INFORMATION COMMITTEE MEETING NOV. 22, 2011
Present: Frank Schober, Don Dayton, Ed Moreno (Board Liaison), Elon Colello (Board Liaison), Carol Leyba (Vistas Editor/Designer), Marilyn Farrell (Staff Liaison), and guest Claudia Daigle.
Presently, this committee is without a chairperson--since the resignation of Frank Schober. Until we find a replacement, and when Dan Drobnis, who is Vice-Chair, is absent, we will simply follow our usual agenda.
Directives/information from the ECIA Board:
Ed explained that the ECIA's consideration of regulations regarding the keeping of chickens and goats is starting to heat up. There are a lot of rumors swirling around about this topic, and the issue should be clarified. Ed agreed to talk to Board Member Greg Bundrick about writing something about this. If he's unable to do it, Ed will follow up and may write something himself on the subject.
Discussion of the survey conducted about residents' preferences for the medium in which they receive Vistas:
Jack Arnold, our webmaster, has compiled statistics on the responses received in the online survey (which would mean a sample biased toward frequent Internet users):
Of 75 respondents
92% read Vistas regularly
60% would like to continue receiving Vistas by mail
48% would prefer to go to the website to read Vistas
20% of respondents are lot owners who live outside of Eldorado
Marilyn has collected responses to the same survey--but from those who turned in marked up paper surveys and those who called in their responses (which would mean a sample biased toward those who are not inclined to use the Internet). Her tally is as follows:
34 of 35 read Vistas regularly
31 of 35 would like to continue receiving Vistas by mail
4 of 36 would prefer to go to the website to read Vistas
More responses may yet come in, but it seems clear to the committee that, based on this feedback, ECIA members seem to approve of Vistas (based on percentage who actually read it) and to prefer to continue receiving it by mail.
As an alternative, we may eventually send out an email reminder that Vistas is also posted on the web, and include a link to the current issue. Elon indicated that he and Jack were working on the mechanisms to do this.
Ed M., as Board president, seemed to agree that the Vistas has, once again, proved itself worthy of continued Board support--with no diminution of production quality or change in the US mail distribution. However, we should continue t to investigate ways to cut printing costs, if possible, and without loss of quality. Carol and Marilyn will confer on getting additional printing quotes, and samples.
Regarding the ECIA Annual Report, which will be mailed to residents in April:
1. We need to start working on it earlier, to ameliorate the "boilerplate" quality of many of the reports.
2. We may do an abbreviated April issue of Vistas--maybe only 2 or 4 pages--which we would mail along with the Annual Report. This will save some printing, editorial/design, and distribution costs for that month.
3. The Annual Report may be in black/white instead of two-color.
Marilyn will get quotes from the printer on this smaller version of Vistas.
Make-up of January 2012 issue:
Ed will write lead article on ECIA goals for the year; the amenities survey they are planning to conduct, and position openings on the Board.
Carol will write to the Board members to solicit a paragraph from each on what it's like to work on the Board--in order to interest others in joining the Board.
Marilyn will write an article on the new ECIA staff and their positions.
Mark should (and likely will) write to remind residents to take their holiday lights down after the holidays are over.
Frank will write about all the folks with advanced degrees who live in Eldorado, examining what this means, or could mean, for Eldorado's governance and quality of volunteers.
It was suggested that someone write about de-icing products and safety issues. I will ask Bill D. and Dana Richards of SPEC to consider such an article.
In the future, Don would like to write an article on Eldorado's environmental features and history, including the petrified forest on ECIA property.
He may also write, in the future, about trees and what they do for the environment. This was in response to Marilyn's report that some residents are enraged by a lot owner who has planted hundreds of trees on a 6-acre parcel.
We had some discussion with Claudia Daigle, our guest, who is pushing for more "transparency" and open discussion in Vistas of issues of interest to residents. The committee members made it clear that Vistas is the official communications vehicle for the Board to bring information to ECIA members. It is not an appropriate venue for the expression of opinions on issues under consideration, especially controversial issues, unless the Board so deems.
Marilyn brought some snacks--thanks, Marilyn!
The meeting was adjourned at 8:15.
INFORMATION Committee Meeting, October 25, 2011
Present: Don Dayton, Ed Moreno (Board Liaison), and Carol Leyba (Vistas Editor)
Because we had so few present, we focused mainly on planning for the December Vistas:
Don offered to write an article on Who Governs Eldorado. He has been researching this topic and has discovered that there are 12 federal agencies, 32 state agencies, 18 county entities, plus various utilities, each of which has some jurisdictional authority in Eldorado.
Ed is working with the ECIA Board on a survey of members' wishes relative to ECIA amenities. The Board is planning to include such a survey in the mailed invitation to the annual meeting. He will write an article about this.
Ed mentioned that the Board is also working on a 10-Year Plan for the Replacement Reserve. He will try to write an article on this as well.
By mid-November, the Board will have decided on the change in the assessments. We will reserve a small box to announce this news, which means we will have to delay printing by one day (the meeting will be on Nov. 17; we will go to press on Nov. 18). Dan was assigned (in
absentia) the task of sending this information to the editor as soon as the decision is reached.
School construction: It was discussed that we should have an update on school construction. Carol will write to Principal Anne Darnton to see if we can't find someone to send us an article about it.
In our meeting last month, Jack Arnold gave a presentation on user statistics from the ECIA website. Jack was assigned (in absentia) the task of writing up this information for the December issue.
