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Newsletter - October 2010

It has been a busy summer for many of the members at Swiss Alpine.

Bern Road Update

In July 2010, Ron Delpiere-Smith and several other members of Swiss Alpine attended the Osceola County Road Commission meeting to discuss year round maintenance of Bern Road.  A detailed document was written by Ron Delpiere-Smith based on his research in to the seasonal road status of Bern Road.   A petition with 50 signatures of Swiss Alpine members and document was presented to the road commission and discussed during the meeting.   The road commission agreed with the content within the document and concluded that the portion of Bern Road within Swiss Alpine should be maintained year round (including snowplowing) by the road commission.  This results in a 15% reduction in the amount of roads that will be maintained by Swiss Alpine.  These funds can be used for other road maintenance projects as a result of this change.

Swiss Alpine Entrance Gatehouse

At the Annual Meeting discussion on the gate house at the entrance to Swiss Alpine was a topic that resulted in a special meeting of the association to provide the board with feedback on what the membership thought, keep it and repair or tear down.   Costs for repair and teardown were provided to the membership in attendance.  Repair costs (new roof) were around $1200 for a new roof, while teardown was closer to $3200, with an additional $1800 for a new sign to be built.   The repairs involve stripping and re-roofing the gatehouse, and several members offered to donate labor to accomplish this task. The feedback to the board was that the $500 estimated costs in materials to re-roof the gatehouse would be a more fiscally responsible use of association resources.

Newsletter - June 2010

On May 30th Swiss Alpine held the Annual Membership Meeting.  The positions on the Board of Directors are being filled by Joe Formentin and Magi Yarbrough.   The officers remained the same as last year: 

The By-Law Amendments for establishing capital reserves and  damage rehabilitation have been passed by a vote of the membership in attendance and proxies submitted. 

The financial report of the association was presented.  The association has no outstanding debt, approximately $25K in reserves, and a good portion of assessments collected for fiscal year 2010-11.  This year a Homeowners Trash fee was implemented to offset the ever rising trash disposal costs.  Each dwelling was invoiced $75.00 to be applied to the trash disposal costs.  Beginning July 1st, the trash dumpsters will become a fee based amenity of the association; only Homeowners and Campers will be permitted to use the trash receptacles inside the association. 

Discussion on the budget consumed a majority of the meeting time, all relating to maintenance of roads and structures. 

With the dire need for road maintenance equipment out of the way, the Board will be able to focus on investing in the roads.  Wear and tear on the roads over time and heavy rains the past few years are starting to result in the road surface breaking though to the sand surface below.  The board is committed to maintaining these areas as well as start a program to re-ditch and re-gravel the roads over the next several years. 

Concern was raised about the age of the roof on the A-frame at the entrance.  Various opinions were expressed about the structure from rehabilitation to tear it down.   The Board in cooperation with the Architecture Committee will develop several options for circulation to the membership, and an advisory vote at a special membership meeting to be held Labor Day Weekend.  Some repairs will also be needed to the clubhouse that may compete with the A-frame for financial resources. 

Newsletter - April 2010

It is that time of the year again....The invoices for the annual assessments have been sent out.  Please help us out by returning your payment promptly. 

The Board of Directors has been very busy lately working on the Budget for the 2010/11 budget year.   This year there the board was forced to pass on part of the cost for trash removal to each home in the association.  The cost per home is $75 for the year.   Because Swiss Alpine had to commit to a year of service in the  contract, we are not able to pro-rate the cost.  Some have questioned if the fee is legal and permitted within the Governing documents, and we have been told by our Attorney that the fee is legal under Article IV, Section 3(d) of the covenants.   The alternative would be to remove the dumpsters and require everyone to arrange for their own trash removal.

This year there are two (2)  Board of Director terms , and one (1) Rules Committee term that need to be re-elected.  Anyone desiring to be a candidate for either of these positions is asked to provide a brief biographical resume to the Jean Schember (SAA Secretary) by April 19th to be included in the annual mailing.

