Monthly COVNA Meeting


7:00 p.m. Monday, September 18th
Southwest Church of Christ
8900 Manchaca Rd. (Rear Entrance)

Fighting Graffiti in Austin

H ave you been wondering about the graffiti that pops up around our area and the rest of Austin? Where does it come from? Who are committing these acts of vandalism? This September our speaker will be Tony Casarez. He is the Program Supervisor at the Austin Youth Development Program and currently head of the Graffiti Abatement Program here in Austin. He is very enthusiastic about speaking to us about the program – what we can do to help enforce the program and spot acts of graffiti in our area and report them to the city or the police. He wants to get hardware stores to help contribute the supplies to fight the vandals tagging our community. He works directly with the police, and would like to hear our concerns and suggestions. The City of Austin is currently finding ways to better fund the program, and needs to hear back from citizens. Please join us at the September meeting and find out what is going on in our dear city.

Organic Harvest Month

(Click for info)

Little League Month

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Floyd Clark
Greg Estes
Lisa Lyons
Hal Ferguson
Doug Tabony
Doug DuBois
Doug DuBois
President (282-8245)
Vice President (282-2782)
Secretary (266-3379)
Treasurer (282-0601)
Newsletter (280-4080)
ANC Delegate (292-9323)
Past President (292-9323)

Monthly meetings are held on the third Monday
of the month.
January 16th
February 20th
March 20th
April 17th
May 15th
June Picnic 17th
September 18th
October 16th
November 20th
Dec Party 18th

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Presidential Notes


Hopefully, our long hot summer is pretty much over. Our next COVNA meeting will be September 18, at 7:00 p.m. The program will be about damage to private property. Our vice president has arranged for Tony Casarez to talk about graffiti. The meeting will again be at the Southwest Church of Christ on Manchaca Road.

In the past we have discussed the importance of Neighborhood Watch programs. Watching out for our neighbors is very important, especially when few people are home during the daytime. Theft from some of our neighbors’ homes happened in the daytime this summer. At night, an automobile was stolen.
Also, there is a serious problem with the presence of coyotes. These, at present, are feeding at night. Some cats have been killed and partially eaten. Over the Labor Day weekend a deer was killed and partially eaten near the corner of Comburg Castleway and Collingwood.

These and other problems should make us more observant of things happening around us. If you see something unusual or potentially harmful, it is important to pay attention. If you determine there is an emergency, or if you see someone acting suspicious, call the police (that is a 911 call).

Call 311 to request police services if there is a non-emergency. Call 311 if there is a non-life threatening event or a crime not currently in progress. An example of a typical 311 call would be a property crime that is no longer in progress and where the offender is no longer on the scene. Others include crimes such as vandalism, thefts, graffiti, stolen autos and garage burglaries. If the criminal is still around, call 911.

Please come to the meeting to discuss these and other things important to you and your neighbors.

Floyd Clark.

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  Man-made Neighborhood Threats


Below are crime events reported in posts on the COVNA Email List between June and now. To keep abreast of neighborhood events and receive helpful suggestions such as who does good AC, plumbing, tree, electrical, and remodeling work to name a few, send a request to join with your name(s) and email address to:

6/4 - Some eggs were thrown at cars on Friday night on the end of Ramblewood Dr. Also, one egg was thrown on a car and two at the garage door on the corner of Comburg Castleway and Collingwood.
7/3 - Along Roxana and Monarch someone, or a group of pranksters, tipped over garbage cans and recycling bins, spilling the trash out on the yards and street. This also happened on Castlewood Drive.
7/5 - A garbage can at 9001 Comburg went missing yesterday afternoon between 11 am - 5 pm. The theft was reported to City of Austin police.
8/8 - Saturday night the back window was broken out of a car parked at the SE end of Comburg-Castleway and some items stolen.
8/23 - There was a burglary on Collingwood on Friday afternoon.
9/2 - The house at 9204 Queenswood was attacked with paint balls last night. It appears to be a drive by attack with 5 shots all across the front from roof line to just above the ground. The house on the NW corner of Heatherwood and Toulouse (Morgan) received some pink paintballs the same night.
9/6 - A vehicle, believed to be locked, was stolen from a driveway on Crownspoint Monday early am. The thieves, after getting into the vehicle, took enough time to find a hidden key. The owner was awakened by the police around 3:00 am. They reported that the vehicle had been found in the Sendera neighborhood. Someone in that area interrupted the car thieves, one 16, the other 17, breaking into another vehicle and ran one down and held him until the police arrived. The police found stolen goods in the stolen vehicle. The vehicle was unharmed. Maybe these kids are responsible for a number of burglaries in our area.

Natural Neighborhood Threats


River City Pest Control

Barkley Garner
8704 Oak Ledge Dr, Austin TX 78748

Insect Control
Nuisance Animal Control

Thanks to Floyd Clark for providing the majority of the information below.

