In This Edition...
The Golden Rain Foundation Is Adding New Events for Residents to Enjoy! See the Recreation Round Up, plus become a Bus Buddy. Details on pages 2-3
Third Brings Law and Order to the Village: Read all about the Compliance Department and Policy Task Force, plus save money and electricity. See pages 3-7.
United Takes On Smoking: Check out the particulars of United's new non-smoking policy, pesticides, solar and more on pages 7-9.
Introducing: Fine Dining at the Towers! Read the debrief on a wonderful holiday season, a new dining experience, plus reduced assessments. See pages 10-12
Photo by Pat Wilkinson
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Photo of the Lunar New Year Celebration at the Performing Arts Center
by United Director Andre Torng
A Joint Publication of the Laguna Woods Village Corporations
Be a Bus Buddy!
By Bus Buddy Volunteer Jan Enns
It may have been a record-breaking downpour, with rivers running down cul-de-sacs and ankle-deep puddles at Clubhouse 1, but almost 70 residents – women and men, longtime Villagers and new neighbors – showed up January 12 at the Bus Buddy orientation to find out how the Village bus system could become a more vital part of the community.
Attendees learned that the new “Easy Rider” system has two main components. The Easy Rider fixed route, which operates from 9 am to 5 pm and can be hailed any place along the route by just waiving your ID badge – What Service! Plan-A-Ride, operates from 8 to 9 a.m. in the morning and 5 to 11 p.m. in the evening. Plan-A-Ride offers round trip or one-way service from a resident’s home to any pre-arranged location where the Easy Rider Fixed Route bus goes. Soon, loaner cell phones will be issued to riders who don’t have a personal phone so that they can easily contact the Transportation Division and never be stranded.
Join the Bus Buddies group at any Bus Information Meeting held at 1 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month at Clubhouse 1, Main Lounge. This rewarding neighbor-helping-neighbor effort is a great way to help someone and make new friends. Call 949-597-4659 to be assigned a Buddy or if you are interested in becoming a Buddy.
Village Recreation: So Many New and Exciting Events to Enjoy!
Our Recreation and Special Events Department wrapped up 2016 with several new holiday events, beginning with the first ever Laguna Woods Village Holiday Festival, with over 1,000 guests. Attendees were treated to hot cocoa, cookies, a golf cart parade, and a special visit from Santa himself. The Department plans to make this an annual event and welcomes residents and their families to next year’s festivities.
Enthusiasm infused the first holiday shopping bus excursion to the Irvine Spectrum. The excursion was so popular, additional buses had to be added to accommodate resident demand. More bus excursions are planned for 2017, including trips to Laguna Beach, the Bowers Museum and more.
At the Performing Arts Center (PAC), hundreds of residents celebrated New Year’s Eve with a Paul McCartney tribute featuring a full orchestra. Many attendees commented that the show was one of the best shows ever hosted at the theater. The New Year’s Eve show is just the tip of the iceberg of high-quality entertainment planned at the PAC. Don’t miss the rock-and-roll shootout when the music of Tom Petty battles it out with the Eagles. Tom Petty tribute band, The Petty Breakers, takes on Eagles tribute band, The Boys of Summer, in a unique and entertaining standoff. Petty vs. Eagles takes the stage on Sunday, February 19 at 7 p.m. Tickets are only $15 and $10, available at the PAC box office. In March, GRF is hosting the Olate Dogs, winners of America's Got Talent. The thrilling dog trick and variety act features father-and-son trainers Richard and Nicholas Olate and their adorable troupe of gifted pups. Tickets are $20 and $15 and going fast for this event scheduled for Saturday, March 11 at 7 p.m. so visit the box office soon. Call 949-597-4288 for more info on any show at the PAC.
Mobility and Vehicles Committee Round Up
By GRF First Vice President Beth Perak
The Mobility and Vehicles Committee is on a roll! The committee heard the suggestions and requests of riders and drivers, and as a result will be making improvements to bus routes on February 21, 2017. A survey of riders is in the works in order to continually gather rider feedback and suggestions to improve the system. Two small vehicles are on order to supplement Plan-a-Ride, and provide service to riders who might have special needs. The vehicles carry up to two wheelchairs and three additional passengers. They will be far more maneuverable than buses, and significantly less costly to maintain and operate.
For more information on transportation services please catch the next Bus Information Meeting at Clubhouse 1, February 15 at 1 p.m.
