. 


Presque Isle County emergency services coordinator Sarah Melching encouraged county residents to come forward with concerns regarding rising water levels in Lake Huron. She said there are homes along the shoreline in danger of falling into the big lake. 

Outgoing Rogers City chief of police Matt Quaine was recognized by the City Council with a day in his honor. Incoming chief Jamie Meyer said the best thing that ever happened to Rogers City 20 years ago was the day Quaine became chief of police in his hometown. Meyer officially took the oath of office Dec. 13 with family and friends present at City Hall.

Incoming chief Jamie Meyers (at right) posed with retiring chief Matt Quaine at city hall. (Photos by Richard Lamb)
Incoming chief Jamie Meyers (at right) posed with retiring chief Matt Quaine at city hall. (Photos by Richard Lamb)

Rogers City superintendent of schools Nick Hein graded well in his annual evaluation. He scored an overall rating of 93 as board president Devin Pommerenke said, “Nick shines in all areas across the board.” 

The awesome power of the Great Lakes inspired a photo page showing high waves crashing the lakeshore. 

Christmas music filled the air inside the RCT as coordinator Larry Syrett again lined up local talent to celebrate the holiday season with a two-hour concert. 

The prospect of faster internet came to the residents of Presque Isle Township with a proposal from an Elk Rapids area business. 

Rogers City’s annual Christmas parade drew a record number of entries as the holiday season brought out the best in area residents.

The play “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” debuted on the stage of the RCT featuring 13 high school students. Julie Riddle directed the play. 

Posen’s Tyler Hincka earned first-team all-state after rushing for 2,009 yards in his senior season for the Vikings. 

Onaway volleyball players Jordan Larson, Breya Domke and Mallorie Neelis earned all-state for their outstanding performances this season. 

Winter sports’ season started with the Lady Vikings, under coach Karl Momrik, winning two of the team’s first three basketball games. Momrik began his 13th season at the helm with a coaching record of 200-69.