Greetings neighbors! This update from the BOD will review some accomplishments and problems of the past year and attempt to dispel some misconceptions that appear to be circulating around the community. For the sake of brevity, issues will be in bullet form. For those of you who would like to discuss these issues further, there will be an open forum on Monday April 28 in the Westview Clubhouse at 7 P.M. All are invited to attend to ask questions of the BOD.
·The rise in insurance premiums are due in part to lawsuits filed against the community and also the risks associated with fire in the attached, clustered frame units some of which do not have adequate firewalls between units. The insurance assessment was calculated in compliance with the offering plan as was the snow assessment in current and prior years.
·The snow assessment will be coming with the May bill. The unprecedented number of snow and ice events this year has precipitated an unusually large expenditure. The Finance Committee has worked hard to find ways to restructure existing funds to lower the assessment as much as possible.
· Inclement weather safety guidelines were instituted to improve the safety of residents and visitors. The new procedures have helped reduce the number of slip and fall incidents in the community.
·The BOD is currently reviewing snow removal proposals for next year with the intent to continue the excellent snow response we had this year but at a lower cost that will also satisfy the stringent requirements of our HOA Insurance Carrier and our HOA Attorneys hold harmless waiver.
· Installation of the Key Fob system is in process and has a target date of completion sometime near the end of April. This system will improve the ability to allow only approved entry into our clubhouses and pools and will increase safety and security for residents by the installation of cameras in key areas. A sign up date for key fobs will be announced shortly.
· Security guards have replaced the clubhouse attendants in the evening hours. There is no increase in the budget for this change since the HOA is not responsible for benefits, workers compensation and other costs associated with the prior attendantsand the cost of the guard contract was offset by existing clubhouse related payroll and taxes. In addition, coverage for sick and vacation time is the responsibility of the security company, eliminating the need for extra attendants for coverage. The BOD is in constant conversation with the security company owner to work out performance issues as necessary.
·The contract for the clubhouse cleaning company has been terminated due to unsatisfactory performance. Two new clubhouse employees have been hired with the dual responsibilities of clubhouse cleaning and offering a presence in the clubhouse during the daytime hours to assist residents as needed. The cost of the additional personnel is offset by the elimination of the cleaning company
· Pool maintenance (indoor and outdoor) is covered by Aquatech Pool Company on a weekly basis and more frequently if needed. The clubhouse employees and guards have been trained to do the required number of pool checks when the pool company is not on site.
· An additional maintenance man has been hired bringing the total number of maintenance staff to three. They have been extremely effective in providing snow removal and will allow for improved maintenance in common areas as well as an improved response time to work orders.
· The Finance Committee in conjunction with the BOD attorney are successfully recouping delinquent funds and stemming the increase in delinquents by proactive measures. The “Rental Program" is progressing well. This program allows the BOD to take temporary possession of homes not yet in bank foreclosure and rents them to pre-screened applicants. There are currently three homes rented out and two more that are in process to be rented. The funds from the rental income reduces the delinquency account.
· A new Entertainment Committee has been formed and have successfully hosted several well attended parties. Between parties, they continue to host intermittent gatherings that are open to all at no cost.
· The BOD continues to provide support of other social events hosted by the Women’s Club, the Golf Committee, the Italian Club and other entities in the community
· The BOD is committed to improved communications with residents as evidenced by the periodic updates on this site, a responsiveness to questions posed by the newspaper staff, publication of BOD minutes and the review and response to all written communications sent to the BOD and/or the Property Manager.
As in any community, problems and issues continue to arise. Any Board member, Finance Committee member or staff member can introduce an issue and will be heard. All issues are openly discussed, reviewed and researched. New ideas are entertained and resident issues are taken seriously. Not all solutions are immediate nor will they satisfy everyone but the community at large is of primary importance. After adequate discussion, decisions are brought to conclusion by motion, second and vote, always with the offering plan in mind.
The current BOD is about to change. It is our hope that all residents vote and vote wisely. A good BOD member is one who considers the facts, is willing to work cooperatively while standing up for what he/she believes in and is capable of sorting through the complexities of issues. A good board member never thinks they have all the answers but reviews what is good, observes what needs changing and works toward the good of all. A good board member functions as a part of a group of individuals, each having their own talents, experiences and capabilities. A good board member should always honor and respect other board members efforts and accomplishments. A good board member works hard to overcome problems in a selfless way. A good board member remembers that he/she is a representative of the people served.
Vote for a good board member.
My point of view.....by Dick Bloch
Fran Gentleman...you are right!
