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Hello 2021! - From the Commodore!

Commodores Report January 2021

Happy New Year and may it be a healthy and prosperous one for all. I think that I can speak for all of us that it is good to have 2020 behind us. While 2020 will be known as the year of the pandemic, we are still months away from being able to get our members and staff immunized and seeing life get back to normal. In fact, as I’m writing this the club is working around another staff member who tested positive for Covid-19. This left us with only one employee who did not have to quarantine. Please thank Katie for working all the shifts at the club until we can allow more staff back to duty. This also puts the board in a quandary on how to hold our annual meeting and elections. Normally we hold the annual meeting on the Saturday following the January board meeting. That is the time that the slate of candidates for the club officers and directors is set and the elections are held via secret ballot. At the December board meeting the question came up how can we responsibly hold a live annual meeting with around 60+ members and not it becoming a super spreader event? Then comes the part about the ballot being secret that makes a virtual meeting impractical. What we would like to suggest is that we allow the current board to continue until April or May when we should to be able to hold a live meeting safely. Our plan is to hold the business part of the meeting virtually in January with all officers giving their reports for each office or committee. I would like to thank all of our members for their understanding. I would like to thank our board members for putting the safety of the members first and for all their hard work and hours given to make the club a better place.

Harbor news: at the December zoom board meeting we had Jeremy Cords CEO of FRNSA join us. He gave us the latest update on the Menasha Lock and the rest of the lock system. While we were all hoping that we would hear that they would be starting construction of the electronic barrier at the Menasha Lock, we learned that they are still working through the studies requested by the DNR on effectiveness of the barrier at all the stages of a goby’s life cycle. This involves from egg to mature adult. Jeremy did explain how the system will be constructed and how it has redundant backup systems to ensure that it will be 100% effective. FRNSA’s board has decided to include studies that cover other potential species or scenarios that could stall plans to move forward with this system. Their goal to complete these studies and submit the formal proposal by summer of 2021 in hopes that construction could begin in the fall. He did mention that Walleyes for Tomorrow has retained an attorney who intends to file a suit as soon as the DRN approves any plan. The Catch 22 here is that the gobys were introduced into the Little Lake by a careless fisherman. The DNR can not police all the access points above the Menasha Lock on the Winnebago water system where another careless fisherman could introduce a goby or other invasive species of fish. Walleyes for Tomorrow will then claim failure of the electronic barrier for allowing an invasive species whether true or not. One only has to look at what happened with Eurasian milfoil, zebra mussels and VHS (Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia). These were all introduced by careless fishermen or birds, and not through the Fox River navigational system which was disconnected from Lake Michigan or infected waters by dry canals or the Rapide Croche Lock that been closed since 1988. FRNSA’s goal is to get the electronic barrier installed at Menasha and use the success to get authorization to install the same system at the Croche Lock which would allow the entire system to become functional again. We can only hope. We did learn that the Memorial Bridge in Kaukauna will be refurbished by this coming summer. This will allow navigation from the Little Lake to the Rapide Croche Lock. Something that has not happened since 1988. There is a lot of water to explore going that way and we hope to organize a few excursions to explore those waters this coming summer.

We have been a bit frustrated with our contractor for the harbor dredging project getting us workable numbers but hope that we have things back on track. The main issue is what to do with all the material they need to remove. Our hope is that the sand and shells can be used by a local concrete company as aggerate in their cement. This would save us a ton of money (yes pun intended). Best estimate is that there is 48600 square feet of sand and shell that will need to be removed. Transporting and landfilling that amount of material would be extremely expensive. Their next move is to collect samples for testing. If it is clean, they can work through the DNR’s agent in Green Bay to reuse the dredging’s. At that point we will be able to file for permits and by working with the city to apply for grants to help offset the cost of restoring navigation in the harbor. I had wished that all those steps would have been completed by now. Ballard Marine Construction had several emergency projects occur right as we were getting started with them that has led to the delays. Should the deposits contain PCB’s or contaminants we will pursue legal action through the DNR and EPA against the source where these came from.

With great joy we are proud to announce that Ashleigh had her baby, Jack Bradley, on December 17th. Mom and baby are doing well, and we wish them all the best. On an incredibly sad note, we learned that Jerry Crossman passed away on Dec 21st. Jerry was a friend to anyone who met him. Always going the extra mile to make the club a better place, either when he was bartending when he first joined our ranks or when he joined as a member of the club that he loved. We will be hosting a celebration of Jerry’s life this coming summer when it is better to gather together and remember his presence among us.

I wish to thank all our members who gave so generously to all the charities over the past year. To Cheryl Bruemmer for coordinating our donations with Harbor House, Feed America and Pillars. To the members of the 1600 club who solved all the world problems over pizza and beer each Tuesday at 1600 hours. For their donation of $1000 to the salvation army and $300 to Harbor House both made on Thrivent match day, and $360 to the food pantry for total donations amounting to $2960 dollars. To our staff who stuck with us and helped us work through the closures and added requirements for cleaning and safety that the pandemic brought. To the board of directors that helped guide us through a year like no other in the club’s history. Especially to our members that make this a great club and a wonderful place to belong.

In closing I heard this great line; “may you stay positive and test negative.”

Yours truly

Bill Frawley


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