Newsletter May 2014

Newsletter May 2014

Can They Do That? Part 1


We live in a society where we try to get along with everyone but occasionally we have a disagreement with a neighbor or someone else’s neighbor. And of course we are always the one in the right! Actually you may be, but as happens sometimes, the law and rules don’t always support our own particular (peculiar) point of view.

Robert Fulgham wrote a book entitled “All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” One of those things is “play fair.” Maybe either you or your neighbor didn’t read or heed. To find out if the rules (laws) do what you want them to do, you can do a little research online. Also your local library is an excellent resource if you don’t have a computer or your computer is too slow in finding things; go there, sign up, and wait your turn for an allocated 30 minutes of some of the fastest responses in the city; and the library has helpers that know more than you can imagine.

Most laws are online and the city of San Antonio is no exception. You can see all the city ordinances. (Note 1.)


For instance, did you know that all dogs have to be on a leash when outside the owners dwelling. Worse yet, your poor cats HAVE to be neutered if you can’t keep them locked up in the house. (Sec. 5-151. Outdoor cats. All outdoor cats must be spayed or neutered.) Do you do that? Do your neighbors do that? Well, it’s the law.

Junk Vehicles

Part 2, Chapter 19, Article X covers junked vehicles, with the definition included of course. Your neighbor may think you drive a junk vehicle just because it is old and has a few dings, but in the eyes of the city of San Antonio, these small blemishes do make it a junk vehicle. On the other hand, if it’s inoperable and the registration expires, your neighbor’s opinion would be shared by a new, uniformed friend from the city. But on the other hand, keep it at least 25 years and your friend might define it as “antique.” So then you’d be driving a classic, antique (non- junk) vehicle!

Permitted Uses

Often time we are faced with issues regarding our neighbor’s house or what they may be doing with it. There are some things that you can’t control but you can find out a lot about them and use that to your advantage. Our District 8 councilman’s office recently helped us with some questions about permitted land use and sent us a link to a helpful guide. (Note 2.)

Bexar County Information

If you what to find out how much tax your neighbor is paying on that mansion he lives in, go to Bexar County Appraisal District (BCAD) page. (Note 3.) This is public information, just as the same information for your mansion is. Don’t get me wrong, if you choose to protest your taxes, don’t tell them your neighbor needs to pay more; tell them you need to pay less based on what others in similar circumstances are paying. Check it out. You may find that you are being taxed on a fireplace that you don’t have.

Use of House for Business

If you suspect that your neighbor’s house is being used as a business, instead of a single family residence like yours, and you think it shouldn’t be, you can look up their address and verify how it is coded in the BCAD. If there is doubt, call 311, give them the particulars, and let them help you decide whether a violation is occurring.


Since there is way too much information to include in one newsletter, we’ll try to provide more the next time around. Good luck and may your neighbors always be good friends!

If either a city or county code is being violated you may get some assistance from our local representatives.

Jimmy Turner

1. See
2. See
3. See

Cody Library

Early voting for the Primary Runoff Elections will be held at Cody starting Monday, May 19 thru Friday, May 23, 8 AM – 8 PM.

Cody’s new Express Collection is a hit with customers. The Express Collection features the more popular titles and bestsellers in books and movies. If you haven’t checked out the Express Collection, you should stop in and find your next read!

The library has unveiled two new eReading rooms for children and teens. These customized websites are attractive and easier to use in locating digital titles for children and teens. To access the Children’s and Teen’s eReading rooms visit

• Children
• Teens

The Cody Library is also offering Nexus 7 tables for customers to check out for seven days. You can use it for digital downloads, such as Overdrive and IndieFlix, other Google Play apps, or just to familiarize yourself with a tablet.

Bring out your kids for a special story time on May 18 at 11am. As part of the District 8 book Drive, Councilman Nirenberg will be sharing his love of literature by reading to the children.

In May, the Cody Library will be gearing up for summer reading. The Library will be offering reading programs for all ages. This year’s program is “Fizz! Boom! Read!” which focuses on science and encourages people to explore their world through reading. Registration will begin June 1. Also keep an eye out for all of the special programs that will be happening at the library throughout the summer.

