Salted with Sharks

Archive for the ‘Water’ Category

Elberta Summer Solstice Festival no. 12: Wilder Than Ever

In Calendar, Community Alert, Culture Bluffs, E Beach, GOOD NEWS, Kid Stuff, Open Season, Water on June 12, 2014 at 11:10 pm

Elberta Solstice Festival_Poster_2014WITHLOGOSmaller

The Elberta Solstice Festival is back for its 12th year, Saturday June 21! Join the teeming masses of music and food buffs descending on our magical Village amid the dune bluffs of Lake Michigan for live music, local food, beer, games, Michigan’s best beach, and other attractions to amaze and astound you, all capped off with one of the premier fireworks displays in the region.

Benzie County’s number one music festival is family friendly, quirky, cutting-edge, and eco-conscious, with some of the best bands, craft beverages and artisanal food around. Up until this year, admission to Solstice has been totally free, with guests paying as they go for food and beer. This year, because of the Village’s dire deficit situation, a fee of $5 will be charged for entrance to the beer tent, starting at 8 pm. It’s still possible to hear and even see the bands from outside the beer tent (but you can’t buy beer outside the beer tent). The Solstice Committee and P&R regret the change but hope everyone will still crowd the beer tent and help the Village get back on its feet.

Our Solstice Queen Jennifer Wilkins and other volunteers from Parks and Recreation and the Solstice Committee have prepared some special new treats this year. Coming all the way from Detroit are Magician Keith Stickley, Wood-E the Clown, and Animal Encounters with the infamous “Ghetto Gators”—large and scary scaly creatures recovering from shady servitude in the Motor City. While your reptile brain is turned on, stuff a bunch of food in you, from TuGo’s Egg Roll Co., Elberto’s Taqueria, Conundrum Café, The Lions, Cabbage Shed, Frankfort Takeout, Louie’s Burgers, Why Knot pretzels, and A.Papanos Pizza, plus bebidas from St. Ambrose, Acoustic Mead, and your favorite beers in the beer tent. You’ll be glad to know that this year, for the first time, you can catch a free Benzie Bus shuttle between our Waterfront Park Pavilion and the Antique Car Show and Art Fair in Frankfort. Call or text 231-930-8100 for pickup at one of the stops (see photo below).

Oh, you want to know about the *bands*? But of course: THE ACCIDENTALS, ALFREDO, MEDICINAL GROOVE, E MINOR, THE STANDING HAMPTONS, BLAKE ELLIOTT & THE ROBINSON AFFAIR, K. JONES & THE BENZIE PLAYBOYS, BLUE DIRT, SOUL PATCH, and late at night after Wolverine’s fireworks display, G SNACKS.

Don’t miss this northern Michigan hometown extravaganza on the wild side of Betsie Bay! 12 noon to 2 am, Saturday June 21st, at Elberta’s Historic Waterfront Park on old M-168.

(The Parks and Recreation Commission and the Solstice Committee would also like to us to mention that the Benzie County Sheriff Department is planning extra patrols the night of Solstice, including on the beach. They’d like to remind everyone that fireworks and camping on the beach are unlawful activities. Let’s all have a safe and hassle-free Solstice Fest.)




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Crystal Lake and Cold Creek

In Community Alert, Elsewhere in BenCo..., Environment, Fishing, Health, Infrastructure and Planning, Public Safety, Water on April 11, 2014 at 9:18 pm

April 15, 2014 2:30 pm

Volume of water moving through outlet is reduced, shore line lowered. Sheen still present.


Reduced flow through outlet


Sheen still present, note center blob appeared just before this picture was taken.

April 14, 2014 6:25 pm

Sheen oozing up from submerged shore continues to be flushed through the outlet.


Sheen blob rises up…


… and dissipates.

April 14, 2014 12:20 pm

A significant amount of water was moving through the pond as the inlet and outlet boards had been removed. With the high volume of water, residual sheen from a hydraulic fluid leak should have been flushed to the booms or downstream. Sheen seemed to be percolating up along the shore, upstream of the outlet water control structure.  Could the increased water flow be pulling material out of the soil?


High volume of water through the outlet


Sheen detail upstream of outlet


April 12, 2014 4:10 pm

Dan Hook, Village of Beulah reported by phone that two boards have been removed from the outlet water control structure and that the sheen seems to be significantly reduced. Current pictures should be posted tonight or early tomorrow morning.

April 12, 2104 1:50 pm

As of 11:25 pm, with removal of the first board from the inlet and outlet water control structures and the resulting increased water flow through the pond, there is still sheen on the surface, possibly more than before the boards were removed. Read yesterday’s update below for implications. Photos by Dan Kelly.





