The Clary Lake Association News and Discussion Pages

Welcome to the Clary Lake Association News and Discussion page. Learn to use the Search feature (located at the top of the sidebar). For the most up to date Water Level Petition News I suggest you use Post Categories list box always on the right sidebar and select Petition News. Alternatively you can peruse the Lake Level Petition News page which is updated somewhat infrequently. You do NOT have to be logged in to leave a comment. See our User Policy and other information under the Site Help menu. When in doubt, contact me.

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21 April 2018: CLA Fundraising Campaign Extended

We reached our initial Phase 1 fundraising goal of $90,000 much sooner than expected and while the Board hadn’t discussed trying to raise additional funds for permanent repairs so soon, it only makes sense that we maintain our forward fundraising momentum and move right into Phase 2 fundraising without delay! We needed the initial funds to purchase the dam in a relative hurry, however Phase 2 fundraising can proceed at a somewhat more leisurely pace. The money is to pay for engineering services and for permanent dam repairs which we won’t need to spend for a while. We have only begun working on getting prices and we won’t have a firm budget for the work yet. However, some preliminary estimates we’ve received indicate we’ll need at least $30,000 for this second and final phase of effort, possibly more, hence a new fundraising goal of $125,000. We may need to revise that figure upward but for now it seems like both a realistic goal and an achievable one. I haven’t felt the need to reset our donation thermometer and have instead just added $35,000 to the original $90,000 goal giving a new goal of $125,000. The money all goes into the same pot, so to speak. Any money left over after permanent repairs are completed will be use to fund ongoing dam maintenance and repairs. Owning the Clary Lake dam is a big commitment and we’re taking it seriously. Continue reading

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20 April 2018: Clary Lake is (Finally) Ice Free!

Clary Lake is finally ice free! Much of the lake has been free of ice for the past 4-5 days,  but there was a large raft of ice down in the east end by the State boat launch that refused to dissipate. That ice is gone as of this morning. The loons are back and there are ducks and geese all over the place. I love spring! Historically, April 20th is a little late, but not by much. We have ice-in and ice-out dates going back to 2001:

I plan to get my boat in the water this weekend. Let the boating season begin!

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19 April 2018: We Have Reached Our Phase 1 Fundraising Goal!

In only two short weeks of fundraising we have met our phase 1 goal of $90,000!!!! Many, many thanks to everyone who contributed,  and special thanks to our patron who has matched donations dollar for dollar. I’m truly grateful for the outpouring of support, financial and otherwise, shown by our members, other lake shore owners, and friends of Clary Lake in the surrounding community.

However, our fundraising efforts haven’t ended with this early victory, in fact we’ve really just begun so please, if you have intended to make a donation but just haven’t gotten a round to it yet, please do so at your earliest opportunity! We plan to make temporary repairs to the dam as soon as we own it, but some unanticipated expenses and the need to make permanent dam repairs not too far down the road means we’re going to need more money before long. The more money we can raise now, the sooner we can move on to that next phase.

Our rapid fundraising success has actually caught us a little flat-footed as we still have a lot to do as we move forward with purchasing the Clary Lake dam. The Board is working diligently on multiple fronts. Stay tuned for developments!

Posted in Association News, Fund Raising | 2 Comments

11 April 2018 Lincoln County News: Clary Lake Group Raising Funds to Purchase Dam

There is an article in this week’s Lincoln County News by staff writer Greg Foster about our plan to purchase the Clary Lake dam. It is for the most part factually accurate which is particularly impressive given the both complexity of this story and Mr. Foster’s being relatively new to it. The part about the CLA making an offer on the little red building sitting on the dam was really just me daydreaming out loud, something one probably shouldn’t do when being interviewed for a newspaper story! For the record, the Association currently has no plans to make an offer on the red building:

Clary Lake Group Raising Funds to Purchase Dam

Can’t beat the publicity: I was at the check out at Sheepscot General this evening when someone came up to me and gave me a $10 bill saying it was to help purchase the Clary Lake dam πŸ™‚

I’ve archived a PDF copy of the article should you have trouble getting it off the Lincoln County News site:

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07 April 2018 Centralmaine.com: Fundraising starts to buy Clary Lake dam in Whitefield

There is an article in this morning’s Centralmaine.com newspapers (Kennebec Journal, Morning Sentinel) by Staff writer Jessica Lowell. There are a couple of minor inaccuracies but all in all it’s a good article, and GREAT publicity. It’s also nice to see they finally got some new pictures to go with their Clary Lake articles:

