Community Classifieds

Community Classifieds and a park map are now posted at the end of the current page. Scroll all the way down to see the Classifieds and a map of Leisure World.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Memorial Day Gathering


Photos courtesy of Maria Gray 




Maria Gray caught several snapshots of the Leisure World crowd enjoying the fellowship of their friends and neighbors. Blimpie subs, and lots of delicious finger foods, helped enhance the conversation as they gathered to remember and honor those who have died in the past year...and to offer special recognition to the present and past service men and women.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

CORRECTION AND APOLOGY!

Thanks to Pat D'Hoker for her prompt note advising of an error in our Necrology report. The photo shown and dates listed for Doug Beauchamp are totally incorrect! I was not personally acquainted with Doug and relied on information I gleaned from the internet. That information was incorrect! The photo and dates are of a completely different Doug Beauchamp.
Leisure World's Doug Beauchamp was born on May 1, 1943 and passed away June 12, 2013. It was his expressed wish that there be no obituary printed in the newspaper, and there is no photo immediately available. Our sympathy goes to Doug's family and friends on his loss.
I extend my own personal apology to all for the misinformation which I presented in the photo collage and on the Leisure World Blog. The error is mine, and mine alone.  Dave Slater

Monday, May 26, 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014

Sad News for Leisure World

We lost another long time resident when Merle Lenz passed away from a heart attack on Tuesday, May 20th. Merle will be sorely missed by his many friends and the many organizations for which he was a mainstay over his years here in Leisure World. The folks at Mable's clinic, the many scholarship recipients from the Mexican Children's Refuge program, his associations through his church and the Leisure World Chapel...all will miss his support and guidance, as will his many close personal friends.
Funeral services are scheduled for North Isanti Baptist Church in Cambridge, Minnesota, on Saturday, May 31st at 5:00 pm. Memorial services will be scheduled here in Leisure World and in Mexico next February.
Cards may be sent to Darlene and the family in care of their daughter, Laurie Dochniak, 3930 324th Ave. NE, Cambridge, MN 55008.
If you have any questions you may direct them to daughter Laurie Dochniak (763) 670-0084 or daughter Dianne Coyne (612) 644-0079.

Managers' Advice On Appraisal Protest Process

During the past week we’ve received numerous phone calls regarding the 2014 NOTICE OF APPRAISED VALUE received by our Resident Home Owners.  The assessed value of the homes in Leisure World increased dramatically from 2013 to 2014, the result being a 50% to 80% increase in taxes.   

Danny had a lengthy phone conference with a Representative from the Hidalgo County Appraisal District, who explained at length why the increase happened and the best way for Home Owners to appeal the increase.

This document is a summary of that meeting along with details we hope will help you take advantage of the appeal process.

If anyone needs help filling out forms online or has questions that aren’t addressed in this document, please call Cindy at 956.968.8412 or 956.532.9024.  It’s very important that all appeals be submitted before the deadline of June 2nd 2014.


WHY IS THE INCREASE SO DRAMATIC?
All Counties in Texas are regulated by the State.  Counties maintain a Cost Schedule that is updated every 3 years to reflect the current market value of the various types of property.  This Cost Schedule is one of the tools Appraisers use to calculate the taxes reflected on the yearly NOTICE OF APPRAISED VALUE.

Hidalgo County fell behind and had not performed a thorough update to their Cost Schedule since 1998.  The State of Texas intervened, ordering that the Cost Schedule be updated to reflect the current market value of property.   

For 15 years taxes have been calculated on a schedule that didn’t reflect current market values and Property Owners have been paying taxes at a lower rate than should have been applied.  The County cannot go back and adjust previous years, which means Home Owners have been getting a break.  Starting in 2014 the Cost Schedule has been updated and the dramatic increase is the result of the 15 year gap.

Also, it’s important to note that this increase applies to everyone in Hidalgo County, not just mobile home owners.  Mobile home parks are not being singled out and Winter Texans are definitely not being singled out.


HOW THE TAXES ARE CALCULATED
Your taxes are based on 100% market value, with 2% depreciation per year, for a maximum total depreciation of 36%.

