MINUTES OF MEETING MAY 17, 2017
The roof work was done, the room was air conditioned, and the rain had stopped, so it was all good. Nose count was 47, give or take. The new meeting rules were in effect but there was no need at this session to invoke them.
Melanie Henson led the crime watch meeting.
CSO Derrick Nelson provided the crime report, mainly involving car break-ins and a single home burglary in which the owner caught the kids in the act and restrained one until help arrived. He was asked about not providing us with minimal information regarding police surveillance of suspected drug houses and about any officers in the District who can write civil citations – his answers were not very responsive, nor was his mumbled response to the question about the chief’s mandate requiring him to call his neighborhood leaders weekly. (Other neighborhood leaders report that the calls they receive are “sporadic at best.”)
He was asked to define the current community policy system and which areas are his responsibility; the member who inquired was not happy with the answer.
Officer Nelson’s public speaking has improved greatly and he is a little less nervous on the podium but it is obvious he still has a lot to learn about his job. He also brought his sergeant with him in direct violation of the Association and Country Club’s request that only one representative from the SPPD attend our meetings. These and other issues are being addressed by us and several other neighborhoods.
The crime watch portion concluded with Judy Ellis updating the attendees on the status of the squatter on Fairway Avenue – she will be sentenced on June 26th for a third-degree felony and faces anywhere from 36.5 months to 25 years.
Judy also updated the group on the security guard patrols, which started on Wednesday, Mary 17th. With school getting out on May 25th, they will be extra vigilant.
The county supervisor of elections sent a representative who spoke briefly about the dates for upcoming elections and the need to make sure your voter profile is up to date, especially with regard to your signature.
Patsy Wedding provided the finance report. Our finances are in good shape.
Judy introduced Kent Rodahaver, who really needed no introduction considering everything he has done for this neighborhood, and there was unanimous consent to his joining the board pro tem until January elections.
Melanie Henson updated the group on the status of the Animals of Lakewood Fund and all the successes we have had since the first of the year. Tom Doyle expressed concern that we are now using the SPCA on 5th Avenue North instead of Dr. Antz for this purpose but the cold hard facts are that Dr. Antz cannot give us the rates and discounts the SPCA provides. Dr. Antz also cannot board, which is often a necessity with a stray. Moreover, it is the Fund’s fiduciary duty to spend the donations wisely. We still recommend Dr. Antz for our own pets as she provides wonderful and compassionate service.
Dennis Coley informed the group that the Lakewood Investment Group has been disbanded – there were problems with the Securities & Exchange Commission that made it impossible to continue. Our thanks go to all who worked so hard to make this happen.
Judy then spoke about the victory before the Development Review Commission in which we defeated the variance request to build two houses on a large lot on Barcelona Way. One attendee disagreed, believing that this would act as a stifling effect on growth in Lakewood but the vast consensus was this trend needed to be stopped, and Dave Zachem, who knows about property use, rose to concur about how important it was to fight it. Another member reminded the group that we are known for our large lots, that people move here specifically for our large lots, and it’s important to maintain that as part of our character.
Judy informed the group about the efforts to improve the large traffic median just off 31st Street, where 35th Terrace, Columbus and Fairway meet. This dull and desert-like area is the first thing people see when they come in and it is in dire need of landscaping. The city has agreed to pay for new grass and trees and to move and remove the Augusta block as needed. A plan is being worked out so that the Country Club can maintain the median and make use of the water supply already there, use the electricity to beautify the site at night, and allow the Club to have a sign pointing up Fairway to the clubhouse. The design submitted by our own Brian Godden of Oasis Pavers & Pools is stupendous – the city loved it. Anyone wishing to see it should email firstname.lastname@example.org to get a copy.
A plea was made for contributions to the history/memorabilia display at the October 14th Centennial Picnic, and Tom Doyle volunteered to honcho that along. If you have papers or photographs or anything at all from the earlier days of Lakewood, please contact Tom at email@example.com.
Judy updated about membership, which is down 45 from year-end 2016. She pointed out that more than 30 households have moved away but that we have gained 32 new members since January 1st. Many of the regular members who have not paid for 2017 have not done so out of nothing more than inertia.
Steve Kornell, city council member, informed the group that he has started an investigation into the DCF procedures and practices for group homes, and is gathering data for a full discussion. He is concerned about what he is seeing here in Lakewood but wants all the facts before bringing the situation before the membership. (At the time of the meeting, the group home on Lakewood Drive was averaging calls for one city service or another – ambulance, police, etc. – every 7 ½ days, and the police were there on the following day, May 25th, and again on May 26th.)
Steve also enlightened the group about the development of the Skyway Marina District, where to the untrained eye it might appear that nothing much is happening when in fact all the years of effort are now paying off. Steve spoke about the difficulty getting the city to spend $9 million to put the power lines underground, something that needs to be scheduled now when a huge makeover of lower 34th Street by the FDOT is in the planning stage. As is often the case, the city council tends to short-change this side of town. Steve asked everyone to contact the city before the June 1st meeting to express support for the expenditure – it makes no sense to do it after all that road and sidewalk work has already been done.
