On-going List of Responders for BAR48

February 14, 2018

Here’s a so far list of responders for BAR 48:

Simonson, Curt – Barb 2
Smoller 1
Carroll, Dee – Pat 2
Flippo. Sam – Janelle 2
B J Pfeiffer 1
Hoben, Ed – Kathy 2
Larry & Jenny 2
Rodgers – Mike 1
Crandall, Jim – Mimi 2
Cotler, Heidi 1
Stemple, Mike – Sherri 2
Gitt, Doug – Anne (?) 2
Shea, Bill-Susan (?) 2

Housing is secured, still working on pricing.

If you don’t see your name on the list, I either screwed up or you didn’t send in a response. Let’s try again.

More to follow, I’m sure.



Phil Swank obit

February 14, 2018

From a posting by Kerry Vandergrift on the Balta Facebook page for January 4, 2018:

Kimberly messaged me with this.

Phillip E. Swank’s Obituary on Hartford Courant


BAR46 and BAR47

February 14, 2018

I neglected to post anything about the Balta reunions from 2016 and 2017, so this is a marker about them for future reference.

First is the announcement of BAR46, hosted by Pat and Dee Carroll:

Hope everyone got home safely from Watsonville, and we’re grateful for Heidi Cotler’s hard work, excellent cooking and logistical skills.

For 2016, we are making reservations at a campground in Bar Harbor, Maine. The dates are September 15 through 17, 2016.

The Campground: http://www.hinckleyscottages.com/

Reviews here: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g60709-d621304-Revi…

BH Pix here: http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=bar+harbor&FORM=HDRSC
Why are we telling you this now? In October 2015?
1. It’s a small coastal resort in New England on the edge of leaf-peeping season, with a great national park next door. Busy.
2. The campground has two levels of cabins: Renovated and 1940s. First money gets the renovated cabins.

So time is a factor. We’ve made a deposit. Give it some thought and tell us if you’d like to come. (Deposits $100 per person by January 1, 2016.)


Next is info about BAR47 hosted by Larry Wilhelm and Jennie McElroy:

There will be another BALTAfest!

Thanks to Larry and Jennie, we are going to the Plimpton Lodge in Sevierville, Tenn., near to Dollywood, Gatlinburg and Smoky Mountains National Park. Look it up on VRBO! Or here’s a site for the lodge that I found using Google. http://www.cabinsforyou.com/plimpton_lodge_cabin_rental.htm

Dates are Thursday, Sept 28 through Sunday morning, Oct. 1.  Be there.  No early arrivals, but it might be possible to arrange a later departure day if Larry knows soon enough.

Nearest major airport is in Knoxville, 45 minutes.


2018 Balta Reunion Info BAR48

February 14, 2018

Hoben say, “Subject: Reunion 2018 – BAR 48

As threatened at BAR 47. Hobens have found a site near Louisville, KY to host this year’s get together.

We’ve located a group of 2 and 3 BR rental units in a group. located on a bluff above the Settlers Trace Marina on Taylorsville Lake. This is about 20 miles outside Louisville; near Bardstown and bourbon country, not too far from Mammoth Cave and all of cave country, and a day trip away from the Corvette museum in Bowling Green (which may or may not sink while you are there).

Rental is assured for the first weekend of October (Thursday 10/4 thru Sunday 10/7). We are still getting prices and need to know HOW MANY PEOPLE TO PLAN for. I think that there are weekly rates available if anyone wishes to extend the stay, let us know.

We do need a handle on the number of attendees so we can get to a realistic number of beds and a likely cost.

Let me know as soon as possible if you have any interest in attending. It makes it easier to negotiate when you have some reasonably firm data to work from.

I am certain that I’ve missed some people in the distribution list for the group. If you note someone missing, please pass this on to them and let me know to add a name.

Again, if you have any interest in attending, let me know now. If your situation changes (or you just come to your senses) later and can’t make it, so be it. I’d rather have a bed too many than me end up sleeping in the back yard.

hope to hear from everyone shortly.

