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Archives for August 3, 2013

Long-sought remake of the Main Street Mall starts

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Developers have started work on what will be a major redo of the Main Street Mall building that will include condominiums on the upstairs floors and storefronts below.

The building will no longer operate as a traditional mall. Businesses had moved out of the mall previously. Construction fences went up in recent days, signaling that work will be occurring.

City Hall officials have found that the designs meet the historic district’s strict guidelines and have issued a permit to demolish the interior walls and the architectural features on the outside walls. The overall project has been approved, but officials have not issued a building permit.

The project will entail 15 condominiums ranging in size from 1,350 square feet to 3,500 square feet. There were no residences in the building when it operated as the Main Street Mall. There will be retail space on the Main Street level and a lower level. Eight storefronts are planned on the Main Street level with doors opening to the sidewalk.

The condominiums will be built in the two upstairs levels. One additional level will be built for a penthouse unit. That level, though, will not stretch across the full footprint of the building.

A pool, gardens and terraces are planned for the rooftop.

The Main Street Mall was long seen as an underperforming commercial property as stores struggled to attract people inside from the sidewalk. There have been ideas to redo the building for years, but none of them advanced until the current one.

The building is owned by a firm known as AG-WIP 333 Main Street Owner, LLC, according to Summit County property records. The records show an address in care of an entity in New York City called Angelo Gordon Co. LP. The County Courthouse values the building and the land it sits on at nearly $6.2 million. A representative did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

Kirsten Whetstone, a City Hall planner assigned to the project, said officials will require the developers submit a report from an arborist detailing any trees that will be removed from the Park Avenue side of the building during the work.

A neighborhood meeting is planned later in August to discuss what might happen to the trees and outline a proposed plan for the landscaping, Whetstone said. The date for the neighborhood meeting has not been set.

The work at the building will continue a streak of heavy investment along Main Street in the period since Park City emerged from the depths of the recession. Other buildings have undergone major renovations and work is continuing or planned on a few more.

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Journalism Workshop: Westover gets added touch of beauty


A patch of dirt that students once walked on without a second thought is now a blooming bed of yellows, reds and purples.

The flowers are part of a beautification project at Westover High School that aims to bolster school pride. Principal Thomas Benson asked Willie Freeman, a teacher who has done similar work in the past, for ideas about upgrading the facility to increase students’ morale.

“I feel an obligation to enhance where I’m employed,” Freeman said.

Freeman used school funds to buy flowers and solicited donations from a local business to revamp landscaping around the school. The result, according to assistant principal John Green, is a “mini botanical garden.”

Westover students helped Freeman plant, distribute mulch and replace rotted wood around flower beds with bricks.

They planted roses, boxwoods, pansies, sunflowers and other long-lasting and low-maintenance greenery.

Stone benches provide an extra touch to the tranquil area near the high school’s main office entrance.

“When my students were asked by other students why they were doing this,” Freeman said, “they started to say, ‘This is our school, and we want to enhance our school.’ “

Green was involved in a similar project when he worked at Terry Sanford High School. He said that success can be repeated at Westover.

“I’m hoping we’ll see them being a little more conscientious,” Green said, noting that students are already leaving less trash around.

“When I put up the wood fence,” Freeman said, “I wasn’t sure it would still be there the next day, but it was.”

Freeman and his students will maintain the landscaping throughout the year to reinforce the school’s motto – “Powerful Beyond Measure: Wolverine Pride.”

Green, who graduated from Westover in 2002, plans to broaden the recycling program at the school this year. Also, the Wolverine paw prints at the school’s entrance will be repainted to honor notable faculty members and students.

“When I went to school here, we took the mind-set of, ‘It’s just Fayetteville; I’d rather be somewhere else,’ ” he said. “But as I grew up a little more, I realized home is what you make of it.”

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Geordie star Sting’s cash gift to help save Tynemouth Outdoor Pool

Geordie superstar Sting has thrown his support behind plans to bring a derelict open-air pool back to life.

The Friends of Tynemouth Outdoor Pool are spearheading a fundraising campaign to revive the rundown lido in North Tyneside.

They aim to raise around £5.5m to help realise their ambitions.

Now the group have received a major boost after the Wallsend-born music legend agreed to support the scheme.