At the open forum, Nick Harper raised some questions about traffic issues that Judy is to look into.
Bonnie Rocks outdid herself with door prizes consisting of 4 hurricane preparation baskets and collapsible lawn chairs. The 50/50 was won by Tom Doyle, who was ecstatic about winning after years and years of trying, and who then graciously turned the proceeds over to the Animal Fund.
MINUTES OF MEETING JANUARY 18, 2017
Our CSO, Derrick Nelson, gave a report that included 4 residential burglaries in the last 30 days, although one was probably a domestic-related dispute.
There were 11 burglaries on vehicles, which is going on all over the city; some arrests have been made. The smashing of car windows is a new twist and all the more pointless because in at least one case nothing was taken.
Of the three stolen cars, one was driven here from elsewhere and one was taken from Walgreen’s.
There were 22 traffic stops and 23 directed patrols.
Donna Penrod brought up the fact that a neighbor’s car has been hit so many times she has stopped locking it. This is a bad idea, of course, because eventually the people who steal cars will follow.
Nelson reminded us about the PD’s Eagle Eye web page and the importance of reporting your camera to the PD so they know it’s there. (The reality is that in about half the cases, telling the PD you have a camera after an event is met with indifference.)
A question was asked whether to report the tag on a car speeding through here in a drag race. Since the car will be long gone when you call the PD, residents are reminded that the LECA can pull tags. A letter is then sent to the car owner asking them to stay out of here if they want to be reckless.
Judy reminded the group not to encourage the panhandlers, per the PD’s request
Special guests were Councilmember Steve Kornell, and Bill Logan, the city’s new communications/information person for public works.
There were a few first timers and many newcomers.
Bill Logan spoke a few words about his new job with public works, joking at first that he was here to “talk about sewage.” He seriously wanted us to know that with regard to water, including reclaimed, lots is going on. He also mentioned the situation with the dead pelicans and said the city is working with various agencies to find out what’s causing this – after all, this is our city’s symbol. Bill will be asked back as various steps are taken to deal with the storm/waste water situation. Meanwhile, you can reach him at 892-7350 if you have questions about infrastructure, water, roads, etc.
Our guest was Bill Griendling, president of the St Pete Bike Club. He did his best to explain his role in helping to bridge the gap between 2-wheels and 4-wheels but he was met almost at once by a rash of complaints and accusations. One resident began a very intense discussion about the law-breaking of the bicyclists that rose to a rather unpleasant level until it was pointed out that Griendling was our guest and this was inappropriate treatment. The level of heat is a sure indication that there is much work to be done between the bike club and Lakewood.
The January election was for vice president and director. With no nominations from the floor, the membership re-elected Melanie Henson and vice president and Roy Hunt as a director, by acclimation.
Patsy presented the finances and was met with a question about the money spent for the lake. This is Summit Lake, which is not part f the golf course. The 20 houses n the lake pay $40 per household per year to hire the same company that cleans the golf course to keep the duckweed and water hyacinth out of that lake. So it isn’t really an expense; the money comes in and the money goes out.
The resident who inquired about the smell of foul water coming from Osprey Pointe was referred to Seeclickfix.
Judy then thanked the great Lakewood volunteers who have stepped up recently: Joseph Griner as our CONA rep; Scott and Bev White are cleaning up 38th Avenue S between 31st and 34th Streets and doing a fabulous job – they got a round of applause. Sue Lawton has been appointed volunteer coordinator for Habitat for Humanity.
Judy reminded everyone that dues must be paid by March 31st to avoid losing member privileges. She also reminded the group that checks for the animal fund must be made payable to LECA, and that the annual yard sale will be April 1st.
The proposal to hire a night-time security guard was then discussed at some length. It was agreed that hiring a company instead of an individual was a better idea, since it relieves us of liability and employment tax reporting. There was considerable discussion about what role this guard would play, and one vehement protest that it was the equivalent of turning Lakewood into a gated community, but in the end the vote was 67-3 in favor of exploring further.
Nikki Barfield spoke at the open forum reminding everyone about the social Facebook page and encouraging people to join and take part in the events they are planning.
The Ice cream as served late – we got so involved in discussion we forgot to bring it out. Happily the members stuck around to enjoy it.
There were door prizes and the $56 50/50 POT was donated back to the coffers – I apologize for not recalling who won it.
MINUTES OF MEETING NOVEMBER 16, 2016
There were about 55 people in attendance, give or take 1 or 2.
Melanie Henson, vice president and Crime Watch Coordinator, introduced Ofc. Derrick Nelson, our CSO and the only member of the SPPD in attendance, per our request. He reported a city-wide epidemic in car and residential burglaries. In the last 30 days, Lakewood had 2 auto thefts, 7 residential burglaries and were the beneficiaries of 21 directed patrols. Some of the perpetrators are in jail, at least one of whom has relatives here and knows the area. There are black males riding around on bicycles and a group of white males in a Camry. We were warned not to leave valet keys in our cars, and Becky Launchi added after Ofc. Nelson’s presentation that removing your garage door opener is also a good idea. Ofc. Nelson also spoke about the trespassing of about a dozen individuals at the soccer fields and we should not have any more alcohol problems there.
