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Outdoors: Use common sense in having lake fun
Sometimes, watching a novice do something new can be kind of funny, like when you get to see somebody try to roller skate for the first time.But this weekend, novices all around the nation will celebrate Independence Day by doing new things that don’t leave much wiggle room for mistakes – things like operating motor boats and setting off explosives.If you’re going boating over the weekend, remember that the laws of the road pretty much apply to the water, and whoever’s driving the boat should be aware of water traffic protocols, including right of way, no-wake zones, and other basics that keep everybody operating safely. Also, know the rules about personal flotation devices, boating while intoxicated, required lighting for boating after dark, etc.A good rule of thumb is to assume that the other guy a) doesn’t see you, b) is an idiot, and c) will probably do something reckless. In truth, though, most people actually handle their boats pretty well, but it only takes a couple of unwise decisions to mess up the day. Sort of like hanging on to that cherry bomb a little too long.Whatever you do this weekend, be smart, keep safe, and have a blast out there.CAST for KidsCAST for Kids is an organization that serves kids with special needs, along with their families, through the sport of fishing, and on July 24, it’ll host Haley’s Heroes CAST for Kids at Lake Waco.The organization is partnering with Texas Farm Bureau Insurance, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and other sponsors to bring the special event to town. Participants can expect to enjoy a few hours of fishing paired off with some of the fishing industry’s biggest names, along with lunch and an awards ceremony.Be sure to check out the CAST for Kids 5th Annual Haley’s Hero’s Celebrity Gala fundraiser on July 23. The gala will take place at Knox Hall at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame, and will include a lively live auction, silent auction, steak dinner, and the chance to meet celebrity bass pros and outdoor industry entertainers.Gala tickets may be purchased, and silent auction items can be viewed at www.bidpal.net/waco2021.The Foundation holds fishing events where special needs participants enjoy a day of being celebrated by volunteers from the community. While events take place in over 30 states, Texas alone will host 25 C.A.S.T. for Kids events in 2021.Brazos River CleanupEvery time we get a good rain, the water runoff into gutters and creeks washes trash downstream from different parts of the city into the Brazos River, turning one of Waco’s best attractions into a dump, with riverbanks littered by clumps of floating styrofoam cups and other garbage. Not the kind of views you want on your postcards.On Saturday, Keep Waco Beautiful, along with the Waco Paddle Company, Group W. Bench Litter Patrol, and more groups and individuals, will set their sights on cleaning up the Brazos during the Quarterly Brazos River Cleanup that runs from 9-11 a.m. on July 10.Bags and pickers will be available, and kayaks and canoes will be provided until they run out. If you’re looking to fulfill some community service hours, Group W. Bench can document your time.Participants should meet at the Waco Paddle truck, located at the intersection of Franklin and University Parks, to pick up tools and watercraft.Lake openings updatesAll the planning in the world can’t veto Mother Nature. D-Day was originally planned for June 5, but unfavorable weather conditions pushed the invasion ahead by one day, meaning I didn’t have to grow up sharing my birthday with one of the most meaningful events in world history.This weekend’s rains have drenched a lot of people’s plans for the 4th, including what was expected to be a very busy weekend on area lakes. Lake Waco’s parks, boat ramps, and other facilities were almost completely reopened after last month’s floods, and as storms continue to push through Central Texas, it’s unclear how this round of rainfall will affect that trend.The only closures that remained late last week, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lead Ranger Mike Champagne, were Airport Park camping sites 51-80, Flat Rock Access, the back beach of Twin Bridges Park, and Airport Beach.On Friday morning, Champagne said his team had just reopened Reynolds Creek day use and both ramps, Lacy Point, the Midway boat ramp, and Koehne Park.Ruined plans can be disappointing, but anybody who has spent a summer in Texas will see the silver lining in a days-long rain event with cool temperatures.
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