News Articles

Analysis of Website Use

By Frank Hemmert #1409
Analysis of Website Use - October 2020
By Frank Hemmert #1409
Hello CRTN website users.  Here are more facts and figures regarding our website use for October 2020:
We had 353 Active Users (down 35% from September), 792 sessions (down 33% from September) while the average session length went up over a minute to 6 minutes and 24 seconds.
Desktop and Laptop users made up 71% of the total (up 12% from last time), Cell Phones were down to 21% of the total and Tablet users stayed at 8%.
The following areas were accessed the most:
  • Home Page Visits    1,357
  • Login Page           479
  • Questionnaires        296
  • Announcements         215
  • What's New                176
  • Owners                    166
  • Newsletter                  147
Users by Country / USA - 87% and Canada 13%
Thanks again for supporting the CRTN website.  Our aim is to please; we hope you are enjoying it.  

Commentary: The End of COVID-19: When? How? What?

By Thom Neff #303 
August 8, 2020
The current pandemic has disrupted life everywhere.  Many of us now find our lives more restricted, perhaps more lonely, and likely with more time on our hands.  My approach to this new reality is fairly simple: Daily, I read the NYTs and the London Times, re-watch classic TV series like MI-5 on Amazon and Peaky Blinders on Netflix, and re-read classic books like The Catcher in the Rye, The Good Soldier, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  However, since I spent my former professional life as an engineer and contractor, solving problems all over the world, I also follow all the appropriate current literature on Covid-19 and offer a few thoughts on my current opinion of what may happen going forward.
I am concerned for my friends at CRTN.  My concern arises from the fact that I’m currently at my home in MA where we had 320 new covid cases yesterday, while FL had over 6,229.  This pandemic appears out of control in the US, as a country, while certain states are doing quite well in controlling it.  The difference results from a variety of factors, but two critical ones appear to be: (1) strong leadership based upon science, and (2) proper behavior by citizens.  MA’s GOP governor is a great leader who follows science, and inspires his citizens to respond intelligently.  The numbers speak for themselves.  Globally, the US has the worst record of any country in the world, in terms of total cases and total deaths.  The CDC in the US and the WHO globally are, in my opinion, good sources of information on the current situation, and for information on how various countries and/or states are doing in their efforts to control the virus.  They are not perfect, but they are attempting to learn from experience, and modify procedures as new data and new understanding occurs.  NOBODY currently knows when this pandemic will end, how it will end, and what the new normal will look like.  However, there is near universal agreement that wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding closed indoor spaces, avoiding large outdoor gatherings, and frequent hand washing will likely have a positive effect.
Unfortunately, this pandemic has also caused adverse and significant economic disruption to almost every facet of government, business and private life.  Again, the effects vary widely for select states and countries.  However, in general, the most adverse effects fall upon poor, minority, and/or people of color in almost any area.  Many global locations are currently in recession, and the threat of a more severe depression is very real.  The strength of online sales, and widespread remote working (and learning) have initiated profound changes that will clearly
help define certain aspects of what the post-Covid-19 world will look like.  As more evidence accumulates, it is also clear that no age group, nor ethnicity, is completely safe, although some groups appear to fare better than others.  New data forces scientists and researchers to update their models and conclusions, as the virus shows some signs of mutating into possibly unknown conditions.
It is obvious that where communities are faring better, i.e., lower cases and fewer deaths, there is in place strong, clear, science-based leadership, and a responsive citizenship that is generally following the current suggested guidelines.  The US does not have a national, federal plan to control the virus, leaving it largely up to the states to fend for themselves.  The numbers, i.e., the US being No. 1 in the world in both number of cases and deaths, strongly suggests that we are on the wrong track.  It is also interesting to note that the countries that are doing well in this battle are generally ones that have universal health care, strong and comprehensive social welfare
systems, and extensive sick leave and unemployment benefits.  The virus has no political agenda, it has the potential to attack and kill anyone, anytime, anywhere.  The global numbers prove this.  These are verifiable facts.
It is easy to find many current predictions and/or forecasts of how, and when, this pandemic will end.  A prediction is specific, i.e., this event will happen on a specific date and time.  So far, ALL predictions have been WRONG, because of the changing nature of the virus, and the widely varying attempts to control it.  A forecast is more general, i.e., in the next three months, this event has a 25 percent probability of happening.  Current forecasts of the ending of this pandemic are all over the map, thus we are left to individually figure out what we will do to survive.  This virus has created a dilemma for all of us.  The definition of a dilemma is a situation wherein all of the participants seek to find a strategy that will have a positive outcome for them.  John von Neumann developed Game Theory to address such situations.  He is considered one of the most intelligent humans to ever live, and Game Theory is widely used in many fields to help people develop good strategies that result in positive outcomes.  Game Theory has proven that in these dilemma situations, when people act only in their own self-interest, the outcome for everyone is not good.  Even when they cooperate, the best, worst outcome, is all they can hope for.  We need to compromise, i.e., give up something just to minimize the adversity of the outcome.  We are not alone.  Your outcome will be affected by your strategy, and, by the strategy of all the other participants.  
Given these facts, it makes sense to select among your chosen actions ones that are currently proven to help.  Good luck.  

