Premier Living Magazine from Premier Association Management




The Digital Print Store, Inc.

Art Directors

Andy mp;amp; Melissa Oldfield

Contributing Writers

Larry Holbrook, Gina Holbrook,

Terry Roen, James Nedved,

Tara Barrett, Max Elson, Kate Hickey,

Joni Luce, Gail Gill,

Anita Roberts, Mario Pietrucci


Lauren Holbrook



Advertising Inquiries




Contents Spring 2011

On the Cover

Timacuan’s Jack Hays and

Bicycle Blessings






Premier Living Magazine is distributed to homeowners and tenants by Premier Management. The magazine is produced quarterly and distributed throughout Lake, Orange, Seminole and Volusia counties.


 Please include your name, address and telephone number. Letters and articles may be edited for clarity and length. All submissions to Premier Living Magazine become the property of the magazine; they may be edited and published or otherwise used in any medium. Premier Living Magazine is published quarterly by The Digital Print Store, Inc. All contents, logos and articles are copyrighted material and all rights are reserved. Any reproduction in whole or in part without prior written permission of Premier Living Magazine is strictly prohibited. Premier Living Magazine reserves the right to refuse any advertising material for any reason deemed inappropriate by the publisher. ©2010 Premier Living Magazine



A Message from Gina


It's hard to believe we are already three months into another busy year at Premier - my how time flies. We have planned many exciting events this year that will allow us to continue to provide our clients the “above and beyond” service Premier is recognized for. In fact, just this month we will host a Cancer Walk at beautiful Stoneybrook Hills in Mount Dora, which is open to the public, and a legal seminar for all of our Board members. The Larsen Law Group has graciously volunteered to speak at our event, providing our board members with updates, tips and will answer all their legal questions.

In the previous edition of Premier Living I wrote an article about collections and the importance of communicating with the management company when financial issues first arise. Many issues, including fines and fees, can be avoided by simply picking up the phone and calling your manager before your dues becomes late.  In this edition Anita Roberts, our Senior Portfolio Manager, discusses the importance of your board enforcing the community's deed restrictions and why you should communicate with your management company if you receive a violation notice. Many times the violations are small and easily resolved. But ignoring the violation and then waiting until you receive a third notice before addressing the issue or communicating with management is usually not the best strategy.  

This edition of Premier Living contains many wonderful articles, including Joni Luce's article about lawn car after a freeze, the Hills of Lake Mary's Mario Pietrucci's perspective on being an HOA President and a heart warming story about Timacuan's Jack and Janet Hays and their mission--Bicycle Blessings.

I hope you enjoy reading all of our articles and we thank all of our contributors.  We would appreciate your feedback - let us hear from you.

Until next time, have a Premier 2011!

Our mission is to exceed client expectations by providing professional and personalized services, innovative association management practices, and a strong commitment to excellence and company values while providing opportunities for our dedicated team members to achieve their professional goals.


Ed Jones Insurance | Homeowner Insurance, Condominium Insurance, Townhome Insurance

Premier Realty and Leasing | Condominiums for Sale in Lake Mary Florida

Miriam and Valeries School of Dance

Orange County Chemical | Pool Cleaning in Central FloridaVics Painting and Restoration | Home and Condo Painting

Nickscapes Landscaping Service in Lake Mary and Heathrow


Bicycle Blessings | Donation Bicycles for the Needy


Timacuan Board Member Jack Hays and his wife Janet accepted a $25 challenge and now lead a team that has refurbished and donated more than 700 old bicycles to children and adults in Central Florida.

Jack and Janet Hays of Timacuan in Lake Mary were attending Sunday services at the First United Methodist Church of Winter Park in 2009 when the pastor passed out envelopes with $25 and a note requesting the money be used to make a difference in someone’s life. After nearly a month of discussion and prayer, a visit from Jack and Janet’s daughter and two granddaughters ignited the idea of refurbishing old bikes to give to children and adults for recreation, exercise or transportation.

Bicycle Blessing | Donations for the NeedyNeither of the Hays’ had any bike repair experience but Jack had grown up fixing his own bikes and those of his six children. Initially, the retired chemical engineer thought they would buy a few bikes with their $25 at garage sales to get started. But once Jack told his Bible study class about the idea several other people donated their $25 to help Jack purchase 40 used bikes.  After recruiting a team of 25 volunteers at the church to help repair the bikes, Bicycle Blessings was now in full gear.

