Newsletter | Spring 2020 Print

Message from the President

Dear Members and Friends of the CAI Alabama Chapter,

It is my sincere hope that you and your loved ones are doing well during this unprecedented time in our nation and the world.  As we all confront the Coronavirus Pandemic, it has required each of us to change our way of life personally and professionally.  Our willingness to comply with the guidelines set forth by our federal, state, and local governments is paramount to the health and well-being of everyone.  And as the daily circumstances continue to change, I humbly ask that we remember one another in prayer.

The Board of Directors, in full support of the federal, state, and local mandates, canceled the April 25th Homeowner Leader Workshop and will carefully determine whether the May 14th and June 4th events will need to be canceled.  Your health and well-being are top priority.  The Board also fully supports the recommendations by CAI National to help managers and communities.  Please visit for information and resources.

Although 2020 and the new decade brought unimaginable life changes and hardship, let us not forget the fantastic CAI Alabama events that allowed us to come together, enjoy one another, and learn.  The January Luncheon, 10th Anniversary Celebration, and Municipal Partner Workshop with the City of Pelham were wonderful events.  Continue reading our awesome newsletter and see the great things that our CAI members are doing and find out why I send a big congratulations to Darlene Windom. 

Yes, “social distancing” and “staying in-doors” are the current protocols; however, we are still one CAI Alabama community.  And in the weeks and months ahead, I ask that we all continue to stand strong in faith and courage.  We will get through this pandemic and we will emerge stronger as individuals and as an organization.

Mildred Lanier
2020 CAI Alabama President

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Most Popular from

HOA Board Duties During COVID-19

COVID-19 is affecting all of us in a variety of ways. From loss of business to remote work, the pandemic is having a dramatic impact on businesses and communities around the world. With most public places closed in the U.S., the safety and concern of community association residents remains a top priority for homeowner leaders, community managers, and business partners serving these communities.

Click here to continue reading this article at CAI's


Closing Community Pools During COVID-19

Should community associations refrain from opening pools or close pools that are open in warmer parts of the country?

It is important for a community association to make a distinction between an essential facility and a nonessential facility during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click here to continue reading this article at CAI's


Coronavirus Response: 5 Actions HOAs Should Take Now 

Association boards should be vigilant when dealing with illnesses like the coronavirus. It’s important that HOAs create an action plan in case there is a disruption in association business.

Click here to continue reading this article at CAI's

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A Look Back on CAI Alabama's 1. Quarter Events of 2020

The first quarter of 2020 was a busy one for CAI Alabama!

We started the year with a Luncheon at the Birmingham Zoo in January! Pelham's Fire Chief Tim Honeycutt and Jordan Jenks from Chief Fire Protection spoke to us about Fire Safety in your HOA/Condo Community.

>>>More photos

In February we celebrated 10 Years of CAI Alabama at The Club in Birmingham! It was such a fun celebration! Thank you to Phoebe Neseth, Esq. from CAI National for beign part of the event and presenting the  State of the Community Association Industry  to us as well as a big shout out to all of our Drink Sponsors: Alford & Barnes, Community Cleaning & Maintenance, DMA Reserves, The Green Team, JH Berry, Landscape Workshop, Northwest Exterminating, SOLitude Lake Management, SpyGrass Innovations, Swimming Pool Services, State Farm Insurance - Whitney Mork.

>>>More Photos

And last month, we held a Municipal Partner Workshop at the Pelham Public Library! It was a great  opportunity for city leaders to get to better understand HOAs and CAI and to learn how to better communicate with HOA boards.

A big thank you to our presenters that shared their expertise and knowledge: John M. Alford, Esq. and John C. Barnes, Esq. (The Law Firm of Alford & Barnes), Amanda Carr, CMCA, AMS, PCAM (Neighborhood Management), Kevin Eason, CMCA, AMS (StillWaters Residential Association), Roy Kalista, RS (DMA Interactive Reserves), Mildred Lanier (President CAI Alabama and Pelham City Councilor), Phoebe E. Neseth, Esq. (CAI National) and Jenny Templin (Neighborhood Management).