The singer, who in 2010 was awarded the Freedom of the Borough of North Tyneside in recognition of his artistic and humanitarian work, has made a donation towards the cost of the pool’s revamp.

The amount of the contribution has not been revealed but the Friends say his support is a big boost and will help propel them towards their goal of achieving charitable status.

This will now allow the majority of donations received by the group from the community and other supporters to increase by a further 20% through Gift Aid.

Barry Bell, of Cullercoats, a founding member of the campaign, said they were thrilled to receive Sting’s help.

He added: “We have been trying to come up with fundraising ideas for the pool and we had a brainstorming session about celebrities from the North East who we could approach.

“Sting is originally from Wallsend, which is only five miles away from Tynemouth, so we decided to contact his management team. And he gave us his backing, which is absolutely amazing.

“He is one of the world’s biggest stars. His support is a real boost for us.”

The group was formed with the aim of keeping the pool site as an outdoor swimming facility.

They submitted their regeneration proposals to North Tyneside Council in January and the authority gave them an extra year to hone the plans further.

The proposals will explore methods of heating the pool and using renewable energy sources, such as geothermal heating.

As the campaign built momentum, the group received help for free from professionals in the fields of architecture, building, design, surveying, engineering, planning, landscaping and law.

Mr Bell added: “When you discover that Sting is passionate about backing a project like this, you know that it definitely has a future.

“Not only did Sting provide us with the initial donation we needed to gain charity status, but his support alone will help us raise the profile of this project immensely. And because our supporters, wherever they are in the world, also now have the chance to back the project financially, we’re hoping to increase the fantastic sense of ownership that the community already has when it comes to the pool.”

A packed Tynemouth outdoor swimming and bathing pool in its heyday during the 1960s
A packed Tynemouth outdoor swimming and bathing pool in its heyday during the 1960s


The outdoor lido, based at the southern end of Longsands Beach, was originally opened in 1925.

It quickly became a popular destination for locals and visitors, hosting events including Miss Tynemouth and Bonny Bairns.

In its heyday, bathers lined up to take a plunge in the water, with queues stretching along the Grand Parade.

However, the site’s popularity began to wane in the 1970s when cheap package holidays and indoor pools started to become available.

In 1996, attempts were made to restore the area by creating an artificial rockpool but it proved unsuccessful.

The site deteriorated and became a neglected eyesore.

The Friends of Tynemouth Outdoor Pool, which has more than 11,000 supporters on Facebook, is looking for a mixture of grant aid, private funding and public donations.

The group have opted to use JustGiving to raise cash to regenerate the lido. Supporters can make donations at

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Groundwork Providence uses grant to help turn community garden on Ring …

PROVIDENCE — Under the Carpathian walnut tree in the community garden on Ring Street grow bronze fennel, cabbages and blackberries. Two beehives that produce 40 pounds of honey a year sit in the shade of the towering tree’s branches. Tomatoes, peppers and basil sprout from raised beds nearby.

Groundwork Providence, the local affiliate of a national environmental nonprofit, took over this garden on the city’s west side a few years ago, expanded it by digging up an asphalt parking lot and had an outdoor classroom built there a year ago.

The work was supported in part with a $175,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor that Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed helped secure for Groundwork. On Friday, Reed came out to see what the money helped accomplish.

“But for the grant none of this could have happened,” Gary Cloutier, executive director of Groundwork, said to Reed.

The garden has become a neighborhood hub. Residents rent plots to grow flowers, fruit and vegetables. Community organizations use the space for workshops and other events.

The outdoor classroom, called the Eco-Lab, was designed by DownCity Design, a Providence firm, and built by students from the Met School.

Groundwork aims to support green neighborhoods in Providence, and a key element of its work is training people to be responsible stewards of the environment. Groundwork runs training sessions for unemployed and underemployed Rhode Islanders, teaching them sustainable landscaping and construction techniques.

Some of the graduates from its program go on to work for GroundCorp, Groundwork’s landscaping crew that does work around the city.

The organization also runs environmental education summer programs for inner-city high school students.

“It’s about reconnecting people with the community,” said Ray Perreault, a program director with Groundwork. “The best way to do that is to have people in those neighborhoods with those skills. It’s a way of renewing whole communities.”

