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STONEBRIDGE RANCH HOA NEWS DECEMBER 2013

Vol. 1, Issue 7

Contents IN EVERY ISSUE 5

From the President by Jon Dell’Antonia

8

This Month’s Feature by Tricia Scruggs

10

Compliance Tips

12

In the News by Tricia Scruggs

14 www.stonebridgeranch.com by Lisa Pogacnik 16

Community Calendar

18

Financial Update by Michael Lesku

20

Inside the HOA by Michael Lesku

22

Your Neighbor by Tricia Scruggs

30 Lifestyle

SPECIAL SECTIONS 19

Committee Scene

24

Fiscal Connection

26

Bits and Pieces

28

Around McKinney

Stonebridge Ranch HOA News © 2013 is published by Moonlight Graphics. All rights reserved. It is individually mailed free of charge to all residents of Stonebridge Ranch. Moonlight Graphics, P.O. Box 132, Allen, TX 75013, 972.727.4569, fax 972.396.0807. Visit www.allenimage.com.

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from the presIdent STONEBRIDGE RANCH HOA NEWS

publisher/editor Barbara Peavy

office administrator Carrie McCormick

advertising sales Sue Hardesty

contributing writers Jon Dell’Antonia Michael Lesku Shonnery Pettit Lisa Pogacnik Tricia Scruggs Shannon Sheriff

cover photo Kwik Image Location: Hillsdale & Eldorado

Great news! Great news for all of our homeowners! For the third straight year, there will be no increase in annual assessments. Due to some fortunate circumstances, excellent management and good cost controls as we developed our 2014 budget, we were able to maintain our annual assessment at $740 for 2014. This is the third year in a row that the annual assessment has stayed the same. We are pleased to be able to offer some new enhancements to the annual assessment process. Owners can now request their annual assessment statement on-line at www.stonebridgeranch.com, a paperless way to receive your statement if you want to choose that option. Payment methods remain the same. They can be set up with your bank for automatic bill pay, by CMA for credit card, e-check or recurring electronic payments and by regular checks, which can be received at our office on Virginia. Please visit the association’s web site for more information. October 10, 2013 Board Meeting The board meeting of October 10 was called to order at 12:58 p.m. All board members were present. This board meeting was all about reviewing and setting our 2014 budget. As I mentioned at the top of this newsletter, after reviewing and adopting our 2014 budget, our annual assessment rate will remain the same for the third year in a row at $740. The 2014 budget adopted is $7,038, 402. Details will be included in your annual assessment mailing, which will be mailed to all residents on December 1. Some of the significant items that are budgeted to take place from our reserve funds in 2014 are: • Resurfacing of all 8 association tennis courts • Replacement of the play structure at Arbor Glen Park • Replacement of 5,035 linear feet of common area wood fencing in the Timber Crossing, Summer Glen, Stone Canyon and Stanford Meadow villages • Refurbishment of 3,150 linear feet of common area wrought iron fencing in the Stanford Meadow, Brightwood, Stonebridge Estates and Wren Creek villages • Updating of the Tennis and Beach Club restrooms Old Business Some of our board members were contacted about rumors circulating that the city has a new ordinance governing the use of golf carts. We checked with the city and found that the city currently does NOT have an ordinance governing the use of golf carts in McKinney. It continues to rely on the existing state law.

For information or to place an advertisement, please contact: Moonlight Graphics, P.O. Box 132, Allen, TX 75013, call 972.727.4569 or email sue@allenimage.com.

New Business The board reviewed a comparison of the past five years budgets, the proposed 2014 social calendar, cost sharing with the commercial association, a staffing review and the annual status report. Executive Session There was no executive session. The meeting adjourned at 6:25 p.m. Jon Dell’Antonia President Stonebridge Ranch HOA News x December 2013

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Stonebridge Ranch Community Association 6201 Virginia Parkway, McKinney, TX 75071 214.733.5800 • fax 214.778.0595 Courtesy Patrol 214.794.4945

Association Hours Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Association Staff Michael Lesku—Director of Operations Shannon Sheriff—Assistant Manager Candace Rickman—Community Service Coordinator Denise Spain—Senior Compliance Coordinator Courtney Birmingham—Compliance Coordinator Rony Peterson—Compliance Coordinator Joyce Martin—M.A.R.C. Compliance Coordinator Lisa Pogacnik—Web Administrator Michael Cawley—Maintenance Supervisor Jeff Torres—Maintenance Assistant David Wiest—Lifestyle Director Lynette Rowell—Administrative Assistant

Board of Directors Jon Dell’Antonia—President Ron Ferris—Vice-President Lars Rosene—Secretary Richard MacFee—Treasurer Tom George—Director Michael Yon—Director Bill Campbell—Director Stonebridge Ranch Homeowners Association News is the only authorized and official monthly publication for the residents of the Stonebridge Ranch community, with news and calendar of community events endorsed by the Stonebridge Ranch HOA and its members. Stonebridge Ranch HOA News is published for the residents of Stonebridge Ranch for informational purposes only. The Stonebridge Ranch HOA does not guarantee any work or claims made by the advertisers and claims no responsibility or liability for statements made in the publication. Stonebridge Ranch does not in any way endorse or support, nor does it take any credit or responsibility for the services, paid or volunteer, nor statements made in articles or letters published herein not endorsed by the Association or the group decision of the Board of Directors.

