A Message from the President
A Message to All Spread Eagle Lake Residents
Summer 2017 on the Spread Eagle Chain—seeing old friends and meeting new ones; enjoying hot sunny days (and patiently waiting for the too many cold, rainy ones to blow over!); appreciating the cottages and homes that haven’t changed much over the years while watching with interest as new ones appear. There’s lots more to mention, of course, but regardless of the particulars, being a part of the Chain is always a fascinating mix of the familiar and the new.
As I enter my second year as your Spread Eagle Chain O’ Lakes Association (SECOLA) president, I have a better understanding of these diverse influences and a growing appreciation of the many volunteers who work together on behalf of every one of us living around our lakes. SECOLA board members are a part of this volunteer corp. We work throughout the year, not only to continue but also to initiate projects that preserve the Chain’s unique qualities in ways that increase our enjoyment in living here.
A list of the SECOLA’s past accomplishments and current priorities is a long one. It includes:
Organizing Activities for the Chain’s Community:
- Planning for Independence Day activities (a Board priority since the earliest days of SECOLA),is a responsibility that includes everything from organizing the boat parade to ordering the fireworks and maintaining a crucially important pontoon boat (originally purchased for setting up these fireworks but now also used for setting out and removing safety and channel buoys).
- Supporting the work of the Social Committee, whose members coordinate and then notify SECOLA members of monthly dinners (June through September), weekly ladies’ and men’s breakfasts, golf outings, meetings of the bridge, garden and book clubs, and Ladies of the Lakes Night-Out.
- Improving Bass Island—its historical markers, plant life and recreational opportunities.
- Providing a dry hydrant for the North Lake Landing, and working with the County to establish restrooms there.
- Arranging for repairs on the South Lake dam.
- Providing funds and volunteer time for fish-stocking.
- Purchasing and maintaining our boat wash.
- Arranging for the purchase of a ramp gate at the Railroad Lake marina in an effort to prevent the launch of watercraft that are contaminated by invasive species.
- Procuring and maintaining grants to preserve and improve our lakes.
- Using grant resources and volunteer time to educate our residents about aquatic invasive species (AIS)—identifying them, reducing their impact, and preventing their spread while improving our own waterfronts so we can keep our lakes healthy.
- Providing funds and volunteer time to the Clean Boats/Clean Waters (CBCW) program.
- Maintaining our affiliations with other associations: WRISC (Wild Rivers Invasive Species Coali-tion, (www.wrisc.org) and the Wisconsin Lakes Association (www.wisconsinlakes.org). Note, too, that several on our Board are members of FCLARA, the Florence County Lakes and Rivers Asso-ciation.
- Attending county and town meetings in recognition of our residents’ lake-related concerns.
- Providing property and liability insurance for SECOLA.
- Preparing and distributing our newsletters.
- Utilizing e-mail as well as print
- Maintaining the SECOLA website (www.spreadeaglechain.org).
Volunteer time is invaluable, but we also need money to make so much of this constructive activity hap-pen! Certainly, SECOLA dues help. At this year’s annual meeting, our membership voted to increase our annual dues from $20 to $35 a year.
YOUR DUES AND ANY OTHER DONATIONS TO SECOLA ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE! SECOLA HAS A TAX STATUS AS A 501c3 ORGANIZATION.
But even with the increase, the dues we collect aren’t nearly enough to cover our costs. Why? I could point to many examples, but let’s start with just two:
- The Clean Boats/Clean Waters program requires 900 hours of inspection/education time at our boat landing. Florence County hires the employees we need for this program and pays for 200 hours of their time. But SECOLA must pay for the other 700 hours--at a cost of almost $13,000 a year.
- Everyone loves our holiday fireworks, but they cost lots of money. Over the past several years, our annual costs for this activity have been approximately $5,400. In 2017, about 85% of that amount was donated. But SECOLA needed to cover the additional $1,000+.
Bottom line: Please help by making a SECOLA donation beyond your $35 annual dues. It is easy to do. You can send your check to SECOLA, P.O. Box 413, Florence, WI 54121. And now, thanks to volunteer Katie Reynolds, you can contribute/donate electronically. Katie is “growing” our website, and has just set up a Dues/Donation page where you can use PayPal to pay your dues AND make additional donations to SECOLA and its programs. Either way, your money will be well spent!
Thank you for your interest in and love of our lakes. The Chain is a very special place—one to treasure whether we are here only for the summer or all year long. By working together--through your volunteer hours and your financial support--we will keep the Chain beautiful, healthy AND a great place for fun!
Ed Patrick , SECOLA Board President