Groundwork is hoping to create more community gardens with similar outdoor gathering spaces. A few weeks ago, it was awarded a $40,000 Community Development Block Grant to build a garden at the Chad Brown housing project with the help of residents there.

“People don’t just garden,” said Cloutier, explaining the philosophy behind the gardens. “They become better citizens.”

“They have a stake in the community, literally,” added Reed.

Reed toured the garden before going to Groundwork’s urban tree nursery on Sprague Street. The Hope Tree Nursery sits within a vacant, overgrown lot surrounded by blighted mill buildings. It was built last year on a brownfields site that Groundwork trainees capped with layers of gravel, soil and mulch.

In a space that would otherwise lie fallow, Groundwork is growing native trees that will be planted around Providence and other parts of the state. Some redbuds from the nursery have already been transplanted near Providence’s Collier Park, said Perreault.

Reed applauded Groundwork and its employees for their work.

“Without this type of dedication this doesn’t happen,” he said.

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Landscape NOW: 10 Landscape Tips To Get Through Summer Drought

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Saturday, August 03, 2013

How are you supposed to maintain your garden and lawn without water? It can be done! Check out these tips to find out how.

Keeping your gardens and landscapes living and healthy during extended periods of drought during the summer months can be challenging…but not impossible! From proper watering, mulching, choosing drought tolerant plants and using many other techniques you can ensure your vegetable and perennial gardens, trees and shrubs and your lawn can make it through dry periods and maintain their health and vigor. I will share with you ten techniques, steps, and suggestions to prepare and maintain your gardens when Mother Nature creates a summer drought.

Ten Ways to Manage Your Gardens, Landscape, and Lawns

Although there are many methods to keep your landscape healthy with minimal rainfall, I will discuss ten ways that will help in Southern New England.


In many communities, the summer months bring water restrictions; total water bans, odd/even watering and voluntary conservation methods. In those areas where limited watering is allowed doing infrequent, deep watering of those plants that need water…vegetable gardens, newly planted trees and shrubs and drought affected plants like dogwoods, birches, hydrangeas and annuals will be the preferred technique. If a lawn is an established one (and not a newly sodded one) it can go dormant, turn brown and recover when cooler temperatures and rain returns in September. Unfortunately, a newly sodded lawn will not survive more than a few days without water during a drought.

Plant selection

Choosing plants that are tolerant of droughts and limited waterings during the summer will be a design option, especially if your community experiences water bans on a regular basis. Sample drought tolerant plants are: oaks, crabapples, bearberry, butterfly bush, bayberry, potentilla, junipers, inkberry, spruce, coreopsis, purple cone flower, sage, Black-Eyed Susan, calendula, cleome and dusty miller.

Lawn Care

During periods of drought stress mow your lawn 3” or higher to help shade the roots, water infrequently (or when you are allowed to) and deeply to encourage the roots to penetrate deeply into the soil. Refrain from fertilizing your lawn during the summer months (it’s natural cycle is to slow down during the summer) and begin to actively grow again in the fall.

Applications of compost teas

An organic technique is to apply compost tea (a liquid, brewed tea from a high quality compost) that adds living microbes to the gardens, planting beds and lawn while also adding moisture to the landscape. Typically, an application would be made in the morning or later in the day on an overcast day to help keep the microbes, bacteria, and fungal organisms alive as they are distributed to landscape.


Applying mulches to your gardens, beds and plantings will help to maintain the moisture in the ground, moderate soil temperatures and prevent weeds from growing. A good quality shredded pine bark mulch, clean cut straw, newspapers, pine needles and other natural and organic mulches will help to significantly reduce the amount of water that escapes due to evaporation…reducing the need for frequent watering.

Repairing leaky hoses and faucets

You would be amazed how many gallons of precious water can be lost through leaks in the hose or a faucet that does not shut off completely. Have a supply of washers on hand for faucets and hoses to make them water tight!

Drip irrigation

One of the most efficient ways to water plants in gardens, planters and window boxes is to install a drip irrigation system. Through emitters, drip irrigation lets small amounts of water drip onto the base of plants (where it penetrates into the roots) with minimal evaporation and under low pressure. Once the area around the plant is moist the drip system will be able to easily maintain the water needs of the plants…without wasting water by above ground irrigation.

