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Archives for September 10, 2013

Sculpture rooted in reading

Local chainsaw artist Ben Sparks has completed a special donation to the Q.B. Boydstun Library and the community.

The sculpture of a cozy chair made out of giant books and featuring a wise owl and bookworms is sitting in front of the library. Sparks, with the help of Fort Gibson Mayor Brad Clinkenbeard, placed the chair and bolted it down Friday.

“Maybe someone can sit in the chair on a nice day and the kids can sit in the grass and get a story read to them,” Sparks said. “And one of my goals as a sculptor, being native to Fort Gibson and what-not, is by the time I’m too old to lift a chainsaw anymore, I’d like to have sculptures all around the town.”

The big ash tree that was in front of the library was dying, so the city took it down, Sparks said. Clinkenbeard approached him with the idea of using the trunk for his sculpting and Sparks decided to donate a sculpture to the library.

With the rest of the trunk, he sculpted two carousel horses and a sprint car.

The chair’s back is made from a special “book.”

“‘My Little Princess’ by Ben Sparks” is carved on the cover and the inside begins to tell the tale of his little princess — his daughter, Savannah, 9.

“She loved it. She came out in the shop when she got off the bus and saw it and gave me a big old hug,” Sparks said.

The sculpture, which was an estimated 1,100 pounds before carving and is now an estimated 400 pounds, will last forever if taken care of, he said.

“It’s covered with marine varnish, what they use on boats,” he said. “Simple upkeep just like you do on a log cabin and it will be there 150 years from now.”

Sparks is gearing up to start his carvings for the Christmas season, but he hopes to get a huge town project off the ground for the better part of next year.

“It’s a 100-foot wagon yard scene. So hopefully by next spring we’ll have all the funding in place for that and by the end of next summer have it all completed,” he said.

Clinkenbeard donated an acre along U.S. 62 near McDonald’s for the scene and parking. He has funded the drainage and parking areas, he said.

Public donations are needed to fund the rest of the project, whose cost is estimated at $37,000 to $40,000.

Sparks has agreed to do the sculpting and construction for half-price. He said that would cover his bills for the four to six months it takes to complete the project.

“I love this town and have a deep family history here, but financially I can’t do more myself,” he said. “This is a huge undertaking, so ideas, donations and prayers are all welcome.”

The proposed sculpture is a scene from early 1900s Fort Gibson, when Bascum and Pearl McElmurry, Sparks’ ancestors, owned and ran the O.K. Wagon Yard.

There will be a 100-foot long oak fence and six to 10 life-size sculptures of adults, kids, horses and a wagon, among many other things, he said.

Sparks hopes to make it an interactive display with seating, landscaping, picture opportunities and more.

“I also think I’ll hide a little something in each sculpture, like a sparrow or a mouse; make it fun to find things,” he said.

You can help

Anyone interested in helping or  donating to the town wagon yard project may call Mayor Brad Clinkenbeard at (918) 781-9424.

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14th Annual Home and Garden Show this Weekend


If you have a green thumb or an eye for home design, you might want to check out the annual Home and Garden Show, which is just around the corner.

Kiii-TV is a proud sponsor of the 14th annual event, which is taking place Sept. 13-15 at the American Bank Center. You can find everything from Do-It-Yourself demonstrations to fresh landscaping ideas, and even the latest in interior design trends.

Also, don’t forget to stop by and say hi to all of your favorite 3News anchors. They will be there, as well.

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Teens plan landscaping project for Lampasas library

Posted: Monday, September 9, 2013 4:30 am

Teens plan landscaping project for Lampasas library

Brenda Young/Herald staff writer

The Killeen Daily Herald


LAMPASAS — A group of local teens has organized a team to contribute to the Lampasas Public Library renovation project and will soon begin fundraising efforts to complete landscaping on the building’s east side.

The Teen Advisory Group consists of six core members from seventh to 12th grades. The teens participated in brainstorming sessions on the project. Library director Shanda Subia said their original ideas centered around a Disney theme based on movies and books.