Judy added that we have stash of car clubs at Maximo Resource Center, and there is no longer any restriction on what sort of car you have—just go in between 10 and 2 M-F and ask. Supply is very limited.
Judy pointed out the signed Lightning jersey hanging on the wall and asked for silent auction bids starting at $100.00.
Julie Bostick of the Free Clinic then gave a brief presentation on the Food Bank, to which we contribute regularly. She said that the October lunch, which was attended by our Fran McCarthy and Sheena Qualles-DeFreece, raised $100,000 for the PackaSack program, aimed at giving children in the school lunch program food for the weekends. She gave some amazing statistics, including the fact that last year the bank collected 4 million pounds of food compared with 1.6 million only 3 years ago, that the bank is feeding 60,000 people every month, along with its 65 partner agencies, and that 7000 kids are food insecure in this county of whom only 4000 are being helped. 1 in 7 adults does not have access to adequate food.
Six new resident families were present; all of them have joined the Association. Membership was celebrated in the form of noisemakers on each table, which were enthusiastically blown, along with cheers and whistles, to the announcement that as of the previous week, 2016 membership had hit 502.
Judy updated the group on the situation with the SPPD, reporting a notable attitude shift, to which one member pointed out that among other things we didn’t have “30 police officers” at our meeting. Meetings with other neighborhood leaders and the head of CONA appear to have brought about some changes at the PD, where, among things, decisions made in the chief’s office did not appear to be in place at the street level. Area leaders have noticed a friendlier attitude when the SPPD attends meetings. We had asked to have only one officer at our meeting not just because we don’t need 4, 5 or 6 uniforms there but also because the Country Club doesn’t need a parking lot full of cruisers on one of its busiest dinner nights. One member asked if “that woman” is gone but the sergeant in question is not due to retire for at least 1.5 years.
Officer Kelly was in the area one day last week and confirmed that the home break-ins have been particularly brutal in terms of the loss of thousands of dollar of professional equipment. Judy pointed out that we need to resume our patrols and said that if enough people express an interest, we can return to our crime watch car magnets– they are very effective.
There was a reminder about porch pirates. Two people were recently caught following the UPS truck. The group was reminded about having packages held.
Judy advised that Masada Security will give Lakewood homeowners a full system of cameras but they will discount for us: 4 cameras for $1750, 2 cameras for $1200 (DVD) or if you hook up to their service, you get half price on a $150 camera.
Patsy gave the finance report; there were no questions. Balance $600+.
Ruby Fund: Thanks were given to everyone who worked on the 11/5 pet fair/movie but it was not a success. We had a very poor turnout and we are trying to find out why. The consensus is that putting the pet fair together with the movie was a bad idea. Jen Flannery and Pam Miller took the floor. Jen explained about the Ruby Fund for the benefit of newcomers, how we formed it to take care of animals abandoned in Lakewood and have rescued over 20 dogs and several cats. She stressed the need for foster homes and made a plea for more people to sign up for this. Mel Henson is the foster coordinator; she passed out sign-up sheet. Anyone who can foster even for just a day or two should contact Mel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Surveymonkey was suggested as a way to find out what people in Lakewood would like by way of a movie night.
Judy advised that we are also going to find fosters in other neighborhoods around the city. Movies in the park will continue; the audience indicated that there is sufficient interest. We know we need to spread the word farther and use media to push the event, and Linda Hubner mentioned that we need better signs.
The Skyway Marina District is holding a pet fair on April 6, 2017 and we are going to take part in the hope of making this the fund-raising event for Ruby so we won’t have to work so hard, hold two events, etc.
Judy also mentioned that we get a city grant to hold the movie in the park event so it doesn’t cost us anything and allows us to raise money. She also explained the $2,000 credit arrangement with Dr. Antz; that’s gone but we are solvent again and we are going to set up a separate bank account to track the Ruby money.
There will be no pit bull rescue moratorium. Judy pointed out that we had just as many people who wanted to put an end to the breed as did not want the animals destroyed. Part of the solution is the committee to change the law. Committee members need to consult the online list about the sale of cats and dogs with the loophole for hobbies, which allows backyard breeding. There are lots of permitting requirements for doing this but no one complies, and there is no enforcement. We want the committee to divide up that list and search each Florida law for places that have found a way to deal with that loop hole. Katie Oliver and Linda Hubner from that committee were present; the third member is Heather Willix. The group will try to find a law that would be acceptable to this city, and turn it over to Kornell to work with the city attorney.
Someone asked about finding someone to train a dog and they were referred to Linda Hubner, who denied being a dog whisperer but … Linda volunteered her services to acclimate a dog and help it get settled. It was pointed out that fire departments are now using pits instead of Dalmatians.
We will be getting a small traffic island at the stop sign at Alcazar and Fairway to prevent the ongoing problem of people mowing that down.