Frank Hemmert is New Director on the CRTN Board of Directors

Frank Hemmert, the new member of the CRTN Board of Directors, provided the following statement (edited for conciseness) to The Tower News.
I was born and grew up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  I met David in 1985 and we moved to a smaller city of about 400,000 called London, Ontario in 1990 (2 hours SW of Toronto and 2 hours NE of Detroit).  I have worked as an accountant in various capacities, spending the last 25 years before my retirement in 2018 at a Psychological Test Publisher as the accountant and office manager.  David and I also owned a hair salon for 25 years and I performed all the office functions – not hair cutting or colouring for me, that wouldn’t have been pretty, lol.
Our  first trip to Fort Lauderdale was in 1997 and we stayed at a family friend’s condo, Ocean Summit, on the Galt Ocean Mile.  It was love at first sight.  We owned a timeshare on the ocean in Pompano Beach for 15 years and decided we wanted to put down roots in Fort Lauderdale for the winter, when we retired.  Our search led us to this piece of paradise.  Seeing the large pool on the intracoastal waterway was the clincher for us.  We purchased a 1 bedroom apartment (712A) in 2010 and loved it here so much we upgraded to a 2 bedroom apartment (1409) in early 2019.  
We’ve enjoyed meeting people from all over the U.S. and Canada and have made many dear friends here.  We have been staying at CRTN for 3 ½ - 5 months over the past 3 winters since retirement.
I look forward to working with all the board members in a constructive and respectful manner to maintain the building and improve where needed.  Listening to many owners, there appears to be a strong desire to bring the landscaping up to par.  Plants, flowers and trees add instant curb appeal and dollar value to all our apartments.  There is also much talk of upgrading the community room at some point.  I also believe we should rent out Unit 108 full time to a tenant and bring in potentially $15,000 in extra revenue every year.
I have worked on the website committee for the past 5 months (shout out to my peeps – Margie, Jan & Sue) and I feel  this type of initiative is moving the building forward, where we provide more information to owners and work together to make CRTN thrive and continue to be a great place to reside, either full or part-time.

