There’s a Whole Lotta News at Lot 4

Lake Havasu State Park-Launch Ramp

Officials at the Arizona Department of Transportation and Arizona State Parks are about to increase boat launch capacity by 33 percent with a new fourth launch ramp at Lake Havasu State Park. But that’s not all: things will get a lot easier on your feet this Labor Day.

In addition to the new ramp between Lot 3B and Windsor 4, and reduced wait times, the ramp is v-notched for added traction. The new construction also includes an additional 72 over-sized parking spots on the east side of the access road, more restrooms, and a new exit out of Lot 4 that will ease traffic congestion. It is expected to be completed by late summer.

But that’s not all! Thanks to volunteers at the Lake Havasu Marine Association, the complimentary golf cart shuttles, so popular last Memorial Day and Fourth of July, will return for Labor Day weekend. The shuttles will cut the long walk between parking and the launch ramps. As we all know, even a quarter mile of walking can be a hassle on hot asphalt with a bunch of kids and coolers in tow, especially when the overflow Windsor 4 parking area is called into service.

While the service is free, tips are gratefully accepted – the funds are used to pay for the golf cart rentals.

For information about the lake’s launch ramps, log onto:

http://www.golakehavasu.com/activities/boating/marinas-and-launch-ramps.aspx

House of Reps: “Don’t Box Us In”

LakeHavasu-Tubing

The U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment in mid-July that would prohibit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from using federal funds to restrict recreational tubing, waterskiing or wakeboarding on Lake Havasu.

No changes are likely to occur on the lake until the legislation meets approval by the U.S. Senate, and is signed into law by President Obama.

“I’m pleased to see the House pass my bipartisan amendment and instruct the service to reopen Lake Havasu for all users,” said the amendment’s primary advocate, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ 4th District).

“The irresponsible and arbitrary boating restrictions made by the Service in May of 2015 should alarm all Americans who value the rule of law and a government that is accountable to the people it serves.”

In May 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expanded a no-wake zone in Lake Havasu National Wildlife Refuge. The restrictions drew city and county administrators’ disdain by inconveniencing boaters without any advance public notice, Gosar said, and was implemented two days prior to Memorial Day weekend.

Last April, Fish and Wildlife submitted a proposal that would effectively close large areas of the Refuge to motorized watercraft out of concern for the Refuge’s shoreline and wildlife. Those restrictions, however, could do irrevocable harm to the region’s recreation-based economy.

“This half-mile area is a place where families taught their children to ski and wakeboard,” Gosar said. “Several special needs children no longer have a safe place for these activities. Instead, these restrictions have created a safety risk as more people have been confined to a smaller space with boats traveling 70 miles per hour.”

Read the complete story here:

http://lhmarineassn.com/amendment-on-lake-havasu-restrictions-passes-u-s-house/

Volunteer Group CERTainly Contributes to the Safety of Visitors, First Responders

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Next time you’re at a special event like the Havasu Balloon Festival, Relics & Rods, the Renaissance Faire, triathlons or mountain bike races, look for the group in the bright orange safety vests and take a moment to thank them for their contribution to the community. Lake Havasu City CERTainly appreciates their support.

CERT, or Community Emergency Response Team, is part of a national program that educates individual volunteers about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area. Members are trained in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Locally there are 38 volunteers ages 30 to 70-plus from all walks of life, who provide first aid services at local events, and support firefighters while they’re working a blaze, a process called Firefighter Rehabilitation, or simply Rehab.

CERT volunteers report to fire scenes to switch out air packs and monitor the health of firefighters, especially when the weather is its hottest. According to Bob MacMillan, team leader, they provide personal restorative measures such as refilling air packs, providing sports drinks, coffee, snacks, cooling buckets and cold towels, and shady places to sit during hot weather, always keeping a watchful eye on the physical conditions of the working firefighters.

“They are involved at fire scenes with their own vehicles and supplies, and provide hydration to firefighters, as well as assist the Police Department and SWAT as needed,” said Convention & Visitors Bureau interim president Chip Shilosky, a former Fire Marshall Division Chief.

“They are a terrific asset to the community willing to do anything within their scope of training. Kudos to Bob MacMillan for making that happen.”

CERT, which donates over 2,000 hours a year to community service, is also installing Knox-Box Rapid Entry Systems around town. Inside are house keys that provide immediate entry into a home in case of emergency. CERT has installed over 300, each accessible only by firefighters, according to MacMillan.

