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We’ve all been anxiously awaiting a decision from the Bankruptcy Court on the Clary Lake Association’s efforts to purchase the Clary Lake dam from Paul Kelley’s bankruptcy estate. This morning Judge Fagone announced his intention of issuing an Oral Ruling on the Trustee’s Sale Motion in open court at a hearing at 10 AM on Friday September 28th at the United States Bankruptcy Court at 202 Harlow Street, Bangor, Maine. The hearing will be open to the public. A date for a ruling is not the same as a ruling, but I’ll take it. At least now we have an end date for the Sale Motion!
Given how much time has passed since oral arguments back on July 27th, we were all expecting the Judge to issue a written decision but our attorney assures us that Judges issue oral decisions in open court with some frequency. We have every reason to believe the Judge will approve the sale of the Clary Lake dam at that hearing, with the only question being whether he sells us the dam free and clear of the restrictive covenants or approves the sale with the covenants in place. Either way we’ll own the dam. The closing will most likely take place the following week. We have a contingency plan in place to deal with the covenants if the Judge decides not to sell the dam free and clear.
We had not counted on this sale process taking so long, and it remains to be seen whether there is enough time this fall to get the dam permanently repaired or whether we’ll need to wait until next summer for that. Needless to say we’ll do everything we can to get the dam repaired and the lake level restored as quickly as possible.
If anyone is interested in attending the hearing and is looking for a ride, get in touch with me about carpooling!
I have archived the August 2018 Water Level Chart (at left). The water level in August continued the slow but steady decline seen in June and July, falling only 3.00″ over the course of the month or about a tenth of an inch per day. Most of the drop now is due to evaporation as there’s virtually no water flowing down the channel and out the dam.
It’s still dry: we received only 2.95″ of rain during August, 0.36″ less than normal. So far this year we’ve received 22.62″ or 3.57″ less than average for this date. According to the National Integrated Drought Information System we’re currently experiencing “Abnormally Dry” which I suppose it about right.
Since posting about finding some Purple Loosestrife growing around Clary Lake last month (see: “Have You Seen This Plant?”) I have continued to find and remove more plants. Many thanks to those of you who have reported loosestrife around the lake. The other day I spotted another group of plants over by the inlet to the lake in Jefferson and plan to go dig them up/pull them out this weekend.
No, I don’t know when the Bankruptcy Judge is going to rule. Patience people. It’ll happen.
The 2018 Clary Lake Association Annual Membership Meeting was held Saturday afternoon at the old MacDonald farm in Jefferson over looking Clary Lake, now the home of Jessie Spector and Logan Higger and the site of Sowbelly Butchery While attendance was somewhat less than usual, the meeting was nonetheless a great success. The highlight of the meeting clearly was having our bankruptcy attorney Randy Creswell who drove up from Portland, speak about the bankruptcy sale process and answer questions. We had hoped/expected to own the Clary Lake dam before now so it was very helpful for Mr. Creswell to explain the bankruptcy sale process in general, why this particular asset sale was taking so long, and what to expect. We remain optimistic that we will own the Clary Lake dam soon.
Membership is now up to 105, well ahead of where we were this time last year. We’re heading for 150. The 2018/2019 Membership year has started. If you haven’t already joined, please get your dues in as soon as you can!
For some reason I neglected to take any pictures at the meeting. Many thanks to Jessie & Logan for letting us use their barn. It was a perfect venue.
A quick reminder that our 2018 Annual Membership Meeting is this coming Saturday, August 11th at 2:00 PM at Derby Oak Farm in Jefferson (the old John Robert MacDonald farm). Here’s a Google Map showing where it is. If you haven’t already paid your 2018/19 dues, plan to arrive early so you can take care of that before the meeting starts! We’ll have a registration desk set up about 1 PM. Alternatively you can sign up or renew your membership on line via PayPal. Whatever works for you! Our membership goal for this year is 150 and we’re currently at 88.
There will be some seating provided, but consider bringing a folding chair or 2. Also don’t forget there’s a pot luck supper at the conclusion of the meeting so consider bringing something to eat. If you can’t bring food, at least bring your appetite!
