Author Archives: Bob Hogg

BALLOT CHANGES

The ballots for the upcoming board election have been mailed and you should be receiving yours shortly. the procedures for voting have changed this year. I have posted information regarding these changes and my thoughts regarding the candidates in Bob’s Blog. Please take the time to read at least the portion regarding ballot changes before you vote.

Bob Hogg

BALLOTS ARE IN THE MAIL

Your ballots for the 2014 Board of Directors election have been mailed, and you should be receiving yours any day. When your packet arrives, you will notice some differences. The most obvious and important among them is that you will receive a separate ballot and ballot envelope for each week that you own. This is a requirement of Florida law, and while it makes the counting of the votes less complicated, it is much more work for the Secretary and staff to assemble the packets for the owners.

There will be detailed instructions in the packet. Be sure to read and follow them carefully. It is vital that the Proxy goes in the “Proxy” envelope, and that only one ballot is inserted and sealed into each “Ballot” envelope. Please take the time to do this correctly. Make your vote count.

Since this time last year, we have undergone a monumental construction project, including spalling repair, new hurricane resistant windows, sealing the building against water intrusion, parking lot resurfacing and lighting, replacement of the 501 balcony, removal of the sewage treatment plant and connection to the city sewer, and more. I’m told that this project came in under budget and pretty much on time. Furthermore, there are no special assessments on the horizon, and the proposed budget contains no increase for the coming year.

Now to the election: As you may know, there are six candidates for three positions on the board. Two incumbents, President Gary Tucker and Director Alden Corley, and four challengers, Jim Dobbs, former president Marty Shapiro, Mary Smith and Charles Weidner. Their candidate profiles have been posted in the Owners Forum on this website, and will also be included in your packet.

I am personally acquainted with four of the six, and have had communications, either telephone or email, with the other two. I do not believe that any of the candidates are unqualified to sit on our board, but at the same time, I feel that three stand out above the others. The candidates that I support and will be voting for are:

GARY TUCKER: Gary has done an excellent job as President during the last year. He is a very hands-on leader, and acted as project manager during the construction. The contractors around Marathon found out that there was no more “business as usual” with the Hawks Nest. They were held to their timetables and paid only as work progressed. As I remarked in an earlier blog, Gary ruffles a few feathers, even those of some other members of the board, but as President, he was absolutely the person we needed at the time we needed him.

He is finishing his first two-year term on the board, the last year as president. Gary tells me that he wants to serve one more term on the board and then intends to move aside for new blood.

CHARLES WEIDNER: Charlie hopes to replace our outgoing Treasurer, Mike Oostmeyer. Mike has served us very well as Treasurer since 2010, but is now retiring from the board.

In many ways, the Treasurer’s position is the most important on the board, and it isn’t often that a candidate is qualified to hold that position, and even more infrequent that one is willing. Fortunately for us, Charlie is such a candidate. He has a strong background in finance, and has considerable experience performing the duties of Treasurer for a large industry association, and with other non-profit organizations. In addition, Charlie has a degree in engineering, which will be helpful with future projects around the Hawks Nest.

JAMES DOBBS: I have known Jim for many years as he and I own at the same time here at the Hawks Nest. Jim is an attorney in Columbus, Ohio, and has extensive experience sitting on boards of directors, including as president of the condominium where he resides, and several church boards as well.

Jim feels that it is of utmost importance that plans be laid to perform maintenance and upgrades to the property on a systematic basis.

As his candidate profile indicates, Jim has been urged several times to run for the board. My experience with Jim Dobbs is that he is a smart, capable person who will be an active and engaged member of the board if he is elected.

Please consider voting for these three individuals when you return your ballot. The Hawks Nest is on a roll, so to speak, and I believe these three are the best choices to continue us down that path.

But most important, no matter which candidates you support, PLEASE VOTE!

