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Archives for August 31, 2013


Time to sow seeds of snapdragons, dianthus, pansies, and other winter flowers in flats for planting outdoors during October.

Dig and divided spring flowering bulbs and perennials such as daffodil, iris, daylily, ajuga, liriope, and canna.

Plant leaf and root vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, spinach, and lettuce late in the month.

This month or early next month, sow seeds of wildflowers into weed-free, well-tilled soil.

Sow or overseed cool season grasses such as fescue and rye, but remember, if you apply any pre-emergent weed killers to your lawn, newly applied grass seed will not germinate.

Rejuvenate heat-stressed geraniums, petunias, begonias, and chrysanthemums for the fall season by lightly pruning and fertilizing them.

Remove weak, unproductive growth from roses to stimulate new growth for fall beauty. 

Prune out dead or diseased wood from trees and shrubs.  Hold off on major pruning until mid-winter.  Pruning now will stimulate tender growth that may be damaged by frost.

Root prune established trees and shrubs that you intend to move this winter.  This allows them to establish new roots within the zone of soil that will eventually be moved with them.  Do not cut any taproots at this time.

Caladiums require plenty of water at this time of year if they are to remain lush and attractive until fall. 

Don’t allow plants with green fruit or berries to suffer from lack of moisture.  Hollies will frequently drop their fruit under drought conditions. 

Prepare the beds for spring flowering bulbs as soon as possible.  Incorporate organic matter to improve drainage to prevent the bulbs from rotting when planted next spring.

Fertilize and groom verbenas, perennial salvias and lantanas by lightly pruning and removing non-vigorous growth to stimulate a long and productive fall season.

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Purely Organic Lawn Care Highlights End-of-Summer Gardening Tips


Purely Organic Lawn Care Highlights End-of-Summer Gardening Tips

Purely Organic Lawn Care provides insight on vital gardening techniques that homeowners should consider as summer comes to an end.

PHILADELPHIA, PA, August 31, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ — As summer slowly draws to a close, Purely Organic Lawn Care recognizes the importance of maintaining a garden. Most people feel as if they can put their landscaping days on hold until the fall rolls in. However, it is important for homeowners to pay attention to some crucial details in their lawn. Just because the weather is getting cooler does not mean that gardens should be neglected.

In a recent article posted by Fauquier Now, experts highlight several gardening tips for the end of the season. They stress that homeowners and lawn care enthusiasts should pay close attention to their properties. Purely Organic Lawn Care agrees that the end of summer carries just as much responsibility as the beginning.

One of the first steps for gardeners is to categorize dormant plants and dead plants. Before removing dead vegetation, it is crucial to mark and label any plant life that will come back next season. Homeowners want to ensure that they are eliminating the right plants that could eventually turn into weeds.

Weeding is necessary before seed setting. This will help control weed growth and development in the future. Before the seed heads form, gardeners should take out any green sprouts and turn them into compost. Weeding in the late summer is beneficial for garden growth because it lessens root competition. The fewer weeds there are, the more water and nutrients that are available to growing plants.

Purely Organic Lawn Care recommends carefully inspecting mulch. Mulch that has not been used for a while may become compacted and stiff. It is wise to fluff up any compacted mulch and then spread it around decomposed areas. A layer of approximately two inches is optimal for prime lawn health. This layer provides insulation that will help the soil maintain a consistent temperature while reducing moisture loss via evaporation. The mulch also breaks down into organic materials that will benefit the soil. Over-mulching should be avoided as this can inhibit water from reaching plant roots.

Gardeners should continue their regular watering habits. The best practice is to water directly at the plants’ roots. This allows for better absorption than topsoil watering. Plants that are grown in containers will need more water than in-ground vegetation. Hanging basket plants are more prone to dehydration due to heat and wind. A simple test to see if plants need watering is to stick a finger in the soil and see if it is dry.

A Purely Organic Lawn Care associate states, “You should check with a professional service to see if your lawn is healthy. Conduct a soil test and find out what your lawn needs. You want to catch any problems early on so that you can take care of them as soon as possible.”

Lastly, gardeners should make it a priority to clean up their lawn regularly. They should remove fallen leaves, branches, fruit, and litter. It is especially important to look for stray fruits or vegetables that have fallen as they can attract bacteria and mold. These materials should all be destroyed or disposed of properly. Purely Organic Lawn Care states that infected fruit or vegetation should never be added to a compost pile.


Purely Organic Lawn Care has been in business for six years. With a team of six knowledgeable employees, they provide a long list of services for organic lawn care. These services include weed and crabgrass management, mosquito and tick management, soil testing, aeration, over-seeding, and seed-o-vating. All employees are licensed for pesticide usage in the states of New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts. They employ the use of products that are environmental-friendly, organic, and natural.

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Independent restaurants could take a few tips from Olive Garden and Outback

After introducing himself, a server asks companions and me if we’d like a gratis taste of the wine the Italian restaurant is highlighting tonight. We nod, and a splash of red is poured into the stemware pre-set on the table. Moments later, a basket of piping hot breadsticks, bundled in linen, follows. 