The annual meeting notice will contain two bylaw amendments, one for sanction penalties for destruction of common grounds (including roads), and the other to establish and protect capital reserves.  These are the same two proposals there were voted on lat year, but due to an error at the meeting, we are asking all members to re-cast their vote. 

This years Annual Meeting will be held on Memorial Day weekend, as it has been in the past.   There minor change from the past few years will be made.  The Annual Meeting will be held on the date in the notice.  If a quorum is not present in person or by proxy, the meting will still be called to order and business conducted in accordance with the Swiss Alpine Bylaws and Michigan Statutes. 

Last winter we had several inquiries about snow removal on Bern Road, which lead to some interesting discussions.  The result of this so far is that a research project has been undertaken to determine the legal status of Bern Road with regards to it being a "Seasonal Road".   An informational meeting will be held at 9:30AM on Saturday, May 29th at the clubhouse to briefly discuss the Bern Road status, and plan of action with The Road Commission.  The meeting will be open to all Swiss Alpine members, and input will be welcome.  Swiss Alpine members with property along Bern Road are encouraged to attend.

Newsletter - January 2010

Well another new year is upon us.  A lot of progress has been made at Swiss Alpine over the past few years.  One of the areas where progress has not been made was keeping the web site updated, which we will work on making more frequent updates.

Several yeas ago, the Board had an eye opening experience with regards to the financial state of the Association.   In order to survive, the board made drastic cuts in spending and enlisting volunteers for various tasks (roads, campground mgmt, snow removal, bookkeeping, etc. ) around the Association.  Many thanks go out to those individuals that helped out.  Without it Swiss Alpine would not be in the position we are today.

Part of the cost cutting process led the Board to realize that the 2 trucks were costing us more and more money in maintenance and upkeep.  Three years ago, Swiss Alpine replace the pickup truck with a newer one.  This past year Swiss Alpine was able to replace the 1974 International plow truck with a newer one in late August.  The new truck has a wider blade for grading and snow removal.  The truck also has a full sized sand and gravel spreader for  the back for providing

Swiss Alpine last year celebrated its 30th Anniversary.  Labor Day weekend a pig roast pot luck dinner was held with many current and former members of Swiss Alpine attending.  Good times and many memories were shared by all that attended.  many thanks to those that helped organize the event and prepare the foods.  The general consensus was what a great place Swiss Alpine is and that we should have more events like this.

A planning session is planned for February 27th to prepare the budget for next year.   All members are welcome to attend and participate if desired.  The planning session will be held at the Clubhouse starting at 9:00 AM.

            9:00     ROAD COMMITTEE - Tim Schember/Chuck Weaver
                        SAA Condition, equipment, repairs, supplies, budget recommendations
            9:30    CAMPGROUND / MANAGER SUPPORT - John Childers
                        Input by members, proposed projects,  cost estimates, volunteers, budget recommendations
            10:00  ARCHITECTURAL COMMITTEE - Richard Allarding
            10:30  RULES COMMITTEE - Ron Delpiere-Smith
                        Review / Discuss proposed By-Law Amendments

A short break will be taken upon conclusion of the Committee Meetings prior to the the starting of the February Board Meeting.

A tentative 2010 Calendar of Events has been developed and will be posted here with updates as they are received.
Calendar of Events (tennative)

February 27


Fiscal Year 2010 Planning

February 27


Board Meeting

March 1

Mailing - 2010 Annual Assessment Notices

March 13


Board Meeting - Budget/Appointment of Nominating Committee

April 1

2010 Annual Assessments Due

April 10


Board Meeting - Budget/Planning for Annual Meeting

April 19

 Deadline - Board of Director & Rules Committee Candidates


 Mailing - Annual Meeting Notice, Letter and Ballots

May 8


 Board Meeting

May 15

Deadline - Presidents' State of the Association Report

May 30


Board Meeting

May 30


Pot Luck Lunch & Ballot Casting 

May 30


Annual Meeting

June 1

Mailing - Campground Leases

June 12

Clubhouse - Private Party Rental

June 19


Board Meeting

June 26

Clubhouse - Private Party Rental

July 1

Deadline - Campground Leases Due

July 10


Board Meeting

August 7

Clubhouse - Private Party Rental

August 14


Board Meeting - Pig Roast Planning

September 5

Pig Roast

September 11


Board Meeting

October 9


Board Meeting

November 6


Board Meeting

December 11


Board Meeting

 More updates will follow...

