The President's Corner

       

Email Sent 10/11/2022 by President Stephen Meuler - Rec Center - Spa

The spa at the rec center is now open and available for use. Galaxy Pools has advised us that the chemicals are now properly balanced and the spa is safe for use. Thus, the entire rec center is now open once again. Thanks for your patience.


Email Sent 10/10/2022 by President Stephen Meuler - What a difference!

Good morning,

I finally returned to Sarasota last evening. I wasn't sure what to expect from all the pictures that I saw during the last week. Indeed, what a difference in one week! All of our lawns have even been mowed. We owe a great deal of thanks to LMP and all of their crew. They had 50 people in here this weekend to get in shape to be back to a normal schedule of maintenance.

If you still have trees that are uprooted and haven't been removed or if you have large trees with large loose branches, please send an email to Debbie Tinney with the landscape committee.

The removal and grinding of stumps on homeowner property will be the responsibility of the homeowner. The HOA will of course take care of stump removal from all common areas. I am sure that these companies will also be very busy right now so it may take some time. A reminder to all that before you have any stump grinding done on your property you need to call and have the utility lines marked in your yard. You should also notify LMP prior to stump grinding so that they can remove any irrigation lines that may be around the tree stump and cap them off while the work is being done.

According to the County website, recycle bin pickup will resume next Monday Oct 17th. Thus we will NOT have recycling pickup again this week and our first pickup would be Thursday Oct 20th. Please do not place the blue bins at the curb this week.

We here in Willowbend were so fortunate in how our community weathered this very damaging storm.


Email Sent 10/7/2022 by President Stephen Meuler - Friday update

Today LMP will be focusing on removing the piles of debris from the fronts of houses. They will be staging some of the debris in the large open field off of Habitat until they can arrange the needed trucks for removal. Keep in mind that they have many communities that they are servicing in addition to Willowbend. They will also be looking to remove loose branches that are hanging in trees. If after today, you still have large loose limbs hanging from trees please send an email to Debbie Tinney with our landscaping committee who will then coordinate with LMP. Her email address is: siestagal@me.com

I have received several emails from frustrated homeowners concerning trash collection from Waste Management. We have no information other than what is posted on the publicly available website. They were to start regular collections this week. If Willowbend trash wasn't collected yesterday on our collection day I assume they are running behind with the large amount of trash that is needed to be picked up. I would ask that you please do not put trash out at the curb unless it is in a closed container. If loose bags of trash are placed out they will likely be ripped open by animals and create quite a mess.

As each day goes on I am sure patience gets thin. We are just one week out from the storm and I think much progress has been made in the cleanup. Please continue to be patient. Every contractor or supplier that we use is overloaded with work right now. We will get this done.


Email Sent 10/6/2022 by President Stephen Meuler - Update - yard lights

Good morning

Nostalgic was out yesterday to begin assessing the damage to the street lights. They will also be able to replace any yard lights ( the standing yard lights in every front yard - not lights on the garages) that have been damaged and/or destroyed. As we could guess, they said that these yard light will be in great demand due to the storm. it will take approximately 8-10 weeks to get the replacements and the cost would be roughly $335 installed. They would need to know how many we need for the community so as to place an order. This cost would be the responsibility of each homeowner. Of course you are free to use someone else if you want. A reminder - each yard is required to have one of these yard lights and they must be the approved style.

If you would like to have Nostalgic replace your yard light please let me know. Make sure you include your address. I would like to give Nostalgic a count by early next week. We will work out a way to collect the charge from each homeowner. Thanks! We are making great progress one week after the storm.

Stephen Meuler
President, Willowbend HOA


Email Sent 10/5/2022 by President Stephen Meuler - Garbage Collection

Good morning

According to the Waste Management website they resumed normal service for garbage collection as of Monday Oct 3. Trash in Willowbend should be picked up tomorrow (Thursday) as usual. HOWEVER, their website states that pickup of recycling is suspended until further notice. Therefore please do not put the blue recycling bins at the curb this week. They will not be picked up and they will just be in the way of continued cleanup efforts. We will have to watch for further notice from Waste Management as to when recycling pickup will resume. If anyone sees a notice in the newspaper on online let me know and I can send an email to all homeowners.