IMG_1440  IMG_1443

April 11, 2014 8pm

On Sunday April 6, 2014, a chemical / oil sheen was seen flowing into Crystal Lake from the Cold Creek settling pond.  The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued a draft report on April 7, which provides an overview of the situation. Until the situation is resolved, find ongoing updates and answers to frequently asked questions here.

Who is the dredging contractor?

The Village of Beulah’s dredging contractor is Biotech Agronomics of Beulah, and the company representative is Kevin Bonney.

The DEQ took water samples,  why aren’t the samples being tested to determine exactly what the chemical / oil is? Wouldn’t that help identify the source?

The DEQ’s priority is to determine the appropriate response, which may or may not require the samples or source to be immediately identified. The first phase was to have the contractor deploy oil absorbent booms. Preliminary inspection of the sheen samples by Greg Goundy on site and by his colleagues at the DEQ Cadillac office suggested that the sheen could be either diesel fuel or hydraulic fluid. The dredging barge did not appear to be leaking hydraulic fluid into the pond, but Kevin Bonney stated that there had been a hydraulic fluid issue prior to the barge’s launch, so the next phase was to remove the barge from the pond.

If the sheen disappears, removing the barge was the correct response and analysis of the sample is not needed – the sheen was hydraulic fluid. If the sheen persists, then the barge was probably not the source and the samples might then be analyzed to provide further clues.  Unfortunately sample analysis is expensive and may not provide enough data to identify exactly what the sheen is.

If the sheen is not hydraulic fluid from the barge, what is it?

The sheen could be 1) an oil related consumer product discarded in or near the pond, eg used oil filter or mostly empty quart oil bottle,  2) legacy contamination from 20th century industrial activity (eg trains, fuel depot) migrating towards the pond through ground water, 3) other.

Is there still a sheen on the pond?

Yes, as of 3:00 PM April 11, there was a sheen on the south edge of the pond, west against the stop logs (boards) of the outlet water level control structures and swirling just downstream of the outlet water control structures. The barge was removed on the afternoon of April 10.

What’s the next step?

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) requires that the boards be removed from the inlet and outlet water control structures so that fish can travel up Cold Creek. With the consent of the DEQ, the boards will gradually be removed by the contractor, starting at approximately 9:00 am on April 12. Oil absorbent booms will remain to catch sheen pulled downstream by the increased flow. Changing flow could effect the situation. If the sheen seems to persist or grow during the day, the barge may not have been the source and further action will be required. Citizens are encouraged to visit the pond and monitor the sheen during the day.

Check out these Facebook profiles for pix, comments and movies.

Lee Sprague
Robert Bushway

Preliminary DEQ Report on Cold Creek Spill

In Agriculture, Breaking, Fishing, Law & Order, On and off the Apron, Open Season, Water, Wildlife on April 11, 2014 at 7:30 am



DRAFT preliminary DEQ report on Cold Creek incidentDRAFT preliminary DEQ report on Cold Creek incident page 2 DRAFT preliminary DEQ report on Cold Creek incident page 3

DRAFT Preliminary DEQ Report on Cold Creek Spill

Audio of April 10 regular Beulah Village meeting.

DPW’s Advice to Prevent Frozen Pipes Today

In Alert Weather, Breaking, Community Alert, Water, Weather on February 27, 2014 at 12:29 pm





Thanks, Ken Bonney, for dropping off this notice today!

photo (70)

New Civic Group and Ice Rink Form in Elberta

In Activism, Community Alert, GOOD NEWS, Uncategorized, Water, Weather on February 21, 2014 at 8:06 pm

By Emily Votruba

The Friends of Elberta met for the first time on January 15. In just a couple of weeks, they agreed on a mission statement and held an event, the Fire & Ice Skating party on February 9.

The Friends’ mission is to “preserve, promote, and enhance the quality of life in the Village of Elberta.” The new group took particular inspiration from the natural ice rink in Penfold Park made possible by this year’s cold winter. Penfold Park, aka the Marina/MiniPond/Farmers’ Market park, is located at the juncture of M-22, old M-168, and the Betsie Valley Trail.

Bill Soper, Eric Pyne, Emily Votruba, and Bill O’Dwyer began making the rink back in January. They just wanted to skate. After determining that the ice was safe (well over 16 inches throughout) they cleared the pond with a snowblower, shovels, and brooms. Then, with help from Village DPW superintendent Ken Bonney, they flooded the space with a pump and a hose. It’s no Sochi, but conditions are good enough to get a glide on.