I was so very pleased with Fran Gentleman's article that I felt I had to compliment her in this forum and expand a bit on her discussion about a " good candidate". She tells it exactly as it is, it is a very tough job to be a good HOA Board member. Not everyone can do the job as we have seen in the past and the upcoming election is going to be a big challenge for all of us. In fact it should not even be called an election more like a referendum on the community.
Before I go any further, let me state that I do not know either of the new candidates and have no malice against them and applaud them for stepping up to run for office. I am sure they are both very nice intelligent people with a desire to serve the community. I have publically supported Ron DeRosa for years but my comments below are more about proposed changes than they are about individual people. The opinions I express are my own.
From what I've heard in the grapevine, the new candidates want to make many many changes to some important positions and people, replacing them with people that they claim are already lined up. Who are these people? If there are plans to fire volunteers, committee people, staff and vendors, they should be spelled out for us and put in writing to tell us just who are the people we would be voting for !!!!! I am all for progress and changes if they are researched and given due diligence but change for the sake of change is always a bad idea.
One candidate is running unopposed and I'm told he has stated publically that if his running mate loses he will not serve. I have said it before, this is not a popularity contest or a position to be taken lightly, this is a complex worth one half a billion dollars with a 3.5 million dollar budget. This community is not something to leave in the hands of just anyone. The last time I heard something like that said was when one of the guys on our Brooklyn sandlot baseball team , who happened to own the only baseball we had said that if he was not allowed to pitch that he was taking the baseball and going home. Well we scraped a quarter together and bought a team ball and needless to say Mr. Selfish never played another game with us. We heard he took up ballet and was quite good at it.
And while I am at it, let me ask who gave the Concerned Birchwood Residents Group permission to talk to outside vendors to use if their people win? Do they not realize how bad a move that is that these various vendors, including the snow contractors, landscapers, Attorneys, CPA's and management companies talk to each other. What is going to happen to the good service we are getting from our existing vendors when they find out that they are being shopped before an election even takes place? Think about it before you fill out your ballot.
Rest in Peace.... Frank Piraneo
by Mike Habich
It is with great sadness that I write the announcement of Frank Piraneo's passing last night. Frank has been fighting a battle with cancer for many years and last evening he succumbed to his illness. Frank was a friend to me and so many others and a colleague of mine in and out of the board room. As HOA Director he instituted many positive changes and as the HOA President he led us all with pride and enthusiasm.
Frank was a devoted family man and was always there to lend a hand in and out of the community. Outspoken and sharp all the time you could always count on Frank to tell it like it was and not mince words and get a laugh afterwards.
We worked together very closely with community finances and many projects during his tenure on the board and I nicknamed him "Frankie 500" seven years ago and we kidded about that just a week or so ago when we last spoke. He signed his Emails to me with that nickname from that day on.
Frank was a wonderful person and the world was a better place with him in it. Please keep Diane and the the family of Frank in your prayers during this difficult time.
Goodbye Frank...Heaven's gain is our loss. I'll miss you.
HOA Election Dates Announced *Changed
The annual meeting & HOA Election schedule is listed below. Open candidate positions will be announced by the HOA in the near future.
Annual Meeting BSL HOA & Election Day................. May 21st, 2014 @ 6:00 pm. Reg. 5-6 pm
Meet the Candidates Night.................................. April 30th, 2014 @ 7:00 pm.
Cut-off for resumes and *intent to run..................*April 9th, 2014 @ 4:00 pm * Details from the HOA
The Golf Committee is providing an instructional class for residents who would like to improve their game. This class is intended for beginning, mid, and high handicap players who want to work on their game and require a basic plan to proceed.
The classes will be small (4) with a “hands-on” approach. They will be conducted on the four Tuesdays in May (6, 13, 20, 27). Since the course is closed for play, this will give us full use of the practice area.
There will be a registration meeting for all residents interested in participating in this program, on May 1st, in the Eastview Clubhouse at 6pm. There will be a $10 fee (cash or check) payable at this time.
Class size is extremely limited and will be based on first come first serve basis. Any questions, please call Alan Monteleone (345-6849).
BSL Golf Committee Election Results
April 9th, 2014
Pictured are two of the three golf committee members elected at the April 9th meeting.