Look for CERT’s bright orange vests at over 20 events a year and thank them for their help in keeping us all safe.

For more information, contact Bob MacMillan at macmillan@npgcable.com.

NOAA Forecasts Don’t Get Better Than This

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Boaters may not realize that there’s a website that provides weather conditions specific to Lake Havasu City. Want our advice? Bookmark this.

The readings, issued by the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Las Vegas, are taken three miles west of Lake Havasu at an elevation of 446 feet and predicts such factors as the temperature, relative humidity, heat index, dewpoint and sky cover in increments of 48 hours.

“Temperatures, rain and humidity are fairly consistent, but the ability to receive wind forecasts is invaluable – it has the most influence on the boating experience,” says Jim Salscheider, president and CEO of the Lake Havasu Marine Association.

“Be sure to check it before you go out, even if you plan to be a spectator at an event on the lake. You’ll have a good idea of how to prepare for the conditions and what to bring.”

The LHMA eventually hopes to receive a grant to install a weather buoy on the lake. Until then, the NOAA website is the next best thing.

View the current forecasts here:

http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=34.4814&lon=-114.3705&unit=0&lg=english&FcstType=graphical

Boaters: We’ve Got Your Back

 

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Aerial View of John’s Rock

John Gallagher, a deputy sheriff from Palmdale, Calif., was pulling his daughter on a wakeboard going about 20 mph in his 23-ft. Commander when it struck a previously unknown rock near Black Meadow Landing, about 17 miles south of the city. Attention Boaters: what happened next is a perfect example of how the Lake Havasu Marine Association has got your back.

When John hit the rock, his boat came to a violent stop. “It felt like the motor exploded and it fell out of the bottom of the boat,” he tells us.

TowBoatUS arrived shortly thereafter. They told him they both lived and worked on the lake every day and had never seen the rock before. Being in law enforcement, John felt compelled to report the hazard and called the Lake Havasu Marine Association and Arizona Game & Fish. Both his calls were returned within days.

“One of the issues on Lake Havasu is no agency has ‘buoy responsibility’ on the California side of the lake. No matter, the Lake Havasu Marine Association (LHMA) and AZ Game & Fish sprung into action, soon joined by AZ State Parks,” said Jim Salscheider, president and CEO of the LHMA.

Within two weeks a buoy was placed to warn of the hazard, Jim tells us.

While insurance is paying for the boat repair, John Gallagher says, “I’ve been coming for 12 years, so this won’t stop me, I’ll be back on the lake as soon as I can.”

Meanwhile the LHMA has decided to name the obstacle “John’s Rock.” Gallagher is humbled by the honor.

“I realize it’s not Mt. Whitney or Shasta. But it’s kind of cool having a landmark named after you. It’s only about six inches above the water level, but now it’s my little piece of earth.”

He plans to return soon to pay homage to his namesake foe.

Join a Clean-Up Right Here in River City, Sept. 24, 2016

clean up

The 4th annual Castle Rock Water Trail Paddle and River Clean-Up is your chance to give back to Mother Nature. You’ll never believe what they’ve removed from the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge in the past.

Last year during the clean-up, volunteers pulled out an entire dock that got stuck in the backwater area. Others found plenty of soda cans and even abandoned boats. Now here’s your chance to join the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and volunteers as they collect litter and debris along the shoreline of the refuge.

Meet Saturday, Sept. 24 at 7:15 a.m. at Castle Rock Bay in the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge behind the Walmart (off Vista Drive). You’ll receive free use of a kayak or canoe, plus plenty of trash bags to fill with whatever flotsam and jetsam you can find between the launch point and Mesquite Bay Central (London Bridge Road). When you finish, a shuttle will transport you back to the start. Or bring your own kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard. The clean-up will be followed by hot dogs for all volunteers.

According to Catherine Bell, Wildlife Refuge Specialist, “You never know what you’re going to see along the three-mile clean-up route – possibly Great Horned Owls and various birds.

“We’re also gratified that there seems to be less and less garbage in the water. That means our visitors have a lot more respect for the fragile environment,” Bell says.

The event is being held by the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, in partnership with the Friends of the Bill Williams River and Havasu National Wildlife Refuges, and is scheduled annually in observance of National Public Lands Day – a signature event of the National Environmental Education Foundation that promotes both popular enjoyment and volunteer conservation of public lands.

