Community Center’s Oktoberfest

October 14th will be here before you know it.  That’s the date for the Community Center’s biennial fundraising event.  More than a way to support the historic building in the County Park, it’s a major social gathering.  To provide expanded room, it’s being held this year at another iconic building, the Clark Lake Yacht Club.  

The event starts at 5:30 pm on Saturday, October 14.  As the Oktoberfest theme suggests, German fare is on the menu–authentic wurst and chicken schnitzel, potato salad, a variety of cheeses, pretzels and dessert.  BYOB.  The Persuaders, a local band, will entertain.  Tickets are $50 per person and are available by calling John Deming at 529-9117 or John Karkheck at 745-2929.

If that isn’t enough, you may want to do bid for some very cool things.  

Live auction items

  • Condo in Cancun donated by Dr. David and Lori Munro
  • Week stay on Clark Lake donated by Meredythe Van Dusen
  • Hobie Cat 18 foot donated by Lynn Vermeulen
  • Original Necklace made by Jacque Kudner

Silent Auction Items

  • Beach Bar Basket
  • White wine basket
  • Red wine basket
  • Beer basket
  • Michigan State basket
  • U of Michigan basket
  • Bee hive
  • All things Clark Lake basket
  • Wood duck box plus a Jim Beam Ducks Unlimited Decanter and Jim Beam shot glasses
  • Golf Bag with towel and hat markers
  • Clark Lake wine decanter and Clark Lake red wine glasses

Would you like a preview?

For those interested in showing their flair for connecting to the theme, the Community Center promises a $100 prize for best costume.  Plus don’t miss the 50/50 drawing. 

Dan Riley will be providing cab rides home after the party for $10. 

In addition to the item below, the Community Center will collect returnable bottles and cans for donation to the CCHS Leadership Class. If you are unable to attend but wish to donate cans and bottles, you can do so from 1 pm Friday the 13th until 9 PM on the 14th.  Containers will be located at the Yacht Club parking lot.  The leadership class will be assisting in the set up and take down of this event. The bottles and cans will be used to support a cancer program that the class has chosen  as its project for this year.

Weather Changed

Clark Lake’s weather changed from unseasonably warm to what you might expect for the latter part of September.  And with the change came some sunset drama.  It’s not unusual to have an awesome sunset at Clark Lake, and last night was no exception. 

Similar photo at 9:50 am today.

Regatta 2017 Final Results

More wind sped the competitors along on day two of the Clark Lake Yacht Club’s Fall Regatta.  Two races yesterday and two, today, provided the numbers needed to determine the winners.  Or did they?  It turns out there was a three-way tie for first place for the Wayfarers and a three-way tie for second place among the Rebels.  So were the ties broken through trial by combat?  No, there are rules that address ties.  But race officials had to go down to the last level of them to solve the dilemma today. 

Scoring works somewhat similar to golf.  The lower your score, the better you place. If you come in 4th in one race, and 7th in the next, your score is 11.  Low numbers rise to the top when the heats are combined.

Here are the winners for each class, but don’t stop there.  Scroll down for more views of the gorgeous boats in this event, including video and air pics from BJ Lyons’ drone. 


1st Place
Tom Marriott, captain; Nat Hill, crew – sail 4179


2nd Place
Steve Cummings, captain; Lyndsie Cummings, crew – sail 4167


3rd Place
Tim Nickels, captain; Brad Nickels, crew – sail 4200


4th Place
Dave Nickels, captain; Peter Klein, crew – sail 4176

5th Place
Jay Topping, captain; Pat Topping and Bruce Nowak, crew – sail 3994

6th Place
Kevin Nickels, captain; Brianna Nickels, crew – sail 4140


1st Place
Al Schonborn, captain; Shannon Donkin, crew – sail 3854

2nd Place
Sue Pilling, captain; Steph Romaniuk, crew


3rd Place
Marc Bennett, captain; Julie Seraphinoff, crew – sail 10861

4th Place
Joe DeBincat, captain; Larry Lewis, crew – sail 1115

5th Place
Ian Pouliot, captain; Jake Wolny, crew – sail 3999

6th Place
David Wilpula, captain; Gabbie Smith, crew – sail 453

7th Place
Dave McCreedy, captain; Vitaly Conhar and Jorge Vivas, crew – sail 8911

8th Place
Erik Smith, captain; Ted Johnson, crew – sail 2420


1st Place
Mark Kastell – sail 7500

2nd Place
Jim Richter – sail 4058


3rd Place
Richard O’Boyle – CB-1


Geoff Moehl, captain; Gene Palmer, crew – sail 5206

Saturday Highlights

Sunday Highlights

Clark Lake is never accused of being one-dimensional.  Almost always you can find an abundance of activities.  Below is a sampling of some other activities during the Regatta.