The boys at group home at 1795 Lakewood Drive have need for community service hours from their schools – let us know if you know of anything suitable.
Nikki Barfield updated on the Lakewood Facebook social page, the 11/27 Lakewood bike ride, and the need next year to coordinate better for Halloween parties. Nikki’s Facebook was responsible for the huge turnout for Halloween at 1911 Anastasia but the folks on Desoto had poor attendance because of the conflict…. Better coordination is needed. It was suggested that we hold a neighborhood-wide event at the soccer fields.
Linda Huber made a plea for people with recycled water to be more responsible about watering every day or all day.
The Friends of Boyd Hill group is looking for people to join them on the board – Maya Burke of Lakewood is leading that group and reminds us that this park is our back yard.
The group enjoyed Butterfinger ice cream from the Working Cow.
Door prizes included 6 turkeys, 2 baskets from Publix as reminders of the 12/1 opening of the new Bay Pointe store, a basket of home-made jams from Sue Godfirnon’s kitchen, Bonnie Rocks’ usual and wonderful basket and wine contributions. The 50/50 was won by Maggie Langford, who generously donated it back to the Association coffers.
Mike Williford matched a bid from someone not in attendance and was able to win the Lightning jersey for $200.00. The money goes to the Ruby Fund.
Sheena Qualles-DeFreece asked the group to turn over to her any coupons on food boxes that are marked to raise money for our schools.
Kent Rodahaver brought the group up to date on the Skyway Marina District and explained to the newcomers this effort to improve the economy of lower 34th Street. He mentioned the new Publix and the Phillips development of a mixed-use apartment/retail facility at 30th Street with an anchor restaurant. He also mentioned the new pet market at Bay Pointe and the Nov. 26 tour of St. Bart’s church, the oldest in the city. He reported that there will soon be 150 new LED lights. The city’s “Sizzle Reel” is out – find it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8jbHhctoaA.
Judy closed the meeting by informing the group that thanks to the efforts of the city’s neighborhood traffic folks, specifically Cheryl Stacks, the FDOT has changed our I-275 classification from 686 to the Skyway Bridge from rural to urban, so that now the grass along our highway and our off/on ramps will no longer be allowed to grow 18” high.
Meeting adjourned about 8:45.
MINUTES OF MEETING, SEPTEMBER 21, 2016
About 50 people attended.
The crime watch portion of the meeting was, to say, the least, contentious.
Despite our request to the PD that they not come in a gang, the new Neighborhood Crime Prevention officer, Vaughn Murphy, arrived with a sergeant (Heyward), 2 CSO’s, the city’s new housing officer, and two new “crime watch coordinators.” The CSO we were told would be there to give the stats, Derrick Nelson, did not show up.
Becky Launchi opened the crime watch by informing the group that she had copies of the letter that Sgt. Houston denied existed at our May meeting and spoke with considerable emotion about her resentment at the sergeant all but calling the LECA president a liar about that letter. She passed out several copies of the letter. The basis of her resentment is that if Sgt. Houston didn’t know about the letter, the more correct response should have been to say she had no knowledge, not that the letter didn’t exist.
Ofc. Murphy, newly in charge of the Neighborhood Crime Prevention unit, then took the podium and began to speak about the PD’s new exercise to recruit a crime watch coordinator for each census tract in the District’s neighborhoods (Lakewood has about 7). The furor that erupted over this latest effort to control our crime watch will be explained in a memo posted to the web site; members will be advised when that happens. Suffice to say here that when asked how many of these census tract coordinators Murphy had recruited in District I, he replied that it was “about 20,” but 72 hours later the LECA had been unable to identify a single other neighborhood anywhere in the city where this system has been implemented or even heard of.
After the PD departed, Judy gave some background on the crime watch situation, and explained what is going on with the efforts of 7 other neighborhoods and the Skyway Marina District to meet with Major McKinney about the CSO situation. She wanted the group to know that these problems are pervasive at this end of town, in District I, and that the ongoing struggle is not being led by the Lakewood – we are just one of the group.
One attendee was quite vocal about the need to put an end to the ongoing struggle with the PD and while she is absolutely right, members are referred to the web site to see the background on this situation and an explanation about just how hard it is going to be to solve it.
Donna Penrod underscored the need to improve the current situation with our CSOs by pointing out that her shop at Marina Village has not seen a CSO since Dennis Kelly left at the end of February.
Judy asked how many people have seen police cruisers going through our neighborhood but no hands went up; this is with regard to the listing every week on the RAIDS system of anywhere from 6 to 12 “Directed Patrol Other” events that would seem to indicate a lot of coming and going by the PD – but no one sees them.
Judy then mentioned the continuing problem with alcohol at the soccer fields on Sundays, pointing out that this is yet another area where our CSOs have let us down. She concluded this portion of the meeting with a note that someone has been vandalizing the neighborhood pillar sign at Caesar and 54th and that we will be working with Masada Security to find a way to stop that.