>>>More Photos


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Can you ever be too safe in your home?

By: Timothy W. Honeycutt B.S., NREMT-P, Fire Chief/Director of Emergency Management, City of Pelham, Alabama

You may think this is an odd question. Of course I would never compromise safety in my home. Would you ever want the residents in your respective communities to be unsafe in their home? Of course not! The place we should always feel the highest level of safety is in the place where we live and the place where we see our families each day. However, as a fire professional, I can tell you this is not always the case. Allow me share greater detail with you on home safety.

In the State of Alabama alone in 2019, 81 people died in residential structure fires. 56% of those that died did not have a working smoke detector. Do you think they felt safe in their home? We will never know. We are required to have insurance on our vehicles, our mortgage company requires us to have insurance on our residence, you may carry life insurance on you and your family; however, for a mere $20.00 investment in a working smoke detector 45 people could still be alive today.

Did you know a smoke detector is a working appliance that never turns off? Over time the sensor in the detector will simply no longer function properly. All smoke detectors have a 10 year life span and should be replaced. Many detectors still utilize a 9 volt battery for the power source. Those should be changed every six months. As a good reminder, simply change your batteries when the time changes twice per year.

As another good reminder, on the first day of every month, take five minutes and check every detector in your home. The red button on the front of each detector is a test button. We can all afford 5 minutes per month to check all detectors to ensure they are working properly.

Another excellent home safety practice is “Close before you doze”. There are many studies, videos and photographs of homes that have caught fire and due to the fact the bedroom doors were closed when the resident went to bed, they were not injured by the fire. Bedroom doors can keep a fire at bay so the fire does not manage to burn into a room. It is highly recommended that all bedroom doors should be closed when going to bed each night.

As a property manager or association manager you can instill in the residents of your communities the importance of conducting a home safety check. By taking the time to stress the importance of being safe in their homes with fliers, repetition, and encouragement to all residents you can make a difference in many lives. Set the standard and make a difference because we can never be too safe in our homes.

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Life Safety Tip

"If the fire alarm sounds, feel the door before opening and close all doors behind you as you leave. If it is hot, use another way out. If it is cool, leave by the nearest way out."

Kristina Gregg, Chief Fire Protection Company

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Member News

Darlene Windom, Community Association Manager at Community Management Associates in Birmingham received her CMCA designation on March 19, 2020.

Congratulations, Darlene! We are so proud of you!

The Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA®) is the only international certification program designed exclusively for managers of homeowner and condominium associations and cooperatives. The CMCA recognizes individuals who have demonstrated the fundamental knowledge required to manage community associations.

Worldwide over 9,000 individuals hold the CMCA designation. In Alabama, 32 individuals have a CMCA designation.

Click here to view a listing of all CMCA certified community association managers in Alabama.


Please send us also your news!  Did someone in your firm get a new designation?  Did someone get promoted?  Let us know so we can mention your news in our newsletter and celebrate our successes together!

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Member Spotlight

We would like to put the spotlight on one of our members who made a submission to showcase how they made an impact in the community.

Spotlight on Renovia

Renovia volunteers for 'Homes for Hope'

by Brent Hogue

Brent Hogue with the family that Renovia built the house for. At the bottom right of the picture you can see the dog house that was built for their dog with some left over material.

On February 3rd-7th, my colleagues at Renovia and I went to Tijuana, Mexico to build three homes with the mission organization, Homes for Hope.  Our Renovia team incorporated the home builds into our yearly kick-off meeting by arriving into San Diego on Monday morning, taking a bus to the Homes for Hope campus in Tijuana. We completed our annual organizational meetings Monday afternoon and Tuesday.  However on Wednesday the fun really began.  We broke into three different teams of 15 people and each team was responsible for building a home for a family in need from the local community.  When we arrived on-site a concrete slab had been poured and all the building materials had been delivered but it was up to each individual team to build the frame for the house, hang drywall, run electrical, paint the interior and exterior and then finally to furnish the house.  Each build took exactly two full working days from start to completion.

