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Lake Wylie Marine Commission to fill 5 expiring seats

It’s musical-chairs season for one of the main groups charged with looking after Lake Wylie.

The end of September annually brings expired terms for the Lake Wylie Marine Commission, a tri-county body of nine members. Three members serve from each county surrounding the lake: York in South Carolina and Mecklenburg and Gaston counties in North Carolina. Five terms will end this month.

Ron Wanless, the longest-tenured of three commissioners representing York County, will see his second term end Sept. 30. Other York County representatives are George Medler, who is serving a term running through September 2015, and Ed Hull, who will see his term expire in September 2016.

At its Sept. 2 meeting, York County’s finance and operations committee recommended Blanche Bryant to fill the seat being vacated by Wanless.

“Since I live out here, I have an interest in what goes on in the lake,” Bryant said. “This is home. I want to see that the lake is taken care of.”

A retired neonatal nurse and Clover/Lake Wylie Republican Women member, Bryant has lived on the main channel of the lake since 1992. Bryant’s main concern – public safety – is a family affair: her husband, Bruce Bryant, is York County sheriff.

Blanche Bryant wants to promote safety on the water, particularly as rentals increase in popularity. People unfamiliar with the lake flock to it on weekends, she said, to the point where she stays off the water at peak times.

“People don’t have any concern for the dangers out here,” Bryant said.

All three Mecklenburg County seats will have their terms expire Sept. 30.

RiverPointe resident Peter Hegarty filled in the final few months for the departed Howard Virkler; Hegarty will keep the seat another two years.

“I’ve always had a boat, always been on the water,” said the semi-retired international textile company president. “This was an opportunity to get more involved in the issues on the lake.”

Hegarty moved to the RiverPointe waterfront 11 years ago. He’s been on living on the water for 35 years.

“Water quality is always one of my main concerns,” he said. “The building around this lake is incredible just in the last 11 years that we’ve been here.”

The other two expiring terms belong to commission Vice Chairwoman Lynn Smith and past Chairman Terry Everhart. Smith will return for another term. Everhart has met his two-term limit.

Janice Paige, clerk to the Board of County Commissioners in Mecklenburg County, said that as of Sept. 3 there are two applicants for Everhart’s seat: Tim Mead and Barry Sims.

“It’s on the docket for the board to make recommendations or appointments at their Sept. 17 meeting,” Paige said.

Gaston County has one term up this month, belonging to Chairman Brad Thomas of Belmont. “I hope to be reappointed for another term,” Thomas said.

Joe Stowe, a former two-term commissioner and current executive director for the group, said officer elections will be held at the commission’s Sept. 22 meeting once the Mecklenburg and York appointments are finalized.

This month’s meeting will be at Belmont City Hall, 115 N. Main St., Belmont.

“If we get these two people appointed, we’ll really have a strong group,” Stowe said.

For more information, visit www.lakewyliemarinecommission.com.

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