Fundraising starts to buy Clary Lake dam in Whitefield

I thought I was smiling πŸ™‚

Here’s an archived copy in case at some point in the future you can’t get to the on line version:

Posted in Association News, Clary Lake Dam, Fund Raising, Newspaper Article | 1 Comment

05 April 2018: And We’re Off!

More than 30 people showed up for the April 4th Special Membership Meeting to vote on purchasing the Clary Lake dam. The vote passed with overwhelming support. We also had over 100 proxy ballots on hand. Photograph by George Fergusson 04 April 2018

At a Special Clary Lake Association Membership Meeting held last night (picture at left) the Membership overwhelmingly voted to approve the purchase of the Clary Lake dam from the dam owner’s bankruptcy estate for $80,000 and has further authorized the Board to raise and spend the money necessary to make it happen. To that end, we have begun fund raising in earnest. Our current goal is to raise at least $90,000 by May 15th and hopefully much sooner. That figure includes funds for settlement costs and temporary dam repairs so we can start managing the water level to comply with the DEP Water Level Order. If for some reason the sale does not receive Bankruptcy Court approval, all donated funds will be returned, but the chances of that happening are slim. Let’s think positive and get to work! Continue reading

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Upcoming Special Membership Meeting Reminder

A quick reminder for our Clary Lake Association Members: we’re holding a Special Membership Meeting this coming Wednesday April 4th at 5:00 PM at Sheepscot General Store on Townhouse Road in Whitefield. The purpose of the meeting is to vote on two  Articles pertaining to the Clary Lake dam. If you’ve already sent in your proxy ballot, why not come by the meeting anyways! It will be a great opportunity to ask questions and find out how you can help. If you’re not a Clary Lake Association member, please consider joining! In any case, you’re welcome to come by and see what all the flap is about.

Hope to see you there!

Posted in Association News | 3 Comments

March 2018 Water Level Chart Archived

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March 2018

I have archived the March 2018 Water Level Chart (at left). The most notable feature of the March chart is how little the lake level fell over the course of the month despite the lack of precipitation received (less than an inch all told). This (relatively) stable level was likely the result of channel friction due to heavy ice cover in the march and increased runoff from ground water and melting snow partly making up for the outflows from the dam. Precipitation for the month was only 0.91″ which is way below the March average of 3.39″ putting us at only 7.00″ for the year to date, 1.43″ below normal. Hopefully spring rains will make up the difference. I only measured the lake level 13 times in March and nobody seemed to notice πŸ™‚

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20 March 2018 Central Maine Papers: Clary Lake residents await enforcement of water level order

There is an article in today’s Central Maine Papers (Kennebec Journal, Morning Sentinel) about the recent Superior Court ruling by staff writer Jessica Lowell:

Clary Lake residents await enforcement of water level order following years of dispute

Love all the publicity πŸ™‚

Here’s an archived copy if perchance you can’t get to the newspaper’s website:

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20 March 2018: The Clary Lake Water Level Order Stands

It’s been 3 weeks since the recent Superior Court ruling affirming the Clary Lake Water Level Order, and Aquafortis Associates LLC has apparently decided not to challenge it. I just spoke to the Lincoln County Superior Court Clerk who confirmed that no filing announcing a Law Court appeal had been made by the March 19th deadline. Also, rumor has it that Preti Flaherty who for years has been counsel to Aquafortis Associates no longer represents them. You can’t go to the Supreme Court without a lawyer.

While I’m pleased as can be, their decision not to appeal does not come as a big surprise to me. And that’s that.

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15 March 2018 Maine Public Radio: Court Rules in Favor of Clary Lake Association

I was briefly phone-interviewed yesterday afternoon by Ed Morin of Maine Public Radio about the recent Superior Court ruling. I didn’t hear the broadcast or find a link to the audio story, but I did find this short article on the Maine Public website:

Court Rules in Favor of Clary Lake Association

More publicity!