Newsletter - April 2009

The Board of Directors has been busy working on getting ready for the Annual Meeting in May.  The mailings for this meeting have gone out and everyone should be receiving theirs shortly.  Electronic copies of the mailing materials will be available on the website May 1st.

Spring cleanup is under way at Swiss Alpine.   A lot of clean up work has been going on over the past several weeks.   Thanks to John Childers, the clubhouse and beach area is ready for the warm weather. 

Anyone that is planning on burning fallen branches or leaves this spring, please exercise caution as April has some of the highest fire dangers with all the dry leaves still in the area.   Before you start an open fire, be sure to get a burn permit.  Burn permits can be obtained by 

Newsletter - December 2008

Winter is into full swing up at Swiss Alpine, even thought it does not arrive until the 21st according to the calendar.   Snows started to fall in mid-November and have not stopped since even with the rain on the 15th, we still have a good amount of snow.   Snowmobiling out back is absolutely outstanding right now, with plenty more snow forecasted thru the next 10 days.

Newsletter - November 2008

The past few months have been very active at Swiss Alpine.  The Board of Directors have appointed Jeanie Schwihart, Julie Eargood, and Jaci Knuth to fill the three vacancies on the Board.  Next March, one of the terms is up for re-election, and the other 2 will have members elected to fulfill the remainder of the term.   Next Spring, the Board will be looking for at least 4 candidates to fulfill positions on the Board of Directors.  

Property Easement
At the November Board Meeting, the property owner adjacent to Swiss Alpine just off Sion Drive, requested an easement to use Sion Drive to access his property.  The parcel is land locked with Sion or Lucerne being the only access via an existing road.  The landowner does have an existing 30' easement next to Sion Drive to build a road if needed, however this would not be aesthetically pleasing to those residents on Sion Drive.  Additionally, we have found out that the entrance to Swiss Alpine partially encroaches upon the parcel to the south of Swiss Alpine.    The land owner is willing to trade easements in order to provide the least amount of disruption to the environment.   A discussion thread has been started in the Forum so members can express their comments.

ATV Usage on Roads
The State of Michigan Public Act 240 of 2008 allows local units of government in certain counties in northern Lower Michigan and the Upper Peninsula to adopt ordinances authorizing ORV operation on the maintained portion of streets and roads within their local jurisdiction. The new law took effect July 17, 2008.  Osceola County held a meetings to discuss opening of roads to ORV usage.  Minutes of the meetings are available by clicking on the meeting date: October 7, 2008 and October 23, 2008.

While it appears that Osceola County may be opening select county roads to ORV/ATV use, this does not apply to Swiss Alpine roads, which are private roads.   Several comments were raised at the November Board meeting regarding the destruction of road surface by ATVs.  The Board has asked the Rules Committee to look into creation of a policy regarding ATV use and potential for charging fees for excessive damage to roads.   The Rules Committee would like the input from members of the association on this matter.  A discussion thread has been started in the Forum so members can express their comments.

Newsletter - August 2008

Well they say when it rains it pours, unfortunately three members of the board have decided to resign for various personal reasons.  We with to thank Paul Vardich, Brian Alber & Roberta Stolzenfeld for their contributions to Swiss Alpine, and welcome their input in the future.   Jeannine Swihart was appointed to the board to fulfill one of the vacancies received in early July.   

The board is currently looking for candidates to fulfill the open positions, until the next annual meeting when a person will be elected to fulfill the remainder of the terms.  If you are interested, please notify the President or Secretary of your intentions.

