2014 Flotilla Announced

2014 Wawasee Flotilla Date: Saturday, July 5th. 

The Wawasee Flotilla will be celebrating its 53rd parade during the 2014 Fourth of July weekend. This year’s theme is “Get Your Game On” where floats and homes on the lake can decorate boats and piers to celebrate!

What's your favorite game to play? Monopoly, Beer Pong, Portal 2, Wheel of Fortune, Scrabble...? Entries are invited to decorate their floats and piers to depict their favorite game.

Watch the decorated boats parade around the shores of Lake Wawasee. Boats gather in front of the Wawasee Spink at 1:00 PM, with the Parade beginning at 1:30 PM, moving clockwise around the lake.

You need to register in order to be eligible to win an award. Registrations forms will be available at local retailers or use the contact information below to have one sent to you. You may also register the day of the Flotilla at the judges' boat.

Holly Tuttle

Liquid Ice Boating on Wawasee

The ice and snow is taking forever to melt. So, several on Lake Wawasee decided to make the best of the situation.

With over two feet of ice still resting atop the frigid waters of the lake, a group of men and women decided to brave the elements and set sail. While the Wawasee Yacht Club is still a couple months away from opening its racing season, ice boats sped across the windswept mass with similar ease.

According to Bob Fanning, “It was the best day I’ve ever had,” overviewing his day on the ice last Sunday. Fanning noted the 15-20 mile-per-hour winds helped the boats skim across the ice from Southeast Bay to Conklin Bay non-stop. The Skeeter, Fanning’s 30-foot, two-inch boat, reached 68 miles per hour. In the approximately 10 hours Fanning was on the ice, he traveled approximately 104 miles.

Several of the WYC summer sailors were out in the ice boats including Jeff and Chris Herdrich, Andy Allen, Rick Lemberg and his family among others.

Fanning noted there were several classes of boats out on the ice, including the Skeeter, Arrow, Gambit and Renegade. Ice boats are not mass produced or readily available, most being hand-crafted. The Arrow, which is a fiberglass boat, hasn’t been in production in nearly 40 years. The Gambit boats out on the lake were all hand-built by the guys in them.

Also on the ice were skiers like the Smith and Thystrup brothers, riding behind a pick-up truck and launching off hand-piled ramps.

MELTDOWN - How safe is the ice?

A lot of people took advantage of the nice day Monday, including ice fishermen who got out on to the frozen lakes while they still can.

But as temperatures shoot up, how safe is it to be on the ice right now?

While WSBT visited Lake Wawasee, we saw a lot of people on the ice.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources says the ice is thick enough to support all of this activity, but the warmer weather is a sign ice fishing season is nearing its end.

"I just don't have that confidence (to be on the lake ice fishing)," said Sam Lashley of the DNR. "Trying to explain to the wife that I lost the truck would be kind of difficult, but there's more than enough ice."

Four inches of what the DNR calls 'good ice,' or ice that is solid, is safe enough to walk on.

Five to six inches is thick enough to support your snowmobile or ATV, and you need at least 10 inches of ice to take your truck out.

Right now, the lake has a layer of ice at least 2 feet thick.

"The ice fishermen we've been checking with say there's 16 to 22 inches," said DNR Conservation Officer Jerry Hoerdt.

What they like to call 'bad ice' is a sign the ice is on its way out.

"When you get standing water on the ice with warm temperatures coming and the sun that's out, it does begin to deterioriate the ice," Hoerdt added.

"The ice will get nasty after a while," noted ice fisherman Stephen Steele.

Experienced ice fishers like Steele are surprised to be seeing this much 'good ice' as late as mid-March. However, they're counting down the days until the end of their season.

"As the weather starts to warm up, it's time to pack up and do something else," Steele said.

Smaller, inland lakes like Lake Wawasee are a little bit of a safer bet, but flowing water like rivers and creeks have much thinner ice and need extra precaution.

Lake Michigan, because it's so large, can also see ice break off into pieces, which is potentially dangerous.

The DNR says the best way to make sure the ice is thick enough to go out on is simply to ask.

Talk to anyone who has experience being on the ice, or contact the DNR.

Anchoring Prohibition Signage Denied By DNR

Steve Snyder filed a request on behalf of Anchor Holdings LLC and Peter Nicholas for a permit to install signage in the lake prohibiting boats from anchoring within 200 feet in front of property known as the Eli Lilly Estates on Lake Wawasee. The request was filed with the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water. Nicholas’ neighbor, Randall Tobias, also filed a companion request.

It’s not like they want to stir up trouble, they can’t get out of their pier.

The request was for a permit to place six posts — 3.5 inch in diameter — approximately 186 feet from the shoreline with a notice that “Mooring or anchoring a boat within 200 feet of this shoreline is illegal.” The posts would only be 3.5 feet above the legal lake level.

However, the permit was denied on Feb. 28 by the DNR. An appeal has been filed with the Natural Resources Commission.

“It’s not like they want to stir up trouble,” stated Snyder of the permit request. “They can’t get out of their pier.”

Snyder noted he has been trying for over 35 years to get law enforcement officials to enforce state statute. With the appeal, “we’ll find out if my interpretation of the law is correct.”

Snyder’s interpretation of the state statute is that only a few things are allowed within 200 feet of shoreline: fishing or trolling and approaching a dock or shoreline. Anchoring within that area is not allowed. Thus the request.

