Archive | 2013

Newsletter: July-Sept 2013

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National Night Out

National Night Out was a huge success.  Many community organizations were on hand to meet us and provide fun demonstrations, including St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Department, Maryland State Police, Mechanicsville Volunteer FIre Department and Rescue Squad, SMECO, and Medstar St. Mary’s Hospital. We had lots of food and games, and even some door prizes. A special thanks goes out to our volunteer board members for organizing this fun event…. and also to our community organizations for taking time out of their busy day to join us.

1st Annual Fall Community Yard Sale

Despite the gloomy weather we experienced in May for our Spring Yard Sale, we continued with resident requests to host a Fall event.  It was a wonderful idea and ended up being a beautiful day for a yard sale.
Many homes in the community were setup and several people were also set up at the parking lot.  It was a busy day for all and we are happy it turned out so well. We will certainly continue the twice-a-year tradition in the future! Thanks for your suggestions!

Remaining 2013 Community Events

CLHA Board Meetings –

Our Board Meetings are being held every four weeks on Tuesdays at either the park pavilion or the Christ Church Parish Hall on Zack Fowler Rd. in Chaptico. Upcoming meeting dates for the fourth quarter of 2013 are as follows:
October 29, November 26 (tentative), December 10 (Board Elections), and December 17 (tentative).
All meetings are at 7pm and last about 2 hours. Please bring your ideas/suggestions/complaints and we’ll try our best to address them appropriately.

Trunk or Treat

Join us at the park for this event on Thursday, October 31 at 6-8 pm. Decorate your car, yourselves, your friendly pets, your kids, and bring candy….and lots of it! This is a very popular event.

Adopt a Road Community Clean-up

Volunteer to beautify your community (or maybe just the road on which you reside) on Saturday, November 2. Meet at the pavilion at 9am if you are interested in joining us or call 301-884-7297 or webmaster@clha.org for more information.

Christmas Party with Santa

Santa will visit the CLHA park pavilion on Sunday, December 8 from 2-4pm. Bring your kids down to meet him and enjoy hot chocolate and other treats.

Special Announcements

Board Elections in December

Each year, we hold elections for the executive positions of our CLHA board. Any resident that has resided on the board for 1 full year is eligible to run for office. All residents are eligible to vote, but must do so in person at our “Meet and Greet” event on Tuesday, Dec 10 at 7pm. Please join us at Christ Church Parish hall on Zach Fowler Road in Chaptico to meet the nominees and place your vote.

Do you need a Thermal Expansion Tank?

Metcom updated our water meters this summer and found that many homes needed backflow prevention devices installed. They installed the devices and alerted homeowners of the possible need for a Thermal Expansion Tank. Please contact Dan Roys at Metcom at 301-737-7400 ext 306 with questions. You should also consult with your plumber regarding the need for a Thermal Expansion Tank. See CLHA.org for a short list of possible plumbers.

Neighborhood Watch Program

We have had our initial meeting of the community watch program. We are always accepting newcomers. If you are interested in joining this cause, please complete our online form at clha.org or contact Donald “Pud” Graham at 301-884-5236 or 301-717-6474.

Too Busy to Volunteer?
Here are some tips for making your home and property less likely to be a target for crime:
Shrubbery /Trees/Outbuildings: Planting bushes or building structures that limit the view of doors and windows may give you a feeling of privacy, but in fact, do the opposite. They prevent neighbors from noticing an intruder and provide hiding spots for criminals as well.
Outdoor Lighting: Well lit approach areas around garages and doors act as a deterrent for robbers. Motion sensor lights work well and conserve electricity as they only light when activated.
Alarms: They are effective against intrusion when properly installed and maintained. Panic alarms that can be activated by a member of your household that emit loud sirens will normally frighten away intruders when activated. A silent alarm allows law enforcement to respond without alerting the intruder.
Know Your Neighbors: If your neighbors are familiar with you and your family, vehicles, etc. they may notice suspicious activity or vehicular traffic that may give the police clues to solving crimes in the area.
Please continue to report all vandalism and crimes to the St. Mary’s County Sheriffs Department. Knowledge is key to preventing and solving future crimes.