We discussed the letter about Waste Management from Susan Daniel. Ed expressed the opinion that this is not an urgent matter, but we could write something up if we have the time and space to do so.
It was also mentioned that there are now new county commission districts, and the 285 corridor has been broken up into two districts. It was suggested that we could find current information by contacting Julia Valdez, administrative asst. for the county.
We also discussed printing the statistics from Mark Young's work as covenant compliance rep. We will include these in the print version of Vistas as space allows. It is likely that we will be able to include them in the December issue.
Marilyn Farrell left us a copy of SERA's (Sustainable Eldorado Residents Alliance) information packet on recycling, with a note asking if this could be included in the newcomer's packet. Ed was informed of this request but had no clear opinion about it at this time.
As Ed mentioned in an earlier memo to committee chairs, the Information Committee needs additional members. We would like all members to ask their friends and acquaintances if they'd consider joining our committee. We would especially like to recruit someone with school-age children, so we could address issues of that age group.
The meeting was adjourned by 8 pm!
Frank Schober left us a box of See's Candy. Many thanks, Frank!
Information Committee Meeting Minutes, September 20, 2011
Present: Frank Schober (Chair), Jack Arnold (Webmaster), Elan Colello (Board Liaison), Marilyn Farrell (ECIA liaison), Carol Leyba (Vistas Editor/Designer), Don Dayton (member), and Claudia Daigle (guest)
News from the Board:
Elan noted that the ECIA budget for 2012 is currently being drafted, and the Finance Comte is looking for ways to save money. Ed Moreno, ECIA President, had asked the Information Committee to come up with ways to trim the Information Committee budget. Frank is of the opinion that it is not our job to bring in revenue or to reduce our expenses; our job is to produce the communication from the Board to the community. It is the Board's job to set their priorities, which we will follow. Elan said he would take this up with the Board: what is their priority for Vistas?
Claudia noted that she heard that the Finance Comte was considering asking us to run a big headline: "We are going electronic; if you want to continue to receive your printed copy of Vistas, you should let us know."This would be asking Vistas readers to "opt in" to receiving the printed Vistas, rather than to "opt out" of receiving it in favor of getting it from the Internet. There was much discussion about how this did not seem a good option. Nor have we actually received that directive from the Finance Comte or the Board-- at this point it's just an idea.
Re the ECIA marquees: Weed control is needed around the marquee signs. Marilyn will take that up with the staff.
Todd Handy (Treasurer) and Bill Donohue (Gen Mgr) are working on fulfilling the requirements for putting a new marquee in place.
Bill Donohue is also working on soliciting bids from printers to see if we can get less expensive printing of Vistas.
Jack gave a presentation on the viewing statistics of our website. In August 2011, the Eldorado website had over 1400 unique visitors and over 17,000 page visits. There were also numerous downloads from our site, including 106 greenbelt maps, 70 Architectural Guidelines, and
36 copies of the Handy Phone List that Raven Hicks produced. Half the visitors spent 30 seconds or less on the site, 25% spent 2 minutes or more, 25% spent 5 minutes or more, and 7% spent 15 minutes or more.
Also, Eldorado was Googled 1100 times in one month. These are excellent statistics and very encouraging that people are using the site. Jack will write an article about this for the December issue (not the next one, in November).
Re the Artist of the Week on our bulletin board: Jack has been asked to make their presentations larger, which he will do. Right now, paper and ink are being funded by ECIA; Jack will ask the EACA to help pay for this.
Topics for the November issue:
We have on hand, or already promised, several articles:
Don's article on gold mining in the Ortiz Mountains
Frank's article on what ECIA members get for their money (he will include the fact, supplied by Elan, that our extensions to the hike/ bike paths are the most requested new amenity, and refurbishment to the existing paths the most requested upgrade request; also that the ECIA recently spent money on the soccer field and for new water lines)
An announcement from Principal Anne Darnton of the Community School
Dan's Board Actions Report
Dan's article on the Budget hearing
A bird article from Pam Henline
An announcement from SPEC seeking new members
Carol asked Jack (or Elan) to get a picture of the Doggie Pool Party (being held on October 1) for the back page of Vistas.
Frank announced that, owing to his taking on a consulting job, he will be stepping down as Chair of the Information Committee, but will remain a member of the committee. (We will miss him in that role!)
Munchies supplied by Marilyn, Frank, and home-grown tomatoes from Elan. Thanks, all!
Information Committee Meeting August 23, 2011
Present: Frank Schober (Chair), Dan Drobnis (Vice-chair), Jack Arnold (webmaster), Elan Colello (Board Liaison), Ed Moreno (alternate Board Liaison), Marilyn Farrell (Staff Liaison), Carol Leyba (Editor), members Don Dayton and Jackie Koger, and Claudia Daigle (resident, guest to committee meeting)
Frank opened the meeting with a quick review of the agenda. He has decided to introduce one or two new words to the committee each month. This month's words were glossolalia and logorrhea--both of which describe meeting behaviors we should avoid!
Ed Moreno brought up a concern of the Board: This is a year of tight finances for the ECIA as well as for residents, which means that some people may be very opposed to a rise in ECIA assessments, which the Board has been considering. That being the case, the costs for producing and mailing Vistas and for maintaining the ECIA website are a "fat target" for budget cutting. So the Information Committee is being asked to look at possible ways to cut expenses. This is a topic we revisit every year, and every year we conclude that communication is a key component of the work of the ECIA Board; that we need to have a print product (not just a website); and that we need to keep the quality high so that residents are drawn to read the newsletter. However, we did agree that we need to look into our printer contract with Signature Offset; perhaps we can get a better price on printing. And perhaps we can get more people to sign up for electronic delivery of the newsletter, which would save on mailing (though not very much).