Collect roof runoff

By installing rain barrels, you can catch water running off your home and shed roofs and using the collected water during drought periods. Be sure to have a top for the barrel so as not to create a mosquito breeding area. Screens on the end of the downspout will also help keep roof shingle particles out of the container.

Prepare your landscape before the summer droughts appear

Taking steps to prepare your garden beds and lawn before summer will help it survive the drought. Water your lawn infrequently but deeply during the late spring and early summer to allow the roots to grow deep into the soil…giving them a better chance to deal with summer heat and lack of water. Fertilize and topdress with compost to help keep the grass plant healthy and the soil capable of holding water…preparing it for summer stresses. Mulch the beds, fix hoses and faucets before summer arrives. Choose drought tolerant plants for new gardens or replacements.

Think and Practice Water Conservation

In all your actions, in the landscape and your home, keep in mind conserving your precious water resource. Take shorter showers, do not wash cars, fix all leaks, water your landscape as needed…not every day and apply water directly to the roots, minimizing evaporation and water runoff.

With these ten simple steps, you can help maintain your gardens, trees, and shrubs and lawn without wasting water and ensuring your landscape will survive and thrive!

In the next article I will discuss bring illumination to your landscape through the planned use of outdoor landscape lighting!

“All the water that will ever be is, right now.” National Geographic, October, 1993.


Frank Crandall, Horticultural Solutions. Frank is a R.I. resident specializing in coastal landscaping, organic land care, small business consulting, writing, speaking photography and will be submitting biweekly articles about Landscape Solutions. Frank just published his third book, Creating a More Peaceful, Happy and Successful Life! You can read more about his book on his website, Comments about Frank’s articles are welcome by contacting him at

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Think you know about curb appeal? Landscaping urban legends busted

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Gardening Tips: Become an Extension Master Gardener

Posted: Friday, August 2, 2013 11:07 am

Gardening Tips: Become an Extension Master Gardener

By Matthew Stevens

The Daily Herald, Roanoke Rapids, NC


Do you look forward to reading this column each week to learn something new about gardening?

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Garden Tips and Tastes series continues Aug. 7 at Cantigny Park

The Garden Tips and Tastes series continues at noon Wednesday, Aug. 7, at Cantigny Park in Wheaton.

According to a park press release, “Bring a lunch and join horticulturist Liz Omura for some practical advice, a new recipe and plenty of plant chatter. Sessions meet the first and third Wednesday of each month.”

Registration is required for this free event.

A pay parking lot will be available. The lot fee is $5.

Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, is a 500-acre natural park donated to Wheaton and the people of Illinois by Robert R. McCormick. Overseen by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the site is host to formal gardens, camping and picnic grounds, two museums and a recreation area. The venue offers programs, displays and family education events throughout the year. Designed and built in 1967, the horticultural park is visited by both amateur and professional landscapers from throughout the United States.

For more information, call 630-260-8162 or visit

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Get curb appeal tips at garden event


Bulbs, Corms and Rhizomes:With Master Gardener Anna Wygrys. 9-11:30 a.m. at Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office, 4102 Main, La Marque; 281-534-3413. Free.

Urban Harvest’s Starting a Community/School Garden, Class 1: 9-11:15 a.m. at Green Planet Sanctuary, 13424-B Briar Forest Drive; 713-880-5540, $24 members, $36 nonmembers.

Curbside Appeal and Practical Gardening:With Pam Harnden. 10 a.m. at Heights Plant Farm, 1422 Yale; 713-868-7990, Free.


Open garden day: 8:30-11 a.m. at Genoa Friendship Garden, 1202 Genoa Red Bluff. Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2 will answer gardening questions and present “Growing Pineapples From Tops” for children and “Tool Sharpening” for adults at 9:30 a.m. Selected herbs and other plants for sale. Free.


Sexy Plants: With Dawn Stover. Noon at the Harris County AgriLife Extension Office, 3033 Bear Creek Drive; 281-855-5600. Free; $5 for hamburger meal.

Beneficial insects: With extension horticulturist Jessica Weizer. 6:30-8 p.m. at Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office, 4102 Main, La Marque; 281-534-3413. Free.


Propagate your own plants: 6:30-8:45 p.m. at Urban Harvest, 2311 Canal; 713-880-5540, $24 members, $36 nonmembers.