“We could challenge Benzonia in pond hockey,” Bill Soper suggested.

Soon other people noticed the rink. As snow accumulated again over subsequent days, others took it upon themselves to pitch in to clear it—and skate.

Friends of Elberta was started by Jen Condon Whiting and Jim Barnes. The group now meets at the Mayfair Tavern on the second and fourth Wednesdays at 7 pm, and they have a Facebook page. Many people contributed to the Fire & Ice party. Jen Whiting brought a grill and hot dogs. Sue Oseland brought cocoa, tea lights and luminaries. Emily Votruba and Eric Pyne made torches to line the path to the rink, and Eric, Bill Soper, Bill O’Dwyer, and Steve Hagen did last-minute pond clearing and parking lot plowing. Bill Soper was the bonfire master. Jeannie Sikes went around to resale places buying up skates to lend out. Cathy Anderson made a great flier to publicize the event. Coach Reznich lit the torches during the party. Thirty dollars in spontaneous donations were collected.

About 100 people total, including a ton of kids, showed up to skate and commune with each other in this unique park space. Stories went around about skating days past: skating to Frankfort across the bay, skating in the then-open water behind where the Village office is now; how, back in the day, kids would cut a hole in the ice near where the car ferries came to port, and when a boat came in, it would cause the water to rise in the rink, and by the time the boat left, there’d be a perfect frozen disk of ice to skate on. Ella Whiting started out thinking she couldn’t skate and, according to her mom, she was Peggy Fleming by the end of the day.

What’s your skating story? If you don’t have one yet, you can make one at Penfold Park. Meanwhile, Friends of Elberta will be coming up with more fun things to do in the Village. Ψ

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Ice Balls!

In Community Alert, Kid Stuff, Open Season, Water, Weather on December 27, 2013 at 4:09 pm

By Marilyn Maslo

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CHRISTMAS, FRANKFORT—For the first time I have now seen with my very own eyes what some have described to me in the past. Sunday and Monday I walked the beachfront of Frankfort heading north. Much further away from the breakwall I found the beach littered with ice balls; not only lined up on the beach, but floating and bobbing along the shoreline. Thousands of them everywhere. The largest was at least two and a half feet in diameter and quite weighty, I’m sure. They were larger Monday than Sunday. They rolled in the waves brushing against each other, rounding themselves as they rolled. I don’t know if this happens every year or if certain parameters have to happen—but it was the first time I’ve seen this amazing sight.


Rescued on the Betsie

In Community Alert, Open Season, Transportation, Water on October 13, 2013 at 11:35 am

By Glenda Golanda

My brother and his significant other, Becky, are visiting from North Carolina. On Friday, October 11, we dropped them off to canoe down the Betsie, and they tipped. The river is dangerous in places, and the water that day was high and fast. The canoe was swamped with water, and Becky could not touch bottom with her feet. Buddy’s leather jacket was snagged on a tree branch, and they were in a mess. A couple passed them but couldn’t stop. Along came a lady in a kayak—a guardian angel.

She works as a cashier at Walentas and lives in Frankfort and her name is Becky Addis. She stopped and got out of her kayak into the cold water to help them right their canoe. Then she escorted them to the pickup point on Adams Road. She is a true heroine—without her help, Buddy and Becky don’t know what they would have done. They are forever grateful. We’re so thankful to have folks like her in our community!

Becky Addis, the Good Samaritan in the kayak who so graciously assisted Buddy and his companion Becky.... So thankful to have folks like her living in our community! Photo courtesy Glenda Golanda.

Becky Addis, the Good Samaritan in the kayak who so graciously assisted Buddy and his companion Becky. Photo courtesy Glenda Golanda.

Village Deficit Crisis: Brief, Important Update

In Breaking, Community Alert, E Beach, Gov't Watch, Infrastructure and Planning, On and off the Apron, Open Season, Politics, Village Money Situation, Water on October 11, 2013 at 1:18 am

By Emily Votruba

According to Reggie and Laura Manville, the state expects to see a plan that might realistically eliminate our $558K+ deficit within the next 5 years.* If the Village does not come up with an acceptable plan by October 17, it’s very likely, again according to Reggie Manville, that the state will bring in an emergency manager. The state could act on that decision, Reggie said, as soon as December.

When Bill Soper and I asked Laura if the Village’s beach property is potentially saleable, she said, “That was the first thing [the State Treasury rep] asked about, was how much beach property the Village has.” Laura said she would look into how much Village beach property is potentially in play if an emergency manager is appointed to take over the Village. It does not seem to be the intention of anyone on Council to sell our beach property.