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thIs month’ s feature The gift of giving Property owners encouraged to serve on HOA board by Tricia Scruggs During a season that fills hearts with gratitude and thanksgiving, fostering reflection and desires of goodwill, it’s never too soon to think about serving one’s community. Stonebridge Ranch HOA officials say homeowners interested in volunteering their time, talents and efforts might consider running for a seat on the board of directors during the upcoming spring election.

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According to stonebridgeranch.com, property owners elect seven individuals for a term of three years. Generally, two to three positions are up for election each year. Board members may fill specific positions, such as secretary or treasurer, and serve as liaison to a one of the board-appointed committees. Stonebridge resident Pablo Ruiz served on the board for nearly a decade. First as secretary, then vice president and president. Earlier this year he joined the landscape and grounds committee. Motivated by various reasons to seek election to the board, Ruiz said chief among them was a belief that everyone has a duty as a citizen to serve their country, community and neighbors. “Since my days at West Point, it has been ingrained in me to serve others, to contribute to the common good and to lead when needed,” Ruiz explained. “I have a vested interest in the HOA as a resident and shareholder in our community. I felt my background in facilities engineering and my education could be of value to the HOA. I was encouraged to run by fellow community members and I accepted the challenge… I was interested in understanding what was happening with my annual dues and wanted to make sure the money was being effectively used. There is no better way to do that than to be part of the organization’s leadership.” While serving on the board, he said, the most important skill he improved upon was “the ability to listen,” but added that having experience in finance, landscaping, construction, engineering, communications and/or community activity also were helpful. Next year, two board terms are set to expire. Those interested in seeking election will find additional information about the election in upcoming issues of HOA News and in the annual meeting notifications that will be mailed to property owners in the spring. “To successfully serve you must come with only one objective—make good, thoughtful decisions that contribute to the continued improvement of the whole community without any self-serving agenda or individual group’s interests,” Ruiz said. “You must always remember that the board is making decisions that will affect, in most cases, the most valuable asset of over 9,000 households. You cannot afford to be selfish, rash or fiscally irresponsible. That being said, it helps to have good soft skills—to effectively communicate, listen and work collaboratively. There are seven members on the board and several HOA staff members that work together regularly to govern the SRCA and they have to function well as a group in order to be successful.” For more details about the role of a member, visit www. stonebridgeranch.com. Click on “documents and forms library” and then “annual meeting” for a .pdf file. F


complIance tI p s Holiday Compliance Holiday season decorating—when to install/take down

Seasonal/holiday lighting or decorations may be displayed one month prior to the holiday and must be removed no later than one week after the date of the holiday being celebrated. Such lighting must be appropriate for the holiday being celebrated. Please contact the office if you have an installation scheduled outside of the approved dates.

Holiday season modifications

During the busy holiday season we will have committee members taking vacations and so would appreciate you sending in any modification requests as soon as possible. To avoid any disappointment submit early for any items that will be purchased for installation in the yard.

I want to make an improvement, should I submit an application?

On the following page is a list of the most common items for which you DO or DO NOT submit. Please note that you must still meet the requirements of the guidelines for those items that you do not submit for approval.

Submitting a modification on-line

Go to www.stonebridgeranch.com. If you are not

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registered you will need to register. Your account begins with 003. Click on the modifications request menu item. The request will be logged automatically to your account. You may track the progress of your request here as well. You may now look up all guidelines on the website: www. stonebridgeranch.com Please send in any stories and photos of the holiday events that you hold in your village; we will publish them in the newsletter. Thanksgiving and Christmas are great times for villages to get together with pancake breakfasts, walks, even singing Christmas carols as a group. If you have questions, please call us or come by the office at 6201 Virginia Parkway; 214.733.5800. CMA Compliance Coordinators—Denise Spain, Rony Peterson, Courtney Birmingham. F


complIance tI ps DO submit for the following:

DO NOT submit for the following:

(and follow the guidelines) (but follow the guidelines)

Additions/remodels Any interior work on the home Arbors Attic ventilations/rooftop appendages Awnings Basketball goals Color changes (exterior paint) Birdhouses Decks and patios Dog houses/dog runs Driveway gates/driveways/parking pads Gutters/downspouts Fencing changes/repainting/restaining House numbers Flagpoles Lighting (exterior) Fountains over 3’ in height Mailboxes Gazebos Outdoor shade structures—temporary Hot tubs/spas Painting the home (the same colors) Landscaping—tree removal Religious display items Outdoor fireplaces/barbecue pits Satellite dishes Painting and coatings Screen/storm doors Patio roof covers Shutters Play equipment/playhouses Signs Pools/ponds Sunscreens Rainwater collection devices Trampolines Retaining walls Vegetable Gardens Roofing materials Solar energy devices Sports courts Storage sheds Village activities