There are Coyotes in our neighborhood. So far they have killed or attacked at least four cats. These incidents were reported to the Austin Police Department and Animal control. They will take the report but nothing can/will be done by their departments. All domestic animals are at risk. If you see one do not approach, but report it to the following people: Jacob with the State of Texas Wildlife Services: 854-9613. If his department gets enough calls the county agency will help us with a resolution. Also call City of Austin Wildlife/Animal Control (so a case number will be created) at 972-6060.

According to the Texas Wildlife Services these animals have a 3,000 acre hunting/roaming area. It’s pup season, they are all starving and attempting to not only feed themselves, but their litters as well. Please remember that all small domestic animals are at risk, especially between the hours of 6pm and 10 am. For additional information about our neighborhood risk, and help in this problem, call Elizabeth Lutes at 736-6626

The coyote (Canis latrans, meaning "barking dog", also prairie wolf ) is a member of the Canidae (dog) family and a relative of the domestic dog. Coyotes are native to North America and are only found in North America south to Costa Rica. European explorers first encountered these canines during their travels in the American Southwest. They may occasionally assemble in small packs, but normally hunt alone. Coyotes live an average of about 6 to 10 years. The word "coyote" was borrowed from Mexican Spanish, which itself borrowed the term from the Náhuatl (Aztec) word cóyotl which may have meant "singing dog". The coyote stands less than 2 feet tall and varies in color from white-gray to tan with sometimes a reddish tint to its coat. A coyote's ears and nose appear long and pointed, especially in relation to the size of its head. It weighs between 20 - 50 lbs, averaging 31 lbs. The coyote can be identified by its thick bushy tail, which it often holds low to the ground. The coyote is an extremely lean animal and may appear underfed even if healthy.

Urban Coyotes

The Situation
The ubiquitous coyote is found throughout North America, and hardly any animal in America is more adaptable to changing conditions. Coyotes can live just about anywhere, and as humans expand their living areas and coyotes expand their range as well, contact is inevitable. Most of the time, coyotes go out of their way to avoid humans, but they are discovering that the urban environment provides a variety of sources of food. Resourceful and adaptable as coyotes are, they will take advantage of this when they can. One of the keys to the coyote’s success is its diet. A true scavenger, the coyote will eat just about anything. Identified as a killer of sheep, poultry and deer, the coyote will also eat snakes and foxes, doughnuts and sandwiches, rodents and rabbits, fruits and vegetables, birds, frogs, grass and grasshoppers, pet cats and cat food, pet dogs and dog food, carrion and just plain garbage.

The most serious problem with the urbanization of coyotes is that the animals have become used to being around people. As they lose their fear of people, they become bolder in approaching people and may put themselves in hazardous situations they would normally avoid. Coyotes are active mainly during the nighttime, but they can be moving at any time during the day. Most sightings of coyotes occur during the hours close to sunrise and sunset. It is doubtful that the coyote problem will go away, however, it can be managed and mitigated.

Ten things residents can do to help the situation
1. Do not feed coyotes or other wildlife!
2. Eliminate sources of water.
3. Bird feeders should be positioned so that coyotes can’t get the feed. Coyotes are attracted by bread, table scraps, and even seed. They may also be attracted by birds and rodents that come to the feeders. They are also attracted to deer feed.
4. Do not discard edible garbage where coyotes can get to it.
5. Secure garbage containers and eliminate garbage odors.
6. Feed pets indoors whenever possible. Pick up any leftovers if feeding outdoors. Store pet food where it is inaccessible to wildlife.
7. Trim and clean, near ground level, any shrubbery that provides hiding cover for coyotes or prey.
8. As in all cases, small children should never be left unattended.
9. Don’t allow pets to run free. Keep them safely confined and provide secure nighttime housing for them. Walk your dog on a leash and accompany your pet outside, especially at night.
10. Discourage coyotes from frequenting your area. If you start seeing coyotes around your home or property, chase them away by shouting, making loud noises or throwing rocks.

What are local governments doing about the situation?
Travis County, the City of Austin and Texas Wildlife Services, a Department of the Texas Cooperative Extension Service, have an agreement in place to address the coyote problem in Travis County. Under the agreement, the state will provide technical and direct assistance. Technical assistance involves assisting citizens by providing advice, recommendations, information or educational material; and direct assistance will involve removal of the animals. The city will participate in the partnership between the county and the state and will assist with implementation of the program.

