In This Edition...
The Golden Rain Foundation Gets Drone Rules Off the Ground, True Willie is coming to town, see you at the Village Games, and more. Details on pages 2-4
Third Kicks Butt on Smoking, plus street lights, wastelines, parking, and more. See pages 5-8.
Check out United's New Column, "Remember That," meet Director Don Tibbetts, United's Deal with the Sun, and more on pages 9-12.
Towers President is Board Member of the Year! Read all about Ryna's big win and all the fun going on at the Towers. See pages 12-13
Photo by Pat Wilkinson
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The Laguna Woods Village Equestrian Center.
Photo by Mark Rabinowitch
A Joint Publication of the Laguna Woods Village Corporations
The Community Activities Committee Gets Set for the Annual Village Games, and More!
The Community Activities Committee (CAC) heard your concerns, and listened. In February, CAC voted against hosting the Village Games every two years, preserving it as an annual event. A committee of CAC board members, staff and Village Games participants has been formed, and is planning the 2017 Village Games. Opening Ceremonies on October 22 will kick off the festivities, with competitions beginning October 25. Join your favorite team for some friendly competition.
In accordance with GRF Bylaws, CAC recommended that Laguna Woods Village club officers be residents of the Village.
Good news for swimmers and their friends: guest fees at the swimming pools and fitness centers will be suspended for four month from May through August, as a pilot project. CAC is hoping this will keep our community active. The Community Activities Committee will next meet on Thursday, May 4, 2017 at the Community Center. It is an exciting meeting, and all residents are encouraged to attend.
Photo by Mark Rabinowitch
GRF Gets Drone Rules Off the Ground
Look, up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a…drone! Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, have become increasingly popular in recent years, including in Laguna Woods Village. Several residents have expressed interest in flying drones in the community, so at its March meeting, after extensive review by the Security Committee, GRF adopted a policy covering the operation of drones within the community.
The drone policy requires that residents obtain a permit from GRF before flying. The drone pilot must be 18 years of age or older; submit a flight plan to GRF; and adhere to all state and federal laws regarding drones. To protect the safety of residents, drones may not exceed speeds of 100 miles per hour, carry hazardous materials and or fly above 400 feet.
Ready to fly? The policy is headed to the Third, United and Mutual 50 Boards for review and is expected to take effect in June.
"True Willie" Is On the Road Again—Next Stop, Laguna Woods Village!
Back by popular demand, “True Willie” brings his uncanny Willie Nelson tribute performance to the Performing Arts Center Stage on April 22, 2017 at 7 pm. Roger Hegyi as “True Willie” pays tribute to the life and music of one of the world’s most recognizable and distinctive musicians.
Not just a Willie Nelson impersonator, Roger has found a way to reach into the musical soul of Willie Nelson and share it with audiences wherever he performs.
“True Willie” sold out the PAC in 2015, so get your tickets right away.
Tickets are only $20 for orchestra and $10 for balcony, on sale now at the Performing Arts Center Box Office. A no host bar will be open. Call 949-597-4288 for more info.
Visit truewillieband.com for more.
From Inside the Bus
By GRF Advisor Suellen Zima
The newest version of the Laguna Woods bus system was set into motion on February 21. The routes are better than the schedule introduced in December. Having eight bus routes as opposed to 11 is still a challenge for some. Areas for bus service are now referred to as Routes 1 through 4, east and west. Each bus has a residential route and a commercial route. We have returned to having all buses leave from Clubhouse 1 at the top of the hour. Transfer points enable riders to switch to other routes, and many “request only stops” are included. A new employee, Becky Jackson, has been hired as an Operations Specialist, and is presently assigned to the Transportation Department. She is trying to smooth out the bumps along the way with the new system for bus riders. Her phone number is 597-4678. For general questions about the bus system, call 597-4659 anytime during the day. If you need to change your pickup time or place after 6 p.m., call Security at 580-1400 in order to connect with the two evening bus drivers.
More news is coming about special trips and much-awaited monthly excursions.
Be informed! Attend monthly Board and Committee Meetings.
Get the lowdown on life as a director.
Check out the Meeting Calendar at lagunawoodsvillage.com
Click Resident Links, Boards and Committees
All Things Communication Discussed During February Media and Communications Committee Meeting
The last Media and Communications Committee (MACC) had a full agenda. MACC Chair and GRF Secretary, JoAnn diLorenzo, kicked off the meeting by inviting TV Services Manager Paul Ortiz to give a comprehensive overview of advertising on the GRF Broadband Cable Network. The committee asked many questions, and gained valuable insight into how advertisers are sought out, how advertisements are produced and run on the cable system, and how much revenue they generate for the community.
