Meet Jan Koepsel – Member of the Activities Committee

Jan Koepsel was born in a farm house in Wisconsin.  When Jan was three, her family moved to Sheboygan, Wisconsin where she lived until her marriage to Warren in 1950.

Jan and Warren are the parents of three children, a son and two daughters.  They have three grandchildren and one great grandson.

In her working years, Jan was what she calls a jack-of-all trades and master of none. This involved doing light housekeeping at the age of thirteen for twenty-five cents per hour, being a stay-at-home mom, and finally retiring as an Administrative Assistant for Synod of the Southwest Presbyterian Church (USA).

After retirement, the Koepsels spent many years roaming around in their RV, including volunteering in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and seven years for Oregon State Parks.

Seven summers ago they came to White Mountain Vacation Village where they enjoy the friendliness of the people and being involved in the activities.

Toilets or Your Money – Pick One

toilet mouthThe Village homeowners will definitely go over budget in the “waste” department this year. You can help eliminate this problem if you know the items that will cause problems if they end up in the sewer system. Incidentally, these same items affect every sewer system, not just the one in the Village. The sewer at your primary residence is more than likely operated by a large city and they have given up on educating people about things that shouldn’t be flushed. They just keep raising your taxes to pay for the repairs. The Board keeps behaving like a nagging mother because we don’t want to raise dues to cover the enormous cost of ruined pumps. We have had to replace two so far this season and it’s early.

The optimal number of pumps is three. One went down in late May so we were limping along with two until we could get one built. The new one was due to be delivered the week of July 11th.  However, on July 8th another pump bit the dust. This put the Village in a very precarious position. We contemplated bringing in outhouses. However, a board member made a quick turn-around trip to Tucson to fetch the new pump and all was well. But it was a close call.

We have had discussions with engineers in search of cost-effective long term solutions. There may be cause for optimism, but in the meantime, we are forced to rely on the cooperation and help of the residents.

For some reason, people have the impression that if it will fit through the sink or toilet plumbing, it’s good to go; a version of out-of-sight, out-of-mind. You all know what you can do to help alleviate this problem but let’s go over it again. This is being posted here so you can find it easily next time you have a question. But before you review the list, take a moment to watch “Adam Ruins Everything – Why Flushable Wipes Aren’t Flushable” on YouTube.

Following is a partial list of items that should NEVER be flushed down a toilet (or sink, for that matter):

  • Baby wipes
  • Bandages of any kind
  • Cat litter
  • Cloth of any kind
  • Clothes dryer sheets
  • Condoms
  • Dirt
  • Cotton balls and swabs
  • Dental floss
  • Diapers
  • Disposable wipes
  • Facial tissues
  • Grease, oil, petroleum products
  • Medical needles and/or syringes – disposable or otherwise
  • Paper towels
  • Panty liners
  • Plastic bags or any plastic items
  • Sanitary napkins, tampons
  • Trash and scrap
  • Toys
  • Underpants– cloth or disposable

If you limit input to toilet paper and the material for which the toilet was designed,  life will be better for us all.

Pow Wow in the Pines

teepeesIt was a great pleasure to put some of the faces on the names I have come to know in recent months. The annual meeting of the White Mountain Vacation Village Recreational Subdivision Association (WMVVRSA) was a very constructive and educational event for all of us. The Board and management were given some great suggestions, some welcome criticism and from many of the attendees, some kudos and thanks which were very much appreciated. Operating a large organization such as WMVVRSA isn’t always easy and it’s rewarding to know some people notice the time and energy we put into it. Obviously, we can’t make everyone happy all of the time, but the knowledge that we’re doing some things right gives us some peace of mind and an incentive to try harder in the future.

What a great turnout and what an interesting and dynamic cross-section of America we have in the Village. After spending more than fifty years of my life in the White Mountains, I actually felt like I was home again.

A big thanks to our HOAMCO manager Sherry Watson, board members Holly Jacobs and Kathy Fish and the Hampton Inn for a great meeting facility. And a special thanks to all of the attendees for your support and encouragement.

