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US ARMY CORPS TO SLOW FLOW RATE FROM LAKE HARTWELL

by Jay Hufnagel

Here's an interesting email that I received from Save Our Lakes Now concerning the lake levels and flow from Lake Hartwell and Thurmond:

The Corps is proudly announcing that they plan to go to 3100cfs release rate out of Thurmond shortly when the lake hits 14' below full pool. This is fine compared to any other options we have now but this is a real miscarriage of their responsibilities if you look at what they have allowed to happen.  In order to keep our lakes at reasonable levels the Corps needs to drop release rates to 3600 cfs (3100 in winter months) anytime the lakes are 2' below full pool.  Instead the Corps is waiting until the lakes are down over 14' and virtually destroyed before they do this.

The argument the Corps keeps giving is that people downstream would be hurt unnecessarily if the rates were decreased before now.  Not true.  Not one single stakeholder on the river had problems with operation at 3600cfs for over 12 consecutive months in the drought of 2008-9.  The only people who complained were environmental groups expressing concern that problems MIGHT occur at this low a flow to the river. 

There are a number of very strong arguments to counter holding flows up because they MIGHT be a problem. 

  1. If a REAL problem occurs the release rates can be increased when that happens
  2. Nature only provides 3600cfs input averaged over a year so anything higher than that is man trying to one up Nature. Man just isn't that smart.  Smoothing out flooding and the severity of the driest parts of droughts makes sense but trying to generate water out of thin air does not.
  3. Water is one of our most precious commodities.  It ranks right up there with air.  Deliberately throwing fresh water away by releasing more to the ocean than nature does is criminal and needs to stop.

These challenges are taken care of by simply dropping releases to 3600cfs (3100 in winter months) whenever the lakes are down 2'.  No more water is going to the ocean than nature requires.  No one is harmed downstream based on past experience.  And true balance between the lakes and the river is achieved (i.e. neither the river nor the lakes are getting more water than the other).

"SAVE OUR LAKES NOW" CONCERN WITH WATER LEVEL

by Jay Hufnagel

I received an important email this morning from Jerry Clontz, a very active member of the "Save our Lakes Now" group. Jerry has been instrumental in putting pressure on the Army Corps of Engineers for the Savannah River Basin on keeping water levels stable. This Basin comprises Lake Hartwell, Lake Keowee, Jocassee, Lake Thurmond and Lake Russell. We've seen the consequences before on the irresponsible release of water from this basin in times of drought. Please read Jerry's note below and email Colonel Hall on your thoughts.

To: Save Our Lakes Members
 
from: Jerry Clontz spokesman for Save Our Lakes Now
 
Again I need your help until I can get my email straightened out to where I can mail the full list for Save Our Lakes Now.  Please inform anyone you know who is interested in maintaining responsible release rates from Thurmond Dam.
 
According to a news release from Friends of the Savannah River Basin the Corps is about to fall off the wagon on lake levels.  Although SEPA has repeatedly indicated they want Lake Thurmond to stay as full as possible to avoid the danger of losing the lake in a drought, the Corps is using the excuse of meeting power needs to drop the lake levels irresponsibly.  Why would any sane person throw away water in a drought.  But that is what they are about to do.
 
Apparently they plan to release 6,000 then 8400 then 8000 cfs over the next few weeks and months dropping the lake to drought level.  If they would just hold releases at a rate matching rain input (down to 3600cfs if neccessary) we could avoid all this dancing with the devil that could easily end up with us losing the lakes.  The deal about power production is a hollow excuse because power production comes from a wide array of lakes where those with adequate rain make up for those with low rains.  Besides as SEPA knows if we lose the lake they will no longer have a reliable source of power.
 
NOW WHILE THE LAKE IS STILL AT A DECENT LEVEL WE ALL NEED TO SEND EMAILS TO COLONEL HALL AND HIS PEOPLE INSISTING THEY ACT RESPONSIBLY WITH OUR GREAT ASSET.  EVEN COLONEL HALL HAS RECOGNIZED THAT WATER  IS ULTIMATELY MORE VALUABLE THAN OIL.  WHY ON EARTH WOULD SOMEONE KNOWINGLY AND PURPOSELY WASTE SUCH A VALUABLE COMMODITY.  IF THE COLONEL AND HIS FOOLISH ACTIONS CAUSES US TO LOSE THE LAKES EVERYONE BOTH UPSTREAM AND DOWNSTREAM OF THE DAM WILL PAY DEARLY AND SEPA WILL NO LONGER BE ABLE TO PRODUCE THE PEAKING POWER THAT THURMOND DAM PROVIDES DURING PEAK USAGE TIMES.
 
Col Hall's email is cesas-de@sas02.usace.army.mil 
 
                             
 
If your interested in the "Save Our Lakes Now" program please feel free to contact Jerry at clontz_jerry@bellsouth.net .
 