Stonebridge Ranch HOA News x December 2013

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In the news Investing in our future

Property owners vote to raise school tax rates by Tricia Scruggs They’re gone now, but for a few weeks yard signs and posters were highly visible as were supporters dotting the landscape, waving as motorists drove through some of McKinney’s busiest intersections. It was all in the name of education with voters casting ballots during the McKinney Independent School District’s Tax Ratification Election (TRE) in September. School officials said Collin County students had been underfunded due to education cuts at the state level. According to the McKinney ISD, between 2011 and 2012 reduced state aid totaled $11.2 million. Last year, an additional $4.5 million was cut. Before determining to hold a TRE, district leaders said attempts were made to work within budget constraints and meet the increasing demands consistent with a growing school district. A 2013 law restored about $4.3 million, but still netted an $11.4 million loss for MISD. “This decision is not being taken lightly by me, nor by the Board of Trustees,” Superintendent J.D. Kennedy said in a videotaped blog post before the vote. “We dipped into our

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fund balance for two years, hoping the legislature would correct the funding issues and are working hard to avoid cuts that would impact the quality of instruction in our classrooms. Unfortunately, we did not receive full restoration of these funds. Just as our neighboring districts allowed their parents and community members to consider the option of a Tax Ratification Election versus district wide cuts, we also believed that our parents and community deserved that same opportunity to weigh in on such a critical decision.” With the passage of the proposed increase, the property tax rate rose from $1.54 to $1.67. This will help hire teachers to match student enrollment growth, avoid overcrowding classrooms and maintain quality study programs. On average homeowners will pay $22 more each month. Property owners 65 and older qualify for a tax freeze. F


www.stonebrI dgeranch.com E is for Electronic Would you like to cut down on that mail piling up on your kitchen counter or table? Stonebridge Ranch homeowners can now take advantage of e-statements to receive their assessment statements. What are e-statements? Your HOA statement is sent by e-mail—a paperless way to be notified (you can choose to print for your records or save electronically). How do you pay an e-statement? The payment methods are the same. They can be set up with your bank for automatic bill pay, or by CMA for credit card, e-check or

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recurring electronic payments, and of course by regular paper check.

The move to paperless transactions

More of our SRCA owners wish to receive online notifications instead of paper statements. They’re convenient, eco-friendly and also help Stonebridge Ranch reduce expenses for printing and mailing assessments. If you already get e-statements for your mortgage, homeowners insurance and utility bills, now you can choose them for your SRCA assessments. Here’s how you set-up e-statements on the SRCA website. Select the customer profile page online and fill in the form. A message on the page will verify that your information has been successfully received. You’ll receive the notice below from our management company, CMA, with your November assessment statement. F


8:45-9:45 am—Fun Fitness (BTC) 9-10 am—Yoga (CR) 9:30-10:30 am—Stroller Strides (BTC) 4-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC) 6-7 pm—Fit4Baby (CR)

8:45-9:45 am—Fun Fitness (BTC) 9-10 am—Yoga (CR) 9:30-10:30 am—Stroller Strides (BTC) 4-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC) 6-7 pm—Fit4Baby (CR)

Visit www.StonebridgeRanch. com for event details.

8:45-9:45 am—Fun Fitness (BTC) 9-10 am—Yoga (CR) 9:30-10:30 am—Stroller Strides (BTC) 4-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC) 6-7 pm—Fit4Baby (CR)

8:45-9:45 am—Fun Fitness (BTC) 9-10 am—Yoga (CR) 9:30-10:30 am—Stroller Strides (BTC) 4-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC) 6-7 pm—Fit4Baby (CR)

8:45-9:45 am—Fun Fitness (BTC) 9:30-10:30 am—Stroller Strides (BTC) 9-10 am—Yoga (CR) 4-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC) 6-7 pm—Fit4Baby (CR)

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9:30-10:30 am—Camp Gladiator (BTC)

Coffee in the C Room

4-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC)

8:45-9:45 am—Fun Fitnes 9:30-10:30 am—Stroller S

4-7 pm—Junior Tennis C Select Tennis Academy 7-8 pm—Yoga (CR)

Modifications Meeting 6 p.m. (BR) 9:30-10:30 am—Camp Gladiator (BTC) 4-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC)

Social Commi Meeting, 9 a.m Coffee in the Room

8:45-9:45 am—Fun Fitne 9:30-10:30 am—Stroller S

4-7 pm—Junior Tennis C Select Tennis Academy 7-8 pm—Yoga (CR)

9:30-10:30 am—Camp Gladiator (BTC)

Coffee in the C Room

4-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC)

8:45-9:45 am—Fun Fitne 9:30-10:30 am—Stroller

4-7 pm—Junior Tennis C Select Tennis Academ 7-8 pm—Yoga (CR)