For a list of upcoming Cody events, visit

Hayley Latshaw

Hello All

We are about to kick off another scorching summer at Colonies House Pool and Tennis Club!

We expect this summer to be a great one. The pool will open on May 23, 2014. Our first open house of the summer is on May 24, 2014. Admission is free and absolutely everyone is welcome. We have many activities planned, including Bingo and a washers tournament. So, bring your families, invite your neighbors and friends and let’s have a great kick‐off party.

This year we will be hosting many different activities including water aerobics, exercise classes in the banquet hall, volleyball tournaments, dive-in movies and after hours adults only parties. Please take a look at our website for information regarding membership, swim team, events and activities. Membership is very affordable and most definitely worth the money. You can contact Theresa Walsh with membership questions at 210- 286-3593 or you can email her at

We plan to publish a newsletter once a month in an effort to make sure you know what we have going on at the Colonies House. We will distribute our newsletter in printed format and via email. If you, or someone you know, would like to be added to our e‐mail list, send me a message at

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at the above email. Thank you

Raul Perales


Review of Fort Wilderness Campground, Walt Disney World, Orlando

One thing you can always say for certain is that Disney knows how to do it right. My family spent Spring Break this year camping at Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

Right from the start the experience was excellent. After making our reservations online, Disney sent us a package containing welcome information about our stay that included a flash drive with a movie explaining the new wrist bands.  Fort Wilderness Campground
During check-in, the staff, I mean “Cast Members,” were very polite and helpful and they had a Concierge available to help us with any request. How many campgrounds have you visited that have a Concierge? It felt like checking into an upscale hotel rather than a campground honestly. The reception desk was very well manned even though we arrived
around 10 PM. Our site and personalized wrist bands were waiting for us on arrival. The check-in process was quick and efficient and set us up to hit the ground running for our week long vacation.

The campground is constantly kept clean by a largely unseen army of staffers. As soon as one of our neighbors would pull off their spot, two men would show up to wash down the area in preparation for the next guests. During breakfast I saw a street sweeper drive through the loop. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a street sweeper in a campground before. Disney really prides itself in having a clean campground.

Each site was reasonably far from its neighbors as campgrounds go. I never felt “right on top” of neighboring campers but I wouldn’t call it roomy or secluded either. Our site was rather deep and narrow but that didn’t seem to be the overall pattern. The sites were all paved with an adjoining dirt/gravel tenting area and had the usual full hookups – sewer, water and power.
Garbage cans and recycling bins were placed about every third site. The sites were arranged in loops and each loop I saw had a “Comfort Station” with showers, restrooms, ice and laundry readily available. The comfort stations I used were very nice with tiled showers and were always kept very clean. They also had plenty of hot water! There are over 600 sites available on a tiered pricing system – Premium, Preferred and Full-hookup. We were on a Premium site. They also have tent and pop-up sites available and a large number of cabins for rent. If you travel over a high-demand time, such as Spring Break, you may pay a premium for your site.

Since the campground is so large, Disney provides buses that run from early in the morning until well after the last park closes. There are bus stops at the entrance to most loops or group of loops. Buses run throughout the campground at about 20 minute intervals so if you just miss one there can be a bit of a wait. The campground also has tons of 4 person golf carts and a few 6 person ones for rent starting at $60 per day. After just missing buses the first 2 days, we rented a golf cart, which was really worth the extra cost. Bus transportation to and from the theme parks is available from the South Outpost, running about every 20 minutes. At the North Outpost you can catch a boat across the lake to Magic Kingdom or the Contemporary Hotel and from there to any part of Walt Disney World via bus, Monorail or boat. We never regretted our decision not to tow a car down there.

The campground has a lot of activities of its own. There are two small shops with limited groceries and Disney products of course. They have a Cowboy themed show and a campfire/movie program with the Disney characters Chip and Dale nightly. There are horse and pony rides available and several styles of rental boats should you wish to cruise the lake. The boats are very pricey so expect to pay a  Fort Wilderness Campground 2
premium. There are tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts for your use and swimming and fishing are available. There is also a nice Hay Ride from near the North Outpost and a restaurant that features a very nice buffet dinner and breakfast should you not wish to cook.
The Salmon and ribs were particularly tasty! On the lake they have a nice sandy beach for tanning. In the evening people like to gather on the beach to watch the light parade on the lake, which is followed by the fireworks at Magic Kingdom visible from shore. It’s not quite the same as standing on Main Street watching them over the Castle, but you can’t do that every night!

