WOOTEN NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION
Minutes of 10 January 2011
President Joy Roberts called the January 2011 meeting, held in the Redeemer Lutheran Church cafeteria, to order at 7:02 PM. She spoke some introductory words as members settled in. President Roberts announced that we should now have a new APD District Representative (we are in Adam 1, Region 2), Billy Simoneaux. He wasn’t sure about being our DR. Roberts also mentioned the CPR training and meeting with new area DR’s hosted by our North Shoal Creek neighbors in the activity room at the Village Christian Apartments on Saturday morning, 8 January. The next Commander’s Forum was scheduled for February 1 at the Northwest Fellowship Church on Pond Springs Road. In other police-type information, Beverly Kimbrough had provided December statistics on break-ins, many involving cars.
Guest Speaker Steve Jones
Steve Jones of Advanced Surveillance & Access was the evening’s first guest speaker. He provided some handouts and offered some security suggestions while noting that current systems were more for general life safety, covering accidents involving fire, gas, and water. The equipment can also silently send a duress code to alert authorities if there is something like a hostage situation occurring. He noted that 85 – 90% of break-ins happen during daylight hours, often perpetrated by 16-22-year old individuals; 8000 burglaries occur yearly in the greater Austin area. Electronics, guns, and jewelry are targeted. Some security suggestions include using aluminum clips, which limit window movement, as an inexpensive protection for windows, having a dog, setting up surveillance cameras, and using signage and decals. Implementing such options can bring insurance discounts. He also suggested some additional security measures: using timed lights, making sure that the mail and newspaper are collected or not delivered when you are away from home, keeping vegetation clear that might obscure prowlers and burglars breaking in, installing an exterior motion-detection light fixture, and not opening the door to unexpected visitors. Installed security systems usually cost $30 per month. They have pet-immune infra-red sensors that can be programmed to ignore certain sizes of animals. Fake decals and signs are not a good idea. If you see something suspicious, make use of cell phone cameras to take pictures of strange vehicles and their license plates; write down a description. These can be very useful to law enforcement.
President Roberts explained that there was a multi-neighborhood collaboration to enhance participation in Neighborhood Watch programs and to train additional individuals. Just knowing about your immediate neighbors (to either side, behind, and across the street) and their phone numbers can be the core of a Neighborhood Watch team. Know what is normal, so that unusual activity can be recognized. It was hoped that we could replace our aging watch signs, perhaps get decals for windows, encourage neighbors to meet each other, and produce a community that is enthused and involved in protecting property.
After this discussion, Betsy Thaggard moved to approve the minutes as previously distributed (announced on the listserv and placed on the WNA website); Marilyn Rogers seconded the motion. The minutes were approved.
President Roberts gave Treasurer Opie Gonzalez’ report. The bank balance in November began at $2,023.41. Petty cash remained the same, $16.27. There was a deposit of $365.00 ($40.00 from dues, $325.00 for advertisements in the newsletter). Checks for $266.01 were written (PO Box fee and meeting signs). This brought the holdings to $2,122.40 at the time of the meeting. There was a $100.00 deposit from University Savings and Loan pending. It was noted that WNA needs to keep $1000 in the account to stave off bank fees. There was some discussion about revising the membership form and the possibility of raising dues. It was noted that the Treasurer’s duties have expanded, keeping track of membership, collecting mail at the PO, handling ads for the newsletter… .
Guest Speaker Juan Wah
Juan Wah, Community Liaison for Capital Metro, spoke about service changes, handed out a new schedule, described Adopt-A-Stop, and noted that commuter rail was still holding at 900 riders/day. Having runs on the weekends and in the evenings was a possibility. There were plans to have additional runs during SXSW. Fare changes were mentioned, as was security at stations and keeping people off the tracks. Capital Metro is pushing for rail safety at schools. WNA transportation representative Beverly Kimbrough suggested that the schedules need to show days of the week. She asked if the bus stop by the Post Office was going to be shifted to Walmart, mentioned Route 151 providing door-to-door collection and return for senior citizens traveling to North Cross, and warned that the train crossing arms at North Lamar and Airport (Crestview Station) stayed down too long.
Discussion and Announcements
* Also concerning traffic, it was said that traffic calming/adjustments were being addressed street-by-street, rather than by whole neighborhoods.
* There has been some success contacting 311 to have dumped bulky property such as couches collected, though it may take a while (a couple of weeks), much longer than getting signs repaired and back in place (3 – 5 days).
* Sustainable Neighborhoods will be meeting at the Village Christian Apartments on January 18 and February 15.
* AISD will be considering facility master plans on January 12 and 13; this includes talk about closing schools to meet the current budget crisis. Josh Merritt is collecting Box Tops for Education (Wooten Elementary).
* Additional work is being planned for the nature playscape at Wooten, including landscaping along paths.
* Steve Rogers indicated that there would be no Wooten Neighborhood Plan Contact Team meeting – no business at this time.
* Marilyn Rogers said that instructions on how to sign up for Neighborhood Watch training were on the WNA website.
A motion was made by Steve Rogers to adjourn the meeting; it was seconded by Victor Engel. The meeting was adjourned at 7:57 PM.
The next WNA meeting is scheduled for 14 March 2011 at 7:00 PM.