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STONEBRIDGE RANCH NEWS DECEMBER 2016

Vol. 4, Issue 12

Contents IN EVERY ISSUE 5

8

From the President by Jon Dell’Antonia

8

Inside the Ranch

12

This Month’s Feature

16

Community Calendar

22

18 www.stonebridgeranch.com 24 Lifestyle 25

Around the Ranch

26

Social Scene

SPECIAL SECTIONS 14

Bits and Pieces

20

Health &Wellness

22

Resident Interest

30

Pet Page

25

Stonebridge Ranch News © 2016 is published by Moonlight Graphics. All rights reserved. It is produced at no cost to the association and mailed to all Stonebridge Ranch residents free of charge. 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 NEWS

publisher/editor Barbara Peavy

office administrator Carrie McCormick

contributing writers Jon Dell’Antonia Lisa Jones Erica Lee Jim Norton Cheryl Unnone Scheuren David Wiest

cover photo Erica Lee The circle drive at 6201 Virginia Parkway is often a hub for social activities, as it was on October 22 at this year’s Halloween Spooktacular. One young resident scarecrow calmly took it all in.

Board Meeting, October 13, 2016

We have a new Director of Operations for Stonebridge Ranch. Greg Herbst joined us on November 1, 2016 as our new DOO. He brings significant association experience to us having worked for CMA (our management company) for the past seven years managing smaller homeowner associations. Prior to that, he held several managerial positions with Texas Instruments during his 17 years with them. Welcome Greg to Stonebridge Ranch! The October 13 Board meeting was all about approving the 2017 budget. The Board once again approved the budget with no increase in the annual assessment. It will remain at $740. For the sixth year in a row, there will be no increase in the annual assessment. This is due to the fiscal accountability of this Board and good management practices by our Association. The exception to this “no increase” will be if you have a tax value lot (we still have a few left from the beginnings of Stonebridge Ranch) as your assessment is tied to the assessed value of your property so it may increase but not to more than the annual fixed assessment. Also, if you have a sub-association in your village, it determines the additional rate you will pay to the sub-association and it may or may not increase. Thanksgiving has passed and Christmas will soon be here. I hope you will make plans to attend our annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony scheduled for Thursday, December 1, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Board Meeting

The Board meeting of October 13 was called to order at 1:01 p.m. All Board members were present. The meeting began with a Homeowners Open Forum. One homeowner appeared to discuss the lake at LaCima and some potential repairs needed around the steps at the monument. That will be addressed. He also mentioned that some people who fish at the lake are taking their catch with them rather than following our “catch and release” policy. We do not recommend you take the fish home with plans to eat them because we do treat all of our lakes with many chemicals to keep them from developing algae and other plants. Better to be safe than sorry. The next item of business was to ratify the minutes of the previous Board meeting and all decisions made since the last Board meeting.

Old Business

Our sprinkler contractor reviewed a report with us on the status of our test project to replace and update many of the components of our common area sprinkler system to see if we could reduce our water consumption. As we all know, water rates are increasing significantly so we are investigating ways of reducing our water usage since we spend several hundred thousands of dollars per year watering our common areas. The results of our test project were significant. We spent about $143,000 replacing components and controllers in the test area. The savings over the past two years was over $190,000 and will continue into the future. So the payback period was quicker than we anticipated. Based on these results, we plan to extend the program to other areas until we have completed it in all of Stonebridge. The Board reviewed a proposal to repair one of the Wellington Point ponds that has been leaking water, thereby impacting the Wellington ponds in the area that are all linked together. As many of you know, the pickleball courts at Stonebridge Plaza were constructed with the fences being placed too close to the court. We are in the process of working with the architects to get that oversight corrected. When we finish, the courts should be much more playable. While the courts are the correct dimension, there was not enough space left behind the courts and the fence, or between the courts for proper play. On our regular schedule of reviewing Board governing documents, we reviewed and updated our common area usage guidelines to include Stonebridge Plaza and also updated our tennis courts usage guidelines, and adopted usage guidelines for our new pickleball courts. We also received a final report on the construction of Stonebridge Plaza.

