Wells Branch is Under Construction
and the Critters are BACK!

Expect an increase in all kinds of wild creatures (possums, raccoons, snakes, rats, coyotes) this spring as we have several new construction projects underway in and around Willow Run.  The best form of control for any of these animals is an integrated plan that removes access to shelter, food and water.  If you have a rat or mouse problem, then the use of rodenticides or traps may be necessary as well.  Every resident in Wells Branch can take steps to minimize appeal to these animals.  Rodent control is particularly effective when all our neighbors participate.

  • Do NOT leave food outside for your pets.
  • If your animals eat outside, give them a chance to eat and then bring the food and water bowls inside.
  • Secure all doggie-doors at night.
  • If you have a bird or squirrel feeder, bring it in at night.  Empty the birdbaths as well.
  • Seal all openings into your home and any outdoor storage units using hardware cloth and steel wool.  Mice can squeeze into a ¼” opening and it only takes ½” for a rat to gain access.
  • Clean out any debris that might provide refuge for these animals.

Coyotes:  It’s breeding season, folks.  Our largest den (by Sambuca and Mocha) has just been displaced and is in the process of relocating the pack within the area so we’re seeing increased activity.  Please visit the sites listed below and make sure you’re following all their tips.

  • Keep your pets inside from just before dusk until after dawn.  If they have to go out, take them on a leash – even in your own yard.  We have had coyotes both jump and dig under fences.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times.  They’ve been sited along the trails daily and have even followed walkers.  Keep your dog on a leash and close by.

Below are two presentations given by City of Austin Wildlife Animal Protection Officer Adrienne Clark in Wells Branch in 2018 & 2017, a hand out from Travis County to download, and links to City of Austin, Humane Society, and Texas Parks & Wildlife pages devoted to information on coyotes in an urban environment.  All cover tips on deterring coyotes and discuss how to best protect your fur babies.

WBNA Meeting – April 19, 2018

WBNA Meeting – October 12, 2017

Should you come in contact with a coyote that does not respond to hazing or acts in an aggressive manner, please report it directly to Adrienne Clark.  ***NOTE:  Please don’t file a report unnecessarily as it will most likely be put down.  They do not relocate coyotes.

Animal Protection Officer – Wildlife
Austin Animal Center
(512) 978-0514

Snakes:  With the mild winter we’ve had and a plentiful food source, our slithery friends are out and about!  Please remember that rat snakes are our FRIENDS.  They earn their keep around here by keeping the rodent population down.  While they can get quite large, they don’t pose a threat to you, your children or your pets and are reluctant to bite unless messed with – leave them be and they’ll go on about their business.

-Photo by Brad Dushkin

Unsure about which snakes are harmless and which may be poisonous?  Visit austinreptileservice.net to learn more.  This site makes it easy by breaking them down by stripes, blotches, diamonds, bands and solid color snakes.

Show off your HOLIDAY LIGHTS!

The Nextdoor App has a holiday function called the Cheer Map. It allows you to mark your location if your house is decorated and best of all, it lets neighbors access the map to see who’s in the holiday spirit.  Folks ask all the time if we have a map of the houses with holiday lights.  I thought this would be fun to share.  Sign your home up and encourage your neighbors to mark their houses!  https://nextdoor.com/cheer_map/
Remember, Luminary Fest is next weekend and we have the Holiday Decorating Contest Sunday, December 16.  You have plenty of time to decorate!  Also, the hayride will be taking new route Friday night and our traditional one on Saturday so we’ll get to see the decorations in two different parts of Wells Branch.  I’m talking about y’all:  Alpha Collier, Cervin, Fronia Woodward, Crystal Shore, Sandy Side, and Oceanna!

Happy Holidays from the WBNA!

The holidays are HERE!  We hope you’ll join us in celebrating these wonderful Wells Branch traditions.  Take time to reconnect with family, friends and neighbors.  We look forward to seeing each of you at the festivities!

