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Second Half Invoices Mailed

The Second Half Real Estate Tax and Assessment invoices have been mailed, with a due date of June 24th. Note that this invoice contains an additional $110 charge for each cottage for septic tank cleaning.

Please contact Dick Castele (216-221-6358 or if you have any questions, or if your invoice does not arrive in a few days.

Posted 25 May 2017

Summer Season Social Hours

The Christian Work and Worship Committee would like to thank the many hosts and hostesses who helped with the Social Hour following summer church services in 2016. The social hours are a special time to catch up on news of friends and neighbors after worshiping together.

We are again looking for hosts and hostesses for 10 summer services for this season. The first social time will be July 2 and the last will be held on September 3.

Items such as tablecloths and napkins are provided along with coffee, sugar, etc. As a host or hostess, you will need to do setup in the morning before the church service, make coffee, and provide a cold drink and refreshments. You can be reimbursed for the items that you purchase. If you are interested in hosting a social hour this summer, please contact Linda Glaviano. She can be reached by email at or by phone at 419-344-6059.

Posted 21 May 2017

2017 Spring Sandscribes Published

Click here.

Posted 17 April 2017

Our Beautiful Beach

These pictures were just taken last night (Saturday, April 15th):

Heidelberg Beach, Spring of 2017

Heidelberg Beach, Spring of 2017

Heidelberg Beach, Spring of 2017

Can you believe it?

This is all due to the incredible work of Dean Smith, Carol Dunkle, and Harvey Foote. They all have been puttering away on the beach throughout this winter.

As you know we had a mild year—and not too much washed ashore. So, they have been down several times raking, gathering, and clearing. Barring a terrible spring storm (and we know this is a possibility!), we are ready for summer by Easter Sunday!

Dean has been on a mission to get rid of the invasive shrubs, and clear out and smooth out the flatter areas of the beach bank for easier maintenance. Dean and Harvey have created more areas that will be able to be maintained with just mowing. The beach grasses are filling in and holding our dunes. Our beach bank has always been a Herculean job to maintain, and they’ve moved us a huge step forward in making this easier. It is just stunning and we can’t thank them enough.

As you can see in the pictures too, the water is high this year, and the beach is fairly narrow. Because of the high waves and water, we temporarily lost the northern volleyball net post! The waves were so strong and high that it became dislodged. Luckily, Carol Dunkle noticed at the right moment, and found it on Ben Norton’s beach! It is now laying on the ground just to the left of the south post. I don’t remember that ever happening in my lifetime!

In the bottom picture, you can see—just east over the east pier—is a pile of ash. We’ve re-instituted the beach burn pile—more on that in the article below!

Posted 16 April 2017

The Burn Pile Returns!

As you read and heard last year, we no longer have access to the help of Mr. Brown’s crew to haul our debris away.

After careful thought and preparation, we’ve chosen this location, just east of the east pier, and just north of the pathway to the east beach, for our new burn pile:

New Beach Burn Pile

Dean Smith and Harvey Foote have used their collection of machinery to prepare this area—and of course, start collecting our stick and limb debris.

The New Plan for Usage:

  1. We ask that everyone now use this burn pile as the location to put your sticks, limbs, and pulled out plants or shrubs.

  2. We are working on cleaning up the old compost pile on the east end of the promenade and would like to make the promenade area only for leaves.

    Promenade Leaf Compost Area

    Throwing plants, shrubs, sticks, and limbs here has made a terrible eyesore, and put things in a place that we can’t maintain well. Cleaning this area is still a work in progress, but we’d appreciate that nothing further be added here from this point forward (except leaves, of course).

  3. There is still an area in the woods behind the forsythia on the south side of the creek (near the entrance to the beach) that can be used for all debris. However, if you can bring the sticks and limbs to the burn pile anyway, we’d really appreciate it. At some point, we’ll have to manage that area better too—and the sticks and limbs just don’t decompose.

    Orchard Compost Area

  4. Please, please, please, do not use the area around the dumpster for limbs or any other debris. We need to have that clear for the dumpster, and for putting wood chips down. Harvey and John just got that cleaned out again.

  5. Finally, please do not light the burn pile. Please leave this to Dean and Harvey only. They will monitor the conditions, and monitor the fire appropriately.

To Reiterate in Brief Summary:

  1. Use the burn pile on the east beach for all limbs, sticks, plants, shrubs.

  2. Use either the east end of the promenade or the south side of the creek compost areas for leaves only.

  3. Do not put any yard waste or debris down by (or in!) the dumpster.

Thank you so much for your cooperation as we try to make these improvements to keep our beach beautiful!

Posted 18 April 2017

New Fire Pit Ring for the Beach

The old fire pit ring was lost to the lake over the winter. We think someone took it down from its storage location on the beach bank for a fire in the late fall, and did not put it back up by the wood pile. John and Jane purchased a new one. ☺

New Fire Pit Ring

We will take it down to the beach in a few weeks once we get a picnic table and the chairs back in position. We also plan to have a galvanized pail tethered to the picnic table so people can easily extinguish the fires with lake water (not sand). When the ring becomes too full of ash or unburnt wood, people can use the pail to scoop it out and take it over the east pier to the burn pile. This way we will not have a terrible mess of coals in the sand as previously when people shifted the ring around when it got full of sand. Again, please use the pail for water, or taking the old ash to the burn pile. We’ll try to get some signage posted down there too.