The Dancing Bear

Ed Hoben
502 432-5176″

Mike Hannan donates art to Tennessee Wesleyan

April 22, 2015

Local artist Michael Hannan donated 28 pieces of his art to the Tennessee Wesleyan College Visual Art department.

Local artist Michael Hannan donated 28 pieces of his art to the Tennessee Wesleyan College Visual Art department. Hannan, who is originally from Tellico Plains, TN, has been taking photographs and making art since 1970. He bought a camera for his 25th birthday and has been taking photos ever since.

In addition to photography, Hannan also creates silkscreen prints of his photos. He realized people were more interested in the silkscreen prints than they were in the original photographs, and began creating prints of most of his work.

“People then didn’t look at photography as art,” he said, “but of course I always have. I started the silkscreen thing because people didn’t know it was a photograph.”

Between 1980 and 1985, Hannan was commissioned by LaQuinta Motor Inns to create the artwork for their properties. In those five years, he created 44,000 prints for the company.

After creating art for nearly 45 years, Hannan, who is a Vietnam War Veteran, decided to retire and give his works away to colleges around the country.

“I’ve been selling stuff since 1970, and I’m about out of steam,” he said. “My wife and I traveled to 40 of the 48 lower states selling and making works.”

Though he is no longer creating new works, Hannan says the past 45 years have been exceptional.

“I loved doing what I was doing when I started, and it’s just progressed from there,” Hannan said. “It has been an adventure, and I’ve loved every minute of it.”

The donated works have an approximate value of $4,200, and are currently on display in Room 110 of Elliott Hall on TWC’s Athens campus.

TWC will hold a reception to celebrate this donation. The reception will take place from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 23, 2015 in room 110 of Elliott Hall.

Tennessee Wesleyan College, founded in Athens, Tenn., in 1857, is a comprehensive liberal arts institution affiliated with the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church. The college’s dedicated faculty and staff believe in providing the resources and support students need to become socially responsible, intellectually skilled and spiritually developed members of our community. For additional information about Tennessee Wesleyan College, visit www.twcnet.edu, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TNWesleyan, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TNWesleyan.

BAR45 Site

January 16, 2015

OK, let me be clear about one thing; as much as I appreciate your collective love and volunteer support , I volunteered to throw this reunion because I can do it and have hosted more than any one except Hannan.

I will need help to be sure on site and will gratefully accept it then but for now take a deep breath and have faith in the fact that this will be a kick ass reunion!

That being said, I have found a great location and have reserved 5 houses at Pajaro Dunes, half way between Monterey and Santa Cruz. One is on the beach the others within crawling distance with comfy beds and lots of bathrooms (probably not enough,but really, are there?) We may not need them all but October is the best weather on the coast and these houses go fast.

I will need $100 dollars per person as a down payment and an adult commitment as soon as you can write the check.

If you want some BAR 45 foreplay, and/or are tired of whatever winter you are experiencing, you can go to pajarodunescompany.com and yes, it really looks like that.

And you folks that we love who have not yet committed, that’s you Hobens, Stemples, Wallaces, McCown family, Mad Dog and the pups and the rest of you..get your passport to California and join in the celebration of 45 years!

BTW for some reason, probably my skills, I cannot email this info to my BALTA list, so Hog go for it!


January 16, 2015

Because of my iffy computer skills, I thought I would post this email missive on facebook as well so there will be no whining about not receiving this info!

Happy New Years, you old farts! I am in the process of finalizing dates and head count for BAR 45.

Since the feedback I received indicated that Oct was the best time I am looking at Oct 8 to Oct 11th
or 12th.

I need a head count ASAP so that, well, any of you who have done this know why! If that date is not good for you please let me know that as well and I will run another weekend by y’all.

I am looking at the Central Coast (Santa Cruz to Pismo beach) but if prices are too dear than I will explore further.

The decision is really based on how many of you intrepid souls are willing to make the trip.

