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April 2014

Official Publication of the Bella Vista Homeowners Association

The Board met on March 5, and minutes will be posted to the Bella Vista website ( home.asp) after Board approval in April. February minutes will be posted then too. Self-Storage Facility – Major jackhammering has ceased, but construction continues with concrete pads being poured over the next few weeks, so some minor construction noise will continue. Issues with fences and landscaping continue to be discussed. Safety – Speed limits and speed control devices are under jurisdiction of the County. Residents are welcome to voice safety concerns there. Budget – The Board continues to work within or under budget. Previous unspent funds will be applied to upcoming large projects that are in discussions at this time as described here before. Xeriscaping – A brief summary of the proposed Xeriscaping policy is included inside, and we still hope to have a final policy in the May-June timeframe. Fence Repair – With springtime weather getting us out more, there’s no excuse for those with fences needing maintenance, so warning letters will start going out in April. Maintenance – You may not notice how much work is done to keep our common areas in good shape. In February

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Volume 6, Issue 4

we repaired the plastic edging wall around the play area, fixed damage to the pool gate, replaced a sensor in one of the monument lights, and got Travis County to fix a manhole issue on Plaza Bella, among other things. March items include leveling out the play area’s mulch, fixing the emergency phone at the pool, power washing the pool deck, and putting out the pool furniture. Annual Meeting – Mark your calendars now; it’s scheduled for May 21 at 6:30pm at the RealManage office. An agenda will be published in the next newsletter, but one thing we plan to share with residents is park improvement ideas, including a possible pavilion and sport court to gauge community interest. Facebook – Our very active Facebook group (www. is a fun way to socialize and participate in the community. It’s also a fast and easy way for the Board to share information, so we encourage you to join. Group membership keeps going up (four more this month) and is now at 222, but with 301 households some are still missing out. Monthly Board meetings begin at 6pm at the RealManage office (10800 Pecan Park Blvd, Suite 100) on the first Wednesday of each month, and a notice will be posted on the Bella Vista website at least 3 days before the meeting.

Bella Vista Bulletin - April 2014


IMPORTANT CONTACTS President, Veronica Frederick............ Vice President, James Director, Steve Bosak ………………… Treasurer, Wayne Secretary, Julie Recreation Committee, Jill Calcote........ Maintenance Committee, John Shumaker................................ .................................................... ACC Requests...................................

HOA MANAGEMENT RealManage Resident Services (pool, issues, etc.) 1-866-473-2573.................................. Association Manager: Bill Brooks RealManage, 10800 Pecan Park Boulevard, Suite 100, Austin, Texas 78750, P: 512-219-1927

UPCOMING EVENTS MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR THESE 2014 COMMUNITY EVENTS: April 12th 10-Noon Easter Event Egg Hunt and Petting Zoo May 3rd 8-Noon Spring Community Garage Sale May 21st 6:30pm Annual Meeting, RealManage offices June 6th 6-8 pm Summer Snow Cone Social July 4th 10-Noon 4th of July Event: Music and Snow Cones August Date TBD Kindergarten Round-Up September 1st 10-Noon Summer (Labor Day) Snowcone Social October 4th 8-Noon Fall Community Garage Sale October 25th 4-6pm 2nd Annual Chili Cook Off December 13th 10-Noon Christmas Event: Santa and Cocoa

MISSION STATEMENT Peel, Inc. Community Newsletters

Our goal is to provide the Bella Vista community with one source of local news content that is provided by Bella Vista residents. Our goal is to help build Bella Vista by connecting local businesses with residents and residents with relevant neighborhood information.

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ARTICLE INFO The Bella Vista Bulletin newsletter is mailed monthly to all Bella Vista residents. Residents, community groups, churches, etc. are welcome to submit information about their organizations in the newsletter. Personal news for the Stork Report, Teenage Job Seekers, recipes, special celebrations, and birthday announcements are also welcome. If you have an article of interest to the community, please submit it to with copy to by the 8th of the month..

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NEWSLETTER INFO Newsletter Publisher Peel, Inc......................................................... 512-263-9181, 512-263-9181 2

Bella Vista Bulletin - April 2014

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XERISCAPING POLICY Xeriscaping (less commonly xeriscaping, draught-tolerant landscaping, or smart scaping) means using native and adaptive plants that can grow and sustain themselves with low water requirements to tolerate heat and drought conditions. It can also mean replacing turf grass with rock, gravel, decomposed granite, hardwood mulch, or other loose stone material for a ground cover that is maintained to prevent weed growth without using toxic or environmentally harmful chemicals. The State of Texas promotes xeriscaping for resource conservation and environmental protection and passed legislation (SB198) limiting how much control property owners’ associations have in prohibiting or restricting solid-waste composting, rain water collection, efficient irrigations, and the use of native turf, shrubs and grasses. Working with our attorneys and responding to this new law, the HOA Board has been developing a new xeriscaping policy, which we hope to finalize in the May-June timeframe. This article is for those who want to jump-start the process, but remember that you must still submit an ACC request form for approval. Here are the fundamentals of what they will look at:

AESTHETICS – The Xeriscaping must be aesthetically compatible with other landscaping in the community as reasonably determined by the ACC. COVERAGE – No Owners shall install rock, gravel, decomposed granite, hardwood mulch, or other loose stone material for a ground cover that in the aggregate encompass more than 75% of such Owner’s front yard. Conversely, this means that at least 25% of the visible lawn area should contain green lawn (turf ) areas. INTEREST – Large areas should not be composed of a single material, i.e. bare mulch/rock is not allowed unless interspersed with plants. Hardscapes can include large boulders or other natural materials that are used as part of the landscaping design. The ACC prefers to see natural colored rock or masonry that matches existing housing. SAFETY – For public safety, and in accordance with City regulations, no plant with thorns, spines, or sharp edges may be used within 6’ of the public sidewalks. Also, no plants higher than 18" may be planted in the sidewalk strip area, as this constitutes a visual safety hazard to pedestrians and drivers.





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Bella Vista Bulletin - April 2014


(Continued from Page 3) SIDEWALK STRIP – Residents should consider converting the strip areas between sidewalk and curb from turf grasses to xerophytic materials and plants, since these areas are difficult to water without street runoff. This area may be composed of 100% river rock, mulch, or other material approved by the ACC. No boulders or large rocks exceeding 12” in height may be used on the narrow strips between public sidewalks and the street curb. Use of potted plants is not allowed in the nuisance strip. MAINTENANCE – Sickly and dying plants must be removed or replaced, and perennials that go dormant during winter should be cut back to remove dead materials. This includes most ornamental grasses and flowering perennials. Weeds, which can still grow up between rocks and gravel, should be removed. PLANT HEALTH – The Xeriscaping must not attract diseases and insects that are harmful to the existing landscaping on neighboring Lots, as reasonably determined by the ACC. REFERENCE – Recommendations on which plants to use, and which to avoid, are provided in the 52-page booklet, “Native and Adaptive Landscape Plants: an earthwise guide for Central Texas.” It’s also known as the “Grow Green” book and is available for free at most nurseries and garden centers or online at http://austintexas.

gov/sites/default/files/files/Watershed/growgreen/plantguide.pdf. This booklet contains photos and a wealth of information about the plants, turf, and trees that do well in Bella Vista, including which ones are native and need little water.

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Bella Vista Bulletin - April 2014

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Dynamic Duo Helps Lawns Weather the Drought by Brett Briant, LCRA Water Conservation Coordinator Some things just go together, and mulch and compost are two of them. When used together, this formidable pair not only improves your garden and lawn, but they also use water more efficiently. The combo is important as many of us move to maximum once-aweek watering during this time of severe drought. The pair can help your landscaping survive the drought because plants will be more disease tolerant and water efficient, thereby better able to defend themselves against the drought. Using a hardwood mulch/compost blend is the best choice for retaining water and improving your soil. The mix will hold its color longer, and the compost will help break down the mulch, which will become a beneficial nutrient for your soil. However, if you choose to go with one or the other, keep in mind that you can use compost as mulch, but you can’t do the opposite. You can’t use straight mulch as compost – it’s too hard on its own and takes too long to break down and become a beneficial micro-organism to your soil. Mulch should smell like a fresh forest floor. A mulch/compost blend should have a carbon-to-nitrogen ratio of about 20-to-1. That’s 20 percent carbon to 1 percent nitrogen. When applying this to your existing soil, a soil depth of at least six inches is highly recommended. You can build your soil with the mulch and compost through either core aeration,

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where you remove approximately 1 inch by 2 inch cores of soil from the ground to improve the infiltration of water/nutrients, or through light scarifying with a rototiller to remove any debris from the lawn. A good layer of mulch of about two to four inches in your garden will help suppress weeds. It will also hold in moisture in the heat, and help keep the soil warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. If you are using it as a top dressing to improve the soil on your lawn, you will want to apply a layer of compost that is one-fourth of an inch to one-half of an inch deep. Another benefit of adding compost to most types of soil, including clay, sandy, alkaline or acidic, is that compost has natural pH buffers. That’s the microbiology or bacteria in the soil that creates a healthy environment for your plants. The pH level should be close to neutral, which is a pH of 7. If you add compost to your lawn and compost/ mulch to your beds, you will build the soil profile to be much more water efficient and increase its capacity to hold water. The soil will be able to drain and breathe. Using mulch and compost together is a cost-efficient way to build your soil. They’re relatively inexpensive and will help cut down on your water bill. It’s a pair you want on your team.