As mentioned above, monthly bus excursions are being planned as well as weekly destination shopping center trips at Aliso Viejo Town Center. For more information check out the weekly “What’s Happening in the Village” blasts.
Are you a longtime resident or a new neighbor, who would like to learn more about the amenities available in the Village? If so sign up to take a docent tour. Your hosts for the tour are knowledgeable residents, some of whom are past board members. There is a morning and afternoon tour on every Thursday and a Saturday tour once a month. For more information call 949-268-2337.
-GRF Advisor and Bus Buddy Carol St. Hilaire
Community Activities Committee Summary
By GRF First Vice President Beth Perak
The Community Activities Committee (CAC) is abuzz with improvements to recreation activities in the Village. First, CAC voted to suspend guest fees for both the pools and fitness centers for up to six months. CAC is hopeful this decision promotes healthy lifestyles while incorporating fun with friends and family. GRF recently contracted with Premier Aquatics to provide lifeguard services at all the pools. Premier Aquatics provides extensive lifeguard training to staff to prepare them in the event of an emergency. Swimmers will notice new faces intermingled with the returning lifeguards, now employed by Premier Aquatics. Finally, CAC members were honored to support the all-boards Christmas luncheon, designed to help residents celebrate the holidays. The CAC committee and the GRF Board are very appreciative for everyone who volunteered and the residents who attended.
By Third Secretary Burt Baum
Law and Order–Are you aware of our Compliance Department? They along with our Security people, investigate rule violations related to noise, clutter, pets, and the presence of unauthorized people in our community (Yes, there are rules on all of these). Violators who are at fault are given a warning, but if they persist, they are subject to a Board hearing leading to a possible fine and/or suspension of privileges (capital punishment is not an option). You, the resident, play an important role by reporting violations you see to our hotline, 949–268–CALL, or by filling out a form obtained online or in the Community Center. This can be done anonymously.
Resident Policy/Compliance Task Force–This is our task force of the month. What does it do? See the brilliant write up by one of our up-and-coming Director on the work on a revised Care Providers Policy below. Flash! He is working on an updated Leasing Policy for our next board meeting on February 21.
Save Money and Electricity–The cost of the electricity to heat your water makes up about 30 percent of your bill. Read the accounts by Moldow and Parsons on how you can cut down on your bill by having VMS staff service your water heater as a chargeable service.
Budget News-We’re still running a healthy balance. See Treasurer Parson’s report along with a financial breakdown of the various major projects in the Mutual.
Third Mutual Resident Policy and Compliance Task Force
By Third Secretary Burt Baum
Third Mutual formed the Resident Policy and Compliance (RP&C) Task Force to focus on problems caused by people who don’t belong here who are either entering illegally or living in the Village. The RP&C Task Force, working closely with our Compliance and Security staff, is reviewing and tightening policies on care providers, renters and guests.
As a first step, an updated Care Provider Policy, developed by the Task Force, was approved at the Board Meeting on January 24, 2017. This policy requires that all Care Providers, (part, full time and overnight) in Third, be registered with the state which requires a criminal background check. Residents and renters who want to hire a Care Provider must fill out a form and provide a certificate signed by a doctor, and get Board approval (done annually) beforehand. Providers must be at least 18, follow all community rules, only use amenities while aiding the resident, and wear a special ID. The three major changes: state registration, requirement that all providers be approved and issuance of special ID’s were made to ensure that fraud and other abuses are minimized and that usage of our amenities is restricted to residents and their guests.
Third Mutual Budget Continues to Be On Track!
By Third Treasurer Steve Parsons
Expenses and Revenue: We all like a favorable bank account balance. The October 2016 ending balance shows a healthy total of $748,000. Reduction in the usage of electricity and water contributed to this savings.
Reserve Balances: $24.5 Million as of October 31, 2016.
Resales for the Month of November 2016: More houses were sold overall; total average sales dollar volume was up nine percent; and the average price was $345,000 compared to $319,000 in 2015.
Significant Accomplishments in 2016:
Paving: work completed by the end of December.
Waste line replacement: program ongoing…will be slightly under budget at year-end.
Sewer Lining: over 19,982 linear feet installed in 394 sewer pipes and laterals…under budget.
Dry Rot Repair: Garden Villa Beam replacements for four buildings completed…on budget.
LH21 Stairway beam replacements completed in five buildings... on target.
Twenty cul-de-sacs and 41 buildings completed …under budget.