Newsletter - July 2008

Due to a lack of quorum, a special membership meeting was held on July 20th.  The ballot questions presented to the membership both pertained to Annual Membership assessments, therefore the quorum was reduced to 50% of the initial initial quorum.  The Dues increase and By-Law Amendment to limit the dues of dwelling vs non dwelling did not achieve the required 2/3rds vote for passage.

Newsletter - June 2008

The Annual meeting is behind us, turnout was lower than normal due to the high cost of gasoline.  Many travel destinations have been experiencing the same problem.   This newsletter will highlight the Annual Meeting activities.

At the beginning of the Annual Meeting those in attendance observed a moment of silence for those that could not be a part of the meeting, those that are serving in the Armed Forces, and those that gave their lives defending our country.  This years memorial observance also included the dedication of a plaque in the memory of Master Sergeant Micheal Wert, a Swiss Alpine Resident.

Part of the Annual Meeting this year was dues increase, and board of directors election.  Before going into the results of these ballot items, Swiss Alpine would like to thank John Childers, Rich Bell, and Steve Alarding for their time and effort on the board.

Dues Increase and By-Law Amendment.  A quorum was not reached for either of these two ballot items.  A second mailing will occur in the near future.   Since a quorum was not reached, the by-laws allow the quorum to be reduced by 50% from the initial quorum.  Please be sure to send in your ballots!

2008 Board of Directors Election.  The election to fulfill 3 positions on the Board of Directors resulted in Rita Moe,  Jim Priester, and Paul Vardich being elected to the Board of Directors.  

Annual Membership Meeting.  The mailings for the annual membership meeting Have been sent.  Below is the text of the letter.  If you have not received yours, please contact Jean Schembler, and she can arrange to get another copy sent to you.

Newsletter - April 2008

This always seems to be the busiest time of the year when it comes to Association business.  The Board of Directors has been busy with Assessment invoicing, Budget Preparation for 2008/2009, and preparing all of the information for the Annual meeting.  Some additions have been made to the website as well.

2008 Annual Membership Meeting.  The mailings for the annual membership meeting Have been sent.  Below is the text of the letter.  If you have not received yours, please contact Jean Schembler, and she can arrange to get another copy sent to you.

Once again the pre-annual meeting enclosures are many, and they are of paramount importance, hence this annual letter is brief.  The President's annual report will be given at the general membership meeting on Sunday May 25, 2008.  A full copy of will be filed with the secretary 15 days prior to the meeting and can be viewed online at www.swissalpine.org.

The board extends many heartfelt thanks for the support of of our members and for all of the generous help and contributions without which Swiss Alpine could not exist as the haven it is.

At the same time it is critical for each and all of is to realize that our extensive maintenance needs and property values are seriously jeopardized due to lack of funds.   These problems will only be compounded unless we all step up to the plate to relive the serious financial shortfalls we face as fuel and energy costs skyrocket.

The Swiss Alpine Board of Directors finds it critically necessary to propose an increase in the annual dues assessment.  Since the last increase 7 years ago, the cost of providing basic services and maintaining the common grounds, roads and facilities have steadily increased due to the skyrocketing costs of fuel, electricity and insurance.  Grading, graveling, plowing, sanding and salting of our roads as well as trash pickup are essential safety measures which help to maintain property values.  Equipment and facility maintenance and labor costs are key components of these safety requirements.

Although we have a small savings account / reserves we need a much larger amount to be prepared for emergency repairs & replacement of equipment.  Without an increase, we will have to use some of these funds to pay current bills.

To help make necessary increases in dues / assessments more equitable between lot owners with habitual dwellings and those with vacant lots; the board of directors also seeks approval for an amendment to the By-Laws.  This proposal is based on the assumption that the habitual dwelling owners and their guests in general make more intense use of the road services, trash pickup and facilities. 

In addition to the essential By-Laws amendments and desperately needed dues / assessment increases, the board is presenting a slate of candidates to fill vacancies on the Swiss Alpine Board of Directors and the Rules Committee.  We encourage all members in good standing to Vote in person or by proxy. (see enclosure).

