Happy Hanukkah! Joyous Kwanzaa! Felice Navidad! Joyeux Noelle! Merry Christmas! Season’s Greetings! Happy Holidays!

Charles Dickens, a former resident of Lant Street.

Charles Dickens, a former resident of Lant Street. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whatever your thoughts and whatever your beliefs, I wish you the best of the Season. Remember that celebrations are not about a single day or a single event, but about family, friends, and food. Share some of each with another and remember to remember something good. Button up loose ends. Think about the best of the year gone by and plan for better next.

“Christmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused—in whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened—by the recurrence of Christmas. There are people who will tell you that Christmas is not to them what it used to be; that each succeeding Christmas has found some cherished hope, or happy prospect, of the year before, dimmed or passed away; that the present only serves to remind them of reduced circumstances and straitened incomes—of the feasts they once bestowed on hollow friends, and of the cold looks that meet them now, in adversity and misfortune. Never heed such dismal reminiscences. There are few men who have lived long enough in the world who cannot call up such thoughts any day of the year. Then do not select the merriest of the three hundred and sixty-five for your doleful recollections, but draw your chair nearer the blazing fire—fill the glass and send round the song—and if your room be smaller than it was a dozen years ago, or if your glass be filled with reeking punch, instead of sparkling wine, put a good face on the matter, and empty it offhand, and fill another, and troll off the old ditty you used to sing, and thank God it’s no worse.”
― Charles Dickens, Sketches by Boz

Stuff to do…

Stuff to do….
http://www.goldstar.com Where to go for discount tickets to events around the Puget Sound. I have used this site many times with very good success.
http://www.zoo.org Where to go with the kids on a Saturday afternoon. Bundle up and take an umbrella. The Wild Lights are fun too.
http://www.stgpresents.com Where to go for tickets to the Paramount Theatre, Moore Theatre, and the Neptune Theatre.
http://www.opentable.com/seattle-restaurants Where to go for last minute dinner reservations.
http://www.bellevuesquare.com Where to go to spend money and stay warm and dry.
http://www.bellevuebotanical.org Where to go for local holiday lights. Inexpensive and a good activity for children.
http://www.yellowtaxi.net Where to go for a ride… cuz ya just don’t wanna be in a jam!
http://www.seattletowncarservice.com Where to go for a better ride and not too much more money.
Metro.kingcounty.gov (do not use the www…) Where to go for bus service and planning.
Or http://www.soundtransit.org This is for the North end.

From the President…

Last month I talked about being away in warm weather locations, well this month I’ve been here along with you dealing with below freezing temperatures. I for one don’t mind the feel of winter during the holiday season it makes it more festive even without snow on the ground (yet).
As the year draws to its close it is a time to reflect on the past year and maybe start thinking about next year. Here at ParTerra I believe we had a very good year; we washed windows, coated the parking lot and resurfaced the decks that were overdue. We had very few setbacks like roof leaks and pigeons moving in, we had a few too many fire alarm system failures that caused us to wake in the middle of the night and join each other in the parking lot. On the positive side we under ran our budget continued to build our Reserve Account (even though it required that nasty “special assessment”). Sales increased during the year giving several the opportunities for others to move on to a bigger and better or more affordable housing instead of feeling “stuck” since 2008. The property looks very good; our landscapers continue to do a very good job, David keeps it clean by vacuuming the halls, dusting, cleaning inside windows and picking up outside after the few that tend to litter or leave dog waste. You must be tired of hearing us “hound” those that don’t pickup but it really is a careless act by the guilty. It has been suggested that we start charging a fee to dog owners similar to other community properties. We will discuss this at the Annual Meeting; speaking of the Annual Meeting I want to remind everyone ours is being moved to February instead of the usual January meeting. So please put February 19th on your calendars for the most important meeting of the year. Election for three board positions and the opportunity to talk about dog poop and other important issues. At this time we don’t have any Reserve Study items or repairs due next year so we will continue to grow our Reserve Account for future major items.
We have one more important bit of business to do for 2013 and that is to ratify the budget for next year. All owners should have received in the mail a copy of the proposed budget and adjusted maintenance fees that were approved by the board. The ratification meeting gives you the opportunity to ask questions, raise concerns about the budget and possibly convince the board to change their views on certain items?
I will save next month to talk about how we can do better as residents and owners on a few serious items, but for now I want to wish all of you a safe and happy holiday season. Christmas is a special time of year to reflect on our lives and family and I hope the New Year brings lots of joy to each and every one of you. Since we all live under the same roofs we are a family and we should look out for each other with kindness and caring that we would our own flesh and blood.
Golf report this month – non existent, too cold, frozen greens and maybe I’m not as dedicated I should be?? This leaves me enough space to send out a special thank you to my fellow board member Kat Molik, Marnye Moore, Nancy Buergel and Mason Emanuel for their time and energy spent on board business. They are a special group of owners who dedicate their time to serve our community; they are a pleasure to work along side as we do our best to serve ParTerra. And to David Metz for being all we could hope for in someone that looks after our property, with a smiling face and willingness to try new things to learn his position and to continue to save us money by doing repairs and general work that we used to pay for at a high price.
Thanks for listening!
Ken Schoolcraft

