Sun Returns to Clark Lake

The sun made its presence known at dawn, and it looks to hang around, at least for a while.  After being missing in action, this is a welcome change.  Ann Swain caught the sunrise in this photo.


A short time later, this is how the lake looked if you were facing west.

looking west 2017 02-01

Here are two more looks from Ann’s Hyde Road vantage point.


Always on the main page of this website is the Clark Lake forecast.  As of 9:34 am this morning, here’s the prediction.

A 20 percent chance of snow showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 33. West wind around 10 mph.
A 30 percent chance of snow showers before 1am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 15. Wind chill values as low as zero. West northwest wind 11 to 15 mph.
Partly sunny, with a high near 20. Wind chill values as low as zero. West wind 11 to 15 mph.
Thursday Night
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 11. Wind chill values as low as zero. West wind around 9 mph.
Partly sunny, with a high near 21. West wind 7 to 11 mph.
Friday Night
Partly cloudy, with a low around 10.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 25.
Saturday Night
Snow showers likely, mainly after 1am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 19.
Scattered snow showers, mainly before 1pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 33.
Sunday Night
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 21.
Partly sunny, with a high near 37.
Monday Night
Rain and snow showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 28.
Periods of rain and snow showers. Cloudy, with a high near 43.

Another Look at Polar Plunge 2017

As participants’ memory of their plunge into 31 degree Clark Lake water begins to fade, there are more lasting reminders.  That includes the $31,343 raised for Special Olympics plus photos of those taking the plunge. You watch stop action of each plunge by clicking Saturday’s story here.

Now here are some airborne videos of the event courtesy of BJ Lyons.  This was definitely a droneafilable event.  Eagle Spirit One hovering over Eagle Point on Saturday proved it.

First is Jesse Meston, the new father of twin boys, both born on Christmas eve.  His costume evidently played into that happy scenario.  Along with Jesse is someone else well known at Clark Lake, Dan Omo, also wearing the bare-minimum.

And here’s Bill Leutz’s stop action of Dan in flight.  That splash is Jesse, now underwater.

jump 42 A
Eagle Spirit One zoomed in over Eagle Point to give an overview and record this plunge.

A number of uniformed groups observed proper military courtesy.  Before jumping, they saluted.

Eagle Spirit One flew closer to capture more detail.

This next group was stopped in midair via Bill Leutz.  

jump 16 A ps
There were 240 participants who collected contributions and took the plunge.

Although the video ended before the next group took their turn, this photo assures you they did line up, and made it into the lake.

jump 20 A ps
The water temperature was 31 degrees.  What was the affect of the wind on bare skin?  Significant.  Combining the air temp with the wind created a windchill factor of 16 degrees.

You can view all the photos through the website’s Saturday story by clicking here.

Thanks to those who helped put our coverage together:  Bill Leutz, BJ Lyons, and Jessie Tucker.


Ice Pile Up

As participants in the Polar Plunge took their leap, there was something else going on.  If you listened carefully, you could hear ice crunching as it pushed against several shorelines around the lake.  Bill Leutz reports more areas opening and large floes shoved by Saturday’s winds.

Floe 1

Is that for ice on the lake this winter?  According to Bill, water temperature was 31 degrees Saturday.  Cold weather in the forecast could change the thaw to a refreeze.  It’s happened before.

Floe 2

Thanks to Bill for these photos.  

Polar Plunge 2017 Results

mascot psBraving a 16-degree wind chill, 240-people jumped into the icy waters of Clark Lake this morning.  Those hardy souls raised $31,343 for the Michigan Law Enforcement Polar Plunge for Special Olympics held at Eagle Point. 

Dressed in costumes that offered little protection from the potential hypothermia-inducing exposure, individuals and teams showed their courage by jumping into the lake, one after another.  Once the plunging concluded and participants warmed up, awards were announced.  Here are those who raised the most money by category and the best costume winner:

Most Money Raised by Group – Consumers Energy
Most Money Raised by an Individual – Christina Tagget
Most Money Raised by a School – Northwest High School
Most Money Raised by a College – Adrian College
Best costume – Slums

Here are those who took the plunge–photos courtesy of Bill Leutz.  For best viewing, click the first photo.  It will enlarge, and then advance to the next by clicking the arrow on the right edge.

Here are the plungers in approximate order of their descent from the Marina dock into the crystal clear, but frigid water.

