The meeting was held at Real Pit Barbecue in Centre. Carolyn Landrem will serve as president; J.R. Tucker, vice president and Jerry Culberson, secretary/treasurer.
WLIA appointed board members to fill upcoming vacancies. Jerry Culberson will serve in Spot 2; Shad Ellis in Spot 4, Arnie Mohnkern in Spot 6, Billie O’Brien in Spot 8 and J.R. Tucker in Spot 10.
“I have really enjoyed being president for the last three years, but my wagon is loaded,” said Outgoing President Shad Ellis. “I am still going to be very active as a board member, and will certainly be involved in anything we can do and hope to do, but it is time for some new blood.”
Ellis and Board Member Mitchell Guice updated the board and visitors on the upcoming Renew Our Rivers Campaign on Weiss Lake, scheduled for March 21-26.
“This is the first year that we are going to have every school in the system participating,” said Guice. “Right now our student count participation and students, teachers, adult volunteers is at 686 and that is about 250 up from last year. It is going really good this year.”
“I think three years ago, we had maybe 200, 425 last year and almost 700 this year,” said Ellis. “That is tremen-dous. We are trying to get the general public to pick up on their street even if they don’t live on the lake, because usually what is on the roads gets into the water anyway. I hope we have 1,500 people participate!”
Statewide, Ellis said, some 3.5 million pounds of trash have been removed as part of the Renew Our Rivers Campaign. The State Theme for 2005 is “Five Million in 05!”
“We want to have 5 million pounds of trash removed from our waterways and roadsides,” said Ellis. “There is a lot of opportunity for service that week. Everybody keep it open if you can as much as possible.”
Newly-Elected Vice President J.R. Tucker was pleased to report that the spring fishing season for 2005 is off to a running start!
“We’ve probably got more fish in the lake right now than we had in the early 1990s,” said Tucker. “Everybody is catching fish. Everybody has caught fish so far. They are moving around every area of the lake. We’ve got a lot of fish. All the people who have come down to fish have been very happy and they are going back and telling others.”
Board Member Bill O’Brien updated the board about a recent phone conference with Alabama Power over siltation reported on Weiss Lake and also the new lake levels approved for Weiss Lake under the relicensing program.
Alabama Power, according to O’Brien, says the siltation is caused by several factors, including farming and oth-ers and while Alabama Power wants to be involved, cannot take on the entire responsibility for addressing the siltation problem.
According to Ellis, raising the winter pool level, even by three feet as planned, will cost Alabama Power mil-lions of dollars.
Ray Kelley reminded WLIA Board members and visitors of the need for more water monitors at various points around the lake.
Each volunteer is trained to use kits for measuring water quality and test for dangerously high concentrations of certain chemicals in local waterways. There are currently 17 kits available, which were provided by the Chero-kee County Commission, and four kits provided by Auburn University.
The monitoring takes about an hour, Kelley said. He suggested that WLIA assist in training more volunteer monitors.
Good water quality is now more important in this area than ever before, Ellis said.
“We’re the second largest numbers of folks, behind Etowah County in the 11-lakes association which is good,” said Ellis. “And it is growing by leaps and bounds.”
Kerry Chesnut with Centre Walmart was present at the meeting. Walmart and WLIA are partners in the 2005 Casting Smile For Kids (formerly Take A Kid Fishing) event scheduled for Saturday, June 4, in the Wal Mart Park-ing Lot. Wal-Mart has sponsored the program for many years. WLIA and several other organizations have agreed to participate in the effort to encourage fishing among young people