The area we were building in was an incredibly impoverished area where most families are living on the equivalent of $15-$20 dollars a day.  A lot of these families live in unfinished homes as they can only build what they pay for, so you see a lot of unfinished homes as it could take a family years to pay to have the entire house constructed.  This leads to a lot of families sleeping on dirt floors which can lead to a multitude of health problems, so by building them a home with a concrete slab and walls it can truly change the entire hope horizon of a family.

My particular team had the pleasure of building a home for a couple named Jesus & Magdelana and their eight children.  When we arrived to build on our first day Jesus was there to greet us and he and all his family were living in a tiny, old camper parked on their property.  How they fit ten people to live in this camper I have no idea.  The most refreshing part of the build was to see how hard both Jesus, Magdalena and their children worked alongside us to help build their home.  You could tell that they were truly appreciative of the opportunity to get their family out of the camper and into a proper home.

Another exciting part of the build was the second day, when a few of our team member broke off and took the family to a local grocery store so they could stock up on food and other household items that they normally wouldn’t have.  An even more awesome part of that day was that we got to take the family to lunch at a local pizza restaurant and the family was overcome with joy by the experience.  The oldest child in the family was eighteen years old and she had never been to a restaurant before which was a unique event to experience.

The final chapter of the build was to gather around the house to hand Jesus and Magdalena the keys to their new home and watch as the whole family headed inside.  After they went inside for a few minutes our team knocked on the door and the family got to invite our team inside their new home as their first guests.  Jesus was literally speechless as he tried to thank us for the blessing he had just received.

Homes for Hope is a non-profit organization that impacts impoverished communities throughout the world through a number of different avenues.  Homes for Hope is one of those avenues that can create a lasting impact for a family in need.  Homes for Hope was started in 1990 and to date they have built over 6,300 homes in 23 nations for the neediest of needy families in their different locations.

This is a picture of the house that Renovia built for the family.  It is a small house that has three bedrooms and a kitchen/family room.

This picture shows the camper the family was living in on the right and then to the left is the house that Brent and his colleagues built.


Spotlight on SOLitude Lake Management

SOLitude’s Heart & SOL Award Honors Top Volunteer of 2019

Following another successful year of volunteering and community outreach efforts through The SOLution program, SOLitude Lake Management is excited to announce that the company’s annual Heart & SOL recognition was awarded to Aquatic Specialist Jim Sheeran of Southwest Florida (second from left). 

The Heart & SOL award recognizes one individual within the company each year who goes above and beyond in personal volunteering, inspiring others, and displaying a true commitment and passion for making the world a better place. Sheeran was selected for his never-ending dedication to supporting charitable initiatives in his local community of Fort Myers.

Sheeran volunteered a total of 165 hours through 21 unique charitable events in 2019. He was an active contributor in SOLitude’s Little GOBBLERs, HOLiday Cheer, Earth Day and Heart & SOL Day programs and spent almost every weekend contributing to efforts hosted by the Salvation Army, through which he serves as an adherent Soldier. Jim also spent the last year facilitating a relationship with ECHO Global Farm, a nonprofit that empowers the undernourished with sustainable hunger solutions. He helped mobilize 20 colleagues to join him from April to December, generating an additional 76 volunteer hours towards The SOLution. Finally, Jim’s donation of time extends to his role as a team captain for The SOLution, a role through which he helped plan volunteering events and engage new colleagues in program efforts.

If your community or company organizes events that impact the community or stand out in any other way, please let us know!

Please email your story to [email protected]

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CAI Civility Pledge

To foster a climate of mutual respect and help community residents to explore areas of common ground despite their differences, CAI is encouraging all community associations to adopt a newly developed Civility Pledge to support the people who live and work in the millions of homeowners associations, condominiums, and housing cooperatives worldwide. The Civility Pledge will serve as a model for community associations to foster a climate of open discussion, mutual respect, and tolerance between residents, guests, board and committee members, community association managers, staff members, business partners, and contractors.

Click here for more information on how you and your community can adopt the Civility Pledge.


