Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sea Turtle at Sunny Beach

I'm sooo excited to tell you we had a turtle rescue at Sunny Beach this AM! My girls are visiting from Chicago, and we saw the seaweed coming in, so we went walking along the beach to check it out. And there was a young turtle stuck in it! We got him into shallow water, then I went to website and called the number listed for help. The number for this area is 409-771-2872. The turtle rescue contact info is below this email.

The NOAA gals came right away to take him for rehab. They told us the seaweed sometimes brings turtles too.

It was a great experience for us all!
I've attached some photos for you, and I'm submitting this to the newspaper


Judy Shorman, Sunny Beach HOA President
Cell: 816-223-3116

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

February Meeting Minutes

Members of Sunny Beach Neighborhood (SBN) met from 11 a.m. to about 1 p.m. on February 18, 2012, to elect new officers and discuss neighborhood issues. The meeting was hosted by Andrew Kazanas at 11220 Bernice Dr. The agenda was presented by Anne Billings, secretary.
In attendance were:

Billings, Bruce and Anne
DeMichele, Eliza
Empey, Tom and Gerri
Giebelhaus, Kathe
Harrington, Kay
Kazanas, Andrew
Lewis, Julia
Shorman, Judy
Represented by written input or proxy:
Binkley, Ron
Meason, Jesse
Pellegrini, John & Peggy

Thank you, Judy Shorman, who brought specially decorated cookies, cupcakes and smiley face gifts to celebrate Sunny Beach. Thank you, too, to Julia and Robert Lewis for delicious fresh fruit for our meeting; to Anne Billings for coffee and juice; and to Andrew Kazanas for letting us meet in his house.

Election of President/SBN Officers

A proposal was passed to stagger the terms of officers, beginning as follows: next president (2012-13), next secretary (2013-14) and next treasurer (2014-15).

Judy Shorman volunteered to serve as president and was elected with unanimous approval.

Anne Billings will continue during 2012 as secretary. Eliza DeMichele volunteered Judy DeMichele, her mother, and herself to follow as co-secretaries for 2013-14. Bruce Billings will continue as treasurer through 2013.

Anne presented Tom Empey with a painted sun face (just like the ones on our neighborhood sign) as a token of appreciation from the entire neighborhood for all he, Gerri and their family have done for Sunny Beach for more than a decade.

New Neighbors

Anne Billings explained she had not published a new Sunny Beach directory in 2011 due to the great number of ownership changes. She handed out copies of a new chart of properties with phone and address information to those present. It was reviewed and edited by those present for accuracy (a pdf copy of this will be sent to everyone soon).

She reported the following new neighbors since the Spring 2011 SBN meeting:

11200 Bernice Dr. – Pamela Franks (resides at Sunny Beach)
11208 Bernice Dr. – Dennis & Diana Denkeler of Diana, TX
11211 Bernice Dr. – Judy Shorman of Addison, TX (hoping to move to Galveston eventually)
11214 Bernice Dr. – Eliza & Judy DeMichele or Houston, TX
11221 Beard Dr. – Ann McIver (rents Laura Prida home)
11205 Reagor Way – Liz Vanderhider of Houston, TX
11218 Reagor Way – Ken Poe (Janice Iden home)

Treasurer’s Report

Bank Account and Expenses
Bruce Billings reported a checking account balance of $1,119.66 as of 1/31/12, with two bills outstanding that total $172.51 (purchase of three sun faces $162.38 + photocopies for meeting $10.13). He indicated we needed to raise dues to meet expenses. Recurring expenses paid by SBN include $275 WGIPOA annual dues, $50 annual use fee for dune walkover east end of neighborhood (removed by Hurricane Ike but we are keeping); and $32.40 per month to have the lot with our neighborhood sign mowed. New expenses voted this meeting are: $500 to WGIPOA for ERP survey participation (see “West End Erosion Survey Participation” below) and $175–$200 for five security signs (see “Neighborhood Security” below).