MDOC Emergency Response Team
MDOC – Jackson /Hillsdale Parole/Probation
MDOC – Team RGC – Charles Egler Reception & Guidance Center
MDOC – Team JCF- G. Robert  Cotton Correctional Facility
MDOC – Team JCS – Jackson Cooper Street Correctional Facility
Paw Pride
Carters Crew (Precious Angel)
Lifeways CMH
Consumers Energy
Western High School
Michigan Center Cardinals
Adrian College Bulldogs (56 Jumpers)
Mountie Nation – Northwest High School (In memory of Bailey)
Reflector News – Jackson High School
Baker College
Baker College – Criminal SU
R.W. Mercer
Columbia Firefighters
106.9 Home Radio
Theta Chi/Zeta Beta
Orthocicles – Allegiance Health Orthopedics
Home Town Plungers – Beach Bar
Jackson Police Department
221 Squad – Area 19
Dan Ono & Jesse Metson

These events don’t happen without a lot of planning and support of volunteers.  Here is the crew at the Marina dock.

crew ps


Advisory from Columbia Township Police

Advisory from the Columbia Township Police:

“The Columbia Township Police Department is currently handling what was initiated as an assault investigation between several students at Columbia Central High School.

“At approximately 4:20 P.M. on Thursday, January 26, 2017, Officer Justin Shadis was dispatched to the Columbia Central High School Fitness Center for a fight between several students (three high school and two junior high students). Thanks to the intervention of three Columbia School District staff members, the impact of the altercation was minimized.

“Officer Shadis arrived and obtained relevant information, and contacted the Jackson County Youth Center requesting that one of the students be lodged. This was declined. He continued his investigation and learned that one of the students had been making threats to shoot up the school and burn it to the ground.

“He again contacted the Youth Center regarding the threats by this student, and was given authorization to lodge him at the Youth Center, which has since been done.

“The report on the incident will be completed and forwarded to the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office for review of charges related to the altercation, as well as regarding the student lodged for making the threats against the school. All the students involved are juveniles, and accordingly their information will not be released.

“Although the student lodged for making the threats against the school had no readily apparent means to carry out such a threat, these incidents are always taken seriously, and prosecution will be sought in each case where this happens. Any potential threat by this student has been mitigated by lodging him at the youth center.

“All the students involved in these incidents have been suspended from school.

Clark Lake’s January Thaw

by Bill Leutz

Today’s weather shift has resulted in some changes at the Lake. The temperature is still 35–the last gasp of the January thaw, but 15-mph winds came up from the south-southwest last night and continue today from the west. The lake is now open on both sides of the Eagle Point and, and extends along the north shore from Kentucky Point eastwards. Most of the west side of the Lake is still covered, as is the cove behind Eagle Point, but as the pictures show, some small amounts of ice have piled up at various points along the north shore. 

This photo shows the open water from the west side of Eagle Point, looking north.

01-Looking N from Eagle Point

What’s ahead?  Since the forecast for the next two weeks calls for temperatures below freezing with many nights in the low-to-mid teens, it is probable the lake will re-freeze, and we might even get back to some ice fishing in February.  For an updated and extended outlook, see the main page of this website.

This photo shows the view looking west southwest from Eagle Point, with ice still formed about 100-feet from shore.

02-Looking west from Eagle Point

Here’s a look from the east side of Eagle Point, looking east at the ice, with open water beyond it.

03-Looking East from Eagle Point

And the final photo shows a small buildup of ice against the shore west of Kentucky Point.

04-ice against N. shore

Here Comes the Sun…

And at Clark Lake this morning, it stayed visible for about ten minutes.  According to Ann Swain, “then the clouds took over again.” But for those moments, the golden glow illuminated the lake.

AS sunrise 2017 01-25 

Thanks to Ann for these photos of this morning’s sunrise.

AS sunrise 2017 01-25 2

Foggy Days at Clark Lake

The “City by the Bay” has  nothing on Clark Lake when it comes to fog, at least for the last few days.  Bill Leutz says fog has been covering the ice recently.  Bill attributes it to being “in the midst of a streak of unseasonably warm weather.” On Friday, the high was 57.

Bill captured the essence of the conditions in this photo, taken yesterday (Sunday) around noon, from the west shore of Eagle Point looking north.

January Thaw ps

Below, you can see how the lake looked by mid-afternoon, as the fog began to rise. Ryan Richardson was meditating on the Eagle Point gas dock after a Sweetwater Yoga session.


And finally, this what you saw if you were driving south on Eagle Point Road this morning–color tones you might expect from an Andrew Wyeth painting.


Raft-O-Rama 2017 Theme

The Raft-O-Rama met today (Sunday) to review over 50 theme ideas for the 2017 Raft-O-Rama at Clark Lake.  And the winner is?  TV Shows! 

There are lots of TV shows, and a large variety of genres.  TV shows can be described as creative, humorous, dramatic, and engaging.  And that, of course, fits the Raft-O-Rama spirit completely.  So, on this day in January, the seeds of ideas begin to form, and germinate to blossom fully formed on Sunday, August 6th. 