If nothing else, Olive Garden makes a hospitable impression with free wine and warm bread. 

Another meal away from home, a relaxed American restaurant lures friends and me into its dining room with all sorts of promises affixed to all sorts of banners, chalkboards and table tents: late hours, discounts for military members on Mondays and “ladies“ on Wednesday, even curbside pickup service. Spotting my group on the sidewalk, a hostess races to open the door for us; seated in a booth, we spring for a deal that gives every diner a taste of two entrees for as little as $10.99. 

Convenience, value and more recently a solution to “food envy“ help explain why Applebee’s is the world’s largest casual chain restaurant, with $4.2 billion in domestic sales last year. 

Meanwhile, at a meat market with a disputable association to another continent, colorful spice jars filled with the restaurant’s secret seasonings practically turn the foyer into an art gallery. Nearby is a cold-water dispenser with a spa sensibility: sliced lemons and limes floating inside. 

If you have to wait for a table, Outback Steakhouse, which is in the process of freshening up half of its 979 restaurants, wants to make sure you’re comfortable. 

Are there tips independent restaurants can pick up from casual chain concepts, a category loosely defined as operations involving full service and bars, hold the high prices? A recent tour of some of the biggest brands in the business – Cheesecake
Factory, Red Lobster and TGI Friday’s included – suggests that warm
bread and meal deals reinforce consistency and value, hallmarks of that
dining segment. 

One of the big advantages many chains have over sole proprietors is the time and effort they take to train the staff, spending from $25,000 to $500,000 on in-depth training programs that touch on product knowledge, service strategies, pre-shift briefings and continual coaching, or fine-tuning, says Bob Brown. He’s president of the Ashburn-based Bob Brown Service Solutions and a consultant who has coached local chains (Great American Restaurants, Matchbox, ThinkFoodGroup), national ones (Olive Garden, Red Lobster) and even Disney. 
Some independent restaurant operators “don’t know what they don’t know,“ says Brown. It’s one thing to give a server a menu and have him memorize it, quite another to “bring it alive“ through a “food show“ that let’s him see, say, the whole fish, smell the saffron and touch the fresh rosemary used in a restaurant’s dishes. The latter lesson, says Brown, “stays in your mind forever.“ 

It helps, of course, that casual-dining concepts typically involve a single menu. 

dining.jpgApplebee’€™s, Tottenville, hosted a “Dining to Donate” event in July, the proceeds of which benefited Autism Speaks. From left, Matthew Ladis, Cody Smith, Julia Ladis and Alexa Shannon Gravitch. Ten percent of the proceeds of the meals from the all-day event were donated to the non-profit organization when the Applebee’s diners identified themselves as someone who was invited to participate and support the organization.
The stakes for restaurants of all stripes are high. Trips to casual-dining chain restaurants account for 11 percent of all industry visits, and if that doesn’t sound like many bowls of pasta or slices of cheesecake, consider this: As of March, Americans had eaten away from home 61 billion times this year. Still, that’s down from more than 62 billion industry visits in 2009, according to NPD Group, the market research giant. Casual chain restaurants, which experienced no growth over last year, have “lost a lot of ground,“ says Bonnie Riggs, an NPD restaurant industry analyst. But traffic at independent restaurants is down 2 percent compared with the same months in 2012. 

Hit hardest by the recession, millennials have retreated the most, cutting back 50 percent over the past five years. Trying to lure them in, Applebee’s recently launched “Take Two,“ which lets patrons of any age select two main courses for under $13 and thus erase what the chain calls “food envy“: in this case, the nagging wonder whether you should have ordered the four-ounce blackened sirloin with potatoes tossed in tomato-pesto sauce rather than the lemon shrimp fettuccine with fresh spinach and lemon zest your tablemate got. (Go for the steak.) 

Baby boomers, who were raised on fast food and have traded up to full-service establishments, “keep the industry at least flat,“ says Riggs. 

Biting into the casual chain business, particularly during lunch hours, are quick-service but high-quality places including Chipotle, which uses naturally raised, antibiotic-free pork, and Sweetgreen, the salad purveyor committed to buying ingredients in season and from local farmers. 

“Everybody is going after the same very small discretionary budget,“ says Kathy Hayden, a food service analyst with Mintel, another leading market research firm. 

Appreciated for their consistency but mindful of the need to stay fresh, casual chain restaurants are responding by “pulling out all the stops,“ says Riggs. 

This summer, Olive Garden rolled out Tastes of Italy Small Plates, a promotion of snacks including grilled chicken spiedini and risotto “bites“ at $3.99 each. The selections address a nation that’s still hungry for small plates. “People like something new,“ says Jay Spenchian, Olive Garden’s vice president of marketing. 