Park Pavilion Repairs Postponed

The initial Improvements to the pavilion scheduled for September 2013 had to be postponed due to lack of funds to support the project. Stay tuned for an exact date of construction.

Adopt A Road Program

We have adopted the three entrance roads to Country Lakes in an attempt at beautifying our community. We hope that you will help in this effort to keep our roads and their shoulders free of litter. We will set up 2-3 community service days per year and may ask for your help. Have you noticed the signs on Cox Dr., Asher Rd., and Yowaiski Mill Rd.? Contact us at 301-884-7297 www.clha.org if you are interested in volunteering.

Using Facebook to Communicate

Many of your neighbors (159 as of October 28) are actively using the CLHA Facebook page to communicate about things happening in the neighborhood.  It’s a great way to know rather quickly when dogs are loose, or if you notice suspicious activity anywhere within the community. It’s even been used to located owners of lost items at the park. Feel free to use it to contact us with any questions about the HOA.  We welcome all your posts and work hard to repost and/or answer your inquiries as soon as we are able.

Want to Volunteer?

Call 301-884-7297 or Complete this form.
When calling our voice mail, your phone number must accept blocked numbers to receive a call back.

Thank you for your interest. Complete this form for details.

 

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6 Runner Safety Tips

It’s summer. That means warmer weather, more daylight, people out and about enjoying the sunshine-it has to be safer to run outdoors, right? Wrong.

Generally speaking, yes, it is safer to run when it’s light out, as opposed to when it’s dark, but there’s something that happens to most of us during daylight-we feel invincible. And this is just as hazardous as running by ourselves at midnight on a poorly lit street.

According to a UNIFEM report, one in three American women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime with the abuser usually someone known to her. If you find this shocking, it is.

If you’re wondering what it has to do with running, I’ll tell you that assailants are no longer waiting for the cover of night to strike. They will surprise you in the early hours of morning, during a midday trail run, or abduct you from the streets of your neighborhood. Just ask the five bay area women threatened while running a popular trail; or the woman who jumped over a cliff in Malibu to escape her attacker, or even Candice Moncayo who escaped Chelsea King’s killer.

It can happen and we want you to be safe. READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE for some of the best tried and true safety tips from police officers, EMT’s, and other safety experts.

Newsletter: Apr-Jun 2013

MetCom Automatic Meter Reading Project Underway

By now, you should be well aware of the Metropolitan Commission’s activity in our neighborhood. They are undertaking a county-wide project to upgrade our meters. Country Lakes is part of the 1st route of residential sites to be upgraded, with an estimated completion date of August 2013.

In May, elaborate information about the project and how it affects your property was mailed to all residents of the community. If you did not receive this information, or if you have additional questions about the project, please contact MetCom directly at www.metcom.org or 301-737-7400.

Rainy Day for Yard Saling, but Dumpster Day was a Hit

Our community yard sale was May 18 and despite the gloomy forecast, a few folks set up shop in their yards, driveways, and garages!  We received feedback from many that they would like to see the HOA organize two of these events per year. We agree that it is a great idea to host a community sale in the Spring and the Fall months and are working diligently to decide on the perfect date. Stay tuned.

Two weeks after the yard sale was the annual Dumpster Day event on Saturday, June 1. There were three large containers for household junk and two for metal. We nearly filled all five containers that were available.
There were 43 residents that participated, but 58 actual dumps.  That’s right, a few people made multiple trips.  We allowed onsite payments of delinquent dues and appreciate those folks that paid. It is your HOA dues that help us make these events a success.

Next Up: National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug 6, 6-8pm at the park. Come meet your community organizations such as the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Dept., SMECO, MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, and more.  Food, games, and door prizes!