The Association meeting opened with a brief but very entertaining talk by Jeff Baker of Duke Energy about how the company deals with outages, bad storms, etc. The bottom line is that anyone with a power outage should call because unless Duke is aware of all the homes that are affected, it cannot make an informed decision about how to deploy its resources. The company does deploy manpower to where the most people are affected, which is why it took about 24 hours for the 80+ people in the Almeria area to get help during TS Colin.
We had a surprise visit from our Codes Investigator, Demetrius Johnson, who gave a short description of what Codes can and cannot do about property maintenance problems (he has 64 open cases in Lakewood) and encouraged people to use seeclickfix to report what they see.
Judy wanted everyone to know that membership on the date of the meeting was 484, an all-time high, and she is still shooting for 500 by year end.
Patsy presented the financial report. A question was asked about the $200 spent for the “Lake.” Judy explained that we collect $40 from each of the 20 homes on Summit Lake to pay for quarterly cleaning to avoid a build-up of weeds, so while this shows as an outlay, the $800 needed annually has already been collected and this was just the 3rd quarter payment.
Judy announced that John and Lois Ermatinger will represent Lakewood at the 10/7 “bag lunch” event held by the Free Clinic Food Bank.
Judy then informed that the city’s N Team is going to pay for the repair of the northern of the two urns on 31st Street, and explained what we think caused the horrible stains running down it (tannic acid from the dirt used to fill it a few years ago). She also remarked that she had found a company that can replace the urn but that the cost is about $25,000.
A presentation about the youth home set up at 1795 Lakewood Drive did not occur — the representative from Sunshine Family Services failed to appear.
Pam Miller gave an animated presentation on the upcoming Nov. 5 dog fair
and urged everyone to come out, enjoy dinner and watch a movie. All proceeds from this event go to benefit animals.
Art Wright told the group about First Tee, a youth program using golf as a means of teaching life skills; he encouraged everyone to support this highly successful program.
Laura Abram spoke about the welcome pages and showed the group the booklet that we now enclose listing all the local businesses. She reminded everyone that if you have a business or product, you should consider including a business card in that booklet. The booklet also advises which businesses offer discounts to Lakewoodians. Laura also reminded everyone to let her or Judy know of any new folks moving in here.
Nikki Barfield informed the group about a new Facebook to encourage more social gatherings and better interaction among neighbors. She said the Facebook is separate from the Association and is not meant to replace our current Google system but rather to find ways for improved social activities such as block parties. Halloween, for instance, provides a great opportunity for this, and the group was advised to go to the Facebook page and get involved.
Bonnie Rocks produced her usual stupendous array of door prizes. Someone’s hand shot up for the 50/50 but I was distracted and didn’t see who it was. If you know, please advise.
MINUTE OF MEETING, MAY 18, 2016
About 47 people were in attendance.
Patsy Wedding, crime watch coordinator, introduced the representatives from the Police Department. Present were Major Matthew McKinney, Sgt. Patricia Houston, and CSO’s Meghan Rulison and Derrick Nelson.
Ofc. Nelson took the podium and gave the crime report. He mentioned that we had had 3 residential break-ins since the last meeting, but then went on to explain that one of them wasn’t really a break-in, another was only an open door, and a third wasn’t in Lakewood. He also reported that we finally got some radar on Country Club in the second week of May and that a few tickets were written. He asked if there were questions, there were none, and so he left the podium.
Judy Ellis then took the microphone and asked why, with a house that has needed 17 calls for service and has received a letter from the PD’s attorney warning them about the city’s nuisance ordinance, the CSO’s can’t do a knock’n’talk and put the occupants on notice that their bad behavior can’t continue.
Sgt. Houston responded by telling the group the following:
- “No such letter” has ever been sent out (Ellis has a copy of it, provided by the city).
- Knock’n’talks are a form of harassment and the CSO’s are not going to respond just because a citizen has a complaint about his neighbor.
- The CSOs are going to go only where there is crime.
- If you have a problem with your neighbor, ring the doorbell and discuss it.
Sgt. Houston then left the podium and with her group, left the meeting. In the silence that followed, one person suggested we had been “put in our place.” (This example of poor CSO service has been passed on to a committee planning to meet with the Sgt. and her major to clarify just what it is a CSO is supposed to do.)
Judy pointed out that the speed on Country Club is now 30 mph.
Members were reminded to pick up their membership cards to take advantage of the discounts being offered by local merchants and businesses based in Lakewood.
Patsy Wedding presented the Association’s finances, which are in good shape.
Jennifer Flannery updated the group on the status of the Investment Group and also read the email we received from Animal Services regarding the awards we gave them in the name of the Ruby Fund. That email included the following:
Awards were given for Leadership, Smile, Getting Things Done, and Secret Helper. The volunteers were pleasantly surprised and moved by the organization’s thoughtfulness and recognition. We read everyone the story of Ruby and it touched each one of them. We can’t thank you enough for all that was done for our volunteers.
Jennifer also read the letter we received by way of thanks from Dr. Antz for the $2,000 contribution to the digital ex-ray machine. We now have $2,000 credit there for the treatment of strays.
Finally, Jennifer gave a follow-up on the April 23rd Movie in the Park and let everyone know about the plans for November 5th.
