Lake Buel District Board Meeting

Lake Buel District Board Meeting
July 2, 2019
28 Seven Arts Road, Monterey

Members present: Peter Hagen, Kyle Pierce, Chris Hassett, Mark Amstead.
Meeting was called to order by Chairman, Mr. Hagen at 7:07PM.
A motion was made, seconded and so voted to approve May 25th minutes as amended.
A motion was made, seconded and so voted to approve the minutes form Annual Town Meeting, May 25th as amended.
Old Business: Mrs. Pierce mentioned that she has received the results of the cyanbacteria testing from Ms. Shannon Poulin. Mrs. Pierce will forward the results to the other members for review. The Board would like to know where the location of testing is being done in the lake.
Mrs. Pierce mentioned that she has spoken with someone from the Monterey Board of Health regarding the testing results and they don’t have them on file, possibly the testing results went to Tri Town Health.

Outlet Clean Out: Mr. Amstead mentioned that Mr. Chris Tryon has begun the Notice of Intent application but hasn’t completed it yet.
Harvester/Maintenance/Weeds: Mr. Amstead also mentioned that the Harvester had broken down and was fixed the next day.
Mr. Amstead also mentioned that no contract has been signed yet by the new harvester contractor. The Board reviewed the bills submitted by the contractor and the Board would like the contractor to work more hours in the lake. Mr. Amstead will review the bills in more detail. It was noted that no work would occur on July 4th.

The Board discussed that weeds still continue to grow later into the season and then they seem to die off in the fall/winter. It was noted that there are areas where you can see the weeds getting worse, the Board will keep an eye on those areas.

Audit: Mr. Hagen will contact Scanlon & Associates office regarding scheduling an audit.

Email List: Mr. Hagen mentioned that Mrs. Ginny Hyde will handle the email list and is still working on it.

The Board reviewed the bills and approved payment of all.

Next meeting is scheduled for August 27th at 7PM, Mrs. Pierce’s residence – 28 Seven Arts Road.

A motion was made, seconded and so voted to adjourn at 8:24PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathy Chretien, District Clerk

Lake Buel District Board Meeting

Lake Buel District Board Meeting
May 25, 2019
Main Road (United Church of Christ), Monterey

Members present: Peter Hagen, Kyle Pierce, Chris Hassett, Mark Amstead & Wayne Dolby.
Meeting was called to order by Chairman, Mr. Hagen at 11:15AM.
A motion was made, seconded and so voted to approve May 7th minutes as amended.
After a brief discussion a motion was made, seconded and so voted to use flat rate for taxes for FY20 as $.82 per thousand.
Mrs. Pierce mentioned that a few of the voters spoke about the issue of parking for the Annual Town Meeting. The Board discussed possible other locations to host the Annual Town Meeting.
The Board discussed that sludge is a main issue that goes to the bottom of the lake. Mr. Hassett will be exploring websites and gather more information for the Board to review.
Mr. Hassett mentioned that Camp Half Moon has water testing done 4 to 5 times during the season per the Board of Health. Mrs. Pierce will contact the Monterey’s Board of Health to see if she can obtain a copy of the results if they have them.
Mr. Hagen mentioned that Ms. Robin Williams is a retired bio teacher and is willingly to assist Board if needed.
Mrs. Pierce mentioned that Ms. Shannon Poulin works both Camp Half Moon & Friends of Lake Garfield and is a very responsible student, whom happens to do the water testing.
Next meeting is scheduled for July 2nd at 7PM, Mrs. Pierce’s residence – 28 Seven Arts Road.
A motion was made, seconded and so voted to adjourn at 11:34AM.

Respectfully submitted,
Kathy Chretien, District Clerk

An alternative way to connect to the Net

For those cottages that have relied on Verizon’s DSL for Internet connectivity, the story seems to be getting worse every year. But there’s an alternative that so far has been working well for us.

The problem

DSL uses existing phone lines to provide Internet connectivity. This means the access provider doesn’t have to install special cables to connect users. But telephones lines are far from the optimum medium for the Internet: DSL is routinely advertised as providing speeds of 15Mbps (megabits per second) and sometimes more, which is below the FCC’s definition of “broadband” as at least 25Mbps. That’s why Verizon refers to DSL as “High Speed Internet,” as marketers will. Still, 15Mbps is plenty for browsing the Web and streaming music.

Except as Verizon DSL users at the Lake, we have not ever gotten anywhere close to 15Mbps. We’ve routinely limped along with 1.5Mbps, and on a very good day, 2.5Mbps. For this we paid Verizon about $70/month, which included a landline. During the winter when we suspended service, we paid Verizon about $30/month for the privilege of not using their service.