Garden Villa lobbies: five completed…under budget
Elevator and mailroom floors: cleaned and grout sealed all buildings scheduled for 2016.
Elevators: 10 completed in 2016…on target.
Fumigation: 20 buildings treated …under budget
Pavement overlay and pavement replacement: Five cul-de-sacs completed…on target.
Our talented VMS staff is busy setting goals and establishing plans for 2017, which should lead to even greater successes and completion of projects
Save Money: Replacement of Electric Water Heater Elements
By Third Treasurer Steve Parsons and Director Bert Moldow
The cost of operating your electric water heater makes up about 30 percent of your electric bill. Moreover, the elements in these heaters lose their efficiency over time because of mineral deposits, thereby increasing electric costs. Third Mutual is reducing these additional costs by replacing the heating elements in select electric water heaters in the standing laundry rooms that are about five years old. If you change these elements in a similar way in your manor, it will save money and pay for the cost in less than two years.
Director Parsons had this done on his seven-year-old heater. VMS staff discovered that mineral buildup had completely covered one of the electric coils and that the drain plug at the bottom of the tank was clogged with mineral sediment. The process, went smoothly and safely. It took about 10 minutes to completely drain the tank and less than an hour to do the whole job, including refilling the tank. He had hot water in another hour. Do not do this on you own. Third Mutual is now offering to do this as a chargeable service. Please call Resident Services at 949-597-4600 to arrange to have this and other maintenance tasks done on your heater. Be aware that after 10 years any damage caused by a leaking water heater is no longer covered by the Mutual.
Did You Know?
By Third President Rosemarie diLorenzo Dickins
Did you know? You should break down and flatten large boxes before placing them in the recycling bin. This allows room for many more recycled items in the bin.
And did you know? You can locate US Postal Service (USPS) mailboxes in the Village online. Visit USPS.com and under Quick Tools, select "Find USPS locations." There, you will find USPS Offices, “blue boxes,” where to buy stamps, and more! Just enter Zip Code 92637 to search the City of Laguna Woods and surrounding areas.
Third Mutual Resident Orientation Meetings
By Third Advisor Carol St. Hilaire
Would you like to learn more about Third Mutual and the Village? If so, sign up to attend a New Resident Orientation.
Orientation sessions include information on Resident Services, ID’s, security, insurance, permits, trash pickup, and much more. Additionally, the various ways to stay informed are discussed, including the Village website, the Village Breeze newsletter, “What’s Up in the Village,” and the Globe newspaper. You will receive a welcome kit that includes a list of the Third Directors’ contact information, emergency and frequently called numbers, a Village map, information regarding internet and Broadband service, and much more.
Orientations are held at the Community Center each month, generally on the third Friday of the month at 9 a.m. Third also offers evening orientations every other month; the next one is Wednesday, February 15, beginning at 6 p.m. If you would like to make a reservation, you can sign up at the front desk at the Community Center, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 949-268-2271.
Landscape Committee Report
By Third First Vice President James Tung
The Landscape Committee directed staff to begin testing a soil moisture sensor to work with the computerized irrigation system. The pilot project will run for about a year, to determine how much water can be saved on irrigation. If the moisture sensor helps save enough water, Third will consider installing sensors. Regarding turf reduction, the Landscaping Department replaces turf areas in three ways: first, by changing grass to ground cover greens; second by changing grass to gravel; and third, by re-seeding. More than 120 areas have been planned for turf reduction, and 15 have been completed.
Pat yourselves on the back, because in October 2016, Third’s high tier water bill was the lowest since the beginning of 2014!
United Presidents Overview
By United President Lenny Ross
Installations of carport solar panels, improved efficiency water heaters, and new electric panels in the laundry rooms are nearing completion. When activated, United stands to save millions of dollars in common property electrical costs. These savings will be used to pay off the solar investment within eight years.
On January 26, United conducted a full day of board training on governance, finance and law. The board set goals and objectives for 2017.
A task force of board members visited Cal Tech January 17, and returned with valuable information to report back to their boards and members on the possibilities of earthquakes and what the Village can do to prepare to survive.