I have heard that FPL trucks are on the south end of Crane Prairie this morning! Let's keep our fingers crossed that our neighbors in that area have their power restored today.


Email Sent 10/4/2022 by President Stephen Meuler - Good news!

Good morning

Nostalgia, the company that services our street lights and mailboxes, will be out today to assess the damage to those items and determine what needs to be done. It may take some time to get these all operational again as they service many communities that have a need. I have asked them to also look at the yard lights as many of those were also damaged. They will let me know if they can handle those as well. The cost to repair the yard lights will be the responsibility of each homeowner. If Nostalgia is able to handle these we will figure out a way to address this. Of course each homeowner is free to hire anyone they choose to repair or replace their yard light. Keep in mind that each home is required to have a yard light and it must be to the neighborhood standard.

Sentry Management's office is still without power. I have been in contact with Cherie, our property manager, and her home was hit hard by the storm. She also has no power at her home and so has had limited access to emails, etc. If you have submitted a request to Sentry and have not had a response please forward the request to me and I will attempt to address it.


Email Sent 10/3/2022 by President Stephen Meuler - Good news!

The community pool will be open as of 7:00 a.m. tomorrow morning! Final work will be done today on the pool and preparing the area. I am not sure of the status of our Janitorial service right now. Please, if you are going to use the rec center - the pool as well as the gym, take some extra care to help keep it clean. Clean up after yourselves. If you have trash take it with you when you leave. I would ask that you also help to keep the restrooms clean. Thanks for your cooperation.

Again, I would like to say a special thanks to John Bobianski. John has gone above and beyond in getting the rec center secured before the storm and now in preparing it to reopen. I would also like to thank Ellen and Tony Nacinovich who spent several hours cleaning up and bagging debris from the pool area. Ellen has also worked very closely with the County addressing the water issue behind Thornapple and Crane Prairie. Many many thanks to John, Ellen and Tony!!

Stephen Meuler
President, Willowbend HOA


Email Sent 10/3/2022 by President Stephen Meuler - Update

Good morning

LMP is moving on the back of houses. There is a significant amount of work to do there. They are also working on removing the debris from the lawns. Later this week they will be bringing in front end loaders and trucks to begin removing the piles of cut trees and other debris from the neighborhood. They also have their irrigation folks on site to begin to assess any damage. The weight of large trees that have fallen may have caused some underground main pipes to have breaks or leaks. It does appear that our irrigation pumps did not sustain any damage. Their goal will be to resume normal service (mowing and trimming) to our community next week.

LMP services some communities south of us - some as close as Venice - that have sustained incredible damage. We were indeed very fortunate.

Stay well and stay patient!

Stephen Meuler
President, Willowbend HOA


Email Sent 10/2/2022 by President Stephen Meuler - Further info

Good afternoon

I received an email from FPL stating that they were now able to give estimated times for power restoration to those households still without power. If you are still without power, you should be able to find information for your specific address on their website. If you need power to charge your phone or laptop the power is on at the rec center.

We have had some people using the pool. A reminder - the pool and spa remain CLOSED! The water is not yet chemically balanced and so not safe for use. Galaxy Pools will advise us when the pool is safe and ready for use.

The gym is available for use but please do not use the pool or the spa.

Thanks for your cooperation.


Email Sent 10/1/2022 by President Stephen Meuler - Update

Good afternoon

LMP is making progress! The streets have been cleared and much of the debris in front of the houses has been cut up and collected. They are moving on to the rear of the homes.

Unfortunately, as of the last that I heard, some houses on the south end of Crane Prairie still do not have power. If the power has been restored, please let me know.

Galaxy Pools has been out and started the removal of all of the debris from the community pool. They have advised us that it may be a couple of weeks before the pool can be used. Please do not attempt to use the pool before we give an "all clear' for use. Currently the gym as well as the restrooms are where the pool furniture was stored during the storm. Once we have the deck area around the pool cleared of debris we will move the furniture back outside and the gym will be available for use.

