photo: Charles Hammer
Blue green algae is bad—possibly even fatal—if you swim through it or swallow it. That’s why Black Swan lake chair Linda Livingston has warning signs erected when the stuff shows up in our water.
“What those signs mean is, be aware of the danger,” Linda explained. “They mean stay away from the blue green algae. They don’t mean we cannot use the lakes.”
As summer temperatures rise, blooms of this “algae,” actually a cyanobacteria, nowadays are developing widely in lakes and rivers across the country, coating parts of their surfaces with a pea soup coloration. The blooms occur in nearly every state, peaking in August and September. Experts say they are getting worse, driven by fertilizer and manure run-off combined with a warming climate.
Linda said we have always had on our lakes filamentous algae, a green fibrous plant that you can pick up on a tree branch or leaf rake. It is not dangerous. Blue green algae has the appearance of latex paint swirling in the water, mostly near shore and particularly in coves. It cannot be picked up on a tree branch.
When the signs were up last summer, some residents—among them the Hammers and the Sherrys— safely swam the big lake by starting at the outer end of the north dock and avoiding all traces of the blue green. Many environmental authorities say swimming in water not visibly affected by a blue green algae bloom is not expected to cause health effects. Should you accidentally contact the stuff, wash it off with soap and warm water.
Linda pointed out that our permanent lake-side signs say we always swim at our own risk.
As for fishing, a Canadian study indicates that toxins from cyanobacteria are unlikely to accumulate in the flesh of fish at levels high enough to be hazardous to humans. Correctly gutted or filleted fish represent minimal to no health hazard to human consumption.
Beauty, and Some Signs of Spring Top Picture: the waterfall below Markwarts’ home, as viewed from the Kelly Trail
Second picture: the Trout Lilies (so named for their splotchy leaves) that cover the hill in the woods below Markwarts’, are just starting to bloom…look for them when you travel through the woods on the Kelly Trail.
There was a big turnout for the Easter Egg Hunt Saturday, March 28…it’s fun to see so many new young faces at Black Swan! Thank you to the Social Committee, for organizing and hosting this annual event.
The sculpture artwork of Chris Duh was featured in an article in the Kansas City Star, Wednesday, March 4. Below is a link to the story about the newest Ronald McDonald House in Kansas City.
Virginia McDaniel passed away this past Sunday, March 1, 2015. Mrs. McDaniel was one of the first residents of Black Swan, moving here in 1953. She would have been 91 next Monday. Her visitation will be at Amos Funeral Home on Wednesday, March 4 from 6-8 pm. The funeral will be on Thurs. at 1 pm. Go to the following link for more information.
Long time Black Swan resident Pete Cuppage passed away February 21st, 2015, at Brookdale Senior Living. Pete and Ginny raised their children here, and had moved away a few years ago. A visitation will be held at Amos Family Funeral Home on Sunday, March 1 from 2-4p.m. A private graveside service will be held at a later date. Below is a link to the obituary.
photo by Bill Sherry
Black Swan Warming
photo: Elise Ray
Nancy Baum has launched a new business at 13444 Santa Fe Trail Drive, in Old Town Lenexa. For more information about this unique grocery enterprise, visit the website: http://www.bulkitfoods.com
Backyard bird feeding will be the topic featured in talks given at the store by Master Naturalist Craig Hensley November 28 & 29, at 1:00 PM. The event is free, and kids can make pine cone bird feeders.
photos: Bill Sherry and Elise Ray
A Perfect Day……for a wedding September 6, on the dock on the east shore of the lake. When asked who flung into the air the apparent “pixie dust”, photographer Charley Hammer said it was merely many airborne bugs, backlit by the sunset lighting.
photo: Charley Hammer
The cities of Shawnee and Kansas City Kansas both have property maintenance codes for preserving neighborhood quality.
To follow up on an article in the Fall 2014 Trumpet, a summary of codes relevant to our neighborhood may be accessed at this link.
