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SUBDIVISION YARD LIGHT IS OUT, YOU NEED TO FIX IT

Posted on 2014-11-23
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Last Modified: 2014-11-24
Yard lights in our subdivision are the only means of illumination and residents are required by the covenants to keep working.    As chairman of the architectural committee, one of my volunteer efforts includes driving around twice a year and record any address with a non-working light.   Next step is to associate those addresses with a name on our membership list.  Once that is completed, the list (excel spreadsheet) is uploaded to a service who mails a postcard to each address.   With 435 potential addresses, this is a semi-annual burden.

With all the modern technology and Experts available, I am confident there must be a way to help automate this project.
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Question by:Lance McGrew
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Eirman earned 500 total points
ID: 40460760
Some General Non-Technical Comments ....

Do lights have to be on all night?
If not, now do you know whether they are working or are have simply been left off?
Why not put a general notification into each unilluminated house as you come across them.
______________________________________________________________________________________
You would be better off if you stored your membership info in an Access database (rather than excel).
This would make selective mailshots much easier to do ...
.... in fact you probably wouldn't need to use an external service.

If you have your database set up properly, it would simply be a matter of ....
> Marking each address that needs a letter printed
> Choosing the type of letter required
> and doing a Mail-Merge with Word
   (or even handier, mailable reports direct from Access).

It is easy enough to import an excel list into access.
Ask a question in the ACCESS zone here on EE.
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Expert Comment

by:Eirman
ID: 40460791
A further thought .... It would be even easier to design your Access database to just print Mailing labels.
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Author Comment

by:Lance McGrew
ID: 40460940
All the yard lights require a working photo electric switch to provide dusk to dawn operation.   We typically drive around the neighborhood well after dusk which makes it obvious when a light is non-functional.

We have found leaving a notice at the door has its problems.   Notices need to be addressed to the dwelling owner.  People to rent simply ignore the notices.   Owners are subject to fines.

Eirman, I like your idea about using the database.   Provided we can create a method of quickly locating the approperate database record as we drive along, seems like using an Access database to print mail labels might just be the solution.   Last inspection yielded 85 outages.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Lance McGrew
ID: 40460945
Using a database to track outages and print mailing labels for postcard notifications or provide data to an outsource mailing service seems like a viable solution.
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Expert Comment

by:Eirman
ID: 40461571
All the yard lights require a working photo electric switch to provide dusk to dawn operation.
I should thought of that possibility.

I would use a rough map of each street and put an X against each offending property during the drive around.
Then back at the office. it should be easy enough to mark the appropriate properties in the database.

Thanks for the points.
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