One final note: We have a decent sized wood pile right now—the logs need to be split first. Harvey Foote and/or Jeff Belmont will be getting that taken care of for us. Please don’t start making fires until we can get this in order. The logs in the pile now would overwhelm the new fire pit ring. (And please don’t just start a fire on the sand without the ring in place.)

Also, we always appreciate anyone who is willing to take a chainsaw and cut up and split wood for this pile throughout the season. There is quite a bit of driftwood on the east beach that could be used for this purpose. There are also places in the woods areas that have large logs on the ground—just ask Jane and she’ll direct you.

Posted 16 April 2017

General Help Wanted

Though amazing work has already been done around the beach, there are still some miscellaneous tasks that we’d appreciate help with.

  1. Picking up sticks and limbs. Harvey, Dean, Carol, John, and I have already taken the first pass around the property to get things cleaned up for the start of mowing season. As winds or storms happen, we always get a new batch down on the ground. Please help to pick them up off the grassy areas and take them down to the burn pile. (Or, if you need help transporting to the beach, call Carol or Harvey to pick up the pile you’ve gathered.)

  2. Our tree service did a “Vista Prune” on the promenade this year. They raised the limbs on many trees to let a little more sunlight in and provide a spectacular view for all. There are several areas around the promenade (including a place where a tree was removed) that could use some re-seeding work.

  3. As you saw, the beach itself is in good shape at this moment. Help us keep it that way and rake up or saw up any new things that wash ashore—the burn pile is just past the east pier! If something is appropriate for the fire pit wood pile (make sure it is cut to length)—you can put it there.

  4. At some point, Harvey and Dean will take some loads of wood chips to put around the bases of the promenade trees (that aren’t already maintained by others). They’ll need help raking and shaping those rings. Remember—make donuts, not volcanoes! ☺ Getting all the trees on the promenade ringed is still the goal. If any are left undone, your help in doing them would be appreciated.

Thank You!

Thank you as well to everyone who has volunteered to do a task on our Community List—we all appreciate the gift of having those things taken care of!

Posted 16 April 2017

Winter Infrastructure Update

Dear Community,

The deadline to apply (again) for a low interest EPA loan was March 1st. As promised last fall, the Board checked in with our Erie County contacts to see if anything had changed in their ability to help us this year.

The short answer is “no.” The short reason remains that we are a private community.

The longer story is that there was a major shake-up in the county after the election. The Erie County Sanitary Engineer was fired, and those responsibilities transferred to the Erie County Director of Utilities. One of the two county commissioners we had worked with was also ousted. The remaining commissioner, who is also the one that truly holds the purse strings, remains steadfast that we won’t get any monetary help.

We’ve had some further insights and understanding as well. When Erie County offered us the loan in 1964, it was probably only because the Erie County Commissioner that held the purse strings to the county at that time was a resident of Heidelberg Beach. We had not understood until now that we had probably been given a special favor—access to money that would not have been normal. This explains too why the project might have fizzled out 50 years ago. Our resident commissioner’s term probably ended before the county was able to start the work. This is just a theory, but at this point, it is an educated one.

We hope you can agree that the Board has worked hard to turn over every stone in this investigation. The only viable option now is to save up for this expense.

The Board’s Plan for moving forward:

The Board will hold its first meeting of the year on Sunday, May 28th. The primary focus will be planning for the Annual Meeting (scheduled for Saturday, July 15th). This year we will more formally survey the community, by way of ballot, as to your agreement or disagreement to various aspects of moving forward to replace our infrastructure. We will also present a new rule for the Building Rules & Regulations document to address the tap-in fee for any future cottages built (see the October 2016 Resolution from the October 3rd Board Minutes).

As always, please contact any of your Board members with comments, concerns, or suggestions.


The Board of Trustees

Posted 3 March 2017

Septic Tank Cleaning

Abel Sanitation will be doing our septic tank cleaning again—and holding the price at $110/tank. They will possibly start on Monday afternoon (February 27th) and work Tuesday and Wednesday, weather permitting.

Posted 26 February 2017

West Virginia Water Main Breaks

We've had a busy week (third week of January, 2017) dealing with infrastructure problems on West Virginia road. Below is a brief photo journal showing the highlights.

New sinkhole in West Virginia Road

Last summer (2016) we saw the first signs of a new sinkhole developing along West Virginia Road, west of the Bratton cottage (42 West Virginia) and very near a previous repair where in July of 2015 the storm sewer cracked and caused another sinkhole.

Just after the Holidays, the sinkhole opened up, so it was time to initiate the repair. We contacted Franklin. and they came out the first day it wasn't raining and the temperature was above freezing. (Excavation is difficult in frozen earth!)