For its part, the 700-unit Red Lobster revamped its menu last October so that 60 percent of its list is priced under $15 and a quarter of the choices are non-seafood, helping eliminate the dreaded “veto vote“ by consumers who don’t like surf. In January, the chain reached out to Hispanic diners with an advertising campaign inviting them to try “La Experiencia de Red Lobster.“ 

Watching your weight? Casual chain restaurants are eager to help you monitor any dieting, with Applebee’s serving lemon Parmesan shrimp over rice at under 550 calories and Olive Garden devoting a section of its menu to Lighter Italian Fare: lasagna primavera with grilled chicken and other entrees at under 575 calories. All this, even though only 24 percent of U.S. consumers say they eat healthfully when they dine out, the NPD Group reported this month. 

In an attempt to attract more patrons, many chains are extending their hours or “day parts.“ Applebee’s stays open at least until midnight where permitted, and Outback Steakhouse now serves lunch seven days a week. 

A quarter of casual chain customers are known as “deal seekers“ looking for the best price. “Meal deals get in traffic,“ says Hayden, the food service analyst, “but not loyalty.“ Ultimately, “it’s the food that matters.“ 

Bret Thorn, senior food editor at the trade publication Nation’s Restaurant News, says the changes in casual chain restaurants are “driven by a more discerning public, and that’s driven by an increased interest in food“ – thank you, “Top Chef“ and not-so-top chefs on TV and elsewhere. 

Even basic dishes are being rethought. One of the first things Mike Archer, a former executive with Morton’s the Steakhouse, did when he became president of Applebee’s five years ago was reinvent its hamburger, previously made from frozen patties and partially cooked in advance. These days, the casual chain’s hamburger is made with fresh ground chuck and grilled to order. Applebee’s sandwich will never be mistaken for a Palena burger, but this diner appreciated the juicy patty, the toasted bun and the gentle price, $8.49, frozen (but not inedible) fries included. 

“Chain restaurants are good at finding that sweet spot between the adventurous and the bizarre,“ says Thorn, who points to the arrival of sweet Thai chili sauce to accompany McNuggets at McDonald’s. The general public often has more of a taste for what “seems authentic“ than the real deal, he says. Of the new “Korean BBQ Chicken Stir-Fry“ topped with kimchi slaw at P.F. Chang’s, he says, “I don’t think your average Korean would recognize that as authentic Korean . . . but for P.F. Chang’s customers, it’s close enough.“ Similarly, the unlimited breadsticks and fried lasagna at Olive Garden speak more to mainstream American than traditional Italian tastes. 

Yet, says Thorn, “once people’s horizons are expanded, they stay expanded.“ The house wines at Olive Garden, for instance, have been modified to be less sweet and more aroma-driven and fruit-forward. 

The president of Applebee’s tells his corporate kitchen team in Kansas City “you have more influence on how America eats“ than even the starriest chefs in the country. Given that his company serves a million people a day, Archer could be right. 

Don’t expect independents to start peddling two-for-one entrees a la Olive Garden, which recently allowed customers to choose one of five main courses to eat in the restaurant and another to take home for later. Given the huge price breaks offered by most chain restaurants, “they’re almost giving the food away,“ says Gus DeMillo of Passion Food Hospitality, a collection of restaurants that includes Ceiba, DC Coast and District Commons in Washington. “They’re buying in mass quantities and selling food for cheap. We’re more about quality of food and creating relationships with people in our restaurants.“ Plus, he adds, “there’s only so much tilapia you can sell.“ 

Not that independent operators aren’t chasing after stomachs and wallets, too, as evinced by their participation in Restaurant Week, happy hour and pre-theater promotions, among other recipes for filling dining room seats. 

Culinary epiphanies eluded me as I explored the menus of my subjects, but some dishes made me see glints of light if not actual stars. The minestrone at the Olive Garden has a pleasant homey quality (“We make our soups and sauces from scratch,“ the chain’s vice president of marketing told me), and the kale salad with almonds, apples, cranberries and green beans at the Cheesecake Factory is something I could see White House assistant chef Sam Kass tossing for the first family, albeit with less of the buttermilk-black pepper dressing. The recipient of the nine-ounce sirloin at my table at Outback Steakhouse praised the $13.99 entree even before he sliced into it. “This looks like it does on the menu!“ (I preferred the snowy baked potato to the grilled-as-we-asked-for-it beef.) As for Outback’s nearly 2,000-calorie Bloomin’ Onion, the subject of several paragraphs in a recent review of the chain by LA Weekly’s food critic Besha Rodell, I concur with the native Australian’s assessment: “Crispy, oily, sweet, crunchy,“ she wrote. “A big slick of salt and grease. Slightly disgusting.“ And then: “Completely addictive.“ 

My sorriest meals were endured at Red Lobster and TGI Friday’s. 

