Category Archives: Commentary

24 January 2019: Kelley, Smith, Duncan File Comments on AQF Appeal

The deadline for submitting written comments on Aquafortis Associates LLC’s appeal of the DEP Order transferring the Clary Lake Water Level Order to the Clary Lake Association was Tuesday, 22 January 2019 at 5:00 PM (see “Aquafortis Appeals CLA License Transfer“). Only Butch Duncan commented on the actual license transfer application so therefore, according to the Notice of Appeal, he was the only one entitled to submit written comments on the appeal. He did not disappoint, submitting a short email to the Service List just after 3 PM on Tuesday. Per the Notice of Appeal, the Clary Lake Association was also entitled to comment, and we did by our letter dated January 4th. Much to my surprise (just kidding!) verbose comments were also submitted at the last minute by Paul Kelley (a total of 79 pages) and Richard Smith (a total of 37 pages). Continue reading

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


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

20 November 2017: Thoughts On The Recently Filed State’s Response Brief

Last Wednesday afternoon Assistant Attorney General Scott Boak filed the Department of Environmental Protection’s brief in response to Aquafortis Associates LLC’s brief appealing the Clary Lake Water Level Order [WLO]. AquaFortis Associates LLC [AQF] filed their brief back on October 6th. Since posting the State’s brief last week, quite a few people have viewed and/or downloaded it. I’ve read through the brief twice now, the first time quickly to get a feel for it, and then again more carefully, taking the time to read the foot notes, review unfamiliar citations and check the exhibits, most of which I was already familiar with. For me, it was a trip down memory lane and I found it to be clear, well-written, and easy to follow certainly not what I’d call “hard reading” by any means. Your mileage may vary, but a number of people have commented to me that they found the brief easy to follow and helpful in understanding everything that has gone on over the last 6 years since the Clary Lake water level petition was filed in early January 2012. I believe Assistant Attorney General Scott Boak did an outstanding job of defending the WLO, clearly demonstrating a solid grasp of ALL ASPECTS of this very complicated case. I look forward to the hearing when both sides of the case get to present their arguments which I expect to take place early next year. Continue reading

21 October 2017: Update on Clary Lake Water Level Order Appeal

Back on October 10th I posted Aquafortis Associates LLC’s [AQF] Rule 80C Brief and at the time I said I hadn’t read it but that I would shortly and would post my thoughts “at a later date.” I know some of you have been waiting for me to do just that. Well it’s a later date, I have read it, several times even, but have decided I will keep my thoughts on the brief to myself for now except to state that I think the arguments put forth in it are specious and without merit. I’d also suggest that apparently neither AQF nor their counsel has any idea what a bathymetric survey is or what it’s used for, and they seem equally confused over the difference between a water level and a water elevation. I don’t know whether this confusion is real or contrived, but I’m sure the State’s brief will clear it up.

The State’s response brief is due November 15th. I’ll post it as soon as I get a copy.

The Mill at Freedom Falls – Freedom, Maine

The Mill at Freedom Falls, site of The Lost Kitchen.

[dropcap]The[/dropcap] other day I came across the following article about a fine dining establishment called  The Lost Kitchen located in the Mill at Freedom Falls, Freedom Maine. I decided to post the article here as an example of how a well thought-out and executed development plan can lead to a wonderful local resource that enriches both the town and the lives of the people that visit it. When juxtaposed with our own Clary Water Mill, it allows us to see just how badly Paul Kelley and his partner Richard Smith botched their own attempted development project. While it is to their credit that these two men saw the historic beauty of the old Clary water mill site and recognized it’s nascent development potential, it is unfortunate that they failed to come up with a viable plan to develop it. It is even more regrettable that they chose to blame their failure not on themselves and their ill-conceived plans but instead on the Town of Whitefield and the Clary Lake Association, and to take their revenge against Clary Lake itself and the People of the State of Maine. Why would they try to destroy that which gives their property it’s value?

Enough of that. Please check out the article. I intend to visit the Mill at Freedom Falls this summer, and to dine at the Lost Kitchen:

This Remote Restaurant In Maine Will Take You A Million Miles Away From Everything

There are actually 2 stories here. One is about The Lost Kitchen and the other is about the old mill building that houses it. There is a great site documenting the history of that structure, and it’s restoration:

The Mill at Freedom Falls – Freedom, Maine

18 April 2017: Spring Musings and a Look Ahead

firetruck on clary

Isn’t it time to get a dry fire hydrant installed at the inlet of the lake on Route 126?

[dropcap]I[/dropcap] try to keep this news forum factual and informative and not all that speculative. From time to time however I am compelled to offer up some commentary on what has been happening, where we are and where it looks like we are headed. This is one of those times. My goal is to bring some perspective and commonality into our lives where they intersect with Clary Lake and the travails that have assaulted it for so long. Spring is a good time for this kind of musing: it’s a time to wake up, gear up, get in shape, and get ready for another season. I feel this is going to be an important year, that a lot is going to happen. We may not see a resolution of our water level crisis this year but then again we might, the problem being that I really have no idea what a “resolution” might look like. Certainly we’ll see some real progress towards a resolution. Not only am I prepared to be surprised, I expect to be. If one thing has been proven time and time again it is that we have no idea what lies around the next corner. Continue reading

26 December 2016: The Year in Review

DSC_2846 - Copy

2016 Boat Launch Cleanup

As 2016 draws to a close it is a good time to reflect on what has (hasn’t) been accomplished this year. In many ways it has been a banner year for the Clary Lake Association: with 116 current members, our membership is at an all-time high and community involvement in and support of the Association and it’s activities has never been higher. Even during the height of the water level petition process in 2012 and 2013 we only had at most 70 members, and last year we had 82 members. Furthermore, our current membership is engaged and informed like never before and willing to step up and participate when the need arises (see picture above!).

DSC_16902016 was the 5th full year that we’ve been engaged in our battle to restore Clary Lake which fact in and of itself, is rather sobering. Who would have thought this problem would take so long to resolve? The fact that after all this time we’re still waiting for the Water Level Order to be enforced is simply hard to believe, and even harder to accept. Through it all the Clary Lake Association Board has steadfastly remained diligent, attentive, and responsive, and 2016 was no exception. We officially met 12 times this past year to conduct Association business, discuss strategy, and make decisions, not to mention the piles of emails sent and phone calls made. It has literally been a full time job for some of us, and I’m deeply grateful for the dedication and commitment of all our Board members. It’s a great group of people and I’m proud to count myself among them. That said, I feel like we have not done Continue reading