Cutting the pavement around the new sinkhole in West Virginia Road

Step #1: Cut the pavement.

Cutting the pavement around the new sinkhole in West Virginia Road

Step #2: Remove the pavement pieces.

The next step involved using an enormous vacuum excavation truck to clear away the earth and clay. The vacuum minimizes the size of the hole needed, and is the least invasive method when excavating around delicate pipes.

Once the dirt was removed, the problem was obvious: a hole in the water main.

Note that in the above video, the vacuum is running at full bore to help reduce the pressure of the spray. Otherwise, the force of the water escaping might have collapsed the west wall of the pit.

Close-ups of water main

Once the water was shut off, we could get a close look at the water main. The top photo shows the location of our next failure (see below). The light tan areas in the bottom photo are where the exterior surface of the pipe has flaked away, which, according to Larry Smith of Franklin, are susceptible to "blowing out" into other leaks.

Clamp used to repair first leak

The clamp used for the repair.

Clamp used to repair first leak

The clamp in place. Larry had a very difficult time installing the clamp because (1) the water main was so corroded that he had a difficult time establishing a good seal, and (2) the pipe was so "fragile" that he had to exercise extreme care to not introduce further damage.

Filling the hole with sand and gravel

After turning the water main back on, we waited a good long while to ensure there were no leaks. After that, the crew filled the hole, first with sand surrounding the repair, and then topping it off with gravel.

Finished project, we thought...

Project finished! Except...


Leaky mess two days after repair

...we awoke to this two days later.

More vacuuming. Unfortunately, this was all the new gravel and sand that had just been installed less than two days earlier. The good news was that with the great quantity of water bubbling up from below, the texture of the material was like quicksand.

Naturally, we assumed that the first repair had simply failed. When the water main was once again uncovered, we could see that a new, much larger hole had opened in a new location nearby.

Larry explained that he sees this frequently in the older systems he maintains. After years and years, the pipe loses its integrity, and it's actually the Ohio clay pushing against the sides of the pipe that holds it together. When a pipe is exposed, it loses that support, and even though Franklin carefully packed sand around the first repair (we watched them), it was not sufficient to hold the weak spots in place.

Leaky mess two days after repair

A closeup of the hole that burst in the bottom of the water main. This photo was taken after the water had been turned off for awhile, so the outflow was reduced to a trickle.

Photo credit for this shot goes to Larry, who was able to stick his cell phone underneath for a great view.

Second, larger clamp

A bigger clamp was necessary this time around.

Second clamp installed

Second clamp installed.

Second clamp installed

When the second repair was finished, we all noticed a strong stream of water coming out of the earth on the south side of the pit. It was difficult to discern whether this was yet another leak, or simply the draining of the saturated soil.

In an abundance of caution, we decided not to fill the hole but instead cover it with a metal plate. We'll check on it over the weekend and Monday. In the interim, please avoid this area of West Virginia Road.

UPDATE: The water seems to have stopped.

My thanks to Franklin for their care, speed and expertise in resolving these issues, and to Harvey Foote and John Macko who were on hand constantly to turn the water on and off, answer questions, and guard the hole.

Posted 22 January 2017

First Half Invoices Mailed

The First Half Real Estate Tax and Assessment invoices have been mailed with a due date of February 3rd.

Please contact Dick Castele (216-221-6358 or if you have any questions, or if your invoice does not arrive in a few days.

Posted 11 January 2017

New Sinkhole on West Virginia

A new sinkhole has opened up about 10 feet south of our first sinkhole on West Virginia. It is roughly due west of the Bratton cottage (42 West Virginia).

We are 99% sure it is a cracked storm sewer pipe and not a problem with our water line. We’ve called Franklin out to find and fix it, but they cannot do the work until the temperature rises above freezing—probably late next week (January 12th or 13th). Luckily this is not an emergency.

The hole, which is small at this point, is very near the center of the road. Be careful when driving or walking by this area to not step or drive directly on the hole.

Posted 6 January 2017

Doing some Housekeeping: Saving Important Neighborhood Information

Water System:

To not lose important information about our community, we decided to document some important information about our water system. When John worked with Harvey in December to turn off and turn on our main water supply, it seemed prudent to write down the idiosyncrasies for anyone that might have to do this in the future (without Harvey or John around). It will also be worthwhile knowledge when a new water system is designed. Please read through this, just for your awareness. Make a mental note that the documentation exists if it is ever needed.

Web Site:

Again, just to make sure more than one person has information, John has given our Web Site information to the two other beach members that have the required technical skill to run and maintain the Heidelberg Beach site—Aaron Hamilton and Brice Chidester (the Community Task List was updated to reflect this). Just in case something happens to John, all the information on the Web Site will be preserved and accessible.

In General:

It is worth a refresher for you to see what we have on the Neighborhood Information page—there is much valuable and useful information out there. No need to memorize the details, just familiarize yourself to know what information exists. This is a living repository, so help us add to it or correct it!

Posted 6 January 2017

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