West End Erosion Survey Participation
Bruce reported on a survey that the West Galveston Island Property Owners Assn. (WGIPOA) wants west end neighborhoods to help fund annually to provide data in determining erosion setbacks – that is independent to that of the Galveston Planning Commission for its Erosion Response Plan (ERP) required by the state. The WGIPOA estimates its survey costs at $20,000 annually and has asked property owner associations to contribute “a minimum of $1,000 or whatever you can appropriate.”

After discussion, it was proposed and passed that Sunny Beach Neighborhood vote each year whether to contribute to annual surveys and how much, and that this year we would contribute $500 toward the WGIPOA survey (Our contribution is from SBN’s account made up of dues. Individual property owners can make their own donation toward the survey if they like.)

Membership Dues
A proposal was made and passed that we increase our SBN membership dues to $50 per household annually. (Statements for dues at the new amount have been sent and are now due. Make payment to “Sunny Beach Neighborhood” c/o Bruce Billings, 7373 Blairview Dr., Dallas, TX 75230. Questions: contact Bruce at 469-232-0411 or

Tribute to Empeys
A fund has been established to collect contributions toward purchasing a good size palm tree (or trees) and marker that will be a living tribute to the Empey family in Sunny Beach Neighborhood. Payments can be sent to Bruce along with neighborhood dues and will be set aside for future use.

SBN Issues

Beach Bollards
Tom Empey reported that moving the bollards defining beach parking from in front of Sunny Beach properties to a position in front of undeveloped land to the west of 8 Mile Road has been requested, and that we should have an answer “within the next month.”

Neighborhood Security
 Andrew Kazanas related his frustration at being the most recent victim of a break-in/burglary at the house we were meeting in. Besides TVs, the robbers stole three chairs, including a large recliner from the third floor.

 Judy Shorman reported that Mark Miller has installed a security camera on the house at 11226 Garfield Way that will be able to capture images of traffic on 8 Mile Road. She stressed the importance of communication and knowing our fellow neighbors. If anyone looks “out of place,” please communicate immediately with the property owner in question and/or with the Galveston police.

 Anne Billings relayed a suggestion by Ron Binkley that we add some sort of physical barrier, such as a fence, along the east side of 8 Mile Road to define and secure our neighborhood. Following discussion of the costs and difficulties of implementing this, it was proposed and passed that we purchase five small signs that say the neighborhood is under surveillance with SBN funds (est. cost approx. $35 each) and add them to each street entrance. Judy Shorman volunteered to have the signs made, and Tom Empey volunteered to install them.

Judy Shorman, Mark Miller and Ron Binkley, in addition to securing City of Galveston cooperation, paid for and had constructed a sand fence in front of properties fronting the beach. The entire neighborhood will benefit from dune growth and the added security this will provide.

Neighborhood Sign
Gerri Empey reported that the corner lot on which our sign stands had changed ownership, but that we had the new owner’s approval to keep the sign on it.

The Billings purchased two more pottery sun faces (these are brightly painted) to replace the ones stolen from our neighborhood sign. Tom Empey volunteered to put them on the sign. (He did this the next day with the assistance of Kathe Giebelhaus – both of whom were cheered on by the Billings.)

Bruce Billings reported it would cost about $500 per light to purchase the type of powerful solar lighting used commercially. After discussion about possible annoyance at night of strong light on the sign to nearby houses vs. creating better neighborhood identity and enhancement of property values, we agreed to table the matter of lighting our sign until it is determined whether the flashing light on FM 3005 will be brought back (Gerri volunteered to investigate more on this).

Sewers and Streets
The City’s plans to put in a sewer system and pave streets at Sunny Beach are for 2013. Homes on septic systems will not be required to connect to the new system unless or until there is a problem with their system.

Permit to Rake Seaweed on Beach
We decided not to have the seaweed raked at Sunny Beach. Discussion concerned how seaweed helps to build the dune as well as provides some deterrent to beach crowds.

Final Hurricane Ike Repairs
Two houses – one at 11224 Garfield Way and the other at 11214 Schwartz – remain boarded up and seemingly abandoned since Ike. A letter written on behalf of our neighborhood by Terry Burkett to Lam Nguyen concerning the Garfield Way house was read and approved with minor changes (the letter already has generated response from Lam, who says repairs will be made soon). There is some doubt as to who actually owns the Schwartz property. This was discussed with no action taken.