New Business

The Board reviewed, discussed and approved the 2017 budget as mentioned above.

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

Executive Session

The Board received an update from legal counsel on a collection case.

Association Reports

Board liaisons presented updates on committee activities reflected in Committee minutes. We also reviewed Strategic Plan updates. The meeting adjourned at 5:55 p.m.

Jon Dell’Antonia President

Stonebridge Ranch News x December 2016

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socIal scene

Stonebridge Ranch Community Association Professionally managed by Community Management Associates (CMA) 6201 Virginia Parkway, McKinney, TX 75071 214.733.5800 • fax 214.778.0595 Courtesy Patrol 214.794.4945

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

Association Staff Greg Herbst—Director of Operations Angie Beené—Compliance Coordinator Michael Cawley—Maintenance Supervisor Tamra Collins—Community Services Coordinator Sandra Gillespie—Compliance Coordinator Erica Lee—Communications Coordinator Joyce Martin—M.A.R.C. Compliance Coordinator Jeff Moore—Landscape & Grounds Manager Rony Peterson—Executive Assistant Michelle Pryor—Compliance Coordinator Lynette Rowell—Administrative Assistant Nate Russell—Senior Compliance Coordinator Jeff Torres—Maintenance Assistant David Wiest—Lifestyle Director

Board of Directors Jon Dell’Antonia—President Ron Ferris—Vice-President Norm Counts—Treasurer Michael Yon—Secretary Tom George—Director Bill Campbell—Director Donald Hanson—Director Stonebridge Ranch 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 Association and its members. Stonebridge Ranch News is published for the residents of Stonebridge Ranch for informational purposes only. The Stonebridge Ranch Association 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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InsId e the ranch Coloring the World Orange to Support One of Their Own

Neighbors celebrated Eleanor with an orange “parade� the day she returned home after receiving her diagnosis. In a unique cul-de-sac in Somerset, four families (the Bergenthals, Berthelots, Carters and Slates) have been

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neighbors for more than ten years. Three of the families have kids who are essentially the same ages. “We are so


InsIde the ranch different backgrounds, “we just gelled,” says Debbie. “We have a level of trust.” Mindy Berthelot agrees, adding, “We’re more like family than friends.” They share carpool duties and help each other out in whatever ways they can. Though as neighbors they have always cared for each other, when 11-year-old Eleanor Slate was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in August 2015, their bond deepened in ways they couldn’t have anticipated. “We knew Ellie hadn’t been feeling well,” says Sandra Carter, “but it was unbelievable when we got the news.” Though they felt grief and shock, more than anything, the Slates’ neighbors wanted to show their support. “We just wanted to help,” says Sandra. Mindy agrees, adding, “Even our kids wanted to help. They’ve never dealt with anything like this before, but they wanted to do something for their friend, Ellie.” Runners at the start line of the fundraiser 5K all raised hearts for Eleanor to show During the first few days after Eleanor ’s their support. diagnosis, with the Slate family stationed at the hospital, the neighbors began to formulate an idea. They fortunate to live where we do,” says Debbie Bergenthal. had learned that orange is the color of support worn by “When the kids were little,” she recalls, “we were always and for patients diagnosed with leukemia. “What started outside, sitting in our lawn chairs, watching our kids as a simple idea,” says Debbie, “soon grew.” When the play together.” Though the four families are from