The first bikes donated by Bicycle Blessings were given to a 7-year-old boy and his 11-year-old sister. A few days later, the school counselor called to thank the Hays’ and inform them the children’s mother also needed transportation to get to work. She quickly received a bicycle. Since then, more than 700 bicycles have been repaired and donated to children and also to adults needing transportation to get to work.

“They’ve been an absolute blessing to our school,” says Audra Cervi, a teacher at Audubon Park Elementary School. “We have a mix of families from the very wealthy to the very poor. Some families have problems getting their kids to school and the bikes have helped improve attendance.”

The Hays were one of 100 families that took on the $25 challenge.  Bob Bushong, senior pastor at First United Methodist, said he was amazed at how the Hays’ idea turned into a community project. “This has really taken off,” says Bushong. “When you open it up to members to get creative, they think of things that really benefit the community.  

Several members of the community have also gotten involved. Audubon Elementary holds two bike-drives a year and Winter Park Police, Out-Spoke'N Bike Shop, Locomotion Bicycles, and Orange Cycle have also donated bikes. And the My Neighborhood Storage Center in Lake Mary discounted storage space when the Hays' garage became too small to hold all the donations.

“We’ve been amazed by how the idea spread through word of mouth and the number of people who have offered to help,” says Janet. Volunteers meet every month to remove rust, paint the bikes, replace worn tires and repair gears and brakes. Bikes that cannot be repaired are dismantled and the parts reused. Each child’s bike is also outfitted with a helmet and lock purchased by the church.

The Hays' have donated bikes to elementary, middle and high school students, the Coalition for the Homeless, Florida United Methodist Children’s Home, the Hope Team, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, Orlando Day Nursery, and the Winter Park Day Nursery.

Delivery days can be very emotional - especially for Jack and Janet.  One second-grade boy who received a bike has asthma and had to walk 2 miles to school everyday. “He saw this bike, and he could not stand still, shifting his weight from one foot to the other - just so much excitement,” says Jack, sporting a huge smile. “You can’t beat that.”

You can help by donating new or slightly used children’s bikes or helping work on the bikes that need repairs. For more information contact Jack Hays at 321.228.1318 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Visit the ministry’s website


Cashing in on your Home's Equity with Reverse Mortgages

By:  James Nedved


Today’s mortgage industry has gone through multiple changes that are meant to help protect consumers. The requirements today are much more stringent than in the recent past (prior to 2008) as the overall documentation to be approved must be verifiable and accurate. But contrary to the current perception, mortgage loans are not impossible to achieve.

One mortgage that requires a lot of up front research and counseling (with minimal personal documentation) is the FHA HECM loan (Reverse Mortgage). HECM stands for the “Home Equity Conversion Mortgage for Seniors.”  Reverse mortgages are loans that are approved for a certain sect of the home purchasing or home refinancing applicant group and the mortgages are insured by FHA.

Specifically, to qualify for a reverse mortgage each person on a home title must be at least 62 years old, the home being mortgaged must be the applicant’s primary residence (not a rental property or second home), have no outstanding federal delinquent debt (such as back federal taxes or delinquent federally-backed student loans), and go through a federally approved counseling session to learn the overall aspects of a reverse mortgage. If you have any questions regarding the overall requirements to a reverse mortgage, you can visit the following website: or call (800) CALL-FHA / {(800) 225-5342}.

Reverse mortgages are ideal for individuals/couples/multiple owners that are attempting to stop paying a monthly mortgage payment. Alternatively, this type of mortgage can act like a retirement cash-flow tool to give the borrower(s) a guaranteed monthly income. A reverse mortgage can also be used similarly to a Home Equity Line of Credit or Home Equity Loan, enabling the borrower to access equity in larger, one-time amounts.  The borrowing percentage is based on the appraised value of the home, the borrower’s ages and the type of reverse mortgage chosen (Home Equity Line, ARM, or Fixed Rate). The amount will never exceed the value of the property therefore you will never lose the deed to your home. Visit to find out how much you can qualify for.

If you use a reverse mortgage you will not be required to repay the loan unless you sell or vacate your home, repaying the mortgage balance plus interest similar to repaying any other loan. If you choose to borrow using a reverse mortgage and subsequently pass away your heirs will have three choices: They can refinance the home in their names; they can sell the home and keep the proceeds left after repaying the mortgage and closing costs; or they can turn the deed of the home over to the FHA. In most cases your heirs would have up to one year to decide which choice to pursue.

