On and Off The Mountain/Stephanie Grubert

Anxious Rice Township residents came to their board of supervisors monthly meeting last week looking for answers to the shrinking Upper Ice Lake problem. Apparently a 13” discharge pipe imbedded in the dam has malfunctioned and is letting water flow through it to the Lower Ice Lake bordering Henry Drive.

Rice Township was made aware of the problem on August 12 and DEP was notified immediately. DEP is the regulating agency for dams. Until DEP gets involved and issues a repair permit the water will continue to flow through the malfunctioning discharge pipe dropping water levels that are shocking to observe.

I visited the Upper Ice Lake last week and the handicapped accessible dock is resting on the lakebed. The shoreline has receded about 8 feet and the water level near the dock appears to be no more than a few inches.

The Ice Lakes Park is a jewel in

Rice Township. Kayakers and other small non-motorized motor craft regularly enjoy it. Fishing from the shore and the dam has been enjoyed for generations.

Last week the board heard frustration from Rice residents, especially by at least three property owners that front the lake. Ice Lakes Drive resident Marty Wentz asked, “What are we waiting for? What’s being done? Why is DEP not being responsive? It’s up to the township to come up with a plan.”

I can hear the rage and frustration in his comment. Rice is a small governmental fish in a much larger pond. DEP has never been known for their timeliness at completing a project or solving a problem. No government entity really answers to the public one on one. Just look at how the Federal Government manages to complicate every task they try to accomplish and spend double or triple the amount of money needed to get the job done. Private enterprise does not work like that.

If my “pond” and the Ice Lakes are really man made “ponds”, constructed about 100 years ago for ice cutting used for refrigeration before electric models were invented, was draining and action was slow in coming I would be demanding immediate attention too. You don’t get action unless you initiate and follow through.

I have spoken to Rice Roadmaster Bob Pipech about the Ice Lake drainage problem and he has pledged to get it repaired. Pipech also warns that it won’t happen “overnight”. Looking at the calendar the lake has been draining from the malfunctioning discharge pipe for four weeks now. Rice and DEP need to step up their game plan this week.

Summertime Waning Well weren’t we blessed last

week with so many hot days at the end of the summer? The nights are getting cooler and sunset brings the darkness sooner by about 12 minutes every week. Likewise, the mornings are darker every morning by about one extra minute for a total of 19 or 20 minutes a week. Not to be an alarmist, but make hay while the sun shines as it is fleeting this time of year.

Tom Clark says meteorological fall begins September 1 each year. So we are easing into our color season. We will soon be wearing long sleeves, sweaters and jackets.

Dicus Family Back Home I played golf with three of my

grandchildren last week at Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club before they packed up and went back to Brooklyn for their first days of school. Monday Patrick Dicus and I teed off, Tuesday Charlie and I enjoyed our round and lunch in the clubhouse, and 7 year old Maggie never missed a beat for nine holes, happily declaring herself the “winner of the match”. I was the winner enjoying so much quality time with the children. I also played in our Blue Ridge League Ryder Cup Tournament on Tuesday. 36 holes in 3 days was a lot for me. By the fourth round I finally had a par and a bogie. After 18 years of playing I am still learning.

The summer in Mountaintop seemed short to me this year as we had left for our western excursion for the better part of three weeks. Still Lara and Mark and our grandchildren had a packed schedule of swimming, shopping, and stops for ice cream. Lara and I went out for early morning walks almost every day. The serenity of walking in our neighborhood and the adjacent gamelands is most enjoyable. I like to keep my FitBit working overtime.

Our house is quiet this week. All the hum and buzz of an active young family is but a memory.

Garden, Mums, Food My 2015 garden was one for the

record books. The tomato crop did not look promising in its early weeks, but once the fruits started ripening we could hardly keep up. Ditto for the beans, squash and eggplant. My only failure was the green peppers. Something was just not right with them.

It’s time to get a few colorful mums to take us through the autumn. I don’t have luck with them from year to year but like holiday plants mums provide texture to the season. Old Post Farm should be on your mum shopping destination list.

This weekend is the 6th Annual Taste of the Mountain sponsored by the Rotary Club of Mountain Top. Food, beer and wine sampling from area restaurants, breweries and wineries is featured on Sunday September 13 from 2 to 5 p. m. at Edgewood In the Pines Golf Course. Tickets are limited and can be purchased at tasteofthemountain.comor from Triangle Pharmacy. Price is $30 in advance and $40 at the door. Always a crowd pleaser, participants put forth their most delicious offerings for Taste of the Mountain.