For those of you who may still be without power the power is on at the rec center and you may want to use it to charge your cell phones. I have had several reports of neighbors assisting in the cleanup not only around their own home but assisting their neighbors. Your efforts are much appreciated and go a long way to getting our community back in order.

Watching the pictures from the Fort Myers area on the news should make us all very thankful. While we may have some minor inconveniences right now, we indeed dodged a bullet.

Once again, I thank you all for your patience and for your assistance.

Stephen Meuler
President, Willowbend HOA


Email Sent 9/30/2022 by President Stephen Meuler - Update

LMP has made some progress in clearing the downed trees. This project will take some time. They are committed to assisting us until the project is complete.

According to the Sarasota County website, Waste Management will resume regular trash pickup on Monday. Our regular service day is Thursday. Please do NOT place trash receptacles at the curb now. They will only get in the way of LMP doing their work. Trash should not be placed out until Wednesday evening - as is usual. Please refer to the County website - scgov.net - as they have outlined specific instructions for the trash placed at the curb. Due to the expected large increase of trash that they will be dealing with, the trash not in containers must be prepared a certain way for their pickup.

We have not yet been able to make contact with the company that services our street lights. As several of them are down, I would urge everyone to use extreme caution around these downed lights as they may still have live exposed wires.

The County is aware of our issue with the flow of water between Thornapple and Crane Prairie. They are supposed to be sending someone out to assess the situation.

A homeowner has also made me aware that we seem to be getting a mosquito problem due to all of the water. Many of our homes have lost their lanai screens so the outside areas are not protected from pests. Please do your small part to eliminate any standing water you may have around your homes from pots, etc.

Continued thanks to everyone for your patience and cooperation.

Stephen Meuler
President, Willowbend HOA


Email Sent 9/30/2022 by President Stephen Meuler - Update

Good morning!

Unfortunately we still have some homes on the south end of Crane Prairie Way that are without power. FPL is unable to give an estimated time for restoration.

LMP is on site and starting on the work of cutting trees and clearing the roadways. As I said, they will be stacking the debris at several locations and hauling it away at the end of their cleanup. LMP will be removing ONLY landscape debris. Do NOT put any other trash on these piles of landscape debris. This includes screening from lanais that may have blown loose. Anything other than landscape debris will have to wait for Waste Management or you will have to dispose of it on your own. Please cooperate with this and don't make LMP's work any harder than it is.

I have had many homeowners voice concern over the water behind Thornapple that runs from the preserve area. The water has obviously risen and is full of debris which complicates the movement of the water. This is a Sarasota County issue. The flow of this water behind our houses is as designed by the County and they are responsible for keeping the water flowing. Unfortunately for us I am sure they have much bigger issues to deal with right now. This is not an issue for LMP and as this runs through a preserve area the HOA is prohibited from any attempt to alter the flow of this water.

We have made contact with Galaxy Pools who maintains our community pool. They have several employees that sustained major home damage and are unable to return to work. This has left them very short handed. We will have to wait for service to clean up the pool. This is what we are likely to hear from many of the contractors that we need to assist us with the cleanup and restoration. Once again I remind you - please be patient!

As I am still away and won't return to the neighborhood until Oct 9, let me know if you notice anything that needs to be brought to the attention of the homeowners.

Stay well! We will get through this. As bad as things may look right now in the neighborhood we sustained no structure damage anywhere. We have indeed been very fortunate.

Stephen Meuler
President, Willowbend HOA


Email Sent 9/29/2022 by President Stephen Meuler - Caution!

Please be extremely careful entering and exiting the community. One side of both of our entrances - Habitat and Luminary - are currently blocked by fallen trees. One lane of each of the streets is open. Clearing these streets will be the first priority of LMP when they begin the work tomorrow.

Stephen Meuler
President, Willowbend HOA


Email Sent 9/29/2022 by President Stephen Meuler - Clarification

To clarify - LMP has some staff on site today to assess the situation so that they know what equipment is needed. As I said they are also bringing additional resources from their operation in the northern part of the state. Full scale cleanup will begin tomorrow.