9:30-10:30 am—Camp Gladiator (BTC) 4-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC)

9:30-10:30 am—Camp Gladiator (BTC) 4-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC)

8:45-9:45 am—Fun Fitne 9:30-10:30 am—Stroller S

4-7 pm—Junior Tennis C Select Tennis Academy 7-8 pm—Yoga (CR)


Community

ss (BTC) Strides (BTC)

Classes, y (BTC)

ittee m. (BR) Community

ess (BTC) Strides (BTC)

Tree Lighting & Photos with Santa 5 p.m. (BTC)

8:45-9:45 am—Fun Fitness (BTC) 9:30-10:30 am—Stroller Strides (BTC)

9:30-10:30 am—Camp Gladiator (BTC) 4-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC)

9:30-10:30 am—Camp Gladiator (BTC) 4-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC)

8:45-9:45 am—Fun Fitness (BTC) 9:30-10:30 am—Stroller Strides (BTC)

9:30-10:30 am—Camp Gladiator (BTC)

8:45-9:45 am—Fun Fitness (BTC) 9:30-10:30 am—Stroller Strides (BTC)

Classes, y (BTC)

Community

ess (BTC) Strides (BTC)

4-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC)

Classes, my (BTC)

ess (BTC) Strides (BTC)

Classes, y (BTC)

9:30-10:30 am—Camp Gladiator (BTC) 4-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC)

8:45-9:45 am—Fun Fitness (BTC) 9:30-10:30 am—Stroller Strides (BTC)

Visit www.StonebridgeRanch. com for event details.

december 4,11 &18 coffee in the community room december 5

Tree lighting & photos with santa 5 p.m. (BTC)

Stonebridge Ranch HOA News x December 2013

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fInancIal update Where do my assessments go? by Michael Lesku From time to time, the association office receives calls from residents asking how their annual assessment dollars are spent. As we enter the final quarter of 2013 and with the 2014 assessment mailing right around the corner, I thought I would attempt to break down how your annual assessment is spent on an individual homeowner basis. The current dues rate of $740, which has been raised only a modest 3.7% since 2007, funds the operation of the association and maintenance of its commonly owned assets as follows: • $437.34 (59.1%) of your annual assessment goes to fund the maintenance and irrigation of the 519 acres of association common property. In addition to mowing, edging and fertilization costs the annual maintenance costs also include two seasonal color changes for all 70 village entrances and community entrances along with the annual mulching of 41 acres of common area. • $84.36 (11.4%) of your annual assessment goes to fund the repair and replacement of the association’s commonly owned assets. These assets include 519 acres of common area landscape, 116,000 LF of common area fencing, refurbishment of 145 stone village and community monument features, two community pools servicing 65,000 Stonebridge Ranch residents and their guests annually, 8 lighted tennis courts, 12 community

playgrounds, miles of hike and bike trails and community parks. • $102.12 (13.8%) of your annual assessment goes to fund the day-to-day operations of the association. These services include bi-weekly compliance inspections of the association villages, processing of modification applications, maintenance of the common area assets, trash pick up throughout all 519 acres of association common area property, accounts payable and receivable support, collection efforts, handling of resident inquiries and concerns, monthly magazine preparation and website administration. • $55.50 (7.5%) of your annual assessment funds the operations of the two association pools. These services include gate monitors and lifeguard staff, pool water, chemical costs and pool maintenance. • $60.68 (8.2%) of your annual assessment goes to fund the remaining operational requirements of the association including insurance, taxes, community activities, administrative supplies and courtesy patrol services. I hope you find this information helpful. If you have any questions regarding your assessments please do not hesitate to contact me at 214-733-5801 or email at mlesku@ cmamanagement.com. F

Stonebridge Ranch Community Association, Inc. Comparative Income Statement as of September 2013

YTD Actual-Sept 2013 YTD Budget-Sept 2013 Variance Revenues Assessment Revenue & Associated Income 5,000,420 4,949,607 50,813 102,364 78,204 24,160 Working Capital\Member fees Activities Income 26,364 22,890 3,473 Amenity & Rental Revenue 76,380 65,400 10,980 Investment Income 74,351 81,303 (6,952) Total Revenues 5,279,880 5,197,405 82,475 Expenses Administrative 861,198 800,433 (60,765) Regulatory/taxes/utilities 217,442 201,933 (15,509) Other/Miscellaneous 131,293 135,217 3,924 Community activities 71,442 51,802 (19,641) Landscape & common area utilities 1,151,644 1,293,517 141,873 Landscape & common area maintenance 1,381,507 1,527,027 145,519 Irrigation repair 208,599 141,674 (66,925) Aquatic center 127,991 124,703 (3,288) Beach club 305,497 331,792 26,296 69,355 67,129 (2,226 Courtesy patrol Lakes & fountains 30,063 33,351 3,288 Sport courts, fields, and bldg. maintenance 19,242 14,649 (4,593) Repair & replacement reserves 730,122 728,476 (1,646) Total operating expenses