The Sunny Beach Blog
Tom Empey reminded us that we have an Internet blog for posting neighborhood news, photos, comments, etc. (go to He would like to turn maintenance of the blog over to someone else. Please contact Tom about helping with this at 409-789-2297 or

New Business

March 8 Meeting on ERP
An extremely important Galveston City Council meeting to review and possibly approve of the proposed beach Erosion Response Plan (ERP) is March 8, at 4 p.m. at City Hall on 25th street. If the ERP proceeds as is, it could mean half of Sunny Beach is not protected. Houses on both sides of Bernice Dr. would potentially not be allowed repairs or construction.

Members representing WGIPOA plan to meet with the mayor and City Council members prior to the City Council meeting to advise of the possible impact the ERP could have on property values and to request that the City to drop from the ERP the following:
• No setbacks
• Platted properties are exempt
• Perform a ground survey each year in May with the payment coming from the 4B sales tax
• Establish the line of vegetation from the 200 MLT point
• Encourage building a continuous dune system
• Update the ERP every 5 years using ground surveys

Our new president, Judy Shorman, is unable to be in Galveston on March 8. Julia Lewis plans to attend and will speak on our behalf. Tom Empey also plans to attend. Please try to be at this meeting for our neighborhood if you can.

Our next SBN meeting
Our next meeting will be in April or May, a date to be announced. If you have something you would like to put on the meeting agenda, please e-mail to Judy at or to Anne at

Sunny Beach Neighborhood is an unincorporated nonprofit organization established to enhance the common interests of Sunny Beach. Participation is completely voluntary. Your support with dues and with taking an active part in our neighborhood is important; please be involved!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sunny Beach Newsletter, March 2011

Sunny Beach Neighborhood is an unincorporated, nonprofit, voluntary organization established to enhance the common voice of Sunny Beach.

Neighborhood Meeting April 2
Mark your calendar to attend the next Sunny Beach Neighborhood (S.B.N.) meeting on Saturday, April 2. We will meet at 6 p.m. at Ron Binkley’s house at 11203 Bernice Dr.

Meeting Agenda
· S.B.N. dues and treasurer’s report
· New members and membership (Do we need a membership officer?)
· City of Galveston Ike buyout property at 11213 Bernice Dr.
· Abandoned beachfront houses at 11224 and 11226 Garfield Way
· Beach bollards
· Volunteer needs: grass cutting on Ike buyout lots* and site of Sunny Beach sign (lot at corner of Schwartz Dr. and 8 Mile Rd.); retrieving trash cans; and picking up trash tossed by people and/or wind along 8 Mile Rd. and throughout the neighborhood
· The sand nourishment project west of the Seawall
· Seawall paid-parking issue

*In a January e-mail Gerri Empey contacted Dianna Puccetti, our City Council representative, to ask who is responsible for maintenance at 11213 Bernice Drive. Puccetti responded that it is an issue also in Spanish Grant, Bermuda Beach and Sea Isle, but “I have not received a direct answer at this point.” She added, “I will keep pushing.”

Neighborhood Changes
If you haven’t been to Sunny Beach lately, you may not know there has been a “flurry” of property selling and buying activity since December. Welcome to our new neighbors:
Stan & Edie Speer of Richmond, TX, who purchased 11207 Reagor Way from Carol Gibbins
Lane & Valeri Johnson of Houston, who purchased 11212 Bernice Dr. from David and Rena LaCroix
Janice Iden of Cypress, TX, who purchased 11218 Reagor Way from Metta Weburg
... and farewell to Matt & Lauren Johnson, who moved away from 11200 Bernice Dr.

Please Help
“Clean-up Trash Day,” anyone? Sunny Beach has a problem with extensive littering in neighborhood ditches and along 8 Mile Rd. No one is in charge of picking up this trash, so it's up to us, the residents of Sunny Beach, to keep our neighborhood clean – not only our own properties, but around them as well. Trash by the side of the road seems to attract additional trash. Spring Break is upon us, and it's just going to get worse.