Stephen Meuler
President, Willowbend HOA


Email Sent 9/29/2022 by President Stephen Meuler - More info

The rec center remains CLOSED! Please do not attempt to use the gym. The pool is full of debris and will need to be cleaned. It may not be possible to get someone out quickly.

I want to say a special THANK YOU to John Bobianski who is the chairman of our rec committee. John did the work to secure the area before the storm and has always been available to help when asked. It is much appreciated.

I understand that the tops of many street lights have blown down. We will have to work with Nostalgia lighting to have them repaired but again - be patient. They will also be the company that will repair/replace any damaged mailboxes. Yard lights have also come down at some homes. I will check on the availability of those posts and advise you when I have some information.

I will probably repeat this many times but PLEASE BE PATIENT as we work to restore the neighborhood

Stephen Meuler
President, Willowbend HOA


Email Sent 9/29/2022 by President Stephen Meuler - Update

Good morning everyone! It is a good morning as it appears that Willowbend came through the storm better than expected. Power was restored at my house as of about 2:00 am and hopefully all of Willowbend has been restored. At this point I know that we have tree damage and some damage to lanais. I am having an assessment done of any other damage.

LMP will be out today to begin cleanup. They are sending additional help from their branch in the northern part of the state. Their first priority will be to clear the roads in the community. They will also be checking the storm drains today to be sure they are clear. They will be able to handle any downed trees including any large oak trees. They will cut up debris and stack it. The last thing they will do is haul things away when they are finished with the clean up so please be patient with having the stacked piles of tree debris.

I hope all Willowbend families stayed safe yesterday.

Stephen Meuler
President, Willowbend HOA


Email Sent 9/26/2022 by President Stephen Meuler - Hurricane preparations

Good morning,

Sarasota County remains in the projected path of the hurricane. As I stated earlier, the rec center will be closed this week so that the area can be prepared and secured for the storm.

LMP is not doing trimming today but is on site gathering and removing any loose debris that they see from the property. They are also preparing to do storm clean up for us if needed. They have assured me that WIllowbend will be a top priority for them for any cleanup needed. If you have any landscaping related damage from the storm you will need to contact Sentry to put in a work order for LMP. Please do not contact LMP directly.

Another reminder - please look carefully outside your home for any items that could become flying debris and move those items indoors.

Everyone please stay safe - and let's hope for the best for our area and all of Florida.

Stephen Meuler
President, Willowbend HOA


Email Sent 9/22/2022 by President Stephen Meuler - Hurricane Watch!

The latest hurricane forecast (while very early) does not look good for Sarasota. Let's hope that the forecast changes in the next couple of days. This is a reminder for everyone to be prepared. All outdoor items, including on your lanai, that can fly around in a storm need to be secured indoors. Flying debris can cause a lot of damage. If you are not currently home and you know that you have items that need to be secured, please contact a neighbor or other friend to assist you in preparing your property for this storm.

Unless there is a major change in the forecast, we will be closing the rec center as of Sunday evening. We need to get this area, particularly the outdoor furniture, secured. John Bobianski, our committee chair for the rec center, has agreed to lead the effort to secure this area. Many thanks in advance John!

Please look carefully outside your home for any possible "flying debris."

Above all, stay safe! Let's all hope for the best!

Stephen Meuler
President, Willowbend HOA


Email Sent 9/1/2022 by President Stephen Meuler - Power to Homes - Irrigation

It has come to our attention that some homes in the community that are vacant for the season have their power turned off from inside the house. Please be aware that if the power in your home is turned off when you leave for an extended period of time, the irrigation cannot run to your property. The HOA cannot be responsible for any damage to your lawn and other landscaping due to lack of irrigation if this is the case.