5,305,394

5,451,702 146,308

Net Income/(Loss)

(25,514)

(254,297) 228,783

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commIttee scene Social Committee Announcement

The Stonebridge Ranch Board of Directors recently approved the 2014 calendar of events and budget prepared by the social committee. The early planning stages of the calendar began in August with the committee using the resident survey results as a tool to develop a list of events and programs. Finalized in October, several new activities were added to next year’s line-up, including a New Resident Welcome Party, a spring outdoor gardening event, a teen fishing tournament on Lake Stonebridge, a Teen Mixer with game trucks for ages 13-15, Stonebridge Ranch Day (Ranch Fest), a Ranch Fest Run, an Evening on the Veranda adult only swim night and a Military Appreciation Party. In addition to these activities, cooking classes will be offered at the country club, a Stonebridge Ranch travel club is being formed, self-defense classes will be offered and we will now have Coffee on the Veranda or in the Community Room. Group outings, such as trips to Texas Rangers baseball games and to area casinos, also are new to the calendar. Of course, the committee will continue to host traditional family holiday events, including Meet the Easter Bunny, Halloween Spooktacular and the Tree Lighting Ceremony featuring photos with Santa, as well as programs on Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day. Summer months will be busy with 12 events scheduled between June, July and August, including Splash Hops, Karaoke and Beach Club parties with live bands just to name a few. The social committee continues to work to provide activities for residents of all ages, and 2014 promises to be another great year to live in Stonebridge Ranch! F Stonebridge Ranch HOA News x December 2013

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InsId e the hoa 2014 Assessments by Michael Lesku It’s that time of the year again. Your 2014 annual assessment statement will be arriving in the mail soon with a due date of January 1, 2014. The board of directors voted this year not to increase the assessment fee. It is the same amount as your 2013 assessment ($740). Each and every owner of a platted lot is obligated to pay an annual assessment. It is important that assessments be paid in a timely manner in order to avoid additional fees. Listed below are payment options that are accepted by Stonebridge Ranch Community Association:

E-check

Available through www.stonebridgeranch.com at no additional cost. Processed in 1-2 business days—double check all payment requests with your bank to be sure your information was entered correctly, and verify with CMA that your account was credited with the payment.

Credit Card

Available through www.stonebridgeranch.com. Processed the next business day. It is the responsibility of the owner to pay any additional charges by a third party for these types of payments or for charges due to information that is entered incorrectly.

On-Site Office Payment

The association office, located at 6201 Virginia Parkway (Beach & Tennis Club), is equipped to accept payments via check or money order only. The association office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Mailing a check directly to the bank’s lockbox

We recommend mailing your payment well in advance of the due date (at least 10 days).

Automatic Bill Pay Service

When you choose to pay online through your bank, the payment amount typically is drawn from your account on the same day; however, your bank may not cut and mail a paper check until your indicated “Deliver by” date. Different banks have different timelines; please check with your bank for further information. Please allow sufficient time for your bank to process and mail your payment. This payment process differs from e-checking. If you are having difficulties meeting your financial obligations, please contact the association office at 214- 7335800. Unfortunately, making a partial payment will not stop the collection process. Please be aware that all charges associated with a delinquent account are the owner’s responsibility. The hard costs charged by banks, management or attorneys are billed to, and paid by, the association even if we have not received your payment. Your association board addresses these issues every month. Assessments are the foundation upon which the association operates. Our association is financially sound and has an average delinquency percentage. In an effort to maintain the amenities we all enjoy, we ask for your assistance. F

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At Palmer Family Law Group PLLC, they believe that divorce doesn’t have to be so hard. “What we try to do is get people through a divorce in the healthiest way possible so that everyone can move on to the next chapter in their lives, in the best way possible,” says Dana, creator of the Soft Divorce® brand. “We don’t define success by the other party’s failure. Instead, our goal is for our client, their children, and even their soon-to-be-ex-spouse, to be as healthy as possible after the divorce.”

A better way to divorce

Dana C. Palmer

It’s a concept that Dana created after focusing his law firm in McKinney on family law in 2011. “I opened the firm in 2006, practicing a wide variety of cases. I soon realized that family law cases provided me with the biggest opportunity to help people and that’s when I decided to narrow my focus,” Dana says. Quickly, he says, he saw that when

divorce is approached as a battle, with each spouse trying to extract as much money as possible from the other, then no one ‘wins.’ “I’m the type of person who is always looking for a better way to do something—and when I find that better way, I feel compelled to share it with others,” Dana explains. “That’s why I’m now sharing the Soft Divorce® program worldwide.” Soft Divorce® is a concept and framework of the best practices in family law and divorce procedures that aim to keep divorces civil, family-oriented, healthy and as painfree and stress-free as possible. “I believe in Soft Divorce® because it’s better than a ‘hard divorce.’” Dana says. “At the end of the day, former spouses will always be parents together and they need to have the best possible relationship with one another, as well as with their kids. A Soft Divorce® allows for that.”