In preparation for the meeting (and just in time too!) I have finished the minutes from last year’s 2017 Annual Membership Meeting and also minutes for the Special Membership Meeting held this past April 4th. You’ll find both on the Membership Meeting Minutes page. Both sets of minutes will be presented for review and comment at the annual meeting. Normally I try to get meeting minutes finished and posted sooner but this past year, especially the last 6 months, have been pretty hectic.
We had expected that we would not only own the dam by the time our Annual Meeting arrived but that it would be fixed and impounding water again but it looks like that will not be the case. We’re still waiting for the Bankruptcy Judge to issue his Decision and Order on the Sale Motion after the hearing back on July 27th. Who knew this bankruptcy sale would take to long? While there’s still a chance that the Judge will rule before the end of the day Friday, I’m not going to hold my breath. It will happen when it happens, and I am if anything, patient. I am confident that the Judge WILL rule soon and that we WILL soon own the dam.
Hope to see you on Saturday!
We really need an invasive plant patrol program here on Clary Lake.
Breaking News From
Maine Department of Environmental Protection
Invasive Milfoil Confirmed in Cobbosseecontee Lake
Rapid response aims to keep plants in check
AUGUSTA, August 7, 2018
– Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has confirmed growth of Eurasian water milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) in the north end of Cobbosseecontee (aka Cobbossee) Lake in Winthrop. The plant was discovered in July by Friends of Cobbossee Watershed (FOCW) plant surveyors. DEP, FOCW and Cobbossee Watershed District have searched for and removed plants since last month’s discovery. Continue reading
I have archived the July 2018 Water Level Chart (at left). The water level in July continued the steady decline seen in June though at a slightly reduced daily rate, falling only 4.32″ over the course of the month. An indication of how steady the decline was is the “coefficient of determination” (the R² or “R squared” value in the inset box on the chart) which in simple terms is a statistical measure of how close the data points fit a straight line. An R² value of 0.9181 means the data points collected over the month are very close to a straight line (a perfect fit would have an R² of 1.00). Because of the relative drought we’re experiencing, the 3.30″ of rain we received during the month had very little effect on the lake level, which only rose marginally for a few days towards the end of the month. We end the month about where we were this time last year, only 1.68″ lower than on July 31, 2017. Continue reading
Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) is a common invasive plant in Maine. The plant propagates by seed and invades many types of wetlands where it crowds out native plants and degrades wetland habitat. We certainly don’t want it getting a foothold around Clary Lake! A little over a week ago while out fishing, I spotted 2 purple loosestrife plants growing on the south shore of Clary Lake. Yesterday afternoon, CLA President Malcolm Burson and trudged across the marsh and dug them up and hauled them off which is the approved method of control for this plant. If you just cut them down, they will regrow from the roots though I know from experience that if you keep cutting them down a few years running, eventually the plant will die. I actually cut this particular plant down last summer and it regrew this year from the root stock. Digging them up is the sure-fire way to rid yourself of this invasive plant. There are a few more pictures in the Spring/Summer 2018 photo gallery. Continue reading
Oral arguments of the Final Sale Motion hearing took place today before U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Michael Fagone. Trustee Jeffrey Piampiano was represented by attorney Kaitlyn Husar, the Clary Lake Association [CLA] was ably represented by attorney Randy Creswell, and Richard Smith and Aquafortis Associates LLC [AQF] were represented by attorney Louis Carrillo. The Trustee and CLA were to receive 40 minutes combined to present their arguments in support of the Sale Motion, which time was to be split roughly equally between them. Attorney Carrillo was to be given 40 minutes to present his arguments supporting Smith’s and AQF’s objections to the Sale Motion. Finally, the Counsel for the Trustee was to be given 10 minutes for rebuttal. In fact, each party went over their time limits a little bit. Also present at the hearing representing the Maine DEP was Assistant Attorney General Scott Boak and co-counsel Kevin J. Crosman. The hearing started promptly at 10 AM and lasted about 2 hours. No ruling was issued today: after hearing the oral arguments, Judge Fagone took the matter under advisement and said he will issue his Decision and Order just as soon as he can. While I had hoped for a ruling from the bench today, the Judge was presented numerous cases to review and that was far more than he could be expected to do today.