Then this summer our connection dropped to 0.6Mbps and lower. Our upload speeds, which are always lower than download speeds, dropped to 0. If more than one person was using the Web, the connection became unusable. Verizon checked our lines and declared that everything was just fine, and 0.6Mbps was totally within the range we’d contracted for. And, no, there was no higher tier that we could pay for in order to get minimally viable connectivity.

It has been widely reported, and not always denied, that Verizon wants out of the DSL business.  So chalk it up to my cynicism that I think it plausible that Verizon has been lowering DSL speeds in order to chase people off of their service.

If so, it’s worked on us.

A Solution

We were on the verge of going with a satellite dish solution when my nephew suggested a device like a MoFi SIM4 Gateway. I know it sounds technical, but the idea is simple.

On a hill on the northwest side of the Lake you can see a lonely AT&T cellphone tower. A device like the ones from MoFi sends signals to and from that tower just the way an AT&T cellphone does. But the MoFi device only uses the connection to send and receive Internet data. It’s like a cellphone that you only use for data, not for phone calls.

The MoFi device also creates a wifi hotspot so anyone with the password can connect their laptop, tablet, Alexa, Google Home or any other wifi-enabled device to it, and then through the MoFi to the Internet.

AT&T sells a device that does the same thing: the Nighthawk. It costs about half as much –. the MoFi device costs $315 – but the the MoFi has far more powerful antennas for connecting to the cell tower.

Setting up the MoFi device entailed choosing a name for our wifi hotspot, and an administrative password and a user password. The box itself is about 3 x 4 inches  and is mounted indoors with a power supply that plugs into a normal outlet.

If you decide to get the MoFi, you’ll also need a data plan; this is like a normal cell phone plan except you won’t get a phone connection. There are some issues with AT&T’s own data plan, though. Most important, it limits how much data you can use per month. After 10 gigabytes, AT&T throttles the connection for the rest of that month. If you have a few people doing the sorts of things people do with the Internet these days, you may hit that limit.

So we instead decided to get a data plan from Ubifi.net. In fact, we bought our MoFi router through them; it’s the same price but they pre-install the sim card and configure the device for you. Ubifi has three advantages over AT&T’s data plan.

First, it is unlimited. Use all the data you want.

Second, the support people I spoke with were great. There’s no big phone tree to navigate, and no scripts the support people are required to speak from. The support folks were friendly and super competent.

Third, while the per month charge is $90, and thus substantially more than AT&T’s data plan and even more than Verizon’s DSL + landline charge, Ubifi lets you suspend your service for free. No monthly charges at all. They can do this because you don’t actually suspend your service. You cancel it. To re-start it, you pay $30 for a new sim card and you’re good to go. This makes the annual cost more attractive for those of us who are summer residents.

Our experience with the Mofi so far has been good. The unit arrived in three business days as promised. The Ubifi support folks said that while the bandwidth depends upon how strong the reception is, their users typically get 15-40Mbps. We are getting 15-25Mbps, depending on factors we don’t know and can’t measure. That’s about 25 times the bandwidth we were getting from Verizon. (Speedtest.net is reportedly a reliable way of testing your bandwidth.)

So far so good.

(Note: I have no connection to any of the companies mentioned here.)

Lake Buel District Board Meeting

Lake Buel District Board Meeting May 7, 2019
28 Seven Arts Road, Monterey

Members present: Kyle Pierce, Chris Hassett, Mark Amstead, Wayne Dolby; and Peter Hagen by phone.

Meeting was called to order by Pete Hagen at 7:01 PM.

A motion was made, seconded and so voted to approve the minutes of March 12th as prepared.

Old Business:

  •   The Board members inquired if there are any issues with hiring Mr. David Ziegler, Weed

    Harvester operator. Mr. Amstead stated that Mr. Ziegler will have his insurance in place within a week, and is ready to begin work. Mr. Ziegler has a location that the harvester can be stored, but no garage. Mr. Amstead will work on drawing up a contract for Mr. Ziegler. Mr. Ziegler will start work around Memorial Day weekend depending upon if Mr. Leigh Tryon is able to put the harvester into the lake.

  •   Mr. Hagen mentioned that he has spoken with Mr. Mike Germain regarding on how the results of test the bacteria will be handled; Mr. Germain said that the results will be public records. Mr. Hassett asked if this testing had been done before; Mr. Hagen stated that he was told it was never done before. Mrs. Pierce mentioned that she has spoken with six other people and they said no other testing has been done. Mr. Hagen mentioned that he has spoken to DEP and they have completed testing in the lake back in 2002. Mr. Hagen will meet with Mr. Germain to follow up. It was noted that testing is only done when the public is using the lake. Mr. Dolby will speak with Kushner to see if they do lake testing. Mr. Hassett will contact Camp Half Moon and see if they do lake testing.
  •   Warrant Package FY20: The Board reviewed & discussed the warrant package which includes all articles so that the Board can be ready to answer any questions at the upcoming Annual Meeting.
  •   Mr. Chris Tryon is working on the permitting on the outlet clean out.
  •   Mr. Hagen mentioned that he’ll continue to work on the email list.
  •   Mr. Hassett will laminate the map area of the lake to keep on the harvester.
  •   The Board discussed purchasing oil booms. Mr. Amstead mentioned that one should be

    purchased for the harvester.
    A motion was made, seconded and so voted to adjourn at 7:43 PM.

