MHCA Area Director's meeting minutes

May 2016 Area Directors' Meeting Minutes

jgchipault Saturday 25 of June, 2016
Midvale Heights Community Association Board Meeting
Tuesday, April 26th 2016 – 6:45 p.m. – Sequoya Branch Library

Area Directors present: Ed Rogers, Jenny Chipault, Jim Thoreson, Steve Fitzsimmons, Gregory Fischer, Kay Reuter-Krohn, Chuck Kreimendahl, Mary Jane Armstrong, Tim Trapp, Paul Haskew, Ron Rotter, Tom Jarvis

Other neighbors present: Kithy Elliott, Cathy Rotter, Ceri Jenksins, Charlie Romines, Jenny Sessions

  1. Call to Order & Introductions - E Rogers
  2. Prior Minutes Review/Approval - Board
    1. Skipped because minutes not ready yet.
  3. Treasurer’s Report - R Rotter
    1. Passed out hard copy of ledger. T-ball money coming in, but not going out yet. First page is summary by groups, then next page is change over years, then next page is this month, and then transaction report.
    2. Regarding insurance, we have been paying for a general liability policy. This policy needs renewal and we have to switch companies. West Bend bid it out. We charge insurance to t-ball fund because that’s largely why we need insurance. One thing we’ve never had is board of director’s coverage. You might be covered under your homeowners’ or umbrella policy, but that's not necessarily true.
      1. S Fitzsimmons brings up newsletters distributed to homeowner’s door advertising that they were out of town and that might be a cause for lawsuit.
      2. E Rogers asks if Neighborhood Watch is covered under general liability; foot patrol would have to be without concealed carry, no leaving notes at doors, and no confrontation.
        1. S Fitzsimmons says Neighborhood Watch is not going to pursue having foot patrols.
      3. C Kreimendahl has mixed feelings. Members are paying dues so that we can pay insurance? His understanding of nonprofit boards and this type of insurance is that it is usually used for employment related matters (hiring/firing/discrimination) and most of the claims fall into that category. We don’t have staff.
      4. MJ Armstrong says it’s only $456 and it would be more costly to hire someone if need and we don’t buy coverage.
        1. R Rotter will have to write a check to a lawyer which will be $500 just to get advice.
      5. C Kreimendahl says we’ve always had the general coverage and this errors and omissions is separate to cover the board.
      6. Motion to purchase both general liability and directors and officers insurance.
        1. Motion passes.
      7. R Rotter says we can re-assess whether to buy it year-by-year
  4. Legislative Reports - Maurice Cheeks/Carousel Bayrd
    1. Not present
  5. Ash Tree Adoption in our Parks - E Rogers
    1. Charlie Romines from Madison City Parks was invited to give us information about ash trees and emerald ash borer (EAB).
    2. E Rogers made maps of ash trees. There are at least 40 in 4 parks he visited that are marked orange. These trees may be taken down. They might or might not be eligible for treatment.
    3. C. Romines is the Assistant Park Superintendent. There are 266 parks and golf courses. Along with street terrace, when you see a yellow dot on a tree, that’s what we’ve used to mark trees to be removed. On terrace, there’s not an adoption policy but in the parks there is an adoption process. Just because trees are marked orange, doesn’t mean it cannot be adopted but it’s been marked for removal because it hasn’t been adopted. If not adopted, it will be removed. Black upside down mark or blue dot indicates what year the tree was adopted. Chemical treatment used is TREE-age, which is good for 3 years. Trees have to continue to be adopted for as long as you want to keep them. In Michigan, ash trees are still dying and it’s been over 20 years. There will be a crest of when bug is at its peak but as it exhausts its food source it will come down, but it will not disappear. There’s some evidence that they might find other trees as they run out of ash trees, but it's anecdotal at this point. The way the adoption process works is that we contact a Park Supervisor (West) and let them know which tree or trees we're interested in adopting and they can do visual inspection based on decline of tree, trunk wounds, or leaf out. If tree is healthy enough, allow it to be adopted. They have a list of 6 private companies that do treatment and that becomes a private transaction between adopter and the tree care company. Company provides treatment information to Parks and they keep that on file. In Parks it’s 3 men and a chainsaw and a tower truck and a chipper taking down trees marked orange. They have a lot of work ahead of them. Smaller parks, they assess the ash trees and the idea is that if it won’t be in good health in 3 years, take it down now. For larger parks, taking 1-year approach. Can’t visit every park every year so have to get trees down while we’re there. In this part of the city, hazard to guess that there are very few ash trees that are too far gone from EAB, but there are other bugs and diseases. Had EAB across from Nakoma golf club. But just because EAB present, doesn’t mean it’s too late. If tree has declined 30-40%, it’s too late to be saved. Suspect most trees in this part of town do have EAB, but not too far gone to be treated.