Upcoming Community Events (view all)

2013 CLHA Board Meetings – Now at the Park

Our Board Meetings are being held every four weeks on Tuesdays at either the park pavilion or the Christ Church Parish Hall on Zack Fowler Rd. in Chaptico. For the summer months, we are currently holding meetings at the park pavilion. We welcome you to join us! Upcoming meeting dates for the third quarter of 2013 are as follows:

  • July 9,
  • September 3.

All meetings are at 7pm and last about 2 hours. Please bring your ideas/suggestions/complaints and we’ll try our best to address them appropriately.

National Night Out

Join us at the park for this event on Tuesday, August 6 at 6-8 pm. Various community organizations will be present. Come meet the folks that help make our community a better place. We’ll have food, games and door prizes.

Special Announcements

Neighborhood Watch Program

We are in the beginning stages of organizing a community watch program. If you are interested in joining this cause, please complete our online form or contact Donald “Pud” Graham at 301-884-5236 or 301-717-6474.

Too Busy to Volunteer?
Here are some tips for making your home and property less likely to be a target for crime:

  • Shrubbery /Trees/Outbuildings: Planting bushes or building structures that limit the view of doors and windows may give you a feeling of privacy, but in fact, do the opposite. They prevent neighbors from noticing an intruder and provide hiding spots for criminals as well.
  • Outdoor Lighting: Well lit approach areas around garages and doors act as a deterrent for robbers. Motion sensor lights work well and conserve electricity as they only light when activated.
  • Alarms: They are effective against intrusion when properly installed and maintained. Panic alarms that can be activated by a member of your household that emit loud sirens will normally frighten away intruders when activated. A silent alarm allows law enforcement to respond without alerting the intruder.
  • Know Your Neighbors: If your neighbors are familiar with you and your family, vehicles, etc. they may notice suspicious activity or vehicular traffic that may give the police clues to solving crimes in the area.

Please continue to report all vandalism and crimes to the St. Mary’s County Sheriffs Department. Knowledge is key to preventing and solving future crimes.

2013-2014 Yearly Dues Reminder

Dues statements were mailed on June 3. Please be aware that payments are due by July 1 to avoid a $5 late fee. Drop your check in the mail today and avoid that fee.

Attention Sellers: Resale Packages

When selling your home, there is a resale package that should be included in your closing process. Most real estate agents will request this directly from us, but if they don’t, you should be aware that you will need to make the request. The fee for the resale package, which includes all of the covenants, articles of incorporation, and dues history for the property will be $50 as of July 1, 2013.

Upcoming Repairs to the Park Pavilion

Improvements to the pavilion will take place in September 2013. Construction will require the pavilion to be closed for at least three days. We will post a message on the lighted sign when this begins. You will also notice yellow construction tape blocking any entrance onto the concrete floor of the pavilion and surrounding areas. Stay tuned for an exact date of construction.

Cicadas and Inchworm Infestation

We didn’t see the expected hoard of 17 year cicadas in Country Lakes (thankfully), but we most definitely dealt with our fair share of inchworms this year. We posted a few useful links on our web site and Facebook page and hope that you were able to learn more about the insects and ways to minimize future infestations and damage to your trees.

Adopt A Road Program

We have adopted the three entrance roads to Country Lakes in an attempt at beautifying our community. We hope that you will help in this effort to keep our roads and their shoulders free of litter. We will set up 2-3 community service days per year and may ask for your help. Have you noticed the signs on Cox Dr., Asher Rd., and Yowaiski Mill Rd.? Contact us at 301-884-7297 or complete this form if you are interested in volunteering.

Neighborhood Watch Program

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The members of the HOA have elected to recruit citizens of Country Lakes into an organized Neighborhood Watch Program (NWP). We have had a NWP in the past and found it effective in reducing crime in our neighborhood.

