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Red square Map and musical slide show of best holiday lights

The December meeting of the Rancho Murieta Association board of directors started on a seasonal note with the announcement of the winners of the holiday lights contest. The throng of winners came forward to receive placards for their lawns, as well as the board's congratulations and thanks, and then Tuesday's meeting became all business, with updates on the community center project, cable TV costs, and a discussion about partnering with the Country Club for water.

Lights contest winners

Lights winners

RMA Director Tim Maybee, second from left, hands out lawn signs and prizes to winners of the RMA's holiday lights contest.

There are 10 individual winners of the holiday lights contest. On the South, they are Christian and Marie Beckstaiger, Joelle and Walter Gonzales, Steven and Diane Critchlow, Erik and Terri Foster, and James and Rebecca Morales.

The Gonzales and Critchlow homes are show-stoppers on Murieta South Parkway. The Fosters' exuberant display highlights a curved section of Verona, and the Morales bring bright lights and holiday spirit to Albierto. The Beckstaigers celebrate the season with lights on Reynosa Drive.

On the North, the winners are Walter and Marie Dunajski, Ken and Marilyn Johnson, Jeff and Brenda Alexander, Rich and Susan Williams,  and  Mark and Janice Sutherland.

The Dunajskis have delighted big and little kids for years with a train display that takes up the entire front yard of their Anillo Way home, while the brightly decorated Johnson, Alexander and Williams homes  stop traffic on nearby Guadalupe Drive. Toyland is a glowing annual tradition at the Sutherland home on Puerto Drive.

The winners of the group award are Brien and Sharon Spencer, Roger and Laura Noyes, and Don and Cindy Doty. Together, they make Park 11 on Puerto Drive a Santa playground.

For taking the darkest time of the year and making it merry and bright, the individual winners receive $50 prizes and the group winner receives a $100 prize.

Proposed community center and pool update

The board approved extending the ad hoc committee for the community center and pool project through December 2012. The charter was due to expire at the end of this year.  Director Randy Jenco, who heads the committee, said he wasn't certain the entire additional year would be needed.

President Jim Moore said the board discussed an appraisal for the 14-acre Escuela Drive site the committee recommends for the project during executive session and approved having General Manager Nick Arther meet with the property owner and make a purchase offer contingent on membership approval of the project. The $4.5 million project would be financed, operated and maintained by RMA members and requires an affirmative vote by the majority of the membership to proceed.

At last month's meeting, the board approved hiring an appraiser at a cost not to exceed $3,000, but delayed action on the committee's recommendation to hire an architect at a cost not to exceed $5,000.

At Tuesday's meeting, Randy Jenco, chair of the ad hoc committee, said the committee's requirements for the project include a 25-yard-long pool with eight lanes, a tot pool, large multipurpose room, aerobics room, workout room, tot room,  teen room, sitting/reading room, kitchen and other facilities.

Water partnership proposed

Randy Jenco, chair of the Maintenance Committee, said the Country Club brought the committee a proposal to share the club's riparian water rights with the RMA in exchange for help installing and maintaining a larger pump to draw water from the Cosumnes River. "If we could do that, we could actually get enough water to water a third of our common area landscape," Jenco said.

"There's several different advantages to partnering with the Country Club," Maintenance Manager Rod Hart said, and he added that a feasibility study is now being developed by RMA and club staff.

"One of the real positives of this, we're being good neighbors," Jenco said. "We're helping out the Country Club with helping them putting in a pump that they need, and in return we're really getting a super deal on water through their water rights."

In response to a question from Director Sam Somers Sr., Hart said the RMA has water rights that are utilized through the Community Services District. "They supply the water and we have rights which we certainly utilize," Hart said. "But we currently don't pump from the river. Our water rights are delivered to us from the CSD."

Director Tim Maybee asked if the project would have a negative impact on the CSD and Hart said he believed it would have "no effect at all" on the CSD. "Any irrigation that will be replaced with the river water is currently raw water that we're paying a flat rate for out of Laguna Joaquin," Hart explained. "If this all falls into place, we will use less water out of Laguna Joaquin. We're not going to see a savings from that. And we will use water from the water rights of the Country Club, which there's no cost associated (with), so it's almost a wash."

Action on cable TV services

Three-year contracts were approved for local channels that formerly were available for broadcast on the RMA cable system for free and now charge a monthly subscriber fee. Director Martin Pohll said Communications Manager Paul Venturella had done a good job negotiating with local affiliates of NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox and others. President Jim Moore said the negotiations saved $60,000 over the life of the contracts.  Monthly costs per subscriber range from $1.15 for Channels 3 and 58 to 60 cents for KTXL, Moore said.

The board voted not to renew the Spanish-language channel Univision, which had proposed to charge 40 cents per subscriber, a cost of $25,000 over the three-year contract. Instead, the channel will be replaced, and Venturella is putting together a package of foreign-language channels to take to the Communications Committee for consideration next month.

New provider for community directory

The board approved a new vendor for next year's community directory. The revenue-neutral contract with Association Outsource Services Inc. has revenue possibilities, General Manager Nick Arther said.  President Jim Moore said the contract includes enough copies of the directory to include distribution to Murieta Village, which was not supplied with copies this year.

Community map

The board approved spending $5,000 for an updated electronic map of the community.  Architectural Manager Mark Parsons described a map as "a very important tool" that's used every day by Maintenance, Security, Compliance and others working in the community. The updated map will address property line issues, Parsons said.

Driveway parking variances

The Architectural Review Committee denied a request to park two cars in the driveway for Lot 1352 and approved a request for Lot 586 Murieta South.

Exclusive use

The board approved an exclusive use lease for a circle lot. The 116-square-foot common area lease is for a trash enclosure and pool equipment screen wall at Lot 638.  The pool is within the lot boundaries.

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Map of holiday lights

Later today we'll be adding a map of the winning holiday lights.

George Hannum's picture
Joined: 12/21/2011
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Holiday decorating contest oversite

I believe the new fomat for this years contest did not work.Asking participants to have their lights on at a certain time and date and not having a pre sign-up for those interested in participating was a mistake.If the judges took the time to drive down every street it would have been properly judged,but I don't believe they did take the time necessary to view every street.It is quite evident by viewing the map of the winners that they only viewed the main streets and never went down every park.It is quite evident that my house ( 6458 Via Del Cerritos) was not viewed.It took me over 2 weeks to set up my display and it has been called a winter wonderland by numerous viewers.I don't want to sound like a sniveling child and I certainly don't care about the $50.00 prize money (would't put a dent in my SMUD bill),but I do believe that if you are going to have a contest and people put the large amount of time and expenses in to put up a nice display for the whole community to enjoy that they should not be overlooked.I'll get off my soapbox now.George(Santa)Hannum P.S.Hopefully next year will be different.I will continue to put up my display for all to enjoy,especially the KIDS (young & old) 

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