      1. M Armstrong asks if the treatment kills bugs or deters them. Does it slow the progress of EAB?
        1. Kills, thus slows progress of EAB a bit, but limited. Had 22,000 ash trees on city terraces; in round numbers, 12,000 removed and 10,000 treated. In Parks, 30,000-40,000 ash trees. Many in wood lots that we’ll let nature take its course on. If more trees were being treated, could slow EAB but there are lots of trees.
      2. What is effect of treatment on other insects?
        1. It is an insecticide. Research shows no effect on woodpeckers, mostly because once an insect dies it’s not of interest to a woodpecker. To be clear, it will kill most insects in the tree.
      3. Terrace tree with green dot, has it been treated?
        1. Yes.
      4. Who is responsible for pruning?
        1. Parks Forestry. Some of the pruning that is not an emergency might be lower priority right now.
      5. Is city treating trees?
        1. Treating 10,000 ash trees in terrace
      6. If we move forward with adoption program for our parks, and they say a certain percentage of the trees can’t be saved, do you have a timeline?
        1. Parks arborist crew is just west of Goodman pool so likely late summer and early fall they'll be here. They do notify Alders when move into their district. Typically they have not reached out to neighborhood associations, because rely on alders to do that. Hard to be precise with scheduling. Not spending much time scouting because it’s everywhere.
      7. Follow-up question is will Parks be paying to put in new trees?
        1. Terrace trees because affects heating/cooling and home values, but in parks do faster turnover and replant trees within 3 growing seasons, depending on availability of trees and growing seasons. Parks might not be replanted 1-to-1, maybe more, maybe less. For example, 480 trees removed from Tenney Park and views are opened up and so replanting 220 new trees (not ash trees) and keeping vista open. Other smaller neighborhood parks have additional planting sites so actually planted more than we’re taking down.
      8. Regarding use of insecticide, it helps protect other trees, possibly?
        1. Delays growth of EAB but have over 100,000 private ash trees so 10,000 being treated isn’t stemming the flow.
      9. If we treat these trees and they move to other trees, does that help us protect ash trees?
        1. Right now the science would tell you that they don’t go to other trees. That’s a question that has to be answered.
      10. How do you dispose of tree removed?
        1. Primary way is that they are taken to reduction facility and chipped up. Streets sells those chips to farmers and landscapers to make back money. Madison Parks is first entity in nation that takes urban trees to create playground safety surfacing and they can certify wooden playground equipment the same as manufacturers do. Undergoing major playground renovation as Parks division and some places doing that instead of rubber.
      11. How do we get rid of rubber?
        1. Neighborhood association notified and people at the meeting decide about rubber or wood mulch. Do divert some wood to that. Anyway making a trip to Festival Foods; most of the wood came from Tenney Park and those were ash trees that were otherwise headed for the chipper. Whole Trees engineered that. Also working with Wisconsin Urban Wood to have them identify some of the trees with orange dots that their local sawyers have interest in and takes only little work by Parks for them to be there when it’s cut and drop it into their truck. They give back something to the city in exchange (picnic table, bench, conference table, from harder wood).
