Lake Improvement Association members will vote for the 2013 LIA President at the December LIA Member Meeting, to be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, December 1, 2012, at the Celina Moose. Members must be present to vote, and it is imperative that all members turn out to cast their votes. Two candidates are running for LIA President, and each was asked to submit a quote and statement reflecting their vision for the Lake Improvement Association in 2013. The candidates' responses follow.

President Tim Lovett   Secretary Kathy Anderson
Tim Lovett

If re-elected as LIA President, I will continue to work towards the effort of improving the water quality of Grand Lake St Marys and the watershed. Although we have made strides towards the improvement of both, much is still needed to be done. My pledge is to continue to work with all stakeholders to achieve a lake that we can enjoy and proudly pass on to future generations.

LIA for 2013

The issues that we currently face are the result of years of neglect and disregard for the environmental impact that watershed runoff and lake mismanagement has had on water quality. Because of this, it’s imperative that the LIA continues its involvement and effort to work with all groups to help set a path for the return to a healthy lake. This involvement must include increased visibility as a leader for water quality enhancement and continuous improvement of the recreational and business environment that have been negatively impacted.

It’s important for LIA to continue to be involved and work with all stakeholders to achieve improved conditions for the lake. This includes a presence with State Officials, County Government, Local City Governments, private stakeholders and media outlets. The solutions for a healthy lake will require everyone to be held to a standard that does not accept the status quo.

It is well documented that the biggest negative impact to the lakes’ water quality comes from the watershed. Addressing these issues will require the agriculture producers to develop and implement systems that reduce nutrient runoff to the point that the lake can begin to recover. The LIA will need to work with the Producers to find ways of supporting and if needed, insisting, that phosphorous levels be reduced to acceptable levels. Distressed watershed label, Nutrient Management Plans, frozen ground application rules and the establishment of the Ag Solutions group are all steps in the right direction, however more work needs to be done.

Another area that needs consideration by the watershed is the 3 “T’s”. Technology needs to be developed that can reduce the impact of Phosphorus. Transportation of manure from the watershed needs to be increased to eliminate excessive spreading manure on fields. Thinning of the herd needs to happen if manure cannot be stopped from entering the lake.

The local parks facilities are aging and will require updating to provide customers an enjoyable experience when using the lake. The LIA needs to find areas where we can partner with local park authorities to upgrade existing facilities to enhance the recreational experience for those who come to the lake. Shore line erosion has and continues to be an issue for the lake. Again the LIA needs to engage local park authorities to see if partnering can be used to restore or prevent further erosion of shorelines. We all understand that water quality is the issue but we also need to be vigilant and not let our facilities become neglected as we have the lake.

Lake Restoration Commission (LRC) continues to work on projects and solutions to the current water quality problems. LIA needs to continue to work with and support the efforts that are currently ongoing. Wetland development that allows significant in lake dredging along with aeration projects in the lake will provide long term solutions to reduce phosphorus loading. The potential for island development exists and would be a positive step in returning Grand Lake St Marys to a healthy environment. Our support and involvement are vital to helping the LRC continue to be successful with State and local officials and receiving funding for their projects.

As has been stated above and we all know, water quality is the most pressing issue facing Grand Lake St Marys. All of us want the same thing for the lake, environmentally healthy water, thriving businesses and properties that represent their true value. How we achieve this becomes the question.

Blaming, finger pointing and fault finding has been used in the past, resulting in little progress and creating a big division within the lake and farm communities, much of which still exists. I have been working to bring that back into balance and to get people to come to the table to discuss the issues and solutions respectfully and to take action. This does not mean a free pass for the farm community nor does it mean that all farmers are guilty of being polluters. What this means, if we are to make any progress at solving our issues then we must do it as a community even though we have differences. We would not have been successful in bringing dollars to the lake or receiving State and local political support if we had not worked together. I realize the frustration we all feel and the need to find a quick solution but this issue is bigger than just Grand Lake St Marys. Much time and effort is being spent on research in this country and many parts of the world to determine how best to fix the problems and to date no “magic bullet” has been found. Hard work, consensus building, time and patience are needed to fix our issues and with your support I am prepared to do just that.

Kathy Anderson

If elected, I will redirect  the resources of the LIA to focus on stopping the source of the pollution.  When state or elected officials suggest a solution, I will always ask, "How does this stop the pollution from coming into the lake."  I will not settle for just a solution to the symptom, rather, I will be vigilant in stopping the polluters. I would like your vote and your support for President of the LIA.

LIA for 2013

I would like to see the LIA be more aggressive with government and elected officials to penalize the polluters of the lake and stop the pollution. This past year, the LIA was directed to spend time on fundraising for facilities improvement around the lake and to leave the lobbying to other organizations. I think this was a big mistake and I would redirect the LIA to focus most of its energy and resources on stopping the polluters and obtaining funds for the lake clean up. I would like to see new efforts of coalition building to increase the voice of those in the area that want to stop the pollution of Grand Lake St. Marys.

Once elected, I would immediately conduct a strategic planning session with the Board to identify strategies to accomplish the following two goals and objectives (with Board approval):
LIA Goals for 2013
Goal 1 –  Stop the pollution of the lake
Objective 1 – Work with state government and elected officials to STOP the pollution.
Objective 2 –  Provide better structure for the LIA to become a stronger advocate for its members who want the lake cleaned up and the polluters stopped.
Objective 3 – Obtain an economic impact study to determine the negative impact of the polluted 
lake on the local economy, including businesses, local govt. and property owners.
Objective 4 – Talk and meet with elected officials on a regular basis to keep the pressure on them to stop the pollution  of the lake and clean up the lake.
Goal 2 –  Attract people back to the lake and support local businesses.
Objective 1 – Work with various local organizations to plan lake activities that will bring boaters and fisherman back to Grand Lake St. 
Objective 2 – Continue fundraising activities, especially those activities that get people on the lake.
Objective 3 – Work with community-based and state agencies to market the lake as a summer destination.
I think the polluters of the lake have to be stopped.
I think the state government and the Governor’s Office must put significant resources into stopping the pollution and cleaning up the lake. I have watched activities move forward on the wetlands and treatment trains but these have not always worked or the results will be slow coming.  We need a stronger commitment by the state to stop the pollution.  I would like to see the LIA be very aggressive on these two items. The lake community has many businesses hanging on by a thread and solutions that take another year or two will be too slow for many local businesses.
I joined the LIA Board to help clean up the lake and keep it clean.  I will commit the time it will take to accomplish this and all that I have mentioned above.