Chapter Three – Changes and Challenges

            By the December 12, 1987 annual meeting held in the Catland Lodge, Dan Wells had completed six and a half years as President and was in declining health. He was unanimously elected Chairman of the Board and a lifetime member. Doug Eadie was elected President, Chet Pawelczyk was reelected Vice-president, Al Glassman was elected Secretary and Vince Harmon was elected Treasurer.

            Among the new MALs elected in January 1988 were the Ranger, Len Serusa; Del Krause, Tr 575 and Bob Reynolds, Tr 501/573. Upcoming were to be campsite marking and mapping, Lean-to repairs  (Tr 574’s) and a spring cleanup work weekend. Bob Glidden’s donation of a walking cycle bar would be helpful for cutting and trimming in the spring. Preliminary plans were made for transplanting trees from the “nursery”.

            February 28 about 12:30PM, Doug Eadie received a call from Dan Wells that was to change/dominate his spare time priorities for over a year. Dan had received a call from Becky Serusa that the main Lodge was on fire and had burned to the ground. Doug picked up Dan and they went out to investigate. The total loss sans insurance estimated at $15,000 would be a challenge to replace. The cause was apparently electrical from a hot spot near where Tr 57 from Cheektowaga had a coffeepot going all weekend. Amherst Fire Inspector Wm. Grady noted “possible” overload, 30 amp fuses in 15 amp circuit discovered. Tr 57 departed about an hour before the fire started. Becky Serusa discovered the fire when electricity in the trailer went off. Firemen from North Amherst and Wendleville extinguished the blaze.

            Nine Mile staff assisted by Tr 47, Pendleton and some of the leaders from Tr 57 started clearing debris the following Saturday, March 5th. The decision was made to rebuild ASAP. Interim measures would include putting two side swinging doors on the TR 574 lean-to and upgrading the voting booth/ Leaders Lodge. Dan Wells and Lowell Lucore modified the doors on the lean-to. Another possibility would be to enclose the main shelter. A tax exempt certificate would be useful now. Dissolution of the Corp and forming a new Corp due to loss of records in the fire was discussed as a possible direction to take. Al Duca, LUS&J visited, took pictures and ran the story on March 10th.

            On Saturday March 12th, several members and some scouts from Tr 184 continued the cleanup of cabin debris.

             Dan Wells and Doug installed two beveled 4′ x 4′ sheets of  plywood over rotting areas of Tr 574’s lean-to floor (building built too close to the ground/ no air space). This was accomplished on frozen ground before vehicles would have sunk in the spring thaw. This made the building safe to use for a while. The closeness to the ground severely shortened the buildings lifespan. 

             In April, Rosati Construction from Lockport had some materials on hand and offered to rebuild the Lodge for about $2,000 worth of additional material for which we did not then yet have sufficient funds.  

            Early in 1988, Eagle Scout candidate Todd Hayes, Troop 888 proposed for his service project the painting of the Island base camp buildings (they needed it). By the date of his project from May 20 to 22 the scope was unfortunately much less painting.

            In June we addressed Health Dept. concerns about insects, rats and a Fire Emergency plan. A used rider mower was not repairable. We still had a Red Jacket Club bus on site and some scrap metal. We agreed to tackle our exempt IRS status and to offer site holders a chance to help fund and then utilize the new cabin.

            In July we had another excessive water bill due to an unmonitored leak. Treasurer Harmon suggested that an attorney assist in correctly filing the IRS exemption request. Doug started the process on August 17th.  Don Jaenecke said Rosati would be delayed and would talk to the Ranger about the cabin layout. He was also working on a mower. Bob Glidden is working on the campsite layouts. We have a Health Dept permit.

            In August Don resigned from the Board of Directors in a note dated 8/9/88. An executive committee meeting was set with Bruce and Lenore Sherman to explore their possible summer use of the site on August 13th. They operated Happyland Day Camp (HDC) and were currently utilizing Camp Thunderbird off Sheridan Drive which their landlord , the Girl Scouts were in the process of selling to a developer as excess to their present needs. They felt our site was acceptable and a special meeting with the Nine Mile Board was set for August 22nd to further review the possible arrangement. It was decided that a 24′ x 50′ cabin would be an acceptable size for all concerned.

            At the September 12, 1988 meeting, Jeff Westcott, Eric Presley and Bruce Sherman were elected as members at large. Camp cleanup continued.