I thought counsel for the Trustee and counsel for the CLA did a GREAT JOB of presenting their arguments, and I thought counsel for Smith and AQF was way out of his comfort zone did an incredibly lousy job of presenting his arguments, but don’t take my word for it, listen to the hearing audio and decide for yourself. Continue reading
A quick reminder: oral arguments on the Final Sale Motion are scheduled for tomorrow morning at 10 AM at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Portland. This will be the 4th and presumably final hearing on the proposed sale of the Clary Lake dam to the Clary Lake Association. You can read the original post about the hearing for more information (see Final Sale Motion Hearing Scheduled). I will be attending the hearing, and will post the outcome here as soon as I can. Stay tuned.
Renewals and new memberships for the upcoming 2018/2019 Membership year have been arriving steadily. We’re currently at 79 which is more than half way towards our goal of 150 for the upcoming year, and well ahead of where we were at this time last year. This is very gratifying!
Many people choose to join or renew at the Annual Meeting which is fine, but please keep in mind that the meeting will start promptly at 2:00 PM so if you intend to sign up that day, please arrive early! We’ll have the registration desk setup up at 1:00 PM. This year’s meeting should be pretty exciting. You won’t want to miss it!
Please join me in welcoming our newest Water Quality Monitor, Kelsie French! Kelsie and her brother Jeffrey own a camp over on Duncan Road and have been long time supporters of the Clary Lake Association. Kelsie has been helping out from time to time and last Saturday successfully completed the Lake Stewards of Maine (formerly the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitor Program) training for, and has been certified qualified for taking, Secchi Disk Transparency readings and Total Phosphorus Surface Grabs. Next up is getting certified on the use of our YSI Dissolved Oxygen meter. Ever two weeks from (usually) late April until late October we venture out onto the lake to record water temperature, transparency, and dissolved oxygen data. This information is sent into the VLMP and also gets posted on our Clary Lake Water Monitoring Data page. Transparency data is also posted on the “Near Real-Time Lake Data.”
We now have 4 active water quality monitors on Clary: David Hodsdon (CA# HO-0042), Jack Holland (CA# HO-0551), George Fergusson (FE-2648), and Kelsie French (CA# FR-2497). The pictures on this post were taken back on July 7th.
The Judge in the Paul A. Kelley Jr. Bankruptcy case has issued an Order and Schedule for oral arguments on the a Final Sale Motion on July 27th, 2018 at 10:00 AM. The hearing will be at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, 537 Congress Street in Portland Maine. The Order is only 4 pages long and is remarkably easy reading as Court Orders go, and I highly recommend everyone read it through so you’ll have an idea of the issues the court is grappling with. The Order both summarizes the actions taken to date starting with the May 22nd filing of the Motion to Sell up to last week’s July 5th evidentiary hearing, and then lays out 8 questions that the Judge wants the parties to address in their oral arguments before the court. Continue reading
President Malcolm Burson and my wife Margaret and I attended yesterday’s Sale Motion hearing. Other parties in attendance were Butch Duncan, Richard Smith and Paul Kelley, counsel for the Clary Lake Association Randy Creswell, Bankruptcy Trustee Jeffrey T. Piampiano represented by Kaitlyn M. Husar, Esq., Assistant Attorney Generals Scott Boak and Kevin Crosman representing the Maine DEP, and attorney Dennis Carrillo representing Richard Smith and AQF. Regrettably, Paul Kelley’s bankruptcy attorney J. Scott Logan was not in attendance. Continue reading
I had hope to be able to tell everyone today that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court had approved the sale of the Clary Lake dam to the Clary Lake Association, but that announcement is going to have to be postponed for a few weeks. Thanks to objections raised by Richard Smith and Paul Kelley, today’s hearing which should have resulted in a quick decision approving the sale instead turned into a day-long evidentiary hearing with numerous parties taking the stand and testifying, and being cross examined. Court started at 9 AM and finally adjourned at 4:30 PM. A hearing for oral arguments will scheduled sometime the week after next (the week of July 16th) at a time and place to be announced. While there is little question whether the judge will eventually approve the sale to the CLA, there are questions regarding the restrictive covenants which need to be answered. Smith’s and AQF’s objections to the sale and to the scraping of the covenants provided a considerable diversion today, but ultimately I have no doubt that we’ll end up owning the dam. Patience people. We’ve been waiting 7 years for this. A few more weeks won’t hurt.