The Lotus are Blooming All those big leaves in the cove below the small dam finally paid off, now a pretty backdrop for the large yellow flowers abundantly blooming. Lotus help improve water quality, pre-emptively consuming nutrients that would otherwise be feeding algae. They are also favored by the fish, that seem to like to hang out in the shade of their leaves.
photo: Charley Hammer
A (True) Fish Tale…On July 5, Jonathan Butts and his 5-year-old daughter, Jessie, were fishing from the dock in the northeast corner of the big lake from which she caught—SHE, little Jessie—caught the huge bass pictured here beside her. Caught it on an artificial lure, and later released it. As Jonathan tells it:
“She wore the fish out and reeled it all the way in by herself, once I determined that she was not snagged on a log, which is what I thought was going on for a full three or four minutes before I went over to confirm that she wasn’t kidding when she was yelling ‘I have a big one’.”
Sounds like a fish tale, except that Jonathon took not just this photo on his cellphone, but also a video, which he showed passers-by on that bright morning. The proud grandparents are Melinda and Dr. Stanley Butz, whose home on Monrovia overlooks the big lake. The family moved here in 1981, and Jonathan and family now live in San Francisco.
story: Charles Hammer
July 4, 2014 Schedule of Events
Details about these events are available in the Trumpet, which you can read online by clicking the Trumpet link in the upper right hand corner.
7 am Fishing Contest
Register 6:30 – 7, at the pool. Rules on page 3 of the Trumpet.
10 am Parade
Registration is 9:30 – 10, in front of 4720 Black Swan Circle.
Children’s games in the pool parking lot, following the parade awards
2 pm Cardboard and Duct Tape Boat Race
Register at the upper deck of the pool at 1:30, and the first race begins at 2:00.
8:30 Sweets and Treats Potluck
Bring your favorite dessert to share at the pool. The parking lot will close at 8:00 pm to make room for desserts and seating.
At Dark: Annual Fireworks Show
Bring your lawn chairs and join your neighbors at the pool for best viewing. No boats or swimming are allowed in the lake or pool during the fireworks display.
Volunteers were rewarded with a gourmet lunch of Latin cuisine, prepared by the Social Committee.
See pictures at the link on the right hand side of this page.
List of Volunteers (if we missed anyone, let the webmaster know):
Roger and Mary Bruning, Kim Kaberline, Dave Greischar, Mary and Kenny Michaels, Chris Duh, Patty and John Southard, Dick Clancy (monetary donation to Beautification), Jane Cline, Bob Conklin, Lenore and Charles Hammer, Sandy Poulter, Shirley Goetz, Karen Long, Alex Nash – OMG, she did all that work! all by herself! – Rick Nash, Jeremy, Kelly and Lukas Nass, Linda Lichtenauer, Mark Lichtenauer, Katie and Campbell Luettel, Elise Ray and Lauren Miller, Kevin Mechtley, Jie-Li and Nora Nightingale, Rick and Raino Ochoa, Linda Preusch, Carolyn Morgan, Andrew, Peyton and Jonas Rowland, Rhonda Gehrts and Paul Showalter, Jennifer and Mike Wallis, Howard and Debbie Welch, Rick Wilson, Seth Coleman
Practising for Spring Clean Up Day??? The Black Swan Pool Committee recruited volunteers Saturday, May 3rd to soak up some rays, and slap down some paint, as the pool renovation nears completion. Charles and Lenore Hammer happened by on a walk, and returned at lunch time with sandwiches and drinks for the crew, which was much appreciated.
Currently the lake level is again being lowered for a few days as our contractor hones in on some last leaks in the shell, which will be painted this week. Warm, dry weather is finally working in our favor! photos: Charles Hammer The flowers are blooming and the birds are chirping!
Which means spring is here. It’s time to freshen up our neighborhood and get rid of the winter blues – let the sunshine in!!
Our Annual Spring Clean-up is scheduled for May 10th. Meet us Saturday; @ the Pool – 9:00 am, for donuts and coffee. (Raindate – the following Saturday). We have a B-I-G list of projects we need help with. Here we go… are you ready?
Docks Refurbished: WE NEED CARPENTERS for this spring project! Bring your circular saws, cordless drills and can-do attitude! We will be re-decking the floating dock and installing new ladders to all docks. This requires a motorized boat, and oars so that we can motor over the floating dock to the shoreline. We will have the lumber & supplies on hand to accomplish the project. (Sponsored & paid for by our Lake & Dam Committee).