Judy gave a post-mortem on the April yard sale – we did lose quite a bit of business to the unfortunate timing, putting us in competition with Pioneer Village’s Granny’s Attic annual event. Thanks were given to all who donated to and bought from the Ruby Fund table, which raised nearly $400.
Steve Kornell then provided a rather lengthy description of the conflict in the city council over the spending of oil spill funds – whether to plant trees in the city or fix our damaged sewer system.
These May meeting minutes were created considerably after the meeting and some details may be omitted, including any discussion held in the open forum. Attendees are encouraged to email email@example.com with any corrections or additions.
MINUTES OF MEETING JANUARY 20, 2016
About 70 people attended. Council member Steve Kornell was present but opted to just sit back and listen this time.* In addition to filling 2 barrels with people food, members brought in an entire carload of dog and cat food.
Officer Kelly gave his customary appeal for locked car doors and closed garages. He said our crime stats are incredibly low, with less than 300 calls for service compared to more than 700 in a neighboring area.
Special guest Sheriff Bob Gualtieri then gave the group a rundown of just what his office does, and even took a few minutes to explain why we are sometimes subjected to low-flying helicopters in the middle of the night. He put a quick end to the rumor that our neighborhood is being used as a training area.
Two new member households were welcomed – Cedric and Jackie Blair, on Desoto, and Randy Lee and Tony DaSilva, Caesar Way. It was nice to see later that both won door prizes.
Elections were held – Judy Ellis and Patsy Wedding were re-elected president and treasurer, respectively, and the swapping of positions between Roy Hunt and Melanie Henson was announced, pro tem until the January 2017 election. Melanie is now vice president and Roy is a director.
Awards were announced for the Christmas decorations. Sebastian Dauda and Adria Perry were presented with a $100 Publix gift card for their spectacular display at 4801 Caesar. Becky Launchi, who won second place, could not be present but asked to have her $75 award split between the Ruby Fund and the Bruno Foundation. Calvin Dennie, third place, $50, was also not present due to a work commitment.
Jennifer Flannery spoke about the status of the Movies in the Park program and other plans for continuing the neighborhood’s support of abandoned animals, followed by Kent Rodahaver with good news about the housing situation (home prices are averaging $50,000 more than last year, and demand continues to outstrip supply — last year at this time there were 40 houses for sale in Lakewood; now there are 31).
Jennifer then presented the status of the Lakewood Investment Group.
Judy Ellis spoke about the ongoing war to clean up the litter on 38th Avenue South as part of the effort to make a good presentation to potential investors in the new Skyway Marina District. She also mentioned that there is a petition to get speed humps on Asturia and another to make the speed limit on Country Club uniformly 30 mph.
Judy also advised the group that as a new year’s resolution they should ensure that they have powers of attorney and/or health care surrogate designations in place and advised that this is something she can help with.
Bonnie “Sergeant of Scrounge” Rocks’ assortment of door prizes at this event was particularly spectacular – the array of imported chocolates and cookies was mouth-watering.
*The interruption of this meeting by a non-resident who wanted to present her case for fishing in the Country Club’s ponds will be posted to the web site separately so that Lakewoodians can understand what this is all about and why it is a problem.
MINUTES OF NOVEMBER 18, 2015 MEETING
Between 70 and 80 people attended and it was a lively session. Officer Kelly gave his customary fire’n’brimstone report to a round of applause, and was followed by excellent news from Commissioner Ken Welch about the county’s two new ordinances designed to punish dog owners who neglect their animals. The Commissioner also mentioned Senate Bill 130, picking up where the last session left off trying to enact a law that would prohibit firing a gun in a residential neighborhood. The sponsor is Garrett Richter and we were urged to contact him and offer our support.
New residents Mike and Marlyn Fosnight were introduced as the owners of the blue/green eyesore on Alhambra; they received an ovation for their plans to rehab the place and live in it.
Rob Gerdes, the new director Codes Compliance, presented the department’s latest technology improvements and methods for dealing with rundown and abandoned properties. The city has new procedures in place for taking over these eyesores and selling them to someone who will make them habitable.
Steve Kornell thanked the room for his re-election and explained in detail his stance on the Rays, which has generated not only a lot of bad feeling but also misinformation in the local newspaper. The bottom line for Steve is that the city should not be giving large sums of money to a professional sports team.
The Skyway Marina District’s new marketing director, Keri Melshenker, introduced herself and promised to keep us informed about progress and events.
Patsy Wedding requested questions about the finance statements on the tables and pointed out that at year end we have $1000 in the bank.
Tom Doyle brought the membership up to date on the progress of the Lakewood Investment Group and issued a plea for more volunteers for the city’s resource bus that brings health information into the neighborhoods. Anyone who can spare a couple of hours one day a week may contact Tom for more information (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Judy Ellis told about the 77th birthday celebration for Shirley Parker, a long-time resident and reputedly the first black resident of Lakewood (with the unfortunate circumstances associated therewith). Shirley’s birthday and many achievements were celebrated at the Creole Café on November 14th with, among other things, a proclamation from the city read by Steve Kornell and a bouquet of Edible Arrangements fruit from the Association.
