Kids Prepare for the Triathlon

Participants are looking forward to tomorrow’s Kids Triathlon at the Clark Lake Yacht Club (Sunday, July 30th). The event, sponsored by the Raft-O-Rama Committee and Yacht Club, features three challenging events for kids twelve and under–running, cycling, and swimming. Up for grabs are the gold, silver, and bronze for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place overall winners.

The events take place mainly on the Yacht Club grounds. Registration is between 9 and 10 am Sunday, July 30th, and the action commences at 10 am. Dan Omo is the director. Raft-O-Rama and Yacht Club members will be on hand to help conduct the events.

After the Triathlon, more fun is planned for kids of all ages.  The Yacht Club is bringing in huge blow-ups as a way to introduce participants and visitors to its family-friendly outlook.  And there will be food.

What was last year’s Kids Triathlon like?  Here’s a look at the run.

The swim is popular.  The course takes place between two Yacht Club docks.

Smiling faces from last year.




Almost Open

The Beach Bar’s new Gear Garage was the scene of lots of activity today.  The final touches and inspections were taking place–and the shelves were being stocked.  This will be the place to buy your Beach Bar and Clark Lake memorabilia, ice cream cones for the kids, or ice for the raft ride.  Below are the Beach Bar’s John Collins and Peggy Collins.  Also pictured is Mike McKay, whose M-R Builder’s built the new structure.  True to form, Mike’s blending the new structure with the Beach Bar main building and agreeably combining it with Ocean Beach shoreline present a picture pleasing to the eye. 

In this photo, John, Peggy, and Mike are standing behind the counter.  Below is a the view from Ocean Beach Road as the crew stocks shelves and readies for opening day.

It was a cold April 6th morning with snow in the air that the wrecking crew arrived to take down the old garage.  It’s always amazing how quickly this can happen. To view the 3 minute video, and to learn more about the project, please click here.

Fix Up at the County Park

A crew was busy with hammers and saws repairing a building once providing rest rooms at the County Park today.

The building has been closed for a number of years.  That didn’t stop it from being vulnerable to a falling tree.  It was damaged in a November, 2016 storm, as you can see in this photo taken by Bill Leutz.

The building, and the County Park were discussed at the most recent meeting of the Columbia Township trustees.  County Commissioner Phil Duckham told trustees that this repair would take place.  He also explained that the County is contemplating leasing the park to the Township on a 99-year basis.  To learn about that, please click here.

Thursday Sunset Review

Clark Lake offered a pleasant end to the day.  A warm, but refreshing breeze out of the northwest, and a sunset worthy waiting for.  Here are four looks. 

Tuesday – How It Started and Ended

Tuesday morning was cool, really cool at 55 degrees.  The sun shone brightly, skies were a bright blue, humidity was low, and breezes pleasant.  Temperatures reached mid-70s.  Clark Lake was at its best.  And the sunset stayed true to that form.  Here are three views in chronological order.

Dam at Risk

A recent evaluation reveals that the south side of the dam at Ocean Beach has weakened.  If not corrected, it could lead to a catastrophic failure of the structure.  Should that happen, the level of the lake could drop by two to four feet. With the depth of the lake in mind, consider where that puts the new shoreline.

Five years ago, the same scenario faced Clark Lake when it was discovered the north side was deteriorating rapidly. No governmental agency claimed ownership or accepted responsibility.  As defender of the best interests of the lake, the Clark Lake Spirit Foundation raised funds, hired a contractor, and saw to it that the dam was repaired. And now, as the lake faces a similar challenge, the Foundation’s directors have voted to initiate repairs, in line with the Foundation’s mission of Standing Up for Clark Lake

Reconstruction of north side of dam five years ago

This activity is not without a significant price tag.  The cost of reconstruction will exceed $10,000.  The Foundation plans to ask for donations, and will refer to this as “Dam Strong for Clark Lake Fund.”  Donations can be made via this website, or by writing a check and mailing it to PO Box 224, Clarklake, MI 49234.  The Foundation is a 501c3, and donations are tax-advantaged.

Prior to discovery of this new infrastructure fault, a separate plan to clean up unwanted brush and establish eye-pleasing landscaping around the dam was initiated.  This activity is supported by a generous donation from M-R Builder’s Mike McKay.  The plan calls for installing four Spirit Trail benches on cement pads and a bike rack.  The newly refreshed area will be inviting to cyclists, walkers and runners using the Trail along Ocean Beach Road.

The placing of the benches offers another opportunity to raise the much-needed funds.  Funds from these four benches will be allocated to repairing the dam, and Spirit Trail maintenance and improvements.  Details to follow.  

These two photos illustrate some of the trees and brush at the dam.  As roots grow and expand into the infrastructure, fissures can develop.  The problem is compounded when water seeps into the openings, and damage is compounded due to freezing and thawing.