From the President…

I’ve been away all of this month and only have heard how wet and cold it has been; typical November mid-fall it is suppose to be wet and cold. I won’t tell you what it’s been like in Hawaii; I can never find anyone that feels sorry for me being too warm, sweaty and sticky most of the time.
First of all let me thank the 123 owners that complied with the recent Fire Alarm testing; thank you for your cooperation for this yearly requirement we must deal with to keep us “officially” in compliance and the reality is it keeps us safer in our homes. But for the 17 of you that were not home or did not make arrangements to enter your unit for the required test; you have caused us to reschedule another day for your units to be tested because we did not meet the required percentage of units tested. This is an additional cost to the association and another day of disturbing bells and alarms to all of us. We have communicated this requirement for weeks, sent emails, posted notices, etc. I don’t understand????? We will post notices again when the rework is scheduled and the 17 will be receiving additional information so that the proper arrangement can be made.
Other information reported to me is not so good; we’ve had three or four roof leaks in past few weeks and even though they have been minor it is a bit discouraging that this problem continues to “haunt” us. Those of you that live on the fourth floors of each building it is very important that you watch for leaks and report them immediately to reduce the damage these leaks cause. Check out the ceilings on your decks too; we had one leak that was not reported and it caused additional damage; early detection would not have been as costly to us. David has been cleaning the gutters and the downspout traps to make sure the water is flowing where it should be and not causing damage to us that require costly repairs.
Another important item that is pending this month is the 2014 budget; the board will approve the preliminary budget at the board meeting this month and it will be ratified at the December meeting after being sent to all owners. It looks as though there will be a slight increase mostly due to the uncontrollable rising costs of electricity, water, sewer and garbage. We (the board and Brenda our Property Manager) have worked to reduce or maintain current contracts with our service providers. In some cases we will be changing contractors to reduce the charges to us. There is always the risk of new contractors providing the expected service levels, but the ones we’ve changed we feel confident that the new providers will meet those expectations by being monitored by David and Brenda.
Golf report this month I don’t think can get much better; in the Pacific Northwest golf rounds that are played from November to March do not count because of our weather and course conditions during those months. However, if you happen to play in “dry” climates such as Southern California or Hawaii those scores can be recorded as part of your handicap. Not that I want to continue to lower my handicap that is exactly what I have been doing. I mentioned last month that my handicap had never been as low as it was, well it’s even gotten lower (5.8); I keep telling myself I’m not that good but my scores tell a different story. I’m too old to be playing that good, but I guess I better enjoy it while I can because I know it will be changing in the near future??
Thanks for listening!
Ken Schoolcraft