Reverse mortgage borrowers are responsible to maintain their home’s overall condition, pay their annual property taxes separate from the reverse mortgage, and maintain satisfactory homeowner’s insurance coverage. Reverse mortgage loans do come with some additional fees that are charged by the lender. These fees are regulated by FHA and are generally financed into the mortgage transaction. However, two MAJOR differences in the underwriting of a reverse mortgage are there are no income and no credit requirements.

If you have additional questions or feel a reverse mortgage might be an option you would like to consider I encourage you to contact a Mortgage Loan Officer. They can provide you with the answers and guidance you will need to see if a reverse mortgage might benefit you.

James Nedved is a Mortgage Loan Officer with RBC Bank located in Heathrow, Florida and can be reached at 407-333-5274 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You've paid your mortgage.

Isn't it time your mortgage paid you?


If you’re 62 or older and own your own home, you could qualify for an RBC Bank Reverse Mortgage.

It’s the mortgage that pays you!

Unlike a traditional mortgage where you make monthly payments, a reverse mortgage can make payments to you. Whether you need extra cash to help cover monthly expenses or simply want the security of available funds in case of an emergency, an RBC Bank Reverse Mortgage can help you create the financial freedom and the peace of mind you so richly deserve.

© RBC Bank (USA) 2010. Member FDIC. Equal Opportunity Employer. ® Registered trademark of Royal Bank of Canada.

Used under license. RBC Bank is a trade name used by RBC Bank (USA) and its branch offices operate under this trade name. All loans subject to credit approval.

Features & Benefits:


  • Flexible terms – Receive equal monthly payments for a period you specify OR for as long as you occupy your home
  • Flexible loan structures – Set aside portion of your proceeds as a line of credit and receive the rest in equal monthly payments for as long as you occupy your home OR for a fixed period you select
  • No fixed maturity or mortgage amount
  • Refinances and Purchase Money Mortgages
  • Tax free source of income
  • No Payments – Until you sell or vacate your home, you are not required to pay back the money you borrow – payoff will never exceed value of your property – no assets other than your home are used to repay the loan balance
  • Security of homeownership – As long as you live in your home, you’ll never be forced to sell or vacate – your home remains your property!
  • Peace of mind – The payments you receive won’t affect your Social Security or Medicare benefits


For more information on the mortgage that pays you —

Contact me today!

James Nedved

(407) 333-5274 or (407) 474-4432

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The Payments of Assessments is not a Quid Pro Quo Arrangement

By:  Tara Barrett, Esq.

Quid pro quo is a Latin term meaning “this for that.” Black’s Law defines the term as an exchange of one valuable thing for another of more or less equal value; tit for tat. 

In the course of your daily routine, you notice the landscape beds in the main entrance of the neighborhood could use some sprucing up. In fact, wasn't the Board supposed to handle that at the last Board meeting? In an effort to take a stand and get things done you decide to withhold payment of your monthly assessment. This decision - not recommended. The non-payment of Association assessments can lead to a claim of lien being placed against an owner’s property, and ultimately foreclosure of the home.

Many Associations today are taking an aggressive stand on the nonpayment of assessments and pursuing collection if payment is not received within thirty (30) days, or however long is provided in the Association's Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions.  Chapter 720, Florida Statutes, provides the collection process for any unpaid assessments on a property by a Homeowner Association.

With regard to Homeowner Association collection, first, a Notice of Intent to Lien is provided to the Homeowner. This letter will provide the total amounts due on the property, which can be attached by way of a claim of lien. Essentially, the letter will provide the Homeowner with 45 days to remit payment to the Association. If payment is not received the Association can thereafter pursue the claim of lien on the property.

After the claim of lien is executed by the Association and recorded against the property, the Association can foreclose its claim of lien.  However, the law provides that 45 days notice must be given to the Homeowner before the A

ssociation can bring the action to foreclose the claim of lien. Courts have ruled that the failure of an Association to maintain common areas is no excuse for a Homeowner's failure to pay Homeowner's Association assessments.  While Homeowners can seek relief pursuant to the statutory provision of Chapter 720, Florida Statutes, in seeking the Homeowners Association compliance with its obligations for maintenance under the governing documents, homeowners are not entitled to withhold payment of the obligatory amounts owed.  Taking such action could end up costing the Homeowner his/her own home.

Tara Barrett is an associate attorney with Brown, Garganese, Weiss and D’Agresta P.A.