SO let me know if you are ready for an adventure or weaseling out! How about you say yea or nay by Jan 16th…works for me,

Love Heid

Balta 44 at Garmisch USA near Drummond Wisconsin

January 16, 2015

Following are the series of emails that host Jim Crandall sent out to the Balta email list about the Wisconsin reunion which was held in the first week of October 2014 at http://garmischresort.com/garmisch-usa-resort-map.php



In about eleven weeks you’ll be swarming to Garmisch Resort on Lake Namakagon in northwest Wisconsin.  By then, we should have had a good frost and the leaves on the trees around the lake will be in full color. Fall is a great time of year in the north.

It’s been a wet, but lush summer.  I read of drought out west, but we have had plenty of moisture here in Drummond.  The garden is thriving, plus there has been sunny, growing weather.  There are daisies in the hayfield, along with red clover and white trefoil blossoms. The cows are fat.

If you are flying in for our event, the simplest place to land is at MSP in Minneapolis, which is about 3 1/2 hours drive from here.  Closer yet is DLH in Duluth, which is only 1 1/2 hours from Lake Namakagon where the resort is situated.  Duluth is simpler to fly out of, since it’s a one-horse type operation and the TSA lines may stretch at times to, say, 6 people.  Flying into either provides a scenic drive, with little traffic, both coming and going.

If you are driving, it’s about 5 hours once you hit Madison or 4 1/2 hours from the Iowa/Minnesota border. Coming from the east, up and across the UP of Michigan is a particularly pretty route. It’s about 7 hours from the Mackinac bridge.  In any event, it’s worth thinking about getting off the Interstate system once you get into Wisconsin because the state and county roads are usually as good as the US routes and almost as fast.

There are 40 confirmed so far. Recapping what I sent out earlier: arrival is on Thursday afternoon.  I have reserved a pontoon boat so you can go cruising until dusk. Food and drinks will be on tap in one of the four cabins we have engaged.  Friday is for field trips and going to Apple Fest in scenic Bayfield with dinner back at the resort. Saturday will be a good day for going pontoon boating on the lake or hiking until the afternoon, when we will have a cookout, hayride and bonfire at Crandall’s spread. (Maple Tree Farm is about 15 miles from the Garmisch resort.)  Sunday is Bauern Frühstuck and Aufwiedersehen.

Any of you thinking of coming in before Thursday can stay at the Maple Tree Farm guest house.  First come, first served.

If you didn’t get this email, let me know.



Some random thoughts with about 6 weeks before this year’s event:


Coming up highway US 63 is Spooner, Wisconsin (about an hour and a half from the Garmisch Resort).  Check out the Railroad Memories Museum and/or the Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum, which are two interesting places.  There is decent coffee in the Alley Cats Coffee shop.  From Spooner north you will be following the bed of the Namakagon River which springs from the lake on which we will be staying.  The Namakagon is designated as a wild and scenic waterway and can be canoed from Lake Namakagon all the way to the Mississippi and on to New Orleans.

Further north is Hayward, Wisconsin (about 45 minutes from Garmisch) which hosts the Fishing Hall of Fame and the world’s largest plastic fish.  Back Roads Coffee has good coffee and West’s Dairy has great ice cream.  There is a brewpub called Angry Minnow, which has good food and some good local beer.  Hayward, itself, is the quintessential northwoods tourist town.

Less than half an hour from Garmisch is Cable, Wisconsin.  The Cable Natural History Museum is worth a stop.  Grocery & hardware store (where we shop), bookstore/pizza pub, bank, post office.

Coming up from the Madison area:  If you want to get a real flavor of the boondocks in which Mimi and I live and are coming up from the south, come up US 51 through Wausau, across on US 8, taking Wisconsin 13 north from there.  Be sure to stop at Fred Smith’s Wisconsin Concrete Park in Phillips.  It’s quirky, but amazing. From there you turn west on Wisconsin 77 beyond Glidden to Clam Lake and on to County M and Garmish Resort.  You may be lucky enough to see one of the elk herd that is in that area.

