Twenty six years ago Dan & Julene Buenz visited friends at Gravel Lake. They were looking for lake property and someone told them to try Michigan instead of Wisconsin. After searching around southwestern Michigan, Dan found the perfect house that met all their criteria for their family to spend summer weekends and vacations-- on 86th Ave at Lake of the Woods. It was the beginning of their love affair with Lake of the Woods. (Speaking of love, Dan and Julene were high school sweethearts! Julene was a pom-pom girl & on the drill team. Dan was a football player!)
It was also the beginning of many home projects! The most important project was the porch on the front (lake side) of the house. Their house is a small seasonal cottage with only 2 bedrooms, so the porch added almost as much square footage as the house had! They really live in that space. Julene's favorite project that Dan built was their outdoor shower! When Julene described it to me it sounded like a spa with fancy soaps, etc. They really have made use of this shower because they have lots of family who visit them at the lake cottage! When they have family reunions everyone wants to stay at their cottage, so Dan says he has to walk over sleeping bodies scattered on the floor! But everyone has a great time!
In years past, Julene remembers water skiing in the fall while hunters were shooting their guns! She doesn't water ski in the fall anymore!
Dan retired as deputy chief from the Elmhurst Police Department, near Chicago. In 1989, to earn extra income, he started a commercial and residential fence company with his brother. After working both jobs full time for 3 years, he sold the business to his brother. Then, after retiring from the police department, he went back to the fence company where he now works for his brother.
Julene is an insurance broker and she still works full time.
Their family members include a son, Justin, who is married and lives in California. Justin and his wife have a son making Dan and Julene new grandparents. Their daughter, Breanne, is married to an Air Force Pilot, and lives in Florida. When they retire they plan on visiting their children in the winter. . .often!
Julene likes all kinds of water sports, especially kayaking. She enjoys reading and spending time with friends and family. Dan enjoys doing house projects including ones like the outdoor shower. He also likes making stained glass projects, which he learned to do from his father! (See pictures below)
Dan and Julene used to take their speed boat to other lakes and have been on most of the lakes in Southwest Michigan. Now, they take their kayaks and Julene says people at other lakes are more friendly when they kayak.
After living on LOW for so many years they have seen many changes on and around the lake. Their biggest concern is preserving the natural state of the lake. Farm chemical run-off is concerning, as well as, invasive water species that makes it difficult to maintain the ecological balance that keeps wildlife vibrant on our lake. They love to watch the turtles lay eggs on their beach.
I asked them what they wished the area around LOW had, but currently does not. They answered: "good pizza (we are from Chicago), maybe more nightlife. But the stuff we come here for isn't the restaurants!"
There is something interesting flying high above Lake of the Woods these days. A member of the Lake has been flying their drone above Lake of the Woods, and taking some awesome and fantastic pictures from the air. This site can be found on Facebook. Search Lake of the Woods and you will find two matching sites. The site with the picture of the sunset is from our Association. The site with the anchor in the picture is where you will find these mentioned pictures. Thanks to Mr or Mrs Drone for these pictures.
Ray and Jane Heinrich moved permanently to LOW this past January at 46153 County Road 352. They met in Florida, got married, and made their home in Oaklawn, a Chicago south-side suburb, for 36 years.
How did they discover LOW? In the 1980's they spent many weekends with friends on Reynolds Lake in Lawrence. They trailered a boat back and forth from Chicago on summer weekends. Soon they started looking for a place on a lake in the southwest Michigan area. It was the July 4 weekend of 2004 when they bought the house where they currently live at the east end of the big channel on CR 352. Then they started the remodeling projects!
Their extended family visit them frequently. Their daughter, Tiffany and her husband, Randy just had a baby, Alexandra Jane a couple months ago. Jane is still celebrating!! Son Ray and his wife Jill have 2 little girls, Ava Rose, 3, and Grace Catherine, almost 8 months old. Ray and Jane spend a lot of weekends back in Oaklawn, too. Oh yes, they also have a new rescue puppy, a Rottweiler named Bear who keeps them on their toes.
Jane worked as secretary/receptionist at Sertoma Centre in Alsip, IL for 8 years. She retired in June 2015
Ray was a journeyman structural iron worker out of Local #1 in Chicago before retiring in June of this year. He stays busy working in his yard and on his boats. He also spends lots of time training Bear. Jane and Ray both have a passion for classic cars. Ray restored their '68 stingray Corvette which he bought for Jane in the early 1980's. (But Ray is always the driver!) They enjoy the area car shows, going for an evening cruise or a night out to dinner.
Jane enjoys taking pictures, decorating, cooking and entertaining with their neighbors and friends.
They are both avid fans of the Chicago Cubs baseball team, the Chicago Bears football team, and the Blackhawks hockey team. They enjoyed watching many games at Wrigley Field over the years and are ecstatic over the recent world series win for the beloved Chicago Cubs!
They like our little town, but wish there were a few more shops. Jane wishes there was a little place on the lake where you could pull up in your boat and get a hot dog or a burger. Her favorite burger is at the M40. They also enjoy the public events at the VFW.
Ray and Jane will celebrate 40 years of marriage in May 2017. Time for a party?
They both love the calmness and beauty of lake living. Jane says we're welcome at their home , "so stop by any time!"
Sad to say, but its that time of year again when some of us head to where its warmer, and some of us do not come to the cottage that often in the winter months. SO PLEASE READ BELOW!!!
The Van Buren County Sheriffs website now has a link to add your house to their watch list.
Please note that this is for homes in areas regularly patrolled by the Van Buren County Sheriff's Office. If you do not live in an area patrolled by Van Buren County Deputies, please contact your local police department to have your home placed on their watch list. This is an excellent program offered to us in Van Buren County for absolutely no charge. In the spring when your house is off the watch list, the sheriff will usually call you and tell you how many times your house was visited by them. You will be amazed when you hear how many visits they made to check on your house.
Here is the direct website. Just click here: http://www.vanburencountysheriff.com/10-24-2014watch.htm
Bob Richter, LOW
LOWIA received news from Roger Mattens that Polish National Alliance Fishing Club has re-stocked fish in LOW. Bob Richter, LOWIA President, contacted Tom Dockery, President of the PNA Fisherman's Club to thank them. Tom advised that they stocked approximately 600 7-9 inch walleyes this year into LOW. His club uses the lake for one of its fishing tournament sites and they believe in giving back to lake communities where they compete. Over the last 20 years PNC Fishing Club has restocked LOW 5 times as part of their conservation program, coordinated through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The club has been in existence over 70 years and they've been a part of the conservation program for the last 25 years. Tom stated, "We like to give back to the lakes that we fish on."
LOWIA thanks PNC Fishing Club, and as Roger said, "This welcome news is like an early Christmas present for LOW!"