Virtual CRTN Board of Directors Meeting

Coral Ridge Towers North Board of Directors will open their meeting for virtual attendance on August 31, 2020 at 3 PM. CRTN Stockholders will be able to attend that meeting and future scheduled meetings using Zoom, a video conferencing application that is being routinely used by cities (including Fort Lauderdale) and corporations to conduct meetings of up to 300 individuals.
In order to participate in the open BOD meetings, stockholders must be able to receive and send emails, have an electronic device that has a camera and can access the internet: iPhone, smart phone, tablet, iPad, desk-top computer. (If your computer does not have a camera, you can still join Zoom; you just won’t have a video connection.) Mobile devices, such as smart telephones and tablets, have some limitations, but are fine for basic meeting attendance. If for some reason you cannot join the meeting with Zoom on an electronic device, please contact Margie Geasler,  or click on “Contact Us” on the webpage, for special instructions to join with limited accessibility by telephone.
For information and directions on how to use Zoom, click on Zoom’s official website and/or Joining A Meeting, a one-minute video by Zoom. Both are good sources of quick information.
You will be notified by email during the week before the meeting is scheduled. If you would like to attend, you must reply to that email with your name and unit #. In turn you will receive an email with a link to join the meeting 24 hours ahead of the meeting. At the meeting’s scheduled time, click on the link and you will be admitted after you have been validated as a resident. For security reasons, no one will be admitted to the meeting after 3:15.
Prior to the meeting, you will be able to submit questions pertaining to any agenda item to President Terry Johnson. Questions will be compiled and distributed to the BOD for answering at the meeting.
Tips for Using Zoom
  • It is free to join a Zoom meeting.
  • If you don’t have a computer - make friends with someone who has one and knows how to use Zoom; sit with them.
  • Try out Zoom with friends or family ahead of time.
  • Make sure you are using Zoom version 5.2.1. If not, update it.
  • When you click on the meeting link, you will be put in a “waiting room” and must be validated by CRTN before you are admitted.
  • Make sure your device is named. That is the name that will appear when you want to be admitted to the meeting. You can’t be admitted if we don’t know who you are.
  • Choose speaker view to focus on the speaker. BOD directors will be labeled Director.
  • Mute yourself for the duration of the meeting unless you have been recognized to speak.
  • You have the choice of turning your video off if you do not wish to have it appear on the screen.
Steps CRTN Will Take to Ensure Your Security While Using Zoom
  1. Only CRTN Stockholders will have the link to the meeting. Don’t share it.
  2. Stockholders will be put in a “waiting room” and authenticated before being admitted.
  3. If anyone from outside (or inside) attempts to disrupt the meeting, they can be electronically removed from the meeting.

Disclaimer: For the foreseeable future all BOD meetings will be virtual/online gatherings. CRTN is not responsible for making sure residents’ computers have been maintained with up-to-date operating system software, internet browsers, and the latest version of Zoom. Installing and running a reputable (preferably paid) anti-virus/malware software program is highly recommended. When Zoom was being used widely at the beginning of the pandemic, there were some security issues, but since then, Zoom has taken care to improve security with each and every software update, according to Tom’s Guide, 8/1/2020 . “Unless you're discussing state or corporate secrets, or disclosing personal health information to a patient, Zoom should be fine. For school classes, after-work get-togethers, or even workplace meetings that stick to routine business, there's not much risk in using Zoom.”

John Bird is New Director on the CRTN Board of Directors

John Bird, the new member of the CRTN Board of Directors, provided the following statement (edited for conciseness) to The Tower News.
Ron and I were snowbirds at CRTN when we first moved in to Unit #1122 in October 2016. We enjoyed the building so much that we became fulltime residents and moved to #1508 in November 2018. Both Ron and I are retired teachers from Southbury, CT.  Ron taught in Peekskill, NY and I taught in Newtown, CT for 33 years.
CRTN is a great building in a magnificent setting.  Every unit provides fantastic views of the ocean or the intracoastal and everything from restaurants to Italian bakeries to tattoo parlors (at age 71, I don't think I will be getting a tattoo) are within walking distance.  The pool is in a stunning location and provides a great way to spend a relaxing day.
Having been on homeowners boards in the past, I know a board of directors position can be challenging, but also rewarding, especially when the board is focused on maintaining, enhancing and improving the building for all shareholders to enjoy.  As a board member I would like to see the Board and management continue to address the termite issue, ensure that the elevators are in good working condition, and continue to improve the landscaping. The vincas around the palm trees look great, thanks to the landscaping committee and to Jimmy Girone's loving attention.  But there's still a lot of landscaping that needs to be addressed.  
At some point, the Board should look seriously at updating and renovating the Community Room, reconsider renting unit #108 for a steady income, and streamlining the screening process - perhaps using FaceTime or Zoom as an option for the interview.  Finally, I hope that I can help ensure that there is more transparency, communication, and when possible, more shared decision-making between the Board and the shareholders.  
I bring to the Board a sense of optimism, enthusiasm, a fresh perspective, and a willingness to listen and to work with shareholders and the Board to make CRTN an even better place to live.