The only reason I could imagine returning to the seafood chain is for another fluffy Cheddar Bay biscuit, a warm welcome currently celebrating its 25th anniversary and popular enough to be sold as a mix at Sam’s Club. Otherwise, everything I witnessed at a branch in Silver Spring, from the listless lone lobster in the fish tank to the one-note clam chowder and the corn on the cob that tasted as if it had been cooked in a dishwasher, made me wish I were just about anyplace else – anyplace else, that is, but TGI Friday’s, where the dated striped decor competes with the hamburger (where’s the beef flavor?) in a blank bun to offend the senses. Like a lot of the competition, TGI Friday’s has brushed up on food trends, although its supposedly “Thai“ pulled pork tacos smack of canned tuna scrunched in tortillas made from plastic. 

Speaking of plastic, here’s something chains can learn from independents: Paper menus don’t just feel better in a customer’s hands, they suggest more style and neatness. Just about every shiny chain menu I was handed felt sticky, none more so than the 200-plus item-filled binder (available in large print and Braille, by the way) from the Cheesecake Factory. 

As much as analysts, restaurant owners and critics talk about
consumer interest in value, freshness and flavor, food isn’t always
foremost on diners’ minds. 

In a nationwide household survey conducted last year by the National Restaurant Association, 1,000 adults were asked what factors influenced their choice of where to eat away from home. “Recommendation from family member or friend,“ responded 94 percent of households. Almost as important, 82 percent of the participants revealed: “Ease of parking at the restaurant.“ 

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THE FRAGRANT GARDEN: An introduction to Bastrop and common landscape … – Austin American

Folks in Smithville are familiar with my column “The Fragrant Garden,” but new readers in Bastrop may wonder about who I am, what I do and what my credentials are for writing about landscape design and gardening. First of all, I’ve been a gardener since childhood and that gives me more than half a century of experience!

Then, as a young adult in 1974, I read a book, “The Fragrant Garden” by Louise Beebe Wilder, a reprint of a 1933 book first entitled “The Fragrant Path.” It was all about old-fashioned and fragrant plants and plantings, and I was taken by storm. I was living in Seattle at the time and working as a registered nurse, but over the next 40 years I looked for such plants – and especially Old Roses – over the entire country and parts of Europe.

I moved to Texas in 1979 and was part of a group that formed and became the Texas Rose Rustlers. I also served in a variety of leadership positions with other non-profit groups that focused on plant and landscape preservation.

In 1993 I was in the San Francisco Bay Area and that allowed me to return to college for a second “tour” and study landscape architecture. I attended a UC Berkeley program in the city and graduated after four years of attending classes year-round. At that point, I began my residential landscape design firm and named it after the book which started it all, the Fragrant Garden. Since that time, I have worked in the Bay Area, Portland, Ore. and in 2004, I returned to Central Texas and settled in a little 1929 bungalow in Smithville.

I planted a large two-lot garden on Bishop Street and have been developing it further ever since. My design practice extends from Austin to Houston along SH 71.

For those of you who are really interested, you can find and read all my old columns, starting in 2005, on my website They are located under the “Publications” tab, according to the year published, and there is a “Search” tool that will allow you to find topics of interest to you. The articles vary from landscape design tips to local gardening advice and everything in between.

In honor of this “syndication,” as editor Cyndi Wright called it, I’ll begin a new serialized article on “Common Mistakes in Residential Landscape Design.”

The first mistake would have to be piecemeal design without the benefit of a landscape plan. Most of us immediately think of plants in the landscape, but designing for functionality should come first. Designer and homeowners need to consider how to connect the indoors with the outdoors and how the outdoor spaces will intersect with each other. One should plan for spaces such as patios, small seating areas, play areas, vegetable and flower gardens and also edges/plantings/fences/walls that define those areas from one another.

Major and minor pathways should be located and layout and materials for them chosen from a palette that is in harmony with the architectural style of the home.

A second common mistake is to overlook considering primary views, both from the street to house and from windows inside the house looking out into the garden.

Creating a well-designed entry from the street will create a kind of “curb appeal” that immediately increases the value of the home. Adorning that transition from street to front door will be a welcome to visitors as they approach the house. That view is also something shared with the neighbors and much appreciated by them. I always try to stop and thank homeowners on my morning walks, when I admire their yards and consider what value that they add to our little community. Considered views from the house draw one out into the garden and allow us to be “in the garden” year around when weather may not otherwise permit it.

When we consider creating those various spaces noted above, a common mistake in design is to undersize them.

Major walkways should be sized so that two people can walk abreast of each other and constructed in a way that people of various abilities can transverse them. Minor pathways can be narrower and less formal in structure, using materials such as step-stones and softer surfaces such as gravel, decomposed granite or even bark mulch. Patios need to be sized according to the number of people who will inhabit them and large enough so that outdoor furniture fits comfortably with room to walk around the various pieces.

In my next column, we will continue this discussion about residential landscape design.

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Colorful, eclectic, art-filled garden reflects designer JJ De Sousa’s hip style

one, including herself, would call JJ De Sousa conventional. Her
larger-than-life personality transfers to everything she does, from the
exuberant garden and colorful brick home in Southeast Portland to Digs
Inside Out, the home and garden shop and headquarters for her
design business.

