Blog

New Game Warden For Lake St. Catherine

Good afternoon LSC.

We’d like to let you know that we have a new Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department Game Warden that will be patrolling Lake St. Catherine. 

For the past few years, our Warden was Dustin Circe. He has transferred to cover an area north of Montpelier. We thank him for his years of service to our area and LSC.

Our new Warden is Justin Turner who resides in Arlington. His coverage area includes 9 towns: Arlington, Sunderland, Sandgate, Manchester, Rupert, Dorset, Pawlet, Danby and Wells. Although his area does not include Poultney, he is responsible for all of Lake St. Catherine.

Justin cannot be on the lake every day, but we can all be his eyes and ears working to keep LSC safe.

If you witness an unsafe boating incident or a violation, you can:

• Take a video
• Take photos
• Take note of their registration number
• Take note of a description of the vessel and the individual
• Take note of the camp they return to
• Take note of the date & time and location

Then, call Justin to report it so he can investigate - he can be reached on his cell at: 802-595-8754.

Justin, welcome to Lake St. Catherine. We look forward to seeing you on the lake!

As a reminder, here are the Vermont rules for unlawful operation of a vessel.

Vermont law states that these dangerous operating practices are illegal:

Careless and Reckless Operation of a vessel or the reckless manipulation of water skis, a surfboard, or a similar device is operating in a manner that causes danger to the life, limb, or property of any person. Examples of illegal, reckless operation are:

• Boating in restricted areas without regard for other boaters or persons, posted speeds and wake restrictions, diver-down flags, etc.
• Boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
• Failing to follow the navigation rules
• Weaving through congested waterway traffic
• Swerving at the last possible moment in order to avoid collision
• Causing danger or damage from the wake of your vessel
• Chasing, harassing, or disturbing wildlife with your vessel

Overloading is loading the vessel beyond a safe carrying capacity, taking into consideration the weather and other operating conditions.

Improper Speed or Distance is not maintaining a proper speed or distance while operating a vessel or while towing a person on water skis or any similar device. Specifically, the following actions are illegal:

• Operating a vessel (except sailboards) at greater than “no wake speed” within 200 feet of:
  - The shoreline
  - A person in the water
  - A canoe, rowboat, or other vessel
  - An anchored or moored vessel with a person on board
  - An anchorage or dock

• Operating a vessel at speeds of five miles per hour or greater within 200 feet of a marked swimming area

• Operating a vessel at speeds that may cause danger, injury, or damage. Be aware of and obey all regulatory markers, including areas marked as “no wake”

Note: “No Wake Speed” means operating your vessel at a speed at which the vessel does not produce a wake, not to exceed five miles per hour.

Many more rules and regulations for boating in Vermont can be found here, in the Vermont Boating Laws And Responsibilities Handbook.

Next, let's review the Lake St. Catherine specific boating rules that are in place, under Vermont Statute 10 V.S.A. § 1424, (effective November 17, 1980, amended January 1, 1995):

Water-skiing is prohibited in the following waters:
• All portions of Lily Pond and the channel connecting Lily Pond and Lake St. Catherine
• All portions of the channel connecting Little Lake and Lake St. Catherine

The operation of vessels powered by motor at speeds exceeding five miles per hour or in such a manner as to cause a disturbing wake is prohibited in the following waters:
• All portions of Lily Pond and the channel connecting Lily Pond and Lake St. Catherine
• All portions of the channel connecting Little Lake and Lake St. Catherine
• Forest House Bay - defined for purposes of this rule as those waters south and southwest of a straight line between the southerly corner of Camp 102 and the northeasterly corner of Camp 110A
• Hall’s Bay - defined for purposes of this rule as those waters north and northeast of a straight line between the southerly corner of Camp 224 and the northerly corner of Camp 207
• Horseshoe Bay - defined for purposes of this rule as those waters west of a straight line between the easterly corner of Camp 38 and northerly corner of Camp 46A
• Oxbow Bay - defined for purposes of this rule as those waters west of a straight line between the northerly corner of Camp 21 and the northerly corner of Camp 36