We are in contact with members of the St Mary’s County Sheriffs Dept who attend our board meetings and we have reached an agreement with them to re-instate the NWP. We agree that it would be to the best advantage for us to have more cooperation between our citizens and law enforcement.

Some of the advantages would be an awareness of what is happening in our area, and a better awareness of each of our parts in crime detection and prevention to make our streets safer for all.

We will need block captains and points of contact who can meet and exchange ideas and information on current activities. We will establish an open line with our police representatives in an on going attempt to keep our homes aafer and more secure.

Neighborhood Watch has now expanded to incorporate natural disasters as well as other emergencies.

If you are interested in participating or have any suggestions, please contact Don “Pud” Graham at 301-884-5236 or 301-717-6474 OR complete the form below. Thank you!

Learn more about the program

 

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MetCom Automated Meter Reading Project

Information on the ongoing Automated Meter Reading Project (AMR):

AMR Fact Sheet
AMR Project Press Release
AMR Information Brochure
AMR Powerpoint Presentation
Questions? Problems? Just want to know more about the project and how it may affect you?

MetCom hosted a public meeting at the Mechanicsville VFD on Monday, June 3 at 7pm. Project leaders were on hand to answer any questions you had about this project.  If you were unable to attend, email your questions and MetCom will respond as soon as possible.

Newsletter: Jan – Mar 2013

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Neighborhood Watch Program in the Works – Join the Cause

Are you concerned with the amount of crime taking place within the Country Lakes neighborhood? Overall, we live in a safe community surrounded by law-abiding citizens. At monthly board meetings, we are alerted of the crimes that do take place (mostly break-ins of homes, vehicles, theft, and vandalism), and any progress the Sheriff’s department has made in tracking down the culprits.

We are in the beginning stages of taking our own steps toward community crime prevention! If you would like to know more about joining this cause, please contact us at 301-884-7297 and leave a message, including your name and phone number.  We can’t make a change without the help of you, our neighbors! So, please join us!

Help us Clean up the Neighborhood on April 27

We welcome Spring, the dandelions blooming, the birds chirping, the trash lining the roadways…wait, that trash is not supposed to be there! With the help of our board members, we have decided to take a step towards cleaning up our community! We have set up a “Community Clean Up” day on Saturday, April 27 (with a rain date of May 11).

Volunteers and community service workers will be on hand to help pick-up the litter on our main entryways, with heavy focus on the areas near the park. Join together with your families and neighbors to pick up the litter on your street. If we all help out, our community can become a more beautiful place, street by street.

What a good way to get some exercise and meet your neighbors. We hope you will participate (even if only on your own street) on Saturday, April 27 and work with us to continually keep our neighborhood clean!

Note: Your kids may be able to submit their community service hours for school. Check with the school to be sure!!

Upcoming 2013 Community Events

2013 CLHA Board Meetings – Join the Discussion

Our Board Meetings are being held every four weeks on Tuesdays at the Christ Church Parish Hall on Zack Fowler Rd. in Chaptico. Once the weather breaks we will move the location to the park pavilion for the summer months.

Upcoming meeting dates for the second quarter of 2013 are as follows:

  • April 16,
  • May 14, and
  • June 11.

All meetings are at 7pm and last about 2 hours. All residents of the community are welcome at these meetings.

Community Clean Up

The very 1st CLHA Community Clean Up date is set for Saturday, April 27. You can contribute by joining us near the park or picking up the trash on your own street.

Community Yard Sale

On Saturday, May 18, we are hosting the community yard sale. We will post signs in the community and on somd.com. Feel free to set up in the parking lot at the park on a first come, first served basis. You can also use your own yard. Sale time is 7am to 12 noon.

Dumpster Day

This event is scheduled for Saturday, June 1 at the parking lot. We will provide multiple dumpsters, including one for metals. Bring your leftover, non-donatable items from the Yard Sale and we’ll haul them away for you. Certain items will not be accepted, such as tires, hazardous materials, and yard debri. Your dues must be current to participate.