The market value is based on various factors; which includes:
  • The NADA (National Auto Dealership Association) values.
  • Local Home Sale Comparison
  • Actual improvements made to the home
    • Room Additions
    • 2nd Roofs
    • Sheds
    • Carports
    • Decks & Exterior  Improvements
  • Verified sales of properties.
  • Information obtained from on-site inspections.
  • Building permits.
  • Discovery forms.
  • Quality & method of construction.
  • Materials used.
  • Actual construction cost data.
  • Closing statements.
  • Fee appraisals.
  • Aerial photography.
  • Mapping changes and surveys.
 
The county hires an independent firm to prepare a Market Analysis Report on a regular basis.  This report is used to modify the Cost Schedule every 3 years; which determines the appraised assessed values.
 
If you take a careful look at your current Notice of Appraised Value, you will notice a Tax Rate applied to the proposed assessment for each Taxing Unit. The taxing units are for school districts, drainage districts, local city and appraisal district, and the tax rate is determined by our local elected officials.   The tax rate fluctuates very little.  The appraised value changes on a yearly basis.
 

TAXING MOBILE HOMES
The County fully understands a mobile home depreciates in value and this is taken into account. However, they also know that for years, Home Owners have been paying lower taxes.  If you protest based on incorrect valuation of your home and any improvements that have been made, you may be able to get the appraised value revised. 

 
THE PROTEST PROCESS
The last notice you received included a PROPERTY APPRAISAL – NOTICE OF PROTEST Form 50-132.  Fill out and submit the form prior to the deadline of June 2nd 2014.  The form can also be filled out electronically at the following link.  http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxforms/50-132.pdf.

·          Please do not try to go directly to a hearing, follow the process.  Filling out the NOTICE OF PROTEST is the first thing you should do and the best way to get what you want.

·          Look closely at the square footages indicated on your appraisal and make sure they are correct.

·          In STEP 3 of the protest, Value is Over Market Value will most likely be the reason for your protest.   You will need to paint a picture of your home as being of lesser value than indicated on the appraisal.  Double check the square footages, quality of construction is poor, materials used were of lesser quality, etc.  However, be very careful to be honest.  If you’ve put a lot of work into your home and used top quality materials with solid construction they will know you aren’t being truthful.

·         Once the form is filed you will receive a phone call from a member of the appraisal review board.  It’s very important that you respond to their calls.  They will attempt to contact you 2 times, no more.  If there is no response they will consider you a “No Show” and your case will be closed.

·         When you talk to someone:  Leave emotion out, be respectful, and talk only about your home.  The county knows how much your neighbor’s home sold for.  Be organized, have facts not hearsay, get to the point quickly and clearly, do not complain, and be honest and reasonable.  This will give you the best chance for a Statement & Waiver to reduce your valuation; and therefore, your taxes.

Danny & I hope this will help you if you choose to protest.  As of yesterday, we know of one Resident who has successfully protested and received a reduction by following these procedures.

Please give us a call if you have any questions or need further help.  Danny - 956.532.9078,
Cindy - 956.532.9024.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Trip To Wisconsin

Dick and Phyllis spent a week in Wisconsin to celebrate Mothers Day, daughter's birthday and then had the privilege of attending their granddaughter's college graduation.  Dani Rae graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Madison on  May 17, 2014.
She graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology, and a Minor in Global Health.
The school's mascot is the Badger - kissing his nose is suppose to bring you good luck.

All the graduates decorated their caps.  Dani Rae used the symbol for DNA.
Of course us Grandparents (Dick and Phyllis) were quite proud of our granddaughter as she worked very hard in four years for this degree.
All the "students" would set on "Lincoln's" lap and rub his nose - this was another good luck practice.
 
Dani Rae plans to stay in Madison, to continue her education in the medical field. 
 
There were over 7,000 graduating students at the Camp Randall Stadium.  This picture only shows about half of the students. Although we were prepared for cool weather, we did appreciate the bright sunny day for this ceremony. What a great day. 
 

