Living in Society Social Commentary Writing

Defining Community

Pelican Swimming in Lake Macbride

Each of us defines community through our engagement in society.

Whether participation is passive, active, or in between, our lives and how we live them contribute in a meaningful way to how we live with others in a community.

Not everyone is a joiner. For some the focus is on the county seat, the state capitol, or the federal government. For some it is on school systems and the public library. For others it is the world of commerce — transportation, shopping, working a job. Many people just try to make it through each day with dignity. Community is broader than any one of these pursuits.

Misunderstanding our role in shaping a community and how we do and can contribute is a source of affliction in modern society. For me, the best remedy is getting involved at a local level. In consideration of that, I joined our home owners association board as a way to influence the place where we live. I wrote this note on the community Google group:

Association members:

Tonight at the regular monthly meeting of the Lake Crest Manor Home Owners Association Board of Directors I was appointed to the board and then elected as president to replace Bob Huber.

I appreciate the board’s confidence in electing me.

For those who don’t know Jacque and me, we moved here in August 1993 and raised our daughter who graduated from Solon High School in 2003. I “retired” in 2009 from CRST Logistics and currently work four different jobs in the community: at Theisen’s Supply in Coralville, at Local Harvest CSA, at Wild Woods Farm and at Wilson’s Orchard. Jacque works part time at the Solon Public Library.

I began serving on the board in 1994. My first tour of duty was ten years followed by a second tour from November 2009 until December 2013. I’m glad to be back for a third (I think). When we moved here we were told that everyone takes a turn on the board. While that turned out not to be true, I believe changing board members regularly is good for the health of our community. If you are interested in serving, there will be a position open at our next board meeting.

A couple of important things came out of tonight’s meeting.

Gene Lawson was elected treasurer to replace Rob Sprague who resigned effective May 1. Gene and Rob will be working together to make sure there is a smooth transition in our finances.

On Sunday, April 30, at 1 p.m. at the Solon Public Library, there will be a meeting about the boat docks. If you care about this issue it would be a good meeting to attend. The Iowa DNR made a proposal to change who is eligible for our dock spaces to include Lake Crest Manor Parts I and IV that are not part of our association. Note this is a proposal only. We will explain the proposal and get your feedback at the meeting. The board will get back to the DNR after the meeting saying that either 1). we accept it, 2). we reject it, or 3). we have a counter proposal. Since we lost our original grandfathered arrangement in 1998, the DNR has asserted more power in regulating our docks. This is a complicated issue so it’s best to attend the meeting if you are interested. Already there has been a lot of discussion about it by the board and in our community.

Tonight the board passed a motion to apply by May 1 to the Iowa DNR to add additional slips to our docks. I would point out a couple of things. 1). The DNR is open to adding dock space around Lake Macbride, so now is the time to secure that permission. 2). If we get approved for additional space we may or may not actually add it. There is some opposition in the association to the idea of adding dock space and those viewpoints should be considered. 3). The DNR approval of a request is not at the state park. Because of this, we may not get a response for this boating season. After a discussion the board decided to set a date certain for the application submission. I was the only board member to vote against the motion, with one abstaining.

I’m not planning to pepper you with constant emails. Just wanted to say hello to those in the Google group.

The best way to contact me about association business is via email. The response will be more timely than chasing phone mail messages, which is inevitable when dealing with a person holding four jobs.

Hope to see you at a board meeting soon.

Regards, Paul