–Bob Hogg

CANDIDATE PROFILES

ALDEN CORLEY
My wife, Nancy, and I have owned property at Hawks Nest since 1991. We currently own 4 weeks and enjoy every minute of it. As a board member for 10 years I have observed many improvements at the Hawks Nest. The board intends to continue with the needed and/or desired improvements. In the past we have endured heavy damage to the building due to age or severe weather. The building is nearing 40 years old so we are going to have to be vigilant in keeping things repaired so it will last many more years.
I am able to visit the Hawks Nest at least 6 weeks a year. During these trips I have been able to check on the progress of the needed maintenance programs. I was there when the new windows were being installed, the spalling was being replaced and when a contractor came to discuss the paving of the parking lot. I was able to communicate with Gary (board president) and contractors to resolve problem issues quickly and efficiently.
The board has a list of how and when matters are going to be achieved to keep the Hawks Nest a friendly, safe and family oriented “home away from home”. We (the board) need more owners to become involved. There are over 800 owners and if they know what maintenance problems we are having with the building and they can fix it or know someone who can for a reasonable reduced rate for the Hawks Nest it would certainly help.
I want to keep the maintenance fees low and have special assessments only when absolutely necessary. I have 25 years’ experience in construction and have been on the board for 10 years. I would like to stay on the board to keep it going in the right direction. Please vote.

JAMES B. DOBBS
My wife Debbie and I purchased our first unit week at the Hawks Nest in November 1975 after taking advantage of the “Love It or Leave It” sales campaign that was offered at that time. We now own weeks 11 and 12 in March. The Hawks Nest has been a very important part of our lives for almost 40 years. Our children and grandchildren have been enjoying it as well. Over the years I have been asked on several occasions to run for the Board. I have declined because I did not feel that I could spare the time that the position would require. However, I believe that the time has come for me to seek this responsibility.
I have been a practicing attorney in Columbus, Ohio for 44 years. I have extensive experience working on boards of directors and trustees. I am currently serving as president of the Board of Managers of the condominium association where we live, chair of the Executive Council and chair of the Trustees of our church. I have been directly involved in constitution and bylaw creation and revision in each of those capacities. I have served on the board of trustees of three different theological seminaries. I have served as the managing general partner of a 35 unit apartment complex. I enjoy working on boards with other people who are well motivated to make the organization work efficiently and to always have a systematic plan in place to provide funding for proper maintenance, upkeep and renovation while at the same time using cost effective methods to achieve those goals and keep the dues reasonable.
I very much appreciate the work that has been done by our current Hawks Nest board this past year to repair structural damage to the building and re-painting the exterior along with the re-painting the hallways and extending and repaving the parking lot. It looks great! I would like us to now work on the interior of the units themselves. I would like to see more continuity in the units. For example, some of the units, especially on the 2nd floor have the original 1975 vanities and fixtures in the bathrooms while the units on the other floors have newer ones. I really believe that we can update some of these items without spending a great deal of money. I would very much appreciate your vote.

DR. MARTIN SHAPIRO
I have been an original Hawks Nest owner for 36 years and find it one of my greatest joys. I currently own 7 weeks. I was president of the Hawks Nest Board of Directors for 6 years and Vice President for 15 years. I am currently President and C.E.O. of W&O Associates in Wildwood, N.J. I have been a board member and served as President of N.J.A.A. for over 25 years. I received a BA degree from Upsala College and I am a graduate of Columbia College of Chiropractic in New York City. I am a licensed chiropractor in the State of Florida. I have also designed and built 3 commercial properties. Some of my accomplishments at the Hawks Nest were winning over one million dollars from our insurance company for hurricane damages which funded most of the improvements done this past year. It also led to the heating of our pool and many other numerous upgrades that have taken place to our building.
The Hawks Nest is very important to me. I will ensure frequent and timely communication is carried out to all owners. My utmost interest will be to preserve each owner’s investment while maintaining a constant vigil on necessary upkeep, repair and to keep expenses to a minimum. Please take time to vote as each vote is very important for the future and success of the Hawks Nest and our investment. Thank you for your past and future support and confidence.

MARY SMITH
My name is Mary Smith and I have been enjoying the Hawks Nest during the 38th week of the year since 1990.
I currently own units 206 and 504 for that week, and I’m in the process of obtaining a third unit this year.
 
I am entering my 30th year in real estate and I am currently employed with Remax International Realty. I currently sell waterfront property along the east coast of Florida where I reside in Ormond Beach.
 
I feel with my professional background and the love I have for the Hawks Nest, I would make a great contribution to the Board of Directors. I look forward to serving you.