            In October it was determined that a backup plan to Rosati was needed for the new cabin. The Building permit was procurred. Fund raising continued. The initial Happyland agreement was reviewed. Bud Lindhurst, Chet Pawelcyzk and Jeff Westcott were named to the nominating committee.

            November 12 started a string of Saturday workdays to be ready to stake out the new building on December 5th. Among the new helpers was Bruce Shugarts who would be a key member of the new cabin building crew. A large willow stump near the center of the present wall closest to the barn proved to be a time consuming challenge to remove. The area is still settling some at this time. By December Dan Wells declining health prompted him to request stepping back his status to MAL.

            The annual meeting was moved to January due to weather conditions on the December date. Vince was completing five years of financial records necessary for the IRS non profit application. Len’s junk yard still needed disposal. Homer Mye will price the materials for the new cabin, including three doors (one double). Electrical work is to be licensed for inspection. The concrete piers will be poured. The voting booth will be covered with T-111. Bud Lindhurst will get Jim Doody to back up our electrical work.

Tr 184 and 574 Lean-tos will be made available to Happyland. Bruce Sherman proposed the barn as a Craft Lodge and noted that road work was necessary to accommodate buses. The HDC pools will need a Pendleton permit. The old chicken coop is to be removed. Along with the reelection of Doug, Al and Vince; Jeff Westcott was elected Vice-President. On February 10th, Doug got verbal approval from Bruce Davis, Albany NYS Real Estate Dept. and a Scouter, to proceed with the rebuild while our amendment request was going through the process. He foresaw no problem since it was for public use.

            A February 11, 1989 meeting at Doug Eadie’s house would be the last formal meeting until the end of July. All interim decisions would be made in and amongst cabin construction and other camp preparations for HDC’s first summer season. This activity would consume almost every weekend form the start of March thru the end of June. Doug noted that he had another 10 to 12 hours of prep work before filing the 501(c) (3) application with the IRS through his attorney, Ben Weich. The basic cabin materials list was finalized. Pack and Troop 573 would provide most of the manpower for the construction of the cabin in return for a gratis annual weekend. Concrete will be poured on March 11th or 18th depending on the weather.

            Rick Pressley brought his tractor with posthole digger to excavate for the cabin piers. The regular Pk and Tr 573 families involved in the project were Bruce Shugarts usually with Paula and Travis, Jeff and Jonathan Westcott occasionally with Kathy and Keri, Bob Reynolds ocassionally with “Bert” and Doug Eadie usually with Dave and “Dougie”. Mike Metcalf was our Concrete contact and helped when greater manpower was necessary. Other builders included Dan McCabe, Doug McCombs, John Long with young John, and Tom Stevenson with Paul. John and Tom, especially Tom were key collaborators with Bruce Shuggarts in laying out the work and putting together material lists for upcoming phases which Doug then ensured were on hand in a timely manner. Doug relied frequently on Homer Mye for support and timely deliveries. Additional support came from Al Glassman who also donated the kitchen window.

            By April 21st, Amendment #5, the last to our original permit, was granted. It granted permission for the main cabin to replace the building lost by fire and to erect two above ground swimming pools (HDC’s). On April 26, 1989 we reduced to writing our original agreement with HDC.

            By Saturday, May 6th, the deck was in place. That day the back wall was constructed and raised with an additional assist from five members of the US Army in camp on a training exercise that weekend. Through the weekend the remaining walls were raised. An army helicopter approached and landed in the meadow. This was very entertaining to the Scouts in the crew.

            The following weekend on Sunday, the roof trusses were to be raised. During the night Saturday, the weather turned unusually cold. Four inches of wet slushy snow had to be shoveled from the deck before we could start to install the trusses. Cold and wet, we carefully attempted to maintain balance and install the spacers between the trusses. A hammer slipped out of my hand and brought Mike Metcalf to his knees. It struck him in the forehead as he stood steadying the stepladder that I was standing on.

            I believe this was the last day Dan Wells visited the camp. His son Lawrence drove him out. He sat and watched for a while as we worked.

            By June 3rd we were ready to install the roof shingles. The regular four families were assisted by Happyland’s Bruce Sherman and Louis in doing this. Don Jaenecke and Len Serusa pitched in too. Len had no prior experience and was ready to take a bundle of shingles to the peak and start. Tr 501 was in camp that weekend and Mark Swartz Sr., a professional contractor assisted. About this time, Al Frappier and Lowell Lucore came to help locate the kitchen drain line from the old cabin. An additional helper in the forthcoming drywall phase will be Gary Grimaldi. With time stress and family commitments, we still had the cabin shell and a basic camp in place for Happyland by the end of June.