Overall, the campground is excellent. My only regret is not taking a day off from the amusement parks in the middle of the week to rest and recharge while taking advantage of what the campground offered. It qualifies as an attraction in and of itself. I would not claim that Fort Wilderness Campground is an affordable alternative to a local hotel, but if you are like my family, and just love to camp, this is a fabulous family experience well worth your time and money. It is, hands down, the nicest campground I have ever visited.

Jim Bray 




Vance Jackson Views
May 2014

Miscellaneous Items

Calling Contractors!

Update – We have received one reasonable bid for removal of the Esplanade fence since the last newsletter, but will keep the bidding process open until we get a small number of competitive bids. Please see the association home page,, for information.

Sharknado – The New Classic

If you’re like me, you may have a certain fondness or weakness for the classic science fiction B movie genre.

In my estimation, the best modern installment of the classic B movie for the discriminating purist, who insists on the perfect blend of cheesy special effects, improbable plot twists, grandiose dialog and unsubstantiated technological or scientific premises, has to be …. Sharknado.

Let’s examine the last characteristic. Without giving away too much of the plot – non-spoiler alert – the protagonist defeats large, shark-bearing tornadoes from the Pacific by throwing propane cylinder bombs – think explosive propane torch – at them from a helicopter. This worked cinematically, but even money says the tactic wouldn’t work in real life, so don’t try this at home or from a trailer park!

On the other hand, I’ve personally tried to float the idea of injecting cryogenic liquids – think liquid nitrogen tanker amounts – at the base of tornadoes to disrupt the heat and condensation cycle.
Generated absolutely zero interest from the metrological community, so I guess it was a bad idea too. Well, they laughed at the Wright Brothers, Billy Mitchell, Thomas Edison and Edward D. Wood, Jr., so I guess I’m in good company.*

Sharknado 2 is due to hit the airways on July 31, 2014. We can only hope that it matches the high standards of the original.

Anon (aka Ted Trakas) * Wood was the director of the über classic Plan 9 from Outer Space and other serious works of art

Northside Bond Proposal

By now you should have received the Northside Lessons publication, which gives information on the Northside Bond Proposal.

I hope this information is helpful in forming an opinion on the bond issue. It is absolutely essential that voters approve the bond issue, which provides new schools to address growth in enrollment, and maintains excellent facilities for learning in our older schools.

The Northside Bond Election has early voting until May 6th; Election Day is May 10th.

Northside provides our students with an excellent education in great facilities and we need for you to go vote in this election and say “YES.” If you need more information, you may call me at 308-5555.

Thanks, Katie Reed

Treasurer’s Report

Current Account Balance: $12,805.92

What fun these last few months have been! I’ve gone from eating Valentine hearts, to eating bunny ears. Making confetti filled eggs to painting Easter eggs. From the hunt for the best Fiesta food booth to a hunt for the golden egg at an Easter egg hunt. Shaking the last bit of confetti out of my hair, I approach the upcoming months full of enthusiasm.

This is one of the busiest times of the year for neighborhoods to be changing. Families moving, college kids returning home for the summer, new families moving in, settling into a new area, new schools, new neighbors. If your block has recently had a house sold or rented, and you see your new neighbors moving in, take a moment to say hello. Introduce yourself, give them a few tips on the neighborhood, where they can find the best pizza, the closest pharmacy, who our city councilman is, and help them feel welcome. Let our neighbors know we are a community within itself. We look out for one another, we care, we support and we listen. Show them why this is the neighborhood they wanted to move into. Put to rest any doubts on whether they moved to the right community, neighborhood, subdivision, district, show them we are everything they were looking for and more. Residents in the Vance Jackson Neighborhood Association area are the best! We are the neighbors you want to have beside you. We are an association that listens to and works with its neighbors…its family…its generations past present and future.

When renewing or becoming a new member, please consider making a small donation towards the Colonies North Maintenance Fund. Building this fund will help keep us towards our goal of redesigning the deteriorating Esplanade.

Jennifer Curfman