SUMMER, 2017

Hope everyone is having an enjoyable summer. As always, the season seems all too short, as we approach Labor Day and the opening of schools. But, keep in mind that fall is a beautiful time at Lake Hiawatha – so we have something to look forward to!

To recap some of what’s been happening over the summer:

De-weeding – The primary treatment was done in June, designed to reduce the number of weeds (particularly invasive species) that get hold in the cool water of spring. Subsequent treatments were done in August to address lily pads and algae blooms. The treatments are important to keep the lake navigable, clean and pleasurable for recreational activities. The treatments are not intended to remove all weeds and natural growth, as a certain amount of foliage is important to keeping the lake oxygenated, healthy and to support the wonderful wildlife that we all enjoy.

Water Quality Testing – Thanks to the Town of Bellingham, the water at Lake Hiawatha has been tested for safe swimming conditions. Lake Hiawatha has tested extremely well, coming in at 12.0 (normal range is 0.0 to 235.0) for colonizing bacteria. Testing occurred at the end of June, and will be repeated at the end of the season.

Bylaws – A committee was formed to review our bylaws to ensure that they reflected the changing times and challenges that we face in managing the lake. The committee met several times over the summer, and a proposed set of bylaws were produced (a copy of which are attached). These bylaws will be voted upon at our regular September meeting, to be held on the 21st, at 6:30 PM, 337 Lakeshore Drive. You may also send questions or comments via email prior to that meeting.

Fourth of July – To reiterate, the LHA plays no role in any firework displays. We received complaints from members over that weekend regarding the noise and confusion created by the fireworks. That is a matter for the police, not the LHA. We have no ability to cite people or stop them from using fireworks or firecrackers as part of the celebration.

Sadly, this Fourth of July was marred by the death of a visitor on the lake due to drowning. Again, we ask that you keep this gentleman and his family in your thoughts and prayers. A tragedy like this affects us all, and highlights the fact that water can be wondrously beautiful and refreshing, but also deadly. It also illustrates how important it is for residents of the lake community (especially those right on the lake) to be members of the LHA so that they can receive our messages regarding swimming and boating safety. Sometimes tragedies like the one that occurred on the Fourth can be avoided by simple safety precautions. Children should wear life vests; adults who cannot swim should wear life vests; all boats should be equipped with life vests; alcohol and boating do not mix! These are all part of the Massachusetts Guide to Boating Laws and Responsibilities which is available on our website, or a copy of which is available by contacting the Massachusetts Environmental Police. References to these regulations are embedded into the proposed new LHA bylaws. Adherence to these bylaws and common sense can go a long way towards saving lives! Be safe!

Beach and Boat Ramp Repairs – Damaging weather that occurred last fall wreaked havoc on the beach and boat ramp. Thankfully, the beach was brought back to decent shape by Memorial Day, however, the boat ramp is not as easy a fix. We will continue to work over the winter to find a more permanent solution to the impossible conditions which currently exist there.

Lake Access – Over the years, we have worked to keep non-members off the lake, and we seem to be getting a handle on that situation. However, in so doing, we have unintentionally made it more difficult for members who live off the lake to gain access to boating and fishing. We are committed to a winter project which will remedy this problem. We have several ideas, but are working on the financial and practical feasibility of each. We expect to have a plan in place for next spring that will allow all members equal access!

Boat Stickers – If anyone still needs boat stickers, please let us know. These particular stickers will be used from year-to-year, so please do not discard them. We will keep them current with a small yearly sticker that can be affixed to the large stickers given out this year. The system will work very similarly to your car license plate update.

Signage – Over the years, we have spent a considerable amount of money on signs informing people that this is a private members-only lake, that there is no fishing off the dam, etc. Unfortunately, they either disappear or are vandalized. We are now working on more permanent signs that will be sunken into the ground or lake bed, to minimize the potential for disappearance or destruction. Please be patient while we get these signs in place.

Meeting Attendance/Volunteerism – LHA Meetings are open to all members. All important issues are voted upon at regular meetings. Meeting minutes from the previous meeting are also distributed, reviewed and voted upon at every meeting. Newsletters and updates are also mailed to our membership. We try to keep members informed as much as possible. If you have questions or concerns, please attend a meeting. This is an all-volunteer association. There is a core group that gives up a lot of their time and puts forth much effort to keep things going. Wardens are members who volunteer, but deserve to enjoy the lake as everyone else does, and should not be expected to be “on duty” 24/7. We cannot expect them (or anyone else) to be a private security force. Please understand that we do the best we can with the resources that we have available. If you see or experience an issue of a dire nature that needs immediate attention, please contact the Police Departments of either Bellingham or Blackstone.

Additionally, beginning soon, wardens will be carrying specific LHA identification indicating that they have been duly appointed by the LHA Board of Directors, and will carry out warden duties as defined in our new bylaws.

Our next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 PM on September 21st at 337 Lakeshore Drive. Proposed bylaws (see attached) will be voted upon and ratified at this meeting. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the proposed bylaws, please contact us before the meeting, or come to the meeting and participate in the vote.