 
 
 
 
 

NEW LOAN PROGRAM FROM SUNTRUST

by Jay Hufnagel

 Here's some great information that I received from Gary Welch at SunTrust Mortgage.

Affordable Housing Mortgage

With an Affordable Housing Mortgage from SunTrust Mortgage, Inc., you could enjoy the benefits of owning a home sooner than you think. This loan program offers enhanced flexibility, a low down payment requirement, and easy qualifying guidelines — to help you more easily achieve the dream of owning a home.

• Up to 97% financing* available in designated areas

• Stable, fixed rate loan terms for primary residences

• The seller can contribute a percentage of the purchase price:

— Up to 4% for loans with a down payment of less than 10%

— Up to 6% for loans with a down payment of 10% or more

• Gift funds accepted for down payment — after a contribution of $500 of your own money

• Mortgage insurance is not required

• No minimum loan amounts

Feel free to contact Gary at:

 

Sincerely,

 

Gary Welch
Vice President, SunTrust Mortgage
770.888.2232 phone
404.581.4564 fax
gary@garywelchhomeloans.com
home.garywelchhomeloans.com

 

ENJOY CLEM'S MEMORIAL BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL

by Jay Hufnagel

Are you looking for something to do this weekend? Jerilyn Wiech, Keller Williams Realty Agent, sent me this information:

If you have not been to Clem's Shoal Creek Music Park you are missing some of the best Bluegrass Music around. I attended last year for the first time and was impressed at how great the music was.
 
According to Facebook, Clem past away this past February after 21 years of service to the Shoal Creek Community. Here is just a small blurb of what his son Zeke posted in Facebook:
 
Founded in 1961 by Alton Walters, the Shoal Creek Country Music Park (as it was known then) played host to many wild times including Johnny Cash rolling out "Folsom Prison", Dolly Parton shaving her legs on the creek bank, Conway Twitty performing to a crowd of 6,000 - Jerry Lee Lewis pushing a piano off the Stage and Tammy Wynette leaving George Jones by the exit door at the Blue Auditorium.

Included was an outdoor pavilion on the banks of Shoal Creek for Spring/Summer shows and in 1971 the Blue Auditorium was built to host Fall/Winter shows and former Georgia Governor Lester Maddox presided at the opening ceremonies for the 3,500 seat facility while Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner performed. 
 
While you're in the area, please feel free to check out some of the great Lake Hartwell Real Estate deals.
 
 
Here's some information on the Festival.

 

 

A NOTE ON MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND

by Jay Hufnagel

A BIG “THANK YOU” TO ALL OF YOU THAT HAVE OR ARE CURRENTLY SERVING IN OUR MILITARY.

With Memorial Day Weekend starting tomorrow, it’s easy to forget about all of our wonderful Veterans that have served in the Military, many of which have been injured or given their lives for our Country. Well, it’s my wish that we don’t forget. That we take a minute, and thank God for their service and devotion to the United States of America.

                             

By the way, if you’re planning a trip or going to the lake, don’t forget to turn off your water at home before you leave. We didn’t turn ours off 3 years ago, and a $3.00 toilet gasket cost us close to $100,000 in repairs. Here's what happened!

MASTERS TOURNAMENT TICKET INFO

by Jay Hufnagel

Did you receive your invitation to apply for the 2012 Masters Golf Tournament Tickets? If not, here is your chance to enjoy one of the best events of the year. Plus, if you're not from the Southeast, it'll give you a great excuse to enjoy our warm weather, great Southern Hospitality, and best of all, see why so many people enjoy calling Georgia and South Carolina home.

Here is an excerpt from a recent email I received:

"The Masters Tournament is pleased to announce that our annual random selection process for Practice Rounds tickets is now available exclusively online.  In addition, the application includes the opportunity to apply for a very limited number of Daily Tournament Tickets (Thursday – Sunday).

As in the past, only one application per person or address will be accepted (one per household) and all applicants must be 21 years of age or older.

To apply for 2012 Masters tickets, please visit www.masters.com, select the "Tickets" tab from the top navigation menu.  To register, you must provide your email address, then a temporary password will be emailed to you.  After you receive your temporary password, you will sign in using your email address and the temporary password sent to you."

By the way, while your in the area, why not see some great Real Estate and Lake Property.

IT'S GREAT TO LIVE IN THE SOUTH

by Jay Hufnagel

What do Real Estate Agents do on their "snow day"? Well, besides catching up on all kinds of administrative duties, it's a great day to be a kid again.

              

I hope you're enjoying this interesting weather that we're having here in the southeast. It's wild to think that this week we have 6 inches of snow and nights in the teens. In about 5 weeks the daffodils will be blooming. The record high temperature for today was 79 degrees. The record low temperature was -5 degrees. Ya gotta love the South!

So, enjoy the change. Make a snowman. Slide down a hill. These are the kind of days that will bring sweet memories to you, your children and grandkids.

              

 

Happy New Year!