John Daly & Chuck Schuster
Not pictured, Phil Giannico
Winners: John Daly, Phil Giannico, Chuck Schuster
Not Elected: Bob Coffey and Charlie Strub
THE GOLF MYSTIQUE - Is It Apparel Related?
by Alan Monteleone
In the beginning, golf was played by shepherds to pass the time. Sheep herding is not an exciting profession. The dress of the day was dependent on the weather. As times changed, so did the apparel. There was a reflection of society that ingrained itself into the game. Money and private clubs became the rule of the day and were displayed on the course. Along with these times a certain mystique evolved.
At the turn of the twentieth century men wore jackets and ties while women played in long dresses. In this day and age we are more concerned with freedom of the swing and comfort in various weather conditions which rule out the above attire. Golf apparel has adjusted and there is much to be had that will satisfy the most discerning golfer. However, the underlying theme has always been, "respect for the game."
I enjoy carrying my clubs when possible as it brings me closer to the game I learned in my youth. Though I've given up herding sheep and have shelved the jacket and tie, I feel a respect for the game is displayed in the way one dresses. This comes from inside, not as the result of a dress code or any such mandatory rule. Go to any private golf club and you will see a far higher mode of attire then on most public courses. It's not about money…it's about RESPECT.
Yes, there is a point here. I feel that values in our society have declined. Respect, for one, has seemed to have waned. We see it in our daily lives. There is a certain lack of respect when dressing in a certain fashion. Tee shirts, jeans, tank tops, etc., may display a well earned freedom of choice but they disrespect the nature of the game. There is a GOLF MYSTIQUE that I believe should be maintained. Furthermore, respect should come from within and not forced upon oneself.
In conclusion, I feel that we as a society and as a golfing community should embrace the GOLF MYSTIQUE. Golf is a very unique and special endeavor. It is part physical, part mental, part social and part historical. Respect the game and oneself by choosing what's right.
Birchwood Discussion Group now online...
by Frank Matzen
*****FYI - Current Birchwood Residents*****
As an alternative to the now defunct “Birchwood Blog”, a Facebook “BIRCHWOOD DISCUSSION GROUP” has been created for general discussions and information exchange between Birchwood residents. Membership in the group is restricted to Birchwood @ Spring Lake residents. Only residents joining the group can view the site, its membership, or post comments on the site. Therefore no outsiders, management people or anyone other than those residents requesting an invitation and added to the group have access to the group.
Any resident who wishes to join The “Birchwood Discussion Group” must have, or open, a Facebook Account. (There is no cost to open a Facebook Account.)
Any interested resident can contact me at Fmatzen1@GMAIL.COM and I will E-Mail an invitation to join the Group.Then, respond to the “invitation” E-Mail by clicking on the blue “Join” button at the bottom of the invitation - I will be notified and add you to the group. The link to the group will appear on your Facebook Home page under groups in the column on the left side of the page.
Frank Matzen, Birchwood Discussion Group Administrator
Note: The Face Book site is not part of the Birchwood Website and it is not administered by Mike Habich
Veterans Appreciation Dinner
by Nicholas DiMarco
Hello, my name is Nicholas DiMarco and I am the Senior Class President at Longwood High School. With the help of Student Council and our advisor, Mr. Thomas Braun, we have set up a Veterans Appreciation Dinner at the high school for April 30th at 7 pm. It is for Veterans in the Longwood School District.
Each Veteran is allowed to bring 1-2 guests. If you could please advertise this event for us that would be great! We would love a good turn out for this. Also we need the veterans to RSVP to our event titled "Longwood High School Veterans Appreciation Dinner" with the number of guests they are bringing so that we can get a head count for how much food we need to order.
You can contact our Student Council advisor, Mr. Thomas Braun, who is responsible for the whole event at (631) 885-1982Thank you!
Being a friend to others
by Ed Handibode
BEING A FRIEND TO OTHERS
Let me live in my house by the side of the road, Where the race of men go by- They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong, Wise, foolish - so am I. Then why should I sit in the scorner's seat, Or hurl the cynic's ban? Let me live in my house by the side of the road And be a friend to man.
Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911)
Was this guy a dreamer? There was a time in my life when I was very much given to cynicism and I thought that this poet was foolish to think about being “a friend to man.”
Do we have a responsibility to the community in which we live? Are we willing to offer time and talent to any project that lends itself to the overall good of the community and its members? The simple act of visiting a sick neighbor or offering a ride to someone who doesn’t drive is being a friend. “To have a friend, be a friend,” is an age-old aphorism
Many people are aware of the importance of offering love and service. They quietly volunteer time in hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities where care is offered to people. They don’t brag about it; they simply “do.”
I’ve heard it suggested that the universe is neither hostile nor friendly. If that is true then surely we owe it to each other to be kind. After all, aren’t we all in the same boat, so to speak?