Real Illusions:  How We Trick Ourselves about Finances


Submitted By: Max V. Elson, Jr., Financial Advisor

Branch Name: Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Celebration, FL

Phone Number: 407-566-4604

We all like to think that we make rational and wise decisions when managing our money. But most of us are influenced far more by our emotions than our brains.Why do smart people make irrational investment decisions so commonly and so easily?  The fascinating study of behavioral economics and decision science fills many books, but let's look at a few of the ways in which investors' minds play tricks on them.

The Timid Bunny-Worrying Over Risk

Why do so many people bank their money in savings accounts, CDs and money markets when they are often actually losing money if measured against inflation and taxes? Some people do it because they are so fearful of risk that they don't consider that such fixed investments are not risk-free. The interest credited to your account each month is subject to the likelihood of shrinking purchasing power, especially over time. A canoeist struggling to get upstream against current and wind will have the illusion of movement, but he will have to switch to a boat with a motor to make real progress.

The Hoarding Pack Rat-Treasuring What We Own

The preference to keep things the way they are is called the “status quo bias.” We tend to fall in love with what we own and stick to the familiar even if we would likely be financially better off with a different investment.We validate our prior choice by sticking with it.  What we know feels better thanwhat we don't know.

The Foolish Sheep-Fearing Loss

We are so averse to accepting loss that we will throw good money after bad. This is sometimes called the “sunk cost fallacy” - our inability to let go of money that's already been spent or lost.We will invest more money on car repairs simply because we've already spent so much on the car. Rather than evaluate a losing investment on its cost-as we are prone to do-it makes more sense to assess its current potential for loss or gain. If you would not choose to buy that investment today, then why do you make the choice every day to keep your money invested in it? Usually, it is because you are focusing on the past - what you have already spent. But it has no relevance to the future.

The Little Chicken-Focusing on the Negative

We feel the pain that comes from loss more acutely than we do the pleasure from an equal or greater gain. If you invest $100,000 in a stock portfolio, and it rises in value to $150,000 but then drops to $130,000, you are more likely to be motivated by the disappointment in your “loss” of $20,000 than the pleasure in your gain of $30,000. You may focus on your phantom loss rather than your available gain. This can lead you to be less willing to sell a profitable stock and buy an undervalued one, even though we have all heard that it makes more sense to buy low and sell high.

The Stubborn Mule-Refusing to Change

We frequently decide not to decide, and that inaction can cost serious money. There are so many options out there that we become paralyzed and stay with the familiar. Often this is motivated by fear of short-term regret at making a less-thanperfect decision even though we know that there are no perfect decisions. But, as Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the things you did do.” By placing more emphasis on what we have already expended than on what could be gained by change, we ignore lost opportunity costs because they don't seem real. But with your financial security at stake, where you are headed is much more important than where you have been.

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Morgan Stanley & Co. Incorporated and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney's Financial Advisers do not provide tax or legal advice, are not “fiduciaries” (under ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code or otherwise) with respect to the services or activities described herein, and this material was not intended or written to be used for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. Individuals are urged to consult their tax or legal adviser before establishing a retirement plan or to understand the tax, ERISA and related consequences of any investments made under such plan.

Rebalancing and systematic or periodic investing does not assure a profit or protect against loss in declining financial markets. An investor should be prepared to continue the program of investing at regular intervals, even during economic downturns. 

Investments and services offered through Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, member SIPC. JV 06/09



St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17, his religious feast day and the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over a thousand years. On St. Patrick’s Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon.  Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink and feast - on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.

The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place not in Ireland but in the United States. Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City on March 17, 1762. Along with their music, the parade helped the soldiers reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as fellow Irishmen serving in the English army.  

Over the next 35 years, Irish patriotism among American immigrants flourished, prompting the rise of so-called “Irish Aid” societies like the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick and the Hibernian Society. Each group would hold annual parades featuring bagpipes (which actually first became popular in the Scottish and British armies) and drums.

In 1848, several New York Irish Aid societies decided to unite their parades to form one New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Today, that

parade is the world ‘s oldest civilian parade and the largest in the United States, with over 150,000 participants.

Each year, nearly three million people line the 1.5-mile parade route to watch the procession, which takes more than five hours. Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Savannah also celebrate the day with parades involving between 10,000 and 20,000 participants.

Wearing of the Green Goes Global 

Today, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by people of all backgrounds in the United States, Canada and Australia. Although North America is home to the largest productions, St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated in other locations far from Ireland, including Japan, Singapore and Russia.