      12. Could you give a brief outline of species using for replacement?
        1. There is a list of 28-29 trees that can be found on the Parks website. If not readily available, can make that available. Our tree species list gets approved every year by habitat stewardship subcommittee. In 2006, the ash was kicked off this list. Trees are added and deleted every year.
      13. Are there budgetary restrictions for this tree replacement program and, if so, can interested people invest in other species to be planted.
        1. Can’t increase number of species, but as far as augmenting the plan, that they have enough dollars to do. Madison has entered into contract growing; obligating future councils to buy trees with their money. Still 1.5 years away or so from contract grows coming in. But there will be tightening down as more and more municipalities chase the same trees. Right now, if a neighborhood association gave money for new trees, it would just be additional dollars to chase the same trees with. If we're planning to put in 10 trees, would still put in 10 trees. Not lacking funding in this area.
      14. If there were 3 trees planted in a park, anything neighbors can do to augment care while they grow?
        1. Always happy to take volunteers, especially to water trees. Urban Tree Alliance on northeast side of city organized volunteers to water and mulch. As trees are being planted in the parks, if there’s interest in their care, Parks is very happy to accept that help. In 2012, very hot and dry summer, had to pull people off a lot of Parks and Forestry work to water trees.
      15. Any sign of a native predator that would help us out with EAB?
        1. University of Wisconsin and Michigan State looking at parasitic wasps. Might have been released in Michigan and/or Ohio. They kill EAB, but not in sufficient numbers to make a big difference.
      16. As E Rogers was touring the parks, every time he found playground equipment, it was in large part, if not entirely, shaded by ash trees, is that based on past policy? With two young children, he knows playgrounds will get hot without shade trees.
        1. Poor planning. When Dutch elm disease rolled through in 1960s and 1970s, ash trees were available and cheap and could withstand tough growing conditions (e.g., terrace) and they don’t throw a lot of trash around. Grow tall and upright. The ash tree was a great tree until it wasn’t. Now that ash is leaving us, have this issue around the city where we will have playgrounds exposed to sun until new trees grow up. Suspect that’s why ash trees put in.
      17. Possible to adopt a tree and plant a new tree?
        1. If in a park where good planting sites taken up, would be tough to adopt and plant new. But if want some gone and keep some ash, that would allow more orderly retreat if could save some trees for shade until new ones grow. Generally speaking, yes, would have to assess park-by-park. Tenney Park neighborhood association did that.
      18. Does Parks have forestry plan or should the Neighborhood Association produce one?
        1. Way that it worked with Tenney Lapham Neighborhood Association is that he went to a meeting similar to this and they were looking to fundraise to save a certain amount of ash trees (not all, but some) so they went on a walk and identified some that were in great shape and they fund-raised to adopt those. Whole Trees paid Parks for trees that went to Festival Foods, which allowed them to adopt additional trees. Neighborhood Association was driving force for finding funds. Believe by end of this year, everything that is being re-planted at Tenney, will be replanted.
      19. How much did neighborhood weigh in on what trees, e.g., fruit trees?
        1. Had a few locations where neighborhoods wanted to be involved in tree siting and they’ve kind of shied away from that because there are so many parks and they have to be efficient, especially if want to replant within a year. At Tenney, they didn’t pick what trees went in. At larger parks, might make a plan; at smaller parks, hired a total of 10 staff (staff have landscape architecture and horticulture degrees, 3 arborists, 5 city forestry). Tenney Park had a plan put together, landscape architects were involved and they presented at Neighborhood Association. For parks like Slater Park, won’t have landscape architect get involved; it will be landscape workers with education about trees. Having one of them or their supervisor take a walk with us at Slater Park and discuss what trees to adopt can be accommodated. Hard to have too many opinions about what trees go where because there are 266 parks.
