When you read this, your volunteer leadership team has already held three committee meetings and our first Executive Committee meeting of the new year was on January 25th.
So, what’s on tap for the first part of this year? Glad you asked.
We are taking the regular March 1st monthly meeting on the road. Time to get out of our comfort zone and see something new. The Mecklenburg school system has invited the LGA to tour their new campus. How exciting is that! We hope for a strong turnout from our Bracey area membership but, of course, all are invited. There just might be a lunch involved. At present time we are working on all the details so stay tuned.
We are in the early stages of planning the 5 County Forum for county and elected leaders scheduled for March 14th and this will be your opportunity to meet your local county officials. We’ve also got a roadside litter cleanup scheduled on Stanley Road near the Lion’s Den on March 23rd (Rain date: March 30th) and this 2+ mile stretch of road will allow us to work in two counties and states all on the same day. Not to mention, Springtime is the perfect time to get out for some much-needed fresh air after being cooped up all winter, so we hope you will plan to come out and help us pick up litter. And of course, lunch will be provided.
The annual membership drive is well underway and if you haven’t renewed for 2023, please do. Reminder invoices have been emailed.
This is just the start of the new year, and we have some neat speakers lined up.
Reminder: The Public Safety Committee will hold our Annual Jack D Saunders Community Shred Event on Saturday, May 6, at the RWVFD, 790 Lizard Creek Road, Littleton. The event is from 10-1 PM and is free. Donations will be gladly accepted to help defray the cost of bringing the shred truck to the lake from Raleigh. For those new to the area, the event is OPEN to Everyone, and you get to watch your confidential documents ground up into confetti. Start saving your stuff to stop identity theft.
Finally, you might have noticed we have some new committee chairs. Please say hello to Director Eric Wooster who is taking over the Public Safety Committee and I will be leading the Membership & Marketing Committee.
Can’t wait for spring but must admit this is my favorite time of the year. No traffic, no Food Lion lines, and wonderful sight lines of our beautiful lake without tree vegetation.
Thanks as always for reading, and on behalf of my wife Chris, wishing you a Safe and Happy New Year!
“The LGA and You” - It’s a partnership we take very seriously. The LGA is your primary voice on lake issues with a mission to identify issues affecting our members and pursue resolution with the responsible organizations. It’s renewal time. What does the LGA do? 5-County Forum, Candidate Forums, Annual Shred Event, Habitat Enhancement Projects, Lake Cleanup Days, 350-mile shoreline Vegetation Survey, 5-County School Superintendents’ Meeting.... As an LGA member, how many of these activities have you attended or supported in 2022? In this issue of the Bulletin, you will find the proposed 2023 budget and it is our intent to do in 2023 what we did in 2022. We recognize the need to grow the membership to do even more at the lake – and this is where we need your help to increase our membership in 2023. Please help the LGA by inviting friends to become a member. If you sponsor a friend or neighbor, they will receive a $5.00 discount off their 2023 Membership Dues, and you will also receive the same discount during the next renewal period (happening now, and if you’ve already paid your 2023 dues, we can certainly discount it off next year’s dues). Why not join a committee to do even more? All committees would welcome new members. The LGA truly runs on volunteerism; that is how we take care of business. We have two new directors on the board who have agreed to volunteer their valuable time and expertise, and we are privileged to have them on our team. Please welcome our new Treasurer, Anne Wood, who resides in Northampton County, and Shannon McAllister, from Halifax County to the board. The LGA, as you know, has been a longtime supporter of the John 3:16 Toy Drive Project. Her name may sound familiar as she is our newest Halifax Director, Shannon McAllister. They are a 501(c)(3) and are most deserving of a year-end tax deduction. To learn more, please visit them at https://john316center.org. Mark your calendar for May 6, 2023, as the next Annual Shred Event Finally, we’d like to congratulate our three newest business members of the LGA: the Bragging Rooster in Warrenton, RWVFD and Jenny Cakes at the Lake. All are wonderful and well worth a visit, so please stop by to show your support, and don’t forget to mention that the LGA sent you. Please remember to help support all our business members who believe in the LGA mission.