The other "fat targets" for cost-cutting are the security contracts and the community services position. There was some discussion about whether ECIA gets its money's worth from these expenses. There was a general consensus that the security contract was perhaps something that costs more than it delivers. Ed will take these thoughts to the Board.
Also, Ed mentioned that, in his view, communication between the Board and the members of ECIA (that is, all lot owners) needs more attention and effort, not less.
Claudia Daigle came to our meeting to discuss a letter that she had wanted published in Vistas but which we declined to publish because we thought it to be "inflammatory" and "controversial." Her letter concerned some construction trucks that had parked adjacent to residential properties during a paving project and had raised the ire of residents; in her view, the ECIA had dealt very poorly with the whole issue, and she was upset. Frank made the point that it was not our committee's job to deal with those concerns; that the appropriate means was for her to take up the issue with the Board and when it was resolved, we might report it. Elan had some suggestions for her about how to deal with her concern; Frank suggested she could join the Information Committee and in that way influence what was published.
Claudia thought that Vistas needed more input from residents to make the work of the ECIA more transparent, and to keep the publication fresh and interesting. She suggested a "Members' Corner." We pointed out that the newsletter is the mouthpiece of the ECIA Board, and it is our mandate to publish their communications to the community.
Follow-up on our long meeting of July 23:
Re bulletin board at La Tienda: We don't need to install a bulletin board there, as they already have one of their own, and ECIA can post things there as needed.
Re the marquee at the third entrance (Eldorado Ave): Bill Donohue, General Mgr, and Todd Handy, Treasurer, are working with the county to clear the obstacles to our placing a marquee at that location. Those obstacles have to do with rights-of-way, which can be dealt with but take time to do so. The marquee will be used, like the others we have at the Agora and at the Community Center, for announcing events and posting emergency notices.
Re the newcomer packet: Carol has looked over the packet material and began to consider how the language of the Covenants and Guidelines might be synthesized, or reworded, to be easier to understand and read. But it became clear that the language was drafted to cover all legal possibilities, and should not be changed. Dan D. made it clear that the language of those documents must remain as written. He is reworking some parts of the packet; when that is done, Carol will reformat to make it more user-friendly from a design point of view.
Jack went over all the items that he has updated on the website. We discussed the "runovers" from Vistas--those articles and news bits that we couldn't fit into the September issue and posted instead on our website. People seem to like this idea of putting such things on the website; Jack was going to post the various articles at different times, but after discussion, decided to post all of them at once.
There was some discussion of our paying a small fee to get "friendly URLs" for articles posted on the website.
There was some discussion of how long we should keep articles live on the site before archiving them. It was decided that Marilyn should archive the articles after 12 months. Archived articles cannot be accessed directly but can still be found by search engines.
It was suggested that Jack add a site map to the website.
Marilyn asked that Jack post pool hours for August and September.
We have been receiving data from Mark Young about the number of covenant violations and other issues he's dealt with. It was decided that this information would go on the website, not in Vistas. We will include a line linking to the Covenant Compliance section of the website, from Mark's articles.
It was decided to feature the Fall Art Show on p. 1 of the October issue. Carol has received something from George Henke, but can get additional material, if needed, from Jack.
The ECIA is in "budget mode." Dan will write a small piece on upcoming meetings.
Given the focus on the budget, Frank will write a piece on What We Get for Our Money through ECIA. Frank will interview committee chairs and other movers & shakers.
Don Dayton will write a piece about the historic gold mine in the Cerrillos hills.
Carol will solicit article from the folks at CarbonBusters about winterizing homes--maybe with focus on new technologies.
Ask Mark about writing about the energy audit done at ECIA offices.
We still have an unused bird article by Pam Henline, which we will use, space permitting.
We will not put Raven's list of Handy Phone numbers in Vistas but will keep it on the website.
Editor will decide which, if any, runover articles will get published in later issues of Vistas (after their publication on the website).
Marilyn brought munchies--many thanks!
Information Committee meeting, July 23, 8:30-11:45 am
Present: Frank Schober (chair), Dan Drobnis (vice-chair), Ed Moreno (alternate Board liaison), Marilyn Farrell (ECIA liaison), Jack Arnold (webmaster), Carol Leyba (Vistas editor/designer), Don Dayton, Jackie Koger, and John Parker (Conservation Cmte chair)
Discussion topics from the agenda:
How can we as the Information committee get ECIA members to fully understand that they are Association members and that the acronym ECIA refers to every lot-owner in the Eldorado development?
Suggestions: Hold regular or seasonal ECIA-sponsored events; use the terminology "ECIA member" rather than "Eldorado resident" in Vistas, whenever appropriate; assign an article about what the ECIA does.
What can we do to make the ECIA bulletin board in the Agora both interesting and useful?
Jack Arnold is a member of Eldorado Arts & Crafts Assn (EACA) and maintains their website; he's been in contact with artist Cate Goedart about getting information and illustrations from EACA members to be placed in our Agora bulletin board. These will be taken from the EACA's brochure from their Annual Studio Tour 2011. Jack will print and give to Marilyn for posting.
