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Minutes from May 19, 2021, regular HNA meeting
Submitted by secretary Robyn Ross
HNA president Coan Dillahunty called the meeting to order at 7:03 pm
Carolyn Palaima moved that we approve the minutes from the 3.31 meeting as posted, and
Mary Ann Osborne seconded
Coan said that for our July 21 meeting we have scheduled the Watershed department to talk
about Waller Creek and habitat restoration, and the city’s chief homeless strategy officer Dianna
Grey to talk about homelessness.
With increased vaccinations the July 4 parade seems like a possibility. This is an opportunity for
a volunteer to organize it. Carolyn Palaima mentioned Lee parents might be interested and that
we could post a volunteer call on
Coan has checked on reopening of the rec centers for in-person meetings, but there’s no news
Bruce Fairchild gave the treasurer’s report.
-HNA’s checking account (through which most business is conducted) had $4711.21 at the last
meeting. Since then we’ve collected more dues, minus the fees to collect them, and balance is
now $4757.91.
-Our money market account is about the same, with a balance of $2509.50.
-What is not reflected in tonight’s statement is the $250 bill for the first newsletter, which Bruce
is about to pay.
Secretary/newsletter editor Robyn Ross explained the expenditure and newsletter.
-The newsletter has restarted after about 5 years, and the first issue was mailed this week. It will
be published the months of our regular meetings (next issue will be July).
-Thanks to the volunteers who contributed.
-HNA is working with Neighborhood News, a community newsletter company, to handle design,
ad sales, printing and mailing. They mail it because advertisers prefer it to be mailed. Ours is
mailed to 1050 addresses in Hancock, and for that circulation NN charges $500/issue, but most
clients are HOAs, so they dropped our price to $250/issue. This covers postage and handling,
and NN keeps the ad revenue.
-Robyn said running a newsletter involves four jobs: editorial, design, ads, printing/distribution.
Since we didn’t have volunteer infrastructure for all that, we could get the newsletter started
sooner by outsourcing the non-editorial tasks.
-The executive committee approved the expense but agreed it’s not sustainable long term,
because our 1-year contract costs $1500, and in a typical year we bring in $200-700 in dues.
We’d need to raise money for the newsletter or find volunteers to bring all jobs back “in house.”
Q from Barbara Epstein: Did you consider just doing an online newsletter to save money?
A: Yes, but when I asked, most people said they preferred a physical newsletter. It also makes a
statement about neighborhood identity to have a physical product. There is an opt-out link in the
first issue for people who don’t want paper.
Volunteer opportunities: Contact if you want to write or take
pictures. Also reach out if you want to be a block captain. Robyn said that regardless of the
newsletter’s future, we should build back our block captain network to check on neighbors in

emergencies. There is also a volunteer opportunity for an organized “people” person to
coordinate the block captain network.
Coan gave an update on the golf course.
-The city’s Parks Board had planned to discuss the issue at its April 27 meeting, but that’s been
postponed, partly because the board was waiting for the results of PARD’s survey. These were
shared with the neighborhood on May 10.
-PARD staff also have said there will be community engagement/small group meetings in
April/May, which may have been pushed to May/June. If you find out about these, please share
what you know.
-Coan has learned that April was a record month at the golf course, with almost $49K in greens
fees; the yearly total so far is almost $275K.
Robyn shared Hyde Park secretary Ben Reid’s notes about the Speedway post office
-In mid-April, Ben met with Speedway post office manager Bernardino Vidauri, who confirmed
that location would close by the end of June. Ben reached out to Austin Postmaster Doug
Watson and his assistant Amber Evans, who told Ben the owner would not renew the lease.
-HPNA officers later met with property owner Blake Thompson. He said he’d been in
negotiations with the USPS leasing entity, which is based in Denver, since 2018. The issue boils
down to the USPS and Blake getting different appraisals for the property, and how that
influences the lease. Blake said he tried to come to agreement with USPS and offered a lease
extension earlier this year but did not get a response.
-Blake owns the post office building; the apartments just north of it; the parking lot across
Speedway; and the house between the lot and the fire station. The post office building was
constructed in the late ’50s but has never been owned by the USPS.
-Blake purchased it in 2015. His immediate plan is to do asbestos abatement and rent it out,
initially as creative office space. Long-term it could be commercial and/or residential. Blake is
open to including a storefront post office.
-The HPNA officers encouraged him to stay in touch. For now, they are going to thank the postal
workers with cookies and a sign. Manager Vidauri had heard the plan is to get a post office back
in the area within a couple years, perhaps at Central Park or Hancock Center (although not in
the Sears building because Central Health has bought that).
Your options if you have a P.O. Box at the Speedway location:
-Do nothing, and your box will physically move to the Northcross Drive post office. You do not
need to update your address or zip code.
-If you use the “street addressing” service, through which you receive UPS and FedEx
packages at your P.O. Box, you do need to update your customer agreement with the post office
because you’ll use the physical address of the Northcross post office.
-You can get a different P.O. Box at a location other than Northcross, such as 35th/Lamar or
Tarrytown, but of course your address will change.
-Decide by June 5, because the Speedway location is closing June 19 and it takes 2 weeks for
changes to be processed.
Barbara Epstein gave a summary of her research and advocacy so far.
-She has contacted the local postmaster to lobby for a replacement post office location. She
learned the postal services was looking at options in Hancock Center.
-She communicated with a representative of Regency Centers, the owners of Hancock
shopping center. This person said Regency would be willing to lease to USPS if the postal
service indicated this.

