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LWA elects new officers

Posted: March 15, 2011 4:52 p.m.
Updated: March 16, 2011 5:00 a.m.
Trevor Baratko/C-I

Lake Wateree Association (LWA) Vice Chairman of External Affairs Gary Faulkenberry (right) spoke Saturday at the LWA annual meeting along with Catawba Riverkeeper David Merryman (left). Both discussed water quality and the recent legal battle between North Carolina and South Carolina regarding inter-basin transfers.

Lake residents Ron Kadan and Mike Thomas were chosen as the 2011 chairman and vice chairman of the Lake Wateree Association (LWA) during the organization’s annual meeting Saturday at the Camden Shrine Club.

The meeting is an opportunity for all association members to discuss matters pertaining to the lake, elect new officers and area representatives, and review the budget. Featured guests included new Kershaw County Council Chairman Gene Wise; Sheriff Jim Matthews; and David Merryman, the Catawba Riverkeeper.

Benny Ray, the outgoing chair, served as the host for the midday event.

Merryman touched on the current Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) warning, which hasn’t been altered since nearly a year ago, he said.

PCBs, a toxic chemical formerly used in numerous products such as paints, adhesives and coolants, are materials that just don’t go away, Merryman said, which is why his organization is working hard to make sure there are no new sources. The chemical was banned in the U.S. in 1979.

“You should all want to know if these chemicals are at the bottom of the lake,” said Merryman, noting that sickness can result in the forms of rashes, headaches and skin sores.

While there are “no new PCB warnings,” there is concern that the most concentrated areas of the compound are in Fishing Creek, Cedar Creek and Rocky Creek, which flows down into Lake Wateree, said Merryman.

The PCB warning recommends not eating more than one meal of largemouth bass a week, one meal a week for blue catfish, and one meal a month of striped bass.

Merryman said there’s no need to worry about swimming in PCBs because they primarily stick to the bottom floor of the lake.

Gary Faulkenberry, LWA’s vice chairman of external affairs, praised Merryman, saying he “works harder than anyone in North and South Carolina” to ensure protection of the Catawba River.

Faulkenberry and Merryman addressed the North Carolina/South Carolina settlement of the inter-basin transfer, which both men said they “felt very good about.”

The so-called “water war” between North and South Carolina was settled -- and the Supreme Court case thrown out -- with agreements that both states will have thorough discussions before any inter-basin transfers take place.

The settlement, Merryman said, ensures South Carolina a seat at the table.

Following Merryman’s talk, Sheriff Matthews talked about his campaign to crack down on driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and urged those in the audience to report suspicious activity or reckless driving around the lake.

Matthews repeated a statistic from the S.C. Office of Highway Safety that Kershaw County is the worst county in the state for DUIs.

In addition to reckless driving, Matthews mentioned a recent bust of a methamphetamine lab at the lake, and the seizure of several other drug dealers in the county including a repeat drug offender from Elgin.

The sheriff’s office, said Matthews, is working “to get these guys off the street.”

Wise spoke about marketing the lake for tourism. Tourists come to the lake and spend money, Wise said, that comes back to the county in sales tax.

Ensuring there is proper lighting and markings on the lake is also vital for safety, Wise said.

Several association members questioned the zoning and land development regulations which were enacted by the county in May 2010. The regulations can be found at after clicking on the planning and zoning department.

Speaking as LWA treasurer, Johnny Deal informed members that the $26,500 budget for 2011 includes $7,500 for the water watch program, $5,000 for the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation (Merryman’s organization), and $3,000 each for insurance and the annual meeting.

Other officers elected Saturday included Dave McCaskill as the second vice chair, Deal as treasurer, Pat Godwin as secretary and Faulkenberry as external affairs vice president.


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