Why should I join or stay on as an LGA Member?The cost of membership isn’t very high, but $25 bucks is $25.00, or as I type this, about five gallons of gas. Do you feel you are getting your money’s worth by being a member? Let’s see if there is a measurable value to your membership.
Why do we live, play, and vacation here? For the lake of course. What would happen to property values if the lake somehow became polluted and you couldn’t fish or swim in it? What if the kids would get a rash from the water? It wasn’t that many years ago when Hydrilla, a nasty invasive plant species, was a big issue! The LGA and various local and regional partners were in the middle of getting this fixed and it’s no longer an issue. Yet, once again we are busy addressing the Lyngbya nuisance problem on our lake.
Our lake water quality is so good Virginia Beach and nearby counties use this lake as a source of drinking water. We also know when we get an unintentional mouthful of lake water, we can swallow it without fear of ingesting chemicals.
How about Taxes? If you are like me, my primary residence is elsewhere so I can’t vote in local elections. What would you do if taxes went up exorbitantly? As a non-voter, you would sit by helplessly. Did you know this was the very reason the predecessor organization of the LGA was formed? As said on our masthead, we are the voice of our membership. We aren’t miracle workers, and we know we can’t please everyone. However, we do our best to keep open lines of communication between county governments and the LGA. I guess you should ask yourself if you are better off with the LGA in place or not.
How about safety and security-related issues? Even full-timers can’t be at their house 24/7. The Public Safety Committee stays in touch with local law enforcement. Come to our September monthly meeting to hear all 5 county sheriff’s departments tell us what’s going on around the lake and in the communities. The LGA offers the Annual Jack D. Saunders Community Shred Event at no cost. The LGA pays for this out of membership dues. The event last May was the best attended ever but it’s costing more each year to get the shred truck here from Raleigh.
What Exactly is the Dominion Energy Partnership? We stay in close communication with Dominion to discuss issues of interest to our members, and they contact us (and we let our members know) if they anticipate conditions requiring raised water levels.
The LGA has the horsepower to pull off Candidate Forums and the Annual 5 County Forum for County Managers and Elected Officials. We also invite NC and VA Wildlife Officers to our meeting once a year to get the scoop on what’s happening at the lake. You also get to ask questions. The LGA brings in subject matter experts to talk about the logging trucks on our roads, solar residential use, local development both in Littleton and Warrenton, and what’s happening at the soon-to-be-opened Lakeland Cultural Arts Center, and we even sponsor the annual Lake Clean-Up Day.
I could go on and on – So why am I telling you all this? We have a little over 1,900 households and 100 businesses that care enough to pay for a membership. With 7,000 + homes at the lake, there are a lot of folks who are indifferent or maybe don’t know about the LGA. We are trying to reach those who are not aware of the LGA and what we do. People will spend money if they perceive value and dread the alternative. Please help us grow the membership as the dues directly support all our activities throughout the year.
In this issue, you will hear more about what we are doing to show value and why the LGA is important to the lake. Just think of the programs we could fund/support if we had 5,000 households who were willing to make the $25 annual investment or $250.00 for a lifetime membership.
I can assure you the LGA Board will continue to be good stewards of your dues and continue to support vital programs and initiatives that benefit the lake and all our residents.
President’s Corner Our lead story has to be the retirement of Moira Underwood who has served with distinction as our Executive Director for 17 years. After a career at IBM, Lake Gaston was the next stop on her life's journey. If you see Moira in town, please thank her for all she did at the LGA for our community. We have invited Moira to attend as a member at our Annual Meeting which will be at our usual meeting spot on Saturday, June 11 at 9:30 AM. Please come, say thanks and wish her well. The Annual Meeting at the Lake Gaston Baptist Church (across from Subway) will be the first solo meeting for our new Executive Director, Beverly Summerfield. No pressure Bev. Seriously, we are very excited to have Beverly join us. She brings 20+ years in multi-faceted management/business experience along with the necessary skill set to lead the LGA to the next level. We will be expanding our social media platform and have asked Bev to further promote greater use of the website. Please stay tuned for more. The LGA yearly calendar is somewhat as predictable as the seasons. This spring the Government Relations Committee hosted the 5 County Forum and then we successfully held the Candidate Forums for three Saturdays in April. These Forums were to provide local candidates running for an office in Halifax, Warren and Northampton counties an opportunity to state their position and meet constituents. As the weather warms, we turn our attention to the lake and support the efforts of the LG Weed Control Council and the NCSU Extension program as they utilize the data from last fall's shoreline survey to combat Lyngbya and then get in the water to repair cages which are used to promote good vegetation in our healthy lake. Lake clean up activities are in full swing and the Public Safety Committee turns it’s attention to safety related issues both on land and in the water. As the months pass, in the fall we begin our 2023 membership drive. September and October it’s lake vegetation survey time when we participate in the 350 mile shoreline survey. Next thing you know it’s November and we will again support the John 3:16 Toy Drive campaign. Wow, I think I just wrote my year end speech for the December monthly meeting. For now, savor the warmer temperatures as Lake Gaston slowly warms to the sweet spot in early August when water temperatures are in the mid 80's and when my wife will finally put her toe in the water. Thanks for reading and stay safe. Brian Goldsworthy
President’s Corner Leadership is back up and running for the new year. The Executive Committee met for the first time in 2022 on January 26. Lots of planning underway.
