Bats in the Belfry

Image result for batsEach summer bats take up residence near the entrance to the club house. They are here again this summer. People are expressing concern so I have taken some information from the Arizona Game and Fish website.

Arizona is home to 28 species of bats, more than almost any other state. Bats are the only true flying mammals and are valuable human allies. They are primary predators of vast numbers of insect pests.

Although bats play key roles in keeping insect populations in balance, they are North America’s most rapidly declining land mammals. Declines are often caused by human fear and persecution, and each of us can help by learning how to live with these animals.

While some people appreciate bats and the ways they benefit us, others fear bats because a small percentage of them can expose humans and pets to rabies. Bats should always be kept out of places where people live indoors. Bat guano (feces) can present disease and odor problems. However, bats are generally harmless to humans and are extremely beneficial for controlling insects and mosquitoes and pollinating some plants. Bats are vulnerable to disturbances by people because of their roosting habits and slow reproductive rate.

If bats are in an area, it is probably because they are finding food, water or shelter.

  • Food can include insects that congregate in areas near lights, agricultural or playing fields, ponds or other water sources. Nectar-feeding bats may be attracted to flowering agaves and hummingbird feeders.
  • Water sources can include any pool, pond or lake with a long flying corridor that bats can skim.
  • Shelter can include rough surfaces for hanging. A bump of only 1/16 inch is enough. Bats can squeeze into holes as small as 3/8 inch and are attracted to spaces inside buildings and attics, under bridges, in culverts, behind siding on buildings, in palm trees, and under eaves and porch or patio awnings.

Bats should never be allowed to remain in human living areas. However, bats roosting on the porch, in the yard, or in a bat house are far more beneficial than harmful, and the small amount of guano can be cleaned up or used as fertilizer, in exchange for the reduction in flying insects and mosquitoes.

All bats in Arizona are protected and cannot be collected or killed. Proper exclusions may be performed where necessary.

  • It is unlawful to use pesticides or other chemicals directly on bats.
  • Bat exclusions should be done only with the advice of the Arizona Game and Fish Department or a wildlife control business, and should not be attempted during the maternity season (generally May through September) to avoid separating mothers from their young.

On a lighter note, if you don’t want the problem of mosquitoes, befriend the bats. Also, put on a mask and some gloves and gather the guano for your gardens. You can find instructions on the internet on how to apply it.  It could also become an income stream for the RSA!

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Meet Mike McGee

In 2016 the Association entered into an agreement with HOAMCO to take over maintenance of the Village. In May of last year, HOAMCO hired a maintenance company, Mountains Best Landscape owned by Mike McGee.

Mike has been in the landscape business in Tucson for over thirty years and at one point had a staff of more than one hundred employees. He sold his company and retired ten years ago, then opened Mountains Best Landscape in the White Mountains in 2014.

Business has grown exponentially ever since its inception! Mountains Best Landscaping provides landscape maintenance, artificial grass and sod, irrigation installation and repair, paver patios and driveways and much more.

Mike is married with three grown children, four grandchildren and one more on the way!  He enjoys golf and off-roading during the beautiful summer months.

Mike and his capable staff have done an excellent job maintaining the Village common area. Mike is a valuable asset to the Village and we are excited to have Mountains Best on our team.

Bear Sightings and Dog Poo

Image result for dog pooThere have been reports of bears visiting the Village several times recently. One was seen roaming in the Festival area and one at the entrance to Elk Trot Loop. This is a reminder to keep a distance and no matter how strong the urge, please don’t turn and run. Those guys can move very fast so make some noise when you see them. If you have a dog, maybe it will bark and help with the noise.

Speaking of dogs, there have also been lots of sightings of dog poo. Please be a good neighbor and pick up after your animal. There are bags available so please take advantage of this service. Responsible pet owners and people without pets are getting irritable about seeing and smelling the mess. It’s a tight community with people living very close together. Anything you can do to make life easier is greatly appreciated.

Off-Site Activities

Image result for activities imagesThe Activities Committee has taken us off-site a number of times this year for some interesting and exciting events. Everyone attending those events has been asked to sign a “liability waiver”. This has been the recommendation of the Board’s legal counsel. Not everyone has felt that it is necessary. Some have even felt it unnecessary, if not silly. One gentleman quipped, “It only protects the Board.”

Whether it’s necessary or not, whether it’s silly or not, whether it’s over-kill, whether it’s part of a vast intergalactic conspiracy … isn’t the issue. The fact is, It Protects YOU!

If for whatever reason – justified or otherwise – the Recreational Subdivision Association is sued, the Association will incur the cost of defense. In other words, YOU will get the bill.

We’ve all heard of “frivolous lawsuits”. Imagine an example where someone accidentally stumbles into a cactus while touring a garden while texting on his phone. Take the example a step further – that person’s cousin is an unscrupulous attorney and convinces him he can pick up a big settlement by suing the garden owner, the city, the cactus grower and the R.S.A., i.e., YOU. This kind of thing happens far more often than you might imagine.

The R.S.A. attorney (YOUR attorney) has asked that attendees sign the waiver. It’s for your protection. Whether it’s a good idea or a silly idea can be debated. However, please give your neighbors the peace of mind of knowing that all attendees have come together in our mutual best interests.

Thanks to the fifty-seven people who have signed the waiver. It is appreciated.

Meet Frankie Coulter – Advisory and Activities Committee Member

Frankie is a third generation Arizonan and has been coming to the White Mountains since childhood.  She purchased in the Village because of the beautiful trees and because it is located in town.

Frankie’s professional background was as an operating room nurse for thirty-five years. The last fifteen years were in management.  She was also a real estate broker in the 1980’s, working in a family-owned Century 21 office in Yuma.  There she combined nursing and real estate, both part-time. She worked way too many hours.

Her interests include embroidery, reading, family history and political campaigns.  Frankie managed two campaigns for a candidate for our state legislature, being successful each time.

Frankie has been married twice, both husbands predeceasing her.  She has two daughters and one son. All are successful and dear to Frankie. She has two granddaughters and two grandsons who fill her with joy every time she thinks of them. She has eight step-grandchildren with whom she shares birthdays and holidays.

Frankie hopes everyone will consider volunteering in the Village for there is no better way to get well acquainted with your neighbors. She is leading by example by volunteering to serve on both the Advisory and Activities Committees.

Bubonic Plague

Image result for prairie dog cartoon imagesA recent article in the White Mountain Independent addressed a prairie dog die-off in the Concho and Taylor areas as a result of fleas hosting bubonic plague. A Village resident wondered if there should be concern because Taylor is only twenty miles away. I don’t have the answer to that question and we can never be too careful.

A bright spot is that most outbreaks occur in the prairie dog population. Prairie dogs usually live at a little lower elevation with not as many pine trees as are in the Village. Plague outbreaks have been reported many times over the years and it would be wise to stay vigilant.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website has a downloadable flyer about the various forms of the plague. Who knew there were actually three?

According to the article in the Independent and the CDC flyer, humans are most likely to contract plague from their pets. Apparently, agitated fleas have killed their hosts and are looking for a replacement and sometimes light on an unsuspecting dog or cat.

From the CDC flyer: Treat dogs and cats for fleas regularly and take sick pets to the veterinarian promptly.

The Independent mentions not letting your pet sleep in your bed. The article further states “If you think you have been bitten by a flea and develop flu-like symptoms, see a doctor promptly. Plague is easily treated with antibiotics but can rapidly develop into a serious illness if left untreated.”

You can read both the CDC flyer and the Independent article online. Arm yourself with information and be safe.