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.

JACKSON COUNTY MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES MILLAGE PROPOSAL
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.

INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL DISTRICT PROPOSALS
SPECIAL EDUCATION MILLAGE RENEWAL PROPOSAL
SPECIAL EDUCATION MILLAGE RENEWAL PROPOSAL
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.

Turtles Debut En Masse

Today’s warm weather was all these turtles needed to start their season in the sun.  Temperatures in the high 70’s brought them to the surface, and they promptly returned to one of their favorite haunts–to Flip and Linda Reynolds place.  Flip has added a ramp to his dock so the turtles can climb aboard.


They appear happy to take advantage of the welcome mat.  Flip and Linda’s location, southeast corner of the west end or Pierces Bay, is a well known turtle hangout.  Some at Clark Lake have affectionately referred to the area as the “turtle patch.”  Over the years, kids with nets or fast hands have been known to catch turtles large and small, show them off to friends and family, and then release. 

Below, these turtles apparently were not satisfied with the dock accommodations, and found their way to the shoreline.  


Flip says his turtle ramp is minus a board, probably shaken loose in the wind.  If found, please call Flip at 206-3546.

In the Clarklake-O-Meter of sunset judging, tonight may not have been a “10”, but it’s still a reminder that a sunset at Clark Lake is better than most anywhere else. Stay tuned for another summer of Clark Lake amazement!

 

Beauty of Boat Wake

When do you find beauty in a boat wake?  At sunset if you’re at Clark Lake.  Bill Leutz captured the moment from his front yard along the Eagle Point Shoreline.


And if you lifted your eyes toward the western horizon, here’s what you saw.

Severe Weather Possible

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather statement and severe storm watch for Jackson County and many other southern Michigan counties.

“Mason-Lake-Osceola-Clare-Oceana-Newaygo-Mecosta-Isabella-Muskegon-Montcalm-Gratiot-Ottawa-Kent-Ionia-Clinton-Allegan-Barry-Eaton-Ingham-Van Buren-Kalamazoo-Calhoun-Jackson”

“Strong to severe thunderstorms are possible between 400 pm and Midnight. The storms will be capable of damaging winds, large hail to around 1 inch in diameter and locally heavy rain. An isolated tornado cannot be ruled out either.”

You can get an updated forecast 24/7 for our area via the main page of this website.  Please scroll down to find it–and click on 5-day forecast.

At 4:31 pm today there were a few sprinkles in the air, and the sky and rumbles of thunder suggested something else was on the way.

Earlier today, Consumers Energy issued this advisory.

“This morning’s scattered storms across portions of Michigan will be followed by a more organized line of strong and potentially severe thunderstorms entering the southwest part of the state by 4 p.m. today. The storms are expected to impact much of the Lower Peninsula through this evening and may include wind gusts in excess of 60 mph. This
active weather pattern could result in power outages. Consumers Energy is monitoring the weather closely, mobilizing resources and making other preparations to quickly respond to any service interruptions.”
 
CE suggests visiting www.ConsumersEnergy.com/OutageCenter for helpful tips. At this location, you can visit the online outage map, report an outage and sign up to receive power restoration updates.

New Beginning at Ocean Beach

Today marked the beginning of a new chapter in Clark Lake history.  The old storage building in front the Beach Bar, between Ocean Beach Road and the lake, was taken down today.  The Beach Bar is investing in a new, attractive structure to replace it–one in harmony with its surroundings that will improve the look and feel of the area.  Mike McKay, of M-R Builders, tells what the Beach Bar’s John Collins has in mind.

Items in the gift shop may include Clark Lake memorabilia–shirts, hats, and local art.  Add to that ice for your raft ride and ice cream for the kids.  Mike comments “it has the potential of creating employment, especially for students on summer break.

The razing of the old building began about 8 am today.  Bendele Construction’s crew came equipped to do the job with Stanton Trumbull at the controls.  Although it took longer at the scene, you can watch the building come down here in less than five minutes.

The new construction will proceed under the watchful eye of Mike McKay.  As those at Clark Lake know, his reputation for excellence travels far and wide.  His work can be seen in 100 new and remodeled homes around our lake, as well as commercial buildings like the Pointe Bar and Grill.  Mike chose Carl Evanson’s A Plus Electric to build the power infrastructure, noting “Carl’s team knows what it takes to achieve our high standards.”  Carl and his family live at Clark Lake and says “it’s an honor to work with him on this project as well as others through the years.”

As you could probably detect from the video, the old building had been modified over the years.  Notice there are two sets of sidings–the original and one added later. According to a local resident, the structure once housed Gibson’s Marina.  It was a place on the lake where you could get your outboard worked on. 

Below are some photos that give perspective on the building’s location, and take you inside for one last look.  Most were taken just minutes before demolition this morning.

 

 

 

Clouds, Rain, Wind & Snow

Clouds, rain, wind & snow are on the Clark Lake agenda.  Extended overnight rain replenished the lake and brought the level significantly higher.   Check out this video of the Dam taken today about 9 am.

What’s ahead?  The National Weather Service has posted a winter weather advisory in effect until 11 pm.

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
Mason-Lake-Osceola-Clare-Oceana-Newaygo-Mecosta-Isabella-Muskegon-
Montcalm-Gratiot-Ottawa-Kent-Ionia-Clinton-Allegan-Barry-Eaton-
Ingham-Van Buren-Kalamazoo-Calhoun-Jackson-
Including the cities of Ludington, Baldwin, Reed City, Clare,
Hart, Fremont, Big Rapids, Mount Pleasant, Muskegon, Greenville,
Alma, Grand Haven, Jenison, Grand Rapids, Ionia, St. Johns,
Holland, Hastings, Charlotte, Lansing, South Haven, Kalamazoo,
Battle Creek, and Jackson
601 AM EDT Thu Apr 6 2017

* Snow will continue through the morning from near US-131 and
east through US-127.

* Total snowfall 1 to 4 inches with locally up to 5 inches.

* Strong north winds gusting to 50 mph, occasionally higher near
Lake Michigan.

You can always get an up to date forecast for Clark Lake and vicinity by going to the main page of this website.

In the 9 am hour today, rain, wind and mist were joined by snow.  Here is the view of the lake from Eagle Point.

 

 

 

In Spite of April Showers

In spite of days of grey, rain and now the possibility of snow on the way, Clark Lake puts on stellar performances.  This morning beginning was spectacular.  Thanks to Rob Thomas who captured the awesome moment from his north shore location.

RT 2017 04-05
As reported earlier today on this website, the sun peeked through the clouds just before setting.  Here’s another look at it.

DSC_0197
For an update on weather prognostications, please click here.