Keep posted materials current; remove any dated material or anything that looks bedraggled. Marilyn does this regularly.
The wording "ECIA" should be put at the top inside the bulletin board.
Re the La Tienda bulletin board: This is being planned (with thanks to Todd Handy for his help). The best location for it is probably in the middle building--though there is no real "center" of La Tienda.
Discussion of website:
It's looking good. Jack has made a lot of changes and keeps the site updated regularly.
Add some element to highlight "hot topics" or "press releases". This could draw attention to very timely issues.
Add something like "Check here before you build, dig, or otherwise modify your property"--directing the viewer to the Guidelines.
[There was some side discussion of how homeowners sometimes make changes to their property not realizing that they have to follow the covenants/guidelines; Ed Moreno mentioned about some houses that were built in the 1980s that were situated in the setbacks (where they should not be placed) and now they need variances to accommodate the irregularities. Dan D. mentioned that in the past some homeowners have made lot-line adjustments with adjacent neighbors to make such "misplacements" conform to regulations.]
Some committee information is still missing from website. For instance, the Election Cmte has not submitted anything on its work for the Committee Minutes section. Frank will follow up with the committee chair.
Should committee agendas be posted? Only the Board posts its agenda. Other committees that might do so (but don't because of the last-minute nature of their work) are the Finance Cmte and the Architectural Cmte. It was decided that some committees could post "generic" agendas if they regularly cover the same topics. Re the Architectural Cmte's agenda, there was some discussion of posting signs where some major changes (e.g., tracking arrays) are under consideration.
Jack should change out the photos featured on the home page. He will do that.
Getting timely information from committee chairs: There was discussion of the fact that sometimes a committee will have some late-breaking or time-sensitive information. The website is a good place to post this. The Board, or the Info Cmte, could contact the committee chairs and ask them to send any timely information to Jack or Marilyn, for posting on the website.
Also check into a link to the SF County priorities survey from 10/12/10
We discussed the possibility of setting up a system for e-blasts--that is, email messages to residents from ECIA, either for emergency announcements or seasonal announcements (e.g., in spring/summer, advising residents to check the covenants/guidelines before undertaking any property modifications that require ECIA approval). This would require ECIA to gather email addresses of residents. But it was generally agreed that this was a good idea--if nothing else, for emergency communications. Jack will check into various email services (e.g, Vertical Response, Constant Contact) and see if there is a special rate for tax exempt. If we decide to go forward with this, then Jack will provide a sign-up function on the site
Speaking of emergencies, Ed M. mentioned that the Sheriff has launched a count-wide alert system called Nixle. We should write an article about this. Dan D. has agreed to do this. Jack will insert a link from the website to nixle.com.
Ed also noted an announcement from the county about the Santa Fe Rail Trail Update. They are planning to put in a new trail that will eventually hook up with the rail trail in Eldorado (though not for a while). We'll keep an eye on this and report it when it becomes more relevant to Eldorado.
Ed also presented the results of a survey of what people who live within homeowners associations think of their HOA--which was by and large extremely positive. Ed suggests that perhaps a similar survey or poll could be made of Eldorado residents, and the results used to drive the focus of the ECIA. However, this would be expensive.
John Parker attended this meeting because he felt that in our July issue of Vistas, an important opportunity was missed when the Conservation Cmte's workshop on water harvesting coincided with two page-1 articles in Vistas, about water conservation. Although we did announce the water harvesting workshop in the Community Events, both as a blurb on p. 4 and as a listing in the Calendar of Events on p. 5, it would have been opportune to have mentioned it also on pg. 1, along with the articles on water. This brought up the idea that we are not connecting the dots as much as we could be regarding information dissemination. Carol L., as editor, took responsibility for missing that opportunity in July, and suggested that perhaps the committee chairs could check the minutes of the Info committee to see what we would be covering each month. Others pointed out that it would be even better if we could email our minutes to the committee chairs. It was decided that when Carol sends out monthly deadline reminders to contributors, either she could include the Info Cmte's minutes (at least in the reminders to committee chairs) or could make mention of what topics were discussed for inclusion in the next Vistas. In short, we should do a better job of coordinating with the committees.
John P. also noted that if we ever decide to create a CD on Eldorado, he'd be happy to contribute photos and perhaps other material.
John also mentioned in passing that the Preserve is currently closed owing to fire danger,and that the Conservation Cmte had decided to automatically close the Preserve whenever the county decides to close its public open spaces.
One of the reasons for this special, long meeting on a Saturday was to discuss how we could improve the Newcomer Packet that is sent to all new homeowners in Eldorado. Frank has long made a point about the packet being a collection of paper that is less-than-optimal in its presentation of information, such that many don't bother to read it. Also, it is not sent to renters, who probably represent the most frequent violators of the ECIA covenants, particularly regarding dogs. Since renters don't receive the packet, they are seldom aware of the covenants.
Currently the packet contains the following elements: two brochures on Eldorado, a map of Eldorado, a letter from the ECIA president, a letter from the General Manager, a brochure on dog owning in Eldorado, a "What is the ECIA" statement, and sections covering Past and Present, Community Organizations, Amenities, Services, Building Restrictions and Guidelines, Covenants, and Gardening Tips. Also included are several pages on Neighborhood Watch, a full set of the Architectural Guidelines, plus the legal founding documents registered with the County Clerk. There seem to be roughly 65 pages of material in the packet.