After completing the design course at Portland
Community College nine years ago, De Sousa jumped right in, leaving
behind a boring career in corporate human resources to design interiors
and gardens, a job she finds entirely fulfilling.

“I’m so
lucky,” she says. “I get to be surrounded by beautiful things and
beautiful spaces. I can hardly believe this is my life.”

Much of her design basics are found in her garden:


regard for red morphed into an ardor for orange — not a long stretch
— when the color made a deep bow in the marketplace several years ago.
Orange makes neutrals pop, and using it repetitively to unify the space
creates an unself-conscious way for the eye to move through the garden.
“Orange is such an eye-catching color,” De Sousa says, “it just works.”
Dutch to the bone, she mentions it doesn’t hurt that orange is the color
of the royal House of Oranje and the Dutch soccer team Ajax.


of the art in the garden is made of salvaged items and by local
artists. “We’ve got such an abundance of local talent, and I want to
support them,” says De Sousa, who not only buys the art for her home,
but carries it in her shop as well.


“I had
a high-maintenance garden,” says De Sousa, “and I got over it.” Once
she bridged that chasm, succulents became her go-to plants. “They’re so
low care, and so architectural. I’ve always liked sharp, prickly


With five cats and two dogs, De Sousa
and her husband, José, have plenty of furry company. Fluff, short for
Marshmallow Fluff, in particular enjoys hanging out. “She’s our
good-will ambassador; she follows people around the garden and talks to
them,” says De Sousa as the white cat with one green and one blue eye
jumps into a nearby chair and starts meowing.

Other fauna
includes an inside joke missed by many: Chicken roosting boxes are
planted with hens and chicks, which also go into zinc tubular chicken


Metal is repeated throughout the garden in
accents and hardscape such as the fence, which gives both a modern and a
rustic feeling. The corrugated sheets were purposely set horizontally
to “give the feeling like you’re moving in one direction.”


and fire pits, blankets and durable, year-round furniture allow the De
Sousas to eat, entertain and hang out in their garden from April to
December. The horseshoe sectional is made of recycled polyethylene,
which is naturally anti-microbial to keep mildew at bay. “I haven’t
touched it in five years,” JJ says. She urges people to create spaces
within spaces. “People think of their gardens as one big space instead
of breaking it down into smaller ones,” says the designer. “It’s like
painting a room dark; it makes the walls recede.” It must be, because
her 77-by-127- foot lot is home to six areas that will seat 66 people.


Sousa is a hands-on designer, who starts with broad ideas and narrows
them down. Drawings aren’t her way. “I use more of an organic approach,”
she says. “I know I want a water feature or a retaining wall here or
there. Then I work on materials later. But sometimes you find a killer
piece that can throw your design on edge, and the next thing you know,
you’re changing everything.”



Buy the best you can afford. When it comes to outside furniture and
furnishings, you really do get what you pay for. Durable materials last
for years and so are more sustainable than cheap ones that soon end up
in the landfill.

— Don’t be afraid of color; it can change everything.

— Good lighting is essential and so often overlooked.

— Create spaces within your space. When you break it down into smaller areas, it actually makes it feel and look bigger.

— Make intentional entertaining spaces: places to sit, to lie down and to eat.

— Don’t buy everything new or right now. Take your time and create a garden that reflects who you are and how you live.


Digs Inside Out, 1829 N.E. Alberta St., 503-460-3447,
a new venture of 18 merchants focusing on vintage and
salvage home and garden items, set to open Wednesday; 1005 S.E. Grand
Ave., kitty-corner to Rejuvenation Hardware; 503-208-2580; JJ De Sousa has two spaces, one an apothecary
of lotions, soaps and other potions called Apotheek; the other for
smaller home decor pieces called House of Oranje.

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Photo: Castanet Staff

September at UBC’s Okanagan campus is a time of new beginnings, fresh faces, new ideas, wish lists and to-do lists.

And for the more than 1,300 faculty and staff, it is also a time of excitement as this year’s record 8,346 students – including 1,833 in first year, 631 graduate and 670 international students – arrive on campus. 

In Sept. 2012, UBC’s Okanagan campus had 8,307 full-time enrollments.

While UBC’s Okanagan campus has proven a successful and popular choice for students, the university must continue to excel when it comes to education and research opportunities, says Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal Deborah Buszard.

Just eight years ago, UBC’s Okanagan campus opened with about 3,000 students, 80 of whom were international. There were 44 graduate students.

“Our remarkable growth shows that UBC Okanagan is a school of choice,” says Buszard.

“But we cannot rest on our laurels. We are dedicated to providing our students with a university experience that is transformative, challenging, and competitive.”

UBC today is vastly different from the university that opened on an Okanagan hilltop in September 2005, says Buszard.

Curricula and schools such as the Southern Medical Program and the School of Engineering have added significantly to the academic offerings. UBC’s Okanagan campus has evolved into a full research-intensive university, with more than $14.4 million in research funding for 606 projects last year alone.

