House Corporation February 2010 Newsletter

My Brothers,

The month of January has been one of the most trying months I have seen in the past 10 years.  We have had some major security and safety issues.  Let me assure everyone; all the Brothers are safe, that corrective actions have already been taken and we will continue to evaluate the long term effect these recent events have on the property and the young men that live there.

Over the Christmas Holiday break, the property was broken into several times.  The first of these events took place somewhere around 3:00-4:00am, whereas some of our neighbors proceeded to use a cinder block to break the door and door-frame into the pump room and laundry room.  The damage was severe enough that we needed to replace the doors and frames.  Within these two locations the suspects made off with Brother Scalley’s BMX bike (which was chained to the wall in the back of the pump room), some power tools, and other odds and ends.  The following night, the DJ booth was hit and the amplifier was taken.  Neither incident was captured on our video surveillance system.

The next day, during our final preparations for the termite extermination we smelled gas from under the deck.  Teco, our gas supplier, was quick to respond and within several hours rebuilt and fixed three gas leaks in our system; one being in the riser from the ground, one prior to the regulator, and one bring just downstream of the meter.  All the leaks were from normal wear-and-tear, not the Brothers messing with it.

The termite spraying went off without any problems.  We are now Bonded (insured) at least for the next ten years.  The entire property was inspected and re-secured that evening after the exterminators completed their work.  A few days later when Brother Parmlee re-entered his room (Room 4), he found his back window broken into.  The suspects had sat in the thorn bushes between our house and the Raintree and cut their way through the re-enforced 1” steel bars over the windows, broke the deadbolt that secured the bars and gained access to the property.  The police and our vendors that customized the window bars in the first place three years ago said they have “never seen anything like this.”  The police went on to speculate that the suspects must have been working on that window for upwards of 2 hours to gain entry, do to the amount of finger-prints and other evidence they gathered.  Luckily, Brother Parmlee was cover under his parents home-owner’s policy, and all his missing items were able to be recovered.

Later that same evening I received a call from some of the local alumni Brothers in town; that they spelled smoke on the property.  To make a very long story – short, we had an electrical fire in room 1.  The exhaust fan in that Bathroom had sparked a fire that was burning through the opening in the ceiling, onto the floor and up into the crawlspace.  The fire department was called out and after approximately an hour the house was declared safe.  In the end, some drywall and the toilet needed to be replaced in room 1.  The worst part of this whole incident is the fire alarm never sounded.  We contacted our electric contractor, Giles Electric (while the fire department was still onsite), to have them fix whatever electrical problems existed and to ask questions about  the alarm system.  When all was said and done, the honey-comb element in room 1’s sensor had gone bad.  It pasted its test when the house was recertified in September, it had failed between those points.  Since this event Giles has come back out  multiple times to repair the electrical mishap in the crawl space to room 1, recertify the entire house, and fix any other problem the alarm system may have.

In light of these events, the house corporation has taken initial steps to price out up-grades and/or overhauls to our existing systems.  The fire alarm is not a monitored system, nor can our current panel be retrofitted to be monitored.  Per RMF (Risk Management Foundation) guidelines our systems need to be monitored.  Also, we are at least looking into the possibility of installing an alarm system in the building, much like many of you have at your homes.  Each room would have its own key-pad, disarming/arming PIN, and sensors on all openings (i.e., doors and windows).  We will continue to explore these possibilities and will discuss the matter in-depth at the House Corporation meeting at this year’s Birthday.

On a happier note, I am pleased to announce our 1855 club enrollment continues to rise.  Thank you once again to all our contributors.  I am looking forward to seeing everyone at our Birthday celebration this year.

Guard Well,

Brett Miller

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