Raft-O-Rama Helps Andy’s Angels

by Joe Collins

It is a great thing when good times help good causes. Over the last several years, Raft-O-Rama, Clark Lake’s premier annual event, has generated not only the funds necessary to sustain itself, but also a little extra.  This is a result of sales of luminaries, merchandise, raffle tickets, and the many generous donations that are received year after year.  In recent years following the event, Raft-O-Rama has donated funds to the Spirit Trail, the Clark Lake Community Center, the Garden Angels and others.  In addition to making donations to those very deserving organizations, this year the Committee went a little farther afield in response to a serious problem. 
Andy’s Angels is a foundation established by Mike Hirst and his family following the tragic death of his son from a drug overdose.  The Raft-O-Rama Committee, on behalf of all the citizens of the Clark Lake, presented a $1,000 donation to the Andy’s Angels Foundation.  Andy’s Angels assists those with addictions to heroin and other opiates in getting into treatment, finding housing and jobs, and hopefully getting on the road to recovery.  

In presenting the check to Mike Hirst, John Karkheck said, “As a long-term member and Co-Chair of the Clark Lake Raft-O-Rama committee, I wanted to express our love and admiration for what you and your Foundation do to help people suffering from this frightening epidemic.  This check on behalf of R-O-R represents the whole community of Clark Lake, since all the funds raised in the community are annually dispensed back to our community; there are no funds for personal gain.  I am very proud to present to you the largest check of many for this year’s charitable giving, and certainly the most worthwhile.  God Bless you for what you and Andy’s Angels do!  Please continue the good work to take care of us all.”

The Raft-O-Rama Committee is extremely proud to assist Andy’s Angels in this worthwhile endeavor and grateful for the support of the Clark Lake community to give us the means to do so. 

Raft-O-Rama 2016

Note:  Donations to Raft-O-Rama are tax advantaged when made thru Clark Lake Spirit Foundation, a 501c3. 


Eagle Point Drive and Hayes Drive Intersection Cleared

Comcast crews arrived this morning to create a stop-gap fix so traffic could pass through the Eagle Point Drive and Hayes Drive intersection.  Yesterday about 4:30 pm, a falling tree took out utility lines belonging to both Consumers Energy and Comcast.  Consumers restored normal service before 6 pm yesterday, and Comcast hoisted their lines off the roadway this morning.

Comcast crews will return to the site to effect permanent repairs, but it’s not known when that will take place.

Photo: Caroline King

Neighbors report that high winds toppled the tree which had been weakened by rot at its base.  The mishap damaged to a garage and the vehicle parked in the driveway, but no one was injured.  Neighbors cleared the tree from the roadway, but the downed wires prevented vehicles from passing through as you can see in this photo taken between 6 pm and 7 pm yesterday.

Below, Comcast crews at the scene late this morning.

Caution – Wires Down!

Downed wires block the road where Eagle Point Drive meets Hayes Drive at Clark Lake.  According to neighbors, these are not Consumers Energy lines, but rather belong to Comcast.  The wires stretch across the intersection and make it impossible for vehicles to pass through.

It’s not known when the intersection will be cleared.  As that area does not have a lot of artificial light at night, the wires may be hard to see.

Neighbors say that heavy winds took out the a tree that was apparently rotten at the base. As you can see in Caroline King’s photo (at that top), residents cleared the tree from the road.

The tree damaged a garage and a vehicle parked in the driveway, but no one was hurt.

Dr. Jack’s 95th!

When you reach 95, your birthday celebration may extend beyond just one day.  It becomes a season!  And so it was for a Clark Lake icon.  Jack Bentley turned 95 on Wednesday, April 19th.  There was a dinner gathering on Friday for him at the Pointe. Then on Saturday, all four daughters arranged for another dinner at the Pointe.  Performer Benny Poole, who was also celebrating a birthday, took the occasion to sing Happy Birthday to Dr. Jack. 

