"Work has begun on Lock 23," announced Walnutport Canal Association President Everett Kaul at the Association's meeting last night. What seemed like a collective sigh of relief was then expressed by the nearly dozen members seated in the audience, with one member noting that it had taken several years for repairs to begin.

At the Association's August meeting, Kaul had told members that, at a special meeting held on August 19, the Walnutport Borough Council had awarded the bid from Nimaris Construction, L.P. in the amount of $197,338 to do the repairs to the lock. He had also noted at that time that construction would be going on during the Association's annual Canal Festival this fall and that the contractor had 90 days to complete the work.

Kaul then added that work on Lock 24 will begin next spring and that Lock 25, which is "a disaster", remains closed because current estimates to repair it are upwards of 1 million dollars.

Earlier, in a unanimous vote, the Association named a new building it has just completed the WCA Heritage Center and also decided a security system should definitely be installed in its complex of buildings there.

"Do we unanimously feel we need [a security system]?" asked 1st Vice President Doug Boehrer, after recounting several acts of vandalism that have occurred on the property, such as a portable toiler being set afire.

Members discussed the fact that, although they had previously received a quote from PenCor for $3,000, they wanted to instead go with a more extensive security system from Defrain Electric for up to, but not to exceed, $3,500. The vote passed unanimously.

The Associationwhich now numbers 316, according to 2nd Vice President Marilyn Kaulsays it invites the public to join in this Saturday on its first scheduled work detail to clean up brush along South Canal Street. The detail will meet at 9 a.m. at the Locktender's House, and any volunteers are asked to wear longs sleeves, long pants and gloves and should be aware they may encounter either bees or poison ivy. Pruning shears would be a helpful tool to bring along if possible.

And in another invitation to the public, the Association noted that it will be holding a fundraiser called "Feast-ival" at the canal pavilion on Saturday, October 19 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., the day before its annual Canal Festival.

The fundraising dinner will be catered by Lorah's Pig Roast and offer a choice of baked chicken or pulled pork sandwich and sides.

The event will include hayrides and live entertainment by Michael Peters and John Ortiz, and they noted that a take-out menu will be available.

Deadline for the tickets will be one week prior to the event; there will be no tickets the day of the event.