-She contacted Congressman Roger Williams and asked him to advocate for our neighborhood
to have a post office. His staff said “we’ll pass along your concerns.”
-A new deputy postmaster general was appointed May 12, so Barbara initiated a letter-writing
campaign directly to him for his help.
-Barbara encourages everyone to write a letter advocating for a nearby post office, a very basic
government service.
--Coan said HNA will send a letter to all interested parties. Robyn said she can ask Hyde Park
and Eastwoods if they want to sign on; Jim Schwobel from Eastwoods NA is also concerned
about this.
Contact information for letters:
Mr. Douglas Tulino
Deputy Postmaster General
2833 Alabama Ave SE,
Washington DC 20020
Douglas Watson, PCC Postal Co-Chair
8225 Cross Park Dr
Austin, TX 78710-9998
Congressman Roger Williams
5806 Mesa Drive, Suite 390
Austin, TX 78731
Austin office 512-473-8910
Washington D.C. office (202) 225-9896
Parks Committee chair Carolyn Palaima presented an update about Community Activated
Park Projects and trail signage.
-The maintenance on the trail around the golf course is almost finished.
-The team HNA coordinates with includes PARD landscaper Darcy Nuffer, who suggested HNA
put up signage around the trail indicating that it’s paid for by the HNA (through its funds held at
the Austin Parks Foundation).
-This would help trail users understand that the neighborhood association is actively involved
and might incentivize them to take better care of the trail by staying on the path (the erosion
problems on the 38th Street side are exacerbated by people creating side trails).
-Projects like the proposed signage are handled through PARD’s Community Activated Park
Projects program, which is the mechanism for doing any work on parkland. This is how HNA
accesses the funds held at Austin Parks Foundation.
-The Parks Committee will submit a CAPP form to add signs on the trail stating that it’s paid for
by the HNA and will work with PARD on the details. The cost is estimated at a few thousand
-Once this is worked out, the Parks Committee will come back to HNA and present the full
project and get input and approval to expend the funds.
-Barbara Epstein suggested the signs have a slogan or clever tagline, or even a cartoon
drawing (a person falling off a cliff!), to get people’s attention. There could be a contest or at
least call for ideas sent out to the membership.
There was a time for new business to be raised, or ideas for future meetings/speakers.

Our guests, Theresa Sifuentes and Lt. Kevin Glover from the Austin Fire Department’s
community outreach division, spoke.
-Lt. Glover said that while Station 9 (at Speedway/43rd) is being remodeled, the whole crew is
based 1 mile away at the intersection of Speedway/30th/San Jacinto.
-Firefighters work 24 hours on, 48 hours off. The majority of their calls are medical calls, which
include traffic accidents, fires and other types of medical calls. They are all EMT-B certified, so
they often start life support before EMS arrives.
Safety tips:
-Have a CO detector near each sleeping area, especially if you have gas appliances. Mount
them on the ceiling. CO alarms are now required by code if you do any type of remodel.
-If you smell gas while walking around and can’t tell where it’s coming from, call AFD. If you
smell gas in your home, make sure your burners are off and your pilot light is lit. If that checks
out, call AFD.
-Make sure you have working smoke detectors. Test them monthly. Make an evacuation plan
and practice it. Make sure kids know where to meet the family outside, in the event of a fire.
-Pay attention to how you use candles – keep them attended and away from drapes. Some
cooking fires can easily be smothered with a pan lid.
-Have a fire extinguisher.
Theresa Sifuentes explained AFD’s smoke alarm program.
-It’s a free program (aka, paid for by our tax dollars) and open to anyone in Austin.
-Fire code advises smoke alarms in every bedroom, the adjacent hallways, and the living room.
If your smoke alarms are older than 8 years, they need to be replaced.
-You can call AFD for an assessment/replacement of your alarms. The alarms they use have a
10-year life expectancy (which includes the battery). Firefighters come to your home and assess
for fire hazards and replace the smoke detectors.
-They also have smoke alarms for the hearing impaired.
-New homes often have hard-wired smoke alarms, and AFD cannot replace these because
they’re installed by an electrician. But they can install battery-operated ones [I think this means
“in addition”]
AFD also has community education/training programs:
-Hands-on fire extinguisher training. They teach people how to use an extinguisher properly by
putting out a simulated fire.
-Home fire safety training. AFD has a trailer that’s a little home on wheels with a kitchen (the
stove and trash can “catch fire”) and a kids’ bedroom. This is a good tool for practicing using a
fire extinguisher and helping kids learn how to get out of the house via the window. With two
weeks’ notice and guaranteed attendance of 50 people, the AFD can bring this to community
-The fire department can also lead our 4th of July parade if it happens.
The Red Angels program:
-AFD partners with nurses from Concordia, ACC and Austin Public Health to offer in-home well
checks. This is especially helpful for elderly and mobility impaired people who haven’t been able
to get to the doctor. Residents can request a nurse come to their home and conduct a well
check (glucose, blood pressure, etc.) while firefighters replace the smoke alarms and conduct a
home hazard assessment. The nurses can talk with residents about their medications or any
concerns. This program is also free/underwritten by tax dollars.
-AFD is planning to do door-to-door outreach this summer about these programs.

-In the meantime, to request these smoke alarm or well check services, contact
-Robyn agreed with Ms. Sifuentes’ suggestion to include this information in the newsletter and
said the block captains could help identify homes that wish to use the Red Angels program,
saving AFD canvassing time
-Andrew Dillon remarked that these programs are tremendous contributions and that we need to
get the word out. Ms. Sifuentes suggested that we encourage Council to publicize them more.