With regard to Forest House Bay, Hall’s Bay, Horseshoe Bay, and Oxbow Bay:
• It is permissible for a boat to start and return to its own dock at speeds in excess of five miles per hour for purposes of water-skiing. In starting, the boat must head directly out of the safety zone. In returning, the boat must go directly to its dock at the lowest speed necessary to sustain the skier

For purposes of this regulation only:
• The term “channel” as used in the rules above shall mean those waters within and contiguous to Lake St. Catherine which are less than 400 feet in width and which serve to connect that lake with Lily Pond or Little Lake.
• The use of personal watercraft at speeds not exceeding five miles per hour is allowed on Little Lake and Lily Pond for purposes of obtaining access to, and returning from, Lake St. Catherine.

 

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Recording Of Joint LSCA / LSCCF Little Lake Meeting

On Tuesday, August 25th, the LSCA, the LSCCF, Dr. Jennifer Jones of Restorative Lake Sciences and the Vermont DEC held a meeting to discuss potential solutions to address Eurasian Watermilfoil (EWM) and sediment levels in the Little Lake.

The recording of that meeting is now available to view on YouTube here:

Our two groups will post our thoughts and comments about the meeting soon, but we'd like to give you the opportunity to view the video first.

Both the LSCA and the LSCCF welcome your comments.

We'd like to thank all the panelists for their participation, our moderator Gary Kupferer, and the Town of Wells for hosting some of our participants.

Finally, we'd like to let the lake community know that the LSCA and the LSCCF have plans to meet soon to discuss this meeting and the next steps for implementing solutions to help Little Lake. We will discuss your comments or questions at that time, so please feel free to send them in to us or post them here.

Thank you.

Jim Canders, President, Lake St. Catherine Association
David Emmons, President, Lake St. Catherine Conservation Fund

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LSCA & LSCCF Announce Joint Little Lake Meeting And Discussion

The Lake St. Catherine Association (LSCA) and the Lake St. Catherine Conservation Fund (LSCCF) would like to inform the lake community about a joint board meeting meeting to discuss issues and opportunities, as well as a path forward, to address Eurasian Watermilfoil (EWM) and sediment levels in the Little Lake St. Catherine. These two problems in Little Lake are significant.

Our goal for this meeting is to reach clarity about the problems and to find the best solutions so we can quickly take action to remediate them.

Meeting Details

On Tuesday, August 25th at 6 PM, a virtual, joint meeting will take place between the LSCA, the LSCCF, limnologist Jennifer Jermalowicz-Jones from Restorative Lake Sciences in Michigan, and Misha Cetner, Laura Dlugolecki, Oliver Pierson, and Zapata Courage from the Vermont DEC. This panel discussion will be led by professional moderator Gary Kupferer.

The format for this meeting and discussion will be:

• Opening statements by the LSCA and LSCCF
• A 20 minute presentation by Jennifer Jermalowicz-Jones
• A 20 minute presentation by the Vermont DEC
• A 60 minute question and answer session between all panelists
• Closing statements by the LSCA and LSCCF

During the 60 minute Q&A, panelists and board members will take turns asking questions of each other. The first 20 minutes of the meeting will be dedicated to allowing the invited scientists to ask each other questions. The LSCA and the LSCCF will also be soliciting questions from the lake community that will be asked during the final 40 minutes of the Q&A.

Meeting Topic

There is a debate amongst the parties on the best course of action to reduce excess vegetation including EWM and organic sediments in Little Lake, and the efficacy of the tools proposed to achieve this. These tools include aeration with bioaugmentation (enzymes), herbicides, mechanical harvesting, diver assisted suction harvesting (DASH) and watershed management.

The LSCCF has invited limnologist Jennifer Jermalowicz-Jones from Restorative Lake Sciences who is a proponent of aeration with bioaugmentation (introducing enzymes to the lake) to discuss installations and the results of installing these systems in lakes.

The LSCA has asked the DEC to participate to discuss the findings in their 2019 paper entitled “Aeration As A Lake Management Tool And Its Use in Vermont” which concluded that the scientific literature does not support or recommend the use of aeration as a tool for managing muck or aquatic plants.