Light Up the Night at Luminary Fest
Friday & Saturday, December 14 & 15
6-9pm • KF Park • 2106 Klattenhoff

Sponsored by WB MUD Parks & Rec. Dept.

Experience the glow of the holidays as our trails light up with luminaries around Katherine Fleischer Park on December 14 & 15.  Santa will be visiting the Homestead Cabin both nights from 6-9pm with FREE photos provided by WB Community Church and digital copies available the next day on the WBNA Facebook page.

Warm up inside the Community Center with hot cocoa and cookies provided by the WB MUD Parks & Rec. Dept.  WBNA sponsored craft tables will be set up both nights and children will have the opportunity to create ornaments and keepsakes.  Volunteers will be on hand to assist with crafts and MUD staff will keep the refreshments flowing.

Join us outdoors for a caroling hayride or a trip around the trails on the Holiday Express Train to see the luminaries up close.  We’re changing up the route this year for the hayride.  On Friday night, we’ll be traveling up Klattenhoff to Alpha Collier and all the way down to Wells Port, then Cervin to Fronia Woodward and back up Alpha Collier to the park.  This should give us an amazing view of the luminaries!  Saturday night, we’ll be doing our original route and visiting the beautifully decorated homes on Oceanna, Sandy Side, and Crystal Shore.  We’ll be starting the hayride around 5:30pm both nights so bring the little ones and come early.  As a special treat, Cafe Chowtown in Bratton Square will extend their hours on Friday and Saturday to 5:15pm.  Stop by and meet the owners and warm up with a FREE Peppermint Mocha and kids’ hot chocolates before heading over to Luminary Fest!

St. Andrew’s Chorale and the McNeil Choir will be caroling throughout the park Friday night and the Wells Branch Community Church Band will perform outside the Buffalo House on Saturday.  Visit Scout Troop 1409 around the campfire for toasted marshmallows.  Jessica Shepherd will host the kids’ karaoke inside the Community Center on Saturday night with continued crafts and refreshments for all to enjoy.

Join in helping to light the luminary candles on Friday and Saturday at 3:30pm.  The MUD will have lighters on hand but feel free to bring your own long lighter and meet in the courtyard at the Community Center.  Wagons are encouraged Saturday to help carry the replacement candles along the trail.  We hope to see you there!

Polar Express Pajamarama
Saturday, December 15 • 6:00 & 7:00pm
WB Library • 15001 Wells Port Drive

All aboard, for Wells Branch Community Library’s yearly Polar Express Pajamarama!  Enjoy holiday crafts, hot cocoa and cookies, a bedtime reading of The Polar Express and a special visit from Santa Saturday, December 15 at 6:00pm & 7:00pm!  Register at wblibrary.eventbrite.com.

Holiday Home Decorating Contest
Judging begins Sunday, December 16!

Break out the tinsel and holly!  Deck the halls, yard, trees, cars, dogs, cats… Let’s show some good ole WB spirit!  The WBNA is sponsoring the Holiday Home Decorating Contest again this year!  Judging will begin on Sunday, December 16 with winners announced on Saturday, December 22 so you still have time to decorate!   If you’d like to help judge or nominate a home, email lights@wbna.us.  Be sure and watch for the “Winners” as we post signs in their yards and feature the homes on Facebook and wbna.us!  Categories include:  Most Original, Most Traditional, Most Elaborate, Best Use of Lights, Most Energy Efficient, Visible from Space and Most Patriotic.

St. Andrews Presents an Evening of Holiday Music
with The Austin Handbell Ensemble
Monday, December 17 • 7:30-8:30pm

Join friends and neighbors for a holiday handbell concert at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 14311 Wells Port Drive as they present “We Need a Little Christmas!”

For ticket information, please visit their website at austinhandbells.org/events/.