If for some reason you come through Drummond, there are three taverns (Uncle Ryno’s is my favorite), a sport shop/gas station and bank.  The Drummond Public Library is a modern facility and houses the Drummond Historical Museum.  The museum has a very good history of the logging era that built the town.


If you haven’t checked it out, Garmish Resort is every bit as charming as the website shows.  Alas, there aren’t any buxom young maidens in dirndls carrying liter steins of beer.  Check-in time is 3:00 p.m., so you might plan your trip accordingly.  I have been assured that all of the accommodations where we will be staying have wireless WI-FI.  Cell phone service may be iffy, depending on your carrier.

I am working on the chow list. If you have any special food needs or allergies, let me know.  It’s gonna be a good time.




About a month to go before BALTA 44 in NW Wisconsin.  I will forecast the weather for our event weekend in a couple of weeks, but in the meantime, the rain gauge read 6 1/2 inches in the past week and it’s raining again today.  Our drought, which lasted 10 years, has not only been broken, but submerged.  The woods is like a jungle this year.


Thursday, October 2nd, (arrival day).  Check in is a 3:00 p.m. at Garmish.  Thursday afternoon we have reserved a pontoon boat for cruising on Lake Namakagon with it’s miles of shoreline and many bays.  Pontooning and beer are good pursuits on a fall afternoon in Wisconsin.  Dinner will be at The Beetle cabin that evening.

Friday, after breakfast, I have a bus to take us to Apple Fest in Bayfield, leaving at about 10:00 a.m.  Depending on our route up there it takes about an hour or so.  Bayfield is a picturesque town on the big lake.  We’ll head back to Garmisch after about four hours, in time for cocktails in the Blarney Castle.  Dinner will be a traditional Wisconsin fish fry in the lodge’s main dining room, which overlooks one of the bays.

Saturday after breakfast, besides reserving a pontoon for half the day, there are nature trails close by, as well as a portion of the North Country Scenic Trail for hiking, Copper Falls State Park about 40 minutes away and Cable, Wisconsin close by.  Saturday afternoon features a hay ride, tailgate party and bonfire at Maple Tree Farm (that’s the Crandall estate in Drummond).  You will have the opportunity to cluck with the chickens, moo with the cows, split wood, carry water and drink beer/whiskey. There will be Nikolashkas around the roaring fire. Designated driver service back to Garmish will be available.

Sunday morning is Bauern Frühstuck at the resort, the anticipated selection of the next year’s host and site, and the tearful farewells.

Time for your final deposit on this grand weekend.  If you have sent two thirds of your money already, the other third is due.  Send it to Crandall, 10860 N. Loop Rd., Drummond, WI  54832.


Liebe Freünde,

Our first frost was a light one, here at Maple Tree Farm.  It only touched the tops of the pole beans, but everything has slowed down growing.  The weather forecast for next week says sixties during the day, forties at night. That’s typical for this time of year. So, the following week is anticipated to be close to the same.

Clothes planning for this trip should include a jacket for evenings outside and, with the wet weather this year, bring some rain gear.  It has been dry for the past three days, but we have been getting hit with wetter weather this year than usual. At Apple Fest, it could be sunny, but if there is a breeze off Lake Superior it will feel pretty cool.

We have four houses at Garmisch Resort:  The Beetle will be our HQ, along with Blarney Castle, Rhinelander Cabin and Bean.  Bedroom assignments are as follows:

Beetle – Wilhelm, Crandall, Kron, Hog, Smoller, Nolan, O’Connell, Brother/McMickin

Blarney Castle – Simonson, Forrest, Cotler, Mills/Carroll, Hoben, Pfeiffer, Flippo/Davis, Pier

Rhinelander – Baer, Beeching, Dunn

Bean – Fool (?), Pearson, Stemple, Gitt/Cavender

Wally Knox will not be here: he’s working on his primary campaign for a seat on the LA city council.  Raven called to say that Granny Ruth is not doing well at 103 years of age, so he can’t make it.  Fool was set to drive with Raven and is a nil heard as of late.