We’re going to keep moving forward and trying to make the Village an ever better place to spend your time. Utopia is in reality nothing but a state-of-mind. With your continued help, we keep getting closer and closer to that place. Keep working toward the goal. Keep sharing that dream. And above all else, keep helping your neighbors to make the Village “the” place to be in the summer in the White Mountains.

Oh, and thanks for making it unnecessary for me to send someone out to start my car after the meeting was adjourned.

Meet Bob Rubin – Advisory Committee Member

Bob RubinBob was born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey. He attended college as an art major. After working in city planning and for Mobil Oil in exploration, he moved to Arizona in 1977. Upon moving to Arizona, Bob was employed by architectural firms and then as a construction superintendent for upper-end custom homes.

Bob eventually started his own business and became a licensed general contractor and custom home designer. Those endeavors kept him busy for the next thirty-five years. Bob has also served as architectural advisor for several high-end subdivisions in the east valley. He retired in 2014 and enjoys his summers in the Village.

Drones, Drones Everywhere Drones

The Board continues to work to separate developer issues from Association issues. One of the goals is to implement a separate website for the Association. The clubhouse and festival area are the greatest assets belonging to its members. The Board has hired a professional to take photographs of these areas. So if a drone flies over your head today, don’t be surprised.

Those Pesky Speed Bumps

Old RacecarWe have noticed residents are divided on the use of speed bumps to slow traffic. The Village is a heavily treed area with a wonderful mountain feel. Frequently the streets are filled with adults and children on foot, bicycles, ATVs and motorized wheelchairs, many with dogs in tow. The roads are narrow and winding with a posted speed limit of 15 miles per hour. Speed limit signs weren’t working. Additional signs were added.  That didn’t work, so red triangles were added to those signs for extra visibility. As you can see, the board has taken action over the years to mitigate the speeding issue. Still, those residents who dream of being Mario Andretti or Parnelli Jones would not be defeated.

After reviewing last year’s annual meeting minutes and numerous emails and other communications sent to the board over the years, it’s clear that some residents want the board to do something to slow people down before someone gets hurt.  Residents lobbied for a variety of solutions including speed bumps, posting additional signs basically begging people to obey the posted speed limit, public floggings and security cameras and radar.

Extensive research was done and the additional signs did not make the cut. If people are not willing to abide by the current signs, it is unlikely they would slow down just because we say “PLEASE SLOW DOWN”. The cameras were expensive, not only to install, but to monitor (this is your money). Most people want to be neighborly so ratting out the speeders won’t work either. Cocktail hour can be rather tense after you’ve called Guido over to puncture the offender’s tires.

The conclusion was that speed bumps are the most effective and useful method of slowing people down on roads with speed limits of 25 miles per hour and under. Speed bumps also tend to keep non-resident traffic down so perhaps some of those outsiders using the dumpsters or coming in for nefarious purposes will be discouraged. However, speed bumps do impact emergency vehicles, people on bicycles and motorcycles, and those in golf carts and ATVs.  The motorcycles and bikes should be able to avoid them by riding down the middle of the road, subject to oncoming traffic, but others can’t avoid them altogether. Another consideration for using speed bumps had to do with the garbage trucks. Some of those drivers also think they are on a race track and are doing damage to the road when they exit the club house.

There are also options that slow cars to 10 miles per hour but anything that slows them more than 20 miles per hour will be hard on cars, RVs, and people.  As the speed limit is 15 miles per hour, going the speed limit will prevent some of the other issues with braking and accelerating that come with more radical (read bigger) speed bumps.

As you know, speed bumps were purchased and some of them were put in place. Apparently the people on the ATVs have already figured out that they can mimic Richard Petty by racing furiously down the streets between the speed bumps. To be fair, they are not alone in the challenge.

Some people were frustrated that residents were not asked to vote on how best to slow down traffic. However, after the decision was made, residents did get to vote with their vehicles. Some voted loudly and clearly for more speed bumps.

