Country Place Association Helipad

After a recent request for information from a real estate prospect who had seen the notation on his subdivision plat, Ken Terrell was able to find out the following:  “As of this date, the Country Place Association helipad at Ridge Top and Lakeshore is officially registered with both Hospital Helicopter Services as well as with the Whitehouse Fire Department and East Texas Ambulance Service.  Our area is presently served by East Texas Ambulance, East Texas Air One and Whitehouse Fire Department.  All of these entities look at this site as a set of coordinates (32 deg – 12.96 north by 095 deg – 17.871 west).” This helipad was designated long ago and hasn’t been used recently, if ever. But in the event of an emergency, it could be a blessing. We want all residents to know about it and to be able to point it out to EMS if and when it is ever needed.

Burning In Country Place

In December, after all the leaves were down, I had our crew clean out the drainage ditch in front of our house and pile the leaves in our burn ring to the south of our house on Oak Meadow Circle. I was out of town when they finished and when I returned I was surprised at how many leaves they’d collected. The pile was four feet tall and twenty feet across, about twice the circumference of our old burn ring. To be safe I waited until after a big rain and on a still afternoon just before New Year’s I pulled out the garden hose, a couple of rakes and several lawn chairs, and poured some kerosene on one corner of the pile. The leaves were really wet, though, and they didn’t burn so much as smolder, so it wasn’t that interesting to watch. After an hour the boys and I were bored so we soaked the ground with the hose and went in to watch tv. Just before bed, at about ten, I went out once again to check the pile and it was still smoldering, though noticeably smaller at that point.

The next morning I woke up at about six to the sound of wind whistling in the eaves. A Norther was headed our way and the low pressure was pulling a strong South wind in. I went down the hall to get my coffee and realized that mixed with the smell of fresh java was burning leaves. I headed out the door to check the leaf pile. The wind that had whipped up during the night had stoked the leaves like a big bellows and the smoldering had turned to blazes. The wind was so strong that the heat was being pushed into our wall of lovely red-leaf photonia and they were smoking…on the verge of catching fire. Still in my PJ’s, I grabbed the hose and began soaking down the shrubs and then the burning leaves. After ten minutes I had managed to put a dint in the blazes, but there were still burning leaves being whipped up over our house. I spent another twenty minutes putting out the fire as completely as possible. This story has a semi-happy ending. Our house didn’t burn, but the photinias suffered a lot of damage and it will be a couple of years before they are as pretty as they were. My wife, and our boys, now watch me closely when I head for the burn pile. But I learned a couple of valuable lessons about setting a fire which I’d like to pass along to my neighbors. First, be sure that you don’t start burning anything that won’t be completely out before you leave or head to bed.

That also means not setting fire to big limbs or logs. Second, be sure there’s plenty of clearance for the size of fire you’re about to create. Based on the wet leaves and lack of wind when I started my fire, I really thought I was safe. But the hours of smoldering helped to dry the leaves (then, too, perhaps the leaves nearer the bottom of the pile were dryer) and the 20 mile-per-hour wind changed everything. More recently another neighbor in County Place had a similar experience, only this time with pine logs and another big wind that came up after dark. Because of the big pine trees and the underbrush that grow in our undeveloped areas, we have the potential for a California-style tragedy here in Country Place. We need to be sure that everyone in Phase II has filled out a Burn Permit, and if you are in Phase I you need to familiarize yourself with this form, as well because it will help to remind you of some common-sense rules. Obviously, nobody wants to be responsible for burning down his own home or his neighbors’, but that is a very real possibility unless we all follow the proper safety precautions when burning.

Utility Alerts in Country Place

We are looking for ways to alert residents when a utility outage has been scheduled. Ken Terrell has recommended a sign at the entrance. Would you notice an orange sign with the words “Utility Alert” on it? We’d put more detailed information on the website. We could send out a general email to all residents with email. Your ideas are welcome here.