Landscape Committee-Pesticide Use
By United Director Maggie Blackwell
The Landscape Division follows the statewide Integrated Pest Management Program. The program is ecologically based and aimed at preventing and solving pest problems using the least toxic method first to avoid unintended impacts on people and surroundings. The pesticides used in the Village, have been approved for use in landscape by State and Federal Environmental Protection Agencies, and are applied as directed by their label. Each pesticide application is documented, monitored, and reported to the OC Agricultural Commissioner’s Office on behalf of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Every technician applying pesticides is State Certified by the Department of Pesticide Regulation, regularly attends training, and is required to be re-certified every two years. Monitored testing is required, as well as 20 pre-approved continuing education hours. Pesticide use, storage, and VMS staff were reviewed favorably in the recent Landscape Department Performance Review conducted by W. Baker and Associates.
A recorded notice of pesticide application is available by calling 949-268-2310. The message identifies areas scheduled for application Monday through Friday. Notices are on the TV6 Bulletin Board, and are published in the Globe when space is available. Areas to be sprayed are marked with yellow pesticide flags in advance of application. Flags are removed when the technician returns and determines the area is safe for persons and pets, usually within an hour. Please avoid the areas while the flags are present.
Photo Provided by VMS Director and
United Resident Joe Rainey
Observations and Suggestions of a New United Director
By United Director Gary Morrison
We have great leaders in Brad Hudson and his staff. I was very impressed the first time I met this group. We now have the leadership and the supervision to successfully manage the community.
In order for Brad and his staff to work effectively, they have to be left alone to run their departments as they see fit. When Brad gives direction to his staff, and Board or Committee Members attempt to give conflicting direction, the job does not get completed in an effective and efficient manner.
The Board’s obligation is to set policy that provides service to the community, in addition to creating and monitoring the budget, ensuring efficiency and growth, and making sure there is responsible interaction with management and members. Once this policy is set by the Board, Brad and his staff need to be given the ability to implement it and complete projects. Many board and committee meetings could take place on a every other month as opposed to on a monthly basis, freeing employees to get work done and serve the community in a more efficient manner.
New United Communications and Media Committee
By United Director Maggie Blackwell
At the January Board meeting a charter for the new Communications and Media Committee was presented. The Committee consists of three United Board members and up to two advisors with public relations, writing, and/or editorial skills. The Committee meets the second Wednesday of each month. Read more about the Committee by clicking here.
United Solar Project – A Deal with the Sun is Done!
In September of 2016, United Mutual made a “Deal with the Sun” to install solar panels in eight locations.
Congratulations to all who participated in this great endeavor. United Mutual received permission from Southern California Edison to operate all solar sites the week of February 10, 2017. All eight sites are operational and generating electric power. Being energy conscious, United Mutual, along with Johnson Controls, Inc., has led the way in providing additional electric power to the grid and in turn will reduce the Mutual’s common area electric utility cost.
Next week, a United Solar Kiosk provided by Johnson Controls, Inc. will be located at the Clubhouse 1 Lounge. Please visit the lounge and become familiar with the energy savings.
Smoke Free for You and Me
By United Secretary Juanita Skillman
At the last United Mutual Board meeting, the Governing Documents Review Committee brought forward a new Non-Smoking Policy for United, which was endorsed by the Board and put on 30 day notice. The policy details the purpose, exactly where smoking is prohibited and enforcement measures for violations of the policy.
Specifically, the policy builds on the existing City of Laguna Woods Ordinance that stipulates, no smoking in public places, and limits any smoking by residents to within their own manor, with the doors and windows closed. Smoking is not allowed on balconies, patios or in carports. Furthermore, smoking is defined as: “inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying any lighted cigar, cigarette, e-cigarette, pipe, cannabis or other combustible substance in any manner or in any form.”
United Mutual already has in place Resolution 01-08-21 defining that it is the responsibility of the smoking party to fund remediation costs associated with second-hand smoke infiltration which becomes a nuisance and causes complaints from other residents. Smoking is one of the top three complaints received by the Village’s Compliance Division. It is the Board’s hoped that this new policy will help to mediate the problems. Staff is working with Third Mutual and GRF to make this a Community wide policy.
At The Towers…Celebrating Another Very Good Year
By Towers President Ryna Rothberg and Advisor Saretta Berlin
Early in December, the Activities Department returned to its full complement with the return of our two new mommies: Chelsea Sullivan, who delivered William Jack Sullivan September 29 and Kristen Orr, who brought Mason Thomas Orr into the world November 13.
As of this writing no one had actually yet had a full night’s sleep but they returned refreshed and eager to start planning for the holiday events. It began early in the month when a perfect Noble Fir tree was delivered and hoisted into the reception area with a crane. The Christmas tree, which was estimated to stand 30 feet tall—almost touching the ceiling of the reception area-- was decorated with hundreds of individual ornaments, which were made throughout the years by residents. Other trees were displayed in the dining rooms and throughout the buildings.
