Lake split; county turns to students
Nearly two dozen people jammed into Monday’s county commission meeting as rival groups of lake residents argued over how to manage the lake and its blue-green algae outbreaks.
One of them, Jackie Volbrecht, criticized commissioner Randy Dallke.
“I believe Mr. Dallke’s agenda is at play. He has administered the county lake and county roads as the Godfather, bestowing favors on those he chooses,” Volbrecht said. “Then a new commissioner is elected, a little woman that he couldn’t put in her place or run off.”
Resident Mark Wheeler proposed forming a group to better market the lake, but Volbrecht questioned how Wheeler’s group was assembled.
Volbrecht said she didn’t question Wheeler’s intentions, but thought it was time for people to stop arguing and turn to experts to decide what needs to be done.
Ultimately, commissioners voted to look to Kansas State University students for solutions, an idea suggested by Mike Meyerhoff of Natural Resources Conservation Service and extension agent Rickey Roberts.
Classes would use the lake as a case study over several semesters, Meyerhoff said.
“We will get the first presentation at the end of the semester,” Meyerhoff said.
Wheeler, who earlier presented a report on causes of, and solutions for, blue-green algae, asked commissioners to appoint a group to come up with ideas to enhance outdoor recreation, camping, fishing, boating, biking and hiking. His proposal included doing a market analysis, demographics study, and a financial analysis.
But Volbrecht said neighbors remained divided over an earlier cleanup that some fear could change the nature of the lake and others fear could actually contribute to algae problems.
“It’s time we stopped fighting with each other,” she said. “I think we need to go to experts and let them decide what needs to be done.”