Houston Urban Food Production Conference: Participants can select sessions about starting commercial operations and production methods. Commercial topics include organic certification, marketing options, agricultural valuation for land, efficient irrigation and funding support. Production topics include poultry, goats, beekeeping, integrated pest management, fruit and nut growing, irrigation, season extenders, soil building, weed control, vegetable production and cut flowers. 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Aug. 17 at the United Way of Greater Houston, 50 Waugh; Diana Todd at 281-855-5614. Registration prior to Friday is $35, then $50. Lunch included.

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Garden tips for August

August is my favorite month of the year. Who could not love tomatoes, peppers, corn and basil? Once again I planted too many tomatoes and peppers. The extras I will donate to the local food bank.

Two years ago, the Napa County Master Gardeners were treated to a workshop by the Master Preservers from Del Norte County. I have been putting up veggies for two years, and now I make my own ketchup, tomato sauces, and can or freeze a number of veggies for use in the winter. This year, I made zucchini pickle relish, and it tastes better than the cucumber relish. It also uses up some zucchini.

For the home gardener, August and September can be the busiest and the most rewarding. The No. 1 thing to remember is to watch the irrigation in the garden; keep it on track by checking the soil daily. These hot and windy days can speed up evaporation. Squash has a propensity to wilt in the afternoons; if it looks OK in the morning, then it does not need water.

Veggies do need to be fed on a regular schedule. Check the back of the fertilizer box for the recommended schedule. I use a blend of four parts compost, one part worm compost, and organic fertilizer with a low nitrogen number. Nitrogen is the first number on the box. Too much nitrogen will produce much vegetation, but little fruit, and a tomato is botanically classified as a fruit.

Weeding is an important chore right now; do not let weeds flower or their seeds will sprout in your winter garden.

If you had a viral soil problem this winter, July and August are the best times to solarize your soil. Put a layer of clear plastic over the infected soil and tuck into the soil. It takes about 60 days to get rid of the viruses, pests and their eggs. The soil will be ready to plant this September.

This is a good time to shear your alyssum and other ground covers. Water them and they will come back as new, or even better in September. Many perennial woody herbs can be cut back now. Save some cuttings and start with new, not so woody plants.

Other chores this month include: cutting back perennials after flowering; removing any spoiled vegetables or fruits before they attract pests and keeping the yard clean. The cleanup helps discourage pests this year and prevents overwintering of viruses and insect eggs.

Deep water your trees and shrubs to help them fend off borers and other pests during the stress of the hot weather to come.

To harvest, you will have tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, herbs and peppers. Plant lettuce, parsley and cilantro in the shade of other plants and you can enjoy them throughout the summer to fall. The shade keeps them from bolting so fast.

Fruits to watch for are: figs, stone fruits, apples, pears and plums. Thinning these fruits will produce larger and more succulent fruit. Keep an eye out for the many pests that attack these fruits.

In the vegetable garden, watch for pests. Those pretty white moths produce larva that can damage your plants.

It is not too early to start seeds indoors for the fall and winter garden. As you pull up each plant in your summer garden; refresh the soil by adding compost and scratching it in about an inch. Research has shown that rototilling is not good for the health of your soil. The flora and fauna that inhabit the soil are disturbed by the deeper invasion of their habitat and have trouble returning. Besides, as one of the local Master Gardeners likes to say; “The noise of the rototiller gives the worms a headache.”

Invest in a Ball Blue Book to preserve some of your harvest. This is still the best book for all types of preserving. It covers safety, non-pressurized canning, freezing, and other methods of preserving your harvest.

Enjoy the fruits of your labor this month. You deserve it.

Vegetable Workshop: Napa County Master Gardeners will lead a workshop on “Cool Season Veggies” on Sunday, Aug. 18, from 2-4 p.m. at the Yountville Community Center, 6516 Washington St., Yountville. Register through Town of Yountville, Parks and Recreation. For additional information, call (707) 944-8712 or visit their website.

Open Garden Days: Napa County Master Gardeners welcome the public to their demonstration garden at Connolly Ranch on the first Thursday of every month, from April through October, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Master Gardeners will answer questions. Connolly Ranch is at 3141 Browns Valley Road in Napa.

Napa County Master Gardeners ( answer gardening questions on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m. to noon, at the UC Cooperative Extension office, 1710 Soscol Ave., Suite 4, Napa, 707-253-4143.

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