Hurricane Preparations When Living in a High Rise

Editor's Note:  First published September 2019 in The Tower News - Given our recent brush with Isiasis, it seems a good time to review procedures before the next threat comes along.
By Margie Geasler #105
We are at the height of Florida’s hurricane season. While the season runs from June 1 to November 30, ninety-five percent of storms are produced during the 2 1⁄2 months from mid-August to late October. This article summarizes information from ​Big Picture Broward​ and the Sun Sentinel about what to do when a hurricane is predicted and you live in a high-rise building. It is also based on my own experience preparing for Dorian. ​[I am writing this on August 31, 2019, a few days before Dorian makes landfall.]
Dorian is my only Category 4/5 hurricane experience and it was at first predicted to be a direct hit for Fort Lauderdale. As a Michigan-raised farm girl, I went into a panic about what to do. Should we leave? or Should we stay? If we stay, how do we prepare? I wasn’t afraid for my life because I have heard so much about how well our building is constructed. I was more worried about having a panic attack when everything goes dark and the wind is howling. My husband, Jim, had no doubts about what to do. Stay put! His attitude didn’t help. The only recourse I had was to find out as much as I could from friends who have been through it before, read more and listen to advice. Here is what I learned.
Everyone I talked to in the building is staying. They have been through it before. They tell me to go into the hall, if necessary, to get away from the windows. They also tell me horror stories about evacuation traffic from previous warnings. For example, one person had a friend who took 17 hours to get to the Georgia border. Another told me about friends who started out with a full tank of gas, got into stop-and-go traffic, used half a tank and realized that their only safe option was to return home, or be out of gas and stranded on the highway. Finally, another friend of a friend evacuated to a hotel ballroom, looked around and realized it was probably not as safe as his own condo, so returned home. Somehow those stories convinced me it was OK to stay. So I calmed down and began to think more about how to prepare.
Some preparations are easy: make sure your car is filled up with gas (for after the storm) and you have cash on hand. If the power goes out, you will not have access to cash machines and credit cards won’t work. You should also:
●  Stock up on non-perishable foods and drinking water.
●  Have a hand operated can opener.
●  Fill the tub with water for household purposes.
●  Have extra flashlight batteries.
●  Charge wireless phones and back-up chargers.
●  Have a battery operated radio to keep informed.
Fortunately, CRTN has made it a priority for stockholders to install high impact windows in each unit. These windows can withstand being hit by a nine-pound 2x4 traveling at 50 feet per second. Reassuring, I know! Under all circumstances, windows must be tightly closed. Any opening will allow wind currents that run down the side of the building to create intense vacuums so great, and the pressure so high that it could demolish the interior of your unit. And no matter how secure our high-impact windows are, a bit of rain will find its way into our unit on the window sills. The advice is to keep folded towels on the sill and wring out as needed.  This is a no-brainer, but be sure not to leave anything out on the balcony. Even something like a porch light can turn violent in a storm with major wind force.
If a storm worsens and you no longer feel safe in your unit, head to the nearest hallway or stairwell, the strongest sections of any high rise. The stairway is where you will find working electric outlets on alternate floors, powered by the CRTN generator, if you absolutely must have hot water and there is no electricity.
What about a power outage? As luck would have it, our building is on the same power grid as Fire Station 54 on NE 30th Court. That means if the power goes out, we will be among the first to get it back. In the meantime, our generator will keep one elevator running and low lighting in all the hallways.
If the worst happens and you have damage from a storm, Florida law gives you ​three years to file a claim​ after the hurricane makes landfall. 
[​September 6 Update. Thank goodness we avoided the storm this time. But I’m ready for the next one!]