Galveston News & Issues
The Galveston City Council is trying to get paid parking on the Seawall again. This would be potentially devastating to the "free" parking areas on the West End (especially 8 Mile Rd.). Plan to attend our April 2 meeting to weigh in on this important issue as we will want to be sure the council knows our neighborhood’s position.

We may see changes in windstorm insurance requirements if the legislature approves recommendations from the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association. See “TWIA seeks reforms,” published February 20 in the Galveston Daily News about proposed changes at

Visit for information on West Galveston Island Property Owners Association. Other online resources are the Galveston Daily News at and Guidry News Service at

Feb. 25–27 & Mar. 4–8 Galveston Mardi Gras (
March 11–20 Spring Break (UT and other schools)
March 12 Music Night on The Strand, 5 – 8 p.m. at
Saengerfest Park, 2300 Strand (every second Saturday)
March 12 ArtWalk, 6 – 9 p.m.
Galveston Arts Center & Other Galleries
March 13 Daylight Savings Time begins
April 2 Sunny Beach Neighborhood Meeting, 6 p.m.
at Ron Binkley’s house, 11203 Bernice Drive
April 24 Easter
April 30 ArtWalk
May 6–8 & 13–14 Historic Homes Tour, Galveston Historical Foundation

Rental Properties
If there is a problem with a rent house call GARM Security at 409-682-3603 to reach peace officers. For emergencies, call 911. For non-emergency police assistance, call the Galveston Police at 409-766-2100.

2011 S.B.N. Dues Now Being Collected
You should have received an e-mail or letter from S.B.N. treasurer Bruce Billings this month with an invoice for $25.00 per Sunny Beach property. If you have not already sent your membership payment, please do so now! Make checks payable to “Sunny Beach Neighborhood” and mail to Bruce Billings, 7373 Blairview Dr., Dallas, TX 75230.

S.B.N. Officers and Blog
The elected officers of Sunny Beach Neighborhood are Tom Empey, president, at or 409-789-2297; Bruce Billings, treasurer, at or 214-207-0975; and Anne Billings, secretary, at or 214-739-6004. Feel free to contact any of us should you have neighborhood news, questions or problems to report.
Also, Tom Empey created a blog for us where we can post thoughts and comments. Log on to:

Friday, January 14, 2011

Minutes from December 28th, 2010 Meeting

Members of Sunny Beach Neighborhood (SBN) met from 5 to 7:30pm on December 28th, 2010, to discuss neighborhood issues, get acquainted with one another and to celebrate the holiday season. The meeting was hosted by Bruce and Anne Billings at 11216 Bernice Dr.
In attendance were:
Bruce and Anne Billings
BJ and Catherine Mehirnfar (11205 Bernice)
Jesse Meason and Carmen (11227 Bernice)
Robert and Janis Cox (11223 Reagor Way)
Ron Binkley (11203 Bernice and 11226 Reagor Way)
SBN Officers' Reports
The president of SBN, Tom Empey, was out of town; no business was reported.
The treasurer, Bruce Billings, reported that approximately one-half of the neighborhood had paid dues to support SBN activities in 2010. The SBN bank account ended 2010 with a balance of $1,279.58. An additional $50 in dues was collected at the meeting.
The secretary, Anne Billings, distributed copies of the 2010-2011 Neighborhood Directory to those present. Information and photographs in the directory reflect many changes at Sunny Beach since the last directory and are current from input available through the end of 2010. There are two copies available for each property represented. Contact Anne or Gerri Empey to receive your directories.
New Neighbors
11201 Schwartz, Kyle Manary (Heather) of Galveston, TX
11213 Schwartz, Kay Harrington of Richwood, TX
11205 Reagor Way, Diane Jackson passed away June 12, 2010; Richard Cole, her friend in Bellaire, TX, not only agreed to be the contact, but also paid dues to support SBN.
11218 Reagor Way, recently sold (formerly Metta Weburg)
11224 Reagor Way, Mike Jernigan and Gaard Egeland, of Houston, TX
11221 Bernice, John Pellegrini (Peggy), of Mineola, TX
11227 Bernice, Jesse Meason (Carmon), of Richmond, TX
SBN Issues
(Items listed below were discussed, but none acted upon. These will be revisited at our next meeting)
Beach Sand Renourishment -
Although the sand project was cancelled, residents at our meeting seemed optimistic that sometime in the future it will be reinstated.
Beach Bollards -
Ron Binkley (11203 Bernice & 11226 Reagor Way) reported that the GLO in Austin is agreeable to having the bollards repositioned, but our problem is with the City of Galveston. Consensus was to continue to push the city to have the bollards moved westward of our development.
Additionally, we need to hold the city accountable for maintaining the lot at 11213 Bernice Drive purchased in the Ike buyout. * SBN residents have seen vehicles accessing the beach through this lot. We could request some sort of barricade to the beach (bollards?) on this lot.
* Julia Lewis (11216 Schwartz) says she has a design for use of this property for SBN to propose to the city.
Neighborhood Security & Welfare
We have been fortunate to have the Empey's (who sold their home in December), the Husemann's, Bond's and others living at Sunny Beach keeping an eye on what is happening for those who own properties as vacation homes and/or rentals. BJ Mehirnfar (11205 Bernice) suggested we identify which Sunny Beach homes are occupied full-time (This information is available in the Sunny Beach Directory.) He proposed we consider hiring a "manager" (perhaps part time or as needed) with neighborhood funds to watch out for residents' needs - from bringing in trash bins from the street after weekly pick-ups, to maintenance needs and trouble-shooting.
We also discussed the need for something to distinguish our neighborhood as a unique, cohesive identity, with the purpose of enhancing all SBN property values. Ideas discussed included planting a "hedge" of oleanders or installing a fence along 3005 and possibly 8 mile road perimeters of Sunny Beach - something to make it look like a distinct community.
New Business
Our next meeting will be late winter or early spring.
Please advise Tom Empey of ideas or items you wish to include on the agenda for the next SBN meeting.
You can lend a hand with pulling in trash bins in for out-of-town neighbors who must depart Sunny Beach prior to their trash pick up. Get to know your neighbors. Report any "strange" activity or vehicles at properties, to the police and/or to other SBN members.
Sunny Beach Neighborhood participation is important; please become involved.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sad Day ...

Galveston's $40 million beach project canceled


Nov. 15, 2010, 2:01PM

GALVESTON — State officials canceled a $40 million Galveston beach replacement project that was scheduled to begin today because of a recent Texas Supreme Court ruling that weakens the Texas Open Beaches Act.

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson canceled the project because the court's ruling in a lawsuit questioning the application of the Texas Open Beaches Act "has muddied the legal waters enough to delay the beach project indefinitely," according to a statement released by the General Land Office.

"Our hands are tied now," Patterson said. "With this much money on the bubble, the delay caused by these legal questions makes it too costly to continue this project."

The 6-mile project, from the west end of the Galveston sea wall to 13-mile Road, was intended as a defense against high erosion rates threatening the city's tax base and infrastructure.

The project would have been paid for by the General Land Office's Coastal Erosion Planning and Response Act Program with local, state and federal money.

Jim Suydam, Land Office spokesman, said the Supreme Court ruling means that there is no public beach easement on the west end of Galveston Island. Without the easement, the constitutional prohibition against spending public money to improve private property makes the project impossible, Suydam said.

The ruling was a result of a lawsuit brought by the California-based Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of San Diego, Calif., resident Carol Severance, who owns several income properties on Galveston Island. The court ruled that the Open Beaches Act does not apply when erosion is caused by a storm.

One of Severance's houses ended up on the public beach as a result of storm erosion. The court said Severance could be forced to remove her house from the beach under the Open Beaches Act if it was as a consequence of natural erosion, but not storm-caused erosion.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sand Project

Bill Husemann was the first one to spot the boats and the pipe being pulled up to the beach. The pipe to bring in sand is in front of the pond just east of our subdivision. It's a good sign that the project will start soon!