Our Neighborhood Watch



Throughout our neighborhood!

Our Neighborhood Watch

In 2012 our Community was enjoying a rather safe and peaceful harbor, ~~   but then it started  ~~ a rash  of break-ins (both homes and cars).  We had seven break-ins on Beechnut Lane alone, as well as, a string of break-ins in the Hickory Downs, 4100 and Farrington Communities. We were SHAKEN!  It was a tough period of time for all of us.  There had been a previous attempt to get Community involvement, but to no avail.  THIS HAD TO STOP!

I called a Five Oaks Community meeting, and invited the Durham Police Department to speak to us.  Sixty concerned residents came to that first meeting – an incredible turn out.  Because of that turn out and a huge interest in our safety, we were on our way to forming the Five Oaks Neighborhood Watch program.  The Police shared with us many safety tips, and informed us about issues that put our Communities at risk, i.e. bad lighting, overgrown bushes, and much more. They worked with us to bring Five Oaks to a knowledge of safety.  New concepts were locked doors, porch lights on (criminals hate light!), security systems, window safety alarms, safety devices,  and much more!

Block Captains signed up at that meeting to watch sections of homes within the four Five Oaks Communities.  Block Captains reported several incidences that resulted in apprehending criminals – one actually carrying a Safe down one of our streets. A resident had installed a camera, and through ignorance,  the intruder looked straight into it.  It was shown on WRAL News – very effective to catch this culprit. Safety has increased significantly. since that first meeting in 2012.  Although we can still improve in areas, such as leaving car doors unlocked with valuables in sight, we’ve come a long way with locking doors, keeping Pin Oaks garages closed,  trimming bushes, porch lights on,  and internal and outdoor camera monitors.

I have been involved in PAC3 (Partners Against Crime for District 3 (our Police District with offices off MLK by Harris Teeter). Check out the DPD website at https://durhamnc.gov/205/District-3 to learn more about the support District 3 can provide.  Over the five (5) year period, I have developed good relationships with Durham Police,  Investigators, et al,  and have learned about crime statistics, criminal justice systems and so much while attending many Police meetings.   I’m now on the Executive Leadership Team, providing even more impact for District 3 involvement and greater visibility for Five Oaks.

And to further promote our neighborhood’s safety:    National Night Out (a national event), has been a huge success here in Five Oaks, drawing over 100 residents to learn more about our  safety, as well as an opportunity to meet our super great District 3 Police. It’s also a great opportunity to socialize and meet other neighbors, and all for a good cause.  This event is usually held the first Tuesday in August, and this year it’s scheduled for August 7, 2018.  We expect  to draw huge crowds once again. There are many give aways (restaurant certificates, gift cards, Five Oaks Neighborhood Watch branded materials, such as pens and jar openers. In previous years, we’ve had food trucks, sheet cakes, and as mentioned above, lots of goodies, and should be repeated this year. This is an event you’ll want to attend or maybe even help organize. We encourage all the Five Oaks Communities to join in this once a year event. Community involvement is the best way to keep our Community safe!  We need your support to make this event, as well as our Neighborhood Watch program,  a success. We are also calling upon our Block Captains to once again get involved….we need you

Nat’l Night Out (Huge Success)

Neighborhood Watch Calendar:
June 4th:           First kick off meeting for National Night Out;
July 23th:          Second kick off meeting for National Night Out;
August 7th:        National Night Out event;
October 6th:      CPR Training Night;
December 10th: Neighborhood Watch Appreciation Night.

Neighborhood Watch Schedule & Full Five Oaks Calendar of Events

We look forward to your participation.  For any questions, please contact Rita.
Tel# 919-768-3696.  (posted by Rita Vanags, Five Oaks Neighborhood Watch Coordinator) 5/2/2018
Since Rita posted the above, we have received some exciting news: She has been selected by the City of Durham, to be awarded Durham’s *Neighbor Spotlight*.   The purpose of this Durham program is to recognize residents who have gone above and beyond (1) the normal responsibilities to improve our Five Oaks Community; (2) increases involvement of other Five Oaks neighbors; (3) work to improve the safety and security of our Community; and (4) improve the quality of life within our Community.  Rita will be presented with the Neighbor Spotlight Certificate by the Mayor of Durham during a City Council meeting.  She will receive a sign that will display her Neighbor Spotlight selection; and she will be highlighted on the Durham Neighbor Spotlight website.  Congratulations Rita for a job well done ~ the Five Oaks Community is appreciative of all you do, and we are so very proud of you!  (posted by Ellen 9/1/2018)
She done did it ~ how wonderful!  Our Community is so proud of Rita, her Team,  and our Neighborhood Watch program.  Here is a photo of Rita with the Mayor accepting her Award (posted by Ellen 9/18/2018):

More on Rita HERE!

