Monthly Archives: October 2012

The ELA Road Plan Explained

Lola Lauri

The following information is based on the plan in place last year.  If there have been any changes since then, I do not have them.

The board agreed to a 5-year plan presented by Gil Werner and the Maintenance committee, including Bob Lauri and Joe Miller.  The plan begins with dedicating $200k per year to the roads.
First, Bob Lauri, our staff, GM, and the maintenance committee surveyed the roads and assessed the damage by designating roads as primary, secondary and tertiary.  Then specific pieces of each road were rated based on the extent of the damage and the need for drainage fixes.  Areas slated for repair were chosen using this data which, presumably, will be updated each year as situations change.

The first priority in repairing the roads is to prevent water damage.  This happens by fixing the grading along the sides of the major roads and replacing damaged drainage pipes that run underneath them. It makes little sense to repair or repave roads when there is not proper drainage. The freeze/thaw cycle on roads with poor drainage is the main cause of the “alligator cracks” that are the beginning of road deterioration. Of course, there will always be routine maintenance that must be continued along with this drainage project.

With proper drainage, and with the work guarantees that were negotiated with contractors, paving should last longer in the future, and this frees up some of the $200k for more repairs to secondary roads.  As we catch up with the drainage and repaving, hopefully, this will at some point allow for paving of those unpaved roads.

However, all of this is dependent on the board continuing to fund the project, and barring any major disasters that require immediate repair.  Should we be lucky enough to have another mild winter or two, the project could be accelerated, but major storms and a lot of freeze/thaw fluctuations could set it back.  So, with all these variables, it is hard to say exactly how long this might take.

There is a plan, or at least there was, but plans in our community are always dependent upon the whims of the current board, so it is important to let each board know what your priorities are, and to select candidates who will continue programs that you think are important.  Even if you choose not to attend meetings, you might want to put a note on your calendar, as a “back to school” item, to write a letter to the board each September, reminding them of the things you believe are important in our community.

Does Pool Temp Really Matter?

by Bill Henry and Buz Whelan

For several years it has been argued that the Emerald Lakes Association could save a significant amount of money by lowering the temperature of the indoor pool. It was said that reducing the temperature from 84 degrees to 80 would save on both fuel and chlorine. Some of these arguments occurring during monthly open board meetings became quite heated. What are the facts? Here we present a comparison of the first four months of this fiscal year with the same period last year.

May thru August                                   2011                  2012

Water Temperature (in degrees)          84                      80

Com Ctr Heating Oil (in dollars)         6,242                  7,124

Pool Maintenance (chlorine)              1,875                  2,340

Totals                                              $8,117                 $9,464

These numbers seem to indicate that pool temperature has a negligible effect on costs. While the higher number for the lower temperature may be the result of some intervening variables, there is little evidence that any important savings can be had by reducing the temperature by 4 degrees. Yet those who use the pool for such activities as Adult Water Aerobics say the difference in comfort level is significant in a negative way. Simply put, 84 feels comfortable, 80 feels uncomfortable.

The United States Water Fitness Association recommends a water temperature of from 84 to 86 degrees for multi-purpose indoor pools. It’s hard to explain to pool users who complain of the colder temperature that they must endure it to save the association money. Perhaps it’s time to return to the higher temperature rather than aggravating a significant number of users for no defensible reason.

Romney Proposes Department of Pollution

BOSTON, Massachusetts (FNS) Speaking from campaign headquarters, Romney environmental advisor Noah Trackshunannounced that after he is elected, Governor Romney intends to create a Department of Pollution to handle affairs involving the environment. “Thus far, all we see in the Environmental Protection Administration is a one-sided view of environmental issues. Democrats have succeeded in appointing tree-huggers and snail lovers. All they do is whine constantly about dirty water and dead fish and stuff. We need a more balanced approach. We will appoint representatives – experts, if you will – from industries that are affected by all these job-killing regulations. We need qualified people from the mining industry, from pharmaceutical manufacturers, from the giant chemical factories. They know best what we need to do to protect the environment and create jobs.”

According to the plan, representatives of the various industries that are considered the most prolific polluters would set standards of acceptable levels of toxins in lakes, rivers, air and ground soil. Said the candidate himself at a recent conference of campaign donors, “We need to be more reasonable. We’ve gone way too far in the clean air and water direction. Who would know better what is safe than the polluters themselves? This is an idea whose time has come.”