Posted in Newspaper Article | 3 Comments

14 March 2018 Lincoln County News: DEP’s Court Win Clears Way for Clary Lake Water Level to Return

We haven’t had a Lincoln County News reporter covering Clary Lake since sometime last summer, until now. Reporter Greg Foster has written a great first article on Clary Lake:

DEP’s Court Win Clears Way for Clary Lake Water Level to Return

Here’s an archived PDF copy if you have trouble getting the article off the LCN website:

Posted in Department of Environmental Protecion, Newspaper Article | Leave a comment

05 March 2018: What’s Next for the Water Level Order?

Hmmmm…

In light of the recent Superior Court decision affirming the Clary Lake Water Level Order [WLO], people are quite justified in asking “What’s next?” regarding the DEP taking enforcement action. The Water Level Order after all was issued over 4 years ago and we have been waiting way too long for the court case to conclude. Winning this hugely important battle was a crucial step towards bringing the Clary Lake dam into compliance with the WLO, but the war isn’t over yet. While I don’t know exactly how things are going to play out, I do firmly believe (and have believed all along) that we will ultimately prevail in our battle to restore Clary Lake, and I will continue to do everything in my power to bring about a satisfactory resolution of our water level crisis as quickly as possible. But what’s next, and how long do we have to wait for a resolution? Continue reading

Posted in Commentary, Court Action, Department of Environmental Protecion, Editorial, Superior Court, Supreme Court | Leave a comment

February 2018 Water Level Chart Archived

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February 2018

I have archived the February 2018 Water Level Chart (at left). The most notable feature of the February chart is how little the lake level changed over the course of the month despite the gate being wide open and with no major precipitation events to generate runoff. We started the month at -29.28″ below the normal high water mark and ended the month at -33.24″ below the normal high water mark, only 3.96″ lower that we started. The lake level was also above the hole in the dam for the whole month, increasing the amount of water leaving the lake. Nonetheless, the lake level stayed pretty flat for the month; I attribute the relatively stable lake level to reduced outflows as a result of channel friction and ice cover in the marsh which has been unusually thick this winter. Precipitation for the month was 2.28″ which is a little less than the historical average of 2.44″ for the month of February. Year to date our precipitation total is 6.09″ which is an inch more than average.

Posted in Technical Lake Stuff | 1 Comment

27 February 2018: CLARY LAKE WATER LEVEL ORDER UPHELD

Finally! After 4 long years of legal wrangling, yesterday Justice Billings issued his Decision and Order in the matter of Aquafortis Associates LLC [AQF] vs Maine Department of Environmental Protection, denying AQF’s Rule 80C appeal and fully AFFIRMING the Clary Lake Water Level Order. All of AQF’s arguments were denied. ALL of them. The document is 17 pages long and totally worth reading fully. Each argument is addressed separately and in great detail:

The Decision did come sooner than I had anticipated; I was figuring we’d be lucky to get a ruling before April or even May. I’ve been saying all along that I fully expected the court to uphold the Order so this was not really an unexpected outcome, but that doesn’t make it any less noteworthy, or exciting. I can hardly contain myself πŸ™‚

It will be interesting to see what happens next.

Posted in Court Action, Department of Environmental Protecion, Superior Court, Water Level Order | 7 Comments

08 February 2018 Centralmaine.com: Clary Lake Dam water level order appeal heard in Wiscasset court

Clary Lake Dam water level order appeal heard in Wiscasset court

Here’s an archived PDF copy if for some reason you can’t get the on line article.

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07 February 2018: Update on the Clary Lake Water Level Order Appeal

Superior_Court_20180206_130133I attended the hearing for oral arguments on the Clary Lake water level order appeal yesterday in Lincoln County Superior Court (case AP 2014-1, Aquafortis Associates LLC [AQF] v. Maine Department of Environmental Protection [DEP or Department]). I was accompanied by my wife. In addition, Clary Lake Association President Malcolm Burson and Board member David Knight were there along with 3-4 people from DEP, a few people I did not know, and a couple of reporters. Paul Kelley and Richard Smith were also there. AQF was represented by attorneys Timothy D. Connolly and R. Benjamin Borowski; Attorney Anthony Buxton was NOT there; I don’t know if his decision to not show up is significant or not, but I was quite surprised by his absence. The State was represented by Assistant Attorney General Scott Boak. The purpose of the hearing was to give counsel for each side an opportunity to verbally present their case to the Judge. Their oral presentations closely followed their respective briefs (see:  10 October 2017: Aquafortis Files Rule 80C Brief16 November 2017: State files Response Brief, and 05 December 2017: Aquafortis Associates Replies to State Brief).  You’ll find a few more pictures from the hearing in the new Winter 2018 photo gallery.  Continue reading

Posted in Court Action, Department of Environmental Protecion, Superior Court, Water Level Order | 2 Comments