Special Announcements

Web Forms for Reservation Requests

Our new web site was launched in early January. We hope you are enjoying the new look and new features. We have provided you with an easy, more streamlined way to request to reserve the pavilion or lighted sign, and also to check your dues status or ask any other HOA-related questions. You can find the various forms on the website, each of which guides you through the information we need to provide a thorough response. Happy ‘Surf’ing!

Voicemail Notice from the President

The CHLA voicemail line is available to all residents for any inquiries regarding the community and HOA. We request that you please provide your name, address, and return phone number slowly and clearly in your message. PLEASE NOTE: Messages are checked on a weekly basis, so allow for a week for someone to return your call. If you want a quicker response, use the web forms.

Upcoming Repairs to the Park Pavilion

We are in the process of approving a quote to replace numerous support poles at the pavilion. Construction on the pavilion will require it to be out of commission for at least three days. We will post a message on the lighted sign when construction begins. You will also notice yellow construction tape blocking any entrance onto the cement floor of the pavilion and surrounding areas. Stay tuned.

Painting the Playground

The metal playground equipment will undergo a facelift in the next few months. We will be painting the surfaces to provide a “cooler” environment for your children during the summer months. That metal can get very hot, so we are trying to reduce that problem and give the equipment a new, fresher look as well. Enjoy!

Advertise With Us

You have always been able to advertise in our quarterly newsletters. The redesign of our web site has created another opportunity for you to advertise your business with CLHA. The newsletters are distributed electronically and only to Country Lakes residents, but the web site is a public domain accessible on a much broader level. We are offering monthly ad spots to residents (and non-residents) at a small fee of $50/month. We are working on an information page for the web site that will provide you with additional information on how to advertise. In the meantime, please contact webmaster@clha.org if you are interested.

Event Signs on Cox and Yowaiski Mill

We understand many of you don’t pass the lighted sign at the park on a daily basis, so we have started posting event signs at the entrances on Cox Drive and Yowaiski Mill Road so everyone can stay informed about upcoming events. We will post the signs about a week before any scheduled event. We hope you will come out and participate with the community!

Report ALL Crimes in the Neighborhood

If you become a victim of any crime in the neighborhood, no matter how small, please report it to the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Department at 301-475-8008. Some of the culprits have been proven to be responsible for mulitple crimes in the neighborhood. The more information the Sheriff’s Department knows, the better. Thanks for your help.

Thefts from Motor Vehicles

In 2012, over 500 incidents of thefts from vehicles were reported in St. Mary’s County. The vast majority of the vehicles entered had been left unlocked by the victims and valuables often in plain view were stolen. Some of these incidents have occurred in Country Lakes. The Sheriff’s Office has created a brochure full of tips and information on ensuring the safety of your vehicles and personal items. It also provides important contact information related to neighborhood watch programs, crime solvers, and the Sheriff’s Office. The overall motto is “Lock it or Lose it”.

For additional information, download the brochure.

School Bus Accident in Country Lakes

ALERT: Please be mindful of school buses in the neighborhood during the morning and afternoon hours. The speed limit throughout the neighborhood is 25 MPH in most places. Help to keep our neighborhood kids safe while entering and exiting buses each day…

Posted on the Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department Website:

January 4, 2013: At 0839 hours Rescue Engine 22 and EMS Station 29 was alerted to Yowaski Mill Road at Tanyard Drive for the motor vehicle accident involving an occupied school bus with no injuries reported.

Engine 22 arrived on the scene to find a passenger vehicle versus a Type “C” school bus in a rear end style collision and established the command.

Engine 22 found eighteen students on board the bus with no injuries. The drivers of both the school bus and the passenger vehicle were also uninjured. The Board of Education had already been notified by the school bus driver.

Ambulance 297 obtained a patient care refusal from the driver of both vehicles, as well as a mass care refusal from the students and released them over to the SMCPS Board of Education representatives on scene.

Units operated on the scene for approximately twenty minutes.