            Grass maintenance as a lawn rather than at acceptable meadow levels was now imperative in the base camp area. To this end the tandem of Bob Reynolds and Jeff Westcott routinely brought their rider mowers to camp to assist in this chore for some time to come. Also to assist in this effort, Don Jaenecke at some point made contact with Ron Sheisley (Niagara County Parks) and obtained use of an older surplus Case rider mower. It was a help to us for some time.

            At the July 29th Board of Directors meeting it was noted that $4, 385.50 has been spent for cabin building materials so far. We will insulate it for winter use.

            Doug finally has the IRS exempt application ready to file. Government response time is approximately 100 days. The filing fee is $300.00.

             We also need to fill the fifth seat on the executive committee with the passing of Dan Wells.

            At a special meeting on September 19, 1989, the changes necessary to bring our articles of incorporation into compliance with the Federal tax laws pertaining to section 501 (c) (3) corporations were adopted.

            The building will have a plastic ceiling to save heat for this winter. A furnace donated by the Shugarts family will need to be converted to propane.

            Tr 184 discussed their messy lean-to. Animal residue on the floor is unacceptable. Bruce Sherman agreed to clean it up.

            Don Jaenecke discussed concerns about the Ranger’s duties/ responsibilities.

            Bob Glidden showed the map he will use for the camp map. It will show campsites, permanent buildings, roads and hiking trails. It will be three feet by four feet in size. It will be mounted in the pump house for protection from the elements.

            In the fall, additional costs included filing fees for the amended articles of incorporation and a fee to the NYS Fire Underwriters for inspecting the electric service in the cabin.

            On December 6th, Al Glassman opened the cabin for the Wendt’s serviceman to convert our present furnace from gas to propane.

            A rather routine annual meeting was held January 27th, 1990. The IRS is in a new 100 day cycle since additional data has been forwarded to them re exempt status. Jim Doody was working on a power pole for the trailer line. Barn repairs needed were noted. It was agreed that pea gravel would be a much better trail and low spot filler than sand which is too messy. Cabin electrical inspection to cost approximately $50.00. Cost estimates needed for insulation, paneling and vents. The staff was reelected unanimously. Spring workday to be in early May. A property book is to be instituted.

            At our spring meting on April 14th it was noted that we had an IRS letter dated February 1, 1990 acknowledging a determination that we are a 501(c) (3) non-profit, federally tax exempt organization. The NYS Sales Tax Exemption Application is next. It was noted that the blue tractor donated by the Jaenecke family would need major hydraulic work by fall and that a used box scrapper should be obtained for it. Bruce Shugarts had done what he could to it at home and it was ready to return to the island for the time being. Bruce Sherman was to reimburse us for five sheets of plywood for Tr 184’s Lean-to floor.

            A special meeting of the executive committee was held on June 5th to review our five year old Ranger Agreement. Modifications were to be presented to the Board of Directors for approval. It was also noted that our fire Underwriters compliance certificate dated May 10 was in hand.

            At a meeting on August 21st, Ranger Len Serusa noted his displeasure with the new agreement that was adopted and indicated he might only remain until the following spring. John Jones was elected assistant Treasurer.

            At the annual meeting on December 7, 1990, the cabin was estimated @ $37,500.00 for insurance replacement purposes. Drywall needed taping and the kitchen area needs a plywood floor. B.F.I. will pump porta-johns for about $25.00 each. The site #15 location for Tr 575 shelter is OK. Tr 573 Lean-to damaged, ranger reported to police. The barn should be replaced or repaired. The camp  officers were reelected. The Directors and MAL’s were elected as presented.

           The early months of 1991 were generally routine. At the May 4th directors meeting it was noted that Lewiston Trail Council would be having a Camporee at the Island from October 4 to 6. Tr 63’s shelter request was held pending complete drawings/ building plans. The area between the cabin kitchen and the nearby berm is to be cleared. The Ranger agreement is to be cancelled effective August 1st. Registered notice is to be sent. The following Saturday is spring work day. Paint is to be ordered through Del Krause no later than May 10th.