According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the average risk of severe injury for a pedestrian struck by a vehicle reaches 10% at an impact speed of 16 mph, 25% at 23 mph, 50% at 31 mph, 75% at 39 mph, and 90% at 46 mph. The average risk of death for a pedestrian reaches 10% at an impact speed of 23 mph, 25% at 32 mph,50% at 42 mph, 75% at 50 mph, and 90% at 58 mph. Risks vary significantly by age. For example, the average risk of severe injury or death for a 70‐year‐old pedestrian struck by a car travelling at 25 mph is similar to the risk for a 30‐year‐old pedestrian struck at 35 mph. There are too many people and pets out on the streets in the Village to ignore these numbers and until everyone has driverless vehicles, another solution is necessary.

In the ideal world, drivers would travel at a prudent speed without having to be policed, nagged or threatened. However, that has not been the case so additional speed bumps will be put in place. If this does not deter speeders, it could be taken as a yes vote for bigger and better (and more expensive) speed bumps. The board takes the safety of the Village residents very seriously and we’re asking nicely; please slow down.

Let’s Get Tanked!

On the highest hill overlooking White Mountain Vacation Village, sits the very tallest sort-of-yellow water tank – at least the tallest in the immediate area.  That tank holds 125,000 gallons of water that travels from wells and water lines owned by the City of Show Low, and passes through a two inch water meter. The meter keeps track of the amount of water going into the tank and the City bills the Association accordingly.  Once that water enters the tank, it belongs to you.

From the tank, the water heads to the Village with an enormous pull from gravity through an eight inch water line. The water fills the eight inch water line mains in the Village, which feed the fire hydrants and the water lines on your lots, allowing fire protection from the hydrants when needed and you to get water when you turn on your faucets. Once the water enters the Village, anyone connected to the water system, which does not include Woodfield or the rodeo grounds or the amphitheater, can use it.  You may be using 10,000 gallons per month while your neighbor uses only 1,000 gallons per month but no one is going to know that because the Association is not selling you water.  The City of Show Low sells water to the Association and a fraction of your monthly fees pay that bill.

The water tank, water lines, and fire hydrants make up the water infrastructure in the Village. The infrastructure belongs to the Association. As this is not a private water system metering and selling water to individuals it is not subject to regulation by or registration with any agencies or departments within the State of Arizona.

Think of the Village as a forty acre resort hotel property.  Through a single metered source, the City sells water to the resort for its laundry, landscape, swimming pools, restaurant, lobby, spa, and guest rooms, but the hotel does not sell water to its guests. The room rate covers the cost of the guests’ use of the water.

To Flow or Not to Flow

Not every development is lucky enough to have its own water tank. However, Big Yellowish isn’t planted on top of the highest hill to look pretty or so you can brag to your friends that you have a water tank.  It was mandated by the City of Show Low to provide fire flow as the water company at the time could not provide the volume or pressure needed for fire-protection purposes in excess of that required for other purposes.  No fire flow, no subdivision approval from the City of Show Low, and no “you” owning property and reading about fire flow in White Mountain Vacation Village.

The City of Show Low has ordinances and statutes regulating fire protection requirements in developments within City limits, regardless of who owns the infrastructure. Those ordinances and statutes dictate the minimum water flow required of a fire hydrant, which is a certain number of gallons per minute.   The Show Low Fire Department, applying City ordinances and statutes, determined the required number and placement of fire hydrants in the Village.  Once those fire hydrants were installed, each fire hydrant had to be tested for conformance with the ordinances and statutes in place at the time. Then the fire department had to certify that ALL hydrants complied with the ordinances and statutes before the City would approve White Mountain Vacation Village. This was the same process for each unit. Obviously, all of ours passed the test or you wouldn’t be here.

In 2014 the Lakeside, Show Low and Linden Fire Districts merged to form Timber Mesa Fire and Medical District. Timber Mesa has a scheduled inspection for all City hydrants. This includes the hydrants within the Village.

With a big boost from gravity and an eight inch water line, the installation of Big Yellowish in the Village provides the volume and pressure needed to meet the gallons per minute tests required of our fire hydrants.  We have the power to put out a fire! And as a result, you own a lot. Or two.