Weekend’s Last Look

Sunday fun at Clark Lake was interrupted by on and off rain–a total of about an inch.  While lawns and gardens gratefully soaked it up, it did take most boaters off the lake.  A few could still be spotted, even with rumbles of thunder nearby.  Lightning usually motivates people to head toward shore. 

Cloud conditions made for an interesting sunset.  Below are photos of various stages of the sunset, starting early and going late.  Finally there is a photo taken by Ann Swain looking east. She captured the cloud formations early on that went into making tonight’s sunset.

Welcome, A Plus Electric!

Please welcome Carl Evanson’s A Plus Electric as a new sponsor to this website. 

As you may know, this website is published by the Clark Lake Spirit Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the benefit of Clark Lake.  No one who provides content, edits, or publishes the website derives any compensation.  But there are third-party expenses such as hosting, domain names, and development costs (when coding is necessary).  So support from community-minded sponsors and contributions from individuals are important to continuing the activities of this website.

Carl and his kids at Run Clark Lake

Carl Evanson is all about Clark Lake.  It’s where he, his wife, and kids live.  From their deck, he can see his parents place across the lake.  His sister and her family live on the north shore. Clark Lake is also where his business started. In April, A Plus Electric celebrated 11 years of growing.  How did it start and where is it going?

On April 19, 2006, after nine innings of play, the Tigers were victors over the Oakland A’s 11-4.  It was the same day that Carl Evanson launched A Plus Electric.  Would his turn at bat as an electrical service company, also lead to a win?

It sure looks that way!

Carl explains “it was a chilly 43 degrees at 5 o’clock that Wednesday morning, and that’s how I felt—a bit nervous, but excited.  I sat down with a blank paper in front of me at Bob Evans, ordered coffee, and began to sketch out a client list.” 

Carl in front of the familiar sign at Jefferson and Hyde Roads

Carl likes to say his business began out of a closet.  “That’s where I stored my equipment. For a while, I was the entire company.”   A year into the start-up, he hired his first employee, and then a second.  Both are still at A Plus Electric.   Today he has 13 electricians in the field, and four people in the office.  

What were early challenges like? Carl says “we sacrificed…we took jobs anywhere, anytime, and did what it took, no matter what lay in front of us whether it be some knotty problem, snow or a midnight call. And we’re still the go-to guys because we haven’t let up.”

Looking back over the eleven years, Carl remarks “I am tremendously grateful to our customers and to our team who believe in their work–and perform like the pro’s they are.  Our business is built entirely on one customer recommending us to another, and you don’t get referrals unless you’re good at what you do.”

To read this Exponent interview, click on image.

A Plus Electric sums up the approach to business this way–quick, quality and affordable.  Carl adds “we serve homeowners, companies large and small, and are at construction sites.  Our team understands the need to innovate, and we’re very much at the heart of it, setting up sophisticated electronics at home or at work.”

Carl remembers that Wednesday in 2006 warmed up—to 71 degrees.  “I had filled my notebook with potential customers I planned to call on.”  Kelly Fuels was his first customer.  And if A Plus Electric were a baseball game, what inning would it be? Carl smiles, “we’re in the middle of the 2nd with bases loaded, and we’re heading for the playoffs.  Stay tuned!”

Carl and his family are active at Clark Lake, and regularly participate and sponsor events.  A Plus Electric is also highly visible in the community. Here is a sampling.

  • Memorial Day Parade on Hyde Road
  • Installing electrical at the Pointe's outside bar
  • Abby & Carl at Beerfest
  • A Plus Electric is a Crab Race sponsor
  • A Plus working on the Beach Bar's new Gear Garage

To read more about Carl Evanson’s view of customer service, click here.  Click here for the main page of the A Plus Electric website.

Crab Races Final 2017

“And they’re off” became “now they’re finished,” at least for 2017.  It was the thrill of victory in the final Great American Crab Race this evening at the Beach Bar.

Here are the cash winners.

Walter Rountree, 1st place

Heather Breening, 2nd place

Kasi Minden, 3rd place

The Great American Crab Races are sponsored by the Clark Lake Spirit Trail, Columbia Academic Boosters, Napoleon Athletic Boosters, and Napoleon Lions Club.  They would like to thank all the race sponsors (see below), and salute M-R Builder, B&B Hardware & Mobil Subway, Country Market, and the Beach Bar. 

Update on the War on Weeds

PLM, the company treating Clark Lake’s invasive weed invasion, will be here at the lake on August 3rd.  Steve Hanson of PLM, and a representative of SePRO, will survey the lake and collect additional information about our situation.  SePRO provides products to tame or eliminate invasive species.  According to Steve Hanson, SePRO has “been very good at providing a guarantee of control if they are involved in the project development.” 

PLM 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 implies 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 summer’s 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.”

Based the upcoming August 3rd survey, SePRO may recommend a different product like Sonar, or a new product.  “This new product,” says Steve Hanson, “is currently being tested in Michigan.”  It’s not known if it will be approved, nor is pricing available.

Clark Lake declared war on the advance of the invasive weed–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.