Spring Plantings: WOW have you seen the improvement to our Pool? Now is the time to plant up the hanging baskets and pots to give it the finishing touch for our opening season.
Front Entrance: Also we will be working at the on landscape and weeding.
Mulch will be flying as we clean up debris for planting beds and the trail area. We need a crew to run a rented chipper and deliver mulch to the areas. Any takers?
Lumber Jacks Needed: We’ll have a tree or two or three that’s on our list – bring your chainsaw.
Trucks Needed: If you have a truck we need you! We will have leaves and debris to haul off.
As always, we reward our volunteers handsomely with a Pot Luck Luncheon put on by our Social Committee! It’s a wonderful time to get together with friends in our HOA. I hope that all will consider doing your share to continue to improve upon this great gift we call home. In closing if you are unable to physically help, won’t you consider a monetary donation to Beautification budget? (We work on a shoe string). Or perhaps donate a dish for our volunteer’s lunch? Yours in Beautification Efforts, Jennifer Wallis The Martians Have Landed! Oops…meant to say “Martins, the Martins have landed…” Sorry for the typo, but surely everyone is happy to see our friendly flock returning, another sure sign that spring is springing! Annual Homeowners Meeting The Annual Homeowners Meeting was held Monday, March 24, 7:00 PM at the Ray Marsh School, attended by members of 43 homes, and others voting by absentee ballot. The proposed budget of $112,690 was approved, as was the household assessment of $835. The 2014 elected Board is: President: Dave Wernecke Vice President: Howard Welch Secretary: Elise Ray Treasurer: Mike Reed Members at Large: Ed Cronin, Bob Robinson and Lenore Hammer Click here to access Terracon Small Dam ReportFor Q, a Chilling Rescue Melinda Coffman, walking her own dog about 5 pm March 8, may have been first to see the Labrador that had fallen into the small lake, struggling to claw its way up onto the ice.
Melinda and Ann Keary, who lives on the east shore, both ran down and began calling the dog. Stuck in the ice-free center of the lake, it paid no attention. Quickly, a little crowd gathered, everyone afraid to try the rotten ice. One person threw a rope to the Lab, expecting it to grab hold and be hauled out? No luck, of course.
Driving home across the small dam, Garry and Jean Mayhugh saw the desperate animal. They drove to Andrew and Kirsten Rowland’s A-Frame at the head of the big lake, asking them (young and strong) to bring a canoe. The Rowlands found just one unlocked below the small dam and hauled it up to the small lake.
Andrew and Kirsten dropped it on the ice. Andrew boarded, tying a rope around his waist, and used his hands to propel the canoe across the ice until it slid into water near the dog. Andrew leaned out, grabbed the 70-pound animal around the chest, hauled back and nearly swamped the canoe as the animal fell in on him.
The dog’s owners, Michael and Sarah Billigmeier who live on 48th street just above Black Swan, had been searching for the animal and arrived just as Andrew brought it to shore. Turns out the dog’s name is Q. Just Q. Michael had been walking Q on a leash when it shook out of its collar to chase a cat. Then it found its way down to Black Swan.
A vet examined Q and judged that, despite the chill, he was in fine shape. Several residents have suggested leaving one unlocked boat or canoe on the small lake through the winter, perhaps two on the large lake, for future ice emergencies. Dave Wernecke took this photo of a pileated woodpecker in his back yard recently. It’s a bird nearly as big as a crow, and rarely seen here.Snowplow “broke a wing…” With the temperature falling toward 10 below zero and snow falling the night of January 4, Black Swan Snow Removal chair Brad McDonald expected trouble. Just not this much. He had been visiting in Osawatomie when he got a warning call from Joan Moore, who serves as dispatcher for snowplow drivers. He raced home, rolled the snowplow out of the Lamoreux garage and began plowing. Suddenly, he lost the ability to steer the 1998 Chevrolet pickup and had to stop. The problem, as diagnosed later, was that the plow blade had been attached with a bolt that went through the steering box. After years of use, the connection failed. “The old bird broke a wing,” he said. “Right then I didn’t know what to do.”
