Lake Wateree Home Owners Welcome New Board Members

Outgoing WHOA Chairman Jerry Nealy (left) congratulates incoming WHOA Chairwoman Rebecca (Becky) McSwain.

The Wateree Home Owners Association (WHOA) held their annual membership meeting July 14 at the Lake Wateree Baptist Church on River Road in Ridgeway. Prior to the meeting, a breakfast of assorted biscuits of sausage and bacon with jelly, coffee and juice was served. A blessing of the food was given by outgoing WHOA chairman Jerry Nealy, followed by a call to order and welcome to the membership and guests. Barbara Davis, the association’s long-time treasurer, gave a financial report and the results of an internal audit were submitted by Rick Noble. A new C.O.P. officer was introduced to the lake residents and he announced the next crime watch meeting is to be held Aug. 6 at 6:30 p.m.

Nealy introduced the new WHOA board members for 2012-2013. They are: chairman, Becky McSwain; first vice chairman, Milt Marley; second vice chairman, Michael Davis; secretary, Leslie Thorsvold (not in attendance) and treasurer Barbara Davis. Road representatives for the coming year are as follows: Carol Hefner for Wateree Estates/Dutchman Lane with alternate Richard Druggers; Jim McHone for Dovewood/Pinehurst with alternate Rick Noble; Sonny Hudson for Wateree Creek Valley/Woodside/Wateree Keys, alternate Ken Lawson; Bill Iskrzak for Molly Creek with alternate Jama Waters. There is presently no road representative for Rockbridge but alternate is Marge Whitney. Leonard Mushkin is representative for Rocky Point/Kingfisher but there is no alternate. Westshore rep is Chuck Stogner, no alternate. Deer Run rep George Jeandheur, alternate Brenda Worthington. Rolling Hills rep Milt Marley, alternate Pete Dodd. Plantation Pointe rep is Jerry Lester, alternate Frank Twiford. Shangri-La/Timberlane representative is Ned Gwin, with no alternate and Great North/Valley Drive/Inlet rep is Ron Hoadley with Jerry Nealy as alternate. If your road has no representative or alternate and you would like to help, please contact Rebecca McSwain.

Rick Noble, past chairman of the Catawba Riverkeepers, introduced the new riverkeeper Sam Perkins. Perkins is a UNC graduate from Chapel Hill, N.C. with a Masters in Science. McSwain introduced the cove keepers and introduced Mark Oakley from Duke Energy.

Oakley gave a report on the re-licensing that is required by the federal government, keeping up with any new laws, the clean water act, the Comprehensive Relicensing Agreement, biological opinions that are being studied and announced the new license for early 2013. He answered questions from the audience concerning low water during drought, modifying the spillway, concerns over the 100-year-old dam’s condition and a bladder dam. When construction of the bladder dam would start is undetermined right now or whether it will be in summer or winter months. The summer months have less runoff and would be a better time for employee safety.

Mr. Craig Keese discussed a safety program that is close to him, following a family tragedy, and suggested it be implemented by the people of WHOA. It is already in use at several lakes and involves having life jackets of all sizes available at boat landings for those who have none, with instructions for how to wear them properly. He represented water safety, storm and PFD information shelter. He stressed the importance of educating people about the necessity of wearing life jackets and the dangers of hyperthermia, quoting statistics on the number of drownings for children under 4 in both lakes and swimming pools and six senseless accidents of 23- to 32-year olds recently due to not having life jackets on. Anyone interested in getting this program started at Lake Wateree should contact their road representative. A WHOA member talked about the danger of electrocution from swimming in the water near docks with electricity on them. There have been several reported deaths. This is a great concern and needs to be addressed.

Milt Marley introduced chairman Dick Foote who gave a waterwatch update, and Dan Tufford who has a Ph.D. from USC. They explained how the waterwatch program works and the need for volunteers to go out in the boats to collect water samples. This program started in 1998 with thanks to volunteers and financial support. A slide presentation and summary of the 2011 tests were shown and an explanation of the importance of eutrophies, nutrients and algae and their relationship to the lake. There are currently 21 waterwatch volunteers but more are needed. Please contact Dick Foote and volunteer.

Richard Dorony, firefighter from the Dutchman Creek Volunteer Fire Department, spoke on the new substation and its benefits to the lake residents and thanked the WHOA organization for its financial support. There is a need for additional funds for such things, as a well as for a septic tank and restroom for the firefighters and more volunteer firefighters are needed. McSwain then asked for questions from the audience. One important topic was the need for dump stations for large boats at the docks. There was great concern about where the waste was being dumped.

It was a very informative meeting attended by more than 100 people.

McSwain is only the second female WHOA chair since its beginning. Linda Burnham was the first one, serving two terms from 1994 to 1996. McSwain has worked on many committees and been involved in so much of the lake activities over the years and is so knowledgeable that we are all looking forward to a productive year. Congratulations to Becky and the new WHOA board.