Pam Miller informed the group about the Bruno Foundation and its connection to Lakewood and the Ruby Fund, and spoke about the Movie in the Park event. The dog fair and the movie are going to become regular events that will provide a nice outing for our residents as well as raise money for these two pet rescue groups and help with adoptions.
We apologize for failing to mention at the meeting that member Brian Godden, of Oasis Pools and Pavers, donated $50.00 for candy at the movie. Thanks to the Goddens for their generosity!
Judy mentioned as a side note that the Ruby Fund was about $200 short to pay its current invoice with Dr. Antz; at the end of the night Robin Menneke handed the Board a check in that amount and we no longer in arrears. Many thanks, Robin!
Judy also mentioned what a great job Jennifer and others did at the ASPCA Petwalk event and recognized Barbara Hartwell and Laura Abram for their dedication to delivering welcome baskets to new residents. Nearly everyone they visit becomes a member.
Members were reminded to check their pet’s photo on the web site and make sure it adequately represents what that animal looks like. The case at issue involved a very large Great Dane that was loose but not recognized because in the photo he appeared sitting down, and small.
Bonnie Rocks outdid herself in door prizes, with among other things jars of hard candy, a variety of nuts, coupons for haircuts (donated by Donna Penrod), wine tucked into a Christmas stocking, and not 1 but 3 12-pound turkeys. The 50/50 was won by Art Wright.
The meeting adjourned about 9 p.m.
MINUTES OF SEPTEMBER 16, 2015 MEETING
About 70 people attended a lively meeting that convened shortly after 7 p.m. We welcomed several new residents. At the front door, Jennifer Flannery shamelessly ‘pimped’ a recent Ruby Fund candidate, a sweet puppy with a non-contagious mange condition – the dog needed a foster home. Credit is given to Jim Geiger, club manager, for bravely allowing her to bring the dog – in her arms! – into the ballroom, which had just added lovely and rather costly carpeting. (The dog has found a home!)
Dennis Kelly of the SPPD gave his customary fine presentation of our non-existent crime situation, pointing out that while we were close to zero in the last month, our neighbors in Broadwater had in fact had no crime for the same period. Officer Kelly did point out that Broadwater is a lot smaller than we are, but still, this is something to work toward.
He mentioned the change to a 30 mph speed limit on Country Club, admitted he wasn’t happy about it but that 25 is a bit slow for that road, and said he was going to lower his margin of tolerance. Judy Ellis pointed out that since it took 3 months to get a single NO PARKING sign installed, we should not look for this to happen any time soon.
Patsy Wedding had put the finance report on the tables and asked about any questions. We have more than $2,000 in the bank, which is solid for the 4th quarter.
Anita Westmoreland from the Parks Department rose to thank us for this year’s very generous donation for swimming lessons – more than 120 kids got lessons they could otherwise not afford. Linda Hubner inquired as to how the department lets parents know about this program and Anita explained about approaching the families who use the recreation centers, the local schools and especially the pre-school programs, since the earlier you can catch kids, the better.
Two gentlemen from TECO did their best to explain how an expansion of gas service here might work – and the bottom line is that this is going to be expensive — but they did point out that they received only 47 survey replies from the more than 1500 we mailed out with the newsletter last spring. It was only after the meeting that it was noticed that the zip code on that form is for Brooksville, not Tampa, so there is some question about where many of those forms might have gone. We will run the form again in the November newsletter to see if we can get a better response but it does not appear at this time that there are not going to be enough new customers to make adding gas lines in Lakewood economically feasible. We will continue to investigate.
Tom Doyle having been called out of town, Kent Rodahaver stepped up to make a power point presentation on the status of the Lakewood Investment Group, which is about to be officially formed as an LLC. Thirty-four people have signed on to pay $10 as part of the start-up costs and then invest $5,000 for each share. The group has elected a board and is meeting regularly. Anyone wishing to get in at this point can still do so. Contact email@example.com
Kent also notified everyone about the Vegas-style casino night coming up on September 26th at Grand Villa. He mentioned that among the incredible raffle items is a one-year free slip for a boat at the Marina. (A man was heard to mutter, “I need to buy a boat.”)
Pam Miller passed out cards giving the tentative date for our first ever Movies in the Park event, November 14th. The parks department is giving us its customary and extremely helpful assistance, and while the event will be free, donations will be sought for Pam’s Bruno Foundation, a 501c3 German shepherd rescue. Jennifer made a plea for volunteers to help with the October 10th pet walk at which the Ruby Fund and the Bruno Foundation will ‘man’ a booth. Both ladies were then recognized for their ongoing service to the lost and abandoned animals of Lakewood in the form of an annual Ruby Fund award we are sponsoring at Animal Services, giving $100 and a “Miller-Flannery Certificate of Appreciation” to an outstanding volunteer. Lakewood has developed a very important working relationship with Animal Services, and we intend to continue to nourish that.