Stonebridge Ranch News x December 2016

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InsId e the ranch

Eleanor’s family was met by a police escort as they entered their village. Slates came home from the hospital, they returned to what neighbors describe as “a sea of orange.” Dozens of friends, neighbors and Ellie’s classmates (approximately 70 people) lined the sidewalks. They were all wearing orange, carrying signs of support, and cheering for Eleanor. The impromptu parade even included a police escort that met the Slate family a few blocks from their village entrance and led them home with flashing lights. Of that day, Eleanor says, “It was pretty awesome. We were driving so slow, and there were groups of people in every neighborhood along Cotton Ridge. They were waving and smiling, and it made me feel really happy.” Her mother, Kelly, says, “[The support] was so overwhelming. It was very much appreciated and needed.” She recalls the whole family looked on with wonder, thinking, “How can we repay them?” This very public show of support created its own momentum. Sadie Briggs (who lives a couple of miles away and who had never met any of the families) was on a training run when one of the signs in particular caught her eye. “It said, ‘Fight like a girl!’” recalls Sadie, “and I thought, ‘Whoever this girl is, she’s got an army behind her.’” An avid long-distance runner, Sadie, along with another friend of the Slates, Eric Fortner, initiated a fundraiser 5K run to support the Slate family. When they met with a race director and told him they wanted to host the race in just six weeks, he looked at them directly and said, “You can’t pull this together.” But again, the neighbors in Somerset and other friends of the Slates joined the race organizers to create something special. Friends began posting event details on all of their social media accounts. A silent auction

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InsIde the ranch was held in conjunction with the race and many strangers donated items. “It just kept building,” says Emily Bonin, another close friend of the Slates. “We didn’t have a dime when we began,” notes Sadie, “but through the support of sponsors, the cost of the race was covered in total.” Her eyes fill with tears when she says, “Every penny [raised] went to Ellie in support of her treatment. You hear all these awful stories in the media, but this is about a community rallying around one of their own.” Though Eleanor was in the hospital and wasn’t able to attend the race, “everyone present was thinking of her,” says Emily. Rain had been predicted—an 80% chance—but the morning dawned clear. At the starting line, participants paused in a moment of silence to show their support for Eleanor. On her phone, Mindy keeps the photo she took: it shows a sea of people in black race t-shirts and “Orange for Ellie” t-shirts, all holding their hands in the air in the shape of a heart. An incredible 750 people participated in the 5K, which was hosted at Dowell Middle School. “500 participants would have been a dream,” says Sadie, “but we got 750 at a race that we shouldn’t have been able to pull off. It just goes to show how this community can pull together.” The Slate’s neighbors continue to support them in many ways as Eleanor progresses through treatment.

Kelly says that when Eleanor feels well enough to play outside, “the kids really appreciate the times they can be together and active.” She adds, “The ways our neighbors support us now are more emotional,” such as the times when Debbie’s daughter can come over and simply sit on the couch to do homework with her friend. Eleanor isn’t surprised by the level of care her neighbors have shown her. “I would expect it,” she says. “Even when I wasn’t a cancer patient, they were always there. We were carpooling to school or playing outside.” After she received her diagnosis, she says, “Everyone was bringing food. When I was feeling bad, I could look forward to their texts. No one was silent.” F

Stonebridge Ranch News x December 2016

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thIs month’ s feature Annual Assessments Due January 1, 2017 As one of the largest associations in Texas, Stonebridge Ranch is often referred to as a “city within a city.” With over 9,000 homes and an estimated population near 35,000, our community actually is larger than many incorporated municipalities in the state. In fact, according to the most recent U.S. census data, only 90 or so of the 1217 cities in Texas are home to 35,000 people or more.* Maintaining a community of this size according to the premier standards established by our governing documents is truly a collective effort. Annually, residents and board and committee members contribute an impressive level of resources—monetary, as well as time and effort—to ensure that Stonebridge Ranch remains a nationally renowned association. From every annual assessment that is paid, to every lawn that is well-tended and every hour of service given by volunteers, Stonebridge Ranch thrives because tens of thousands of people do their part. Soon, you’ll receive your annual assessment (either by mail or e-statement—see page 18 in this issue for more e-statement info). The assessment is due as of January 1. At the October 13 Board of Directors meeting, the members voted no raise to the annual assessment; it remains at the amount of $740 for 2017.** In anticipation of what we will accomplish with the 2017 assessment collection, let’s look back at just a few of the successes achieved in 2016 with the help of such funds. • By the end of this month, we will have hosted over 200 separate events in 2016, from small-group coffee meet-ups to all-day bashes like Stonebridge Ranch Day. By year’s end, an estimated total of nearly 10,000 people will have been in attendance at one of our events. Not only do these events provide opportunities for residents to enjoy our amenities in unique, new ways (such as during our Concerts on the Circle, when our everyday circular drive is transformed into a relaxed concert venue with a hometown feel), the events also encourage us to enjoy our shared space together as neighbors and friends. • One of the most visible aspects of our community is the landscaping and hardscaping on the collectively-owned 519 common area acres. The natural beauty of our area is consistently referred to by prospective residents as one of the top aspects they admire about Stonebridge Ranch. See the chart which accompanies this article; it shows how much of 2016 revenue was budgeted to the upkeep