GARY TUCKER
My name is Gary Tucker, I have been on the board for two years, served as your Vice President and have served this past year as your President. My wife and I have owned six (6) weeks for many years. I am the proud owner of a construction company since 1976 and I currently work for the county where I live as a Supervisor for the past 22 years where I oversee most of the contracted service out for bid. In my current job as Supervisor my duties include writing bid specks for jobs, review and award bids, working with budgets and oversee contractors to be sure they follow engineer specks, finish on time and within budget. I am against special assessments and I am for holding the maintenance fees to a minimum. When interviewing for a job or trying to be elected to a board you have to sell yourself therefore with this said, I felt I could help get some projects moving and save money. Prior to my election, the board allowed me to look at proposed roof replacement at a cost of over $50,000.00. I proceeded to get an engineer’s report and was able to get the needed repairs done for $6,000.00. I then decided it was time to run for the Board. I set a goal to get the Hawks Nest building to a safe structural state, sealed up water tight so we didn’t spend $30,000.00 in water cleanup and damages to our units with each major rain storm. We have been under construction for over a year, concrete repairs have been made, new hurricane windows installed, building painted, new parking lot lights installed as needed, paved parking lot and was able to gain (3) three additional guest parking spaces. There have been interior upgrades, painting, safes installed in the units and just too many other items to mention I worked as project manager on most of the projects and with the help of the board and staff we saved around $700,000.00 compared to repair estimate cost and the pending contracts on hand. Proud to say this was all accomplished with no special assessment and none planned in the near future plus in three (3) years the maintenance fees have only been raised $25.00. Our operating budget has come in under budget the last three years and our reserves are sound. For me to continue and meet some of my goals I need your support. It is my pleasure and honor to serve all the proud owners of the Hawks Nest. Sincere Thanks, Gary

CHARLES WEIDNER
After trading in for several years with Interval, my wife Barbara and I purchased two weeks November Weeks at the Hawks Nest in 2001. We enjoy our two weeks very much. In 2013 we relocated to Florida (Bradenton Area) and may well add two or three more weeks since it is now so accessible by car.
My background as a graduate Civil Engineer with an MBA in Finance, has assisted me as a Registered Professional Engineer in both the Public and Private Sectors for almost 50 years. I have an extensive background in design, permitting, specification writing and contract administration. I believe that I can help keep costs down, keeping maintenance fees low while improving our weeks at the Hawks Nest.
I have served as Treasurer of the New York Chapter of a Multinational Organization for over 15 years. During that time the Treasury has grown from a few thousand dollars to over $150,000. This was done mostly by carefully watching expenses. It is important to spend money correctly. I believe that the current Board shares my concerns and I hope to work with them to effectuate a further improvement at the Hawks Nest.

UPCOMING ELECTION

As of midnight Tuesday, the deadline for owners wishing to run for the board of directors has passed. While I have not seen the list of candidates with my own eyes, my understanding of the candidates who filed for the three available seats is as follows in alphabetical order: Alden Corley, James Dobbs, Martin Shapiro, Mary Smith, Gary Tucker and Charles Weidner.

I know most of these people personally, but have not yet seen the candidate profiles that each submitted to the office. As always, I am offering to post those profiles or any other information the candidates choose to submit, on this website for all to see. They can either post the information themselves, or send it to me in electronic form, and I will see that it is posted.

I have a good idea of who I am voting for, but will wait to see the profiles before making a final decision. I will post my thoughts in a blog next week.

André Briche

Carl Eiberger notified me yesterday of the death of his good friend, long-time Hawks Nest owner and Owners Group member, André Briche. I didn’t know André personally, although I did correspond with him via email on several occasions. Click here for a link to André’s obituary:

Bob – Where Have You Been?

That’s a good question, especially since the answer is “At the Hawks Nest”. Usually, when I arrive here, I get much more active writing my blog, since I am then reminded of all the things good (and sometimes not so good) that are going on down here. This year I’ve just been lazy. No excuses.

I can tell you that the Hawks Nest looks better to me than it ever has since my first visit in 1979. We had a miserable year of repairs, construction, painting, etc., but that’s all over for now, and it was worth it!

Where should I start? Probably the most important accomplishment is getting the spalling back under control. This was a huge project. We’re never going to be entirely done addressing the spalling, but right now, at least, we’re caught up with it, and hopefully it will be a while before it rears its ugly head again. Along with the spalling, the problems we had with water infiltration into the units in wet weather appears to have been resolved. After all that was done, the exterior of the building was completely repainted.