      20. In our neighborhood, it’s Slater Park that’s going to get hit.
        1. Near Atwood, they tied green ribbons on trees to alert people about what was going on and many ash trees were saved that might have been cut down. Now they’re painted orange. If there’s interest to bring up awareness, they’re happy to help. They provided the green tape and allowed signage to be put up at Atwood. Neighborhood connected signs to ribbons to explain why green ribbons were there.
          1. R Rotter thinks at Slater Park, we just need a sign at the playground to ask people to send money to Midvale Heights to facilitate the adoption of ash trees.
        2. C Romines notes that is we adopt a group of trees, it's little cheaper. $10-12 per diameter inch, so $200-300 for 3-year treatment.
        3. Slater has 9 trees.
      21. C Kreimendahl asks if he comes with money and says he wants to adopt a particular tree, they do health evaluation, but is there planning beyond that (e.g., replaced in 10 years anyway).
        1. If already there, already mature and healthy enough, allow it be adopted. Like to have larger trees stay. If walk in Slater Park and talk orderly retreat (save these, let these go) then have to be cognizant of future equipment so think about that when siting trees and that’s part of what landscape workers will do.
      22. To extent that we’re eager to preserve canopy or shade on playground equipment, get sense that people don’t have very specific trees in mind so imagine if we started a fundraiser we would be amendable to guidance by experts. If we collected money, get information about orderly retreat, to what extent should we be reaching out to you as June comes around when you can assess health of trees. We want to work hand-in-hand.
        1. If there’s a concerted effort to get funding around adopting trees, then we should figure out what is realistic number of trees that could be adopted and then we’d take a walk in certain parks that group is interested in. If think it’ll be 10 trees or 40 trees, walk and see what makes most sense (considering playground, large specimens, etc.). But if you don’t think it’s realistic to save 60 trees, let’s not find 60 trees. Best to get on this sooner rather than later even if funds not all there yet so that we don’t cut down trees. Chemical treatment season runs until end of August. Goal is not to cut down healthy ash trees, but need to move and be efficient.
      23. When do you know if ash has hit over 30-40% of the tree?
        1. Look at the crown. Is it leafed out fully or seeing thinned out canopy? Or general thinning? Parks forestry website gives examples of percentage.
      24. J Chipault brings up that she had a terrace tree treated but it's not looking good. At what frequency are you re-checking?
        1. Street trees are re-assessed every three years now. There are other things that could affect it besides EAB.
          1. MJ Armstrong says this year the late freeze affected ash trees
            1. Yes, ash got hit by freeze because they leaf out early. If not full and healthy by end of June, might be something else.
      25. Big question is how much money do we spend on trees? We have four major parks (Piper only has 2 ash trees and they've been treated because they have blue spray paint so someone adopted them so not worried about that park). Big one is Slater Park.
        1. J Thoreson counted 12 trees near playground equipment.
      26. So what are the next steps?
        1. C Romines say if we are ready to officially adopt a tree, that would be handled by West Parks. Someone would take a walk through a park or parks and identify trees with us. If trunks not wounded and canopy looks full, then adoptable. Then up to adopting folks to contact private arborists and work out price. They send in the form to Parks.
          1. So we need to take a walk through 3 parks.
        2. Talked a bit about this last month and decided we’d get matching funds.
        3. Would be nice to keep the big trees but get some little ones in there.
          1. Maybe it makes sense to save 3, cut 3, and plant 3. Give new trees some years to grow up and then come back and cut down other 3 ash when new trees have provided some shade so not adopting for more rounds.
      27. C Kreimendahl asks if they use satellite or aerial photography to determine what loss there would be.
        1. No. City of Milwaukee has done that. Something Madison is interested in and aware of, but can tell what kind of tree from airplane footage and satellite photos (ash are easy to pick out).
      28. MJ Armstrong asks about adopting care.
        1. Have a lot of great volunteers but not great volunteer coordination. No coordinator on staff. But they can put together a volunteer initiative with us. If we say we’ll take care of trees in parks, they can provide mulch and gator bags and would support that.