            Thursday evening June 27th brought phone calls from Doug to all the Directors about grass maintenance equipment failure (Niagara County Park rider – engine failure). Relying on Jeff and Bob as backup was all right, but we really needed equipment in camp to utilize manpower when it was there in camp. Doug and Don J met with Harvey Pfenning about new/ used options. The decision was to buy a new Cub cadet. That weekend Jeff and Bob had their own riders in camp to get the grounds under control for the start of the HDC season. By this time I believe that we had the bush hog that goes with the blue tractor? Old blue, a 6 volt would not start so Sunday morning Doug drove his ’52 Buick (a 6 volt system) out to try to jump start the tractor which we wanted to use for cutting or perhaps stone / road leveling. When Doug left, Jeff was done and headed home and Bob was almost done. For some reason Bob’s trailer was not hooked up to his Bronco and as he went to move the Bronco from the center of the main cabin parking lot an apparent fuel leak quickly engulfed the engine compartment. Bob saw smoke/flame? shooting out of the hood and promptly got out as flames then spread to and totally destroyed the vehicle. He called either before or just after I arrived home and I headed back to camp with my regular vehicle to get him. Soon after I arrived a flatbed hauled away his burned out shell (dead horse). 

            Niagara County repaired their engine. I believe Jeff Westcott returned the county unit and picked up the Cub with his trailer within a week or so and later picked up the repaired county unit. Dave Eadie was a frequent early operator of the Cub.

            Bruce Sherman proposed Todd Yoder as a possible new Ranger. It was decided to interview him and report. Grass cutting was under control with the new and repaired equipment. Bruce Shugarts announced he must cut back activity as maintenance manager for health reasons. Jeff W may have a lead on a snowplow for the tractor.   

            In mid summer, Nine Mile Camp Inc. received from the NYS Dept of Transportation, Real Estate Division a one year permit for the use of the Nine Mile property at an annual rate of $2,350.00 due September 1, 1991. They required that our liability insurance be increased to $2,000,000.00. An appeal process was unanimously agreed to by the executive committee of the Board at a special meeting at 8:30PM on August 3rd. Past President Don Graf joined with Doug in sending an appeal letter to Senator Daly. Jeff Westcott would contact (State) Legislator Matt Murphy.

            We were not sure where we stood after a hearing in Buffalo on September 27th, which Doug, Jeff and Vince attended.

            At our October 12th meeting after reporting on the hearing, it was noted that NYS may possibly be selling or leasing surplus lands, starting with canal lands.

            Insurance renewal did not come apparently due to the injury of a HDC contractor/ employee in May. This was to be a problem for a while.

            Our new Ranger candidate was given a manual and agreement for review. New electric service to the trailer cost about $1,350.00.This will be shared with the new ranger.

            HDC improvements and other questions were to be asked by letter.

            November saw two special meetings and more required paperwork for NYS DOT. Resolution was to take a while longer.

            At the annual meeting in December 1991, Tom O’Donnell was added as a Director and Jim McGill was added as a member at large.

            HDC’s liability claimant has died. Our Ranger agreement was to be concluded soon. Old ranger’s affairs still to be settled, 30 day max. Cabin needs hard wired smoke detectors and stair handrails to meet code. The tractor (Green Monster) is surplus and may be sold.

            A special meeting was called February 25, 1992 to address delinquent notice for canal payment. Our new Director, attorney Tom O’Donnell advised that the fees per DOT action were not valid as the legislature had not acted on them. The Corp. will address all questions asked in a timely manner but will not pay at this juncture.

            Requests from Tr 27 to construct to two shelters within the 400 square foot limitation and from Tr 573 to construct a new lean-to to replace the one rotting out from the ground up were approved that spring. By fall Tr 573’s lean-to went up ( key families included McGill[foundation], Reynolds[materials], Long and Stevenson[construction] and manpower from Eadie, Sniadecki, Albert, Wattengel and.. The old one was totally removed the following spring. Scoutmaster Doug Eadie was felled by a wrench on a rope attempting to remove a dead branch from Big Tree. It unraveled and returned like a boomerang stunning the whole troop that was pulling behind him. He learned the true meaning of the word goose egg with about a 1″ welt on the forehead.