Community Manager Lori Moss reported on the marketing and communication efforts undertaken by staff. Highlights included the weekly docent tours, which are more popular than ever with over 140 attendees in January; and the Village Breeze monthly newsletter, which is received by over 13,000 Village residents and their families. Looking ahead, Ms. Moss showed a snippet of the new marketing video in development, for which the committee gave favorable comments.
GRF First Vice President Beth Perak updated the committee on the Thrive Project, a multimedia project that captures and shares moments of life in the Village. Beth reported that the Video, Camera, and Writers Clubs all have agreed to help with the project. Advisor Scott Marvel reported that the first “Shreditor” (shoot, record and edit) cellphone video class offered through the Video Club had 21 enthusiastic attendees. It is our hope that the attendees will upload their projects to the Thrive website, www.channelthrive.com.
Director Perak reported on the latest meeting of The Village Breeze Task Force, where it was determined to make it a monthly publication (rather than every six weeks). Ideas were exchanged among the committee on how to make it more informational and entertaining.
The next meeting of the GRF Media and Communications Committee will be on Monday, March 20 at 1:30 p.m. in the Sycamore Room at the Community Center. All residents are encouraged to attend.
By Third Secretary Burt Baum
Third Board Actions: The Directors were busier than beavers this month and, rather than build dams, did the following:
Streamlined and formalized purchasing procedures for all the boards and the VMS Staff.
Prohibited use of wood in construction of new patio covers and solariums as a way to prevent the formation of dry rot. No wood, no dry rot.
Increased late charge fee for fines, fees and chargeable services, and gave the Board authority to deactivate cable service after 60 days, when a member becomes delinquent in paying assessments. Both these moves are designed to encourage members to pay their bills to Third, on time. Delinquent payments increase costs for all the members.
Established Earthquake Task Force to insure that Third is in the best possible situation should an earthquake occur.
For further details see the Third Board Wrap-Up article.
"More Light"- These last words of the German writer, Goethe, have become the motto of the Energy Committee, as they strive to increase illumination in the Mutual. Much of the initial effort has been directed toward installing LED lighting in the three-story buildings, and the program is being expanded to improving lighting on the walkways and in the streets throughout Third. Read Director Moldow’s report and look at the LED street light put up on Faro (near Gate 10) as part of a pilot program to determine the best way to modify and improve these lights.
Year–End Financial Results– Steve Parsons, our Treasurer, reports that we will likely have an operating surplus (revenue over expense) of about $480 Thousand and an increase in our reserves of about $6 Million. Before we all throw our hats in the air, please be aware that these figures are tentative and can change once all the numbers are in and the annual audit is finished. Once the Board has the official numbers, it must decide how to handle any surplus based on the programs and needs (which are many) for next year. This will be reflected in your assessments.
Electric Bills– Read Director Walsh’s article on what’s in store. Hint: They ain’t going to go down.
Feeling the Chill from Your Electric Bill? Here’s What You Can Do
By Third Second Vice President Bill Walsh
Like many of us, you are probably experiencing higher electric bills this winter, inspiring you to pay more attention to your Southern California Edison (SCE) Electric Bill.
The Third Mutual Energy Committee would like to remind everyone that SCE, in concert with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), instituted a 3- to 4-year plan in 2015 to implement changes to the SCE Residential Plan Rate Schedule D. The changes, to quote SCE, will affect “….residential customers in houses, townhouses and condominiums, and in apartments and rental units. If you examine your latest electric bill from SCE, you will notice that as of January 1, 2017, the Standard Residential Rate has gone from 3 tiers to 2 tiers plus a High Usage Charge tier.”
The ultimate goal of these rate changes is to move SCE customers to a Time-of-Use (TOU) rate structure by January 1, 2019. The Edison SmartConnect electric meters have given SCE the technology needed to implement TOU charging. Under the TOU rate structure, SCE customers will pay more for electricity used in peak time periods and less for electricity consumed in off-peak times. Both the TOU rates and low, mid and peak time frames have yet to be set, however, and are currently being negotiated between the CPUC and SCE. The following link takes you to a SCE document describing the Residential-Rate-Changes. Additional links within the document take you to more in-depth discussions of the subject, especially discounted rates.