Happier, healthier results Of course, the firm’s approach doesn’t mean that they’ll simply “lie down” and take whatever the other party’s attorney is offering. “There are times that we have to, and we do, ‘play hard-ball,’” Dana says. “We go into court knowing that we’ve taken the high road, but we’re willing to do whatever it takes to get the healthy result we’re after.” When prospective clients first hear about the firm’s Soft Divorce brand, Dana says, they’re often relieved to discover that there’s a healthier way to go through the divorce process. “You always see on TV and hear about divorces where people end up hating each other and losing so much,” he says. “We show people a different and better way.” For more information, please call or visit our website.


your neIg hbor Resident Spotlight: R. Lee Pitts by Tricia Scruggs For Stonebridge Ranch residents and karate school owners R. Lee Pitts, his wife, Janeen, and their children, just about everything is a family affair. The Woodhaven Village homeowners own and operate a pair of martial arts schools, one of them right here in Stonebridge. Janeen, a New Jersey native, serves on the HOA’s Social Committee. We caught up with the busy duo to find out a little more about them and here’s what we learned.

Are you from Texas, Lee?

I am! Born and raised in DeSoto.

How did you find you find your way to Texas, Janeen?

I moved here for job opportunities… We moved to McKinney because of its proximity to Dallas and it’s a growing community. As for Stonebridge Ranch, we just loved the look of the area. It’s very pretty. You can drive for miles and there’s aesthetic cohesiveness. We have lived here since July 2004.

Tell us about your family.

We have five children ranging from 25 to 11. Our youngest children, Brandon, 18, and Madison, 11, both have earned their black belts through Sidekicks Martial Arts. Brandon is one of our instructors in our McKinney school and Madison helps out with the lower belt classes. I am a black belt as well and my wife is a conditional black belt.

Why did you join the social committee?

My husband served on the Lawn and Landscape Committee. I just wanted to be more active in the community, to be aware of the social events offered and to help them be as great as they can be. We try to make as many events as possible. Over the summer, we attended some of the pool parties. We especially enjoyed the movie nights. They were a lot of fun.

What do you like most about Stonebridge Ranch?

I like the sense of community… When you come home, you feel good. We can go on family walks and enjoy events on the weekend with our children. It’s just a very nice community to live in.

Lee, what motivated you to open Sidekicks Martial Arts?

We started taking karate classes when we enrolled our son Brandon in classes when he was seven. My wife and I

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your neIghbor joined shortly after. As we rose through the belt ranks we realized what a great way for a family to work out together and stay healthy. Our goal was to open a business that truly made a positive impact in our community. Knowing first-hand all the wonderful benefits martial arts had on our family it became an obvious choice for us to open up a karate school. We opened up our first Sidekicks location in Little Elm, Texas, in 2008. That is when our daughter, Madison, started taking classes at age four. We purchased our second Sidekicks location in McKinney in June 2010. As you can imagine we were very excited to have an opportunity to own a business in the heart of Stonebridge Ranch!

What are some of the benefits to owning and operating your family’s business?

One of our goals that we had for starting our own business was to be able to have our children be highly involved with all aspects of the business. They now understand very clearly what it means to have a good work ethic, a high degree of integrity and honesty and they know the value of a dollar! Also, we hold several free self-defense classes for women throughout the year. Since violence against women does not discriminate in age, class or race, it is important that all women, no matter how young or old, are taught the basic means to defend themselves. Knowing self-defense gives women both physical and critical tools to respond to potentially harmful and life threatening encounters. Our next class will be from 1 to 3 p.m. on January 18.

Do you have other passions/hobbies or interests?

Martial arts are number one, but we are also avid football fans. Janeen being from the northeast is a true Philadelphia Eagles fan and naturally I’m a diehard Dallas Cowboys fan. Football season is always a fun time in our house. Family and friends are always most important to us.

How will you celebrate the holiday season?

We’re having a bunch of family come in from out of town. We get the house decorated, inside and out! We bake cookies. Everyone helps. My daughter helps put up the Christmas tree and decorate it with ornaments. It’s just a great time with family. F Stonebridge Ranch HOA News x December 2013

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fIs cal connectI o n Value Management by Shannon Sheriff Every once in a while the association receives calls from homeowners asking where the money they send annually goes, and the majority of these calls will come in during the first few months of the year. During 2014, we are going to highlight changes the association is taking to reduce costs or improve the assets. Mid-year we teamed up with Smart Outdoor Services. They are licensed irrigation auditors and are working with management and the landscapers to improve our water savings by making small modifications to the existing system. As the demand for potable water increases along with ever-changing water restrictions, the association is taking pro-active measures to help minimize the amount of water use within the association’s common area landscape. Smart Outdoor Services will be a key factor in assisting us as we reduce the potable water consumption on the 500plus landscaped, irrigated acres here in Stonebridge Ranch. When the community was first developed, water was inexpensive and readily available. Now, increased watering costs and the need to conserve is an issue to address. The City of McKinney has implemented a 2.4 percent increase in water cost for the year. Since 2008 water rates have risen 30.4%. With