What should I do if I see a coyote?
To report coyote sightings, call 3-1-1. You will be asked to describe in detail the nature of your complaint, time, location, etc. The city’s Animal Control Program will gather data related to coyotes and provide that information to Texas Wildlife Services for response/follow-up once the agreement between that agency and Travis County is in place. Animal Control will respond to reports of injured or trapped coyotes.
Call 9-1-1 to report a coyote attack on a human (to date there have been no reports in Travis County of coyotes attacking humans)

For more information, call 3-1-1 and ask for Animal Services or visit one of the following websites:

For even more information, contact:
R.C. "Chris" Robles, Program Manager
Animal Protection Care & Control Program
Austin/Travis County Health & Human Services Department
1156 West Cesar Chavez
Austin, Texas 78703
Office 972-6024/972-6090/Fax 972-6036

Saving Water in Austin

There has been a request for an article about xeriscaping in Austin. I’ll tackle that next month and hope to produce a newsletter with a more positive tone. Meanwhile, here are 50 tips for conserving water from the city. For much more about water and the City of Austin visit:
• Replace older toilets with low-flow models to save up to 50%. You could qualify for a $100 rebate.
• More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering. Be sure only to water plants when necessary.
• Install FREE water-saving showerheads that use 2.5 gallons per minute or less.
• Report water waste from malfunctioning irrigation systems -- call 974-2199.
• Use a grease pencil to mark the water level of your pool at the skimmer. Check the mark 24 hours later. Your pool should lose no more than 1/4 inch each day.
• Make your next clothes washer a water-saver, and get up to $100 in rebates.
• Use sprinklers that throw big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller drops of water and mist often evaporate before they hit the ground.
• When washing dishes by hand, use a sink full of soapy water -- don't let the water run.
• Water lawns during the early morning when temperatures and wind speed are the lowest. This reduces evaporation and waste.
• Place an empty tuna can on your lawn to catch and measure the water output of your sprinklers.
• Scrape food from your plates instead of rinsing. Newer dishwashers and detergents get dishes just as clean without the need to pre-rinse.
• Hand-water with a hose where possible. Homeowners who water with a handheld hose can use one-third less water outdoors than those who use automatic sprinklers.
• Cook food in as little water as possible. This will also retain more of the nutrients.
• Operate automatic dishwashers and clothes washers only when they are fully loaded or set the water level for the size of load you are using.
• Fix toilet leaks. Plumbing leaks as a whole account for 14 percent of water consumed in the home, according to a study sponsored by the American Water Works Association.
• Install FREE water-saving aerators on household faucets.
• Buy a rain gauge to track how much rain or irrigation your yard receives.
• Fill your pool a few inches lower than usual.
• Use mulch to retain moisture in the soil. Mulch also helps control weeds that compete with landscape plants for water.
• Chill drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the faucet until the water is cold
• Clean your driveway or sidewalk with a broom, not a hose.
• Purchase a rainbarrel to capture rainwater for use on your landscape.
• Choose drought-tolerant plants when landscaping, and group plants with similar water needs together (hydrozoning).
• Divide your watering cycle into shorter periods to reduce runoff and allow for better absorption every time you water.

• Use a commercial car wash that recycles water. If you wash your own car, park on the grass and use a hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle.
• Position sprinklers so they're not watering driveways and walkways.
• Make sure you know where your master water shut-off valve is located. This could save gallons of water and damage to your home if a pipe were to burst.
• Fix leaky faucets. A steady faucet drip can waste 20 gallons of water a day.
• Adjust your lawnmower to cut grass to a height of 3 inches or more. Taller grass encourages deeper roots and shades the soil to reduce moisture loss.
• Encourage your employer to promote water conservation in the workplace. Call 974-2199 for commercial and industrial water-saving programs and incentives.
• Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save 4 gallons a minute. That's 200 gallons a week for a family of four.
• Do not use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or use the defrost setting on your microwave.
• Start a compost pile or scrape food into the trash instead of running your garbage disposal, which requires a lot of water to work properly.
• Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily.Dispose of tissues, insects and other similar waste in the trash rather than the toilet.
• Place a bucket in the shower to catch excess water for use on plants.
• Don't install or use fountains or other water ornaments unless they use recycled water.
• Avoid overseeding your lawn with winter grass. Once established, ryegrass needs water every three to five days, whereas dormant Bermuda grass needs water only once a month.
• Stick to the 5-Day watering schedule during the summer, and turn off your irrigation system in winter.
• Wash vegetables and fruits in a bowl or basin using a vegetable brush; don't let the water run.
• Use a timer on hose-end sprinklers to avoid overwatering. If you're an Austin Water customer, call 974-2199 for details on getting your free hose timer.
• When the kids want to cool off, use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it the most.
• Only water your lawn when needed. You can tell this by simply walking across your lawn. If you leave footprints, it's time to water.
• Take a 5 minute shower or a 6-inch-deep bath.
• If you own a pool, use a cover to reduce evaporation.
• While fertilizers promote plant growth, they also increase water consumption. Apply the minimum amount of fertilizer needed.
• Aerate your lawn. Punch holes in your lawn about six inches apart so water will reach the roots rather than run off the surface.
• Check your water meter and bill to track your water usage.
• Turn the water off while you shampoo and condition your hair and you can save more than 50 gallons a week.
• Support projects that will lead to an increased use of reclaimed waste water for irrigation and other uses.
• Get involved in water management issues. Voice your questions and concerns at public