“The campus is driving economic, social, and cultural change in our region and beyond,” says Buszard. “

It is remarkable that in such a short period of time we are already seeing positive impact in areas such as the health-care system, innovation, and economic development.”

Buszard is entering her second year at the campus helm and her first saw the official opening of three of the campus’s top-notch research and teaching facilities: the Reichwald Health Sciences Centre, home of the Southern Medical Program; the Engineering, Management and Education Building; and the new Arts and Sciences Centre building that houses departments of the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, as well as some Faculty of Health and Social Development programs, lab spaces for the Schools of Nursing and Health and Exercise Sciences, and a student collegium.

Indeed, 2012 saw the conclusion of the seven-year, $400-million campus construction build-out, providing students, faculty, and staff with many state-of-the-art facilities where they can learn, work, and play.

The newest facility on campus, the Hangar Fitness and Wellness Centre has fitness studios for yoga, dance, and spin bikes, and a large cardio and strength training area complete with top-of-the-line cardio equipment, free weights, and weight machines.

The Hangar – which sees its official opening on Tuesday, September 17 – is so named because a large part of its funding came from Kelowna Flightcraft founder Barry Lapointe and family.

The Hangar is connected to the gymnasium, home to UBC Okanagan’s Heat teams who will play their first official season as full members of the Canada West Universities Athletic Association. The Heat’s two-year trial period in Canada West ended in June 2013.

Buszard says the Heat’s full membership in Canada West is a significant milestone, and she knows many people on campus, along with area residents, who are looking forward to cheering on the Heat teams as they compete at a top level.

“Our UBC Okanagan Heat teams are now officially recognized amongst the best university teams in the country,” says Buszard.

“Heat student athletes are outstanding ambassadors of our campus with their commitment and dedication to athletic competition and scholastic achievement.”

The first days of September are busy ones on campus with a number of events organized to ensure all students feel welcome and settled.

New international students are participating in Jump Start, which runs until Friday, while returning domestic students will take part in Kick Start from today until Saturday. And new-to-campus students have a special orientation event called Create on Sept. 3.

During the day-long series of events students will learn about the people, places, activities, and resources available on campus. Guided by returning students, they will tour campus and be introduced to the Deans of their faculties, their professors, and other students.

Showcase, a vendor market to highlight local goods and services, happens the same day as Create, and gives students an introduction to what services are available to them off campus as well.

“It’s a case of making every individual on this campus feel like they belong here,” says Buszard.

“Every one of our students is important to us. We are honoured they chose to attend UBC’s Okanagan campus. It’s a great place for our students to be and I know our faculty members will help them excel at being the very best they can be.”

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In Living Color Amp up ‘curb appeal’ by accessorizing the front of your home

Photos by Shoshanah Siegel/Signal TribunebrstrongSize does matter when it comes to lighting fixtures for the outside of your home. However, BB Hardware, located in Long Beach, takes it to a fun extreme. /strong

Photos by Shoshanah Siegel/Signal Tribune
Size does matter when it comes to lighting fixtures for the outside of your home. However, BB Hardware, located in Long Beach, takes it to a fun extreme.

Shoshanah Siegel

Recently, I have had a chance to work with quite a few clients who have wanted a facelift for the outside of their homes. If you are now ready to do the same, or perhaps do so in the future, here are some items you might want to start considering. Of course, my approach is always to be aware of your budget while still getting great results. Also, know that these “curb appeal” makeovers can be done in stages.

Get a new perspective
The first thing I would suggest doing is to go across the street from your home and look at the front of your house. Take some photos. This will allow you to review what you saw or may not have seen, and will possibly give you a new perspective. Try and be as objective as you can.
Your home’s front entry should be the focal point of its curb appeal. I suggest looking at various elements such as: house numbers, front door, mailbox, lighting, doorbell and entry door lockset. All of these can add interest to your home’s exterior, but in their current state, might not be conveying the aesthetics you want. These elements need to work together, creating a harmonious look while enhancing the style of your home. You might not even need to purchase all new items, especially if all they need is a good metal polish and/or paint. So that your task at hand is not too daunting, let me break it down, step-by-step.

Shut the front door
I look at the front door as the cherry-on-top. In order to create interest and depth, I like to add a pop of color to various parts of the exterior of the home. The front door is one of these places to do just that. Paint is one of the most inexpensive ways to freshen and liven up an area. Because it is so cheap and easy to do, you might even consider changing your door color with the seasons.

