Spring finally arrived in Mountaintop this week. Just as our last edition arrived in subscriber’s mailboxes Wednesday April 3, the sun came out to brighten our spirits and the clear blue skies told us that the worst was past. The sun stayed out for at least 5 days as of this writing.
I ventured out to my yard and vegetable garden to survey the preparation work ahead. There were green daffodil shoots growing up through the leaves that had blown into the garden beds after the final fall cleanup. There were loads of sticks and broken branches trimmed by the wind from the trees in the yard. There were the first signs of new growth on the woody stems of forsythia, lilac and hydrangea. Yes there was something happening.
After last year’s fiasco with late planting, I got right to work preparing the vegetable plot for the tiller. Getting things ready before the growing season starts is the best way. I put in about 10 hours in the yard, which felt great on my stiff limbs and hips. There’s nothing like stretching to get some mobility. It’s better than a gym workout.
Next up I will get the fertilizer, see about transferring my compost from the pile to the garden beds and shop for seeds. It is already almost half way through April. Time is precious.
Eagle Partnership Anniversary
Kathy Flower and I have a special anniversary this week. It was April 9, 1983 that I first met Kathy at the “Day for Deidre” fundraiser at Crestwood High School. I was at the school covering the event held to raise money to help a local family with medical costs for their gravely ill child. Kathy was there with a mutual friend, who recommended her for the Eagle’s new reporter job. I had been writing up and processing all the news in the Eagle’s weekly editions since 1981 and now I was able to hire a reporter. Kathy accepted the job offer and we have been together ever since. We like to say with a grin that our professional partnership has survived longer than many marriages.
Kathy and I are still writing up many of the Mountaintop Eagle’s original stories and in addition Kathy puts each week’s edition together with the ease of a pro. Our graphic designer Stephanie Santospirito has been making amazing print ads for the Eagle for the past two and a half years and our newspaper has never looked better. Recently we started doing business with a new website company. Our partner there says the Eagle is the most beautiful paper she has ever worked on.
As time goes on we keep on striving to do things better and faster. The sales staff keeps our business customer’s in the limelight and our readers enjoy a quality product every week. Print or online, Mountaintop Eagle is marching forward.
The Rice Township Board of Supervisors was scheduled to meet on Tuesday April 9. Last month majority supervisors George Venesky and Miller Stella were unable to attend the public meeting and Venesky conducted the meeting by speakerphone. I don’t know why minority member Marcia Thomas couldn’t have done the job since she was physically present, but they do things differently in Rice.
This week the board could award a bid to remove 1500 yards of sediment from the Upper Ice Lakes adjacent to property owned by Dale and Regina Bortz, 414 Ice Harvest Drive. Discussion and details on the proposed dredging project have been in short supply in Rice for the past year. Secretary-Treasurer Donnie Armstrong said at a public meeting he did not know whose property the project could affect, even though he signed the papers applying for a grant to fund the project in May 2012. The Bortz property was listed on the original grant application as was a “matching funds” component of $21,650 in cash from Rice Township and volunteer labor in the amount of $2,000 consisting of labor from a group identified as “Friends of the Ice Lakes”. Who are the “Friends”? Armstrong doesn’t have the answer to that question either.
I have canoed with my family on the Upper Ice Lakes and the water is quite shallow at the southern end. During the summer when water levels are lower there are always tree trunks visible above the water line and a small boat could get stuck in the mud. Still, it would not be hard to push off with an oar.
The urgency to clean out the sediment after the Ice Lakes have been there for 100 years is puzzling. The 40-acre Upper Ice Lake is really only a small pond. It is not made for any boat larger than a rowboat or canoe.
The total project estimate for the Restoration/Dredging is $44,000 with Rice Township on the hook for $21,650. With township roads in dire need of repair, why are is the Board of Supervisors proceeding with a project that will affect so few township residents?
Basketball Champion The NCAA championship game
was scheduled after our paper went to print this week. I did have Michigan in the big game, but I had them playing Gonzaga so I am out of the winner’s circle in our family fun pool. My sister-in-law Jeanne Grubert, the Commissioner or “Commish” has been an enthusiastic coordinator of our pool. She especially likes it when the women make “gutsy” picks and come out ahead of the men. I enjoyed participating and look forward to next year’s competition.