ONTONAGON — Ice is still forming on the Ontonagon River, but the Ontonagon Rotary Club is looking forward to spring.
The Ontonagon Rotary Wednesday unveiled plans for Ice-Out 2014 and 50-50 tickets are available for those who wish to guess what day and time the ice will leave the river.
The exodus of the ice from the river has been celebrated in Ontonagon since 1960, when the river overflowed because the ice was unable to exit to Lake Superior.
One-half of the proceeds of the project goes to the winner with the right date and time, while Rotary members Wednesday voted the remaining half will be given to the Ontonagon St. Vincent Society Home Fuel Fund.
Rotary president Janis Burgess said the hard winter has been very difficult for many in the county and the Rotary wanted to help.
Helen Hoefferle, an official at St. Vincent Society, called the decision of the Rotary “the best news ever during this cold, cold winter.” She said the rising cost and shortage of propane, the shortage of vendors with wood and cost of oil during the hard winter has resulted in people who have never asked for help before seeking assistance.
“We are seeing many new families, many of them working, that cannot afford their heating needs,” she said.
The earliest ice-out date was Feb. 28, 1998, at 6:30 p.m ., the latest date was April 21, 1972.
Last year, the ice left the river on April 20 at 8:19 p.m.
The list of other ice-out dates is printed on the tickets, which are being sold by Rotary members, and will be available in some businesses, as well.
Tickets will only be sold until April 2.