Over the Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday (May 24, 2008) is the annual Swiss Alpine Clean-Up day. Vol;unteers will clean up the beaches and boat areas, etc.  Beginning at 9:00 AM at the beach.  We hope to see each of you and your children there.  (How about bringing cookies and Kool-Aid to pass.)  The Campground cleanup will begin at 1:00 PM on Saturday May 24, 2008, see you at the bathhouse.

The Sunday May 25, 2008 schedule is as follows
    10:00 AM  Board of Directors Meeting
    12:00 PM  Potluck Lunch at the clubhouse
      1:00 PM  The Annual Membership Meeting   

2008 Rules Committee Election.  This year 1 positions on the Rules Committee  is are up for re-election.  We would like to thank Bob Leyrer for his support on the Rules Committee over the past several years.  The following individual has been nominated for the Rules Committee.

2008 Board of Directors Election.  This year 3 positions on the Board of Directors are up for re-election.  We would like to thank the outgoing members (Rich Bell & John Childers) for their support over the past 3 years, and Steve Alarding for fulfilling a vacancy this past year.   The following individuals have been nominated for the Board of Directors.

No More Spam!  Are you tired of receiving all kinds of unsolicited commercial email, or what is more commonly referred to as SPAM?   I am not talking about the canned meat thing from Hormel.  Just about everyone has received some sort of SPAM message offing you the next best way to get rich or some other scheme to sell you something.  If you are tired of receiving spam, switching to the Swiss Alpine mail server can help eliminate the spam.  The company that hosts our website has partnered with the top Anti-Spam service provider, and makes this service available to Swiss Alpine members.  If you are interested in more information, feel free to contact me for more details.

Discussion Forum.  The discussion forum is back!   We had the discussion forum up a couple years ago, however do to some limitations in the software that was being used, we had to remove access to prevent automated marketing programs from using the forum for solicitation.

In the past, this was a great way to discuss various topics with other members, or to post that great fishing story.   Feel free to discuss items, but please be respectful and follow the forum posting guidelines.  All users will need to re-register to obtain access.

Calendar of Events.  Part of the discussion forum contains a calendar of events.  Board meetings, membership Meetings, and Clubhouse rentals will be posted here. 

Fiscal Year Planning for 2008/2009.   The board of directors have been busy working on the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.  The Board is soliciting proposals for the maintenance of the roads and common properties within the association.  If you are interested in this position, please contact any Board Member.

Newsletter - March 2008

Special Board Meeting, April 12th at 9:00 AM at the Clubhouse. The Board of Directors has been busy making plans for next year.  In order to complete the budget for the upcoming fiscal year there will be a meeting on April12th at the clubhouse to complete this process.
9:00 AM -- Meetings with various committees to obtain input for budget needs. 
11:30 AM -- Lunch (bring your own)
12:00 PM -- Board Meeting to approve proposed budget, and membership mailing materials for Annual Meeting.

2008 Swiss Alpine Election Nominations.  This year three(3) positions on the Board of Directors and one(1) on the Rules Committee are up for election.  If you are interested in running for the Board of Directors or the Rules Committee, please contact contact Jean Schember or Ron Delpiere-Smith.   Be sure to include a short bio to be included in the ballot.

2008 Swiss Alpine Assessments are due April 1st.  The invoicing for this years assessments will be going out soon.  Please be help us out by returning this as soon as possible.   Assessments are due April 1st and are subject to a $20.00 late fee after 30 days.

Newsletter - Winter 2008



A web cam has been set up for outdoor enthusiasts to see what the weather conditions are like.  To view the webcam, simply click on the link to the left hand menu.  The webcam is updated every 5 minutes from 7:00 AM to 5:30 PM.   If others are interested in setting up their own a webcam please let us know.

Snowmobile Trail Reports

This winter I will attempt to get trail reports posted at least weekly.  Since I am only up on weekends, the reports will be of the previous weekend, but it is better then nothing.  The trail reports can be found on the webcam page.

If anyone has an ideas or suggestions, feel free to forward them to webmaster @ SwissAlpine.org and I will work on it as time permits.