            At the October 24 general meeting, the minutes of the February special meeting were read and approved. Banking is to our advantage at Lockport Savings. Everything except essential repairs are on hold pending resolution of our DOT permit matters. Hardwired smoke detectors were installed by Al Glassman and Bob Reynolds. Main cabin exit door clarification was sought. Our HDC future agreement will be discussed at annual meeting in January.

             Building inspection in December was expected. Doors need proper hardware for public access.

            At the annual meeting on January 19, 1993, insurance was obtained 1 million per occurrence, 2 million total. Buildings are insured also. Vince reported that the lease is now with the NYS Thruway, not terminated. A walkthrough pending with the goal of a downward scale is to be done.

            Spring work day to include cabin floor upgrade and hanging kitchen cupboards. New registration cards are ready for use.

            HDC request for a new agreement must wait until our status and fees are clarified.

            Along with routine reelections, there were four new MAL, John Leiker, James Woolson, David Donner and Jeffrey Peresie.

            During a cabin campout by Tr 573 in March, CC Bob Reynolds killed the Big Tree (rot was well along) that assaulted Doug the previous fall.

            Nine Mile Island formally heard from the NYS Thruway Authority in May. In August we received the annual bill from the new Canal Corporation. We were told to pay and appeal. We did. More information needed.

            Ranger Yoder was to be out by October 1, 1993. His camp performance conflicted his other job(s). Ex -volunteers would arrive to find no gas to operate equipment.

            Staff coverage would be needed on a rotating basis. The first year, Doug, Jim Woolson, Ken Whitcomb and Al Frappier all did some cabin check in/ check outs. After that Al Frappier was our official meeter and greeter (commissioner) until 1999 when Ranger Bob arrived back in WNY from a hiatus in Florida.

            A pending 1993 Eagle project was to clear the old road for sledding (thus allowing us access to clear branches from power line) and to clear an area for and establish an Archery Range. This project was accomplished by the following August 1994. The road remains passable and the range is still used. That Eagle, Dave Eadie and his brother Doug ran the range for their host Troop 573’s 40th Anniversary Invitational at 9 Mile in 2000.

            Campsites of those troops present were inspected as were the other sites that fall.

            Al Glassman advised that his son might be able to weld the fracture on the brush hog housing and that I should inform Don Jaenecke.

            September 21st more information was sent to the Canal Corp.

            In November Amherst Supervisor Dan Ward sought to have the Island annexed to Amherst. The motion would die at a December meeting for lack of a second at the town Board meeting.

            Al Glassman informed Don Jaenecke that due to declining health he could not accept another year as Secretary. At the annual meeting on December 29th AL G. was elected a Director and Jim McGill was elected Secretary.

            At the meeting the need for maintained campsites was stressed. Two groups will get provisional renewals based on bringing their campsites into compliance with their agreement.

            It was noted that Troop 573 was planning an April 1994 “camporee” for the Island site holding troops. Tr 573 Senior Patrol Leader Jim McGill brought the idea to his troop after they attended a similar event hosted by Tr 855 in Lewiston. This would be the first Annual Nine Mile Invitational. Al Frappier and Don Jaenecke were presented Certificates of Appreciation for their dedicated maintenance efforts at camp.

            At the April 16, 1994 meeting Jeff Foulis and Gary Oakes were accepted as MAL. Jefff W and Doug were hopeful that Erie/Niagara Regional Planning would prove beneficial in the long term, by eventually tying in to a canal length trail. Jeff agreed to work on a publicity folder. It was agreed to raise the cabin fee to $60.00 per weekend. The office roof needs replacing ASAP! Vince Harmon proposed a Beaver Day as an annual event open to all site holders to come and help with the opening of camp as well as their own sites. It was agreed that lunch would be provided for those who pre-register.

            At the end of the month we offered Todd Yoder $500.00 and a donation letter for the balance of his value in the trailer. We also received a letter from the NYS Canal Corp. rejecting our appeal. It stated that nonprofit procedures should be in place prior to our next billing period. Beaver day saw a new picture window (from Vince Harmon’s daughter’s house) for the cabin (more light) and a new roof for the office thanks primarily to the labor of John Leiker, Tr 27 with an assist from Bob Reynolds as I recall. Also about this time Mike Frappier finished installing the panic bars on the main cabin doors.

            In August 1994 our Canal Corp. lease remained the same amount, no mention of non profit consideration. We again paid under protest.

            At our October 1 meeting Paul Westcott was unanimously elected as a Director. Doug proposed a perpetual trust fund to be built up to maintain the property. The board desired a legal opinion. Our publicity folder is progressing.

