August/September 2015

Friday, July 31, 2015

One topic that often comes up in our monthly meetings when the attendees get a chance to voice their concerns, is cell phone coverage. One of our part-time members attending our annual meeting on June 13th mentioned the frustration with her Verizon cell phone of having a good signal but that she can’t call out due to no channel available or only a bad channel. And had we heard of any new Verizon cell towers going up.

I did get the number of Verizon’s Technical Support line (1-800-922-0204) and posed our member’s questions to them. They were very helpful and their Technical Support representative suggested that a network extender (like an in-house cell tower) would be what you needed to reach to Verizon. You would also need an existing high speed internet connection at the lake house. The network extender was portable, so you could take it with you to other locations. It retails at $249.

Another of our members who called Verizon to complain about coverage at the lake was advised that … each customer has two addresses -- a billing address and a service address. Verizon uses service addresses to determine how many customers are in a given area. The lake may have many Verizon users who are here part time, however, Verizon has no way of knowing about these unless the lake address is listed as the service address.

They suggested that part-time residents who have primary homes in densely populated areas, change their service address to the lake address. The service in densely populated areas won't be adversely impacted by fewer customers, but it could help the lake area get better coverage.

In the meantime, I’m trying to find out if there are any plans for additional Verizon cell towers to serve the lake.

It seems I’ve made it a tradition that when I write my article for the August/September Bulletin each year, I comment on
how long I’ve been working for the Lake Gaston Association. July 1st is always an anniversary of my starting date with the
LGA in 2005 – now 10 years. Wow!
During that time I’ve learned a lot about Lake Gaston through Dominion and the numerous agencies that support it; our
organization; the county and state officials who support Lake Gaston (through the LGA Meet the Candidates Forums); and have
gotten to know a great many of our members.

Over the last several years I’ve even gotten involved with some of the LGA’s volunteer projects – such as the annual Lake Gaston Fall Survey, and some of the re-vegetation work. We are looking for volunteers for the 2015 Fall Survey where, if you haven’t done it before, training sessions will be held to show you what’s involved. The training session can also be used as a refresher course, it will be especially useful to try the new computers which I understand
are easier to use.

The course is done over a few hours (I haven’t seen the training schedule yet but it’s either in the morning or the afternoon), you get to choose your section of the shoreline that you will survey, and you’ll be given the equipment to use, and then you return it for another couple to use.

Participating in the survey is a worthwhile use of the time you put in. The goal is to get the whole Lake Gaston shoreline surveyed between all the volunteers. The data gathered is given to NC State University’s Aquatic Crop Science Department who in turn plot the GPS locations of the samples taken, to show the types of vegetation that can be found around the shoreline. Last year’s survey showed there was considerably less hydrilla than in previous years.

The information gathered by the volunteers is used by the Lake Gaston Weed Control Council, Lake Gaston Stakeholders Board, NC State University’s Aquatic Crop Science Department and NC Wildlife Resources to manage aquatic vegetation (both good and bad) in Lake Gaston.

(Editor’s note: Moira Underwood is Lake Gaston Association’s Executive Director and will be coming to you every month. She can be reached at ExecDir@lakegastonassoc.com or (252) 586-6577, or toll free 1-888-586-6577, or LGA, P.O. Box 656, Littleton, NC 27850.)