The weeks leading up to seasonal events began early with a holiday party on the evening of December 10, featuring a return visit by Tony Rodgers, who continues to amaze with a high energy nonstop show of music, dance and unbelievable leaps. Sodexo, our new caterer, got the holiday off to a good start with an impressive display of holiday cookies and hot apple cider.
The next week began with an escorted bus trip to view the holiday lights; several days later Towers residents had a lively Christmas Sing-A-Long with pianist Michael Geier and vocalist Christina Blakeslee. The Ukulele Group entertained in the lobby, with residents enjoying hot beverages and assorted cookies. On Christmas Day, Hitoshi Suzuki returned with four musicians, a narrator and several dancers to present the Nutcracker Suite and other holiday music.
The eight-days of Hanukah were observed with daily candle lighting. Each afternoon, residents gathered in the Rendezvous Room to take turns lighting the eight-branched menorah that is symbolic of the holiday. Ryna Rothberg reviewed the history and customs of the season and led the group in games, some of them dating back centuries. Winners received a small bag of “gelt,” usually chocolate wrapped in silver or gold foil to resemble money.
The annual Hanukah party took place on the third night, when Cantor Neal Linson returned to light the menorah, sing the traditional songs and offer the holiday treat of crispy potato latkes, served with sour cream and applesauce. Planning for the New Year’s Eve Casino Night began as soon as the Christmas/Hanukah festivities concluded. The challenge was to transform Lortscher Hall, which is used daily for classes, meetings and other events into an exciting gambling casino. As residents entered the transformed area, the hard work was evident in a glamorous setting of blackjack tables, complete with a craps table, roulette wheel and everyone’s favorite game, BINGO! Dressed in party attire, residents were given “gambling money” for a chance to win an array of raffle prizes. Snacks, both salty and sweet, were served, along with beverages both soft and hard. Guests celebrated the start of the New Year on East Coast time, and many departed the casino soon after a Champagne toast at 9 p.m. Night owls retired to the large-screen TV in the lounge to ring the New Year in properly. What would the holiday season be without really good films? The year-end movies began with a documentary called “Christmas Unwrapped” and continued with “Good Will Hunting” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Christmas Eve. The week between Christmas and New Year’s continued the tradition with “Rain Man” and a documentary called “Advanced Style” on the 28th. The New Year began with “Sully,” the story of the heroic airline pilot who made an incredible landing on the Hudson River—at the mature age of 65.
Fine Dining Comes to the Towers....A New Era Begins!
By Towers President Ryna Rothberg and Advisor Saretta Berlin
There’s a new company dishing up meals at The Towers as of December 1, 2016. After more than 20 years and an extensive search, Sodexo an international hospitality firm based in France, was selected. Their corporate goal is to improve the quality of life and contribute to the economic, social and environmental development of the community.
Founded in 1966, Sodexo is well-known throughout the world for innovative programs. Dedicated to the philosophy that the dining experience is vital to the enjoyment of life, the company provides services for more than 400 senior living communities throughout the United States. Their numbers are astounding: with more dieticians than any other similar organization, the company claims to have more than 100,000 recipes on file-and welcomes the input of their customers to add even more favorites.
Sodexo emphasizes its commitment to healthful living by using only fresh fruit and vegetables, locally grown whenever possible. Fish and seafood is purchased from sustainable sources and even the coffee-almost 1.7 million pounds is purchased in the U.S. In the kitchen, Sodexo’s culinary staff takes a creative approach to delicious meals designed to enhance the health and well-being of its customers.
Sodexo’s future plans include upgrading the dining room and installing a point of service ordering system that will improve the mealtime experience and result in lower costs. The plan is to make The Towers the showcase dining experience in Orange County. Towers residents look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with their newest customer service provider.
At The Towers…. Reduced Assessments in 2017
By Towers President Ryna Rothberg and Advisor Saretta Berlin
Residents at The Towers were pleased to learn that assessments for the New Year went down primarily due to the new contract with Sodexo. There were additional savings in the new PCM management contract for “Shared Mutual Operations” compared to previous years.
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, Jan LaBarge, United 1st VP 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
If you have problems or concerns about your manor, please contact VMS at the
following email addresses:
Or, go to lagunawoodsvillage.com and click on "Contact Us" on the left side of the page.