            Bill Wilson advised no knowledge on our fee status.

            In November Eagle Scout candidate Sam Albert, Tr 573 proposed reopening a major portion of the “Towpath Trail” that was somewhat to densely overgrown. Sam planned and brought this project to completion in the early fall of 1996 with over 95 man hours spent to clear this enjoyable section of camp trail.

             On January 18, 1995 the annual election was routine. The officers were all reelected. It is obvious from the opinion of the Hon Betty Hoffman and Tom O’Donnell that it will take a new administration and a new legislature to “possibly” attain a more favorable camp rental status.

            The second annual Nine Mile Invitational Campout had 6 troops participating.

            At the April 29 meeting, Jared Siezega, grandson of E. K. Catland was elected a member at large. Todd Yoder being unable to sell his trailer is willing to accept $500.00 and a donation letter for the $2,000.00 based on its estimated value of $2,500.00. The treasurer will issue a check upon receipt of affirmation from Tom O’Donnell that all of the other paper work is in order. Troops 451, 501 and 801 have an interest in Tr 82’s now vacant site. Vince donated the display case that is at the end of the Founder’s Lodge. HDC’s agreement was updated as were camp fees in general. Any new Happyland operator should be a MAL. Don Jaenecke procured a new sign (by the road). Road work by Amherst may have an adverse impact on our road approach. We had added 80 tons of stone to improve it. We will leave the snow fence up year round for now, to cut down on camp traffic. Jeff will attempt to have our promotional brochure by the next meeting.

            At the August 8, 1995 meeting it was decided that the second Saturday of the month from March until November is a work/maintenance morning from 9AM to noon, weather permitting. Short business meetings may be held if necessary. Notice will be sent regarding any significant business to be addressed. All site holders are to participate in one of these with at least six people to renew their annual agreement. The Polaris “Fall Challenge” camporee will be held from October 20-22. Campers will start at Miller Park on the 20th and arrive here by about noon on the 21st.

            With another annual fee of $2,350.00 paid under protest, Doug contacted Assemblyman Seaman who attempted to resolve some of our permit concerns.

            Don Jaenecke arranged for a “volunteer” working off community service hours to assist. The main problem was getting the required supervision with most of our staff working regular jobs. Don worked with him clearing debris in the council ring, reclearing the OA ring area and starting to clear the grease and grime inside the trailer.

            In September Brian McGovern started the 9 Miler, our Newsletter as Editor. He noted that the docks were repaired for the soon to be “non” aquatic Fall Challenge. He also noted Don’s need for help.

            The Fall Challenge brought approximately 338 campers from 26 troops to our land of recovery from liquid sunshine. Bill Stockwell was the event chairman. The “mountain man skills” were a big hit.

            Don and Al built the trailer back porch and added a roof to the front porch..

            December brought a Canal Corp. letter through Dave Seaman about our permit concerns. He desired that our Board discuss it and confer with him.

            At our 1996 annual meeting on January 31st we did review the NYS Canal Corp. letter and after discussion we decided on a response. We fine tuned the letter and sent it on March 10th.

            Our election railroad ran and we decided to remind people about our second Saturdays. We have much wind damage and damage to the barn roof. Phil Grefrath was to be asked about family wishes regarding memorial gifts in respect to his Dad.

            Tr 575 site status is uncertain.

            Don J. has windows, 14 gallons of paint and a bell (50 Lbs) for the camp. He also mentioned that care be taken around raccoons, groundhogs(woodchucks), and red fox. Rabies is a real possibility in animals not responding in a normal manner. Don would soon loose his rodent control partner, Bob R. to a permanent job in Florida.

            Putting a cupola and school bell on a snow covered shelter roof is tricky. A crew of Al, Don, his son-in-law Greg Vizzi, Phil Grefrath and Doug accomplished this slippery task.                                                                        

            Explorer Post 573 President Jim McGill and his staff led a successful Third Annual Nine Mile Invitational campout with 8 troops participating.

            During the course of the spring and summer with various assists from his sons, Dave and Doug, also at times from Phil Grefrath, Al and Don, (and technical consultation with post Advisor John Long) the barn roof was replaced.

            The May 11th meeting saw Greg Vizzi, Bill Stockwell and Dave Fiebelkorn added as MAL. Bill and Dave will lead Tr 529 in reopening Site #13.