Stephen Meuler
Willowbend HOA


Email Sent 8/31/2022 by President Stephen Meuler - New Sod

I hope that everyone is well and surviving the hot summer! You have probably noticed that the project to replace sod is continuing and many homes have had sod installed this past week. More homes will be completed in the next week. The irrigation has been set at each of the homes with new sod but due to the intense heat we are having we are asking for your help as well. If your front yard has had new sod installed - and if you are able to do so - we ask that you water the new sod daily for the next couple of weeks. Five minutes of water in the morning would be most beneficial. Thanks for your help.

Stephen Meuler
Willowbend HOA


Email Sent 7/22/2022 by President Stephen Meuler - Landscape/Irrigation Issues

An update to my email this morning - the company that works on our pumps is telling us they cannot be here until Wednesday. We need your help during this time period - especially for the people with new sod. If you are at all able please make the effort to water this sod so that we don't lose it.

I also want to make you aware of another issue. Sarasota County is seeing a disease that is affecting the palm trees. The disease is called Ganoderma and it is killing palm trees. Although this disease can affect other trees, it is primarily affecting palms. Unfortunately the disease has been identified in our neighborhood. The infected trees will die from this but they must be removed NOW! The HOA is already removing infected trees from common area property in the community. You will be notified if a tree infected with this disease has been identified on your property. If so, the tree and the stump must be removed. In addition, this disease affects the ground such that no other palm may be planted in that same area. If you receive a notification letter for your property we ask that you take immediate action so that we can stop the spread of this and preserve our landscaping.

As always, many thanks for your help.

Stephen Meuler
Willowbend HOA


Email Sent 7/22/2022 by President Stephen Meuler - URGENT - Irrigation

Our irrigation pumps are currently not working. The pumps did not function to provide the usual Thursday watering. We are calling for service and hopefully can have them repaired today.

URGENT - if you have had new sod installed recently at your home please check on it if you are able to do so. We ask for your assistance in watering the sod until we can get our irrigation system working. We do not want our investment in the new sod to be wasted. Thanks for your help!

Stephen Meuler
Willowbend HOA


NOTICE RE EMAIL COMMUNICATIONS

July 17, 2022

To All Willowbend Homeowners:

Earlier this month the USPS once again increased the cost for first class postage. We are all well aware of increasing costs everywhere. Our HOA will be faced with some significant cost increases in the coming year as our two major contracts - Landscaping and Cable/Internet are both up for renewal. Postage is one small area where we have an opportunity to reduce costs if we can move to email as our primary method of communication from the Board as well as from Sentry Management.

We still have quite a few homeowners who opt to not provide us with an email address for communication. I am asking everyone to please reconsider and allow us to utilize your email address. We do not ever give your email information to any outside company and indeed even when we send a “mass email” to the community, the email addresses of your neighbors are not revealed. We will instruct Sentry to cease mailing out ACR approval letters and any other communication where we have an email address on file. This is one small area where we can work together to reduce some cost in these challenging times.

You can check the directory on the Willowbend website to see what email address if any we have on file for your address. If you wish to update your email address or add a new address please provide that information to Marsh Hestenes, our website manager. His email address is hestenes@msu.edu. Thanks for your cooperation.

Stephen Meuler
President, Willowbend HOA


Email Sent 5/19/2022 by President Stephen Meuler - HOA Updates

The Willowbend Board is ready to proceed with the sod replacement project. You should see the work beginning before the end of this month. We will be starting with the front lawns on Habitat Blvd. We ask for everyone's patience as we work our way through this project. Please do not interfere with the work being done by LMP. They will have their instructions as to where the sod is to be replaced and in what order. Do not try to redirect their employees. Do not contact Sentry asking when your yard is to be taken care of. Let us complete the project. We will advise all homeowners when the work is completed. If at that time you believe there is still an issue with your yard then contact the landscape committee or a board member and we will address your issue. Thanks in advance for your cooperation and patience.

You may also have noticed that the weekly mowing of the lawns is being done on two days with the fronts of the houses on Wednesday and behind the houses on Thursday. This is due to the ongoing staffing issues that LMP along with many companies is experiencing.