Later, daughters (starting with the eldest) Lynne, Gail, Jill and Elise along with other family and friends surrounded Jack as he ceremoniously blew out the candles on a very rich, chocolate cake. 

To be totally fair to Jack, the iPhone’s weren’t running the first time he blew out the candles–every one of them on the first try.  Being a good sport, he played the scene again for the cameras.

It’s amazing to ponder all that has happened since Dr. Bentley’s birth.  In 1922, radio was a new invention with two rival stations claiming to be first–WWJ, Detroit, and KDKA, Pittsburgh.  The war to end all wars was over, and the country was well on its way to an economic boom only to collapse into a depression at the decade’s end. 

When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Jack Bentley was among the many who dropped everything and volunteered with hardly a second thought.  Cpt. Bentley became a pilot and flew combat missions over Europe.  One fateful day his war career ended in disaster.  To read the amazing account of his wartime service, please click here.  You’ll also learn how this became the catalyst which led him to a life of service through medicine.  He and his wife Mary Nichols Bentley, who passed away last summer, became physicians of the highest order and practiced in Jackson many years.  

Happy Birthday, Dr. Jack! 


Another Monday Miracle

As Monday’s daylight receded, once again the sunset announced a sense of awe.  Here are three views of tonight’s setting sun at Clark Lake.  And wait, there’s more!  Scroll down to review the week.

A few minutes later…

Last look at Monday…

In case you missed Sunday night, here’s a quick review.

Sunday twilight…

Now for some recent flashbacks.  The sunset on Friday, April 17, was not as colorful as some, but the clouds playing on the sun made up for it.

On Thursday, April 20, the western sky was ablaze with a color rarely found on a Sherman-Williams palette.

Like a store than advertises “never the same twice”, so it is with Clark Lake sunsets.  Here’s the sunset from Monday, April 17.

April Showers Doing Their Thing

April showers brought more signs of spring to Clark Lake.  Tucker Boyers captured a rainbow over a blossoming tree on South Woodlands at 7:08 pm.

At about the same time, a tree in King’s front yard on Eagle Point Road was signaling it is also ready for the new season.

After a few more sprinkles, the greenery on Hayes Drive glistened.


May Election

Did you know there is an election May 2nd?  There are two proposals on the ballot for many Clark Lake voters.  The first allows Jackson County to raise property taxes to support mental health services, with a portion possibly going elsewhere. This language is copied directly from the ballot:

“If approved and levied, in accordance with State law a portion of the millage may be distributed to the Downtown Development Authorities of the City of Jackson, the Villages of Grass Lake and Springport, and the Townships of Blackman and Leoni; the Local Development Finance Authorities of the Village of Parma and the Township of Blackman; and the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority of the City of Jackson.”

The second proposal is a six-year property tax renewal “to provide funds for the education of students with a disability…”

There may be other ballot proposals depending on where you live.  Click here to see a sample ballot.  You will be asked to fill in a form so the proper information is served.

The full text of these two proposals can be found below.

For the purpose of providing mental health services for Jackson County residents, shall the Constitutional limitation upon the total amount of taxes which shall be assessed in one (1) year upon all property within the County of Jackson, Michigan, be increased, and shall the County be authorized to levy, up to 0.50 mill ($0.50 per $1,000 of Taxable Value) for a period of ten (10) years, 2018 through 2027, inclusive.

If approved and levied in full, this millage will raise an estimated $2,000,158 for providing funds for mental health services in the first calendar year of the levy based on taxable value. If approved and levied, in accordance with State law a portion of the millage may be distributed to the Downtown Development Authorities of the City of Jackson, the Villages of Grass Lake and Springport, and the Townships of Blackman and Leoni; the Local Development Finance Authorities of the Village of Parma and the Township of Blackman; and the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority of the City of Jackson.

This proposal will permit the intermediate school district to continue to levy special education millage previously approved by the electors.