Jennifer Jermalowicz-Jones and the DEC representatives will each make a presentation, and then engage in a discussion about aeration and other lake management tools and topics.

We believe this exchange of ideas, scientific facts and real world experience shared by the parties in this meeting will advance our goal to get the right treatments in the Little Lake as quickly as possible for the betterment of the entire lake system. We will have the right leaders in the room representing the interests of the lake communities and noted experts in reversing the impact of invasive aquatic species and other lake encroachments.

How You Can Participate

This meeting will take place online via online meeting software on August 25th at 6 PM. The discussion will be recorded and then posted, in its entirety, to YouTube for the lake community to view at your convenience. 

Although you will not be able to participate live in this discussion, we do want to hear from you so your questions can be answered during this discussion.

We have set up this online form for you to submit a question to be asked during the meeting. You can access that form by visiting this link: https://forms.gle/KX14jvzU2Vnidw1v8

Commitment of the LSCA & the LSCCF Boards

We are endeavoring to work together to help Little Lake. This meeting is a step forward towards that shared goal. Our hope is that this meeting will bring some clarity to the situation in Little Lake, and that it will set the stage for our two organizations to work together on solutions.

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2020 4th Of July Fun On LSC

Hello LSC!

Well, we've all been through a tough Spring... Summer is here, and things are still uncertain as we have so many things to be worried and concerned about. 

While all these concerms will still be with us after this weekend, hopefully we can all take a break and spend some time having fun as we celebrate Independence Day.

On Friday, July 3rd, lake residents Rick Roberts and Jack Williams will be putting on a fireworks display set to music. Rumor has it that they will be launching 1 hour's worth of fireworks in 30 minutes. The barge is set up on the east side of the lake, off of Cones Point by Route 30:

Thank you to Rick and Jack for their efforts!

Then on Saturday, July 4th, starting at 1 PM in Forest House Bay, the 8th Annual LSCA Boat Parade will make its way around the lake.

There is still time to register your boat if you'd like to participate - email us at [email protected] to register and get a boat number.

There will be some important changes this year due to the current COVID-19 situation:

1. There will be no prizes this year. With our local businesses working as hard as they can to stay open, we will not be asking for prize donations and sponsors this year. Instead, we ask that you do your best to support our sponsors from last year. They are:

Our 2019 sponsors:

• Lake St. Catherine Country Club
• Full Belly Deli of Poultney, VT
• New England Lakeside Realty Inc.
• Edwards Market
• The Wells Country Store
• Otto's Cones Point General Store
• The Gold Trout
• Pine Grove Diner
• The Barn Restaurant & Tavern
• The Pawlet Station
• Village Yarn Shop
• Rebecca J. Thomas, Inc. dba Country Horizon Realty
• MacDaddy's Car Hop
Stewart's Shops
Williams Hardware
Wellsmere Farm
• CBH Business Services
Everyday Flowers

Our winners will of course receive bragging rights for the rest of the season :)

2. We will not have judging stations for safety reasons. However, we will take photos of every boat, and we will post them online for the entire lake to vote on in an easy to use voting survey. We'll set a time range to cast your votes, and we'll announce the winners for each category that evening. Stay tuned for more details on how to vote on Saturday which we posted here on our website and on our Facebook page.

Parade route:

Please have a fun and safe 4th of July weekend at Lake St. Catherine. Be well, be kind, and be considerate of others on the lake.

Thank you.

Are you a member yet? Maintaining the lake costs approximately $125,000 annually. Grants, membership dues and contributions make up the majority of our funding. If you'd like to help, please consider becoming a member or making a donation. The LSCA is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization and any contribution that you make is tax deductible.

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Cyanobacteria Seen In Halls Bay Channel

On Thursday, June 18th, Cyanobacteria was found in the channel leading from Halls Bay.

The orange arrow below indicates the approximate location of the Cyanobacteria. Small spots were also seen south of that location in Halls Bay channel.

Here is a photo of the Cyanobacteria bloom - it looks like light blue paint on top of the water.:

This bloom has since dissipated, but please be aware that small spots were still visible in Halls Bay channel.

Please keep pets and children out of the water in the channel.