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6 Tips to Maximize the Efficiency of Your Stormwater Facility

by Greg Blackham, Aquatic Specialist at SOLitude Lake Management

When the growing season slows, it becomes the perfect time to think about having your community’s stormwater pond or management facility inspected, and scheduling for any necessary maintenance or repairs. Sediment removal, pipe repair and other remediation efforts can all be done in the off season to help you prepare the facility for the coming spring. This is also the ideal time to budget for any work that is needed over the course of the year.

Here are the top six things to consider when it comes to maximizing the efficiency of your stormwater management facility:

#1: The strength and integrity of the outlet structure.

It’s important to identify cracked concrete and other visible signs of damage as soon as possible. All grates should be cleaned and checked for debris and sediment blockage. If the facility has a low flow orifice, it needs to be free and open. The low flow orifice lets the water drain slowly after rain so that the suspended particles have time to settle. If the outlet structure has a concrete box, nothing should be present that may impede the flow of water. Signs of erosion should be checked for above where the structure meets the pipe. This is often an indicator of a gap in the seal and the beginning of a sinkhole.

#2: Functionality of emergency spillways.

In the event of heavy rainfall over a short period, debris can quickly block the outlet structure before anyone has a chance to clear it. An emergency spillway is a channel below the top of the embankment that can provide some relief to the system and direct discharge away from critical structures and protect the embankment. The spillway should either be vegetated with light vegetation or stone.

#3: Inlet build-up and flow.

Inlet build-up and flow is especially important right at the end of any pipes because a blockage there will cause a backup on a nearby street, which could expose buildings to a risk of flooding. Swale and riprap channel inlets should be clear of trees and woody vegetation. All channels that carry water to the facility should be kept clear of debris, sediment, and excess leaves.

#4: Forebay functionality and debris removal.

Some stormwater ponds have forebays, which are collection points just beyond an inlet made of stones or earth. These forebays act as filters to capture most of the incoming debris and sediment in one location, making routine maintenance easier and extending the longevity of the main pond or basin. Some vegetation is encouraged, as an added filter, but larger woody growth and trees are discouraged.

#5: Establishing a healthy safety bench.

Many stormwater ponds have one or more safety benches to help prevent people from falling into deep water and drowning. These safety benches usually form a ring around the entire facility and should be vegetated with grass and/or wetland and aquatic plants. In dry areas, the vegetation helps to keep the soil together and prevent erosion. Safety benches in wet locations should be vegetated for similar reasons and can also help to prevent algae growth in these warm shallow areas where algae is produced much quicker than in deeper regions of a wet pond.

#6: Installing a proper vegetative buffer along the lake or pond embankment.

A buffer zone can help stop trash and debris from entering the main section of the waterbody. It can also block the soil from rain splash erosion. Keeping an un-mowed embankment protects the soil from the continual weight of commercial lawn mowers as well as grass being blown into the pond. It is okay to allow some small shrub species exist in the buffer, but larger trees are problematic because their roots can lead to additional erosion around the waterbody.

Timing is important. As vegetation starts to go dormant over the winter, it is much easier to visually identify the key elements of the stormwater management facility and take appropriate action. This is also the time of year when the majority of debris accumulation occurs, especially leaf litter. Structural problems and upstream flooding can be very expensive and time consuming when a failure occurs. Having an annual management plan in place will allow professionals to see developing issues early, and proactive steps can be taken to prepare the stormwater facility before a massive rain event happens. With routine inspection and repair, the stormwater facility should continue to perform well for many years, even decades!

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Call for Articles!

We invite you to share your knowledge, expertise and experience, whether you are a community manager, a business partner or homeowner leader so that we can learn from one another.

Having your article published puts you and your company out in front as a knowledgeable expert in your field; and also counts for points toward renewing your designations! You know what topics are most important to you, your neighbors, your clients. You've seen for yourself what's working and what's not, so try putting those thoughts down on paper!

Please keep articles at around 500 words.

And if you can't write an entire article, just quick tips for success -at whatever- would be useful.

Please submit your articles for consideration to be included in our summer newsletter to [email protected] by June 15, 2020.

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