LED Shines on Third Streets
By Third Director Bert Moldow
The condition of street lighting in our community is well-known. Fifty years ago, when the Community was being developed, the decision was made to lease streetlights from Southern California Edison and they designed the electrical infrastructure supported by underground wiring to enhance the aesthetics of the community.
Over the past 50 years the trees (which abound in our community), the location of light poles, the design of the light fixtures and the wattage of the street light have all contributed to a less than desirable amount of light on our sidewalks and streets. Since the lights and poles are owned by SCE, we are dependent upon whatever they are willing to do to help solve this problem. When SCE was approached, it was apparent that whatever we wanted them to do would result in higher costs even though the actual changes proposed would result in lower expense. For this reason, the Third Mutual Board is contemplating purchasing 788 streetlights from SCE so that they can be converted to LED lights and fixtures that will provide increased light intensity and better light dispersion.
Even with such action, residents may feel that there are still dark spots in the community. This problem can only be solved by adding additional poles, which is very expensive and disruptive. To help mitigate the dark spots, the Board has initiated a pilot study of solar streetlights, which would not require underground wires, as a way to supplement the existing hard-wired poles.
The first such pilot for solar lighting was installed on Via Del Faro, located near Gate 10. Some negative comments have been received regarding the pole’s appearance, but the pole is temporary. This test will enable us to ascertain the pole height that gives the best lighting.
We hope that we will be able to find the funding to buy the optimum-sized poles shortly, since SCE will only hold the purchase option open until October of this year.
Did you Know?
By Third President Rosemarie diLorenzo Dickins
Did you know? More parking will soon be available in Third! Over 700 parking spaces will be returned to the community by removing unnecessary red curbs. Curbs in many instances were painted red in excess of what is required by Safety and/or Vehicle Codes. These curbs will be reduced in length to provide for more parking spaces. Requests for Proposals are going out to contractors to bid on this project. In a little over a month, curbs will begin to be adjusted.
And, did you know? Third just approved moving forward with a major program to rehab wastelines. The wastelines in Third are several decades old, and are subject to failure. To ameliorate this issue, Third has approved epoxy lining as a less invasive alternative to standard pipe replacement. Epoxy wastelining will be performed throughout Third Mutual.
Third Board Wrap-Up: March 2017
At the Third Laguna Hills Mutual Board Meeting in February, President Rosemarie diLorenzo Dickins welcomed Jules Zalon, the newest appointee to the Third Board of Directors. The President also thanked member Ingrid Corning for being a good Samaritan during the January rainstorms. Ms. Corning took it upon herself to clear debris from clogged drains and kept water away from her building.
The board adopted amendments to their Purchasing Policy, by authorizing the VMS CEO to hire an attorney for the review of contracts that do not use the standard format, and reaffirming rules to avoid conflicts of interest during the formation of contracts.
Third voted to consolidate and increase the fee for unpaid fines, fees, and chargeable services to $35 per month. In addition, the board approved alternative construction materials for patio covers and solariums. The use of wood would also be prohibited on the construction of exterior alterations because of the likelihood of dry rot. As always, contact Manor Alterations in Resident Services at 949-597-4600 or email@example.com before modifying the exterior of your manor. The member comment period is now open on these rule changes, so please send any comments or questions to the Third Board by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good news for electric vehicle owners: Third has amended their policy for the use of 120 volt outlets for personal electric vehicles (PEVs). For purposes of the amendment, it was added that the annual electricity usage fee of $240 will be prorated at $20 per month.
Don’t Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em
Third Laguna Hills Mutual has received numerous complaints from various residents about the odors and other problems caused by second-hand smoke in and around manors. To address this issue, Third Laguna Hills Mutual has adopted a non-smoking policy similar to the one the City of Laguna Woods has promulgated.
According to the policy, smoking is prohibited in enclosed areas of all public places, including lobbies, elevators, hallways and other areas used by members or the public, as well as in elevators, hallways, recreation rooms, laundry rooms, stairs, and other common areas in multi-unit residential facilities. People may not smoke in areas accessible and useable by more than one residence; balconies and patios in residential facilities; or carports and underground parking areas. Residents may not smoke in a private residence with open windows and/or doors. The smoking of marijuana is only permitted inside a residence. This policy should make life more pleasant for people who are allergic to smoke or have health issues aggravated by it.