Dan D. offered to update the information contained in the first batch of material (i.e., from "What is ECIA" through the gardening tips), as newer information (e.g., the presence of and regulations for the Dog Park) is missing, and some information may be obsolete.
Once Dan has made his editorial pass through the material, he will send the files to Carol, who will prepare a design with the idea of making the packet more user-friendly and readable. This will include a clearer text design, perhaps some photos or other illustrations, and a plan for binding it so that residents will want to keep it on their bookshelf rather than put it away in a drawer or in the back of a closet. The founding documents, which are facsimile reproductions, can go as is in an appendix in the back.
Marilyn F will check on obtaining a better map of Eldorado for inclusion.
There was discussion of whether renters should be sent the revised packet, or only the information about dogs. The consensus seemed to be that they should get the whole packet.
Wikipedia article on Eldorado: Jack is researching information to update the article that is currently posted in Wikipedia. Frank asked him also to replace some of the photos that are currently in place in the article.
September issue of Vistas:
Don Dayton has written an article on safety tips for pedestrians and bikers. This will be timely, given that kids will be back in school in September and using the hike/bike trails. Don noted that it is illegal to walk or jog on the road if there is a parallel sidewalk in that area. He also mentioned that pedestrians have the right-of-way at any 4-way intersection. These issues are covered in his article. Carol will notify Nolan Zisman, chair of the Road Comte, that this topic will be covered, in case he wants to raise a similar subject or contribute to this discussion.
Jackie has agreed to write about the school, again with a focus on public safety. She will also get a photo of the school construction, for p. 8.
Ed's (President's) article will probably cover a recent survey by the county called "County Priorities Survey" which asked Santa Fe residents what issues they wanted their county government to address.
Recent Board Action will be covered again by Dan D.
Dan D. will also submit information from the Finance Cmte on their Budget Calendar. He also mentioned that the Finance Cmte will most likely recommend a 10-20% increase in assessments for 2012-13.
Mark Young has submitted an article "Architectural Cmte Adopts New Presentation Guidelines." We also need to include the statistics he's submitted about the violations he's noted and resolved.
The Information Cmte needs to recruit additional members. We will include a "Looking for Writers" advert to bring in new volunteers.
Nolan Zisman and Bill Donohue agreed, just before the August issue went to press, that there would be an ECIA-sponsored event called End of Summer Community Day. This is in the spirit of Ed Moreno's article in the August issue but wasn't run through all the channels before the announcement was made. Ed will contact Nolan about this. Someone (Nolan? Ed?) will have to submit something about this event, which was noted on p. 4 of the August issue as a Save the Date (for Labor Day).
Marilyn will submit some basic information about Brian Bennett, who is a relatively new staff member of ECIA.
There was some discussion of the fact that we have changed mail houses for Vistas; the new mail house is Allegra (printers). Allegra has also submitted a bid for printing Vistas, which was less than we currently pay Signature Offset in Colorado. Before we make any agreement to change printers, we have to ensure that the quality and turnaround time are maintained at the current level. Marilyn was asked by Bill Donohue to bring up the discussion of ways we could reduce our printing/mailing costs. Suggestions to reduce the number of pages or the frequency of publication (to 6 times/year instead of monthly) were not well received by the committee. It was suggested that the ECIA could try to get Signature to reduce their costs, in this era of austerity.
Thanks to all for attending this long session.
Information Committee meeting, June 21, 2011, 7-9 pm
Present: Frank Schober (Chair), Dan Drobnis (Vice-Chair), Jack Arnold (Webmaster), Carol Leyba (Editor/Designer), Elan Colello (Board Liaison), Marilyn Farrell (ECIA staff liaison), and members Jackie Koger and Don Dayton
Information from the Board to the Info Committee presented by Elan:
The Board has asked us to include information / statistics on the activities of the Covenant Compliance Representative in Vistas--something on the order of "Mark Young handled x calls regarding y complaints and resolved them . . . ." We decided that it made sense to include something to this effect at the end of Mark's monthly articles in Vistas.
A Greenbelt Report was submitted to the Board, assessing the state of the greenbelts and the hike/bike trails. It's a lengthy report that gives information about which trails are in good shape, which are in poor condition, and which ones have disappeared. The Conservation Committee will make suggestions in the future about how to follow up on this report.
Other Board / ECIA business:
Regarding the placement of a third marquee sign, to be installed at the third entrance, Elan asked Frank to outline the procedure, which he did, as follows:
Board needs to call the marquee vendor to get an updated quote; then the Board needs to approve the expenditure. Then the staff needs to call Liz Stefanics' office because the County Commission will have to approve it. Also, ECIA will have to get an OK from the neighboring businesses. Once all that is in place, the county must approve.
There was some discussion about residents being liable for maintaining their property in fire-safe condition. Frank indicated that during a county meeting where the County Fire Chief was present, Frank asked if residents could be cited for fire safety violations and was told by the Chief that they could be cited. ECIA Staff should confirm this with the County Fire Dept. and obtain the necessary information.
Jack shared information on items that he has updated or corrected on the website.
The July Vistas mentions that our website will carry updated information about fireworks restrictions in Eldorado for the 4th of July. Marilyn has information about what is being prohibited in Eldorado. She will send that to Jack for posting on the website.
It was suggested that the statement on the website that there are "2500 homes in Eldorado" be amended to say there are 2650 homes.
There was discussion of the section on Covenant Compliance on the website. There is a 3-paragraph article about Mark Young and his approach to his job. It was suggested that Jack post Mark's monthly article in this section on the website.