Judy offered NO SOLICITING signs for $2.00 and urged everyone to get one to discourage the invasion of unsavory and aggressive sales people in our neighborhood. If you didn’t get one at the meeting, Judy has a few left, Ace Hardware is selling them.
On the subject of absentee-owned homes rented to undesirables, Judy explained that while we cannot do anything about changing to even a limited deed restricted neighborhood, there are things we can do to encourage absentee owners to be careful to whom they rent. She gave two examples of ways that pressure can be applied and pointed out that the city’s new nuisance law is going to be a powerful weapon against this problem.
Volunteers were sought to assist Kent Rodahaver and Irma Wehle to do something about our very unattractive traffic islands – the city will work with us, and while it was not mentioned at the meeting, the Association board is seeking a professional to work with Kent and Irma on the planting and design and then someone to maintain the islands on an as-needed basis, since the city will do little except edge and mow. We have several people in Lakewood who know about plants and landscaping, so we have a sound basis for getting this long-overdue project under way.
Bonnie Rocks presented her usual stunning array of door prizes, and Karin Martin won the 50/50, generously returning the money to the Association’s coffers. The meeting enjoyed fabulous chocolate peanut butter ice cream from the Working Cow, and adjourned about 9 p.m.
Minutes of May 20, 2015 meeting
The last meeting of the 2014-2015 season was held at 7 p.m. on May 20th at the Country Club. About 75-80 people attended, including several new residents attending for the first time. In addition to the scheduled speakers, from Duke Energy, we were joined by Luann Ekstrom of the Country Club Condominiums, who signed on as a member so that these homes can be kept in the loop; and by Gary Grooms of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, who came to see what we’re all about.
It was obvious from this meeting that we are in need of portable microphones as even with the one on the lectern it was hard for people to hear in the back, and members’ questions on the floor were totally lost. A member has generously offered to purchase 2 of these for future use.
Officer Kelly once again reaffirmed that we continue to keep our crime incidence extremely low but that the kids pulling on car door handles continue to plague us. Judy gave the status of 1700 Lakewood Drive, where an illegal casino attracted an armed robbery the night of May 11th. New tenants are in the house but it continues to be on the Codes list for a wide variety of violations.
Melanie Henson was proposed for a director pro tem pending elections in January. She is already helping the board with the volunteer hour summaries provided to the city, and will make a welcome addition for her energy and dedication.
Becky Hamilton spoke briefly about a proposed Go Do Be effort to improve the look of lower Country Club Way as this is a main entrance into the neighborhood, especially for golfers. There are a couple of houses in need of a coat of paint and some yard work and Becky will work with the Go Do Be group to see what can be done. Obviously ringing someone’s doorbell and telling them their house needs sprucing up is a delicate matter. Judy added that the city has offered us its discount at Scott Paint.
There followed a somewhat lengthy presentation and Q&A session with Tamara Waldman (solar energy) and Betsy Webb (forestry) of Duke Energy.
One of our residents (I regret not noting who) rose to explain how much money she has saved with solar but pointed out that in her case the cost was about $34,000. This is a complicated process; anyone wanting more information than I could gather at the meeting should contact Duke. Betsy Webb explained that trees are trimmed every 5 years and that we are approaching a 15-mile stretch of trimming that should be starting very soon. She admitted that the company has been uneven about notifying residents when crews are arriving, leaving piles of cut limbs for someone else to pick up, and sending in crews with no one who speaks English. They are working on improvements. Betsy left her card with us so that anyone who has a problem in the future with trees or other growth can contact her directly. She also left a good stack of flyers on how to plant so as to avoid these problems.
Kent Rodahaver took the floor and gave a brief rundown on the current status of the investment group, emphasizing again that this is an enterprise wholly separate from the Association. Judy added that her personal preference was for the group to go after absentee owners whose houses are problems, making them “offers they can’t refuse.”
Rich and Pam Miller then entertained the group with a slide show of the wonderful photos Pam took at the April 18th dog fair. Judy added that all the vendors except the Friends of Boyd Hill, which has its own donation system, turned over their earnings for the day to the Ruby Fund, which is now nicely endowed.
The group was brought up to date on the status of the annual drive to donate money to the Parks Department for underprivileged children’s swimming lessons. We are going to break all records this year partly because Roger Ritter donated $500 in memory of his recently deceased mother; the Parks Department has confirmed that it will make special note to announce this memorial. As always, the people of Lakewood Estates have been incredibly generous.
Judy also informed the group that the September newsletter will contain a magnet with the URL for the City’s problem reporting system, seeclickfix.
Movies in the park – everyone thought this would be a very neat thing if we can swing it. Judy is to contact Peter Belmont with the Historic Preservation Society to see how he managed to set this up in Straub Park. There are licensing, insurance and other issues.
Bonnie Rock’s lovely door prizes were distributed, and the whopping $50 in the 50/50 was won by Becky Launchi and graciously returned to the coffers.
One item that should have been mentioned but wasn’t is the fact that the Association is revamping the web site to make it far less complicated and far more user friendly.
The meeting adjourned somewhere around 8:45.