Is your front door working for you?
Ask yourself if the current door matches the style of your home? What other materials might you consider? First, determine your needs. Doors now come in steel, fiberglass, aluminum, vinyl and composite. How is it functioning? Do you want to let more light into your home? If the answer is yes, consider purchasing one with windows. If privacy is not an issue, you might select one that has vertical panels of glass that flank one or both sides of the door. Also, most come with various types of glass, some obscuring the view more than others. Looking from the inside out is important as well.
A recent client of mine, who has a post-modern home, found the perfect door. It has staggered square windows running vertically down the right side of the door. In keeping with the architecture, we selected a bright chartreuse color to paint the new door. Craftsman homes are often made of high-quality wood and have windows and detail moldings. Do your homework. Research and narrow down your options and then determine where might be the best selection and prices. I like looking at the Habitat For Humanity stores. You could get a great door while contributing to a great cause. Visit .

strongThis home exemplifies how great the front entrance of your home can be when all the elements are done to perfection/strong

This home exemplifies how great the front entrance of your home can be when all the elements are done to perfection

When one door opens…
From a practical point of view, exterior doors and their hardware need to keep occupants and property safe inside the building and also need to allow people to quickly get out in an emergency. Door hardware is considered the handshake of the home because it is one of the first things that greet a visitor. As mentioned previously, check to see what condition your hardware is in. It may just need a cleaning. Stay true to the architecture of your home. Ones for Craftsman-style homes are often made of brass with stylized shapes. Postmodern and contemporary homes might just have a single rod for the handle with a separate locking system. Once again, do your research and be creative. For color, consider other elements such as hardscape or roof colors. Be consistent. If you select brass for your hardware be sure to also select brass for other elements in the same location, such as a mailbox or lighting fixtures.

Ring my bell
Whether you have an intercom, doorknocker, or doorbell, this is a way that visitors alert you that they are at the front door. Depending on your architecture, or how you want visitors to announce their presence, why not make it fun? You are only limited by your imagination. I have seen them made of tile, metal and wood. We have a doorknocker made of wood in the shape of a woodpecker. There are many styles from which to choose. Let your tastes and interests be your guide.

Lighting the way
Outdoor lighting has three purposes. You want to create a welcoming entrance to your home as well as be able to walk safely up the steps and, from the inside, clearly identify who’s coming to visit. Since your front door is usually what most guests approach first, the front-entrance door is the place to choose to make a statement! Lighting is one very important way to create a great first impression. A pair of wall sconces or lanterns flanking the entryway can complete the look you want, whether it’s contemporary, rustic or artistic, the lighting needs to fit the style of your home.

Wall lights, lanterns, ceiling lights or pendants?

Depending on the architecture of your home, it might be possible to use wall sconces or lanterns flanking the doorway or lights mounted to or recessed into the ceiling– or a combination of both. (In a future article I will be going into more detail about lighting for porches and how to coordinate the porch lighting with lighting for the rest of your landscaping.)

Size matters!
According to Lette Birn, on her blog Form + Function, wall fixtures should be anywhere from one fourth to one third the height of the door.
She mentions that if you are using two sizes of sconces for your front door as well as your garage, you’ll want to use the larger sconces at the front door, since this is where you want to create the focal point. Also, as a rule of thumb, outdoor sconces or lanterns should be mounted with the center of the light source about 5 feet 6 inches to 6 feet from the ground and 8 to 10 feet apart.

Is your mailbox delivering the right message?
Whether it’s hanging on the front porch, the garage or the wall surrounding the home, the right mailbox is one of those details that can’t be overlooked. Once again, mailboxes can enhance the architecture of your home, and they need to coordinate with the other items near your front door and the rest of your home.
Be sure you check with your homeowners association or check with the U.S. Postal Service before you decide what kind of mailbox to purchase and where to put it.
When it comes to picking the size, there are really no rules (except for those set by the USPS). If you’re the type of person who gets larger packages and likes your accessories to make a statement, then a larger, bolder-color box is probably right for you. If you would rather your design elements blend together, then a smaller box might be just right. I find it helpful to tape off the measurements of the box to see how it would look and if the size meets your needs. If you’d prefer not to have a mailbox at all, a mail slot in your front door is always an option.
Many homeowners choose the color of their mailbox based on the color of their home and the other accessories on their porch and in their front yard. Black is one of the favorite choices for adding contrast and curb appeal. It is classic and clean, and it stands out. However, if black is too harsh of a color, you might consider copper and other metals. Your mailbox can make an artistic statement. The sky is the limit.

We’ve got your number

Selecting house numbers follows pretty much the same process as selecting the other elements previously mentioned. The selection of the fonts, materials and colors of your house numbers should enhance the curb appeal of your home and work in tandem with the style and other items selected. Check out these sites for some fun alternatives:; Neutra numbers from (cheap); and (specify what architectural style you are looking to buy).

How to choose the right size number?
According to The House Number Lab, a manufacturer and site for purchasing house numbers, the general rule of thumb is that your number will be as wide as it is tall. So if you order a number that’s 4 inches tall, you can expect that three digits will be approximately 12 inches wide (not accounting for the space between the numbers). This is true for most numbers that are neither wide nor condensed, which would be 20 percent wider or narrower than the average number.
Some consideration:
• Distance from street. Homeowners that are far from the street may want to choose numbers a little bigger.
• Angle. If a home sits on a hill, the angle alters how someone sees the size of the number.
• Interferences. Things that block view of the numbers can affect their visibility, so make them larger.
Once you’ve got a good idea, cut a piece of paper out to size and place it in the window. Does it look right? If so, go with it. If not, try something else.