Bella Vista Bulletin - April 2014


Electricity Conservation Alert The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc. (ERCOT), system operator for the power grid that serves most of Texas, is asking consumers and businesses to reduce their electricity use. Consumers can help by taking the following steps, especially during peak demand periods (6-9 a.m. and 4-8 p.m. during winter and 3-7 p.m. during summer). DURING COLD WEATHER:

• Turn down your thermostat to 68° in the daytime and 55° at night or when you're away from home. • When at home, open blinds and shades during sunny days to take advantage of the sun's natural heat. • Close shades and blinds at night to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows. DURING HOT WEATHER: • Turn up your thermostat 2-3 degrees from 3 to 7 p.m.; set programmable thermostats to higher temperatures when no one is home. • If home, use fans to feel 4-6 degrees cooler. • Set pool pumps to run early morning or overnight; shut off from 4 to 6 p.m. DURING ANY WEATHER: • Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances. • Avoid using large appliances, especially during peak demand hours (6-9 a.m. and 4-8 p.m. during winter and 3-7 p.m. during summer) or the hours specified in the conservation appeal. • Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible. • Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.

at their homes or business, or about rotating outage procedures for their area. HOW TO TRACK ELECTRICITY DEMAND

• View daily peak demand forecast and current load at http://www. • View daily peak demands by the hour at content/cdr/html/actual_loads_of_weather_zones • Get real-time notices of energy emergency alerts by following ERCOT on Twitter (!/ercot_iso) CONSUMER ASSISTANCE • Public Utility Commission Consumer Hotline – 1-888-782-8777 • Office of Public Utility Counsel Consumer Assistance – 1-877839-0363 Details on Energy Emergency Alert Communications can be found at Energy%20Emergency%20Alert%20Communications%20 Matrix%202013_4262013.pdf See more conservation tips from the Public Utility Commission of Texas at aspx%20




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The Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) procedures are a progressive series of steps that allow ERCOT to bring on power from other grids if available, beginning with a Power Watch (Energy Emergency Alert Level 1). If the situation does not improve, ERCOT escalates to a Power Warning (Energy Emergency Alert Level 2), allowing operators to drop large commercial/industrial load resources under contract to be interrupted during an emergency. If the capacity shortage is not relieved by the contract demand response, ERCOT escalates to a Power Emergency (Energy Emergency Alert Level 3) and will instruct utilities to reduce demand on the grid by conducting temporary outages at the local distribution level. These controlled temporary interruptions of electrical service – or rotating outages – typically last 15-45 minutes before being rotated to a different neighborhood. Consumers should contact the utility company/ transmission provider listed on their electric bill for information about power outages 6

Bella Vista Bulletin - April 2014

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Bella Vista Bulletin - April 2014


Water Conservation

Tip of the Month

Reduce the amount of lawn in your yard by planting shrubs and ground covers appropriate to your site and region. Consider Xeriscaping, but remember that even after our official xeriscaping policy is final, you must submit an ACC request form so the architecture committee can ensure that your plans are safe and consistent with the character of the neighborhood.

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TOGETHER WE SAVE FORESTS Because Tuesday, April 22, is Earth Day, Rainforest Partnership wants to share with you how we can all help save forests from right here in Austin. Rainforest Partnership (RP) is an Austin-based international nonprofit organization, founded in December 2007 with the idea that the way to protect the “lungs” of the planet is to help the people who live in those “lungs” make a living that allows them to protect their forests. Forest communities know that sometimes the easiest option to earn an income is to cut down their trees. By selling the timber, planting a cash crop, or having cattle, they can eke out an income to pay for health care or education for their children. But, more than anyone else, the people who live in the forests know the damage this does. They know it takes generations for a forest to come back after it's cut down. They know that destroying the forest will destroy their way of life. They're looking for an alternative. That's where Rainforest Partnership comes in. Using a bottomup approach, we work with local communities to find their needs and desires and adapt it to their culture, knowledge, and skills. These are then matched to the business opportunities created by each individual “rainforest” to create a sustainable, workable alternative to slash and burn. It all begins when a community asks for our help. Although they seem far away, tropical rainforests are an important part of our lives and our community. What was once over 12 percent of the landmass of our planet in just a hundred years is now less than 5 percent. These forests play a crucial role in storing carbon, regulating water cycles and temperature, and providing biodiversity. We all directly benefit from the many rainforest plants used in modern medicines and for food. Currently deforestation—the cutting and burning of forests—is responsible for more than 17% of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide. What happens to these forests affects us all everywhere. Besides directly partnering and working with indigenous rainforest communities, we partner with local governments, local nonprofit organizations, and businesses. Our work is based on a replicable model that is collaborative and results-driven, and facilitated by these partnerships – international, U.S., and Austinbased. Rainforest Partnership has expanded the environmental passion of this city to a globally focused, locally relevant issue just as our city started its transition to its current global significance and attention. From brooms made from sustainably and legally sourced palm fibers from the rainforest, to artisan products made from forest Copyright © 2014 Peel, Inc.