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the rising cost and reduction of resources there is a huge incentive to curb usage. Most owners will not notice a difference in weekly irrigation with the initial modifications that will be made. The first items of focus will be on areas where the original design of the system watered a greenbelt that may be shrinking due to natural area encroachment, or other places where the irrigation sprays obsolete areas. Over time, irrigation pressure and head modifications will be adjusted to reduce water usage and, in theory, improve overall coverage. The association has already invested in ET-based irrigation controllers that measure the moisture content in the soil and communicates with an on-site weather station so that the system only responds when needed. These controllers are exempt from many of the current water restrictions. How can homeowners help with water savings? The more eyes the better. If you see leaking irrigation or a missing head, call the association office immediately. If you see that the same irrigation zone near your home has been running for more than 20 minutes, it could mean that a valve is stuck. Call us! Do you see sprinklers operating while it’s raining? Report it! If you contact us after business hours, feel free to leave a message or call courtesy patrol. Both of the landscape companies that work for the association have after-hours response teams and almost all irrigation issues are repaired the same day. F


bIt s & pI eces 15th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony Stonebridge Ranch Community Association 6201 Virginia Pkwy. (Beach & Tennis Club) December 5, 2013 Activities will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tree Lighting will take place at 6:30 p.m. Bring your family to this fun and festive event. Don’t forget your camera to take your child’s picture with Santa. Other activities include horse and carriage rides, a petting zoo, a toy soldier, Frosty the Snowman, storytelling, The Grinch, refreshments and a DJ playing all of your favorite Chrismas music. Santa’s mailbox—Have your child bring a letter to the Tree Lighting Ceremony for Santa to take back to the North Pole! Admission into this event is free. We ask you that you bring an unwrapped gift to be given to the Salvation Army Angel Tree program. Our goal this year is to receive 200 donated and unwrapped gifts from the SRCA residents. We will also be accepting non-perishable food donations. If you cannot attend the event and would like to donate a gift or a canned good, the association office will be accepting the items in office Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Coffee in the Community Room Would you like to meet some new neighbors? The Stonebridge Ranch social committee is offering a new activity for residents on Wednesday mornings from 8:309:30 a.m. on December 4, 11 and 18. The association will be offering free coffee in the community room to any residents who would like to join us. We will have decaffeinated on hand also. Beginning in January 2014, this activity will be held weekly and when the weather warms up we will move to the veranda. No reservation is required.

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bIts & pIe ces 8th Annual Gingerbread for Humanity Take part in a fun, sweet tradition during the eighth annual Gingerbread for Humanity event on Saturday, December 14 at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 5871 W. Virginia Parkway in McKinney. You and your loved ones are invited to decorate and take home a fully assembled gingerbread house while supporting North Collin County Habitat for Humanity at the same time. Before you leave, be sure to visit and take a free photo with Mrs. Claus and your gingerbread masterpiece.

“One of the things we really love about this event is how much fun kids have decorating their house and choosing their candy from our huge candy buffet,” says Pam Hatch, one of the organizers. “We always see incredible creativity.” It’s a great time for a greater good. All proceeds benefit homes to be constructed as part of North Collin County Habitat for Humanity’s mission “to put God’s love into action by building homes and communities.” Pre-registration is on-going through December 8 and limited spaces will be available at the door on the day of the event. To pre-register, please go online to www. tpcmckinney.org and click on the gingerbread icon to download the registration form. Anyone unable to attend the December 14 event may still participate by ordering Gingerbread for Humanity kits. Kits contain fully assembled gingerbread houses and plenty of frosting and candy for decorating at a later time. They’re great for holiday parties and children’s activities. Event Details: Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, December 14; Location: Trinity Presbyterian Church, 5871 W. Virginia Parkway, McKinney; Cost: $32 when you pre-register; $38 at the door (spaces limited). Registration details: Go online to www.tpcmckinney. org and click on the gingerbread icon to download the registration form. F Stonebridge Ranch HOA News x December 2013