Frank wants all postings on the bulletin board to carry termination / removal dates. Marilyn F. will have to handle that.
Composition of August issue of Vistas:
The lead article will be about the Ice Cream Social / Library Fundraiser. Carol will contact the Diane Thomas at the Library to ask them to submit an article.
Dan will write another short article on the Board's action approvals from the last meeting. Dan will also write a small article on the Census information from 2010 relating to Eldorado's census tract.
Frank will write an article about what it's like to volunteer for the Fire Department. They have a lot of openings and need volunteers. The article will describe the kinds of jobs / tasks for which they need volunteers.
Marilyn will write an article about the new ECIA staff (there are four new people)--photos should be included, if possible.
Don D will write an article about coyotes in the human environment, including the use of steel traps and perhaps the recent poisoning by a local veterinarian. He has a good coyote photo.
Jackie will write an article about the labyrinth at the Community Center created by Eagle Scout Breo Freeman. This article will go on the back page, with a photo of the labyrinth by Jack. Jackie will contact George Henke, who wants to "register" the labyrinth.
We should cover the construction at the school but no one was available to write the article.
Other small items to be mentioned in the next issue: The Sustainability Committee (SPEC) will be holding its regular meetings on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 7 pm. Elan will write up a paragraph.
Marilyn gave Carol a short blurb about the formation of an Astronomy Club in Eldorado, from Ken Mitchell.
Ad Hoc Meeting planned:
Frank wants to hold a half-day meeting to discuss ways to revise the New Homeowner's Packet. This meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, July 20, at 9 am. Marilyn will ask the ECIA to fund coffee and pastries for the meeting.
Our next regular monthly meeting is scheduled for July 26.
Marilyn brought a pan of her delicious brownies. Thanks, Marilyn!
Information Committee minutes, May 24, 2011
Present: Frank Schober (chair), Dan Drobnis (vice-chair), Todd Handy, Board member, Elan Colello (Board liaison), Jack Arnold (webmaster), Carol Leyba (Editor), and Dan Dayton.
Frank asked Todd H. to bring the following issues to the Board:
A bulletin board is needed for La Tienda (one that is smaller than that at the Agora) for posting ECIA news and information.
The ECIA marquee at the Agora needs a protective covering, like the one on the marquee at the Community Center.
The ECIA needs to refashion its newcomer's packet. Frank would like to brainstorm with members of the committee on how it could be done.
Todd suggested some stories for Vistas regarding the following:
A maze, or labyrinth, is being constructed at the Community Center by an Eagle Scout. There is a drawing of the maze design.
Todd sent further information on this project to the Info committee via email.
The El Dorado School is undergoing some major reconstruction (80,000 sq. feet / 200 contractors). Todd's email has info on contacts, etc.
Jean Crawford, as the Resident of the Year, will be the Grand Marshall of the ECIA's July 4 Parade.
The Board has held its election of officers: Ed Moreno is the new Pres., Elan Colello is Vice-Pres., Todd H continues as Treasurer, and Gregory Bundrick continues as Secretary. Suggestion: We include a box in Vistas announcing that the most recent actions of the Board--approved projects and motions---will be posted on the website at such-and-such address.
Frank inquired about the status of the weed-eating herd of goats. Todd explained that there had been some miscarriages of kids, and some may be under quarantine. As a consequence, the goats are only going "out to eat" once a day instead of three times. Also, their cost has increased, as homeowners have outbid the ECIA for their services, driving the cost up. But fire hazard mitigation is extremely important, especially in the greenbelts, so having them is important.
The June issue of Vistas was reviewed. No concerns were raised.
Makeup of the July issue was discussed:
The major focus will continue to be fire hazard mitigation. Dan Dayton has written a 525-word article.
Frank will write about leaking hydrants and other issues about water.
The 4th of July Parade should go on the back page. Usually copy comes from ECIA staff--perhaps Marilyn Farrell will write up the schedule.
A box should go on the front page: "NO FIREWORKS!" owing to the dry conditions and potential for fire.
We should cover the school construction, either in July or August.
Elan will write a piece about the process of defining issues for the evolving ECIA architectural guidelines.
Marilyn F will write an article on new ECIA staff (promised last month)
Raven Hicks has written (or will write) a piece on graffiti in Eldorado.
Dan will write copy for a box pointing to the website's posting of the Board's approved actions.
An idea for the future: An article on recycling, both hazardous waste and regular recyclables.
The committee reviewed changes/updates to our website. Jack showed us revisions to the color charts for new roofs; we discussed putting a watermark on the color chart advising residents that the colors as shown on their own computer monitor may not be the same as the approved color.
Elan suggested changing our website's URLs to read more simply, in order to make linking easier and more persistent. Elan will work with Jack to get this done.
Information Committee 4/26/2011
Present: Frank Schober (Chair), Dan Drobnis (Vice-chair), Jack Arnold (webmaster), Carol Leyba (editor/designer), Gale Oppenheim-Pietrzak, Marilyn Farrell, Jackie Koger, Todd Handy (backup Board Liaison), Elan Colello (Board liaison), Don Dayton, prospective new member
Frank introduced Don Dayton, who is interested in possibly joining the committee. Don has worked with the National Park Service, with county development, and on the water commission; he also wrote the "County Beat" column for the Eldorado Sun. He's interested in writing for Vistas.
