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Professional Community Association Management Since 1984
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Archived Newsletters

Every month, we issue an electronic newsletter, eNews Monthly, to keep clients informed about Association items, spotlight clients, and answer frequently asked questions and let you know what is happening with the company.  Old issues of eNews Monthly are available on our Library page. 

July 2013
eNews Monthly
Bandera Riverfest
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Dragons, Dreams and Daring Deeds

C.I.A. Services once again provided a creative and beautiful entry in the Bandera Riverfest’s river regatta.  This year we entertained the crowd with a medieval theme featuring a dragon with its guardian, a castle turret with a beautiful princess and loyal knight, and a peasant procession.

2010 was our first year at the Bandera Riverfest and, in honor of the car show portion of the Riverfest, we floated a Red Corvette down the river.  We definitely deserved 1st Place Overall for that one.

In 2011, we stepped things up and created the Medina Pearl Pirate Ship that had just escaped a fire-fight with the ship damaged and the sails in tatters.  Captain Jack and his crew were on the run firing collectible t-shirts from a 6 foot long cannon.  Rogues on shore incited the crowd to throw water balloons back at the ship.  Our theatrics garnered another 1st Place Overall as well as Most Creative.

Last year we went out of space with a Flying Saucer.  Our alien had three human abductees under mind control forcing them to shoot t-shirts out of their hot pink blasters.  Our gang on shore used music, dancing and outrageous costumes to save the abductees and turn the table on the alien.  The crowd loved it and gave us the top award again.

This year was our most ambitious entry with our Dragons, Dreams and Daring Deeds.  Our castle turret floated down the river with Princess Helena and her loyal knight Sir Aragon.  Aragon protected the fair princess from all manner of beasts with his broadsword and crossbow firing t-shirts at those attempting to scale the castle walls.  Also protecting the kingdom was the magical, smoke-breathing dragon Saphira and her guardian Xena of Bandera.  As fantasy played out on the water, a multitude of happy peasants passed through the masses on shore bestowing gifts and song.

Our appreciation to all of our family and friends who made this happen.

On the Water

  • Princess Helena - Roseann Ashe
  • Sir Aragon - Ralph Troiano
  • Warrior Xena - Tina Jameson
  • Saphira - Philip Thomas (hidden inside the dragon)

On the Shore

  • Bandera Office - Annette McConnell, Kim Carvajal, Kim Terry, Kimberlee Beaton, Cindy Hatthorn, Sheila Montes, Debra Bearden & friends
  • North Office - Kristen Craig, Jennifer Northington, Valerie Lehr, Tracey Lehr, Brenda Ellington, Colline Chavera, Rebecca Arguello & friends
  • Southwest Office - Tina Tate, Patrick Sheffield, Armando Lazo & friends
  • In Spirit - Gary & Paula Lunsford
  • With a special appearance by Honkey the Donkey

Behind the Scenes

  • Structural design & propulsion - Ralph Troiano
  • Cross bow, swords & shields - Ralph Troiano
  • Dragon wings & banners - Tina Jameson
  • T-Shirts & design - Annette McConnell & Kim Terry
  • Supplies & procurement - Roseann Ashe
  • Dragon construction - Ralph Troiano, Tina Jameson, Annette McConnell, LeAnn Bruton, Roseann Ashe, Kim Terry, Kim Carvajal, Cindy Hatthorn, Sheila Montes, Debra Bearden, Colton Carvajal
  • Dragon & Turret painting - Tina Jameson, Tina Tate, Annette McConnell, Roseann Ashe, LeAnn Bruton, Kim Terry, Kim Carvajal, Cindy Hatthorn, Sheila Montes, Debra Bearden, Shelby Terry, Amanda Hazen
  • Transportation & assembly - Chuck Bearden, Walter Montes, Vern Hatthorn, Armando Lazo, Patrick Sheffield, Jeff Northington, Ralph Troiano, Phillip Thomas, James Morgan,  Steve Carvajal, Colton Carvajal
  • Photographers - Jennifer & Jeff Northington

Enjoy the photos of our our Dragons, Dreams and Daring Deeds.

Community Highlight
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New Community Park and Splash Pad in Heron Nest
by Annette Escarenio

Heron Nest is a 215 home community located in north Houston.  During the development period of Heron Nest, the developer conveyed a lot to the Association to utilize for a recreation area.  When the community transitioned from developer control, the lot remained undeveloped.  In 2009, the Board of Directors began the project of utilizing this property for a community park.

The first phase of the project was to eliminate two of the five entrances into the community.  As the streets in Heron Nest are privately owned by the Association, this is something within their control and the Board felt that closing the entrances closest to the park location would provide for a more secure park environment.  The entrances were closed by expanding the perimeter fence around the community at those locations. 

The next stage was the design phase of the park itself.  After much research and review, the Board decided to expand the project from just a simple play structure to a play park with a splash pad and covered pavilion.  The Board took this plan and solicited proposals from three general contractors.  

