2015 Annual Meeting Minutes

June 27, 2015

The meeting was called to order by Sal Girifalco, President, at 9:04 on Saturday, June 27, 2015 at the large meeting room in the Norway Town Hall. About 40 people were in attendance.

Sal opened the meeting with an introduction of LAON’s Officers and Directors. Special recognition was given by Sal to Pat and Bruce Cook, past Treasurer and President of LAON, respectively, and a gift of thanks was presented to them. There was much applause of approval and thanks for their 14 years of devoted service.

Sal turned the meeting over to Myron Kassaraba who was substituting for Tom Webster, Treasurer. Myron clarified all of the incomes and expenses and noted that, relative to last year, the organization was in good financial shape. He noted the financial role that the businesses of Norway have in maintaining clear bodies of water and mentioned the necessity of maintaining a financial reserve of at least $10,000.00. Mention was also made of the Courtesy Boat Inspector (CBI) cost of about $8,300.00. Later discussion pointed out that the CBI costs were almost totally covered by the savings derived from LAON performing its own water quality sampling, rather than outsourcing that function.

Next Jeanne Silverman opened for discussion the changes in the organization’s By-laws that the board had voted previously to recommend to the membership. There were not that many, all of which she read and explained. Carolyn Wilson suggested that the changes as written in the By-laws be emailed or snail-mailed to all of the membership, while Dot Jacobs suggested that for them to be emailed would be far less costly. Myron Kassaraba made the motion to accept the re-written By-laws which was seconded by Jeanne Silverman; it was passed by a vote of the membership present.

Sal talked briefly about the things LAON has done in 2015, He stated that when the new board formed, it reviewed our mission statement, which said the primary purpose of the organization is “to preserve the health and beauty of the lakes of Norway.” He added that based on that, the board decided to increase LAON’s focus on prevention activities, which led to our decision to try to keep invasive species out of our bodies of water. This focus on prevention has led to LAON beginning a formal (CBI) program where boats are inspected for plants by paid inspectors. In addition, Sal explained that the town was administrating the CBIs as town employees and that LAON provides funds to the town in advance for this effort; he praised the town for assuming this responsibility especially Deb Partridge, the Parks and Recreation Director and David Holt, Town Manager, for their full support of our organization.

Sal next mentioned the plans for the organization for the balance of the year (the art show, the triathlon, continuing water quality and CBI efforts, and the possibility of doing watershed surveys). He indicated that more could be done to protect the lakes, but we were limited by people-power. He asked for volunteers to undertake various projects as the organization could not accomplish what it should without them. He also referenced the by-weekly articles about LAON and its activities that are appearing in the Advertiser Democrat, covering a wide range of subjects dealing with lake health.

Next on the agenda was LAON Director Steve Zeeman, who heads our Water Quality committee. Steve is a PhD marine biologist and professor of marine biology at New England University. Steve explained that he has extensive experience with lake health, and did significant work studying various aspects of algae in lakes. Steve conducts our water quality sampling and oversees the other aspects of our water quality efforts. He explained that phosphorus is the “limiting nutrient” regarding algae, meaning that the amount of algae in lakes is limited by the amount of phosphorus in the water. So, limiting phosphorus limits algae. Although our lakes and ponds are now clean, they are always at risk from the watershed areas that drain into them. He also mentioned that our watershed area is quite large, and normal items like fertilizers and home laundry detergents can contain phosphorus, which add to the levels in our lakes. Steve also felt that this should involve the entire community not just shoreline property owners; LAON should become a total community effort with the membership expanding through getting neighbors of shoreline property owners involved. Teresa Foster asked if the CBIs were voluntary and it was clarified that they were not. At this time, a discussion materialized about the education of the boaters on the risks of invasive plants, and Steve explained that our inspectors explain the inspection process to boaters, and encourage them to do their own inspections. They are also given a state DEP brochure on the subject. Barbara Howard made the comment that the CBIs needed to stretch their vigilance into the surrounding areas of the watershed. It was explained that this would not be the role of CBI, but would require the watershed surveys mentioned earlier.

Next on the agenda was a talk by Lynn Girifalco on “Plant Paddles”, which is the introductory part of invasive plant patrols, where volunteers would be trained to look for invasive plants during any kayak or canoe trip on a lake. Volunteers who may have an interest in attending an August seminar; on identifying invasive plants were asked for. Steve Zeeman mentioned this fits into the overall concept of “Eyes on the Lake,” a program strongly recommended by Scott Williams, and the need for more people to be educated in invasive plant identification.

The conversation shifted to Susan Jacoby, the Director who heads our Outreach committee. Susan spoke of the need for greater outreach activity in public events such as the Triathlon and Arts Festival to be held on July 11, and asked for volunteers for both. She mentioned the new decal and the rack cards which have been distributed to many people and businesses. Susan also brought up the topic of the Western Foothills Land Trust and the need to preserve Noyes Mountain, which overlooks Norway Lake, from future development. There is much need for support to preserve this beautiful mountain and Susan emphasized this effort. If development were to materialize, polluting runoff could negatively impact our bodies of water and, eventually, the town itself.

Next on the agenda was a brief talk by Director David Dow who summarized the recent changes to the Town Shore-land zoning regulations. There are now greater restrictions on what and how structures can be built or increased relative to their closeness to the water in both their footprint and elevation. There are new regulations regarding the length of time one can spend (live) in an RV or camper, even on their own land, although some waivers can be sought and obtained. Jack Armstrong mentioned that this information can be obtained on the town of Norway’s website. David said any questions on the regulations should be directed to the Code Enforcement Officer.

The meeting started its conclusion with a brief talk by Bruce Cook regarding the dams southeast of Norway Lake that are located behind Café Nomad and across Route 26 from Aubuchon Hardware. The first dam does much to regulate the water level of Norway Lake and, at the moment, is allowing a small quantity of water to filter through. This dam will eventually be closed so as to allow repair work to be completed on the Aubuchon dam. It appears that the water level was purposely lowered as a buffer to allow for rainfall during the time the stream to the lower dam needs to be empty. Brian Otterson questioned to need for the replacement of the Aubuchon dam which was left unanswered. Frank Zielzick called attention to what he considers to be an ongoing problem of the dam being opened, which leads to low water levels on Norway Lake. He apparently has spoken with David Holt about this and feels that David, isn’t listening to him. Sal reminded the group that overall, the relationship and support from the town is excellent, from CBI support to an increase of $1,000 in the town contribution, with much of that due to the efforts of David Holt and Deb Partridge. There is this one rough spot that has been around for many years that should not overshadow the rest. Barbara Howard questioned the culvert issue on Crocker Ridge Road as she understood that an inspection was due or has been completed. Bruce Cook responded that an inspection revealed a need for the installation of a new culvert that would occur in 3 to 5 years. The cost of this replacement would be considerably less than a bridge. This is needed so as to allow boats to traffic from one side of the lake to the other.

Pat Daniels moved to end the meeting and this motion was seconded by Tom Curtis. The meeting adjourned at 10:24.
If any names are misspelled, I apologize for the error.

Respectfully submitted by:
Tom Curtis, Secretary