Happy Anniversary!

Len & Darlene Crandall celebrated their 35th Wedding Anniversary this week with a romantic dinner for two - Congratulations!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

MY APOLOGIES

I wrote an article on BIG DADDYS a couple of days ago, I guess I just couldn't get the word FAT DADDY out of my mouth. I have never been to a BIG DADDYS in Weslaco, only a FFFAAATTT DADDYS. And where did they come up with that name?

The Monitor - Letter to the Editor, 5/20/14


Monday, May 19, 2014

Leisure World Gimps Marathon

A couple of them are on the mend.  The one in the golf cart is beyond help! (Teddy (Staton's dog) is hidden by the dirty windshield as he bums a ride home during the race!)

BIG DADDY

     Last Thursday evening we ate at Big Daddy's. I was just wondering where they ever came up with that name. Not that it matters, I was just curious and I won't tell you my thoughts on that either. I  never counted, but as far as I know, I took a picture of every single person that was there, which would be 32. We had a wonderful evening and even if it weren't wonderful, this happy bunch has a way of knowing how to make it just that. We always have fun together. The food was fantastic, and as always, a lot of people had to take some home because there is always to much food  
 
 I have to tell you a little story about that place. The first time I ever ate there, I was use to carrying my coffee cup all over the house as I worked during the day, so when I went to leave that place that night, I had my coffee cup in my hand and preceded to go out the door and the manager came over and  ask me if I was going to take the cup of coffee with me, I was so embarrassed. So I didn't order coffee the other night, I was afraid I would run off with the cup.
                                                            Love those smiling faces

                                                      Jim with some of his family

                                                         Jerry always has a great smile

                                                            The three musketeers

                         Some people can't stand to look at me, they have to close their eyes

                                                                Talk about happy



                                                           Foxy looks froze in time



                                                          The evenings" Love Birds"
                                                 I had to play with my food (onion)
                                Now you see that we have fun! Did you see all those smiles? And most of the pictures were taken before we received any of our food. I wanted to catch them before their mouths were all open and they were chewing.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mothers' Day 2014

The recreation hall was the site for a fiesta celebrating Mothers' Day on Sunday. The event was planned and presented by Alma and Tony Antonacci.  As fiesta time approached, they took a quiet moment to review the plan.




The ladies started arriving and filling up the table. A total of 22 of them were present.






Once all the ladies and their escorts were seated Dave Slater presented a brief biography of each of the ladies present. With the exception of Robin Flinton and Maria Gray who he had been unable to interview.






Next came the food ...with the caterer offering up enchiladas, charo beans, quesadillas, and spanish rice.































Cake and ice cream followed, and then 








Alma and Tony demonstrated a couple of Mexican dances.












































Everyone enjoyed the afternoon as we honored those mothers in attendance!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Wally & Lorna's Extended Trip Home


We are a we bit late in getting on the blog and reporting on our wonderful trip from Weslaco to home. With Tax time, getting a new computer up and running and the usual restocking of the pantry we have been as busy as beavers. So here is our story.

We departed Leisure World April 5 to Cypress, TX a NW suburb of Houston to visit daughter Brenda, Son in Law Duane and Grandson Dylan. We had a great time with our visit and then departed on the 9th for New Orleans. Since this was our first visit to the Big Easy we found the I-10 quite interesting with several places where we were on raised causeways passing over swamps for several miles. We did a cursory French Quarter (FQ) tour of New Orleans Louisiana (NOLA) when we arrived to get the lay of the land. We had a 11am Segway tour booked and wanted to make sure we knew where to go! Then off to the motel for a good rest.
The next morning we went to the FQ again and parked the car. Wow! Parking rates are $15 for the first two hours and $10 for every 2 hours after. That sounds as bad as New York. We went to the Segway place and both learned how to ride within their building. Lorna was having problems with her legs so she opted out of the tour. The 2 hour guided tour took me throughout the FQ and into the Katrina flooded area to the north. What a way to visit a new city. We lucked out as the annual FQ Festival was starting today and would carry on through the weekend. This was going to be fun. After the tour we paid our $25 parking. Those parking rates were a wee bit high so we drove 3 or 4 miles north and found parking for $3 for a 24 hour period. Then we got RTA 24-hour passes on the Streetcar and busses for $3 each. 9 bucks for 24 hours sounded much better.
Wally on the Segway