Chemical industry lobbyist Phil T. Rivers was enthusiastic about the proposal. “It’s about time someone offered a sensible alternative to this insane, hysterical attitude toward our industry. I’m against over-polluting like any sane person, but a little pollution doesn’t hurt anyone very much. We’ve had pollution for all of civilization. Why the sudden hand-wringing? So we get a fish with three eyes or a two-headed beaver. Who does that hurt? Species die out, new ones come along. It’s the way of the world forever. You see any dinosaurs? Animals change; that’s just how it is. We need jobs. That’s the main thing. Not some crazy policy that puts folks out of work to protect some owl or something.”

As might be expected, leading environmentalist Brooke Waters was horrified by the Romney suggestion. “A Department of Pollution?” she shrieked, “What’s next, a Department of Superstition? What do these Republicans have against science? They want us to teach creationism along with evolution. They don’t believe the planet’s getting warmer. We might as well go all the way. When we teach reproduction in biology we should also teach parthenogenesis to explain the virgin birth.”

Cancer Awareness Day a Huge Success

by Buz Whelan

  By any measure – attendance, enthusiasm or money raised – Cancer Awareness Day held in and around the Emerald Lakes Community Center was a great success. According to chief organizer June Solla, the event raised $1,500 for cancer research.

The day started with a buffet breakfast, continued with a car wash and that led into late afternoon entertainment

The newly-decorated dining room looks wonderful!

with Adrienne ‘Lady A’ Carver and Mike Gregorio providing musical performances and Adel Rivera doing facepainting. There was a Tricky Tray auction that began in the early afternoon and culminated with a drawing of winners between 6:30 and 7:00 pm. Over 100 items were donated for the auction including artwork, and themed

Some of the swag from the Tricky Tray.

baskets for such things as “A Night at the Movies,” “Italian Dinner,” and “Cat’s Delight.” And because the day became an all-day festival with people eating, drinking and visiting with each other even the Center itself profited with receipts up over $400 above normal. And since all the work and materials were donated, there was no cost to the association.

One young participant with her lovely face painting.

The event was supported by the Women’s Club and the 50+ Club and numerous volunteers, among them Eileen Avrich, Delores Amadio, Paul Capozzoli, Henry Chieffo, Melanie DePerro, Rich DePerro, Rachel D. Douglas, Margaret Fitzgerald, Dennis Green, Alex Leslie, Connie Lewis, ‘Cookie’ Litweinski, Joe Olall, Karen Peloubet, and Kay Ricciuto. Of course, without the prodigious efforts of June Solla, this event may not even have happened. For months June has been organizing, promoting and securing materials. She was tireless in her efforts and deserves a big ‘thank you’ from the community.

The bingo crowd, showing their support.

 

Washing cars in the rain. What good sports!

 

To Rent or Not to Rent

Opinion

Lola Lauri

Many of our residents are suffering from the noise and bad behavior of the tenants at a few local homes.  There are parties and noise and traffic.  There are septic failures that threaten our waterways.  Every resident is entitled to the quiet enjoyment of his or her home, and that is not happening because of a few careless homeowners.  Advertisements for these homes online suggest that they are great for “groups” and in some cases they claim to sleep up to 18 people.  Reports of people standing on the docks and cursing and shouting loudly have shocked the attendees at the last board meeting. A number of residents have banded together to address the board and insist on help for these conditions, and they deserve relief immediately.  No one should have to live with constant noise and discomfort. (To read their letter click here.)

At first glance, it seems that the obvious solution is to disallow rentals completely within our community.  I have heard this suggestion more than once, but I believe it is too soon to take such a drastic measure that will impact the ability of all homeowners to rent their homes. Before punishing all homeowners for the actions of a few, I believe the community needs to look at the issue of enforcement.