From the President…

Hopefully October won’t bring us as much rain as the record setting September brought us; one good thing during those downpours we didn’t have any roof leaks!! October is one of my favorite months not only because it is my birthday month, but I enjoy the color changes and the cooler days and sometimes stormy nights. I’m writing this in Leavenworth where we come each year and if you haven’t ever been there you should go; it has spectacular scenery through the mountain passes with a rainbow of colors. October also will see the finishing of the deck resurfacing that went better than expected; we owe the credit to David Metz our Facilities Coordinator for the scheduling and oversight and especially to all of you for your cooperation. Responding positively by having your deck cleared and ready when it was your turn and a big thanks to those of you on the 3rd and 4th floors that needed to allow access through your unit to the deck. The decks look great and we should be receiving information from the vendor on how the care for them to make sure they last the maximum amount of time. We are scheduled to have them done every five years, but if all goes well and we treat them as recommended we may get a few more years out of them. This would be beneficial to all of us since this project cost us more than $50,000. That should be incentive to all of us to make sure we do follow the recommendations for cleaning and care.
October has also brought us a new Property Manager, Brenda Jacobs has joined us, she will be at the board meeting on the 16th – if you can come and meet her in person please do.
As I mentioned in last months newsletter article October is also budget planning time; the board will start this after the board meeting on the 16th. We welcome your comments on the budget so send an email to one of the board members or come to the board meeting and share your thoughts and opinions. One good thing after the window cleaning, parking lot resurfacing and the deck resurfacing over the past three months we have completed all the scheduled maintenance repairs items for 2013 and as of this date we don’t have any major items planned during 2014.
We sent out a notice a few weeks ago regarding the spa/hot tub; the board is considering shutting down the spa/hot tub during the winter months. If you have an opinion on this please send your comments to me at kenschoolcraft@comcast.net. The board will take your comments and opinions seriously prior to making our decision on whether to shut down the spa/hot tub or not.
It is not too soon to put our Annual Meeting on your calendar for the third Wednesday in February. We changed the meeting month to meet schedules of the current board. This year there will be three board of director positions up for election; if you want to get involved in community decisions that affect all 140 units this would be the time. The amount of time spent on ParTerra business is getting less and less each year; the decisions are not any less serious but we’ve have settled in as an Association and have dealt with our growing pains.
Golf for Ken has been great over the past month; my handicap is as lower than ever which makes each round more challenging to shoot low scores to maintain that handicap. Retirement definitely has provided me time to improve my game and gain confidence every time out. Playing in Leavenworth this week; Kennewick and Yakima next week, Southern California last week of the month and next months report will come from Hawaii. Does anyone feel sorry for me for the grueling schedule I keep? I don’t know how I keep up with myself.
Thanks for listening!
Ken Schoolcraft

The President’s Corner

Monday, May 6, 2013 a record high of eighty-seven degrees; wow what a great start of the month. You can see May has brought us the beauty of azaleas and rhododendrons in bloom as well as many other flowers. May also brings us two important “holidays”; Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. At the time of this reading I hope all mothers had a good day and/or you made a positive connection with your mother or mother-in-law. Memorial Day later this month is a day to celebrate those that have passed before us; whether they are family members or possibly someone you knew that served our country in the military. It’s a day for us to appreciate and remember those that were and always will be special to us.
I mentioned last month that Pauly and I were on our way driving to see the Mariners play in Texas both Arlington and Houston. It was a great trip but started off very interesting we found snow on the pass in Washington, snow as we were leaving Idaho and into Montana. On day two we were planning on getting to Denver and to our surprise when we reached Casper, Wyoming the freeway was closed and we were stranded there overnight. Luckily the next day the freeway opened and we drove through snowing and blowing condition until we reached Colorado and didn’t see anything but white ground until we about a third of the way across Kansas and finally saw some green grassy fields. The rest of trip was great and I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before but we live in wonderful section of the country; it may be grey at times but I will take this over any of the places we saw along the way on this trip.
Here at ParTerra we recently had two minor roof leaks that were found and repaired; this was one of the concerns we had since we’ve had roof leaks every year since we’ve become an Association. With the number of repairs we’ve done and money we’ve spent over the years we were hoping we may have solved our problems? It is a positive making it past the rainy months of the year; let’s hope that is the end of them for this year and we get to our five-year replacement plan without any more leaks. We will soon get bids for the parking lot resurface and restriping project; we received bids and selected a service provider for the window cleaning. This company has also offered an inside window cleaning “deal” if anyone is interested; the cost for this service would be the responsibility of each owner.
It has been six months since we hired our full time Facilities Coordinator David Metz; I would appreciate your feedback on any positives you have observed or areas of improvement that you would like to see done. (Owners please share this information with your tenants). You can send me an email response to kenschoolcraft@comcast.net. Again your feedback would be valuable in making sure ParTerra remains in good condition and that we receiving the support we expect from this position that supports all of us.
I have found very good golfing weather lately and have enjoyed some good rounds with a tournament win last weekend and two more tournaments the next two weeks. The putting has been pretty good and the new irons I got last year having been treating me well also. Golf is a great game that is different every time you play. Some days the shots are straight and other days you struggle to figure out what direction they may be going? You hope for consistency and make the best of what the golf gods have planned for you on that particular day; lately they been good to me :o)
Thanks for listening!
Ken Schoolcraft