I wanted to get something posted as soon as possible because I know there are lots of people anxiously awaiting word after today’s hearing. I’ll provide additional details about today’s hearing at a later date and will post an audio transcript of today’s hearing when it becomes available.
Both loon chicks have apparently gone missing, nobody has seen them since sometime late last week. I took some photographs of them one week ago, on Wednesday June 27th and I haven’t seen them since. They were spotted last Thursday, but I’ve received no reliable reports of sightings since then. Outlook not good. If you see them please email me.
Loon babies face many challenges growing up. Of those, predation by Bald Eagles and Snapping Turtles pose the greatest risk, and we have a healthy population of both predators in and around Clary Lake. Motor boats also pose a risk if the driver is inattentive, but so far, there haven’t been a lot of speed boats on Clary this summer. Even when they avoid death or injury from those common sources of danger, one loon chick all too often falls prey to its sibling as the result of competition for food and attention. Mother Nature can be cruel.
Incidentally, the 35th annual Audubon Loon Count will take place Saturday July 21st from 7:00 AM to 7:30 AM. The results of the count will be presented at the Annual Meeting on August 11th. We hope to see you there.
I have archived the June 2018 Water Level Chart (at left). The water level in June continued the steady decline seen in May though at a slightly reduced daily rate, up until the 28th of the month when we received a welcome 2.0″ of rainfall over 24 hours, which reversed the downward trend, barely. The ground has been so dry however that there was virtually no runoff from the precipitation event with the lake rising only 2.28″ as a result. In a normal year with normal rainfall and normal ground water supplies, that 2″ of rain would have brought the lake up close to a foot. Rainfall for the month was 3.67″ which is slightly above average, but for the year to date at 16.37″ we’re still a good 3″ shy of where we should be on this date.
On the bright side, the slower fall in lake level over the month contributed to a successful Loon nesting effort, with 2 chicks hatching out on the 24th of June.
The deadline for the submission of competing bids on the Clary Lake dam was Noon today. There were no competing bids received so there will be no auction. I guess nobody but the Clary Lake Association wants the dam! Next stop: the July 5th hearing on the Sale Motion.
There have been some filings in the past few days in the Paul Kelley bankruptcy case including 2 Proof of Claims (Ford Motor Credit and Preti Flaherty), a Request for Notice (from Butch Duncan), and an interesting Supplement in Support of the Sale Motion by the Maine DEP. I see ALL of these filings as favorable for our efforts to purchase the dam and it is particularly gratifying to have DEP be so strongly supportive of our plan to purchase the dam. Continue reading
Well it turns out the loons had two chicks this year, not one as I originally thought. I went out this evening to get some pictures, and the loons cooperated happily. Even when I knew there were two I could often only see one. Having two loon babies is good because it increases the chances of one of them surviving to adulthood. On the downside, one almost always fails to thrive…
For the second year in a row, our resident loon family has successfully hatched a baby loon. Just one this year rather than the usual 2. I noticed one parent or the other hanging around the nest area today and saw one loon, presumably the male, chasing another loon around in a classic loon “get out and stay out” territorial battle, and suspected that hatching was near. Please give them a wide berth.
[27 June UPDATE]: We have 2 loon babies! No idea how the second baby escaped notice this long, but it did. No pictures yet, but I clearly saw two babies when over visiting our Treasurer this morning.