Garmisch is located east of Cable, out County Highway M.  It’s about 10 minutes from the center of Cable to Lakewoods Resort and just past Lakewoods is Garmisch Road.  Turn onto it, and put it into country, slow gear.  On Garmisch Road, follow the curvy, rolling road until you reach the stone pillars of Garmisch Resort.  Turn in and figure out where your cabin is.  There may be changes to the room assignments, though. Check out the website:  http://garmischresort.com/garmisch-usa-resort-map.php

Don’t call me on my cell phone.

If you come a day or two early or stay a day or two later, we have places in our guest house.

Anybody have a scanned picture of the last Drummond Reunion in 1979?



Weather looks good for BALTA 44, if you are gullible enough to believe any forecast of the future.  Highs in the 60s, low in the 40s.
When you arrive, check in at the Garmisch Resort Office.  Final room and cabin assignments from the office when you check in.
HQ is the Beetle with cocktails upon arrival and the pontoon boat warmed up to do some cruising and socializing.  Dinner will be at 6:30 p.m.
For those that are concerned about connectivity over the weekend, Garmisch Resort avers that all cabins for our stay have wi-fi.  Cell service is iffy, depending upon your provider.
Radio junkies:  coming up here, tune into 88.9 WOJB for community radio with good tunes or alternatively KUMD at 103.3, 89.9 for Wisconsin Public Radio classical.
Travel safely.
Amigos,We all probably look at the same weather sites, but I’m sending this alert anyway.Bring a good coat.  Saturday is forecast to have a possibility of snow and a high of 42.  Brrrr.  Of course, it may be warmer, but not a lot.

There is an opportunity for going fishing with a local friend with his boat on Saturday.  If you are interested, let me know ASAP so I can confirm it with him.


Friends,My pals are gone for almost two weeks now.  We’re still eating on the leftover food that went into the freezer after you all left.  I’m still drinking the leftover beer that went into my pool room refrigerator.  There are several random bottles of whiskey and other spirits that sit on the shelf waiting for me to work my way through them.  Our BALTA members don’t eat and drink like we used to.Of course, the weather has turned to two weeks of gorgeous, sunny, warm (60s) Indian Summer here in the north. The aspen trees are starting to lose their leaves, that cover the driveway like golden coins.  Too bad we couldn’t have had this kind of lovely fall weather two weeks ago.  You experienced what we call “Applefest weather.”

Some random thoughts on BALTA 44….

Larry and Jenny stayed over Sunday evening and helped clean up the party site and then we went for a walk in the woods.  We needed to get the kinks worked out.

Dancing Bear showed up at 10:00 p.m. Sunday after an odyssey of driving Kathy to Duluth and then to Minneapolis (where she finally was able to get a flight to Louisville) and back to Maple Tree Farm.  He spent three days helping us do all those chores that were put off during preparations for the reunion.  We had a nice time. Thanks, Bear, for helping fill next winter’s woodshed.

Captain Hog’s reunion poster is great.  I especially like the ’73 and ’14 fire photos together.  Right, Dee, we really have had 44 years of old and fast friends getting together for a party somewhere in the country once a year. It is a strange phenomenon, isn’t it?

Thanks for the jellies, Heidi.  I’ll open them and taste them on a cold winter’s day.

Thanks, Carl, for a copy of your new CD.  You have some great arrangements, but I like the cuts with your voice and acoustic guitar best of all.

The tape across the bridge into the house was not to keep any of you out, but rather to keep someone from slipping on it until I get a chance to clean the surface of it before winter. It gets slippery when wet.

“Jimmy’s Pool Room” is put back together and our neighborhood pool league has been getting together again.