Some possible cost-cutting and revenue-raising ideas discussed at tonight’s (October 10) meeting:
• cutting employee time across the board (office and DPW down to two or three days a week)
• reducing or eliminating employee benefits
• cutting just the office down to 32 hours total per week (16 hours per employee), with the office open four days a week; keeping DPW the same (Ken and Corey) and eliminating benefits for office
• contracting out Life Saving Station rentals to a management company instead of having office staff handle it as they do now
• charge fees and/or have donation boxes for use of boat launch, beach, trails, etc.
• sell off one or more of the following assets: Community Building, Library, Ballfield, Marina/Farmers’ Market Park, Anderson Park, Tots Park, Veterans Park
• consolidate with Frankfort or Gilmore Township
• hold a millage vote for fire department services and/or general tax revenue increase
• cut services
• raise fees for water, sewer, garbage, permits
* This deficit amount does not include the tens of thousands of dollars we owe in legal fees—an amount that keeps growing.

What Do You Think of Our Plan?

In Community Alert, Culture Bluffs, E Beach, Farmers' Market, GOOD NEWS, Historic Elberta, Infrastructure and Planning, Kid Stuff, Lakeside Shakespeare, Open Season, Transportation, Water on September 8, 2013 at 3:30 pm

The final draft of the Village of Elberta Parks and Recreation Plan for 2009–14 is now up on the Village website. As soon as the official notice is published in the Record-Patriot this Wednesday, the official five-week public comment period begins. This is a very important document for the Village and the community at large. In it Parks and Rec spells out residents’ desires for improvements to all of Elberta’s many parks, including the Waterfront Park, Elberta Beach, Elberta Dunes South, and our portion of the Betsie Valley Trail. This document is the product of many hours of discussion in council meetings, Parks and Rec meetings, and the public input session we held on April 18. Please take time to read the document and offer your input and insight. We want to enhance the Elberta experience for everyone. The final public hearing on this plan will be held October 17 at 7 pm, before the regular council meeting at which it may be adopted. Download the pdf using the link below and/or get yourself a hard copy at the Village Office. Submit your comments by mail to the Parks and Recreation Commission, PO Box 8, Elberta, MI 49628 or by e-mail to—Emily Votruba, Parks and Rec member

Village of Elberta Recreation Plan 2014–2019 final draft for public hearing

County’s Development Plans for Point Betsie—What’s Going On?

In Community Alert, Elsewhere in BenCo..., Fishing, Gov't Watch, Infrastructure and Planning, Water on August 23, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Well, this Alert writer doesn’t know. But here’s a letter to the editor of the Record-Patriot that appeared this week. We obtained it from Suz McLaughlin, who received it from the letter writer. McLaughlin said Mr. Zetterberg and his family own property near Pt. Betsie and the family created the Zetterberg Preserve many years ago, which is now monitored by the Nature Conservancy. Alan Zetterberg also once served on the board of the Friends of Betsie Bay.—Emily Votruba

To the Record Patriot:
The future of historic and scenic Point Betsie is in jeopardy.
This unique and beautiful piece of “pure Michigan” has been treasured by Benzie County residents and summer visitors alike for decades.

Now, the county, through its Parks and Recreation Commission, has begun consideration of possible future development of the end of Point Betsie Road.

This development could include a large expansion of unneeded parking space using the end of Lake Michigan Road as a model.

The small road end at Point Betsie cannot support such an expansion. Such development would bring devastating and possibly irreversible environmental and ecological consequences for years to come.

While perhaps well intended, these discussions are ill-conceived and threaten to destroy the very essence of why people want to visit Point Betsie in the first place.

The Point Betsie Lighthouse compound itself has been wonderfully preserved and restored, with the support of Benzie County, through the tireless work and financial support of the Friends of the Point Betsie Lighthouse and its hundreds, if not thousands, of volunteers and supporters (including grants intended to protect the area) since its transfer to Benzie County in 2004.

Likewise, the surrounding sand dunes, interdunal wetlands, boreal forests and sandy Lake Michigan beaches were preserved, initially, through a gift of 71 acres of land to The Nature Conservancy in 1988 and added to since then by others who value the unspoiled natural habitat, landscapes and sunsets which are enjoyed year after year by locals and visitors alike.

Already, the small public beach and the surrounding area are showing signs of the inevitable wear and tear of too much public pressure on this very small space.

To subject this fragile and precious natural resource to any unneeded and unwarranted over-development would be a grave mistake by the Parks and Recreation Commission and county commissioners.

Alan C. Zetterberg
Princeton, N.J.