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thIs month’ s feature

of common areas through landscaping maintenance relative to other expenditures. • In 2016, we saw the addition of Stonebridge Plaza to our portfolio of amenities. Assessments help pay for such new construction as well as the ongoing cost of maintenance for all recreational areas. Within the boundaries of our community, residents can access a wide variety of amenities. Many of these are open for year-round use, including our playgrounds and tennis, pickleball and basketball courts. We look forward to all we’ll be able to accomplish together in 2017, and we thank all residents. As in past years, the 2017 association budget will be published in the January issue of the Stonebridge Ranch News. See page 14 in this issue for an outline of your annual assessment payment options. If you have any questions, please call Customer Care at 972.943.2828.

as determined on an annual basis by the Board. Some homeowners in the villages of Briar Ridge I & II, Hills Creek I & II, Meadow Ridge I & II, Quail Creek I-V, Spring Hill I, Summer Point I & II and

Wellington Point I & II pay an assessment amount which is calculated by valuation. Homeowners in villages governed by sub-associations

may pay additional fees which are determined by the sub-association.

For more information about assessments and valuations, please refer to Article V of the “Second Amended and Restated Master Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions for Stonebridge Ranch,” which can be found at www.stonebridgeranch.com. F

*Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places:

April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015 . Data extracted by Texas State Library and

Archives Commission, Reference/Documents Collection staff from: http:// www.census.gov/popest/data/cities/totals/2015/SUB-EST2015-3.html **Most homeowners in Stonebridge Ranch pay this flat rate per lot

Stonebridge Ranch News x December 2016

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bIt s & pI eces

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december 1 december 12 december 13 december 17 december 17

Tree lighting ceremony and photos with santa 5:30 p.m. (btc) book club 7 p.m. (cr) bingo 7 p.m. (cr) coffee, cars & conversation 8:30 a.m. (BTC) playdate in the park 9 a.m. (btc)

Walking Club, 9 a.m. (BTC) Communications Committee Meeting, 9 a.m. (BR) 9:30-10:30 am—Stroller Strides (BTC) 3:30-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC)

Walking Club,9 a.m. (BTC) Book Club, 7 p.m. (CR) 9:30-10:30 am—Stroller Strides (BTC) 3:30-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC)

Visit www.StonebridgeRanch.com for event details.

Walking Club, 9 a.m. (BTC)

MARC Meeting, 8:30 a.m. (BR) Amenities Committee Meeting, 7 p.m. (BR) 9:30-10:30 am—Stroller Barre (BTC)

9:30-10:30 am—Strolle

3:30-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC)

3:30-7 pm—Junior Ten Select Tennis Acade

Modifications Meeting, 6 p.m. (BR) Bingo 7 p.m. (CR) 9:30-10:30 am—Stroller Barre (BTC) 3:30-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC)

MARC Meeting, 8:30 a.m. (BR)

Landscape and G Committee, 7 p.

9:30-10:30 am—Stroller

3:30-7 pm—Junior Tenn Select Tennis Academ

Coffee Talk, 8:30

Social Committe noon (BR)

9:30-10:30 am—Stroller Barre (BTC)

9:30-10:30 am—Stroller

3:30-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC)

3:30-7 pm—Junior Tenn Select Tennis Academ

Coffee Talk, 8:3

SRCA Offices Closed 9:30-10:30 am—Stroller Barre (BTC) 3:30-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC)

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Coffee Talk, 8:30

Travel Club, 9 a.m. (CR) 9:30-10:30 am—Stroller Strides (BTC) 3:30-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC)

Coffee Talk, 8:30

9:30-10:30 am—Strolle

3:30-7 pm—Junior Ten Select Tennis Academ


0 a.m. (CR)

er Strides (BTC)