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around mckI n ney From the Mayor by Mayor Brian Loughmiller We are approaching the holiday season and that often is a time for reflection as well as a time to plan and look forward to the year ahead. Our city council meets annually to address long term visioning for the city. Part of that visioning process includes consideration of current construction, infrastructure needs, budget considerations and future growth projections. In considering our budget for this next year, we have also asked the city manager to provide a five-year forecast that will focus on tax rate reduction. Based on our current budget policies and planning process, assuming continued growth at the current rate, we have put forth a plan that will allow a reduction in tax rates beginning the 2014-2015 tax year. The next twelve months will be an exciting time in McKinney as we see construction begin on a number of projects and completion of some projects that have started in the past 1-1/2 years. We are excited about the completion of the Emerson Corporate Center on the Gateway site at 121 and 75. New permits will be approved on the hotel conference center on Gateway by December 10, 2013, and new construction will begin again in earnest during 2014. The current plans include the construction of a 186-room Sheraton and a 20,000-square-foot conference center suitable for corporate and civic meetings and events. We also have been talking with developers about other potential uses for the site including mixed use, restaurant and office space. In addition to the Gateway project, the city has invested in infrastructure in the Craig Ranch Corporate Center along the Sam Rayburn Tollway including the construction of a new road and the future construction of a water feature that can be a centerpiece for additional corporate construction along its perimeter. As part of an agreement with Craig Ranch, current construction is under way on a 120,000-square-foot office building as well as a mixed-use residential/retail and office development on Alma Road. We continue to see new retail grocery development in McKinney, both east and west, as we see projects like Sprouts opening in the northwest segment and Winco Foods east of 75 currently under construction. In Stonebridge Ranch we have seen an increase in construction at the Adriatica development that we hope will

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around mckInney bring additional retail and restaurant development. We also see the construction on Stonebridge Drive by the Dye Golf Course of a new residential project geared towards senior independent living. The city council has also recently announced a new project North of 380 across from the Collin County Courthouse that will include office, retail, restaurant and residential space. This project, called Collin Square, is being developed by the same group currently developing the medical garden office buildings near McKinney Medical Center. The council will focus in 2014 on bringing corporate aviation and other aviation related businesses to our airport. In 2014 the Wright Amendment restrictions at Love Field will no longer exist and commercial aviation will increase for Southwest as a result. We see this as a good opportunity to reach out to corporate customers that are seeking a new location for corporate aviation. On a quality of life front, several new projects have been discussed and will begin work in 2014. We have recently approved an agreement with PSA to build a 90,000-square-foot recreation facility at the Gabe Nesbitt Community Park on Eldorado. This project will be operated without any required subsidy from the city and will be fully funded through the private entity. Our Community Development Corporation will participate initially with an agreement that 100 percent of their funds will be repaid within four years. In addition to this project, the city has been working on an aquatic center project that will feature 79,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor

aquatic facilities and recreation space that will be adjacent to, or near, the PSA project. The aquatic center project is scheduled to start sometime in 2015 or 2016. Of course, all of this new construction not only brings opportunity for commercial tax base, it will bring some frustration as we continue to watch the expansion of the 75 corridor. In a recent meeting with TXDOT we discussed efforts to expedite construction along the 75/Eldorado corridor in an effort to assist traffic flow and the businesses in that area. We were pleased to hear that efforts will be made to expedite completion of that area. In the meantime I would encourage everyone to continue to patronize the McKinney businesses that are impacted by our highway construction. The city council will continue to focus on economic development opportunities in 2014 as we work to balance the residential and commercial tax base. Included in these discussions will be the continued development of properties around our historic downtown including the nine-acre site just a couple blocks off the square on Davis and McDonald Street. We will ensure that the development fits the architecture and historical theme of our downtown area, which is one of our most popular attractions to guests. It is an honor and privilege to serve the City of McKinney as your mayor. We will continue to bring information forward as our city grows with a goal of providing the type of amenities, residential opportunities and commercial projects that have helped make McKinney one of the best cities in America. F

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commIt tee scene McKinney Ladies Association

The McKinney Ladies Association (MLA) formally invites you to the group’s annual ornament exchange, set for 7 p.m., Monday, December 9 at Baylor Medical Center on U.S. 380 at Lake Forest Drive in McKinney. The evening will have several purposes—to have fun, to make new friends and strengthen existing friendships and to raise funds for Community Lifeline Center in McKinney. The event is free to attend. Please bring a wrapped ornament to exchange as well as a donation to benefit Community Lifeline, which for more than two decades has provided vital solutions, services and hope for those in our community who have been blindsided by a crisis. MLA’s guest speaker during its December meeting will be Scott Peek, president of Baylor McKinney, who has worked with Baylor Health Care System since 2001 and was named the organization’s 2009 Young Executive of the Year.

McKinney Area Newcomers Club If you are new to the McKinney area, come join us for fun, information and friendship. Every month we have great speakers, nice door prizes, tasty refreshments and lots of good socializing with new friends. We invite you to join us for our monthly Coffee Meeting. For more information on Newcomers, visit www.mckinneynewcomers.com. Our program will include a serenade with holiday tunes by our own McKinney Community Band Flute Choir.  Founded in 2009, and led by Carlos Chipps, the ensemble is composed of nine flutists, including the piccolo, bass, alto and C flutes. Their repertoires are wide-ranging and have appealed to many venues throughout the area.  You won’t want to miss this musical treat!  Please join McKinney Area Newcomers at its meeting 10:00 a.m., Tuesday, December 19th in the Eva Joplin Hall at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 5871 Virginia Parkway in McKinney. Social time with refreshments will begin at 9:30 a.m. F

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Stonebridge Ranch December 2013