The project was awarded to CMC Construction and the park was open to the community in May 2013.  The Heron Nest park boasts three separate features for members and their families to enjoy.  A covered pavilion, a playground structure with canopy and a splash pad with a variety of water features.   The pavilion has ceiling fans and lights which operate on a timer.  There are two barbecue pits and picnic tables for members to use and enjoy.   The splash pad has a spray ring, dumping buckets and 18 geysers.

The area has been nicely landscaped to include beautiful shrubbery and a variety of flowering trees including Lipan Biloxi, Pink and Lavender Crape Myrtles.

The community is very happy with the outcome of this long term project and looks forward to many years of enjoyment of this great community facility!

Seminar Series

We are pleased to again present seven seminars throughout the year - each at three locations for a total of 21 training sessions. Click here to read the seminar descriptions and see the schedule.

  • Board Member Orientation
  • Advanced Topics for Board Members
  • Meeting & Records - The Legal Requirements
  • Understanding Collections & Financial Reports
  • The Super Budgeting Process
  • Practical Deed Restriction Management
  • Essentials of Architectural Control

Each two-hour seminar begins at 6:00 pm and we provide dinner in case you come straight from work.  You’ll leave with a wealth of practical information and a notebook for future reference.

And if that is not enough, our seminars are free!  Make a point to attend these seminars.  You’re sure to have a fun evening of learning!

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Essentials of Architectural Control

Your governing documents provide authority to regulate design and appearance of any construction, improvements or alterations within the community. This is a powerful authority with an obligation that it be used sensibly. This seminar will explain the range and limits of this authority, demonstrate the role of architectural guidelines, describe the interplay between deed restrictions issues and architectural issues, and touch on handling the tough problems.

07/08/13 - Monday

6 – 8 pm

Bandera

07/15/13 - Monday

6 – 8 pm

North

07/18/13 - Thursday

6 – 8 pm

Southwest

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Advanced Topics for Board Members

After you’ve been on the Board a few months or a few years, you realize that some things are pretty complicated. This seminar has a heavy legal and legislative orientation. We’ll dissect the lawsuit process, review foreclosures and bankruptcies, and discuss significant portions of the Texas Property Code and federal law. After all the legal stuff, we’ll touch on aspects of “risk management” which includes insurance, reserves and budgeting concepts.

08/07/13 - Wednesday

6 – 8 pm

Bandera

08/14/13 - Wednesday

6 – 8 pm

North

08/15/13 - Thursday

6 – 8 pm

Southwest

Featured Department
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Meet the Assistants

It takes a range of skills to manage community associations.  We believe that every member of our company plays an integral part in what we do.  We’ve introduced you to a number of our departments in the last few eNews issues.  This month, we would like to present our team of Assistants.

The Assistants for each community work directly under the Community Manager.  They handle many of the behind the scenes day to day operations and can be considered the manager’s “right hand”.  Our Assistants handle anywhere from one to fifteen communities and can work under multiple managers. 

Some of the tasks that are typically assigned include: assisting the manager with meeting and board package preparation, accounts receivable data entry supplemental to the accounting department, supporting customer service with phone calls and email communications, meeting with visitors to the office, maintaining personnel lists and filing systems, writing special letters to community members and generally assisting the manager with day to day responsibilities.

Most Assistants attend the Annual Meetings for the communities they are assigned.  At that meeting, they are there to meet and greet your members and they oversee the sign in and voting process.  Some Assistants also attend additional meetings throughout the year to support the manager or other communities.  As a board member, you may also receive phone calls and emails from the Assistant on various topics. 

Our Assistants are here to help the managers and our clients reach their goals.  They are ready and able to jump in and handle just about any task that is thrown their way.  The proud members of this team (pictured in order left to right) Roseann Ashe, Debra Bearden, LeAnn Bruton, Kristen Craig, Kristi Duffy, Felicia Dungy, Jaclyn Fholer, Sharmeon Hoskie, Catina Hunter, Tamra Landrum, Annette McConnell, Frances McIntyre, Vicki Morrow, Jennifer Northington, Nicole Toland, and Steven Vaughn.

Safe Summer Fun
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Keeping Kids Safe

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children recommends that parents and guardians take action to keep their children safe during both structured and unstructured summer activities. The first step is to talk to your children. Kids need to know:

  • Neighborhood boundaries and whose homes they may visit.
  • Whom to call and where to go in an emergency.
  • Their full name, address and telephone number.
  • To keep doors locked and not open the door if they are home alone.
  • Not to approach a vehicle or accept a ride from anyone without your permission.
  • To avoid pools and other bodies of water without adult supervision.
  • Their curfew, and to call you if they will be late.

Parents also should remember to:

  • Supervise children at malls, movies, arcades and parks.
  • Choose and screen babysitters with care.
  • Investigate day care centers and recreational camps thoroughly before enrolling your children.
  • Always listen to your children.

For more information, visit The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s website at www.ncmec.org.