Another obvious improvement is the installation of the new impact-resistant windows. As a result, we no longer have those clunky shutters on the front of the building. Well, except those on the sliding doors which haven’t been replaced yet.

Probably the most unsightly feature of the Hawks Nest, the sewage treatment plant, has also been removed, as we are now connected to the municipal sewer. The parking lot has been repaved and striped, and lo and behold, the lights in the parking lot actually work!

The hallways have all been painted, and just this week, the laundry room has been repainted and spruced up. The maintenance staff is in the process of painting the interiors of the units, especially where the drywall has been patched around the new windows.

In the “needs improvement” category, the furniture is showing its age, not to mention the kitchens and bathrooms. I’m told that the board is now working on a comprehensive plan to address these items and much more, and expects to approve and implement it at their May meeting.

The best feature of the Hawks Nest is, as it should be, the staff. We have not had as good a group keeping things running down here ever. From the housekeepers to the maintenance men to the office staff, all are doing a fabulous job keeping everything looking good and running well.

All of them did their jobs under very trying conditions during all the construction, and deserve our thanks.

Lastly, all of this has been made possible by our board of directors, President Gary Tucker, Vice President Lew Werth, Treasurer Mike Oostmeyer, Secretary Rosemary Smith, and directors Kathy Clausen, Alden Corley and Laura Nettleton-West. They also deserve our congratulations and thanks for bringing this year-long project in under budget and without any special assessments on the horizon.

Well, that’s all for now. You probably have already received your first notice of the annual meeting which will again be held in May. When I find out who all is running, I will as always, offer each of the candidates space here to make their case for your support. I’ll be interested to see their comments myself.

Kristin Update

There hasn’t been a lot of news about Kristin so far, but I can tell you she is home from the hospital with her jaw wired shut. Apparently she stopped by the Hawks Nest today for a couple of minutes. I didn’t see her, but I’m told she seems to be feeling pretty good. No news about when she is coming back to work, but Jay, Carmen and the crew are doing a good job holding down the fort. More later.

Kristin’s Accident

I’m sorry to report that the Hawks Nest General Manager, Kristin Herbst, was involved in an automobile accident on Saturday. As I understand it, a hit-and-run driver sideswiped her in or around Big Pine Key, where she lives.

As of 10:00 this morning, Monday, I’m told she is in recovery following surgery to repair her broken jaw. As far as I know, that is her most serious injury. She has been speaking with Jay and the head housekeeper, Carmen, by telephone over the last few days. For anyone who wishes to send her a get-well card, you can send it to her c/o The Hawks Nest, 1 Kyle Way S. Marathon, FL 33050.

On a lighter note, Sue & I have been down here for a week, and the building looks better than it ever has since I first came here in 1979. I will post more on my blog shortly.

The Bridge to Nowhere (Almost)

There is an article in the Key West Citizen today reporting that the City of Marathon, Monroe County and the Florida Department of Transportation have tentatively agreed on a plan to save the old 7 Mile Bridge out to Pigeon Key.

As most of you probably know, the bridge has serious structural problems which caused the state to close it to all traffic except pedestrian and bicycle, and even that was in danger of ending once it was determined that the problems were even worse than first thought. For example, there are apparently underwater holes in some of the concrete supports large enough for a SCUBA diver to swim through. The cost to repair the bridge and maintain it for the next 30 years has been projected to top $77 million.

That’s a lot of money, and the State of Florida initially suggested that the title to the bridge be transferred to Monroe County, and that the county be responsible for all the costs of renovation and maintenance. You can imagine how that went over.

One of the big heros in all of this is the group, “Friends of Old Seven”. They have been raising money tirelessly, showing up at meetings about the bridge, and generally keeping the issue on the front burner. If you have walked the bridge the last couple of years, you have probably seen a member of this group selling T-shirts and collecting donations. I think everybody realized that they would never sell enough t-shirts or collect enough donations to raise $77 million, but the publicity surrounding the effort apparently had its effect.

This is not yet a done deal. According to the Citizen, the City of Marathon and Monroe County are meeting soon to approve the deal. What worries me is that no real mention was made of the state, other to say that they are the ones to propose the overall agreement. No mention was made of any appropriations being made, so we’ll see if the State follows through with its offer.