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  • Last modified 337 days ago (Dec. 13, 2017)

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Lake talk stirs up tempers

Staff writer

A Monday discussion of conditions at the county park and lake erupted into shouts just two weeks after consultants from Wichita State University told county commissioners they needed to work on getting along better.

Kathy Schockley and Mark Wheeler, both residents at the lake, talked about the need for a professional management plan to end blue green algae problems.

By the time things were done, commission chairman Randy Dallke and commissioner Dianne Novak locked horns over Novak’s suggestion, made last spring, that lake residents be permitted to remove brush and dead trees from a portion of the shoreline.

Novak said commissioners had generally agreed to allow that. Dallke shook his head.

Novak said county revenue related to the lake comes from property owners, not people who come to fish. She also said the people who worked on the lake had good intentions and worked hard to make a difference.

“You have two groups of people, those who don’t want to cut and those who do,” Novak said.

“You’ve ragged on me enough that I do things without the board,” Dallke flared.

“And you deny it,” Novak retorted.

Schockley reviewed several pages of previous commission discussions of conditions at the lake with blue green algae and trees, including what was decided — or not decided, as the case may be — during each discussion.

“You individually and collectively get complaints from property owners about the condition of the lake property or the condition of the neighbors’ property,” Schockley said. “The second thing is, you lack plans.”

Schockley said the county has a regulation about not changing or cutting trees.

“That’s a regulation, not a plan,” she said.

Wheeler asked commissioners to develop a management plan to abate blue green algae bloom.

The lake has had blue green algae warnings for consecutive years, including 2017.

“What we’re looking for is the master plan,” Wheeler said. “The lake has suffered a lack of professional management for a lot of years.”

Wheeler said what he’d really like to see is commissioners working together to develop a plan for the lake. He said the last time the lake was tested for nutrient levels was 2011.

He showed several photos of the lake and told commissioners to go to the big picture of what the future holds for the lake.

“That water, the water, we’ve got to get to the water,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler said a plan needs a proper emphasis on conservation and preservation.

Commissioner Kent Becker reminded lake residents that he’s said before they need to have an organization.

Schockley asked commissioners for a moratorium on individual tree cutting until the county has developed a plan.

Dallke said allowing members of the public to cut trees at the lake is “just unacceptable.”

“You can’t blame the public for that,” Novak said.

“Then I blame you, then,” Dallke said.

“Can I suggest you have a moratorium until spring when you have a bigger plan?” Wheeler asked.

Dallke moved to stop all cutting by individuals outside the designated area until the county comes up with a plan for the lake.

The motion carried two to zero, with Novak abstaining.

Last modified Dec. 13, 2017

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