LAKE HARTWELL US ARMY CORPS SEEKS COMMENTS

by Jay Hufnagel

The Savannah District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is seeking comments on an environmental assessment (EA) to reduce outflows from its three reservoir system (includes Lake Hartwell) on the upper Savannah River from January through mid-February during droughts. I strongly urge you to respond to this request before the deadline of noon January 3, 2011.  

 Here is the News Release and information on where to reply.

Jay Hufnagel wrote the following to the Corps on December 23, 2010: As a Lake Hartwell home owner, stakeholder and Lake Hartwell Real Estate Agent, I definitely support the reduction in flow from Lake Thurmond to 3600cfs from January 1 through the middle of February during drought situations. If you remember the early stages of the severe drought we had a couple of years ago, Lake Hartwell was down about the same level that we’re at today. Unfortunately the Spring rains didn’t come as everyone had hoped, and because of this the lake couldn’t recover and the level continued to spiral down. Reducing the Lake Thurmond outflows could have really helped. Please seriously consider this request.

Lisa Kishoni (Lake Hartwell Home Owner) wrote the following comment to the Corps: I am writing to support the temporary reduction in flow from Strom Thurmond Dam to 3600 cfs from Jan. 1 through Feb. 15 if the Corps reservoirs on the Savannah River are in drought level 1 or level 2.  I believe that this temporary reduction will not in any way adversely affect stakeholders below Strom Thurmond, and will ultimately help conserve resources that could be used later if drought levels worsen, to the benefit of the entire Savannah River Basin.  In our dryer future, we must act proactively when it comes to drought to conserve what we can, where we can.  

As you may know, the lake is currently down over 5 feet. This is our chance to let our voice be heard.

BABY, "IT'S REALLY GETTING COLD OUTSIDE"

by Jay Hufnagel

Are you ready for the cold? 

                          

Well maybe it’s not time to go ice fishing, but if you haven’t given thought to winterizing your vacation home, you may want to consider doing that or turning up the heat and covering up your faucets. Another way to minimize your exposure to frozen water pipes and eventual damage is to turn the water off at the road, drain your pipes and turn off or lower the temperature on your hot water tank. Because of a personal issue with broken water pipes, my wife and I are big fans of always turning off your water in your home or vacation home when you’re gone for more then a day.

                          

Don't wait on doing something. You'll be glad you did. With the Holidays just around the corner, friends and relatives will leaving home to spend time with their loved ones. Besides getting all kinds of gifts, you don't want them or yourself coming home to the biggest surprise of all...frozen pipes or water damage.

 

 

By Jay Hufnagel, Keller Williams Realty, sayjay@bellsouth.net , www.SayJayLakeandHome.com , your best source for Georgia and South Carolina Waterfront lake Property.

Does your "real" home value match your tax bill?

by Jay Hufnagel

In many areas of the country property values have declined by over 20%, but few counties have reassessed home values and reduced tax bills. Property owners are starting to ask, “Why”?  More and more of these owners are appealing their tax bills and want big reductions.

 For example, three weeks ago I was asked by a lake lot owner (and seller) to do a comparative market analysis on this property and let him know if his taxes were similar to others that were on the market for the same price. Two years ago his lake lot was on the market for close to $260,000. Today, his lot is listed for less then $150,000 and still hasn’t sold. Here are two paragraphs from a letter that accompanied the analysis:

1.  When comparing this subdivision to others in the same price range, it appears taxes, appraisals and assessments are totally out of line. For example, your total tax appraisal (according to the CRS Property Report, through the MLS) is shown at $151,530. After pulling other similar “Active” listings in the same price range ($145-150k) the average total tax appraisal was approximately $108k. That’s a pretty significant difference, (and those are probably high for the existing housing market and economy).

2.  Values have clearly declined as seen in the last 11 months of Sales and Listing activity. As of today’s date, November 22, 2009, according to the SC Western Upstate MLS, only 9 lake lots have sold, out of 254 “Active” listings. When you compare the sale price to the list price, lots sold for just 62% of the “original” list price (this doesn’t reflect list prices, which could have been even higher, on earlier listings of those properties).  

This property owner was told by the Assessors office that if they went out and reassessed his lot it could come back even higher. It appears that this scare tactic is being used quite frequently. In his case, it’s not going to work …he’s determined to have his day in court.

I urge you to look up some old issues ( December 7 – 11, 2009) of the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC). During this week the AJC ran a weeklong series on the “Property Tax Meltdown”. After each article they concluded with, “What you can do now – How to lower your tax bill – Returns and Appeals 101”. Following many of their tips could save you thousands of dollars.

Maybe you’ve already appealed your taxes. If so, I’d be interested in hearing your story.

By Jay Hufnagel, Keller Williams Realty, www.SayJayLakeandHome.com , sayjay@bellsouth.net or 770-757-2799.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 20

Contact Information

Lake and Home Group
Keller Williams Realty
4878 Manhattan Dr.
Buford GA 30518
GA: 770-757-2799
SC: 864-287-7530
Fax: 770-504-5509