Tree Lighting Ceremony and Photos with Santa, 5:30 p.m. (BTC)

TGIF Coffee, 1-2 p.m. (CR) 9:30-10:30 am—Stroller Strides (BTC)

3:30-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC)

Board of Directors Meeting, 1 p.m. (BR) 3:30-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC)

TGIF Coffee, 1-2 p.m. (CR)

9:30-10:30 am—Stroller Strides (BTC)

nnis Classes, emy (BTC)

0 a.m. (CR)

TGIF Coffee, 1-2 p.m. (CR)

Grounds .m. (BR)

r Strides (BTC)

nis Classes, my (BTC)

3:30-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC)

0 a.m. (CR)

Playdate in the Park, 9 a.m. (BTC)

TGIF Coffee, 1-2 p.m. (CR)

ee Meeting,

r Strides (BTC)

9:30-10:30 am—Stroller Strides (BTC)

Coffee, Cars & Conversation 8:30 a.m. (BTC)

3:30-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC)

9:30-10:30 am—Stroller Strides (BTC)

nis Classes, my (BTC)

30 a.m. (CR)

er Strides (BTC)

nnis Classes, my (BTC)

TGIF Coffee, 1-2 p.m. (CR) 3:30-7 pm—Junior Tennis Classes, Select Tennis Academy (BTC)

9:30-10:30 am—Stroller Strides (BTC)

Stonebridge News News x December x September 2016 2013 StonebridgeRanch RanchHOA News x December 2016

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www.stonebrI dgeranch.com Go Green With E-Statements

Later in December, our management company partner, CMA, will send annual assessment statements to Stonebridge Ranch homeowners via the U.S. mail service. However, if you choose, you can have your statement sent to you via email instead. Going paperless has several benefits. The payment options for the e-statement are the same as they are for the paper statement (see page 14 in this issue). Of course, you can always choose to print the emailed statement if you need a paper copy for any reason. Additionally, choosing a convenient e-statement saves the association the expense of printing and mailing hard copies. Here’s how to request the e-statement option at the SRCA website: 1. Go to www.stonebridgeranch.com to log in. 2. If you don’t already have an account, create one by selecting the Register button in the top right corner of the page. 3. Next, go to the drop-down menu titled Homeowner Connection and select My Profile. 4. Scroll to the second section of the form titled Statement Information. 5. Select the following option: Send eStatements to the following. 6. Enter your email address in the requested fields. 7. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select the Submit button. 8. Upon successful completion, you will receive the following message at the top of the page. Your profile has been SUCCESSFULLY updated. F

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health & wellness Tips for a Healthy, Stress-Free Holiday by Lisa Jones The holiday season brings so much joy to our lives as we enjoy family traditions and make new memories with loved ones. However, with the back-toback social obligations, a to-do list a mile long, and not much free time to catch one’s breath, the holidays can also cause stress. One of the biggest challenges for self-care during this busy season is a tendency toward mindless eating. Below are some mindful munching strategies to carry you through those holiday parties. • Practice self-care first thing. Start the morning of a holiday outing on a centered, healthful note. Show yourself some love with meditation, a workout, a green juice, setting an intention—whatever is going to set the stage for a great day. • Deck out your table. My mom taught

It can be tricky to practice mindful eating during the holidays. To aid portion control, fill your plate with bigger veggie portions first, or use a smaller plate to ensure smaller portions overall.