Shakespeare suggested the following:
“Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel.”
It is a truism that a friend is someone who will allow you to have your own truth even if it differs from his.
An old newspaper article referred to a study done in Australia in which it was revealed that a circle of friends can sweeten and lengthen life. Researchers in Australia who had conducted a 10-year study of folks over 70 found they tended to live longer if they have a group of close friends. “Survival time may be enhanced by strong social networks,” the study concluded.
While the study may be new, the advice is not. Health experts have for years been advising older people to keep active and alert by spending time with friends. At the same time, if we can find a way to “serve” we will be doubly rewarded.
The following poem seems appropriate here:
AROUND THE CORNER
Charles Hanson Towne (1877-1949)
Around the corner I have a friend In this great city that has no end, Yet the days go by and weeks rush on, And before I know it, a year is gone
And I never see my old friends face, For life is a swift and terrible race. He knows I like him just as well As in the days when I rang his bell,
And he rang mine. We were younger then, And now we are busy, tired men. Tired of playing a foolish game, Tired of trying to make a name. "Tomorrow," I say, “I will call on Jim Just to show that I'm thinking of him."
But tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes, And the distance between us grows and grows. Around the corner! - yet miles away, "Here's a telegram sir-" "Jim died today." And that's what we get and deserve in the end. Around the corner, a vanished friend.
Birchwood Book Club Announcement
by Marcia Attard
Birchwood Book Club Spring Selections:
April 21- The Silent Wife..... ...............by S.A. Harrison
May 19 The Fixer............................. by Bernard Malamud
June 16 My Beloved World................. by Sonia Sotomayor
Meetings are held the third Monday of each month Eastview Clubhouse 4:00-5:00 pm
Contact Marcia Attard 345-6285 for any further information
Brookhaven Town Tax Grievance Info.
This year the Brookhaven Town tax grievance deadline is May 20th, 2014. As a free service to my Birchwood friends and neighbors I will offer a free market analysis of your home. and supply you with the Handbook for Tax Grievance from the Town Of Brookhaven.
Feel free to call me at 516-528-4658 anytime.
Tom Annunziato, Coach Realtors, Birchwood Resident
Veterans Outreach Care Information
by Ed Handibode
VA care is now available at six locations in Nassau and Suffolk Counties!
Northport, Patchogue, Riverhead, East Meadow, Bay Shore, Valley Stream
Pre-registration is required.
Please Call: Community Relations Department: 631-261-4400 x7084/52507082
Enrollment assistance for new applicants
Update information for current users in VA Healthcare
New healthcare programs available to eligible veterans
Review medical benefits & eligibility
Please call 1 week prior to event. Please bring a copy of your DD214 or Separation Papers
Your participation helps you & your fellow Veterans!
Birchwood Snow Report-- 2013/2014
WINTER 2013/2014 SNOW SEASON STORM RECORDS
by Mike Habich
At the end of the season, all costs are added up and split according to the offering plan formula by all 733 residents for the next years snow assessment.
I have recorded all Birchwood snow events since 2006
Light Dusting 11/12/2013 Snow on grass only No action needed
Light Dusting 12/8/2013 Snow on grass 0.50" No Action needed
Light Snow Event 12/10/2013 Minor Accum. 1.25" BSL Trucks Only
Snow to Rain 12/14/2013 3 inches Snow/Sleet 35 Yards Salt/Sand
Light Snow to Ice 12/17/2013 Minor Accum. 2.00" Sand/Salt, OT & Ice Melt
Light Snow 12/24/2013 Snow on grass & roads Road salt & Shovel crews
Blizzard 01/03/2014 Heavy snow 8-10 inches Full road salt & shovel crews
Icy Roads & Courts 01/07/2014 Rain to deep freeze Road and Court Salt/Sand
Icy Roads & Courts 01/10/2014 Rain freezing on surfaces Road sand & Salt crews
Heavy Snowfall 01/21/2014 Heavy accum. 12-14" All crews will be utilized
Light Snow 01/25/2014 Plowable Snowfall of 3" Road, Salt & Shovel Crews
Light Snow 01/29/2014 Plowable Snowfall of 3" Road & Shovel Crews On site
Heavy Snow 02/03/2014 Plowable wet snow 8" All crews utilized
Snow to Sleet 02/05/2014 Snow 3", to sleet to rain All crews utilized
Snow/Rain/Snow 02/13/2014 Snow/Rain/Snow 9" All crews utilized + Payloaders
Light Snow 02/15/2015 Light Snow 2-4" All crews utilized
Light Snow to Rain 02/18/2014 Snow 1-2" Hand Shovel Crews & Bobcats
Snow Flurries 02/27/2014 On and Off Snow No accumulation on roads
Light Snowfall 03/02/2014 Dusting only .25" Nothing spent. BSL Only
Moderate Snowfall 03/31/2014 Rain to snow 4" No outside vendors. BSL Only
Light Dusting 04/16/2014 Rain to flurries No outside vendors used.