The President’s Corner

July has brought us some very good weather; and maybe a few days warmer than we would like? And, how about the celebration of July 4th? The fireworks display at Lake Boren park is spectacular, but I thought any other fireworks were illegal in Newcastle? Starting about 9:30 p.m. ending around 11:15 p.m. it sounded like a war zone around here. I don’t know about you but I was very disturbed by the noise of those illegal fireworks. I plan on writing my council-person regarding my complaint. Speaking of complaints we have made several calls to the Seattle Times since our person that delivers the paper has decided he no longer has time to deliver door-to-door and has been leaving the papers in the lobby area. The people at the Seattle Times that David has contacted have claimed they will notify the delivery person and insist he returns to the policy of door-to-door but as of yet this has not happened. Maybe we should all cancel our newspapers; that will get their attention. Since I seem to be on a cranky type mood I will continue with a few more rants: I know it’s difficult to look for some relief by opening the windows in the very stuffy hallways when the temperature rises above 80 degrees, but please resist from opening the hallway windows it throws the minor cooling system we have out of sorts and can cause damage. Also a reminder from our Rules and Regulations 7.4 that states wall or window mounted air-conditioners are prohibited to use; free standing air-conditioners are okay to use.
Thanks to the landscaping committee for their suggestions to the board for the changes you see with the bark and rock borders around the property where there were small grassy areas. It was approved by the board to make changes to the areas that were affected by dogs turning those green areas to unsightly yellow and brown; more costly to us but more pleasing to the eye. With somewhat better weather David has had a chance to get outside more often and improve the cosmetics of the property like removing the moss that was growing on the fence in the pet area; he painted our picket fence at the C building entrance and scrubbed moss off of the exterior walls in several areas. Thanks to those of you that responded to my request for input on David for his 6-month review; David and I sat down with the information provided and covered the areas for improvement and to keep up the good work on all the positive remarks that were shared by owners.
Other summer projects we have planned that will be disruptive to us will be the sealcoat and re-striping of parking areas. We will have to park our cars off the property for a few days while this work is being done, but the end result is an impressive looking “face-lift” and a longer life expectancy for those surfaces. We will also be resealing most of the decks; some of the C building decks were done during our “settlement repair” work a few years ago. We will have to make sure the decks are completely clear of any and all items so those doing the repairs will have full access to the decks. We will provide additional communication on this project as we get firm dates on that work.
We recently received our yearly update on our Professional Reserve Study; the report still shows us underfunded by about 30%, but we feel strongly that we are in good financial standing and it will continue to improve with the plan we have in place. One of the ironic “good” problems we have is that our Treasurer, Nancy Buergel has to find places to put our money because we have exceeded the FICA protected amounts in one bank and are getting close in a second one? The projects I mentioned above are part of the Reserve Study plan and will help with the banking issues once the projects are completed and paid.
The golf report takes us to a trip Pauly and I made up to Whistler, Canada back in late May to play a beautiful course named Nicklaus North and the most interesting thing about the round was something I had never encountered before on a golf course. As I was walking off the 5th green after completing the hole “low and behold” there was a black bear about 15 feet from my golf bag strolling through the golf course. I came to a sudden halt and watched as the bear watched me as it went past my bag and headed off into a bush and wooded area next to the 6th tee. I must admit it was a bit of a rush on my system to see this beautiful “creature” so close and not in a cage like every other time I’ve seen a bear up close and personal. Before I saw the bear I had one birdie and four pars and after the bear I had three bogeys in a row. I would like to blame it on the bear for that, but I know it was me coming back to earth. Memories are made of things like this.
Thanks for listening!
Ken Schoolcraft