Neighborhood Watch Meeting (w/Coordinator on far left)
Our District 3 Durham Police




My Captain! My Captain!

Elma Thompson Dog Park Story

Five Oaks Guys (from left to right: Logan, Binky, Mikey & Toby)

Elma Thompson Dog Park Story

It is no longer necessary to register for the Elma Thompson Dog Park:

In August (2018), the Five Oaks Elma Thompson Dog Park celebrates a fourteen (14) year Anniversary. The August 22, 2004 edition of the Durham Herald Sun, published a five (5) column spread (with photos) about our Dog Park.  We had a beautiful opening ceremony that day in memory of Elma, with her granddaughter, Mary, cutting the ribbon.  Elma  was a lovely, gentle, interesting lady. and we had many conversations before her death about her wishes to have a Dog Park where she and her Pooch, Minnie,  could sit, relax, and enjoy our Community. She would have been so proud of her Elma Thompson Dog Park.  No – my mistake: she IS proud of her Dog Park.

8/22/2004 Durham Herald Sun
Through kindness of a Neighbor ~ bench donated by Jordan Dealership

The Puppy Play dates brings me back in time with such joyous memories. Years ago, a few neighbors would make arrangements to meet in the Dog Park. We would bring our lunch, sometimes dessert ~ and just enjoy our beloved pets. We even had a Neighbor bring her *make believe* pooch.   Most of the pets, including mine, have since passed; and they are dearly missed. If you take a look at the front gate, there is a beautiful red bush blooming right now (Spring 2018) to the left of the sign in memory of one of our Beechnut Ln pets. His name was Chester! There were four other bushes planted on the other side of the gate, in memory of our other deceased pets – we tried, but sadly those bushes didn’t survive.

Have fun at your Pet Play date ladies – and please, while you’re there, think of Elma, Minnie and Chester – and oh yes ~~~ don’t forget my Logan!

I also would like to thank the Five Oaks neighbors, as well as Elma’s family, and her many friends, who so generosly donated to Elma’s Park, and who helped me in so many ways to get the Dog Pak going.  It took awhile Elma, but we did it!


Posted by Ellen
April 2018

Elma Thompson Dog Park Sign.

One of Those!

The Pin Oak snowman originally stood tall ~~ honest!


Pin Oak Ct and the *Island* !

This morning my thoughts went on and on about a Five Oaks neighbor.  There was so much going through my mind, that I had to get a pad and pen,  and make notes ~~ and here’s what I scribbled down:

**  Spearheads our Community’s Neighborhood Watch program;
**. Attends Durham Police meetings;
**  Responsible for our annual National Night Out (a Neighborhood Watch evening);
**  Always volunteers to drive;
**  Visits and assists our older folk, our sick and troubled neighbors;
**  Walks the neighborhood for signatures & donations;
**  Builds our Community snowmen;
**  Helps with shoveling snow;
**  Organizes the Five Oaks Island Garage Sale;
**  Plans for neighborhood baby showers;
**  Takes beautiful Community photos;
**  Always has a smile;
**  Always there to help;
**  Attends all our Community events;
**  Always brings something delicious to share;
**  Has put Five Oaks Island (Pin Oak) on the map
**  We are unofficially voting her in as head of our *Sunshine Committee*.


And with all that, she still finds time to be her adventuress self:
**  Travels the World;
**  The NC Beach & our Community Pool is her happy places;
**  Always the first one up (& down) our Inflatable slide (not just once but many times);
**  Always at the Pool to get her laps in and socialize;
**  Last but certainly not least, don ‘t look for her on Sundays.  She will be in her beloved Church!
I would only hope that all neighborhoods would be blessed with *one of those* ~~ an amazing woman.  You all know who this lovely lady is….right?   Scroll down, leave a *Comment*, and say “hello” to Rita.
Rita (In Her Happy Place), Thank you Rita for being you!

Update b/Ellen 9/18/2018:
Rita accepted an Award from the Mayor of Durham for her tireless effort in creating and keeping our Neighborhood Watch program up and running.  See her photo  HERE!