The Board has discussed the schedule of our monthly meetings. We realize that our community has many people that work during the day and thus are not able to participate in these meetings. Thus, we have decided to hold some of our meetings in the evening. The Board meetings will still be held at the same location - Our Savior Lutheran Church. Due to their scheduling, evening meetings will have to be held on a Wednesday rather than a Thursday. Our next regularly scheduled board meeting will be held on Wednesday June 8th at 5:30 p.m. As always, the meeting notice will be posted and a reminder sent. We will likely hold one evening meeting per quarter. This will be done on a trial basis to see if we have any community interest in attending.

I want to thank everyone for the encouragement and support that has been shown to the new Board!

Stephen Meuler
President
Willowbend HOA


Email Sent 4/27/2022 by President Stephen Meuler - Willowbend Update!

After the election last week, the new Board held their organizational meeting to select officers for the coming year. The Willowbend HOA Board and their positions are as follows:

Stephen Meuler - President
Joe Trentacoste - Vice President
Scott Brundrett - Treasurer
Paul McClain - Secretary
John Santiago - Director at Large

We thank Jack Berkowitz and Carmine Vitolo for their service this past year.

We have a lot of work to do this year. Major contracts are up for renewal, notably the contracts for landscaping and cable/internet. We have work remaining to resolve open issues related to the reserve accounts for Willowbend. Our governing documents still reference Lee Wetherington (developer) and as we saw with the recent election, several areas of our documents are quite vague and indeed some areas may be contrary to current Florida statutes that govern HOA's. These documents need to be re-written with the assistance of an attorney and then taken to the entire membership of the community to be voted upon.

Willowbend is a wonderful neighborhood and a great place to live! Our home values continue to rise with some homes in our development now selling in excess of $800K. Amazing!! The Board is committed to doing our part as managers to maintain our high standards. I am well aware that the number one complaint is the condition of the grass in many areas. A significant amount of money has been spent on sod replacement in the past few years only to see it once again die in many areas. We will be working carefully with LMP to get to the proper solution. It doesn't make sense to just replace sod without addressing soil conditions, fertilization, pest control and irrigation.

We also ask that each homeowner take seriously their part in maintaining high standards for the neighborhood. Is your roof being kept clean (as required by our rules)? Does your house perhaps need painting? Does the yard light on your property need to be painted? Has your driveway ever been cleaned?

It has been so encouraging to see many homeowners doing renovations to their landscaping. Believe it or not, shrubs have a life span! Dead trees and shrubs should be removed. If nothing has been done to your landscaping since the building of the property. Please take an honest look and see if perhaps it is time for some refreshing. All of these small things will help to maintain the property values for all homeowners and protect our investments in our homes. It really does make a difference!

Lastly, I want to assure you that I am committed to seeing that Board meetings are held with all members showing respect for each other. We can (and will) disagree without being disrespectful. As always, homeowners are invited and encouraged to attend Board meetings. All of us on the Board look forward to working for and with all of you in the coming year.

For the Board,

Stephen Meuler
Willowbend HOA President


Email Sent 4/20/2022 by President Scott Brundrett - Willowbend Landscape Committee Notice

Dear Homeowners.

The Willowbend Homeowners Association, in conjunction with the Landscape Committee and the Board, are extending the moratorium on requests for any additional sod. Sod will no longer be considered as a replacement for any shrubs, bushes or trees on ARC requests. Effective immediately if a homeowner replaces an EXISTING AREA of sod or grass, the HOA will be responsible for the irrigation and maintenance of the area.

This moratorium conclusion is based on the following: First, our 20+ year old irrigation system cannot support any new areas planted with sod or grass. Second, the county allots only a certain amount of water to each community for landscape purposes. Willowbend must not exceed this amount. Sarasota County has been in the first stages of a water shortage for the past several years.

As we all know Florida does not have a limitless water supply. Therefore, the HOA and Landscape Committee strongly recommends that areas be improved with water efficient landscaping such as the use of ground cover or mulch. Any landscape changes will continue to require an ARC approval as stated in our By-laws.

Thank you for your cooperation with this matter.

Willowbend Landscape Committee and the Willowbend Board of Directors