Improvement Association 2020 Annual Meeting Minutes
(August 8, 2020)
Meeting was called to order at 9:00 AM by President Mick Braman. Board members in attendance were Mick Braman, President, Dan Kuruzar, Vice-president, Nick Barnes, Treasurer, Bill Boehnlein, Secretary and Board members Don Blackmond Sr. and Todd Tirotta.
Mick then asked each board member to introduce themselves and where they are located on the lake. He also explained that the Corona virus was the reason the changes in date and location.
Nick Barnes then gave a summary of the finances stating the association has $9095.23 in the general fund and approximately $1500 in the fireworks fund.
Nick then reported that our current membership stands at 287. He stated that renewals for all due and past due accounts will be sent this month to 98 of these members.
Bill Boehnlein reported that the water level is just over 8 inches above the established summer level as of today. For the year it had reached as high as 12-3/4 inches above that level.
Mick then gave a thanks to both the Sister Lakes VFD and Cass County Sheriff’s department for all their support throughout the year. He also said that both organizations were very appreciative of the association’s donations to both.
Mick then reported that the SAD funding for invasive weed control for the portion of the lake in Silver Creek Township was having 3 Zoom meetings to approval the proposed 5-year plan and there appeared to be no opposition to the proposal. Dan Kuruzar reported that the Keeler portion of the lake still had sufficient funding from the initial voluntary donation and most for the Eurasian Milfoil was at relatively low levels.
Mick then reported that this year’s fireworks were originally planned to be cancelled because of the virus. But after strong support from many of the members, it was successfully held on the 4th. A strong surge in funding enabled this to happen with relatively short notice. He then reported that the 2021 fireworks is scheduled for Saturday July 3, 2021. He further stated that funding for 2021 is already starting and suggested either using the Go-Fund-Me site or a direct contribution since the Go-Fund-Me does have a fee for using it. Nick Barnes stated he is investigation establishing a Venmo account for this and possibly to pay membership dues as well. A suggestion from the floor that a list of email addresses for members be established and used to provide information and donation requests since not all members use social media. Nick said he will work on getting this list compiled but some of the addresses he currently has are no longer valid. Renewal forms do provide for giving this information.
Mick then introduced Cass County Undersheriff Clint Roach and Sheriff Richard Behnke. Sheriff Behnke reported that his deputies are currently working on a report of stolen golf clubs reported this morning. He emphasized that everyone should take all precautions to prevent these opportunities. Cars should remain locked and all valuables not visible. Sheds, garages, pole barns and all out-buildings should also be locked and secure. He also suggested using either email or phone to report any suspicious activity. He further related that having contact information for residents and property owners is especially important. He suggested an online free service called Smart911.com to provide information useful to any first responder including medical issues, number of residents, pets and so on.
Marine Patrol Deputy Clint Roach then reported on lake activity. He said boating activity was remarkably busy; and even more than usual. He said too that due in part to the pandemic, boat registrations are taking longer than usual. He recommended having a copy of the registration application available on the vessel. He further emphasized that all funding for the marine patrol comes from Michigan boat registration fees. Any income from tickets issued for violations goes into a penal fund which is used in part for funding of things like the library. Deputy Roach reminded everyone that anyone born after July 1, 1996 must have a recognized boater safety certificate to operate any watercraft. This certificate must be on board the vessel being operated. He stated that there is currently no funding for in person boater safety classes but there is an online course that can be taken and issue a certificate once the course has been passed. He noted though that there are groups of individuals taking the class, recording the correct answers, and passing these along to others. These individuals using this method have no clue what the rules and laws are and operate their vessels accordingly. A question from the floor asked if the marine patrol funding may be added to the tax bill. In response, as stated earlier, this division is funded be boat registration fees only. This year’s budget was reduced from $17000 to $14000. The marine patrol officers are part time and only during the summer season. It was noted that the Tribal Police have started a marine patrol division but are mostly there to oversee tribal waters. They have been on some of the local lakes but that was to learn more about the boat they recently acquired. These Tribal Police have been trained be the Sheriff’s department and are deputized and have the same authority as any law enforcement group. They are also official representatives of the DNR with the same authority. Comments from the floor included bass tournament participants going the wrong way; especially as check in time approaches. Another report was concerning boats operating at faster that wake speed well after dark. One report was of a pontoon going much faster than no wake speed at after 11:00PM.
Mick then introduced Tony Lozada, Chief of the Sister Lakes VFD. Tony reported that they are currently in process of adding a second facility at M152 and Leach Road. The building will be 48 by 72 feet. He noted that this was necessary because of the large area the cover. This second station can reduce response time by half. He also stated that they have excellent co-operation between other fire departments when the response requires more resources. He did relate that this was their 75th year of operation but the planned celebration was cancelled because of the virus. He requested that everyone pay attention to where they park their vehicles. Their vehicles
are larger than most and require a wide path to respond to any incident. Vehicles parked along a roadside can prohibit their ability to respond. He also noted that they currently have 8 trained and certified divers. These divers use dry suits and do train in local lakes. He asked everyone to avoid any vessel displaying a diver activity flag. Todd Tirotta then asked about dry hydrants. A dry hydrant is usually an unpressurized, permanently installed pipe that has one end below the water level of a lake or pond. Tony responded that they are evaluating certain areas to add these, but permits are required and costs about $1500.
Mick then introduced Ronnie (Veronnica Kenreich-Towne, Lakes Project Manager) to discuss lake health. She said they recorded the best clarity ever at 40 feet. She also said eurasian milfoil was, mostly at low levels. The exception was along the north shore at the east end of the lake. She said that this area was getting worse. She noted that their spring cleanup was mostly in the channels. She reported that treating these invasive species helps promote the growth of native plants required for lake and aquatic life health. She did say that Magician was one of the best overall lakes in this area. Eurasian milfoil has no use by native fish and that its treatment is to contain and minimize its growth. It can, she said, be spread it by watercraft operating through the plants. She then noted that, to her knowledge, the Keeler Township portion of the lake had not been treated. Dan Kuruzar will verify that it has been treated through his contact.
Mick then opened the meeting to questions from the floor. The first was expressed concern about weed treatment in Keeler. As noted, Dan will get all the information and assure treatment is being taken as required. Mick raised a question about burning and Tony suggested checking local web sites or calling local fire departments. Several comments were raised about how impressive this year’s fireworks were and asked about how members can help future fireworks. Mick responded by saying that funding is the main resource needed.
Mick then thanked everyone for their attendance and participation. The meeting adjourned at 10:12 AM.