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Big Alum Lake Association Meeting
July 7, 2012

The meeting was called to order at 10:00 AM. The minutes of the August 2011 meeting, which had been posted on the BALA Website and copies of which were on the tables at the meeting, were accepted.

Andi Cropley read the Treasurer's Report including Checking Account, Savings Account, and CD balances.  Income since the August 2011 meeting included dues, interest, ad sales, and the 2011 Bash.  Expenses included filing fees, awards, liability insurance, stationery and postage, donation for St. Anne's meeting room, and 2011 and 2012 weed treatments.

Committee Reports

Boating: Officers Lombardi and Paciorek of the Sturbridge Police Department addressed the members about boating safety. They said that most problems they encounter on Big Alum are caused by off-lake boaters or by jet skiers. They suggested that if residents witness poor boating practices, they should get the registration of the offending craft and call the police station. The police can issue citations by mail or can come to the lake and take care of the problem using their jet ski, their fire boat, or by using a PA horn to call the offenders to shore. To questions about loud noises late at night from party boats and from events at Hyland Orchards, the officers noted that "quiet hours" are from 10 PM until 6:00 AM. When Hyland's has an event they must get a permit from the Town. Loud lake-parties at 2:00 in the morning disturb the peace and the police should be called. The officers clarified swimming rules - swimmers should tow a swimming buoy and should use common sense when venturing far from shore. By law, boats should be 150 feet from shore but that does not make sense in a lake the size of Big Alum the officers said. People who are snorkeling do not legally need to have a flag, but the police can educate them about safety if they see them in the water.

In other boating matters, Matt Kibbe noted that some of the newer boats create massive waves and recommended that those owners keep their wave-making in the middle of the lake. Rick Predella thanked Joel for putting a clear plastic container with copies of our boating rules at the boat ramp. Matt reported that the island had been getting a lot of use including bonfires and day-long activity. He reminded residents that there are no restrooms on the island. He also noted that in Massachusetts young people cannot operate jet skis until age 18 (16 with a certified boater's course).

Bash: Tracy Murphy reported that the Family Picnic/Bash is scheduled for 2:00 PM on July 21st at the Italian Club. Steve Small from the Village Grille will be catering the party. Mary Roy noted that the 21st is Claire Roy's 88th birthday. Mary will bring a sheet cake to celebrate and asked if Noah Lis would sing Happy Birthday to Claire. Tracy assured her that he would.

Dam: Ken Gajewski noted that the lake is still 3 to 4 inches below normal for this time of year.

Environmental: Rob Wheaton from Lycott Environmental spoke about the weed treatment completed on June 21st. Lycott had treated the small stringy starwort plant which is brought to the boat ramp by off-water boat trailers and filamentous algae near the island. Because of the lack of ice this past winter the algae did not die off and Rob said that it is important not to allow it to mat. He added that residents should use phosphorus and nitrogen-free fertilizers and mow lawns away from the lake.

Fishing: Rob Scoble noted that the lake had been stocked in the spring. There was a lighter fish-kill this spring as well.

History: Joel said that the History Committee was hoping to collect information from older people who still live on the lake. Rick Predella has scanned many documents and pictures and a small group will meet with Martha Fearing to record some of the stories she has.

Membership: Tim Gresenz reported that $6000 had been collected in dues so far this year. He noted that his committee includes Paul Lamarine (Lots 1-66), Al Johnson (Lots 68-120), John Argitis (Lots 124-172), Rick Predella (Lots 174-220), Ginny Roscioli (Lots 222-302); Tim covers Trail Road.

Joel welcomed Mark and Theresa Minnucci who have purchased the home at 306 Trail Road.

Old Business: Joel noted that the boat parade is scheduled for 4:00 PM on July 7th. In addition the Tag Sale on the lake was a success, especially on Saturday.

New Business: Joel reported that SLAC had reviewed dock regulations for the Town and had suggested a few changes. He said that the regulations will not be enforced unless problems occur on one of the Sturbridge lakes. The Board of Selectmen will hold a public hearing in August about the regulations.

The Sturbridge Trails Committee recently presented its Master Plan to the public. The goal of the Trails Committee is to give people places to walk and bike in town, but the Town Assessors' maps that the Committee and its consultants used were not accurate. As a result the "trail" planned around Big Alum goes through private property. The Trails Committee had asked SLAC to negotiate with property owners to give access to the "great ponds" but, Joel said, SLAC will not support any public access through private property. If greater public access is given to Big Alum at the boat ramp, the Town will be required to provide, among other things, a "wash-down" station for boats at the Sturbridge Police Station, rangers at the ramp to check permits, and outside parking on Clarke Road. The Board of Selectmen will hold a public hearing on July 23rd to discuss the Trails Committee's plan and its impact on the lakes.

Janet Garon has proposed inviting businesses to advertise on the BALA Website and she has already secured ads from three local businesses.

Joel said that there had been some discussion at the Board of Directors meetings about changing the BALA logo. He had posted pictures of several suggested designs and asked residents to offer their opinions.

It was noted that long time resident Ellen Speed had passed away on July 4, 2012.

Robin Richey said that she would like help removing the tree that had fallen from her property into the lake. David Bellerose pointed out that the hemlocks around the lake are infected with insects and need to be treated.

The meeting adjourned at 11:00 AM.

Respectfully submitted,

Barbara LaRochelle, Secretary

BALA Minutes - Archives

July 8, 2006

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August 12, 2006

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July 7, 2007

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 August 11, 2007 

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July 5, 2008

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August 9, 2008

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July 11, 2009

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August 15, 2009

July 3, 2010

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