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health & wellness me this tip, and it always feels special and festive at our holiday meal. Play upbeat or soothing music, light some candles, spray some non-toxic scent, or turn on the football game if it’s part of your tradition. Connecting to the ritual with your family is most important. • Don’t pick; make a plate. It’s undeniably easy to lose track of your intake when bites of food float straight from the serving dish to your mouth with no plate in between. If you want to sample the spread, go for it. Just make yourself a plate and sit down to enjoy. • Use smaller dishes and glasses. Another sneaky way that more pie and calorie-filled drinks make it into our bellies is via oversized plates and glasses. When possible, choose the smaller dishes and glassware to keep an eye on your serving sizes. • Pile on the plants, but don’t skip your favorites. Those once-a-year dishes and family-favorite recipes are often the best part of holiday eating! Load up on your veggies, but don’t feel like you can’t have your aunt’s famous apple pie as long as it aligns with your food philosophy. (Warning: if you feel like eating a dish that may throw off your healthy habits for weeks to come, you may want to pass.) • Slow down and chew! It seems so simple, and yet with the holiday hullabaloo, it’s so easy to forget that basic part of eating: chewing. Take your time and chew, chew, chew. In today’s busy world, people often eat quickly and in a hurry. Your brain needs time to process signals of fullness. In fact, it may take up to 20 minutes for the brain to realize that you’re full. When you eat fast, it’s much easier to eat a lot more than what your body really needs. One final note: sometimes you just have no control over the food that’s offered. Don’t sweat it—break out your self-care toolbox and choose from the non-food related options. Could it be a wintry walk? Some extra rest? A few minutes to yourself to journal? Even if the eating part of the day doesn’t go quite the way you’d like, you can nourish yourself in plenty of other wonderful ways. F Lisa Jones is a Stonebridge Ranch resident and Holistic Health Coach.

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resId ent I n terest Jack Of All Trades Brings Smiles to His Neighborhood working as a checker in a grocery store. Though he advanced to manage the store, Tom then switched paths completely, serving as a police officer in Los Angeles for over a decade before changing paths again. He ultimately wound up working at NASA where he helped build space shuttle engines. Since retiring to Stonebridge Ranch almost 20 years ago, Tom has brought the same “jack of all trades” spirit to serving others. A lover of tennis, Tom became involved in the community on the Stonebridge Ranch tennis courts. There, he met and befriended David Wiest who is now the Association Tennis & Lifestyle A majority of the elements in the magical display are lit and include moving parts. Director and was then a tennis coach. Tom Stonebridge Ranch resident Tom Travis is a man of has volunteered with Dave at countless Stonebridge Ranch varied talents and interests, as evidenced by his career. As a events over the years, including the annual fishing young man in California, he met his wife, Diane, while tournaments. “And I learned how to string tennis rackets to help Dave out,” says Tom. “He asked me to help him, and I decided, ‘Yeah, I’ll try it.’” What began as a favor to help a friend has grown into something even more meaningful. Over the years, Tom has strung rackets for countless Stonebridge Ranch tennis players. These days, he strings up to 60 rackets a month. He keeps record of the tension and string preferred by each athlete he has helped. “Sometimes a parent will call me, worried, because their kid has broken a string during a tournament and they need it fixed right away,” says Tom with a twinkle in his eye. “And they won’t remember the tension the kid needs, but I do.” Though not a tennis player herself, through it all, Diane has provided support. “There are so many nights we’ve been up late,” Diane says, recalling the many rackets Tom has strung quickly to help out a fellow player. Because of tennis, “I’ve met so many people here, junior, adult and senior,” says Tom. He himself played avidly on the courts until a year ago when he had surgery on his ankle. Through the years, he has seen many young players take up the game. “To this day, the kids call him ‘Coach Tom’ when they see him,” says Diane, “even though he was never a coach. He was just always there for everyone.” Tom and Diane have been invited by several college-bound tennis players to attend their scholarship signings. Recently, students from McKinney North HS invited the couple to their annual tennis awards banquet.

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resIdent Interest the holiday season, Tom’s neighbors benefit from his jack-of-all-trades, hobbyist tendencies. Every year, Tom builds two miniature villages in his front dining room, one at Halloween and one at Christmas. Featuring hundreds, if not thousands of pieces (“My inventory takes up half my attic,” he says), Tom’s Halloween village features everything from spooky sounds to misting fog and twinkling lights. When neighborhood kids come to the door on Halloween night to trick-or-treat, many of them are shocked by what catches the eye in the room right off the foyer. Diane says, “Their eyes always get so big and they ask, ‘Can I show my mom?’ And then the whole family will come in to look.” Now that his neighbors know the villages will be there each year, says Tom, “They keep coming back As seen here, Tom’s Halloween display nearly fills his entire dining room. to see them.” “Last year,” says Diane, “a McKinney Police Officer “It brought tears to my eyes,” says Diane, again getting even showed up at our door. I thought, ‘Uh-oh, what have misty-eyed, “when two of the senior boys stood up and we done?’ But the officer’s son just asked, ‘Can I bring my personally thanked Tom for stringing their rackets through dad in to see your village?’” Gesturing to the dining room the years.” and then back at her husband, Diane smiles, “Everybody True to his nature, Tom’s engagement in the community just loves to see what he’s done.” F doesn’t start and end with tennis and social events. During