So how do you win a sailboat race?  On Saturday, Primary Race Director Neil Robb revealed the secrets in this video.  The Yacht Club’s scorer, Hugh Harris, explained how more points mean less gain, sort of like golf.  And Neil finished it off with the story of the spinnaker.  Click to watch now.






Regatta 2017 Day One

If there is one thing a sailboat race requires, it is wind.  And the running of this year’s Clark Lake Yacht Club Regatta looked doubtful because the day started as calm as it could be, and it was still calm through the noon hour.  Finally at 2:45 pm, there was enough wind to run the race. Even so, some sailors commented that it’s hard to operate under those conditions.  One small mistake can add up to being left way behind.  Because of light winds, the race was confined to the east end of the lake.  The course featured the traditional Olympic triangle.

So how do you win a sailboat race?  Primary Race Director Neil Robb reveals the secrets in this video.  The Yacht Club’s scorer, Hugh Harris, explains how more points mean less gain, sort of like golf.  And Neil returns to tell the story of the spinnaker.  Click to watch now.

Thanks to BJ Lyons for his drone video.

Clark Lake will be the scene for more competition tomorrow.  Twenty boats with skilled skippers and crews will go at it to win the coveted awards for each class–Rebels, Wayfarers, Sunfish, and Buccaneer.  This website will have the details, and many more photos to bring the event alive for you.

A Favorite Feature Is Back

Once again, you can get your instant Clark Lake fix on the New DamCam.   As before, the DamCam allows you to view the lake 24/7 365 anywhere in the world where you have internet service. Simply click on the DamCam navigation tab, and you’re there.  To enlarge the view, click the icon in the lower right of the picture.

When you view the New DamCam, you’ll notice the quality of the picture has improved markedly.  For those with a technical bent, it is a full 1080p.  It will also be possible for this website, provided by the Clark Lake Spirit Foundation, to focus on certain special events such as the start/finish line for Run Clark Lake or the Raft-O-Rama parade as it goes by the dam.   

It is because of Mike McKay that this has happened.  In addition to his many other contributions for the betterment of the lake, Mike purchased the new equipment and paid for its installation.  After the dam is repaired, the area around it will be landscaped, adding to the beauty of the Ocean Beach lakefront.  Mike is also donating that improvement.  The Beach Bar has generously allowed the DamCam signal to ride on their internet service at no charge.  Thanks are in order to both Mike McKay and John Collins.

John Collins, Peggy Collins, Mike McKay at the new Gear Garage

To quote the Beatles, getting to this day has been a “long and winding road.”  The old DamCam depended on a high power extender that took the signal from the pole to the Beach Bar where it linked up to the internet.  That was just one of its vulnerabilities.  The new system is more direct, robust, and less prone to outages.  Final adjustments may require the view to be temporarily offline for short periods over the next few days.

To view a video on dam infrastructure problems and solutions, click here.  In this video, the financial goal is met.


Spotlight on Weeds

Clark Lake’s invasive weeds were under the spotlight at tonight’s meeting of the Columbia Township trustees.  Steve Hanson, representing Professional Lake Management (PLM), summed up important way marks in the battle against hybrid Eurasian water milfoil (HEWM) present in Clark Lake.  This invasive species multiplies quickly and is notorious for taking over lakes.  It curtails recreational uses such as boating and fishing, destroys wildlife habitat and impairs navigation.  Lakes that stood idly by watched property values plunge.

The first effort to control  or eradicate HEWM took place in 2015.  The effort was funded by the Clark Lake Spirit Foundation through donations.  Treatment was limited by riparian rights and only a small portion of the 30 acres of HEWM was treated.

Ninety-five percent of lake front property owners contacted by the Invasive Species Committee signed a petition asking for action. As a result, Columbia Township formed a special assessment district (SAD) that allows treatment anywhere HEWM exists in the lake and supports the cost through property taxes.

Watch this 8 minute video, and Steve Hanson will take you chronologically through the war on weeds, explain the different treatment options, and point to the future of the program.  Addressing the trustees, Steve Hanson began by noting the results of the 2015 effort. 