Every little bit helps keep Lake Havasu and the Colorado River clean.

For more information: Marge Penton, secretary@billwilliamsriver-havasufriends.org, and Dee Dee DeLorenzo, 928 758 2707, or the golakehavasu.com webpage for the event.

Locals Say Pokemon Go is “Good Clean Fun”

PokeGo

Hundreds come to the English Village to stare at their screens. They chase around town searching for imaginary monsters. Is Pokemon Go the next “pet rock” craze? Maybe so. But for now, the new online game, an international sensation, is generating business for local entrepreneurs.

There are “pocket monsters” lurking everywhere if you ask fans of this new pastime. Nintendo released the location-based augmented reality mobile game Pokémon Go  on July 6 for download in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand. Over the next 24 hours, the game was installed on more U.S. Android phones than the dating app Tinder. Recent estimates are that downloads of the game has surpassed 100 million worldwide.

If you’re one of the few without the game, it works by dropping its user into the Poké-verse (a neon version of your exact location, Google Maps style), where the player physically walks through the world in search of rare Pokémon creatures. The point is to capture, battle and train Pokémon. It uses GPS and camera functions to place the other-worldly creatures within our day-to-day lives – the game is designed to appear as though players are capturing these creatures in the real world.

Unlike virtually all other video games, viral sensation Pokémon Go requires its players to get outside and walk around. It has encouraged masses of players to gather in places like the National Mall and Central Park in search of adorable little monsters. Its appeal in Lake Havasu City is no different. The city has no shortage of so-called Pokestops to attract Pokemasters to come and play.

“It motivates a generation of people to get up from their desktop computers and actually walk out of their homes and into the outdoors,” says the Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Jon Slater, Communications & Brand Specialist.  “It’s something for the millennial generation to share with each other. Luckily, we have no shortage of monsters for people to capture.” Based on what he’s seen and captured, he estimates that 124 of the game’s 150 Pokemon can be captured within Lake Havasu City.

Cinda Anderton, owner of Havasoap in the English Village calls it “good clean fun for everyone.” She says, “Imagine my surprise when someone told me there were monsters on my countertop. This has been like free advertising for us, especially after I offered a free $5 bar of soap to anyone who captures a monster in the store or just outside. Now, the monsters seem to multiply the more people capture them. Pokemon loves Havasoap. It has definitely introduced our store to new customers.”

Cinda continues, “I realize this could just be a fad, but I hope it doesn’t fade until well after I receive my new Pokemon molds so I can make natural goats milk soap for fans.”

Her husband, Director of Visitor Services Jan Kassies, who runs the Lake Havasu City Visitor Information Center, reports 200 to 300 people recently met to capture monsters, and he doesn’t mind a bit.

“Anything that brings people out to enjoy the English Village is a great thing,” he says.

“The fountain is running, we have trees and benches, and renovated bathrooms. Everything is painted and looking good. Plus, we have plenty of Pokemon monsters –  they’re everywhere.”

Whole Lot of “Quaking” Going on During IJSBA Championships, Oct. 1-9, 2016

Jet Skis® on Lake Havasu Arizona

The IJSBA returns to Lake Havasu City for the annual Personal Watercraft World Championships presented by quakysense on Oct. 1-9, 2016. Help celebrate the 35th anniversary of the International Jet Sports Boating Association’s World Finals.

The first World Championship was at the Nautical Inn in 1982, where the IJSBA gathered a small gathering of adrenaline junkies who were eager to show off their athletic prowess on a fascinating new product – Kawasaki’s Jetski. Over the past 35 years, the event has attracted many hundreds of thousands of spectator visits, more than 25,000 international competitor visits, sold out hotels, filled up restaurants, and generated an estimated $100 million in revenue for the Lake Havasu economy.

Starting Oct. 1, approximately 500 competitors are coming from more than 30 nations across the globe. If you haven’t seen a personal watercraft recently, today’s watercraft come out of the box with upwards of 300 horsepower. Then skilled mechanics, using the latest aftermarket performance parts, squeeze out an additional 20% more power. When 20 of these watercraft are on the starting line (located in front of the free grandstands), all racing towards a single first turn, you won’t believe your eyes.

Track speeds regularly exceed 90 mph and witnessing two or more of these watercraft power through a high speed turn, together, will be a spectacle you will not soon forget.