The state’s denial, signed by James Hebenstreit, PE, assistant director of the division of water, was based on the following four facts:

1) Indiana Code 14-26-2-5(c)(d) and (e) provides that the natural resources and the natural scenic beauty of Indiana are a public right and that the public has a vested right in the preservation, protection and enjoyment of all public freshwater lakes in their present state and the right to use the public freshwater lakes for recreational purposes.

The state has full power and control of all state public freshwater lakes, holds and controls all public freshwater lakes in trust for use by all citizens of the state for recreation purposes, and that a person owning land bordering a public freshwater lake does not have the ‘exclusive right to use the waters of the lake or any part of the lake.”

This first reason also states “these provisions do not allow the department to authorize or give the appearance of authorizing the blocking off of any portion of the public freshwater lake for private use.

2) The second reason states there is no statutory prohibition against the mooring or anchoring of boats within 200 feet of the shoreline.

3) A third reason states the project would create a navigational hazard for the boating public noting that the placement of the six posts at 3.5 feet above the waterline would create a substantial hazard.

4) The final reason defines the Lakes Preservation Act, natural scenic beauty and recreational purpose within the statute of IC 14-26-2-5.

The appeal will be conducted by Stephen L. Lucas, director, division of hearings. The Natural Resources Commission will make the final determination following the proceedings before an administrative law judge.

- from staceypages.com

Trail Committee Approves Donation To Athletic Complex

Syracuse-Wawasee Trail Committee approved a donation of $5,000 to the Harold Schrock Athletic Complex for a walking trail around the ball diamonds during its regular monthly meeting Monday night. The donation still must be approved by the Syracuse Park Foundation.

Park superintendent Chad Jonsson explained the trail will be 2,600 feet, just 40 feet shy of a 1/2 mile. It will be made using a crushed limestone material and will be handicap accessible. The cost of the walking path is about $9,500. Fundraising for the walking path is underway.

It was also noted the town sidewalk system, also considered part of the trail system, comes into the athletic complex in two places. Jonsson also noted play elements will be placed around the walking path for children. Right now, two climbers, one shaped like a catcher’s mitt and another like a football, are being considered. Benches will also be placed to overlook Turkey Creek.

The committee reviewed upcoming projects for the trails. Thompson Concrete is ready to put the remaining trail down on Eastshore and Northshore drives as soon as the weather breaks. Work will start at the railroad tracks and move northward. Homeowners are still being contacted to make them aware of the project.

Information on installing trail in the Vawter Park area is still being analyzed and a report will be made at next month’s meeting.

A presentation will be made to the Kosciusko County Commissioners Tuesday regarding the SR 13 segment. The county will have to buy into the project since only government entities can apply for grants through the Indiana Department of Transportation. While the county will be the official applicant, the committee will be responsible for raising the funds. There is no set timetable for when there is a call for grant proposals.

“It’s big money. It’s 80 percent of your project and for $2 million that’s a lot of money,” Mike Buhrt said about the possibility of winning an INDOT grant.

Discussion turned to the trail on Eli Lily Road. The committee had been looking at widening the road to widen the trail. Residents on Eli Lily Road have made good suggestions as to an alternative to making the existing trail safer. Erick Leffler, committee member, suggested going behind the utility boxes on one side of the road. Other ideas discussed were to get an estimate on removing the boxes and leaving the trail where it is but widening it, except where a phone box is located.

Leffler reported the Tour de Lakes committee has asked for four volunteers to help with registration during its bike ride July 12. This year there will be a scavenger hunt through the parks and vendors after the event.

Officers Train Below 20" of Solid Ice

SYRACUSE — Indiana Department of Natural Resources scuba divers practiced rescue and recovery operations underneath 20 inches of ice in Lake Wawasee March 5. Divers and their support staff practiced preparing for the worst case scenario, where a person falls through the ice and needs emergency assistance, DNR officials said.

The divers were well-equipped with thermal suits, full face masks complete with a built in communications system, and ropes and harnesses for the divers safety. The Indiana Conservation Officers dive team trains year round for rescuing victims who fall through the ice, recovering drowning victims, recovering evidence to crimes, and recovering motor vehicles that become submerged in the water, officials said.

This dangerous work often calls the officers away from home at all hours of the day and night to respond to various calls for service. Cpl. Jon Engle stated “We like to train for what we hope never occurs.” Cpl. Engle supervised this particular training exercise.

If in the event a person witnesses someone fall through the ice, call 911 immediately and the Indiana Conservation Officers dive team will be called to service along with local emergency response personnel. The dive team is prepared for quick responses and have trained to be dressed into their scuba gear and deployed into the water within minutes of arriving on scene.

Fisherman and those who recreate on the ice should be aware that with the warmer temperatures expected soon comes more dangerous ice conditions. Children should always be supervised while playing on the ice and adults should take necessary precautions as well to prevent falling through the ice, conservation officiers said.

Always check on ice conditions before heading out. Using augers to drill holes in the ice so it can be measured is the safest way to determine ice conditions, DNR officials said.

Indiana Conservation Officers recommend 4 inches of ice for pedestrian traffic, 5 inches for snowmobiles and four wheelers and at least 10 inches of good clear ice before operating a motor vehicle on the ice. And, officers added it is always a sound practice to wear a personal flotation device. - See more at: http://www.goshennews.com/local/x787211427/Officers-train-below-20-inches-of-ice-on-Lake-Wawasee#sthash.BN32Skcb.dpuf