The 2015 Lake Panorama season is braking to a close. Winter is knocking at the door and outdoor activity winding down. While a number of trees still have a few colorful leaves during the first week of November, the majority of woodlands are now bare and the sound of winter–wind through bare branches–has begun.

It has been an eventful year. Weather dominated lake activities with numerous rains and high river flows. LPA maintenance crews scrambled to keep up, cleaning up debris caught by the debris trap after each rain event and repairing and re-repairing road ditches and shoulders damaged by erosion and softened, wet roadbed conditions. Despite river flows ten times the norm for late fall, the routine maintenance work on the LPA dam and spillway was completed successfully and on schedule. We salute the barge companies and the marina who worked steadily in cooperation with the LPA to take care of boat, lift and dock removal ahead of the normal schedule to accommodate the dam repairs. We also thank the many cooperative members who had to further shorten their already shortened boating season to allow the necessary dam work to get done.

The winter season for the lake as a recreation area, is a season of rest. If the winter weather cooperates, there will be ice on the lake and snow on the ground. Solid ice will mean a few hearty souls will be snowmobiling (we only recommend it if you are very familiar with ice conditions–there have been fatalities in the past due to lack of knowledge about open water) on the lake and on a couple of routes approved to get from the lake to local road ditches with marked and maintained snowmobile trails. Snow slows most other activity, though, and the main snow activity here is the maintenance department rousting themselves out of bed early or staying up late to clear roads and give members access.

Regarding Snow Removal–The maintenance department takes pride in timely snow removal, but doing an effective job requires member cooperation. Here are some tips: 1. Roadside parking must be limited to permitted vehicles. The LPA recognizes some folks have driveways that are almost impossible to negotiate during the winter. We ask members with that situation who desire to park on the roadside, to park as far from the road edge as possible and to let us know you need to do so. Snow covered roads and snow-filled ditches can make finding the road with a snowplow difficult. When snow depth increases, the department must “wing” snow away from the road edge to prevent drifting. To do so means vehicles must be away from the road edge. Those who must park along the road realize the potential of getting “plowed in” which is almost unavoidable when the crews have over 70 road miles to clear. 2. Visibility around snow plows is notoriously poor. Blowing snow and thrown snow can block vision along with “snow blindness”, eye fatigue coming from hours of gazing into an all white world. Give snowplows plenty of room. Watch for backing vehicles in cul-de-sacs and stay clear. 3. If at all possible, don’t get in a hurry to leave. If the road has not yet been plowed, waiting will allow the plows to go by and this will reduce the amount of packed ice and snow from early travelers. 4. When cleaning ones own driveway or hiring it done, snow should not be plowed into the street. A pile of snow can cause an accident or loss of control and the homeowner could be liable for creating a hazard. Have snow pushed onto your own property and away from the street.

As December approaches, the LPA Administrative staff will be working hard to ready the 2016 statements for mailing. This can’t be done until the final budget and rates are approved by the LPA Board of Directors. Watch for information about boat registration for 2016. 2016 is the year for the Iowa DNR registrations to be renewed for all vessels. The LPA will not be able to send out boat permits until the office has received or made a copy of your 2016-2019 Iowa DNR Boat Registration. The LPA has no control over the individual county offices that issue the registrations. Check with your county recorder to see when registrations will be available. The sooner you have yours, the sooner the LPA will be able to provide your 2016 permits. As always, permits will not be sent until either the 2016 assessments are paid or arranged to be paid by Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT). Forms are available on the LPA website at http://www.lakepanorama.org .

Winter House Checks–There is still plenty of time to sign up to have your home checked by the Security department while you are gone this winter. Fees depend on the level of service and monitoring requested. There are two options. Call the office.

Members leaving for the winter should give the office a call (641) 755-2301 and arrange to have the water shut off at the street for the winter season. We also recommend closing the water supply valve as it comes into the home. The LPA water department offers to do this service once a year for no charge. Additional services are charged on a per time basis.

Enjoy the end of fall, look forward to a quiet winter…and have a thankful season…

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