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Keep Your Home Safe While on Vacation

As the summer heats up, many of you will escape the daily grind and head out on a well-deserved vacation. But before you hit the road, take a few precautions so your home isn’t enticing to thieves or susceptible to fire and other disasters. Not only is having your home vandalized or burnt to the ground a highly unpleasant way to return from a trip, but it also puts the rest of the association at risk, as these problems have the potential to spread quickly throughout the neighborhood. So, before you take off, consider implementing these safety tips to keep your home and our community secure.

Call on friends for help. If you’re going to be away a week or more, ask a trusted friend to check on your house every day or two—or better yet, housesit—while you’re gone. Not only will they make sure nothing happens to your home, but you might also ask them to bring in your mail and newspapers, water plants or even feed Fluffy. Of course, it’s a good idea to let your neighbors know a friend is monitoring your property so they don’t call the police to thwart a perceived “break-in.”

Set your lights on a timer. Leaving your house unlit for days on end is a sure sign to burglars that it’s empty, but so is keeping the lights on 24-7. A good way to handle the lights on/off conundrum is to set them on a timer that’s scheduled to simulate your regular routine. Of course, if the lights seem a bit too simulated, that can be another telltale sign, so it’s a good idea to set the timers in individual rooms on staggered schedules to make the light coming from your home seem more natural.

Don’t advertise your vacation. Resist the urge to brag about your upcoming vacation on social networking sites. Nothing is more inviting to a bad guy than knowing your home will be sitting empty for a week. This is particularly true for your children who may not recognize that their small circle of cyber-friends is electronically linked to the whole world.

Stop your mail and newspaper. Nothing screams “nobody’s home!” like a pile of newspapers strewn about your doorstep or an overflowing mailbox. So, if you can’t get a friend or neighbor to collect them for you, it’s best to have your mail and paper stopped if you’re going to be out of town for awhile.

Don’t leave the spare house key lying around. That fake rock where you keep the extra house key isn’t as discrete as you think. Whether you keep a spare under your welcome mat, above the door frame or in a hide-a-key contraption, chances are it will take the nefarious types five minutes flat to find it and gain easy entry to your house. So take it with you, let a friend hold onto it or put it in a safe place inside your house, even if you’re worried about losing your other keys. Because when it comes down to it, calling a locksmith is less traumatic than calling the police.

Make a last-minute checklist. Are all the windows and doors locked? Stove and oven turned off? How about all the faucets? Are the electronics unplugged and valuables secured? Take five minutes before you leave to ensure your house is vacation-ready. Another run-through of the house may seem unnecessary if you did it earlier in the day, but knowing you’ve left your house as safe as possible will help you kick back and have a great vacation.

Community Anniversaries
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Every month we appreciate the communities that are celebrating their anniversaries with us. Here are the clients that started with us in July.

  • East Point Community Association— 23 years
  • Inwood Northwest Neighborhood Association— 12 years
  • Royal Palms Homeowners Association— 9 years
  • Community Association of Crockett Park — 3 years

Our goal has always been to create a positive, long term relationship with all of our client communities. We are very proud to be managing all of these communities.

Community of the Month
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We are proud of every one of our communities so it is always hard to find just one to highlight. We start by having each of our Community Managers write a nomination for one of their communities. We then read them and take a vote. Here are our most recent selections:

  • July - Kings Lake Forest Homeowners Association
    North Office - Annette Escarenio, Community Manager
  • June - Woodforest North II Homeowners Association
    North Ofce Office - Sandy Castro, Community Manager
  • May - PostWood Civic Assocation
    North Office - Linda Morris, Community Manager
  • April - Community Association of the Highlands
    Southwest Office - Amanda Jensen, Community Manager

To see the full story on these communities and to see the past winners, visit the Community of the Month page on our web site.

Employee Corner
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Anniversaries

Congratulations to Linda Morris on her 6th anniversary with C.I.A. Services. Linda is a stockholder and community manager at our North Office.

And congratulations to Jessica Davis on her 5th anniversary. Jessica is our onsite Community Coordinator in the Cinco Ranch Community.  Jessica helps coordinate the community events and website.

 

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Welcome!

We are pleased to have several new employees joining our staff this month.

Kim Beaton joins us in our Bandera office and will be working with our accouting team.

Keisha Hobson join us in Telfair as the new Onsite Community Coordinator.  It’s great to have you on board.

Sharmeon Hoskie, Steven Vaughn and Vicki Morrow joining us in our Southwest office as Administrative Assistants.

Welcome to all of you, we are glad to have you on our team!

Career opportunities are always posted on our website (About Us > Careers).  We are currently looking for our next great Community Manager for our Bandera and North Offices, an Administrative Assistant for our Southwest Office and a Community Specialist at our North Office. 

Read Past Issues of eNews Monthly

Every month, we issue an electronic newsletter, eNews Monthly, to keep clients informed about Association items, spotlight clients, answer frequently asked questions and let you know what is happening with the company. Old issues of eNews Monthly are available on our Library page.