In modern-day Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day has traditionally been a religious occasion. In fact, up until the 1970s, Irish laws mandated that pubs be closed on March 17. Beginning in 1995, however, the Irish government began a national campaign to use St. Patrick’s Day as an opportunity to drive tourism and showcase Ireland to the rest of the world. Last year, close to one million people took part in Ireland ‘s St. Patrick’s Festival in Dublin, a multi-day celebration featuring parades, concerts, outdoor theater productions and fireworks shows.

The Chicago River


Chicago is famous for a somewhat peculiar annual event: dyeing the Chicago River green. The tradition started in 1962, when city pollution control  workers used dyes to trace illegal sewage discharges and realized that the green dye might provide a unique way to celebrate the holiday.  That year, they released 100 pounds of green vegetable dye into the river - enough to keep it green for a week!

Today, in order to minimize environmental damage, only 40 pounds of dye are used, making the river green for only several hours. Although Chicago historians claim their city’s idea for a river of green was original, some Savannah natives believe the idea originated in their town. They point out that, in 1961, Savannah mayor Tom Woolley had plans for a green river. Due to rough waters on March 17, the experiment failed, and Savannah never attempted to dye its river again.




Finnegans St. Patricks Day in Lake Mary FloridaTen Fun Facts about Guinness


When you walk into a bar in Ireland you could shout across at the barman and ask for a pint of plain, the good stuff, your best or Irish Mother’s milk.  

You could even just walk up to the bar and hold your forefinger in the air, any barman worth his salt would know that you were asking for a pint of Guinness.

Officially the most internationally recognized symbol of Ireland, Guinness is the most popular alcoholic drink in Ireland and in many other countries besides. Here are some of many interesting facts about the black stuff.


  1. Pouring a glass or pint of Guinness is a skill. A “perfect pour” should take 199.50 seconds.This is the result of pour at an angle of 45 degrees followed by a rest. This is crucial. Most Irish people would cringe if they saw anyone pour it any other way. After a pause, long enough so what’s in the glass is a perfect black, the rest of the glass is filled, again at a 45 degree angle.  What is handed across the bar should have a creamy head and should be served at exactly 42.8F.
  2. It is a known fact that the Irish love to travel around the world but did you know that Guinness is brewed in more than 150 countries. These include Nigeria and Indonesia.
  3. Though the Irish obviously love a pint of plain 40 percent of all Guinness is sold in Africa.  Who would have thought that in such a hot climate it would go down so well!
  4. Over 10 million glasses are sold every day. Are you doing your part?  That’s quite a high quota to fill.
  5. Guinness is the perfect diet drink. A pint of the good stuff contains only 198 calories. That’s less than most light beers, wine, orange juice or even low fat milk.
  6. Guinness does not contain oatmeal, contrary to a popular myth.  This wonderful stuff is made of roasted malted barley, hops, yeast, and water. Also it’s not black. It actually a very nice dark ruby red.
  7. The famous advertisement slogan “Guinness is Good For You” is still used around the world.  Though Guinness has now officially on the record as denying this claim some research does support that Guinness is good for your heart. It was not so long ago in Ireland that pregnant women were told to drink a glass of Guinness every day to fortify themselves and their baby.
  8. St. James’ Gate Brewery, in Dublin City was leased for 9000 years at an annual fee of about $65. In 1759 when Arthur Guinness was just starting out in the brewing business he had such confidence in his product that he knew his brewery would still be running in 9000 years time.  Well that’s 251 years over with. I’m pretty sure Guinness will make it the next 8,750.
  9. The Guinness breweries in Counties Louth and Kilkenny will be shutdown in 2013. There was also talk of closing down the Dublin brewery and moving back it to Leixlip, in Kildare, where Arthur’s career in stout making began. A national outcry ensued. Guinness will be staying put on the banks of the River Liffey and multi-billion renovations will begin soon.
  10. On September 24, 2009 at 5.50 (or 17.59 in the 24 hour clock) Ireland and the world celebrated 250 years of Guinness with “Arthur’s Day”. The time 17.59 was cleverly chosen as 1759 was the year that Arthur signed his lease on St. James’ Gate. It also gave most people enough time to finish up work and meet their friends at their favorite pub. It may have been nothing more than massive marketing ploy but it was also one of the largest united parties every held in the world. In almost every country across the globe merry makers raised their glasses and cheered “To Arthur”.


