Catawba Island Historical Society makes changes to Board, Advisory Council

Feb 9, 2022 | Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

CATAWBA ISLAND — Changes to the governing and advisory bodies of the Catawba Island Historical Society (CIHS) were approved at the organization’s Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 2. It was the Society’s first 2022 Board meeting and conducted as a video conference in light of lingering concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to David Wonnell, President of CIHS, William Van Der Giessen, has moved from Trustee to membership on the Society’s Advisory Council. Van Der Giessen, a local builder, developer and entrepreneur, was one to the founders of the Historical Society in 2017. He served as its Vice President through 2020. He will move to the organization’s Advisory Council with continued responsibility for infrastructure projects.

The vacancy resulting from the Van Der Giessen change will be filled by Amy Heflinger, the owner of Aha Creations, a graphics and design enterprise in Sandusky. She joined the CIHS Advisory Council in 2020 to help enhance its electronic and print media presence.

Wonnell noted that, “CIHS strives for a blend of professional skills, civic pride, and historical interest when selecting its leadership. Bill Van Der Giessen has a long history of each, and we look forward to continued benefit from his advisory assistance.

“Amy Heflinger, after one year of working with us, has significantly improved our communication tools. She is unquestionably ready to now accept broader responsibility as a full Board member.”

Heflinger currently lives in Huron, but her roots on Catawba are deep. Her great grandparents lived in the Cliffs. Her grandparents lived in the KREMPA neighborhood where her mother still resides in the family’s Karwood Drive house.

“When I went off to Ohio University for my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Journalism, Public Relations and Public Administration I knew I would be coming back to Lake Erie,” said Heflinger. “It is just a matter of time until I return to Catawba Island. In the meantime, I welcome the opportunity to support the Historical Society’s mission of preserving and protecting the area’s heritage.”

The Catawba Island Historical Society operates the Catawba Museum at Union Chapel. Operation of the Museum is underwritten by the Society’s membership dues.

Information about joining is available at

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