Islands Repair Project November/December 2019


As many know, the Lake Association undertook a large project lasting three years, 1998-2001, to Save the Islands at the behest of two young girls, Heather Liggett and Gena Haresky at a 1997 Lake Association meeting. That three year project can be seen by clicking on the link to the right.

Sadly over the years the ice, water, waves and a few careless people have taken their toll on the rock filled wire cages.(gabions). So it was thought that with the lake being dropped 10 feet, now would be a good time to do some work  to repair the damages and provide some TLC to Ward Islands.

So President Kathy Sherlock decided to set up a committee to explore the possibility of repairs needed, formulate a plan and obtain permits, funding and volunteers.

Not surprising, when the call went out for volunteers, many stepped forward to serve on a committee. Ric Spellerberg offered to chair the committee and old timers Dave King (President during the original project) and some of the original workers Sue and Bill Orzell, Mike Palmer, Matt Vanwaganan, Joyce McMasters and Kathy, stepped up. They held several meetings including taking measurements of the islands, escorting DEC and Army Corp of Engineers to see and explain the damage and then worked through all the permitting issues.

A huge addition to the committee was Matt Vanwaganan who owns Adhan Piping Co, Inc. Coincidently Matt and his wife Andrea are the folks that bought Mike Currans home. There must be a heavy dose of volunteer spirit in the water on that lane considering Kathy, Matt, Gary Ward and John Kennedy are all neighbors. Matt has offered his expertise and heavy equipment to do much of the heavy work. He believes he can get most of the work done using 2 Track Skid Steers and a Mini Excavator. The equipment alone will save us huge amounts of money.

In addition, the DeForest Family is allowing us to use their ramp at the edge of the peninsula to get the equipment and material to the islands which will save time and expense. 

As always, large projects such as this require money. The Committee, based on a quick estimate came up with a figure of $10,000. To that end, Gary Ward, also one of the original workers came up with a fund raising idea to get a start on funding the project. He set up a “Celebrity Bartender” event at the Coal Yard Restaurant in DeRuyter on Saturday, October 19, 2019. The Celebrity Bartenders donated all tip money that evening. The celebrity bartenders were Chuck Beeler Jr., Cherie, Alexa and Gary Ward, Angelo Costantini.

Additionally, Ruthanne and Bob Stone, new owners of the Coal Yard offered to turn in 10% of all drink and food dispensed during the 4 hour event. Also raffles were held throughout the evening. So remember when you’re hungry or thirsty plenty of great food and beverages at the Coal Yard. It was a huge lake turnout and the owners said we set an all time record by far. That evening produced $2,019.18. A huge start and thanks to Gary, Kathy selling raffle tickets,  door prize donors, the Bartenders and most importantly the hosts for their generous donation of 10% of food and beverage sales and the use of the Coal Yard. A fun and fruitful time for all.

Following the Coal Yard Fund Raiser, Chuck Beeler Jr. set up a go fund me page to help fund this project. Amazingly, in addition to checks already mailed in and over $2,000 from Tip The Bartender night,  we received over $5,000 dollars in a few days. Below is an email showing Go Fund Me Page and explanation. 

For online donations, go to  GoFundMe 

Please share the GoFundMe page with your friends via email and on Facebook.

Great job Chuck and to all the generous donors. Keep it coming folks.



As the project proceeds, cost and manhours accrued will be updated here so check back once in a while.

The following pictures document the damage that needs some work and work completed as of 11-25-19

Learn More

Click on link below to see the 1998 to 2001 Original Save The Islands Project


The Graphic above shows areas with measurements where Gabions need repair/replaced and back fill nee


And where would we be without our Celebrity Bartenders and our generous hosts, Ruthanne and Bob Stone Owners of the Coal Yard that raised $2019.18.

Front L to R - Cherie Ward, Kathy Sherlock, Owners and Hosts Ruthanne and Bob Stone, Russell Smith

Back Row - Gary Ward, Angelo Costantini, Chuck Beeler Jr., Alexa Ward.


This picture was added to show how easy the project will be with such small islands.


The Work Crew November 24, 2019

Front Row Left to Right 


John Gale, Kevin Pierce, ? Laurie McVoy, ?, Dick Alter, Russ Smith, Mike Palmer, Sean and Cherie Ward.

Back Row Left to Right

Mary Chartrand, Andrea VanWagenen, Tom Chartrand, Kathy Sherlock, Matt VanWagenen, Gary Ward.

Our Photographer not in picture was Chuck Beeler Jr.

(Oops - Missing one of the girls name in front row) Please send to - and I'll add to photo.



98-01 Save the Islands Project pdf (pdf)