We are so happy for our long time Executive Director, Moira Underwood, who has decided to retire this year. Her steady performance over so many years has been a huge asset to the LGA and our membership. President’s and board members come and go but Moira has been the steady influence and the one constant we could all count on over the last 17 years. We have lots of work to do to ensure a smooth transition. You will hear much more about this in the coming months.
In other news, the first committee meeting of the new year was held on January 11 for Government Relations. The NC candidate forums will be scheduled soon. They will be also planning the 5 County Forum in March where we invite key officials from each county who serve as elected commissioners, board supervisors and county managers. The topics are being finalized. Membership and the public are invited.
I, along with several other board and committee members who serve on the Lake Environment committee, had a most interesting 2 hour Zoom call with our counterparts with the Smith Mountain Lake Environment committee. Committee chair Jeff Zimmer thought it would be helpful to share how both organizations address water clarity, vegetation issues, etc. I don't want to steal Jeff's thunder since he will talk more about this meeting in this issue. Suffice to say the Zoom discussion was beneficial and I hope to set up subsequent Zoom meetings to discuss other mutual areas of concern including public safety issues. Speaking of Public Safety, the next Jack D Saunders Community Shred Event will be on May 7. Start saving your important papers you no longer need to take to the shred event. As with previous years, there is no cost for this service but donations are welcome to help defray the cost of bringing the Raleigh-based shred truck to Lake Gaston. This committee is partnering with the Community 911 Task Force to develop useful lake related information for new residents, renters and new boat owners. We are also coming up with a new 911 card including “What3Words”. Along with the Lake Gaston Water Safety Council, we will be all singing off the same sheet of music (sorry, I usedto be in the choir).
What else to talk about. Oh, the Eaton Ferry navigation bridge light project. NCDOT has confirmed the purchase order was cut for the equipment in early December. Looks like it will happen in 2022.
We continue to monitor the Omicron virus issue. As I write this in early January, even though I’m boosted, I’ve again started to wear that darn mask when I’m in Food Lion or other areas where lots of people congregate. Our next monthly membership meeting is on February 2 so it’s way too early to predict what restrictions, if any, will be in place. Check the web site for recent updates. Our speaker will discuss high speed Internet solutions in Brunswick and Mecklenburg counties. We will also learn about an unique HOA solution. Just a reminder about the security of your personal on line information. Where permitted by your bank or other financial institutions, health care, and other highly sensitive data systems, use an ID that is not your email account. Upgrade your passwords to at least 12-14 characters (including numbers, uppercase, and special symbols) and don’t use as passwords items that could be easily identified in social media. Use a separate/different password for each of your key accounts to prevent someone from getting a common password and email and using them to invade your bank and other personal accounts. For maximum security, set up a two-factor system for key accounts like banking, where you put in your User ID and password and then the bank or other institution sends to your phone a text message with a six-digit number challenge code to verify your ID.
It’s a great time to be at the lake! No traffic, short lines in Food Lion and the lake view is spectacular now that the leaves are down and those sunsets, oh my! We have a new coffee shop and soon a new bakery. Life is good at the lake. Stay safe and look out after each other. Be kind. Brian Goldsworthy