As was the case in 2018, the conditions were perfect for it to bloom there: lack of rain, temperature, water depth and lack of water movement.

Additional information from the Vermont Department Of Health on Cyanobacteria can be read here: "CYANOBACTERIA (BLUE-GREEN ALGAE)". Please let us know immediately if you spot some.

From Vermont DEC:

"So long as there is visible cyanobacteria in the water, both in the inlet stream and anywhere along the lake shore where it empties into St. Catherine proper, everyone should be avoiding contact with them. Pets are also vulnerable, so owners should be keeping their pets out as well.

It is difficult to predict how long the bloom might persist in the stream. Lake surface blooms typically dissipate when wind and waves thoroughly stir the water. They can last for a matter of hours or for several days or weeks, depending on the conditions. Blooms in streams typically are moved out by increased flow. It doesn’t sound like you received much rain as a result of the storms earlier this week, so this bloom may persist until there is more water movement."

We will keep you informed with any updates. If you have any questions, please contact us: [email protected].

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Boating Safety On Lake St. Catherine

Hello LSC.

Today, we'd like to take some time to discuss boating safety on Lake St. Catherine, as we've noted a recent increase in complaints and concerns passed along to the LSCA.

We'll review the general Vermont boating rules, the LSC specific boating rules, and provide you the information on how to report violations to the proper authorities.

To begin, here are the Vermont rules for unlawful operation of a vessel.

Vermont law states that these dangerous operating practices are illegal:

Careless and Reckless Operation of a vessel or the reckless manipulation of water skis, a surfboard, or a similar device is operating in a manner that causes danger to the life, limb, or property of any person. Examples of illegal, reckless operation are:

• Boating in restricted areas without regard for other boaters or persons, posted speeds and wake restrictions, diver-down flags, etc.
• Boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
• Failing to follow the navigation rules
• Weaving through congested waterway traffic
• Swerving at the last possible moment in order to avoid collision
• Causing danger or damage from the wake of your vessel
• Chasing, harassing, or disturbing wildlife with your vessel

Overloading is loading the vessel beyond a safe carrying capacity, taking into consideration the weather and other operating conditions.

Improper Speed or Distance is not maintaining a proper speed or distance while operating a vessel or while towing a person on water skis or any similar device. Specifically, the following actions are illegal:

• Operating a vessel (except sailboards) at greater than “no wake speed” within 200 feet of:
  - The shoreline
  - A person in the water
  - A canoe, rowboat, or other vessel
  - An anchored or moored vessel with a person on board
  - An anchorage or dock

• Operating a vessel at speeds of five miles per hour or greater within 200 feet of a marked swimming area

• Operating a vessel at speeds that may cause danger, injury, or damage. Be aware of and obey all regulatory markers, including areas marked as “no wake”

Note: “No Wake Speed” means operating your vessel at a speed at which the vessel does not produce a wake, not to exceed five miles per hour.

Many more rules and regulations for boating in Vermont can be found here, in the Vermont Boating Laws And Responsibilities Handbook.

Next, let's review the Lake St. Catherine specific boating rules that are in place, under Vermont Statute 10 V.S.A. § 1424, (effective November 17, 1980, amended January 1, 1995):

Water-skiing is prohibited in the following waters:
• All portions of Lily Pond and the channel connecting Lily Pond and Lake St. Catherine
• All portions of the channel connecting Little Lake and Lake St. Catherine

The operation of vessels powered by motor at speeds exceeding five miles per hour or in such a manner as to cause a disturbing wake is prohibited in the following waters:
• All portions of Lily Pond and the channel connecting Lily Pond and Lake St. Catherine
• All portions of the channel connecting Little Lake and Lake St. Catherine
• Forest House Bay - defined for purposes of this rule as those waters south and southwest of a straight line between the southerly corner of Camp 102 and the northeasterly corner of Camp 110A
• Hall’s Bay - defined for purposes of this rule as those waters north and northeast of a straight line between the southerly corner of Camp 224 and the northerly corner of Camp 207
• Horseshoe Bay - defined for purposes of this rule as those waters west of a straight line between the easterly corner of Camp 38 and northerly corner of Camp 46A
• Oxbow Bay - defined for purposes of this rule as those waters west of a straight line between the northerly corner of Camp 21 and the northerly corner of Camp 36