Christmas Eve Services • December 24

Shoreline Church • 15201 Burnet Road
2:00pm, 4:00pm, & 6:00pm

Join us for a special 1-hour family service!  This amazing illustrated sermon is filled with Christmas spirit, Jesus’ miraculous birth story, and a few surprises!!!

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church • 14311 Wells Port
4:30pm Family Oriented • 7:00pm Candlelight Service

Join the St. Andrew’s congregation in a joyous celebration full of music and love this Christmas Eve.  Their 4:30pm service is child and family oriented and at 7:00pm, they’ll hold a candlelight service.  From WB neighbor and St. A’s member, Yvette Shelton, “Singing ‘Silent Night’ while the church is darkened and each person holds a candle is a truly a blessed way to celebrate Christmas.”  Visit St. A’s Christmas Eve and find out for yourself.

Wells Branch Community Church • 2113 Wells Branch Pkwy
3:00 & 4:30pm Services

On Monday, December 24, Wells Branch Community Church invites you to their new location on Wells Branch Parkway for a Christmas Eve candle light service that the whole family can enjoy.  There will be two services this year that are open for anyone to attend, one at 3:00pm and the other at 4:30pm.  Come join WBCC in the celebration of the true meaning of Christmas as they sing Carols and Creatively remember the Christmas story.

For more information about Wells Branch Community Church or their Christmas Eve service, please visit wellsbranchchurch.com.  Childcare available for Pre-K and under.

Holiday Safety Tips

by Debby Thompson, WBNA President & WB Neighborhood Watch Coordinator 

With the bustle of the holidays just around the corner, make sure you’re taking every precaution possible to keep your home and family safe and secure.  We usually see an increase in opportunistic crime this time of year; please remain vigilant.

  • Keep your blinds and drapes closed when away, even if only for a short period of time.
  • Keep your house well lit at night (backyard included).  A motion sensor activated light is an inexpensive deterrent.
  •  If your Christmas tree is displayed in front of a window, don’t pile the presents around it.  Store the gifts in another area away from view when the blinds or drapes are open. Do NOT put the empty boxes for the new computer, TV, stereo system, etc. on the curb for the trash.  Take the time to break down every box and put it inside your trashcan/recycling bin so that it is concealed, even if you have to hold it over to the next week.  People start cruising our neighborhood on Sunday afternoons to see what has been put out.  The less they know about what you have inside, the better.
  • Door-to-door solicitations increase tremendously this time of year.  Always look out the window or peephole before opening the door or answering a knock.  Never open the door all the way, especially if you have a Christmas tree and/or presents in plain view. Always lock your car.   Never leave your car running unattended or leave your keys in the car or ignition.  If you usually keep a garage door remote control in your car and don’t park it in the garage each and every time you return home, hide the remote or take it inside.  Thieves check visors and this gives them instant protected access to your home. Keep your garage door closed at all times and keep the inside door from your home to the garage LOCKED.
  • Don’t leave valuables in plain view, even if your car is locked.  Take them in the house or put them in the trunk out of sight BEFORE arriving at your destination. While shopping this holiday season, remain aware of your surroundings at all times.  If unsure of your safety, ask a store attendant to have security walk you to your car.  You can’t be too safe.  This goes for trips to the grocery store as well.  When unloading your car at home after a day of shopping, lock it between trips to and from the car.

If you plan to be away:

  • Let a neighbor and/or block captain know you’ll be out of town and when you’ll return. They should have the following: your emergency contact information; contact information for anyone with access to your house (pet sitter, etc.); when they should be expected; what they look like and a description of their vehicle(s).
  • Let only those who NEED to know, know when you are going out of town.
  • Don’t share vacation plans on social media.
  • Arrange to have your lawn cared for if you are going to be away.
  • Don’t hide keys under doormats or flowerpots or in similar places.
  • Put your lights, stereo or TV on timers. (continued on back)
  • Keep your house well lit at night (backyard included).
  • Leave a car in the driveway or ask a neighbor to park in it.
  • Don’t cancel your paper or mail deliveries; ask that your neighbor pick them up every day.
  • Leave a key with a friend or neighbor; ask that the house be checked at regular intervals.
  • Store all your valuables.
  • Consider asking friends or relatives to live in your home while you are away.
  • Ask your neighbor to put trash in your trashcan and to put it out for collection and away when they put theirs away.
  • File a Close Patrol Request. The filing of this form alerts patrolling officers so that they may pay close attention to one’s residence.  To do so: Contact the Travis County Sheriff’s Office at 854-9721.  Ask to make a Close Patrol Request.  You will be asked for information on those caring for your home while you’re away – make and model of their vehicles, name, description and times they should be at your home.

A comprehensive list of Safety Tips as well as numerous articles by the Travis County Sheriff Deputies are posted here on our website under the Safety tab.  There’s also a wealth of information available at https://www.tcsheriff.org/community/outreach-unit.

If you are not already, become a Wells Branch Neighborhood Association member.  “Like” us on Facebook for community updates.  The more community involvement and connectedness there is, the safer we all will be.

Join the community listserv aka ‘The Google Group’ by sending your name, physical address and email to wbneighbors@gmail.com.

Most of all, be aware of your surroundings and look out for your neighbors.  If you see or hear something suspicious, call 911.  The Sheriff’s Department would much rather answer a false alarm than deal with a tragedy later. We live in a GREAT community AND a SECURE neighborhood.  Let’s all do our part to keep it that way.

Here’s to a safe and happy holiday season, Wells Branch!

*For information about starting your own Neighborhood Watch Group, please call or text Debby Thompson at 512-656-0654. 

Give the Gift of Holiday Fire Safety

As you prepare to celebrate the upcoming holidays, Travis County Emergency Services District #2 (the Pflugerville Fire Department) encourages everyone in Wells Branch to put safety at the top of the gift list!  Thanksgiving is the #1 day of the year for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.  Here’s what you can do to help keep your home a place of joy this holiday season:

Use a Timer—It’s easy to forget you have the stove or oven on, especially once you sit down to enjoy your feast.  Always use a timer to remind you to turn things off.

Stay with the Stove—Never leave your house unattended when you have food cooking in the oven – not even a ham or turkey! And always stay in the kitchen whenever you are cooking on the stovetop.  Keep the handles of your pots and pans turned back away from the edge of the stove so they aren’t knocked or pulled down.  Even when the stove is off but especially when it’s on, keep the area around the stove clear of flammable items such as hot pads, paper towels, cookbooks, decorations, and notes/cards.

Keep Kids Back—Always keep children at least 3 feet away from a hot stovetop.  Move regular and electric knives well out of their reach.  Don’t let them too close to hot dishes or liquids such as gravy and coffee.

Caution with Cords—Be sure cords from electric knives, coffee makers, plate warmers, and mixers are not dangling off of the counter.  Adults may accidentally snag these dangerous items, and children may be tempted to pull them down.

Avoid Turkey Fryers—The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) warns that turkey fryers using cooking oil are not safe even for well-informed and careful home cooks.  Turkey fryers use a lot of cooking oil at high temperatures, and there’s a significant danger that hot oil will be released during cooking.  Additionally, the burners that heat the oil can ignite spilled oil.

Light it Right—Some holiday lights are only safe for indoor or outdoor use, but NOT both.  When hanging holiday lights, use clips – not nails – to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.  If you need to use a ladder, work with a partner on the ground.  Replace any string of lights that has worn or broken cords or any loose bulb connections.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the maximum number of light strands to connect.

Take Care with Candles—Keep lit candles away from centerpieces, decorations, curtains, and other things that can burn.  Locate them away from windows and doors so your emergency exits are not blocked if objects catch fire.  Always blow out candles when you leave the room or go to bed.  Try using battery-operated candles instead!