Todd Handy delivered news updates from the Board: Tom Willmott 's term as ECIA president is expiring Monday May 2; Bill Osher has been voted onto the Board. At the Board's next meeting, they will decide which members will assume the executive roles of president, vice- president, secretary, and treasurer. The board approved a new set of guidelines, which has some small technical changes, which will be announced on the website and in Vistas. Next they will entertain further ideas for additional changes to the guidelines, including new definitions for allowable "pets" and for distinctions between a "pool" and a "spa"--and other such things. The Board approved repair of the windmill and water tower at the Community Center. They also approved the formation of a new ECIA committee, Sustainability Planning and Education Committee.
Jack Arnold showed the committee some updates on the website. We discussed the possibility of updating the photographs on the home page, and updating the Contact Us page names with all the current committee chairpersons. We briefly discussed hosting a discussion forum on the website, but it seems there are too many potential problems to doing that. Nothing definitive was decided, but the idea was not taken further. We discussed adding all the local businesses to the Vistas mailing list. Gale and others will begin to compile this list.
We discussed the current issue of Vistas; no problems were reported.
We discussed the makeup of the June issue:
Front page: Should cover fire prevention--a big issue in today's climate. Don Dayton will write the article.
ECIA News: Dan Drobnis will write an article on the Annual Meeting coming up next week. He will include information on the newly approved guidelines, on the Resident of the Year, and on the new members of the Board.
Elan Colello, with Kathleen Mortimer and Mark Young, will write an article about the issues being discussed regarding further changes to the ECIA covenants and guidelines.
Tom Willmott will be asked (by Todd Handy) to write something about the approved new committee, Sustainability Planning and Education Committee, and something of a farewell as his presidency is ending.
Ed Moreno will write an article about the Board's approval of new guidelines regarding amplified music in Eldorado.
Marilyn will write an article on the new staff member, Brian Bennett.
She will also include a mention of the new temporary and part-time staff hired by ECIA.
Todd Handy will pull together something for the back page on the school's new construction project--hopefully with a photo of the building model.
We have an article from Mark Young on the trailwork being done in the Preserve. Marilyn Farrell said we have new trailhead signs, which might be included in the article.
We have an article on the Garden Tour coming in June.
We need to keep running a blurb to remind residents to call in their land line and cell phone numbers for emergency use by ECIA.
Regarding the marquee signs, Gale is checking on them regularly, and they have been kept up-to-date and in good condition by new ECIA staff.
Frank asked Marilyn to ask Bill Donohue to get another quote for a bulletin board for La Tienda; the quote they got was for a 5-foot- wide space, but La Tienda has only 4-feet to spare for the bulletin board.
Meeting adjourned at 8:45 pm.
Information Committee meeting, March 22, 2011, 7-8:45 pm
Present: Frank Schober, Dan Drobnis, Gale Oppenheim-Pietrzak, Ed Moreno, Elan Colello, Marilyn Farrell, and Carol Leyba
Ed Moreno, one of the committee's Board liaisons, came to the meeting a little early to solicit feedback from our members on issues surrounding having the ECIA adopt the charter of the proposed Sustainability Committee (which has had various different names)--that is, was it a good idea for this committee to become part of ECIA rather than be a separate advocacy group that could be consulted as needed. A very animated discussion ensued, giving Ed many different opinions and ideas to consider.
Discussion of April issue:
Suggestions that arose from this discussion included:
On our website, highlight the Library's "Donate" button and the "Shop Amazon to Support VGPL." Maybe write an article on ways to donate to the library.
Repeat the box about the ECIA needing residents' phone numbers. Stress the need for cell phone numbers for when an emergency arises when owners are not at home.
Discussion of new (May) issue:
Main stories should be:
School renovation. Elan gave me an information sheet on the upcoming renovation, which will start in May and will include new cafeteria, new kitchen, new gym, new library addition, new administrative/entry area, and classrooms and labs. Frank had already written to Teri (Gallegos Reynolds), who's our liaison with the school, about writing our piece. I will follow up and find out whether she's able to do it. It was also mentioned that the school is starting a journalism club; maybe Teri can do a joint writing project with the kids.
Pool Season: Story should include the following: The pool will be resurfaced before the opening; season starts Memorial Day weekend. Pool passes will become available April 1. 3rd graders are planning to come with their class on the last day of school--if lifeguards are hired by then. Every resident in good standing (that is, whose assessments are paid in full), with a pool pass, can bring two guests; all kids 12 or under must come with parents. Renters can get a pass if and only if their landlord is in good standing and does not owe money on their assessments. We should try to get a photo of the dog pool party from last year--possibly from Freddi Fullington. Marilyn F. was drafted to write the article.
Capital Expenses: Dan Drobnis agreed to write story on the funds that were recently approved by the Board to be spent on such things as landscaping and renovation of the Community Center, the renovation of the "rental house" on the ECIA property, and the new trailhead signs for the Preserve.
We should have something on becoming a "Firewise Community." John Parker, chair of the Conservation Cmte, is very interested in this topic. Frank agreed to write something about this.
Back page: Get a goat picture; headline: They're Back! (or They're Coming Back!)--depending on the dates they'll be back here munching weeds this season.
In Community Events: Run blurb about ECIA needing certified lifeguards.
Frank will write an article on the census data for Eldorado, for the June issue. The article on Deanna, the yoga teacher at the Community Center, will be held off until July.
Marilyn reported that she obtained a cost estimate for a bulletin board to be placed at La Tienda, which she gave to Frank. Frank will pass on to the appropriate people at La Tienda.
