Those of you who are regular readers have most likely figured out I enjoy famous quotes. The one I am pondering this morning is from President #16, Abe Lincoln.

Lincoln said, “Most folks are about as happy as the make their minds up to be.” How true this is…

As I am writing this, a severe thunderstorm is rolling through Lake Panorama with yet another dose of rain. Our recent weather pattern has been a muggy cocktail of pouring rain and suffocating humidity. Add in a side order of mosquito bites and you have summed up June 2010.

Despite all of this, I have made up my mind to focus on those things we can be “happy” about at Lake Panorama.

When I began working for the LPA in 2007, I underwent several months of field training to learn the ropes. A large part of this time was spent manually collecting debris which was scattered throughout the lake as a result of debris boom failure. This was a grossly inefficient (and miserable) process which lent itself to temporary lake closures and a summer of floating hazards.

Although we face the same debris challenges today as we did in 2007, I am pleased to report that we are much better equipped to address this type of issue than we were 4 years ago. A main component of our approach to debris is the $65,000 debris boom we deployed last year.

Our “new”  boom contains the debris to a concentrated area of the upper basin which allows LPA staff to more efficiently remove the material. We no longer worry about a high likelihood of failure and value the increased safety this reliability provides. As a result, the lake is much cleaner and boating is much more enjoyable for the membership. This was a great investment and is a nice reminder that we have much progress to celebrate as an association.

Best wishes to you and your families for a safe 4th of July,


Lake Panorama Association

General Manager’s Report (as of 6/17/10)


  • We have received approval of the brush disposal agreement from both the Lake Panorama Rural Improvement Zone and the IA DNR. Will are still working to obtain remaining affidavits of consent from neighboring property owners who are concerned with smoke issues. We will work through this and other related issues promptly to ensure no time is lost. An exact date of opening is not available at this time but the majority of major hurdles are behind us.

  • The office continues to be open every Saturday morning from 9 to Noon through July 3rd to accommodate members. Saturday traffic has been very light this year as many members elected to pay for their boat stickers when paying their dues and assessments. We will be revisiting our Saturday schedule next year and may scale it back to reflect a reduced demand for this service.

  • I have not yet made contact with FEMA regarding flood plain designations but will be doing so in the near future. This is clearly a top priority as the current flood plain maps are inaccurate and can cause problems for property transfers and mortgage refinancing.
  • I have nothing new to report at this time regarding tee box replacement at the LPN golf course. 

  • The proposed settlement agreement with Sunset Ridge has not yet been completed but significant progress was made earlier today. We are essentially in agreement and simply need to iron out verbiage.

  • The offer on lot 2341 was withdrawn as the bidder believes the price is too high. However, we are seeing increased interest in other properties as a result of our revised lot sale policy.

  • The budget is on track overall with some variation by department. Department supervisors and I review this monthly and will continue to seek out opportunities for improved efficiency.


  • A majority of our salt for the 2010 – 2011 winter has already arrived. This seems like an odd item to note in a June report, but the dynamics of the salt market have proven that the second quarter of the year is our best opportunity for obtaining the necessary stockpile.

  • Road preparations are ongoing with the hope that Sta-Bilt will be on site to seal coat yet this month. The current weather pattern, however, may push this into early July. Construction will not take place over the July 4th holiday.

  • Recent rains have tested drainage structures throughout the lake. Many have performed effectively with some in need of attention and repair. We will be completing a comprehensive review of drainage and will be devoting time to these projects once roads are prepared for Sta-Bilt.


  • Security will be hosting a mock boating accident training session with local EMS, Fire and Law Enforcement on June 26, 2010.
  • DNR will be on site in late June or early July to band geese at Boulder Beach and LPN. This is a cooperative effort in establishing base line population and harvest data.
  • A strong focus is being made this year regarding boat capacity. Members who exceed maximum boat capacity will be ticketed as we view this to be an extremely important safety rule.

LP West Golf Course

  • Staff has received bids on cement work for one of the cart paths and is awaiting the return of some follow-up information. Final pricing will determine our ability to move forward with this project in 2010.
  • Minor maintenance to the irrigation system has been completed. Final invoicing has not yet been received but it is expected to be consistent with budgeted amounts for maintenance and repair.


  • Tom Madden, water engineer, has relayed that we are in the permitting process with IA DNR and should be able to solicit bids for the well in the next couple of weeks. If all goes smoothly, the Board will be able to consider contractor selection at the July meeting. The project continues to progress on a timeline which will achieve completion approximately one year from now.

Erosion Control

  • Recent rains have delivered debris to the Lake. The main trap and the Burchfield trap have both functioned effectively and allowed for concentrated removal of the debris. Work continues at this time with more debris expected following tonight’s storm. While debris is unwelcome, it has provided us an opportunity to confirm the new, main trap is functioning extremely well. Both it and the utility barge (Progress) have been excellent investments for LPA.
  • The appearance of the county basin has changed dramatically as staff raised the water level. This was done to ensure all silt pumped into the basin settles out before the water returns into the lake. Dam inspections will be completed to ensure this structure is properly maintained. Much like the LPA dam, this structure requires vigilant care.
  • The dredge (Horizon) continues to make steady pace toward the 300,000 cubic yard contract. Current pace has us on track for completion just before ice accumulation on the Lake.
  • Small cove work has begun and we have received positive feedback from the membership. We have an ambitious schedule and are hopeful this weather pattern of rain (and debris) breaks so we can transition from grappler work to clamshell work.


  • A contract has been executed with Reilly Construction for the dam slough repair project. At this point, we are simply awaiting receipt of their performance bond. This project will result in increased truck traffic near the west (guard shack) entrance. For this reason, no road work has been scheduled there. We will re-evaluate road conditions following completion of this project.
  • LPA participated in a joint project with several partners to install a nitrate monitor in the USGS river gauge station at Lenon Mill. A press event is scheduled for next week to draw attention to this project. We are pleased to have participated as good water quality in the Middle Raccoon River translates into good water quality at Lake Panorama. As a bonus, we will also enjoy some financial assistance in the maintenance cost of that river gauge as a result of this project.

Respectfully submitted,

John Rutledge


Did you know??? –  The moon is 400 times smaller than the sun, but it is also 400 times closer to Earth—so from Earth, the moon and the sun look about the same size.

More wisdom from Abe –

“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my axe.”  –  Abraham Lincoln