With regard to Forest House Bay, Hall’s Bay, Horseshoe Bay, and Oxbow Bay:
• It is permissible for a boat to start and return to its own dock at speeds in excess of five miles per hour for purposes of water-skiing. In starting, the boat must head directly out of the safety zone. In returning, the boat must go directly to its dock at the lowest speed necessary to sustain the skier

For purposes of this regulation only:
• The term “channel” as used in the rules above shall mean those waters within and contiguous to Lake St. Catherine which are less than 400 feet in width and which serve to connect that lake with Lily Pond or Little Lake.
• The use of personal watercraft at speeds not exceeding five miles per hour is allowed on Little Lake and Lily Pond for purposes of obtaining access to, and returning from, Lake St. Catherine.

Finally, we'd like to inform you on the best way to report violations that you witness.

This past weekend, we had a conversation with our Game Warden, Dustin Circe:

[Dustin Circe, pictured left. Photo credit: Vermont Game Warden Association's Facebook page]

Dustin's patrol area includes 6 towns: Wells, Poultney, Middletown Springs, Tinmouth, Pawlet, and Danby. He's on Lake St. Catherine two to three times a week.

While Dustin patrols LSC, he looks for things like fishing violations (while checking for licenses), unsafe boating (including checking for life jackets, boating while intoxicated) and littering. While it's not possible for Dustin to be on the lake every day, we can assist him in keeping LSC for everyone.

Dustin has outlined a few tips that are helpful if you witness a violation or an unsafe situation. The more detailed information you can provide, the better his investigation can be. If possible, try to:

• Take a video
• Take photos
• Take note of their registration number
• Take note of a description of the vessel and the individual
• Take note of the camp they return to
• Take note of the date & time and location

Then, call Dustin at (802) 793-6629 to report the incident so he can begin investigating using the information you provide.

Dustin explained that we can all be his eyes and ears around the lake helping to keep it safe.

So, let's all be considerate of others while sharing the lake, and let's all work together to keep everyone on Lake St. Catherine safe.

Thank you!

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The Importance Of The 2020 Census For Our Community

Hello to all in the Lake St. Catherine community.

We were recently contacted by Peter Hathaway, the Rutland County rep for the 2020 Census. We discussed the importance of the 2020 census, and how low the response rate has been for our area. 

On the importance of the 2020 Census from the 2020 Census website:

"School lunches. Plans for highways. Support for firefighters and families in need. Census results affect your community every day.

The results of the 2020 Census will help determine how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding flow into communities every year for the next decade. That funding shapes many different aspects of every community, no matter the size, no matter the location.

Think of your morning commute: Census results influence highway planning and construction, as well as grants for buses, subways, and other public transit systems.

Or think of your local schools: Census results help determine how money is allocated for the Head Start program and for grants that support teachers and special education.

The list goes on, including programs to support rural areas, to restore wildlife, to prevent child abuse, to prepare for wildfires, and to provide housing assistance for older adults."

The low response rate could be related to the amount of seasonal properties in our area. So, Peter asked if we could share the attached flyer:

So, we hope you can all take a moment to fill out the census questionnaire by clicking here: www.my2020census.gov. It is very important for our community!

Thank you.

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COVID-19 Related Guidelines For The LSCA Boat Launch From Vermont Fish & Wildlife

Hello to all in the Lake St. Catherine community. We hope you are all staying healthy and well.

The LSCA was just provided the following information from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department concerning the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order and how that may potentially impact boating activities this summer. The stay at home order was recently extended to May 15th.

The department’s Fishing Access Areas are open 24/7 as they always have been, but the public is reminded to practice safe social distancing and only recreate with people that you have been self-quarantining with.

Information from Vermont Fish & Wildlife:

"In order to comply with the Governor’s orders for maintaining essential services and reduce the potential spread of COVID-19, VFWD will not be providing portable toilet services, installing docks, or allowing Public Access Greeters. This will last until at least May 15th to keep the public and contractors safe and healthy during this pandemic.