Racers are not the only stars of this show. Freestyle competitors use highly customized watercraft to perform two-minute routines of backflips, submarines, and other tricks to dazzle the crowd. That Saturday night, Oct. 8, a special nighttime freestyle and stunt show presented by Blosion and free to spectators, will be performed in Lake Havasu City’s Bridgewater Channel, in the shadow of the famous London Bridge.

Saturday concludes with a special Hall of Fame Ceremony recognizing key figures in the sport, some who have been coming to this event for all its 35 years.

The IJSBA quakysense World Finals 2016 also features a trade show offering for sale hundreds of products from across the watersports lifestyle, including drones, wetsuits, beachwear, and namebrand sunglasses, to name a few.

Amateur and Junior Racing begin Oct. 5; Pro Racing, Freestyle, and the complete trade show are open Oct. 7 – 9 at Crazy Horse Campground and Resort. The Under the Bridge Blosion Freestyle Show starts at sundown in the Channel. This event is sponsored by quakysense, the leading wetsuit in watercraft racing, along with help from the Lake Havasu City Convention & Visitors Bureau, Kawasaki, Sea-Doo, Yamaha, Radio Central, and the Quality Inn, among others.

For more information and racing schedules (available the night before) visit IJSBA.com

Get Into the Swim, Aug. 6

Aquatic_ CenterTrip Advisor calls it one of the top 12 attractions in the city. It’s an indoor waterpark that will be free for families on August 6.

When something is free, well that gets our attention. On Saturday, August 6, families will have free access to the Aquatic Center in the C.V. Wood Community Center located at 100 Park Avenue. Lifeguard-patrolled and temperature-regulated, the Aquatic Center is the perfect change of pace from the lake. Most indoor waterparks offer a mix of waterslides and kiddie pools. The Aquatic Center has an indoor waterslide, a wave pool, kiddie pool, and outdoor splash area. Older kids and adults have two heated pools and a lap pool to enjoy.

On August 6, Havasu Health Walk Challenge is sponsoring a Free Family Swim day at the Lake Havasu Aquatic Center. Families are welcome to come enjoy a day of swimming and playing at the Aquatic Center.

For more information:

http://www.golakehavasu.com/events/details/1882/3rd-annual-free-family-swim-day/

LHC Keeps Getting Better: Five New Projects in the Works

SARA Park soft ball field 3

The Lake Havasu City Council adopted a plan for a 10-year Community Investment Project earmarks $123 million in improvements to facilities and recreation. The first year of the plan began this summer when a budgeted $29 million will be available for dozens of projects. As a result, Lake Havasu City will become even more attractive to even more special events, including perhaps your own family reunions. Thanks to planned improvements to local recreational facilities, future visitors to the city will find even more to do. Here are the deets:

Ballfields – The city has approved up to $2 million in next year’s budget for soccer fields at Cypress-Daytona Park, additional lighting at school ballfields, and SARA Park flex fields to address some immediate field shortages. That money also includes plans for a sports complex at SARA Park. “Once there are enough ballfields for locals, we’ll begin to attract national ball competitions,” predicts Kathy Silverthorn, director of event recruitment for the Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Adds Greg Froslie, Community Investment Director, “At the urging of the CVB we conducted an athletic field study that identified the need for more ballfields to improve the recreation opportunities for local residents, and attract tournaments that will ultimately help the local economy.”

The flex fields will allow multiple uses, switching from baseball to softball, from adult to youth competitions, as required. Improvements include enhancements to parking lots, food concessions and lighting.

Pickleball –  “Two years ago we never heard the term ‘pickleball.’ Now we talk about it every week,” said Froslie who is working with local pickleball players to build four pickleball courts at Dick Samp Park on the north side by this January. Courts will eventually grow to 16 – the minimum required for regional and national tournaments.

Aquatic Center – Sometimes when the temperature exceeds 100 degrees F., it’s fun to cool off inside. A two-year, $2.5 million Aquatic Center rehabilitation is in store. The first project will be replacing the slide, which is in need of repair.  “It’s the most popular amenity at the Aquatic Center and we expedited that to keep the kids happy,” said Froslie.

SARA Park Trailhead – SARA Park will be getting a facelift thanks in part to a grant from the Recreation Trails Program through Arizona State Parks and other funds from the city. Work is already underway and is expected to wrap up in September.

Havasu 280 – The Havasu 280 project could break ground in the next fiscal year – there is $1 million set aside for a utility road through the area, which the city hopes will be the future site for an environmental research facility and boat launch.