    Next meeting is scheduled for May 25th at United Church of Christ Meeting House, 449 Main Road, Monterey. The Board members will schedule a work meeting for May 21st at Mrs. Pierce residence.

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Respectfully submitted, Kathy Chretien, Clerk

How to Prevent Algae blooms on Lake Buel!

How to prevent algal blooms at your lake
By Sara Laux
Published: May 10, 2018

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algal-blooms-in-lake Photo by C N Elliott/Shutterstock
An oxygen-starved area of almost 165,000 square kilometres in the Gulf of Oman is now the world’s largest marine “dead zone.” Incapable of supporting life, dead zones can occur naturally in deep water but are becoming more common in coastal waters because of algal blooms that use up the water’s oxygen when they die and decompose. Algal blooms, meanwhile, are increasing as agricultural runoff, containing chemical fertilizers like phosphorus, contaminates water sources.

Algal blooms aren’t just an ocean problem. At one point in the 1960s, Lake Erie was thought to be dying because of extensive blooms, which led to 1972’s Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the U.S. and Canada. And while phosphorus levels dropped in Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes in the 1980s, rising lake temperatures caused by climate change mean algae growth is now a problem in the Great Lakes once again.

Dead zones aren’t the only problem with algal blooms. Some species of algae are toxic to animals and humans, affecting fish and bird populations as well as making swimming and fishing dangerous. Cyanobacteria, which is called blue-green algae but is actually a photosynthesizing bacteria, can contaminate water supplies and cause headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting and, in serious cases, severe liver damage.

Algae doesn’t necessarily mean poor water quality, but it can be a problem. So what’s the key to reducing algae on your lake? The most effective thing to do is reduce the number of algae-feeding nutrients, especially phosphorus, that make it into the water. Here are some tips to keep your lake in tip-top shape.

Be careful with fertilizer

Sure, you want a nice green lawn and healthy plants — but that fertilizer you spread in your garden also encourages algae to bloom. It’s best to avoid fertilizer altogether if you’re close to a water source — plant native plants instead, which are well-adapted to the environment and don’t require special maintenance. If you must fertilize, try and find a phosphorus-free product, and reduce run-off by applying it when there’s no rain in the forecast.

And don’t think natural fertilizer like manure or compost is any better than a chemical version, anything that’s going to make your garden plants grow is going to make algae grow as well.It’s best to avoid fertilizers generally.

Check your septic system

Just as manure encourages algae to grow, so does human sewage. (Plus, gross.) A leaky septic system can easily contaminate water sources, so make sure you keep your septic tank well maintained and be on the lookout for cracks and fissures.

It also goes without saying that you shouldn’t, ahem, go number 2 anywhere close to a water source, and don’t allow your pets to poop close to the water either. Even if you didn’t run the risk of making people sick, you don’t want to give algae any extra nutrients.

Don’t use a garburator

Compost is great for gardens — which means it’s great for algae, too. Garburators, or in-sink garbage disposals, deposit food waste into the water system, which can lead to “nutrient loading” into lakes through water treatment plants. Land composting is a much better option for kitchen waste.

Combat shoreline erosion

An eroded shoreline, meaning few plants or trees, means more run-off from the land into your lake. Make sure your shoreline is planted with native species to help keep its integrity intact and run-off out of the lake, and don’t cut down vegetation that’s already there.

Don’t lather up near water sources

Even if you’re using biodegradable or organic soap, it’s best to keep it far from water sources. Use a bucket or other container for your wash water, then bury your rinse water so bacteria in the soil can break down any contaminants. It sounds like a pain, but it’s better than washing in slimy, smelly algae.

Be careful with your detergents

Canada banned phosphates in household cleaning products in 2010, but if you’re using an old bottle of dish detergent, you could still be dumping algae-feeding nutrients into your lake. Make sure you’re using phosphate-free cleaners and soaps.

Minimize impervious surfaces close to the water where possible

The goal in preventing nutrient-rich runoff from making it into lakes and other water sources is making sure it’s absorbed by the earth, which is a lot harder to do if you’ve paved right up to the edge of your shoreline. Ideally, you’ll have a nice, natural shoreline, complete with plenty of native plants, around your lake to make sure run-off stays on land.

Lake Buel District Board Meeting — January 2, 2019

Lake Buel District Board Meeting
January 2, 2019
62 Lake Side Road, New Marlborough
Members present: Kyle Pierce, Chris Hassett, Mark Amstead, Wayne Dolby, & Peter Hagen.
Meeting was called to order by Pete Hagen at 7:01PM.