Shall the currently authorized millage rate limitation of 1.55 mills ($1.55 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property in Jackson County Intermediate School District, Michigan, to provide funds for the education of students with a disability, be renewed for a period of 6 years, 2018 to 2023, inclusive; the estimate of the revenue the intermediate school district will collect if the millage is approved and levied in 2018 is approximately $6,700,000 from local property taxes authorized herein (this is a renewal of millage that will expire with the 2017 tax levy)?

Invasive Weed Update

Clark Lake has declared war on the advance of hybrid Eurasian water milfoil (HEWM).  Why? Where left unchecked, HEWM can diminish recreational use of a lake, destroy wildlife habitat, and negatively affect property values.  A majority of Clark Lake lakefront property owners petitioned Columbia Township to establish a special assessment district (SAD) to deal with the problem.  The SAD allows treatment of HEWM wherever it exists in the lake and covers the cost of the project through the property taxes of lakefront landowners.

PLM Lake & Land Management (PLM) has been contracted to treat Clark Lake.  It also treats other lakes in our region, and they have found each lake to be individual. Take, for example, this chain reaction when Eurasian milfoil enters a lake.  The invader mates with the native plant.  The resulting hybrid mates with other hybrids and native plants.  Or varieties of hybrids travel from lake to lake by boat or other means. Darwinian evolution results in improved sustainability and thus, a greater opportunity to procreate, and become immune to threats like treatment programs.  Take that cycle through several iterations, and you can see the challenge in knocking off an invasive species.

During the 2016 season, PLM treated about 30 acres of HEWM with a product called Renovate (active ingredient, triclopyr).  According to PLM’s Steve Hanson “initial results were good, but follow up surveys indicated regrowth of HEWM by summers end.”  Steve noted “these results were concerning to me, as I expected our treatments to have at least season-long effects, if not multiple years.”

To focus treatment on Clark Lake’s version of HEWM, samples were sent to lab for testing.  The Clark Lake plants were exposed to three herbicides—triclopyr, 2,4-D, and Fluridone.  The lab reported the Clark Lake samples were not susceptible to 2,4-D.  Some samples were somewhat vulnerable to triclopyr, while others were not affected.  The labs results showed all Clark Lake HEWM samples were susceptible to Fluridone.

Steven Hanson concludes “it is not prudent to continue the triclopyr treatment.”  He states “the logical next step is to look at using Fluridone in Clark Lake.”  But logistical issues prevent that from happening in 2017.  The process requires assembling data and submission of the lake management plan to the DEQ.  The other hurdle is higher cost.  However, if most treatment was suspended in 2017, the “savings” might be applied to the more expensive, but more effective, program in 2018.  Feedback from Columbia Township suggests that this could be done.

What about Fluridone as a treatment product?  At typical application rates (6 parts per billion), there are no swimming, fishing and only minor irrigation restrictions.

This testing program is under careful review by PLM and by the maker of the treatment product.  The goal is to focus on the unique characteristics of Clark Lake.

As more information becomes available, expect to see more updates on this website.

Tornado Drill Today

If you hear warning sirens go off at 1 pm today, know that it is about a scheduled tornado drill.  Jackson County and other locations throughout Michigan will test the emergency alert system today at 1 pm (Wednesday, April 19, 2017).  The Code Red system is part of emergency notification.  To sign up for Code Red, please click here

The Jackson County Sheriff passes along these suggestions.


Sunday Sunset – 3 Views

 As veteran viewers of Clark Lake sunsets know, the images change by the minute, sometimes sooner.  It’s a bit like color combinations at the Cascades or inventory at Pier One–never the same for long.  And of course, it’s nature, not electronics, painting the picture overhead.  The Sunday sunset was not an exception to the rule.  Here are three views of it.

A couple minutes later, and zeroing in on the action, the appearance changes.

Once the sun settled behind the horizon, the afterglow illuminated the sky.

Every evening, the sun sets farther to the north.  That’s reassuring for those looking forward to summer at Clark Lake!  Another sure sign are docks and boats going into the lake.  And docks that aren’t in are lining up along the shore as they ready for duty.