Questions, Anyone?

Festivus and shotski

Q. Several Alpena Wildlife Sanctuary supporters, while at the Festivus fundraiser for the River Center, wondered where the terms Festivus and shotski came from.

A. Erin Riopelle, who was in charge of the Festivus event, explains, “Festivus is a term we took from the TV sitcom Seinfeld. It was a silly celebration the characters made up. We just took it because it sounded good with the name of our next day’s River Center fundraiser, the Reel Fun Ice Fishing Tournament.

A shotski is a ski, sometimes cross country or sometimes a water ski, with holes drilled in it. Each hole holds a shot glass and three or four people can raise the ski together and all drink a shot at the same time. It’s something Tonya Spens, who originally suggested the ice fishing fundraiser, brought from her town in Minnesota. It’s so people don’t drink alone.”

April 22 candidates deadline

Q. At a recent lunch discussion, several readers asked, “What is the registration deadline for a person who wants to run for a local office?” They also asked what offices will be on the August primary ballot.

A. April 22 is the deadline to register to run for Alpena County Commissioner in the Aug. 5 primary election. No other local offices are up for election this year.

There are eight county commissioner districts and anyone interested in running to be a county commissioner should contact Alpena County Clerk Bonnie Friedrichs for details (354-9520). She will also, along with others, be giving information on elections and on running for office, at a nonpartisan presentation at the Fletcher Brewery at 7:00 p.m. on March 13, sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

Alpena plants in WWII

Q. A reader who was interested in the Jan. 11 Q&A report about Besser Company’s WWII war efforts asks, “What about the war efforts of other Alpena plants?”

A. The late Robert Haltiner, in his book “The Town That Went To War,” described the wartime activities of several Alpena manufacturing plants. The following excerpts give some idea of the magnitude of the war effort in WWII.

“On January 23, 1942, it was announced that Fraser Products Company was given a defense contract that amounted to $150,000 for shelter tent halves. It meant that 1,000 tent halves a day by 50 workers would have to be made in 8 months time. Already the company had 100 workers, on two shifts, making leggings for the army.

“New Companies were formed also. On May 6, Randles and Reynolds Company opened in part of the Everett F. Smith Farm Implement building on US 23 South. They had a defense contract for manufacturing of some type of machinery parts (machines not divulged). A few months later, also in the same building, was another new company, Alpena Wood Processing Co. They made cots and camp stools for military use.

Please send questions and comments to or to “Questions, Anyone?” The Alpena News, 130 Park Place, Alpena, MI 49707.