He telephoned Joan to report the disaster, and help began to arrived. Walt Whittaker assisted Brad in removing the snowplow blade so the truck could be taken to Donovan’s in Shawnee for repair. Joan, a retired Shawnee fire department captain, called the city to warn that in case of a fire, the roads would not be plowed. The city then volunteered a snowplow to make one run through our streets.
Dave McGee, another resident, owns a truck-mounted snowplow and joined the effort. Bob Robinson and Kelly added their strengths, Kelly by blazing around Black Swan in his open-air ATV to clear street edges and sometimes whole streets. Kelly said the little four-wheel-drive machine could climb slick, snowy Suicide hill but could not plow going up. So he drove up, and plowed down.
Adopting a more primitive approach, Clark Lamoreux shoveled the hill below his house virtually clean of snow. That hill is directly above the underground snowplow garage, for which Clark’s parents donated land about 15 years ago. Unfortunately, without the salt spreader on the regular truck, several hills remained slick.
The snowplow truck was purchased about ten years ago with 86,000 miles on the odometer. Brad said all the snowplowing all those years had only added 2,000 miles to that total, perhaps justifying the plan of buying a cheap used truck over a new one. Brad, a 46-year-old businessman, said he moved to Black Swan from western Shawnee because he liked the sense of community here, which showed the night the snowplow broke down. “Everybody pulled together,” he added. Charles Hammer Dam BeautifulA warm day and beautiful sunset provided a nice break from winter, on the Saturday after Christmas 2013. Pool Progress Report: 11/23/2013 Earlier: the Demolition Phase Mike Reed and contractor Gary Tripp discuss the progress, thus far Pool renovation is proceeding smoothly, with the demolition phase completed. New skimmers have been set in place, and much of the plumbing installed. Weather permitting, concrete will be poured after Thanksgiving. Hey, who moved the diving board? Maybe this gaggle is our usual family of 7, or maybe not, but at any rate seemed interested in the progress at the pool.Pool Special Assessment Approved by Home Owners A major renovation of the Black Swan pool will commence with in a few weeks, as a special assessment was passed at the October 2 meeting at Ray Marsh School. Well over half of currently occupied home sites were present, with 66 homeowners attending to hear the presentation and then vote. The vote count (including absentee ballots) was 91 for, and 9 opposed. The Pool Committee had prepared a presentation explaining the need for various elements of the renovation, the solutions proposed, and the cost for each part. Committee member Patty Southard ran the Powerpoint presentation, and as questions arose, pool contractor Gary Tripp and his son Kyle were able to answer specific technical questions asked by the audience. Some discussion followed, and when everyone seemed to have asked what questions they wanted, the vote was taken. The Pool Committee is very gratified for the neighborhood’s support for this project, and for such a good turn out at the meeting. This way, much of the neighborhood knows exactly what to expect, and when. The $250 per household assessment will be due February 28, 2014, but may be paid at any time between now and then. Homes interested in payment options may contact treasurer Mike Reed, to arrange details. A big thanks to the Social and Pool Committees for providing home-baked refreshments. Turtle Gridlock?…or maybe they’re a cute family, dya’ think? Regardless of their inter-turtle relationship, turtles DO love to hang out on the log Charley Hammer has placed for their sun-bathing pleasure on the small lake. Sometimes they inadvertently knock each other off, as they scramble for a seat on the mossy log. The Black Swan Play Group meets the first Friday of each month. Email Melissa Larson for more details. May Storm Kevin Mechtley captured this moody view of Black Swan Lake last year. What is it…a flying Saucer??? No, and it’s also not a lily pad, but the leaf of a lotus plant. Seemingly strange for a water plant, the leaf has the oddball quality of repelling water, so rain beads up on the surface in shining drops. When the graceful pale yellow flowers shed their petals, the remaining pod looks much like a shower head. These native American plants showed up in the south end of the lake last year, apparently washed in from somewhere upstream. They have filtering properties, to help keep the water clean, but also can become invasive. Arne says he will keep an eye on them, that we may enjoy their beauty (in moderation), but will take steps to limit excessive propagation. (photos by Charley Hammer) The Little Free Library in the yard of the Larson family, at 4758 Black Swan Dr., was made and donated by Gerry Crawley to encourage all the young readers in Black Swan. The focus is on books for the youth, but adult books are welcome, too! The Little Free Library is there for anyone who wants to stop by and take, read, or drop off a book to share. Please make yourself at home. Feel free to check out their website at www.littlefreelibrary.org Brent, Melissa, Addison, Laney, Max and Ella Larson
