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Aug. 19, 2017
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LLA annual meeting breaks attendance records

By Pamela A. Keene 
 
Cars were lining up by 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 25, for the 4 p.m. annual meeting of the Lake Lanier Association at Port Royale Marina.
 
“We had more than 600 people register in advance for this year’s meeting – a new record,” said Joanna Cloud, executive director of the lake advocacy organization. “It’s the strongest response we’ve ever had and it shows that people really care about the lake and support the association.” 
 
Attendance for the annual meeting, held for the past three years at Pelican Pete’s floating restaurant at Port Royale off Browns Bridge Road, has been steadily growing, due in part to the new format. The Lanier Crappie Club provides a fish-fry supper for attendees, complete with Lake Lanier-caught crappie filets, cole slaw, potato salad, macaroni and cheese and fresh-fried hush puppies.
 
“It something we can do to support the association,” said Dan Saknini, president of the Lanier Crappie Club, which this year caught enough fish on the lake to prepare 1,500 filets. Members of the club battered and fried the fish, along with chicken tenders for land-lubbers, and hush puppies for the attendees. They began preparations for the evening supper early on Saturday morning, setting up a tent with portable fryers that stayed busy for most of the afternoon.
 
Association president Wilton Rooks presented the group’s accomplishments for the past 12 months, including:
 
  • Shore Sweep – set for this year on September 23 – which collected more than 50 tons of garbage, trash and debris from the lake with the help of 1,000 volunteers and 60 boats
  • Adopt-a-lake – with 26 collection locations around the lake that are tested monthly 
  • Abandoned boats and docks – which has been removing abandoned vessels for the past eight years, including a 40-foot sunken houseboat in 2016 
  • Rip-Rap installation – to date the project has added protection to the shores of four of Lanier’s most-eroded islands for a total of 3,150 linear feet and 6,400 tons of rip-rap
  • Solar lights – with 252 lights installed and monitored monthly
  • Safety awareness – the association’s awareness campaign for boater certification and instruction.
 
“This has been a good year for us,” Rooks said. “We have initiated several other projects, including a business members that’s grown by 65 percent and provides 8 percent of our income.” Individual memberships represent 70 percent of the association’s budget and grants, which grew 11 percent this past year, represent 22 percent of the group’s income. 
 
Operations Project Manager for Buford Dam Tim Rainey addressed the group and presented an “Excellence in Partnership” plaque to the association from the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Foundation. He commended the group for “stepping up and doing good work” through its many projects. 
 
Brad Carver, senior managing director/government affairs with Hall Booth Smith in Atlanta, was the keynote speaker. He shared his insight from years of being involved in water issues and as a life-long lakegoer. He discussed options for ensuring the water supply for Atlanta and Georgia, including the border dispute with Tennessee, the proposal to raise the lake’s full pool level by two feet, building additional reservoirs, and the possibility of inter-basin transfers. 
 
The association announced several upcoming member socials at Skogies/Gainesville Marina on Saturday, April 22, at Fish Tales/Hideaway Bay on Saturday, May 13, and at Pig Tales/Aqualand on Thursday, June 15. 
 
For more information about the Lake Lanier Association or to join, visit wwww.lakelanier.org. Individual and family memberships start at $50.

Abandoned boat removals continue
 
For more than three years an abandoned houseboat sat in the lake near Bald Ridge Campground in Forsyth County. Finally, at the end of February, the Lake Lanier Association completed the final steps in getting it removed. “It had become known as ‘The Museum Houseboat,’” said Joanna Cloud, executive director of the association. “So many people from the campground were coming by to see it; it had become a local attraction.” 
 
The association used funds allocated by the Georgia General Assembly for Fiscal Year 2017 for the removal. These funds, and donations by a couple of Lake Lanier businesses, helped remove the boat. 
 
“We are so grateful to Tom Child with Marine Specialties and Beau Renfroe with Renfroe Mining and Grading,” she said. “Without the support of businesses like theirs, it would be much more difficult to remove these eyesore vessels that also threaten the lake’s water quality and boater safety.”
 
This was the first removal for 2017, Cloud said. However, the association has several other vessels on its radar. “Several big boats remain on the lake, but with the help of law enforcement and the authorities, we are pressuring the owners to take responsibility.”

Posted online 3/31/17
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