Total # of snow events this season.........28
Total estimated snow in inches...............71.4
BIRCHWOOD @ SPRING LAKE WOMEN'S CLUB EVENTS
by Marge Rende
Monday, May 12, 2014 – Luncheon - 12:00 Noon We Will Learn the Art of “Forcing Bulbs” That Will Bloom Indoors & Be Ready to Plant Outdoors In The Spring – All Materials Will Be Supplied Everyone Will Go Home With a Completed Glass Garden Registration: Monday, May 5, 2014 E. View – 5:00-6:00 PM $15.00 PP(Lunch & Supplies Inclusive)
We need models for the BSL Paid-Up Luncheon in October.
Sizes: 9 or Less to size 24. Fashions supplied by Dress Barn.
If interested Call JoAnn- 205-5805
All Luncheons Are for Paid-Up Members Only
Become a Member - Membership Renewal $30.00 Per Year Make All Checks Payable to:
Women's Club of Birchwood At Spring Lake, Inc.(Separate Checks For Luncheon Checks Please)
BSL VETERANS Tax Exemptions
by Frank Dapolito
New York State Authorizes Veterans' School Tax Exemptions:
Secretary Ed contacted the Assessor’s Office in the Town of Brookhaven regarding the information below and we were told the following: “The Town has approved the deduction and now it is up to the School District to say yes or no to the deduction.”
Albany, N.Y. (AP) - New York's school districts can authorize partial property tax exemptions for military veterans under a new state law. The measure signed this week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo was effective immediately. Legislative sponsors say veterans already qualify for partial tax exemptions on municipal property taxes but have had to pay back the school tax portion.
The new law leaves the decision up to school boards whether to adopt resolutions to provide the exemptions. They include 15 percent reductions in assessed value for veterans who served during a time of war, another 10 percent for those who were in combat zones, and an additional reduction for service-connected disabilities. Sponsors say the fiscal implications remain to be determined.
Well, I'm sure many of you are as frustrated as I am with the frequent power
outages. I am doing everything possible to get this resolved for you but perhaps
this is one of those times when all of us working together will have a greater
So I'm asking each of you to please call LIPA every time you
experience a glitch. The number to call is their Business Call Center at
800-966-4818. When you get the menu for services, press O for a
Perhaps when this becomes inconvenient for them they will
address the problem and resolve it.
Thanks for your support and for your
patience with us as we address the resultant gate, telephone and pool issues
caused by the outages. We feel your pain!
Nancy and the office staff
Birchwood HOA Board of Directors
Your 2014 HOA Board Members
Vincent Rutherford.............................................................HOA President Melinda Brown...................................................................HOA Vice President Bari Weiss.........................................................................HOA Secretary Pat Olson..........................................................................HOA Treasurer Ron DeRosa, Jean Crescenzo, Fran Gentleman..........................HOA Directors
Michael Habich........................................................Recording Secretary (Non Voting)
Birchwood HOA Finance Committee
Your 2014 Finance Committee Members
Richard Gerien CPA, Michael Habich, Pat Olson, Diane Mami, Members
Vehicles left in the no parking zones in the community will be towed. It will cost between $140.00 - $150.00 for the tow charge and $25.00 per day for storage. Please obey all "No Parking" signs to avoid a costly towing bill.
Illegally Parked Vehicles Towed By: A-1 Towing, Inc. 631-467-5544
HOA "Rules & Regulations" Book
The Birchwood Board of Directors has prepared a new booklet that combines all of the current rules and regulations that residents into one handy document. This booklet is available online as a "Go Green" option and you may download the book here and save it your computer.
This document provided by Jean Crescenzo, Birchwood Board of Directors.
CLICK BELOW TO DOWNLOAD, VIEW or PRINT THE NEW 2012 RULES BOOKLET
*Disclaimer.....This website is not part of the HOA nor is it to be considered an "Official" Website. It is not controlled by the HOA Board of Directors and no HOA dues are used to operate this FREE "Unofficial" community website!