Author: Kate Hickey


Stoneybrook Hills 2011 5K Fun Run/Walk

Another beautiful community built by Lennar Homes

American Cancer Society | Relay for LifeStoneybrook Hills in Mount Dora is proud to host the 2nd annual 5K Run/Walk on March 12, 2011 to support the American Cancer Society / Relay for Life. Registration will start at 7:00 am and the 5K Walk/Run will begin at 8:00 am. The event is open to the public and will take place through the lovely streets of the Stoneybrook Hills subdivision.

The registration fee is $20.00 and includes the cost of your commemorative 5K Walk/Run shirt. Please note there is an additional charge for shirts size XL or larger. Although registration forms will still be accepted on the day of the 5K Walk/Run, we will be unable to guarantee your shirt size. Please visit for more information on the 5K Walk/Run. Donations are welcomed.

Stoney Brook Hills Housing Association in Lake Mary Florida

We encourage you to come early to view the beautiful homes built by Lennar Homes.  We are sure you will find Stoneybrook Hills to be your choice for your next home purchase.  For sales information please call the Lennar Sales Team - Tamika Mills at 407-625-3869 or May Menefee at 352-255-5815.


Sun State Home Investment


Steps to Beautify your St. Augustine Lawn after a Freezing Winter

By Joni Luce, CAS, Nanak's Landscaping - A Valleycrest Company


Spring may be around the corner, but after the freezing weather we experienced this winter your lawn may be weakened and stressed, and that could mean weeds, bare spots and chinch bugs. Now is the time to act so that you can enjoy a rich and beautiful lawn, and avoid those violation letters from your HOA Board.

St. Augustine grass is a fast growing, warm-season grass that is dormant in the winter and easily damaged by freezing temperatures.  Weakened or dead grass is susceptible to invading weeds, insects and fungi. However, St. Augustine can be vigorous and aggressive against invading lawn species when watered, fertilized and mowed correctly. Wise lawn care practices combined with proper use of herbicides and pesticides can keep weeds and critters at bay and restore your lawn to a lush prominence.  

Below are spring time maintenance tips we recommend to ensure your St. Augustine grass is green and healthy throughout the year.  

Mowing begins when the grass turns green in the spring.  Mow every 5-7 days to avoid removing more than one-third the leaf blade as this may leave clumps on the lawn surface.  Recommended mowing heights are 2.0 to 2.5 inches in the spring and fall, and 2.5 to 3.5 inches in the summer months. Mowing heights less than these can stress and possibly burn your lawn. Taller blade length also helps to shade competitive weed seeds from the sun they require to germinate. Spring is also a good time to have your mower blade sharpened so that the grass blade is cut and not torn, leaving the grass vulnerable to disease and sun damage.

Fertilize your lawn three times a year with a weed and feed fertilizer specifically designed for St. Augustine grass. This fertilizer contains nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium to enhance your grass, plus a herbicide designed to eliminate weeds in your lawn. Start in early spring, when temperatures are expected to rise above 80 degrees. Summer and fall fertilizations will help ensure a strong, healthy lawn all year long. Be sure to water immediately to avoid potential stress on the lawn.

Unwanted perennial grasses like dallisgrass and bermudagrass are hard to control and should be completely dug up or sprayed with a non-selective herbicide directly on the plant. Follow the directions and be sure not to overspray since St. Augustine can be sensitive to these herbicides. Halosulfuron (Sedgehammer) is best used for sedge grass control.

Check for insect pests and treat if necessary. If your lawn is developing bare or yellow spots in a sunny location it may be time to check for chinch bugs. An easy test is to push a coffee can (with top and bottom removed) into the ground and fill with water. Any chinch bugs present will float to the top.  Professionally treat your lawn or use a pesticide like Talstar to control pests like chinch bugs, mole crickets and ants.  

Water early in the morning to wet the soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. St. Augustine grass needs a weekly application of 1 to 1.25 inches of water to retain its color during the summer months; less in the spring and fall months.

The best time to re-sod dead grass or bare spots is early April.  Break up and loosen the soil and remove all the old roots.  Level the area and spread fertilizer over the soil at a rate recommended by the manufacturer for spring or fall feeding.  Work the fertilizer into the soil using a rake or hand trowel.  Lightly water the soil before laying your new sod. Make sure the edges are flush and not overlapping as this makes rooting difficult.Water immediately, keeping the sod moist for the first 7-10 days. About the 10th day allow the sod to dry out enough to mow. After that apply 1 to 1.25 inches of water per week.