Five Oaks High Tea (hats n’all)

Five Oaks High Tea
Betty & Beth:
Beautiful Pin Oak Ladies
Linda Lovely Beechnut Lane Gal

On occasion, Five Oaks ladies get together for a High Tea, with hats ‘n all!  Our choice of venue is either the Washington Duke Inn in Durham, or Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill.  We are served our tea at a beautiful table with lovely delicate teacups and teapots.    We usually aim for a date in Spring, and we encourage our Five Oaks members to stay tuned. You don’t want to miss this elegant event!


The Five Oaks Crew

Hugh Bailey Memorial Trail in Five Oaks

Hugh Bailey Memorial Trail in Five Oaks

Hugh Bailey

Hugh & Kay Bailey were long time residents of the Five Oaks Community.  Hugh passed away in early 2014, and this devoted couple would have celebrated their 61st Wedding Anniversary on June 27, 2014.  Hugh Bailey will always be remembered as a most delightful gentlemen.  Hugh could often be seen taking walks through the woods and the neighborhood, , stopping to visit neighbors with a flower or two in hand.  He was a daily visitor to the Pool – and an avid swimmer, and he never missed a Saturday Lunch Bunch ~~~ quite often found in the restaurant’s kitchen speaking with the Chef, and on one occasion in the restaurant next door talking to the staff.  He never missed a Five Oaks event, including the gathering of the Triple S Club (sit, seal n’stamp) – a volunteer committee to help with the many mailings out of the Clubhouse Office.

Come Yee Apart and Rest a While!

What better way to honor a terrific guy, but to create The Hugh Bailey Memorial Trail.  With the generosity of his many friends and neighbors, this is a trail behind the Clubhouse, with a lovely resting rustic bench midway, tucked in the woods to the right of our Tennis Courts, and connects with the Glenview Community (on Farrington Rd) for easy access for our Glenview/Farrington Rd Social members to the Five Oaks facilities.

You will always be remembered dear friend and neighbor~~ and certainly missed by all.

(posted b/Ellen)

Feeling Rather Mushy

So Many Thoughts: Five Oaks Friends ‘n Neighbors, Our Pool, Geese, Goslings, Ducks, Herons, Cormorants, Fox, Dog Park, Lunch Bunch, Bunco, Poker


Five Oaks Pool

I’ve been feeling on the mushy side lately ~~ so here goes! I’ve been going to our pool probably four days a week, but I go in the morning ~~ to avoid the midday sun. It’s great ~~ I get my exercises in, and its so much easier doing it in water than it is at home. Never thought I would say this about exercise – but it’s actually delightful! My physical therapist is very proud of me 🙂  And I love our pool! I’ll miss it come Fall.

I sit on my deck overlooking the lake, and yes, since I put in my patio, I now can enjoy the geese! (but I wish they wouldn’t poop on my driveway or in the street). No Goslings this year ~~ and that was sad! I have enjoyed our one Blue Heron for years, and now I’m enjoying two of ’em. I  enjoyed our two Cormorants, but we’re down to one. When I moved here, I had a couple dozen ducks in my backyard – and sadly we’re down to one (hmm; haven’t seen him around lately either). And what ever happened to our Fox – not that I’m not glad he found greener pastures. He concerned me for a while.  It was the Fox that dwindled the duck population.

Photo by Susan

I have met so many nice people here and have made so many friends. I’ve been playing Bunco (last Monday of the month starting June 2018) for years, and wouldn’t miss it. Lunch Bunch, (every third Saturday of the month), is another of my favorite events.  I absolutely love going to our Garage Sales; having coffee and sitting and chatting with friends.  I haven’t played Poker in a while, but I’ll get back to it (I miss those guys).  I was even presented with a beautiful *Poker* placque from my Poker buddies.

The friends, the lake, the pool, the clubhouse, the parties/events, the dog park ~~~ I love it all. Its so nice to get personal messages from neighbors who have moved saying that they so enjoyed living here and how they miss Five Oaks. And they always send compliments about our Manager (Josh).
Constant visitor to the lake ~ *and then there were two*



If you haven’t taken in the beauty of our Community lately, we encourage you to take a walk around our Lake, and enjoy the beauty of it all, along with our wildlife.  I count my blessings every day that I live in such a unique Community.  Life is good!



An End of an Era

            *End of an Era*
(from Yahoogroups to Next Door)
 As many of you are aware, I created the Five Oaks Yahoogroup in 2003, and we had 284 Five Oaks Members – these include residents of Five Oaks and Social Members (those who reside outside of our Community).  It also includes several who have moved away, but enjoyed the Community so much, they put in a request to stay on.