By United President Lenny Ross
United has been busy, lately. On February 28, United held a Town Hall on Land Use, explaining and discussing the practice of the Board granting exclusive use of parts of community land to members who make a request. President Lenny Ross has stated that the land use issue has been very challenging, in that the board has been deadlocked and unable to come to an agreement on a resolution that would put limits on the give-away of common area.
The current law limits the granting to any shareholder the exclusive use of any portion of common area outside the manor footprint unless there is a 67 Percent vote of the entire Mutual membership approving the request. The disputed, and arguably misused exception to this requirement, is the possible grant of exclusive use of common area to a shareholder if the burden of management and maintenance of the area is transferred to that shareholder, the area is generally inaccessible and is not of general use to the membership.
At the Town Hall, the Board took the input and survey results from the Town Hall and will now work to finalize a policy and guidelines for United in an effort to ensure fairness to all and eliminate potential abuse in the future.
Highlights of United’s February Meeting…
By United Director Maggie Blackwell
The Board discussed a potential extra-occupant fee when more than two people reside in a manor. The proposed fee of $90 for a third occupant would help defray the costs of such things as the extra use of common water and electricity in laundry rooms caused by having an extra person in the manor. The Board voted in a lower rate of $50 monthly, feeling it was more reasonable. Directors realize that a third occupant residing in a unit may be necessary for residents requiring round-the-clock care, even though the manors were designed for only one or two occupants in good health. Our parking is limited; staff and the Board are looking at the parking issues. As more occupants enter neighborhoods, we ask that every resident be mindful and respect others.
United Finance Report
Cha-ching! Total revenue for United through January 31, 2017, was $3,315,000, compared to expenses of $2,593,000, resulting in greater revenue than expenses by $722,000. The favorable bottom line was due to the timing of reserve expenses. United’s reserve balances on January 31, 2017, were nearly $21,000,000.
United’s Deal with the Sun Is Complete
By United Director Maggie Blackwell
United’s "Deal with the Sun" is complete and at work, and all ready to reap the benefits. There has been plenty of sun, even with the recent rains. Board members recognize the inconveniences and disruptions the installation process caused for those persons in the affected cul-de-sacs, and wants to say thanks to you for your part in enabling all in United to have years of lower electric bills.
Director Profile: Don Tibbetts
By United Advisor Carol St. Hilaire
United Director, Don Tibbetts, was born in Santa Ana, and he remembers seeing Leisure World being built during his high school days. At the time he thought, “I would never live there.” He now states, “Was I ever wrong,” and he and his wife of 61 years have lived in Laguna Woods Village for 15 Years. Mr. Tibbetts worked as an elementary school principal in the Santa Ana School District, and he supervised student teachers at Pepperdine University. His favorite activities include golf, gardening and traveling.
Director Tibbetts brings to the United Board an ability to be a good listener, and he works well with others. He enjoys assisting individual residents regarding maintenance and alteration requests. He is passionate about preventive maintenance of manors.
By United Director Maggie Blackwell
It is a great idea to store your items in the carport storage area in snap-topped plastic or metal containers –good protection from critters and insects.
Even a minimal amount of standing water in potted plants and saucers can breed mosquitoes.
A dog that is a blessing for a resident can be a curse for neighbors if it barks frequently.
Open fires or flaming barbecues are not allowed.
It is important to be a good neighbor. Be alert to signs that a resident might need help (call Social Services or Security), or if there is something that might need attention, call the friendly Resident Service Call Center Operators at 949-597-4600 to report an issue with your manor.
There is a Compliance Hotline you can call and remain anonymous if you experience a problem with a resident or guest not following rules: call 949-268-CALL.
The announcement Bulletin Board on TV6 has lots of interesting information. United Board Meetings are live on TV6 (HD 6.1 or 406) the second Tuesday of each month at 9:30 a.m., or check the TV Guide for replays.
GRF board meetings are live on TV6 the first Tuesday at 9:30 a.m..
We invite you to stop by the Drop–In Lounge, United’s oasis at Clubhouse 1, for a cup of tea or coffee and a chat with other locals.
There is a restroom near the Creek for walkers (on the go).
You can call a prerecorded line at 949-268-2310 for pesticide application schedules.