Also, if you haven’t pruned your crepe myrtles yet, now is the time to do so. Don’t cut so much as to leave stumps. This is known as “Crepe Murder” and will leave your tree ugly and weak. Pruning just the dead, side and higher branches will leave your crepe myrtle strong and beautiful.

With proper care you can enjoy a thicker, greener lawn all year long. For additional information on lawn care, pest management and landscape enhancements, consult with a lawn care specialist.

Nanaks LandscapingNanak’s Landscaping is a Valleycrest Company.

They can be contacted at 407.831.8101 Ext 252.


Marvelous Money

By Gail Gill

The origin of the word money comes from the Latin word, “moneta”. The English translation of “moneta” is “warning”, so from early times people have been cautious about how they use money.

Many superstitions have evolved around the use of money. Do you try to avoid bad luck when you handle money? Alternatively, do you know how you can increase your chances of having good luck and becoming wealthy?

The Unlucky Two Dollar Bill In America, the two dollar bill is often considered to be unlucky.  One reason is because another word for two is “deuce”. Deuce is a slang name for the devil. The deuce is the lowest card in the pack, so it is not popular with gamblers.  You can avoid bad luck, if you tear off one corner of your two dollar bill before you spend it.When there were more two dollar bills in circulation, it was not uncommon to find a two dollar bill with two, three, or even all four corners ripped off the note.

When two dollars represented a working mans’ daily wage, the price of a rigged vote in an election was two dollars. Although few people would have sold a vote in this way, perhaps this is one reason why the two dollar bill got the reputation for being unlucky.

How to Avoid Bad Luck

Carry a coin in your wallet to ensure your luck will be good.  If you are giving a wallet or a handbag as a gift, always place a coin inside. The new owner of the gift will avoid bad luck, so long as she does not spend the coin.

Do you like to gamble? One way to avoid bad luck when you are playing craps is to blow on the dice before you roll it. Blowing on the dice will seal in any good luck you may have.

An old English superstition states that the first money a store owner takes, when he opens for business, is lucky. To avoid bad luck, keep this money in your cash register throughout the day and do not give it to a customer as change.

Increase your Chances of Making a Fortune

In China, the number 88 is considered lucky. To increase your chances of making a fortune, use the number 88 whenever possible. For example, put the number 88 in your email address.

Practitioners of feng shui believe if you keep a jar full of coins in your kitchen, you will become lucky with money. This idea is a good one even if you are not superstitious, because you will be inclined to add to the jar when you have spare coins in your wallet.

If your career involves retail sales, you can increase your chances of making more money by tying three coins together with a red ribbon. Place these coins in your handbag or wallet when you are at work.  When you use the telephone to make sales calls, keep your three coins next to the telephone. If you own a retail store, keep the coins inside your cash register. It does not matter whether you are superstitious, or not. It is interesting to think about money and how you can become wealthy. You never know, your luck may increase if you avoid bad luck with money, and if you follow feng shui practices to gain wealth.

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Enforcement of Deed Restrictions Is Not Voluntary

By:  Anita Roberts, LCAM

In our last issue of Premier Living we discussed collections and how they affect your association. The other issue that is faced by associations is the enforcement of the recorded deed restrictions. Enforcement of the recorded deed-restrictions is important to associations to keep the property values up in the community. As a homeowner in a deed restricted community, you agreed to abide by the covenants upon the purchase of your home. Your home is one of the largest investments you will make during your lifetime and its value should be protected to ensure that you will reap the benefits of your home in the future. Without deed restrictions associations would not be able to enforce the maintenance of a neighboring property that is not being maintained.

On a monthly basis or more, the management company is requested to inspect the community for deed restriction infractions. Letters are mailed to owners to advise of the findings in the community with regards to a violation. While we do not like receiving letters from the management company, they are merely there to advise of a potential issue that was noted during an inspection of the community. When you receive a letter from the management company the best course of action is to communicate with your manager as to the course of action you plan to take with the property. Many times the violation may take longer than the 15 or 30 days allowed for corrective action. By communicating your plan of action, the manager can alert the Board of the pending outcome for the improvement of the violation.

Many associations have adopted Violation Policies for the enforcement of deed restrictions. After a series of letters, and no communication from the property owner, the Board may be faced with sending the matter to the association’s attorney for corrective action. A demand letter will be forwarded from the attorney’s office requesting compliance. If compliance is not obtained, the Board will then request mediation to try and remedy the violation. If mediation is not successful, the next step is to obtain Injunctive Relief through the court system. This is not the ideal situation that your Board of Directors wishes to take against their neighbors, but the Board is bound by Florida Statutes to uphold the Covenants and Restrictions.  If the Board is not upholding the covenants and restrictions for all properties in the same manner, this could be construed as “selective enforcement”. Therefore violation enforcement must be consistent throughout the community.

