Thursday, December 2nd, 2010
By Nancy Allen
Vote to restore Grand Lake
$250,000 Pepsi Refresh grant could pay for water quality treatment train
  GRAND LAKE - Starting today people can vote to help restore Grand Lake via a contest sponsored by one of the nation's largest cola makers.
A water treatment project for Grand Lake has been accepted as one of the projects in line for a $250,000 Pepsi Refresh grant. Projects from across the U.S. are competing for the money, including one to build a handicapped-accessible playground in New Bremen. Whichever projects get the most votes - via online ballots or text messages - win.
Pepsi distributes $1.3 million per month in grants, according to its website.
Milt Miller, fundraising chairman of the Lake Restoration Commission (LRC), submitted the application online on behalf of the LRC. He learned Wednesday the request for $250,000 to install a treatment train in a tributary leading to the 13,500-acre lake had been approved.
"This doesn't guarantee the funds, just that Grand Lake is among projects that can be voted on," Miller said.
The $250,000 would be used to purchase and install a treatment train that replicates a natural, cleansing wetland in a major lake tributary. A treatment train consists of a sediment collector that intercepts nutrient-laden silt before it enters the lake, an aeration device that introduces oxygen into the water column, a floating wetland with roots that absorb nutrients suspended in the water, and a rock pier to direct the flow of water through these devices.
The goal of the LRC is to install a treatment train on each tributary entering the lake to remove phosphorus and other detrimental nutrients that feed toxic, blue-green algae.
Miller said there are six categories for grant submissions; Grand Lake's project is in the planet category. Other categories include health, arts and culture, food and shelter, neighborhoods and education.
Miller said he figures it may be difficult for the Grand Lake project to compete with those from larger areas, but said, "we have to try."
"Big cities are in here like the New Yorks and the Dallases," he said. "It's going to take a large, concerted, regional effort to keep pace with the metropolitan areas which have a bigger population base."
Pepsi prohibits proxy voting and has hired an outside company to monitor the site for anyone trying to fraudulently maximize votes. Any proposal found to be acquiring votes fraudulently may be disqualified.
Miller encourages everyone to pass the website along to friends, family and anyone they can think of who would vote for the Grand Lake project.
The treatment train is just one of many components the LRC is proposing to rid Grand Lake of blue-green algae, which fouled the lake this summer, kept visitors away and hurt lake-related businesses. The county applied for and received money from the state for the installation of a treatment train in Prairie Creek.
Miller said he hopes the treatment train project wins, adding that getting it accepted into the contest was a huge first step.
"We figured nothing ventured, nothing gained," he said. "At least we are in the mix. At least we have a chance."

How to v  ote:
What: Contest to win a $250,000 Pepsi Refresh grant.
For What: A water quality treatment train on Grand Lake.
How to vote: Go online to refresheverything.com/savegrandlakestmarys or vote from mobile phone by texting 104816 to Pepsi (73774).
How often can you vote: Once a day from now until midnight Dec. 31.
For more info: Go to refresheverything.com.

Getting grants:
Where to start?
• Think of a great idea that will help people.
• Give it a title that will get attention.
• Plan how you will make it happen.
• Use text, photos, and video to tell your story.
• Submit your idea on time.
• Get the word out - Refresh Grants will be awarded based on the idea which received the greatest number of votes.
What kind of projects are sought?
• It should have a positive impact on a community.
• It should be achievable within 12 months and be ready to start soon.
• It should have measurable results.
Do I qualify?
• I'm 13 years of age or older and a legal U.S. resident.
• I reside and my organization operates within the U.S.
Does my project qualify?
• My project can be completed within the next 12 months.
• My project benefits a community or group of people within the U.S.
• My project does not involve religious or political advocacy.
Learn more
• For Frequently Asked Questions and to find out more about the Pepsi Refresh Project, see How It Works at (refresheverything.com)
- Information from Pepsi Refresh website
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