Canal Street Streetcar
The festival had 6 stages going on Thursday, 9 on Friday and 27 going over the weekend. The music was all free and fantastic. We really enjoyed it but would recommend a bag chair to relieve the standing around. Thousands of people were milling about in the parks along the Mississippi. We dined at the Chartres House in the FQ. It was very good with a fabulous beer menu!

 On Friday we repeated the Canal Street parking-streetcar adventure and took part again in some of the music. In the afternoon we headed to the St Louis #1 Cemetery where several above group tombs dated into the early 17th century. Then we toured Chino square where blacks gather on Sundays after church for conversation and flea markets. Next to that is the Municipal Auditorium which has sat empty since Katrina. The roof leaked and ruined everything inside. It is a gorgeous stone building but I guess is too expensive to renovate! Also here is Armstrong park named after Louis “Sachmo” Armstrong a native son. BTW NOLA population fell after Katrina from over a million to less than 200,000. Today it is slowly picking up to half a million however there are still many empty buildings and many renovations going on.
Lorna Flirting with the Jester

A Family Tomb in The St Louis Cemetary
Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong with Horn and Hankie


Black Celebration on Chino Square

By mid afternoon we headed to our timeshare in Gautier, MS. Our condo is older but well maintained and is surrounded by the Hickory Hill Golf Course. We played two games, one at this course on Sunday, and the other at the fabulous Davis Love designed Shell Landing course on Wednesday. The other days we toured the Gulf Coast. 

Monday started out nice so we headed west on US90 along the gulf coast! Incredible wide white sand beaches from Biloxi to Gulfport and more! Hawaii has nothing like this! Many vacant home lots along the beach because of Katrina. Spent time @ the Biloxi visitors centre and lighthouse. Watched a movie about Katrina. Some places along this coast had 38 foot high waves of water and 6,000 buildings gone in Biloxi alone! Then we made a loop of I-10 and US90 to Bay St. Louis. It started heavy rain about 4:30. I took Lorna to the Hard Rock Cafe and Casino in Biloxi for her birthday dinner. Great beer & ribs! Then torrential rain on way back to the condo about 7:30! There was about 6 inches of water getting out of car and on sidewalks. Switched on the TV and news with a story about 30 RV's flipped over by winds in a RV park about 2 miles from us. We never even had a small branch off the trees where we were. 
SUV Under Wreckage of Trailer

 Tuesday it was windy and cool and overcast following the storm last night. Then the sun came out around noon and we decided to do some more touring. Our first stop was the Santa Maria RV park. We took several pictures. Most damaged were 5th wheels and holiday trailers. There were several motorhomes in the park but at most they sustained only minor damage if at all! Since the wind came at around 7:30 pm, most people were in their rigs when the wind hit. Amazingly there were only minor injuries such as bruises and cuts. The Red Cross and Salvation Army were on site helping out. We just can't visualize the power of Katrina.

Ripped from the Frame



Car Under 5th Wheel













Good Price on a Used Denali






































Thursday we toured east through Mobile, AL and into Pensacola, FL. Mobile is a vibrant city with lots of ship traffic. The beaches in Pensacola are even whiter than those in Biloxi. Even with a strong breeze and overcast skies there were still many beach goers.

Pensacola White Sand Beaches
On Friday we checked out and headed to Memphis, TN for our first day north. We spent the evening on the world famous Beale Street, “home of the blues.” It is a 7 or 8 block area that has blues and roots music everywhere, in outside venues, restaurants and bars throughout. Everything is free except your meals and drinks. We dinned and enjoyed BB Kings Blues Club  with fabulous electric blues music!


The rest of the trip home was uneventful with overnights in Council Buffs and Portage La Prairie, MB. We then overnighted in Saskatoon to visit with Lorna’s sisters and families.