Marilyn reported on the delivery of Vistas: 2,621 copies were mailed to owners and renters. 247 people opted out of receiving it. Marilyn said there was now no problem with their database in getting delivery (or not) to the right people.
Marilyn reported that minutes have been received for posting on the website from all committees except the Road Committee and the Election Committee. Election says theirs are coming shortly.
Frank reported on all the places he has supplied with dispensers/magazine holders offering Vistas: at the Library, Sr. Center, La Tienda, the Supermart, two real estate offices, and a number of other commercial outlets.
Thanks to Marilyn and Frank for bringing more delicious eats for the meeting!
Information Committee meeting, Feb. 22, 2011, 7-8:50 pm
Present: Frank Schober (Chair), Dan Drobnis (Vice-Chair), Jack Arnold (Webmaster), Carol Leyba (Editor/Designer), Gale Oppenheimer (Member), Marilyn Farrell (Staff Liaison), Elan Collelo (ECIA Liaison), Ed Moreno (ECIA Vice-President), and Todd Handy (ECIA Treasurer). Making a special appearance was Raven Hicks, ECIA Community Services Manager.
Raven Hicks came to the meeting to discuss ways of alerting residents in the event of an emergency. He noted that El Dorado Fire and Rescue is run by the county and so is not under the control of the ECIA. He noted that the city's fire department has a Facebook page and Twitter account, which they use to announce alerts of problems happening around the city (street closures, etc.). The county is in the process of developing the same kind of system of alerts. Raven was asking the committee to consider other methods that the ECIA might use to get in touch with our residents in an emergency. We did some brainstorming but said we would get back to Raven once the committee had had a chance to consider the possibilities.
Todd Handy came to discuss the possibility of having an insert "blown in" to the Vistas on behalf of the Vista Grande Public Library. The Library is currently receiving zero funding from the county, and none from ECIA. So they need to raise awareness of their complete dependence on donations, and thought that some kind of insert in Vistas would help. Todd wanted to know if the committee had any objection to this in principle. We discussed what kind of precedent this would set, and what limitations we would have to maintain:
basically, going forward, any such inserts would be limited to nonprofit organizations in our community, like the Library or the Senior Center. The committee had no objections to this idea. Bill Donohue, ECIA General Manager, is going to get quotes from the mail house that sends out Vistas, to see what the cost of an insert would be. If the Library decides to pursue this, they will pay the full cost of producing and inserting the piece.
We discussed the fact that our website does not always receive committee agendas and minutes on a timely basis for posting. The ECIA Board is required by our covenants to promptly post their agenda and minutes of their meetings. After some discussion during which it was made clear that the process for getting these posted was not working properly, and that this was a necessary task, Board members made the commitment to ensure that this is done. As for regular committees, Marilyn Farrell will call Frank Schober if a committee does not send in its minutes, and Frank will call the chair of that committee to get it done.
There was some discussion of the US Census, which Frank wants to use to update the Wikipedia article on Eldorado. It was noted that resident Dana Simmons, of the Sustainable Eldorado Residents Alliance (SERA), is working with the Census data. Committee members will try to reach Mr. Simmons to see when that data will be available. It was noted that updated Census information would make an interesting Vistas article.
Frank brought up the "ECIA: We're Here to Serve You" slogan that's in Vistas and on bulletin boards. Marilyn has already removed these signs from the bulletin boards, at Frank's request. After some discussion, we decided to replace the old slogan in the Vistas with
"ECIA: Our Homeowners' Association".
Composition of the April issue of Vistas:
Notice of Candidate forum, April 11, Railroad Bldg, 7-9 pm. Ed Moreno may write a short article on it for Vistas. At the least, we will include a list of candidates' names.
Reminder of penalty for overdue payments of ECIA homeowners' fees.
Dan D. will write something for a small boxed article.
Open forum on Architectural Guideline Updates is happening on March 9. Dan D. will attend and will write an article about it by March 11.
Because April is early spring, we may want to do a piece on the weed- eating goats. Elan or Mark Young may write about this.
The ECIA has approved funds for some landscaping improvements around the Community Center. We need to contact Pat Lavengood to get details. At the least, an article could discuss the list of items that will be added or changed.
Again, with the theme of spring, we discussed gophers. Jack Arnold and Elan have both had experiences trapping gophers. Frank wants to write an article about this.
Pam Henline can supply another bird article.
Neighborhood Watch's Marilyn Walker has sent around a photo of bobcats in a resident's yard. Dan D. will forward that picture to Carol, for inclusion on the April issue's back page.
Marilyn F will write an article about the woman who teaches yoga at the Community Center.
Frank is interested in developing a story about creating a "buddy system" for elderly Eldorado residents who live alone. This would be a way for such residents to let someone else know if they need help.
There was discussion about how we make sure that renters in Eldorado receive Vistas. There was a process in place for this, but it has not been followed. Marilyn F will work with Gale Oppenheimer and Dan D.
to make sure this happens.
Frank showed us the new magazine holders that were bought to display Vistas at various locations around Eldorado: the Agora, La Tienda, the Library, the Senior Center, and elsewhere.
It was noted that Elan Colello is the single ECIA liaison with the Information Committee. Ed Moreno was previously listed as our liaison, but this is not correct at this time.
The long meeting was adjourned, with thanks to Frank and Marilyn for bringing delicious sweets to the meeting.