plants, to an ecolodge for birdwatchers eager to catch a glimpse of the elusive Andean Cock-of-the-rock, we have helped our partner communities create sustainable livelihoods, while saving their forests and their way of life. We are very proud of all our partner communities, but we are especially inspired by the women of Sani Isla, Ecuador. When we first met them in 2009, they were too shy to speak or even meet anyone’s eyes. In Summer of 2010, during their first workshop as part of our project working with them, they barely spoke. That is, until they did. When they started talking, they told us why they had been silent all morning: Nobody had ever asked them what they thought, what their vision was. But they had a vision: To recover the lost arts of making artisan products like jewelry and bags and baskets from seeds, vines and fibers from forest plants. We helped them set up a relationship with nearby ecolodges to sell their goods to visiting guests in their Amazon community, and established connections with hotels in Quito for selling their goods. The older women began training the younger women. We helped them work out a plan for sustainably harvesting the raw materials they would need. They used them to create goods of startling beauty. And the goods sold, beyond anyone's expectations. In four years, the women of Sani Isla went from never having made an income to making a steady and growing income. And today the same women who were too shy to talk to any outsiders have become the strongest voices in their communities against the oil drilling that threatens to destroy their forest. For the first time, these women are at the forefront of protecting their forests – and their future. Today, communities all over Ecuador and Peru are rejecting the old model of forest destruction. They're asking for Rainforest Partnership’s help in coming up with a new way, and we want to help because it's always a joint effort. Not one community has asked for a handout. Rainforest Partnership's projects represent the real-life execution of its working model. By working with forest communities to help them bring their skills, traditions, and values to the marketplace, we have begun to overcome the most powerful driving forces of deforestation. Go to to learn more. This Earth Day, learn more about how you can change a habit and save a forest. Tell your kids about what we do. Every child learns about the rainforest ecosystem, and together, we save forests. From Austin, Texas, so can you.

Bella Vista Bulletin - April 2014




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High blood pressure, or hypertension, is sometimes called the silent killer because there are often no symptoms. That’s why keeping track of blood pressure is one of the most important things a person can do to stay healthy, said doctors at Baylor College of Medicine. Left untreated, hypertension, can cause organ damage over time, leading to heart attack, blindness, kidney failure or stroke, said Dr. Biykem Bozkurt, professor of medicine at BCM. Some factors that are associated with hypertension are diabetes, family history of hypertension, being overweight, taking in too much sodium, drinking excessive alcohol and smoking. Generally a healthy reading is 120/80, and hypertension diagnosis is made at 140/90. People considered prehypertensive generally have readings that fall between 120/80 and 140/90. Doctors always check blood pressure as part of appointments and there are also many locations where blood pressure machines are available for anyone to have their pressure checked. Bozkurt advises talking to a doctor to determine if your reading is at a healthy level rather than taking the machine's reading at face value. “For a relatively healthy person not suffering from any other illnesses, only a few lifestyle changes like diet modifications and exercise may be needed,” said Bozkurt.





Bella Vista Bulletin - April 2014

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DISCLAIMER: Articles and ads in this newsletter express the opinions of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Peel, Inc. or its employees. Peel, Inc. is not responsible for the accuracy of any facts stated in articles submitted by others. The publisher also assumes no responsibility for the advertising content with this publication. All warranties and representations made in the advertising content are solely that of the advertiser and any such claims regarding its content should be taken up with the advertiser. * The publisher assumes no liability with regard to its advertisers for misprints or failure to place advertising in this publication except for the actual cost of such advertising. * Although every effort is taken to avoid mistakes and/or misprints, the publisher assumes no responsibility for any errors of information or typographical mistakes, except as limited to the cost of advertising as stated above or in the case of misinformation, a printed retraction/correction. * Under no circumstances shall the publisher be held liable for incidental or consequential damages, inconvenience, loss of business or services, or any other liabilities from failure to publish, or from failure to publish in a timely manner, except as limited to liabilities stated above.

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Bella Vista Bulletin - April 2014


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Bella Vista Bulletin - April 2014

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Bella Vista - April 2014  

April 2014 edition of Bella Vista Bulletin for Bella Vista

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