To use the access areas safely, the public is reminded to practice social distancing and only recreate with people that you have been self-quarantining with. While using the fishing access areas, ANR asks residents to use the necessary precautions to help limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

• Don’t leave the house if you are feeling ill.
• Only travel and fish with those in your immediate household.
• Maintain at least a six-foot distance at boat ramps (about the length of a fishing rod when held out at arm’s length).
• Avoid congregating in congested areas like fishing platforms, ramps and docks, and popular shore fishing locations like bridges or culverts.
• Don’t pull your boat on shore next to another boat while loading and unloading.
• Avoid unnecessary stops on the way to and from fishing or boating.

Residents are always asked to maintain on-going aquatic invasive species spread prevention measures to comply with the Aquatic Nuisance Species regulations (10 V.S.A. 1454). These regulations require persons to inspect their vessel, vessel trailer, motor vehicle and other equipment upon entering and departing a waterbody and to remove any aquatic plants, plant parts and aquatic nuisance species found on vessels or equipment.

The recreational boating season generally kicks off Memorial Day weekend and ANR is working to develop practical guidelines, potential training opportunities, and educational and informational signage to support invasive species spread prevention operations that will be available prior to that time. However, Special Use Permits and Public Access Greeter Programs are on-hold until further notice. Staff will continue to work with boaters and Public Access Greeter Programs to keep them updated to ensure a safe boating season."

The LSCA is committed to our Greeter / Aquatic Invasive Species Program. Keeping invasive species out of LSC is one of our top priorities. Over the past few months, we have been preparing our 2020 program - and we hope to be able to kick it off over the Memorial Day weekend.

We'll keep you up to date.

Be well.

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Predict Ice Out Day 2020

Hello LSC fans.

I'm guessing we could all use a little distraction from current events... That, along with some open water appearing on the lake - makes it feel like a good time to start up #IceWatch2020.

So, let's try to have a little fun again this Spring and make some predictions for when the ice will go out.

Last year, with her guess of 4/15 at 6:00 AM, our winner - and 2019 LSC Ice Out Champion was Judy Cummings.

We called Ice Out a little early last year, and had to be corrected by many eagle-eyed ice spotters around the lake. We hope you'll share your ice reports again this year!

Make your prediction here: LSC Ice Out Prediction Form

The winner will be crowned "LSC 2020 Ice Out Champion" and will have bragging rights all year!

Make your guess - and good luck!

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Long-Time Lake St. Catherine Association Trustee Phil Pope Has Passed Away

Hello good folks in the LSC community. Unfortunately, we have some sad news to report.

Long-time Lake St. Catherine Association Trustee Phil Pope has passed away.

You can read about Phil in his obituary appearing in the Rutland Herald by clicking here.

LSCA President Jim Canders wanted to share this comment about Phil:

"We all lost a true American and outspoken advocate for the health of Lake St. Catherine. As his obituary noted, he was a man for all seasons, Lake St. Catherine in the summer, salmon fishing in Alaska in the fall, a ski trip to the Western US during the winter and skiing at Bromley after he returned from his trip to the West. However, and most importantly to each of us, he was our friend. As a Board member, he held an unwavering concern for, and care of Lake St Catherine. He will be truly missed."

Other LSCA board members offered their thoughts and recollections of Phil:

- "He was a dedicated and valuable member who had determination and focus on stewardship of the lake for nearly 50 years."

- "What a full and joyful life..."

- "Phil Pope not only loved Lake St. Catherine, but he also worked hard as part of the Lake Saint Catherine Association to keep it special. What a great man!"

- "He and Polly loved LSC, and were dedicated to the health and beauty of the lake for so many years."

- "Phil was always a true Gentleman with a smile and warm greeting. He will be greatly missed."

Funeral services will be held at the First Congregational Church of Manchester at 2 p.m. on March 28, 2020. A gathering will be held at the church fellowship hall following the service. A brief graveside interment ceremony will be held on Aug. 1 in Poultney, with a celebration of life to follow at the Lake St. Catherine house.

We all thank Phil for his many years of dedication and hard work in service of the betterment of Lake St. Catherine.

We offer our sincere condolences to Phil's family.

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