There was some money left over after all expenses were covered, so I made couple of donations to worthy causes. There was a case of wine left that may be coming to California if we make a road trip of it.

Hog and Dave O’Connell had equally horrendous experiences with their flights home.  Both ways were a disaster, in fact.

In ’79 in Drummond we had Crandall grown pig over a spit.  In ’14 we had Crandall grown chicken and beef.

I’m still looking for a group photo of the ’79 reunion.

While both Mimi and I enjoyed being hosts, I certainly prefer to go to a reunion than host one. Our time together was so short.

Love and hugs, Cranny.

Simonson 2014 Happy New Year’s Letter

December 29, 2013

Click on this link for the Simonson letter with the graphic and photo.  Below is the text only.

My dearest family and friends,

The year 2013 was full of new adventures for Curt and I.  We are both healthy and happy moving into this new phase of our lives and I’d like to share a little of that with you.

I retired as of April 1, 2013.  I no longer take conference calls at 6 a.m. or 9 p.m. and I no longer work “part-time” at the rate of 50 hours per week!  I have done a bit of consulting for my former employer, but find even that to be such a joy!  I can walk away!  My retired life was to be made up of time with my grandkids (Max and Emma), yoga, some research related to a book Kenny and I have briefly discussed, and the Chicago Botanic Garden.  I immediately started with yoga; took some private lessons first so I would understand the language and then joined a class.  I kept having balance issues as I started and then we went on vacation.  We had two weeks in the Destin, Fla area; one with Jenny, Seth, and the kids and one with Mary Beth and GJ.  Always a great place to visit.

As we got home from vacation, Jenny and Seth were working on finding a house to better meet their family needs.  The chose and finally closed at the end of June.  They wanted an updated kitchen, along with a “few” other things that were expected to take about a month to six weeks.  They finally moved in during mid-September without a complete kitchen!  During this construction phase, Gramma got very acquainted with her grandkids.  I lost 8 pounds and had the best time of my life!  Sleep was awesome!  I didn’t get much of anything else done after July 1.

Andy is still in Montana, but considering, along with his roommates, a move.  They want to have their own farm, raise their own product to deliver to customers through their own restaurant.  They are tired of being cold 10 months out of every year, so they are considering Texas (where they will be hot 10 months out of the year)!  He started working for the Pine Creek Café in March; by mid-summer, the chef decided to return to his home territory and Andy was promoted to executive chef.  He is working his butt off now, but seems to be enjoying the challenges.   Very little time for personal activities, which continues to be frustrating, but, hopefully, that will come soon.

Curt’s still at In Fine Spirits; he works about 10-20 hours per week with the retail business, meets with distributors to taste wine and help select what will be sold in the store, he helps with special events that come up, and has written tasting notes for wines and spirits being promoted through the store’s newsletter.  He doesn’t make much money, but what he is doing is “priceless” to him.

As for me, I have to say that retirement does not really come all that naturally.  While sleeping late and reading the newspaper with coffee every morning is nice, after that, you kind of look around and think, “Okay, now what”?  The “now what” seems to happen.  As most retirees say, we’re not really sure how we had time to work!  Curt and I took several trips from April on and I’m finding there are so many interesting things “out there” that I never seemed to have time for while I worked.  We saw some of those 8th grade history things (Gettysburg, Philadelphia, and DC) and found a place I’ve heard about my entire life – the Allaire State Park in New Jersey.  I’m still not quite sure how we’re related, but I met a woman at the Park whose name was Shafto – my grandmother’s maiden name!  Discoveries are everywhere.

I didn’t get to Christmas cards this year; and I decided a good excuse for that was that I wanted to always look forward.  So, we’re looking forward to 2014; more new adventures, more time with wonderful family and friends, and more time to re-learn old things.  Curt and I wish you all the very best of New Years and hope to cross paths this year!

Love to all –


Simonson 2014 New Year’s Letter

December 29, 2013

Simonson 2014 New Year’s Letter

Click on the link above and the Simonson letter will open for you to read.