      29. How are other trees, like oak trees, doing?
        1. Oaks are as fine as they’ve ever been. No current massive threats. Maple might be the next one to be hit, by the Japanese longhorn beetle. They had it in Chicago a couple of years ago.
      30. If trees are healthy otherwise, they should bounce back from the early freeze?
        1. Yes.
      31. E Rogers says we’ll probably want to put together some group of interested neighbors who would want to participate and be there when we do walk through park. Door knocking or mailers, etc. If interested in helping further, contact E Rogers and he will coordinate.
  6. Neighborhood Picnic - C Kreimendahl
    1. Shortly after last meeting, had confirmed co-coordinators to take over organization and set up for picnic. They both have kids and have done previous similar events. They have met with our previous picnic coordinator, who had point-by-point blueprint of everything. Just sent out postcard today, he thinks, to invite everyone to the picnic. As of a few days ago, don’t have any news. They contacted HyVee and expect they can get them again this year. They have a small number of people who are volunteers for the picnic but anyone else who wants to help out can contact C Kreimendahl and he can forward information to them if you’re willing to help the day of the picnic.
      1. C Rotter already emailed about tables available for use at the picnic.
  7. Announcements – Board
    1. S Fitzsimmons brings up the practice dropping off flyers between doors. Neighbor contacted him and was adamant about MHCA not doing it because it alerts passers-by that the person is not home.
      1. If we stop, we would have to mail them. What would it cost to mail it?
      2. K Reuter-Krohn says a lot of people are locking their screen doors now so can’t put it there.
      3. R Rotter says we’re not the only people who do it, e.g., phone books, fundraisers, etc.
      4. If you go away, ask a neighbor to watch your house.
      5. It's only 7 times a year that we’re delivering.
        1. Could we bundle messenger and membership?
          1. Membership Messenger delivered to everyone, while newsletters delivered every 2 months only go to members.
      6. Could explain to person that we think the personal touch of a person delivering the newsletter to your door is worth something versus mailing it.
      7. Could let them know that it’s May or June that membership messenger comes out so that if they aren't a member, they know when to expect their one annual newsletter.
      8. K Reuter-Krohn says one of her block captains had quite a few apartments and he had no way to get in to deliver newsletter.
        1. MJ Armstrong says often there’s a table
        2. J Chipault says under a rug or under a stone on the stoop is what she has had to do.
    2. T Jarvis says we have about a dozen members already. Had about 10 people use online registration form. One of them said they’d pay by PayPal but didn’t, one said they’d send a check. People are using it.
      1. C Kreimendahl asks T Jarvis to email to ask for help entering information when he gets a lot of forms.
        1. T Jarvis explains that when assigned to the group, can add forms. Until then, can only register yourself. After you’ve registered, he’ll add you to the group to fill other forms.
    3. Have over 500 registered email addresses for the neighborhood watch.
    4. Anything more from Westmorland regarding July 4th?
      1. E Rogers talked with them. There’s something on the front of the newsletter. At last meeting, did move to give $1,000. On their newsletter, they put out a call for volunteers. They’d still be thrilled if we had any business contacts that we could forward their way. But David Blouin hasn’t reached out.
        1. We talked about picking some sort of ride to sponsor
          1. E Rogers relayed that we’d be interested in that but he hasn’t heard back.
    5. Midvale Heights received an award from the Madison Police Department for effort to promote safety in community by supporting the Midtown Station. Also an award to Steve Fitzsimmons for running our neighborhood watch.
      1. S Fitzsimmons says have volunteers now that make neighborhood watch continue to grow. Main thing is communicating. Also have great people in our neighborhood.
      2. J Thoreson encourages future attendance of Madison Police awards program; it was impressive.
    6. E. Rogers remind people to keep your eyes out for new neighbors because this is the time for house turnover. Remember that we have new neighbor welcome packets.
  8. Meeting adjourned at 8:16pm

Notes recorded by J Chipault, secretary