            During the summer Don and Al jacked up the barn corner sag, reblocked it and inserted the rider mower door on the far side. Niagara Gutter donated and installed new gutters on the building.

            Again in August our annual Canal fee is the same with no response to our correspondence and inquiries of March 10th. We also now have to pay $75.00 for our annual Health Dept. inspection. Niagara County has dropped fee waivers for nonprofit organizations. Their only concern was no fluorescent light shields in the food preparation area. We now have them throughout the cabin.

            At the August 10 meeting HDC noted that attendance is up and they may have potential new ownership (Rich and Marcia Rosenthal).

            Due to “Doug’s curse” (rain when camping) spreading to our second Saturday morning workdays (almost all this year), we need a make up time. Either 4th Saturday or third Wednesday evening – 6:30 til dark – May through August. Clearing is needed along drainage ditches so that they can then be improved.

            We will clear the area across the road from the trailer to place another frostfree valve. This will be a shut off point to keep water in camp easily (rather than hose from road pit) when severe frost shuts down the meadow line and/or cabin valve. With a pit there we can drain the meadow line if necessary. The trailer can also be independently shut off.

            Many sites need work prior to site reviews (Sept 14 and Oct 12).

            Pack and Troop 47 recleared the Towpath Trail from Sam Albert’s end point trailer side of Tr 63’s green Bldg. to the area behind their site.

            Pastor Dave Donner (Director-Tr63-site7) got a member to bring his backhoe and trench for our new pump house. Vince Harmon got Morningstar Concrete to donate the cinder blocks. Al and Doug hauled them along with some others that Phil Grefrath (hurt his back that day) also helped with from a site where Mike Frappier was working. Chris Dubke, MC Tr 573 did the block work with chipping and mixing/ hauling help from the troop and of course, Don and Al. Marty Hall did the plumbing work on November 9th with help from his son, Jamie; Doug and Doug E.,and Don and Al. Almost freezing mud was the order of the day.  Don had secured lumber for the building from Sixt Lumber. He and Al prefabbed the building with little outside assistance until final assembly.

            At the January 29, 1997 annual meeting strengthening the staff and three other key projects were discussed. They were improving camp drainage, expanding electric service to pump House #2, a light at the pole at the dip in the road (with a manual shut off). Eagle candidate Jon Westcott requested permission to complete the Towpath Trail from the trailer to the portion completed by Tr 47. All officers were all reelected. Rich and Marcia Rosenthal are replacing Bruce and Lenore Sherman as the operators of Happyland Day Camp for the coming summer.

            On March 6, 1997 the new Division Canal Engineer, Lawrence J. O’Connor, found our March 10, 1996 letter in his pile of things to do. He asked to meet Doug and tour the Island. This was done on April 24th with Rick Manns, Canal Corp. also present. The new ground rules would require two permits, a map of the Happyland area, a map of all structures in camp, HDC owners names and addresses, a Memorandum of Understanding amongst the three parties (the map and MOU from 9 Mile). Work permits are required for all construction and one will also be required for routine maintenance annually.

            Don contacted NMP about redoing our power from the current road to negate the necessity of trimming trees on the old road. The meter was moved, a light installed on that pole, Pump House #2 tied in and new lines were in place during the summer. Later NMP would install our Current main flagpole. Drainage improvement work was continued by Don and Al.

            Labor Day would see much help in camp to remove the downed tree from Tr 575’s lean-to. They are not yet sharing the site (Tr dormant). Tr 47 may be interested.

            Due to Jim McGill’s work related departure to the Montreal area we needed a new Secretary. At the September 13, 1997 meeting Brian McGovern was elected. Re permit we are working on the MOU. We need to survey the area to determine the percent that HDC uses. Paul Glassman worked on and produced the map of their area that is in use in the present permit.

            Jon Westcott’s trail section is now cleared and ready for treking by one and all.

            Eagle candidate, Doug Eadie treked (traversed?) the remaining developmentally challenged Towpath Trail sections in prelude to drafting his project. Among his discoveries was a set of stone steps from the original Towpath that climbed up the main camp berm just east of the old OA ring. (Probably went up to an old farm prior to 1910.)

            Our Chief Scrounger, Don J. has new carpeting for the Founder’s Cabin and the trailer, a red rider mower (#2), and a heater, refrigerator, table, chairs and…for the trailer.