Trees Blowing in the Wind
By United Director Maggie Blackwell
View the website for all landscape schedules, be it tree trimming, bush trimming or pesticide applications. Ready for an update from one of the biggest windstorms yet? Damaged trees totaled 128, of which 83 were removed. Not to worry though, we will still have over 35,000 Village trees. The new Arbor Pro Software System puts in the hands of all VMS landscape supervisors the picture, size, location and condition of all 35,000 trees, and can be updated from the field if something changes.
The bridge at the Creek has weathered yet another series of challenges. It has been washed over several times now, but remains secure. A nearby Sycamore tree, in failing health, is being evaluated. If our staff experts feel it could possibly uproot in the next big storm, damaging the earth at the foundation of the bridge, it will be removed. As a “tree-hugger” at the recent United Board meeting said, “Trees and people do not last forever.”
Most of us who habitually walk United are pleased by the creativity and variety we see in the gardens surrounding units. Some are professionally maintained by outside gardeners, others are the hobby of the resident. Happily, nearly every green-thumbed resident is mindful of United’s rules about maintenance and the avoidance of clutter and encroachment in another’s area. Nearly everyone passing admires unique and well-kept variety. Thumbs-up to the green thumbs.
The Big Game 2017 at the Towers
By Towers Advisor Saretta Berlin
On February 5, along with almost everyone else in the community, The Towers' residents came together to celebrate the spectacular event of this year’s football championship!
In order to provide uninterrupted viewing for die-hard fans, the Activities Committee arranged to have dinner served in the Key Club, the informal hospitality area on the second floor. Tables were set up early with snacks, dips, chips and beverages. Dinner,featured hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, barbecued chicken, pizza and fish & chips, and of course dessert, were served promptly at halftime.
Additional excitement was supplied by a board that listed betting squares on which to place small wagers. Excitement built, especially at the start of the third-quarter, when the Patriots moved ahead and it really became a ballgame. By the end of the overtime win, Laura Husak was the only one standing. She went home with her impressive two-figure winnings. Most everyone agreed that it was a memorable game.
Celebrating Chinese New Year at the Towers
By Towers Advisor Saretta Berlin
On February 11, students of the Irvine Chinese School presented a program celebrating the Lantern Festival. This event takes place on the first full moon of the Chinese Calendar and marks the last day of the traditional New Year’s celebration. The lanterns are meant to ward off evil spirits and the students expressed their cultural traditions in a varied program of music and dance. The Lunar New Year festivities included traditional songs, Lion Dances and a bit of magic involving the Monkey King.
New Board Members at the Towers
By Towers Advisor Saretta Berlin
Ryna Rothberg, Mutual 50 Board of Directors President, announced the appointment of Nancy Hou and Irving Waaland to fill vacancies on the Board as a result of resignations.
Dr. Daniel Amen Presents Final “Towers Talks” Event
By Towers Advisor Saretta Berlin
“Towers Talks,” a series of engaging lectures and discussions that was designed for residents by Thilde Peterson, concluded on February 9 with a stimulating presentation by Dr. Daniel Amen. Dr. Amen, known to many of us from his frequent appearances on Public Television, drew insights and information from his new book, “The Brain Warrior’s Way.” He challenged a lot of old ideas and presented some engaging new ones as he asserted “…Food is as healing as medicine and as toxic as poison.” Touching on the role of "big pharma" and large food processors, he offered alternatives and insights into healthier living to a large and enthusiastic audience. His talk was recorded for a later viewing at The Towers and available to the community on Channel 6.
Towers Officers Honored by California Associations Institute
By Towers Advisor Saretta Berlin
Ryna Rothberg, President of the Mutual 50 Board of Directors, was named Board Member of the Year, Veterans Category, by the California Associations Institute (CAI), Orange County Chapter, at their meeting held on February 4 at the Disney Grand Hotel in Anaheim.
At the same meeting, Katy Howe, General Manager of The Towers, was nominated for an Outstanding Service Award.
CAI is a nonprofit association created to educate and represent American HOA’s, condominium and cooperative associations.
Laguna Woods Village Community Center
24351 El Toro Road
Laguna Woods, CA 92637
This newsletter is put together by all of the housing Mutuals and GRF. If you have comments about this newsletter, please contact JoAnn diLorenzo, GRF Secretary, at email@example.com, Burt Baum, Third Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org, Maggie Blackwell, United Director at email@example.com, or Katy Howe, General Manager at the Towers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Village Breeze Editor-in-Chief: GRF Director Joan Milliman
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