Always Dreaming

If you’re ever far away from Clark Lake for an extended period, your dream could turn to the time you’ve spent here.  Always dreaming about Clark Lake, fits nicely with the events of the day in Louisville.  “Always Dreaming” won the 143rd Running of the Roses at Churchill Downs. 

Here at Clark Lake, our own winner was tonight’s sunset.  By the time the sun dipped beyond Hyde Road, the on and off again clouds had cleared, leaving a pristine backdrop.  The intense color is what brought this winner over the finish line.  Here’s another view that reveals more of the sky.

Then, at the very same time, the moon was rising in the east.  Not a full moon, but impressive for its brightness and for letting us see the character of its surface.

Yesterday’s sunset warrants an honorable mention.  Here are two views from Thursday evening. 

A Chilly Dive

It’s early in the season, and Divers Mast has already tested the cold waters of Clark Lake.  The group trains at the west end of the lake and uses the Township Park as a point of debarkation. 

Gary Merritt checks his gauge that records temperatures & other data about a dive.

So on this Saturday, May 6th, just how cold are Clark Lake’s waters?  Gary Merritt says “It depends on depth.  We dive to about 22 feet, and the temperatures range between 54 and 57.”  This isn’t the teams first dive.  Says Gary, “the water is colder today than it was a few days ago when we were last here.”  Not exactly encouraging for those pushing to start Clark Lake’s season of fun early.  The cold doesn’t stop Divers Mast.  Jim Hall notes “our first dive at Clark Lake this year was on St. Patrick’s Day.”

What do divers find in the depths at the head-of-the-lake?  Clark Lake harbors an underwater fleet.  It consists of sailboats, runabouts, and row boats.  Add to that a boat lift, two jet skis, a snowmobile, and sleds.  They are tied up at their own underwater yacht club, near their dock.  And all of this is 20 feet underwater.  You can read all about it by clicking here.

Another query is what the waters off Eagle Point conceal?  Last summer brothers Connor and William Stewart suited up for a good look.  They entered the water at Point’s shore, and followed the drop off to its deepest area.  You can explore that dive with underwater video by clicking here.

That wasn’t their only underwater exploration last summer.  Connor and William visited an underwater marker in Clark Lake that memorializes a 1990 plane crash that took the life of its pilot.  To see video and read about this, click here.

Divers take the precaution of letting boaters know they are underwater.  According to the Divers Mast’s Jim Hall, “divers stay within 100 feet of their flag, and boaters should stay at least 200 feet from it for the safety of all.”


Sunset Surprise

As sundown approached, Clark Lake skies were cloudy and gray, perhaps suggesting the prediction of the 100% chance of rain forecast for tomorrow.  But then something amazing happened.  You can see two views of it below.

And a close up.

There are times when you might expect to see a dramatic sunset, but it fizzles out.  That happened Monday.  Cloud formations suggested a keeper was coming our way as you can see in these two photos.  But soon after they were taken, the sky turned leaden gray, concealing the suns departure.

A closer view…before the curtain went down.

Property Tax Increase

Jackson County voters said yes to higher property taxes in yesterday’s election.  In Columbia Township, there were two ballot proposals.  The first asked voters to raise property taxes to support mental health services.  The proposal also stated “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 that passed is a six-year property tax renewal “to provide funds for the education of students with a disability…”.

Other ballot proposals were voted upon depending on where you live. Below you can see the turnout in Columbia Township.  The left hand column indicates the number of registered voters; the middle, the number who voted; and the right hand column, the turnout percentage.

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)?

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.