This site has served our Community well through the years, and I want to thank Yahoo for providing the service and our members who have contributed on a daily basis.  We have found lost cats and dogs, found good homes for stray cats and dogs, including a pet mouse.  The feather in our cap has to be the home that posted for sale recently, and sold in two (2) hours.  We have reported activity surrounding our Lake and wildlife. We have reported home and car break-ins through the years (and have done so rather quickly).  We have found babysitters, house sitters, handymen, electricians, plumbers.  We have posted Clubhouse events galore, including our two longstanding events – Bunco & Lunch Bunch.  We reported Neighborhood Watch info.  We honored several members, and by request, have posted deaths and births.  We have posted information regarding Five Oak History.  One of my favorites are the many albums in our Photo Section – Wildlife, Pets, Lost n’found, Honored Members, Clubhouse Events, Holiday Events, Break-in Suspects, Security, and more. We have a great Swim Team here in Five Oaks.  I confess, there was a time when I attended and reported on all their Meets, but since my grandsons aged out, I have been neglectful in that Department.  Tennis activities and Tennis camps were posted on a regular basis.

We have overcome many battles, including a member complaining that the name Five Oaks cannot be used, as well as a battle over the legality of the group,  The name has gone unchanged, and we have won in all aspects.  Over the years, we have had controversial/nasty messages, and for that, we apologize. I have thoroughly enjoyed this group through many years, and for that I thank you all, but – now its time to step back.  I will be closing down Five Oaks Yahoogroups in about a month – probably around March 1, 2014.

I have been hearing good things about this great Community site, and honestly, I really like it.   It’s called Next Door ~ take a look around. One of our neighbors started it up and if all goes well, it will take over where I’m leaving off.  Ideally, we would love to see all 284 of you join this new site.  You’ll still have access to Five Oaks events, lost & found, break-ins, wildlife, Lunch Bunch, Bunco, Neighborhood Watch, and more.  I’m still checking out if it has a photo section.  I sure would miss our great Five Oaks pictures.  Hmmmm…what to do with our Photos?

OK everyone ~ do it now

And to all my Five Oaks Members:  Thanks again for everything,,

Geese, Goslings, Herons, Cormorants, Ducks & Tigers and Things

Geese, Goslings, Herons, Cormorants, Ducks, Tigers and Things

Tigers n’things!
Mama & Babies
Lakeside Babies (by Meghan & Rita):


I am so happy to see two families of goslings this year on our lake. There were none last year, and I really missed them. My niece was taking a course at UNC, and stayed with me for a few days. We had such a nice visit; with a few neighbors and Pizza on the back deck. When everyone left, we moved closer to the lake on the patio. As we did, one of the families glided softly on by us….. we were delighted!

Hatching Video (not Five Oaks but interesting nevertheless!)

The sightings of goslings pauses me to remember why I enjoy my Community,  my house,  my pooch, my health, the lake, the wildlife, my neighbor friends, my work, and the terrific guy that I work for, and so much more!
And then there were two!

(5/02/2018 Entry Date)  First Gosling sighted this Season:  But only one.  Sure hopes he survives!
(5/08/2018 Entry Date)  Family of six wee ones sighted today.

(5/10/2018 Entry Date)   Where are the Cormorants?  Every year in May, we get a few Cormorants visiting out Lake.  When I first spotted one a few years back, I thought it was a snake gliding through the water; going down under for long periods of time; coming up; and again gliding quickly across the Lake.  Through my binoculars, it was black in color and huge, and it was a Cormorant.  He would dive a few times, and each time he came up, he had a fish in his beak. He flipped the fish slightly in the air, and caught it again with such precision.  I was introduced to Cormorants when I volunteered at the  Marathon Wild Bird Center in Florida, but, this was a first for me; watching him dive and flip his dinner (so fascinating)!

Video: Hmmm, Cormorant or Shag?

I was told that at one time we had several visiting Cormorants.  Keep a look out for him,  because after he dives, since his wings are not fully waterproof, he spends long periods, standing with them outstretched to allow them to dry.  He also flies extremely low across the Lake, with his head tilted slightly upward.  It’s so easy to lose them, cause one minute they’re  there, and the next, they dive and don’t come up!  They actually will swallow pebbles to provide extra weight to allow them to dive deeper ~ and then they regurgitate the pebbles….really? If you should spot one, be patient and just stand there and watch (again so fascinating)!

If you see something amiss here (misspelled word); have something to contribute; or any suggestions, please let us know by scrolling way down and leaving a Comment.  We can’t guarantee anything, but we’ll certainly give a shot.