Read the rest of this entry

Astronomer Admits Constellations Don’t Look Like That

     BALD SPOT, New Mexico (FNS) Breaking thousands of years of tradition and pretension, noted astronomer Dr. Hy N. deSkye today admitted to a hushed room of reporters that constellations are, essentially, bullshit. At a press conference called for the purpose, the scientist told the gathering that no one in his right mind could see the crap that has been put out there for centuries. “It’s the ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ in the sky,” he said, “Look for yourselves. Look at Orion. You see a hunter with a club and a sword? Are you nuts? And Cassiopeia. That’s a woman in a chair? Then there’s Pegasus, the winged horse. Where in hell do you see that? Okay, I see the Big Dipper. Nice. A few stars in a dipper shape. I get that. But that’s also Ursa Major, the Big Bear. Can you see its shiny nose? Its big paws, can you see them? Absolute nonsense. I cannot believe they’ve been getting away with this crap just about forever.”

     As reporters began questioning the good doctor, aides entered the room and hustled him quickly away before he had a chance to answer any of their queries. Said one observatory spokesman, “Dr. deSkye has not been feeling himself lately. I hope you all understand.” Shouted out a reporter from the back of the room, “Who has he been feeling?” There was no further comment.

“Party House” Causing Problems

Lola Lauri

The following email was forwarded to me today, and it illustrates a problem in our community that the board must address:

Hi Folks:

Time for an update. As you know, our letter to the Board detailed the overuse of the respective septic systems
of the three homes in question. And sure enough, the septic system at 146 Powderhorn Drive has failed.
The septic mound is not perking. The effluent is running out of the top of the mound.

Tobyhanna Township was notified either by the homeowner or the home owners septic pumping company.
The system was inspected and a plan was presented to obtain a permit from the Township to repair and expand it to maximum size permitted.                                 The plan was approved, trees have been cut down and work is going forward.

The Township official told us that if the repair and expansion works, all well and good. He said he would periodically monitor
the system over time. He also said that if the repair and expansion partially works or fails, then he
could take certain measures including fines and require the owner to curtail the use of the system. He also noted that the area designated for expansion
is the only piece of property the owner has left for a septic mound. There are no other options for additional septic
space.

The Township official was unaware of the number of people occupying the house as well as the number of cars and SUV’s parked on
top of the septic mound periodically. Now that he is aware of the situation, he will monitor it.

On October 22, I made a presentation to the Board of Directors at its monthly public meeting. I advised  them that ten families signed
the letter but now we have fifteen families supporting this important issue. Almost every lakefront property and some lake view properties
are now involved.

The audience gasped when I described the guy yelling F… You! off the deck of 146 Powderhorn at one am for a full twenty minutes.
I noted that the rules state that a rental must be “to one family” and the Board knows this but they do not enforce it.
Our letter indicted that there was an open pit fire cauldron without a functioning fire screen on Hunter Lane along with chairs and four, six by nine foot stacked
sections of a floating dock. The rules prohibit equipment on roadways. I asked Alan Roth, the Community Manager at a Rules and Regulations
 meeting to remove this equipment. He has done nothing. I noted that 1210 and 1214 Hunter Lane had fireworks reported to Public Safety.                                       No fines were issued.
The boat launch on Hunter Lane near 1214 is being used as a bathing beach creating an annoyance for the nearby homeowners. It was further noted that the rules prohibit the use of the lake for commercial purposes. The rental homes are operating as a business. The two Hunter Lane homes charge the tenants
extra to use the rental boats.
Etc.  Etc.

Al  Leslie, the President said that he is aware of the septic situation and the large number of people still occupying these three rental properties. He further stated that they are working with an attorney on the matter.

The next meeting of the Rules and Regulations Committee is Thursday, October 11th at ten am at the Office.
The next Board of Directors Meeting is Saturday October 27 at nine thirty at the Community Center.

It would help you and all of us if you could attend one or the other to show that we are many and serious about fixing
this awful problem.

We have several standing rules in the Rules and Regulations for ELA that are being broken by the owners of these homes, and the board and the GM need to develop a plan to enforce those rules.(see personal property on roads, public nuisance, lake beach and picnic area rules and rental rules) The fines incurred will serve as a disincentive to the owners to run this disruptive “business”, and without the financial motive, the misuse of the property should stop.  Our rules are only useful if they are enforced consistently, and here is a case where they are not.  This is not a case of an owner having an occasional party, it is a consistent disruption to the lives of the people living nearby.

Please consider attending the BOD meeting on October 27th, or write to the BOD at elaboarddirects@yahoo.com, to express your thoughts on this issue.

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