Emergency Preparedness

NEWS ITEM — Emergency PreparednessSouthern Gables Neighborhood Association

What Could Go Wrong?

Emergency Preparedness — isn’t that something from the 1950s, with bomb shelters and warnings of imminent disaster, or maybe a worry for the folks with all those faults out there in shaky California?  We hardly ever think of earthquakes, and tornadoes spring up “somewhere else” but are soon forgotten by most. We live in a safe, stable neighborhood, after all. What could go wrong?

Oh, how many sad stories begin with that question, “What could go wrong?”

Things do go wrong. We’ll have to admit those tornadoes are getting more frequent, and they’re not just in Kansas anymore. Wind and hail, and even wintertime blizzards, can leave us in the dark for extended periods. Even breaking down on a remote mountain road is something to consider. Hey, how about a pandemic? Nah…

Southern Gables emergency preparedness kit

Photo from ready.gov

Well actually, although the  restrictions we are dealing with right now don’t require a really hard survival posture, we have some basic considerations to think about, in the event of a short-term emergency situation. The list below is for preparedness at home, but you’ll find some of the ideas pertinent to when you’re on the road as well.

  • Candles: 100 hour safe burning candles are available for $4.95 each on campingsurvival.com. It’s a good idea to have several on hand, with several ignition sources (lighters). We’re used to the sky-glow of the big city, and having street lights around, but in a serious emergency scenario it will be dark at night.
  • Mirrors/emergency lights: a small mirror may be your most critical item if stranded or broken down. Harbor Freight stocks small lighting units (often free with any purchase) which provide a bright light with an AA battery and will blink or oscillate for use as a signal. You should have at least two backup fresh batteries, and dedicate these lights and batteries for emergency use only.
  • Consider a whistle.
  • Knife/utility tool: multi-functional “Leatherman” type combination tool can be very useful, along with a simple can opener.
  • Portable radio: mid-sized battery operated radio with at least 2 sets of fresh batteries stored outside the radio. Unit used only for emergency. Replace batteries at least yearly.
  • Water purification/charcoal tablets with quart sized dedicated bottle for mixing, and a sturdy metal pot.
  • 200’ roll of duct tape.
  • Firestarters: compressed bricks or sectioned fire logs for ignition are more reliable than kindling.
  • Be certain your chimney is clear of buildups, nests, and any other obstructions.
  • Space blanket/poncho: conserve body heat. Waterproof rain jacket.
  • First aid kit (not merely bandages).
  • Propane fuel fired heaters (It’s critical to vent them properly.)
  • Good neighbor consideration. Check on your neighbors. Better safe than sorry.

A good survival supply of water and storable food should last at least a week, and all items should be stored several feet above floor level. Generators should be mobile (on wheels) and be matched to the power need. NEVER run one inside your home or garage, to provide proper venting.

The American Red Cross provides extensive guidance for recommended survival kits. Click here for info and recommendations.

These are ideas that can help us all be safe, and be friendly, and continue to be good neighbors even in difficult times.

The Housing Market

NEWS ITEM — The Housing MarketSouthern Gables Neighborhood Association

A Turnaround — How Soon?

Real estate leaders expect the housing market to turn around sooner than other sectors.

The coronavirus pandemic has thrown a wrench into what is typically a busy season for home transactions, but leaders in the industry are expecting activity to pick back up in the coming months.

Free Real Estate Clipart ImagesThe National Association of Realtors did a “flash survey” of its members in April as evidence that the majority of buyers and sellers are either continuing the process or delaying their decisions for a couple of months. The survey, conducted April 19 to 20, found that 44% of NAR members reported buyers holding off on their purchases for a couple of months, a figure that held steady in another NAR flash survey conducted in early May. Similarly, the May survey found that 51% of members reported sellers are delaying their home sale for a couple of months.

Inventory will remain a challenge. In the Denver metro area, where inventory was low coming into the year, active listings rose to 6,855 homes at the end of April, according to the latest market trends report from the Denver Metro Association of Realtors. Active listings in April averaged 14,929 homes in the Denver metro between 1985 and 2020. Demographics remain in favor of home buying activity picking back up, with the largest age group, millennials, in their peak home buying years. Historically low interest rates could also help.

Likely much of the spring selling season has simply been deferred, and the velocity of transactions is anticipated to increase in the coming weeks and months.

Click here to listen to a podcast of an interview with NAR Chief Economist Dr. Lawrence Yun on the effects of the Coronavirus on the economy and housing.

Lisa Huntington-Kinn is a member of the Southern Gables Neighborhood Association Board of Directors and a Broker Associate at HK Home Team Your Castle Mountain Properties.

Remote Learning at Green Gables Elementary School

NEWS ITEM — Remote Learning at Green Gables Elementary SchoolSouthern Gables Neighborhood Association

In Response to Covid-19

By Suanne Hawley, Principal, Green Gables Elementary School

We can all agree that Covid-19 has caused many challenges in our community, state, nation and world.  One of those challenges brought the question, “How will we continue to educate our students while they cannot physically attend school?”  At Green Gables we learned that we needed to prepare a remote learning model in less than three days. We immediately went to work relying heavily on our school vision of “Leading, Learning, and Growing… TOGETHER.”  Our instructional coach and secretary worked together, ensuring every student received a device (Chromebook or iPad) to take home, while our teachers began preparing the students by showing them online tools such as Seesaw and Google Classroom. Little did we know the day our students left with devices in hand, that we would continue with remote learning for the remainder of the school year and would even be looking into the possibility of remote learning beginning this fall. This adjustment proved difficult for both parents and students alike, while also challenging teachers to rise to the occasion and teach in an untraditional way, but this challenge is one our teachers were up for!

Green Gables Elementary School

The Heart of the Neighborhood

Our remote learning model included both synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities. Synchronous learning included activities such as Zoom and Google Hangout class meetings, virtual small group lessons and scheduled activities for students to see one another and interact in real time.  Asynchronous learning included self-guided lessons with activities such as video streams, digital books, and interactive boards, including Padlet and Flipgrid. Both models offer pros and cons but were important in attempting to meet the needs of students. Three weeks in, we surveyed our families to gather feedback on how we could maximize engagement, learning, and support for students and their families.

Results:  100 families completed the survey

  • 91% agreed or strongly agreed they felt supported by the school during remote learning
  • 92% agreed or strongly agreed the school was providing ways for students to connect with their classmates and teachers
  • 96% stated that communication from the school was effective or highly effective
  • 85% stated the learning included a mix of online and offline learning assignments
  • 86% said accessing the technology was easy to very easy
  • 82% said that if they or their child was feeling anxious they knew how to reach out for support within the school community

After looking closer at the results and comments from families, we held a community Zoom meeting offering tips for remote learning, as well as social emotional support/resources for families. This allowed us to gain the perspective of families, along with the challenges they were facing. 

Along the way, we were also able to implement other fun experiences for our students, such as: virtual garden club (in partnership with teachers and community members), virtual national field day, and virtual connections with our buddies.  As the school year comes to a close, we anticipate what “back to school” in the fall might look like. We have been leading remote learning for the first time ever, while also learning and adjusting along the way,  growing in ways we never could have imagined. We will be ready with whatever the fall brings, with new tools in our tool box, working together to give our Green Gables students the best learning opportunities within our new reality. They are worth it!