LTWCA Newsletter - August/September 2004


“Light a Fire” Under Your Seat

It may be hot up here during the day, but it will be even hotter if we have a fire. Let’s get up and out and do some crucial fire prevention clean-up! Start by walking around the outside of your house and any out-buildings and jotting down the following for removal:

- any debris on the roof,

- any downed or standing dead trees within 30 ft. of the structures,

- any tree limbs, especially dead ones, within 10 ft. of the structures, and watch out for those low limbs overhanging your roof too,

- any highly flammable plant material, such as broom or eucalyptus, within 30 ft. of structures

- any dead wood on shrubs, dried grass, or dried weeds within 10 ft.,

- any firewood should be 30 ft. from structures.


The idea is to keep a space around your structures that does not burn, whether you use green, nonflammable plants or clear the area of any plants and especially dead materials. Remember that wood decks count as part of your structure, since they are flammable too.


The high fire danger this summer is very real for Los Trancos Woods. We are not living adjacent to the wildlands. We are living IN the wildlands. Please think of the safety of yourself, your neighbors, and your community.

Submitted by Jamie Sovereign and David Smernoff - Emergency Preparedness


What You Should Know After Before You Hire a Contractor

All of us have experienced multiple solicitations in or on our mail boxes from contractors (tree cutting, yard work, home repair, etc.). They seem to have official looking business cards or flyers, but be aware that not all of them are legitimate or honest. If our trees, yards, houses could talk, the tales they would tell about some of the contractors, including a recent yard contractor who “took” one of our residents for several thousand dollars.

Here is what you should know about a contractor before you hire them.

1) Make sure they are licensed and the license is currently valid. Call or check on the internet the California State Contractors’ Licensing Board at 1-800-321-2752 or You can also find out if they are bonded from this Board.

2) Contact their insurance company to see if they will be covered by insurance during the time they will be working for you. You should also find out what is covered.

3) Call the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if any complaints have been filed against the contractor and what the complaints are about. You can contact the San Mateo County BBB at 552-9222 or or the Santa Clara County BBB at 1-408-278-7400. BBB also publishes some very helpful brochures for the consumer on hiring home contractors.

4) Lastly, and for me the step I never forget to do, check at least 3 of the contractor’s references. I try to get one or more references in the neighborhood, so I not only can talk to the reference, but I also can go see an example of the work the contractor does.


Neighbors are a good starting point in looking for a satisfactory contractor. We can help each other out in a myriad of ways, so let’s get talking.

Submitted by Linda-Drey Nightingale

Water Board News

The Water District sale to Cal Water is still on track though taking significantly longer than even the Cal Water folks imagined. There have been many hoops to jump through, the most recent being a request by the State PUC to send a letter to all customers detailing the typical customer billing before and after the sale.

Submitted by Stan Gage - LTW Water Board

Neighborhood Notes

- Mark your calendar now! 19 September, 4-7 p.m. is the annual Los Trancos Woods Picnic. This year is a special event honoring the years of community service of Marguerite Thayer. We also are going to introduce the newest members of our community and have a whooping good time. Look for details on the picnic flyer.

- We have been cordially invited to the annual Vista Verde Picnic on Sunday, 22 August, 1-4 p.m. at Pony Tracks Ranch, 495 Old Spanish Trail. Bring something to barbecue and a dish to share. Drinks are provided. There will be train rides, tank tours, music, and the opportunity to see our emergency safe haven.

- Sign up for a LTWCA Board position now while you can!! David Lowin is stepping down as Rep.-at-Large since he will be going out of the country. We will miss him, as he has been with the Board for many years. Good luck, Dave, we look forward to seeing you when you get back. The position is for 1 yr. and entails 6 meetings. It is a great way to serve this community and get to know your neighbors. Come one, come all and try it out. Call Linda Drey-Nightingale, 851-1787, or Jan Avilla, 851-2527, to sign up or get more information.

- The cell phone recycling program was unfortunately sabotaged when the box and white board were stolen from the corner of Ramona and Los Trancos Rd. Look for the recycling box at the annual Picnic, and we will take care of your old cell phones then.

- Coyotes and raccoons hang out where there is a source of food. Garbage cans offer them a free lunch as does pet food left outside. The easiest way to keep them out of your garbage can is to not put it out until Monday morning. If you need to put it out ahead of time, make sure it cannot be tipped over, and the lid is securely fastened down with a cord.

   Submitted by June Bilisoly


September 2004 Directory

Attention - the new Directory is due out in September. Get us any changes or updates right away. Please check the old directory information, including your e-mail address which can change often. Let us know if you have a new e-mail address or you want yours included or deleted. The new Directory will be given out at the annual picnic.


Next Meeting - 7:00 p.m., 8 Sept., 1074 Los Trancos Rd. Agenda includes discussion of battery recycling, new directory, and picnic details. For minutes of the last Board meeting please see the LTWCA Web Site or your District Rep.


Los Trancos Woods (LTWCA) Web Site

The web site address is:                                                      The group e-mail list is:                                    

Thanks to Jerry Jensen for maintaining this site. AND Thanks to Alex Kostrikin for copying our newsletter.