Keep a lookout for future articles in which I will be sharing ideas and advice regarding more “curb appeal,” for items such as porches, porticos, trellises, architectural elements such as moldings, shutters, window boxes, fences, hardscapes, outdoor art, seating, colors, landscaping and many more. ß
Shoshanah Siegel provides color and design consulting as well as space planning, remodeling/upgrading and staging through her firm Your Color Diva. She can be contacted at (562) 427-0440 or at Shoshanah.siegel . Samples of her work can be found at .

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What do Regency Square Mall and the old Downtown courthouse have in …

A largely empty parking lot is an obvious sign of the troubles at Regency Square Mall, once Jacksonvilles premier shopping center. The mall was put up for sale earlier this month.

A largely empty parking lot is an obvious sign of the troubles at Regency Square Mall, once Jacksonville’s premier shopping center. The mall was put up for sale earlier this month.

John Burr
Editor-in-Chief- Jacksonville Business Journal

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Before the Jacksonville Jaguars came to town, and before The Avenues mall and later the St. Johns Town Center were built, Regency Square Mall was the place to shop in Northeast Florida. Now the mall is hanging on by threads, and has been put up for sale by its owners.

Where many see a 1.4 million-square-foot white elephant with bookend Sears and J.C. Penney anchor stores, we see opportunity.

The death of suburban malls has occurred across the country, for many of the same reasons that have choked off Regency: a change in the surrounding neighborhoods and stiff retail competition from newer malls in locations closer to faster-growing parts of town. There is even a website devoted to the subject,, where you can read dead mall stories from around the country.

Once a mall dies, what can be done? The ideas on what to do with dying malls has varied, from splitting them into smaller retail centers, to relocating community colleges, or job training centers, or even tearing them down and planting grass and trees for a park, soccer fields and baseball diamonds.

One thing the property has going for it is location, at the intersection of Atlantic and Southside Boulevards and the Arlington Expressway. The Mathews Bridge is just down the road, and the Dames Point Bridge just a couple of miles to the north, with the Port of Jacksonville just across the river. The parcel up for sale is 110 acres, big enough for many types of uses. Logistics industry, are you paying attention here?

And speaking of location, it’s been over a year since we raised the question of what the city of Jacksonville intends to do with the site of the former Duval County Courthouse, which sits vacant except for a thriving population of rats and other vermin on the north bank of the St. Johns River, smack in the middle of Downtown. One year later and still silence from City Hall. If we wait five or six more years, we’ll have another rotting husk like the Laura Street Trio gracing our Downtown. Won’t that be fun?

Here’s an idea that won’t tax our strained city budget too badly and still allow for future development opportunities on the site: Tear down the building, spread some topsoil around, throw in a little landscaping, plant some grass and call it a park. Who knows? People might like it well enough to keep it around for a while.

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PNM grants will fund local projects

ENMU-Ruidoso with the Ruidoso Foundation and Friends of Smokey-Capitan each received several thousand dollars for environmental projects from the PNM Resources Foundation this week.

The foundation recently awarded $300,000 in grants to non-profits, including eight in southern New Mexico that included the two local entities. The local projects selected for funding include a $10,000 grant for a rainwater capture system for the ENMU-Ruidoso campus and $8,900 for new park development, native plant landscaping and a rainwater capture system in Ruidoso Downs through the Friends of Smokey award.

Local community volunteer Jim Miller helped to write the grant proposal for Friends of Smokey-Capitan.

“We’ll be using the grant money to landscape the new Veterans Service Center in the Downs,” Miller said. “We’ll also be trying to collect the rainwater runoff on two of the buildings at the location to water the landscape material we plant so we’ll be purchasing a rainwater tank. American Legion Post 79 will be doing part of the work, and Keep Ruidoso Downs Beautiful will be doing part of it. We’ll buy our plants locally and also be building three shelters and a picnic table.”

Miller said they hope to have the project completed by the spring of 2014.

The foundation selected 32 projects that promote environmental stewardship and/or community improvements of public spaces in celebration of its 30th anniversary. Foundation expectations are that local residents will be able to enjoy the benefits of these projects by the start of 2014.

“These projects will have a lasting positive impact in local communities doing activities that restore and diversify habitats, create community gardens, and build walking trails. These projects are important to PNM and to the local communities across our state,” said Diane Harrison Ogawa, executive director of the PNM Resources Foundation. “We are pleased to build on PNM’s tradition of supporting our communities.”

Alamogordo also got a piece of the pie with a $10,000 grant awarded to New Mexico State University-Alamagordo STEM Outreach to build a native plant demonstration garden as well as landscaping improvements and a water conservation project for the Alamogordo Public Library.

Reporter Kelly Brooks can be reached at 575-257-4001 ext. 4114.

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