So what can you do as a homeowner in your community? Review your documents for the restrictive covenants and make the needed changes to your home and property to bring your home into compliance.  Spring is just around the corner so perhaps a little “spring cleaning” is in order.  

Take a moment to review your property from top to bottom.  Does your roof need to be cleaned? How about the chimney – does it have mildew or the paint need to be refreshed? Look at the trim on your home and clean the mildew and roof tar from the fascia.  Perhaps your home could use a fresh coat of paint – if so don’t forget to fill out the Architectural Application! What about the fence – are there loose boards or broken gates? Do you need to stain or paint your fence?

Landscaping and plant beds are important too. Freshen the mulch, remove any dead / dying plant material and add sod to the dead or bare areas of the lawn. Tree trimming is important too, to make sure limbs are away from the home. Trash containers and recycling bins should be stored behind a fence or in the garage so they are not visible from the street. With a little time you can bring your home up to the community standards and make your community a place that you are proud to call home!  

Anita Robers Sr. Portfolio Manager for PremierAnita Roberts is a Sr. Portfolio Manager with Premier Property Management of Central Florida with more than 15 years of Community Association Management experience.  Anita has a B.S. degree from SW Texas State University and enjoys jazzercise in her off hours.



In Tough Economic Times Neighbors Must Work Together


We have a new Super Bowl Champion and St. Patrick's Day 2011 is right around the corner. As I reflect on prior years, I am reminded just how privileged I am to serve as HOA President in one of the oldest communities in Lake Mary.  While our board has accomplished much, we must continually work towards maintaining and improving our neighborhood.

Your HOA Boards work hard and do a lot of good things for the communities we live in. While we have to make unpopular decisions from time to time we are not villains.  We are your neighbors and friends; honest and hard working people who've been elected by you to manage the association's money, address neighborhood issues, and make tough decisions to accomplish the goals identified in our subdivision's Articles of Declaration and the Deeds of Restrictions.  

Currently we are all faced with a tough economic situation.  The economy, home values and the number of jobs have all declined. While these situations may be difficult, your HOA board is expected to complete their assigned duties and responsibilities and maintain the community to the highest standard. Our neighborhoods have changed, our neighbors may have changed, our economic situations certainly have changed, but community issues must still be resolved. Therefore our approach must change.

Smart and common sense business practices coupled with neighborhood partnerships are the key. We must develop long- and short-term initiatives that involve community residents to maintain and improve the overall quality of life in our neighborhood. Nothing surpasses what can be accomplished when dedicated people talk and work together.  In our neighborhood, in addition to the seven directors, more than a dozen homeowners have volunteered to help with a myriad of tasks; writing and delivering of our newsletters; serving on the violations review committee; researching law applications; and reviewing and approving home improvement applications. Our board voted to change assessments to semi-annually from annually to help alleviate the strain of a large one-time HOA payment. We established a fair and equitable payment policy for assessment and violation collections. And we are moving toward acquiring re-claimed water for our community at half the cost of installation.  These would not have occurred if it were not for the positive relationships established at HOA meetings set up for those purposes.  

Other relationships have been established through our business partnership with Premier Property Management in Lake Mary, who manages the affairs of our community. The Mayor, the City Commissioners, the City Manager, and the Police Chief are also partners who work very closely with our board to assist us with various issues.

Speaking of Premier, it is imperative that homeowners understand that the management firm is under contract to perform their duties at the direction of your Board of Directors and under Florida Statutes. While they are certainly a key partner in our community's affairs, it is the board that sets policy for assessment collections, violations, and the correction of these violations. Why does our Board enforce violations and collections so vigorously? You might be quite surprised to see the number of violations ignored and the number of delinquencies and the amount of money owed the association. Unfortunately, those who maintain their homes and pay their dues often suffer loss of home value or higher annual fees because of those who don't. It is the board's responsibility to enforce all the rules without prejudice or selectivity.

The bottom line is that your Board of Directors are here to serve you and protect your most valuable investment - your home. I encourage each homeowner to attend your monthly board meetings and get involved. You might even find yourself a board President one day.

Mario Pietrucci

Hills of Lake Mary, HOA Board President


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