A motion was made, seconded and so voted to approve the minutes of November 13th as amended.
The Board reviewed mail and bills:
 Tryon Construction bills for weed harvesting & maintenance.
 Town of New Marlborough Real Estate FY19 Tax bills.
 Berkshire Wildlife bill for breached dams and beaver removed.
 Reimbursement bill to Kyle Pierce – memorial flowers.
 The Board reviewed and discussed the financial report submitted by Treasurer.

New Business:
 Pete and Kathy met with representative from MIIA regarding the insurance. Pete mentioned that MIIA will not raise the values. Chris will contact the representative with a few additional questions that need to be answered.
 LAPA – Kyle and Pete attended the meeting which was held in Pittsfield, most of the discussion at the meeting was regarding zebra mussels and what was the State doing about them. Kyle will contact DCR or LAPA to see about obtaining testing reports.

Old Business:
 Pete mentioned that the two order of conditions (NOI’s) with the Town of New Marlborough’s Conservation Commission have been approved for three more years. Pete also mentioned that he inquired about debris in the outlet and was told that a new NOI would need to be filed per Mark Stinson, DEP circuit rider who was in attendance at the Commission’s meeting. Mark Amstead will contact Chris Tryon to see if he can complete a new NOI for the District. Mark will also contact Chuck Wyman to see if the District can access the lake through Wyman’s property. Kyle will contact Alison Dixon to see if she is interested in doing an assessment in the outlet area which is about 1100 feet.
 No news on the fireworks as of yet was reported on by Chris.
 Pete mentioned that he hasn’t had any progress on the email list.
Harvester/Boom: Mark reported that Mike Ordyna is unable to continue working and Tryon wants to discontinue the contract with the District.
Audit: Kyle received one company name for completing an audit. Pete will contact the company, Scanlon & Associates certified public accountants.
Warrant Package: The Board worked on FY20 budget for article #5 General Government and the other articles for Annual Town Meeting. Mark will work on the cover sheet letter.

A motion was made, seconded and so voted to adjourn at 9:03 PM.
Next meeting is scheduled for March 12th at Wayne Dolby residence – 28 Corashire Rd.

Respectfully submitted,
Kathy Chretien, Clerk

Lake Buel District Board Meeting

November 13, 2018

28 Seven Arts Road, Monterey

Members present: Kyle Pierce, Chris Hassett, Mark Amstead, Wayne Dolby, & Peter Hagen by phone.

Meeting was called to order by Pete Hagen at 7PM.

A motion was made, seconded and so voted to approve the minutes of July 21st as amended.

The Board reviewed mail and bills:

MIIA: Property & Casualty Credit ($190).
Tyron Construction bills for weed harvesting & maintenance.
Stor-it-All, Inc – Sheffield.
Berkshire Fireworks.
United States Postal Service – PO Box rent.
The Main Street America Group – Bond for Tax Collector.
The Board reviewed and discussed the financial report submitted by Treasurer.

New Business:

Mark has reviewed the maintenance binder for the Harvester – not all information was clear, will need to contact the company.
Mike has replaced hoses that are necessary and will do inspections of the harvester.
Mark is up for re-election in May, 2019.
Kyle mentioned that Dave Logan has passed on, who was a former board member.
Chris has picked up 3 storage containers from Dave Logan’s residence. Chris will keep the smaller container at this time and the two bigger containers will go into the Stor-it-all unit.

Old Business:

Pete will attend the December meeting of the New Marlborough Conservation Commission to extend the two order of conditions and Pete will also discuss the issue of debris in the outlet.
Pete mentioned that he is still working on the email list, which a google group can handle.
Mark mentioned that a valuable worker is leaving Berkshire Fireworks and there might be difficulties obtaining permitting next year.
Kyle has spoken with the Monterey’s Town Accountant and Select Board Chair regarding audit and they will look to see if anyone is interested in completing an audit for the District. Kyle will continue to work on this.

Harvester/Boom:

Mark will contact the Monterey Fire Department about a boom.
Truck/Harvester is parked behind Lee’s house.

5 Year Plan:

Pete has talked with Steve Snyder regarding how they have handle things at Lake Garfield and will keep investigating on how to proceed.

Outlet/Weeds:

Weeds are still growing into October; need to get has many weeds removed so they don’t turn into silt.
Board agreed to extend the harvesting three more weeks at the end of the summer (five work days total about $512 a day).
Weeds are getting aggressive in the outlet.

The Board worked on FY20 budget for article #5 General Government.

A motion was made, seconded and so voted to adjourn at 8:40 PM.

Next meeting is scheduled for January 2nd at Peter Hagen residence – 62 Lakeside Rd.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathy Chretien, Clerk