05 February 2018 Reminder: WLO Appeal Hearing for Oral Arguments Tomorrow, February 6th

A quick reminder that a hearing for oral arguments in the Clary Lake Water Level Order Appeal is scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday February 6th at 1:30 PM at the Lincoln County Courthouse in Wiscasset. The hearing is expected to last about 1 hour. I wrote about this in a Water Level Order Appeal Update post back on January 11th. The hearing will be in the Superior Court Room on the second floor of the Lincoln County Courthouse building. If you’re going to attend, plan to show up at least 30 minutes early; on court days, parking can be hard to find and there is a metal detector to pass through which slows down people entering the building. You’ll want to be on your best behavior and should leave your attitudes at the door: there will be no opportunity to speak, and disruptions of any sort will likely not be tolerated by the Judge. So no clapping, hooting, booing, or general mayhem; this is an opportunity to listen; pay attention and you’ll probably learn something. Make a scene and the lot of us will probably be thrown out of the court room πŸ™‚

Assistant Attorney General Scott Boak will be there representing the Department of Environmental Protection. Attorney Anthony Buxton and likely several other lawyers from PretiFlaherty will be there representing Aquafortis Associates LLC.

Posted in Association News, Court Action, Department of Environmental Protecion, Superior Court, Water Level Order | 2 Comments

January 2018 Water Level Chart Archived

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January 2018

I have archived the January 2018 Water Level Chart (at left) starting us off on another year of sub-par water levels. The most notable feature of the January chart is that the lake level actually made it up into the “allowable” range (for this time of year), reaching a high of -19.08″ below the normal high water mark on January 15th as the result of nearly 2.5″ of heavy rains and snow melt. Gotta love January thaw! I had stopped making measurements on December 31st but the warm weather and rapidly rising lake level made getting down to the lake and actually finding the water surface relatively easy.

Precipitation for the month of January was 3.81″ most of which we received in a big storm in the middle of the month. Average for January is only 2.6″ so already we’re 1.2″ above normal for the year, but the year is just starting.

All told I only made 8 water level measurements for the month of January and I don’t expect to resume measurements on anything like a regular basis until sometime spring. I’ll try and grab a few measurements between now and then if the opportunity presents itself.

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15 January 2018: Bruce J. Relyea Has Passed Away

It is with sadness that I inform you of the passing of Bruce Relyea. Bruce was a friend of mine, a faithful steward of Clary Lake, and a long time member of the Clary Lake Association. Bruce and his wife Audrey bought their property on the south shore of Clary Lake in Jefferson from Francis Ward in 1967 and it remains in the family today. Bruce was an early supporter of the Association which was formed not too long before Bruce arrived, in 1960. Bruce served as Association President from 2002 through 2004 and has been a generous benefactor of the Association over the years. He will be missed.  Here’s his obituary from the Fort Worth Texas Star-Telegram:

Bruce J. Relyea 1928 – 2018

Bruce J. Relyea FORT WORTH — Bruce J. Relyea, 90, of Fort Worth, passed away on January 9, 2018. Bruce was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Mildred and Bruce Relyea. He enlisted into the United States Army Air Force at age 18, serving in Japan as a control tower operator, and upon discharge he attended Miami University of Ohio, earning a degree in Business Administration. In 1950, he began his career as an auditor for General Electric Co. in Cleveland. Four years later, he married his wife of 64 years, Audrey Jennison. Bruce was later employed at Penn Central Co., Ebasco Industries, and as Comptroller with Union Pacific. He ended his career as Vice President of Finance at Champlin Petroleum Company in Fort Worth. Not one to sit idly, after retirement, Bruce took up ranching in Grandview before returning to Fort Worth to spend time with his children and grandchildren. Bruce was an avid reader, a talented bridge player, an enthusiastic golfer, and a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He enjoyed spending summers with Audrey and family at his wild blueberry farm, North Forty, in Jefferson, Maine. Bruce was preceded in death by his infant son, Douglas Edward. SURVIVORS: His wife of 63 years, Audrey Jennison Relyea; children, Robert Bruce Relyea (Jeraldine), Susan Relyea Pardee (Tom), Steven Jennison Relyea (Adrienne), Gregory John Relyea (June); . his sister, Lynda Metzler. 11 grandchildren; and five great grandchildren.

On behalf of the Clary Lake Association Board I wish offer our condolences to his wife Audrey and the family.

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