Another Terrific 4th of July at Black Swan Lake… Undaunted by a little blue green algae, Black Swan enjoyed perfect weather for the parade, games, evening treats, and an especially gorgeous fire works display. Photos by Harry Preusch Summer at Last… The lake looks good, and the fish are biting! All is well at Black Swan Lake. Newest Family at Black Swan 7 were hatched on May 29, with Mom still sitting on 3 more eggs. For the past 5 years, this pair of geese has returned to nest and raise their young in the Hammers’ yard on the small lake. (Photos – Charley Hammer) Who Is This Mysterious Figure… and what is he doing on our swimming dock??? Why, it’s our hero, Kelly, cleaning up after the Canadian Geese who like to party there. He scrubbed and disinfected the dock Saturday, in time for the Memorial Day Weekend. Thanks to Kelly, for taking on this “poopy” job. You may have noticed the absence of Floyd Kline and his dog, Pooh, frequently seen walking in the little park south of our 51st entrance, or sitting in front of his house. Floyd had lived several years with his daughter Diana, who passed away unexpectedly last year. Cricket Sparks reports that Floyd has moved to a senior apartment complex in Wichita, to be close to family. She has visited Floyd there, and says he and the dog are doing well (though the apartment usually only allows small dogs, an exception was made for Pooh, who is more “mid-size”). Easter 2013 at Black Swan Lake A late spring is worth waiting for! The blizzards in 2012 created some headaches, but also many things of beauty, including an interesting pattern on the dock on the north side of the lake. A big thanks to the Snow Removal Committee, for keeping up with some very challenging weather! Photo – Charley Hammer This handsome turkey is one of the many living in the woods behind Betty Rosenau’s home on County Line (see related story about Betty, in the Black Swan Pioneers tab on the right side bar). They are wild turkeys, but not too wild to turn up their beaks at the coffee can of corn Betty throws out for them most days…Charles Hammer was on hand recently to photograph the flock. Fall Clean Up Day 2012: A Done Deal Trees and leaves were no match for our hard-working Black Swan Volunteers! (See all Fall Clean Up Day photos…) John Willison Health UpdatePauline and John Willison “Dear friends: As many of you know, Black Swan Resident John Willison (4837 Black Swan Drive) was diagnosed with adeno carcinoma of the parotid gland exactly 4 years ago. He underwent extensive surgery followed by extensive radiation. Initially, the right side of his face was paralyzed due to the lose of the facial nerve. Overtime the nerve transplant took effect. He can use the right size of his face “normally.” If you’ve driven by our home in the past 4 years, you have witnessed John working diligently to keep up our large yard. It is one of his great joys in life….to be out in nature, at Black Swan Lake. Well, 4 years later (which John said just had to land on election time – GRRRRRRR!), John began limping and having back pain. He has now been diagnosed with areas of spinal mets from his primary adenocarcinoma of the parotid. Two of his vertebrae are almost entirely encased by cancer. As with his head and neck cancer, this cell type does not respond to chemotherapy, and is inoperable. Treatment of choice is radiation X 10, which he is currently undergoing. If these are not affective, he will undergo stereotactic radiation. Currently, he cannot work in the yard as he must not lift anything. He is on narcotic pain medication. We are seeing a counselor via Turning Point and she is loving, supportive, and informative as we struggle to remain in the present and yet prepare for the future. If you’d like to follow John’s journey, go to CaringBridge.org. Look up his name, johnwillison. You can read his writings, you can write back to him, and you can get updates via your email account. Its really terrific.” contributed by Pauline Willison
Camp Towanyak? Camp Naish??? No…Black Swan! See the related story in the Volunteer Spotlight, in the sidebar (upper right) Flags of Hope Perhaps you’ve seen these flags fluttering at the home of Bob and Gloria Cunningham, long time friends of wildlife, and the many walkers who daily pass their home, which is just uphill from the south end of the big dam. The flags were created by friends and neighbors wishing Bob the best with his current health challenge. Each flag is original and different, but all convey the heart-felt message: We need you, Bob…get well!