PLM at Clark Lake Today

A crew from Professional Lake Management (PLM) is on the lake today gathering information to help thwart the spread of invasive weeds.  Clark Lake’s hybrid or hybrids of Eurasian water milfoil (HEWM) are proving somewhat resistant to treatment.  For that reason, treatment was omitted this season with the goal of determining a more effective approach next year.  A number of scientific tests are being conducted, and the visit to Clark Lake today is part of that process.  PLM’s was also at the lake in August.  They found the results of treatment were better than they once thought. But the lack water clarity in August hindered a more accurate assessment.  

PLM visit to Clark Lake on September 18, 2017

John Deming, chairman of the Invasive Species Committee commented this morning, “in a recent examination of the lake, I was encouraged to find the HEWM was not as extensive as some thought it might be, and that was confirmed by PLM’s check in August.  That suggests the 2016 treatment was somewhat effective.”

Photo from August 2017

This invasive species multiplies quickly and is notorious for taking over lakes.  It curtails recreational uses such as boating and fishing, destroys wildlife habitat and impairs navigation.  Lakes that stood idly by watched property values plunge.

Ninety-five percent of lake front property owners contacted by the Invasive Species Committee signed a petition asking for action. As a result, Columbia Township formed a special assessment district (SAD) that allows treatment anywhere HEWM exists in the lake and supports the cost through property taxes.


Clark Lake Spy Cam

Doing its duty as its name implies, the Clark Lake Spy Cam spotted this group of gentlemen.  On a stunningly beautiful afternoon at the lake, were they found missing at work?  When asked, one forlorn response echoed across the water “busted.”  Then another tried to create the narrative that they were going to check on the dam.  Nice try.

Earlier, when this person was picked up from a dock, something was said about roasted pork chops.   Names have been omitted as some may be in the witness protection program.


Gloria Steinem and the Dam

“I have memories of playing on that dam as a child,” says Gloria Steinem.  The Dam Strong project has focused more attention on the dam.  Though details of its history remain scant, detective work has uncovered some clues.  Flip Reynolds reached out to Gloria Steinem to query what she knew about the dam.  “During the time that my parents, Ruth and Leo Steinem, owned 40 ares or so of lakefront property there, I remember that the dam was said to be the only one in the state of Michigan that was on private property.”  In her email to Flip, she adds “our family was also responsible for its repair as well as for dredging the creek on the other side of Ocean Beach Road.” 

A mysterious name inscribed on the dam’s spillway has fascinated Clark Lakers for years.  Who is “Palmer?”  Gloria Steinem couldn’t help on that one, nor has any definitive information surfaced elsewhere that would identify “Palmer.”

In a previous story on this website, Dr. Philip Riley, who lives on North Shore, said his father told him dam construction took place about 1934 (the Riley’s came to Clark Lake in 1937).  Presumably the 1934 construction was a rebuild.  Indeed circumstantial evidence suggests rebuilds occurred.  Several pieces of large concrete lay around the dam, perhaps discards of previous incarnations.

Nancy Ewing Ashton’s photo c.1943 below raises the question–did the dam pictured have the “Palmer” inscription on it?  And this–examining the photo, John Deming noticed the dead trees in the water.  These trees may have once been on dry land, but water later covered them, causing their demise.  Did the level of the lake rise, and if so, what caused it? 

The next photo shows the 2012 north shoulder rebuild of the dam, funded by the Clark Lake Spirit Foundation.  Similar to what is now occurring on the south side, leaks had threatened the integrity of the dam.  A sobering possibility was recognized–should the dam fail, the level of the lake could be reduced 2 1/2 feet or more.  Click here for a video that shows current points of weakness.

Flip Reynold’s other research revealed no written records that would contradict the dam is on private property.  The property’s current owner has given permission for the Dam Strong project to proceed so the south shoulder of the dam is also structurally sound. With funds now secure, it’s expected the construction project will commence in October.  The Dam Strong Honor Roll recognizes those who have contributed.  Click here to review it.


Who Needs a 4K TV?

…when you can watch a Clark Lake sunset in real time.  Tonight, the sun put on another astonishing performance for those in the right place, at the right time–Clark Lake.  Be sure to scroll down for the bonus shot.

What better time for an autumn evening boat ride.  Roger and Sandy Lyons take a ride and enjoy the color.