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lIfestyle Festive Fundraising Event at Heard Museum This December, hundreds of families will bundle up and experience Holidays at the Heard, the most unique holiday event in North Texas. Holidays at the Heard brings the beauty of the holiday season into nature. Guests will see lights and holiday décor along a half-mile Heard nature trail. In keeping with the Heard’s role as a nature preserve, this light display is designed to enhance, rather than overpower, the sanctuary’s natural beauty. Children and the young at heart will enjoy the opportunity to have a photo taken with Father Christmas and Mother Nature in a festive setting. Hot beverages and treats will be available for purchase. Family-friendly entertainment will complement the holiday atmosphere. Local musicians will delight audiences with live holiday music in the Heard outdoor amphitheater. Holidays at the Heard dates and times are December 10, 16 and 17 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tickets at the door are only $9 for adults & seniors and $5 for kids 3-12 (children 2 and under are free). Guests who purchase their tickets online before the event will save $2 per ticket! The public is also welcome to purchase event tickets as gifts. Tickets will be available to the public beginning November 17 at heardmuseum.org/holidays. Holidays at the Heard is sponsored in part by NBC5 and Great Migrations Travel Advisors.

McKinney Area Newcomers Club If you are new to the McKinney area, or you have had a lifestyle change, come join us for information and friendship at our monthly Coffee Meeting on the third Tuesday of each month. On Tuesday, December 20, Michelle New and the Boyd Orchestra Ambassadors, a select group of McKinney ISD students who focus on community outreach and service, will present a compilation of holiday music for our enjoyment. We meet in the Eva Joplin Hall at Trinity Presbyterian Church (5871 Virginia Parkway in McKinney). Social time with refreshments begins at 9:30 a.m., followed by the meeting at 10 a.m. For more information on Newcomers, visit www.mckinneynewcomers.com. F

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around the ranch

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socIal scene Upcoming January Events 9

Book Club

10

Evening Bingo

13

Stonebridge Ranch Night

17th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony

with the Allen Americans

17

Travel Club

21

Coffee, Cars & Conversation

21

Playdate in the Park

26

Morning Bingo

Walking Club—Mondays Coffee Talk—Wednesdays TGIF—Fridays

Bring your family to this magical annual event! We’re gathering at the association office and circular drive at 6201 Virginia Parkway on Thursday, December 1. Don’t forget your camera to take your child’s picture with Santa! Other activities include horse and carriage rides, a petting zoo, storytelling, refreshments, a Christmas DJ, and costumed entertainers such as a Toy Soldier, Olaf and the Grinch.

We’ll also have a Santa’s Mailbox. Prep ahead so your child can bring a letter to the Tree Lighting Ceremony for Santa to take back to the North Pole. Admission to this event is free and open to Stonebridge Ranch residents. Activities will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The Tree Lighting ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. Donations in the form of unwrapped gifts will be collected and given to the Salvation Army Angel Tree Program. Our goal this year is to receive 200 donated gifts from the SRCA residents. We will also be accepting nonperishable food donations. If you cannot attend the event and would like to donate a gift or a canned good, the

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socIal scene association office will accept items until December 16. Visit us at 6201 Virginia Parkway, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Book Club Come join us on Monday, December 12, as we casually discuss the following books: Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson. We meet at 7 p.m. in the Community Room (6201 Virginia Parkway). You can choose to read one or both books. Sit-ins are always welcome even if you haven’t read our selections. Check the calendar on the website at www. stonebridgeranch.com for the next month’s book. Send book ideas to: dwiest@cmamanagement.com

Bingo Night Get ready to yell ”BINGO!” On Tuesday, December 13, we’ll meet from 7 to 9 p.m. for an evening of bingo and prizes in the Community Room (6201 Virginia Parkway). Light snacks and refreshments will be served (no alcoholic beverages). Seating is limited to the first 40 who sign up online: http://whoozin.com/QP9-KXX-9P94 . This event is for adults only, and there is no charge for Stonebridge Ranch residents. Residents are allowed to bring up to one non-resident guest; guests pay a $5 fee.