One of Clark Lake’s most iconic events, Raft-O-Rama gets underway now.  Plenty of work is involved.  And without a committee whose members roll up their sleeves, it wouldn’t happen.  From the luminary project to the parade itself, there are lots of logistics.  The good news?  The committee is a wonderful group who love the lake–and they are not opposed to having some fun along the way.  Would you like to join the committee?  Contact Joe Collins at   

To partake in some Clark Lake Spirit (and to reassure yourself summer will indeed return), check out the results from the 2016 running of Raft-O-Rama.

RoR air 1

Air photo: Andrew Lajdziak

The voting took place by the judges. Spectators at the event submitted their votes for the Peoples Choice award.

DSC_9040_701The Peoples Choice award winner was Aloha Nana

aloha ps

Raft-O-Rama selects judges for their independence.  Here are the awards for each category. 

DSC_8989_693Best Overall, adults 18 and up–State of Confusion (11)

Remarkably, the State of Confusion raft navigated the entire circumference of the lake in reverse!

Confusion winners ps

DSC_8938_688Best Overall, kids 17 and under–Happy Is Our State of Mind (16)

happy winner psThe Best Overall Youth award is now called the R. Tucker Boyers Cup.

DSC_8919_686Most Enthusiastic–Las Vegas, Nevada (10)

DSC_9072_704Most original–State of Inebriation (15)

DSC_9000_695Funniest–Hawaiian Manor (3)

The Hawaiian Manor group won Raft-O-Rama in 1965 and have not had an entry since then.  They decided to change that this year, and won the “funniest” category.

DSC_8980_692Closest to Theme–Wisconsin Cheese (1)

DSC_9050_702Most Colorful–United States (1)

DSC_9040_701Best Special Effects–Aloha Nana (12)

DSC_9015_697Furthest from Theme–State of Emergency (13)

DSC_8929_687Rookie Award–California Sharks (4)

DSC_9009_696Costumes Only–Ohio (9)

DSC_8959_691Most Attention to Detail–The Main Event (2)


DSC_8945_689Welcome to Florida (5)

DSC_8918_685Wyoming (6)

DSC_9064_703Alaskan Dog Sled (7)
Yes, that is Sarah Palin riding along.

DSC_9081_705Michigan (8)

Two winning raft entries honored the memory of Angela Ligibel, who passed away July 30th.  Angela was important not only to family and friends, but the Clark Lake community at large.  She was an avid fan of Raft-O-Rama and participated in it for many years.  Angela was known as “Nana” to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and thus the raft entry “Aloha Nana.”  Her nickname was “Birdie” in Raft-O-Rama circles, and you can see that recognized on the Confusion raft.

birdie ps

Many of Angela’s family were present at the awards ceremony.  Afterwards they posed for this photo.


Evelyn Menard, winner of last year’s Mary Reynolds Spirit of Clark, congratulated this year’s winner–Bill Bendele, Jr. Evelyn’s love of fireworks has been her family’s inspiration to present magnificent displays at the east end on the Fourth of July since 2000.  Bill has been involved in many of the building and infrastructure projects around the lake.  The award was presented by Joey Reynolds.

DSC_9125_722And finally an airborne photo of Eagle Point where lots of the day’s activity took place, courtesy of Andrew Lajdziak.

RoR air point 2

Eagle Point on Google Earth

Since 1999 Google Earth has archived satellite photos of Clark Lake.  Yesterday this website displayed the images with a story about them.  The view encompassed the entire lake.  Now here’s a more detailed look dedicated to one of the lake’s iconic locations–Eagle Point.  The images are dated April 6, 1999; no date 2004; May 31, 2005; June 2, 2006; July 25, 2010; October 31, 2011; April 3, 2013; and the latest–October 13, 2016

Here’s a repeat of the entire lake during the same years except for 2004.

Through the years, many at Clark Lake have remember with delight their recollections of Eagle Point.  It’s mentioned at least once in almost every My Clark Story.  Below is a slide show of views of Eagle Point through many decades.

Eagle Point is also spotlighted under the History Perspectives tab.  Here are direct links to some of those stories.  

Eagle Point in 1947 Dollars

Bill Leutz tells the Rollo Every story

An Eagle Point Wedding – B.J. and Sally Lyons

Clark Lake Players present South Pacific in 1963

As said, most pieces under My Clark Lake Story describe how Eagle Point became important to their lives.  These two pieces reach back many years in remembering the Point. 

Dr. Mary Bentley and summers on Eagle Point

Angela Ligibel tells of Eagle Point in the 1940s