Thursday, September 10, 2009

Re-naming Vulcan Lakes

As Crystal Lake wrestles with the “right” name for Vulcan Lakes, consider this. Should the new name of Vulcan Lakes be The George C. Wells Water Center?

Within the last 20 years one man has stood out as guardian of Crystal Lake’s namesake, Crystal Lake. I wonder just how many residents of the City of Crystal Lake itself or of the area around the Lake and the City know the recent history of efforts to save the pristine glacial lake for which the City is named.

Is it important to care about Crystal Lake? At one time, it was reportedly possible to read the front page of a Chicago newspaper behind a 400 lb. block of ice from Crystal Lake. And I don’t mean by sitting behind the block and holding the newspaper. I mean, reading the newspaper through the block of ice.

Do you think that is the case today? Can you even see your hand in front of your face underwater in Crystal Lake?

On a recent trip, I met a former Mayor of Crystal Lake, George C. Wells. George lives in Flat Rock, North Carolina, and I’ll suggest that he qualifies as a lake expert. George has 53 three-ring binders of the 3” type, jammed with documentation of his effort to preserve Crystal Lake as a recreational lake for the thousands of people who enjoy the lake.

For some interesting reading, I commend his book to you. George wrote It’s Like That Everywhere, George and published it in 2007. The first portion of his book tells about his early life on a Farina, Illinois, farm in southern Illinois, his education at the University of Illinois, his first career as a USAF fighter pilot, second career as a pilot with American Airlines, and his “education” in McHenry County politics during his stint as Mayor of Crystal Lake.

George gets into the politics of the management of Crystal Lake, which lies in both Crystal Lake and Lakewood. The powerboating faction of Lakewood residents is, in George’s opinion and supported by documentation, destroying the life of the Lake.

The story is best told by George himself. You can get your own copy of his book directly from George for $20.00 plus $3.00 mailing cost. Contact George at Order your own copy and let him know how you would like it inscribed.

Count on losing some sleep. When you start reading it, you’ll want to keep on readng. Then you will want to get involved and take steps now to restore the ecological life of Crystal Lake.

Is there a handful of young people and politically-seasoned people who will step up now and continue the battle that George waged against the powerboaters? It will literally be a case of beating down a small but powerful opposition, including their attorneys.

If you live in Crystal Lake and are planning to stay in Crystal Lake, now is the time. Read George’s book. Then do your own homework, form your organization, and plan how thousands of residents of Crystal Lake and of the Crystal Lake Park District are going to wrest control of lake usage from a very small number of Lakewood powerboaters and return it to the pristine quality of years past.

To the right is George in front of his Flat Rock home on a foggy morning.

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