Coffee, Cars & Conversation and Book Exchange Join us in the circular drive at 6201 Virginia Parkway on Saturday, December 17, from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Coffee, Cars & Conversation is a great way to meet new friends and neighbors. If you have a classic or fancy car, feel free to park it in the circular drive for all to view. Coffee and

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socIal scene

donuts will be provided. During the event, a Book, CD & DVD Exchange will be held in the Community Room located beside the Beach Club entrance. Take as many books, CD’s or DVD’s as you would like, but please replace them with the same amount.

Playdate in the Park

From 9 to 10 a.m., on Saturday, December 17, a Playdate in the Park will be held at the playground beside the tennis courts (6201 Virginia Parkway). Caregivers, check the website at www.stonebridgeranch.com for any last-minute changes due to weather.

Weekly Meet-Ups The Walking Club meets on Mondays at 9 a.m. in the upper parking lot near the Beach Club. Coffee Talk meets on Wednesdays from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. in the Community Room. TGIF Coffee meets at 1 to 2 p.m. on Fridays in the Community Room.

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socIal scene Travel Club

On September 24, thirty Stonebridge Travel Group members boarded the Princess Regal docked in New York Harbor right across from Lady Liberty and the Freedom Tower. The sun glistened as we headed out for the ports of New Port, Rhode Island; Boston, Massachusetts; Bar Harbor, Maine; St. John, New Brunswick; and Halifax, Nova Scotia. During the days, travel members enjoyed varied excursions and beautiful scenery showing a glimpse of fall colors. Each night, we enjoyed delicious food, fun fellowship and exciting entertainment. One member of our group, Connie Klausner, even made the finals in Princess’ own version of the hit show “The Voice (of the Seas).” The entire Stonebridge group was in the audience to cheer her as she sang on the big stage. The trip was one of good weather and calm seas and when the ship docked back in New York on October 1, the travel group had completed another successful travel adventure. If you are interested in traveling with us, please join us at our next meeting on December 20, at 9 a.m., in the Community Room (6201 Virginia Parkway). We take many short day-trip excursions closer to home in addition to our trips further afield. Travel article submitted by Jim Norton.

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”Tagalong” Meet Tagalong, a playful, 4-year-old Lab mix who loves treats and will do almost anything to earn one. He is very sweet, friendly and outgoing and rides well in the car, walks great on his leash and loves to go on adventures.

playing with other dogs, so if you have any at home, bring them for a meet and greet! Tagalong has been neutered, microchipped and has received age-appropriate vaccinations, as well as flea/tick preventatives. That’s not all! When you adopt Tagalong, you are entitled to a FREE private training session with the SPCA of Texas’ Pet University! Come see him today and let him sweep you off your feet! #102637

”Madison” Meet Madison, a 2-year-old, domestic shorthair lady that is in search of a new home. Could that be with you? She is a bit shy at first, but will warm up to you with some gentle petting and soft speaking. She likes to play around dripping water and looking out the window. Tagalong likes playing with toys, splashing in kiddie pools and hanging out with people. He also enjoys

When she is alone with you, she loves to be loved on. She may do best in a home without dogs or small children so that she doesn’t get overwhelmed. Madison has been spayed, tested for FIV/FeLV (she’s negative), microchipped and has received age-appropriate vaccinations. Visit her today, you can bond and she will be your BFFF-Best Furry Friend Forever! #135099 Tagalong and Madison are waiting for you at the SPCA of Texas’ Russell H. Perry Animal Care Center in McKinney at 8411 Stacy Road. Call 214.742.SPCA (7722) or visit today.

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Stonebridge Ranch December 2016