“Individually, they came up with the ideas they wanted to use and presented them to the City Council last week,” Subia said. “They used trifold presentation boards showing an aerial view of their inspirations for different aspects of the project. They also had pictures of the plants, flowers, trees and their designs for each section, or wing, drawn to scale.”

The teens worked with landscape architect Marianna Felsman of Austin. Subia said they learned a lot during the design phase.

“They have definitely had professional instruction and learned a lot about landscape design,” she said. “The kids are learning a lot about xeriscaping, landscaping and using math equations for the designs.”

The council unanimously approved the plans last month. The plans consist of six themed areas named after famous characters or books, including The Lion King, Alice in Wonderland, Bambi, Narnia, Kung Fu Panda and Winnie the Pooh.

“This was done in a whimsical way, not a cartoonish way,” Subia said. “I think it will appeal to library patrons of all ages.”

The Teen Advisory Group also has a commitment from local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops to provide extra muscle during the physical labor part of the project.

The group also would like to tap into the skills and talents of local artists to make it a collaborative community effort.

Although the teens won’t begin turning dirt until February, the council’s approval paved the way for them to focus on seeking donations and organizing fundraising events.

“I think it’s going to be an ongoing project, even after these young people finish school,” said Lampasas Library Foundation president, Ruth Martin. “It’s really been refreshing to have the Teen Advisory Group involved in the library renovations. It’s giving them lots of experience — not just in gardening, but it’s a real educational project and is giving them an idea of all the steps necessary in planning a project of this size.”

More about City Council

  • ARTICLE: Lampasas officials debate fire department funding
  • ARTICLE: Developments a boon to Heights; traffic a concern
  • ARTICLE: San Antonio adopts gay rights measure
  • ARTICLE: Hancock Park Golf Course improvements in full swing

More about Teen Advisory Group

  • ARTICLE: Lampasas considers construction of civic center

More about Lampasas Library

  • ARTICLE: Authors featured at Lampasas library
  • ARTICLE: Lampasas fire station project to finish soon


Monday, September 9, 2013 4:30 am.

| Tags:

City Council,

Teen Advisory Group,

Lampasas Library

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Landscape Services completes campus projects

Students taking part in the mass exodus to and from classes each day have been treated to a newly beautified campus landscape.

From South Quad and the Grotto to DeBartolo Quad and Notre Dame Avenue, projects were completed to accommodate students’ walking patterns and to streamline overall campus upkeep.

Sarah Misener, associate vice president for Campus Services, said the project ideas originated from reviews conducted by Landscape Services and Facilities Design Operations.

Landscape Services and Facilities Design Operations review areas of campus and prioritize landscape installation renewal projects on an annual basis,” Misener said.

Misener said the Landscape Services team begins reviewing campus project possibilities in the winter months and sets completion dates for the summer months. Because shrubs and plants on campus require annual renewal, Misener said, Landscape Services must narrow down possible new projects to a manageable list that will then be added to the summer workload.

“Summer months represent the best time to do much of the planting work on campus,” Misener said.  “Consequently, several projects are staged with completion dates that are prior to or near the start of the academic year.”

Major projects this summer included the installation of brick sidewalk trim, perennial beds planted on South Quad, the placement of mulch around trees on South Library Quad and the realignment of pedestrian crosswalks near the Grotto, she said.

DeBartolo Quad and the gazebo on Debartolo Quad, were refurbished, and visitor-friendly landscape was added, Misener said.  Notre Dame Avenue’s aging and damaged trees were replaced and more were planted along parts of the avenue’s gaps, she said.

 Lyons Hall and the Morris Inn also saw completed renovations this summer, and work was done on the Center for Flow Physics and Control White Field Facility, Misener said.

“[These projects] add to the students’ experience … by creating and maintaining beautiful spaces on which to study, pray, work and play,” she said.

Misener said campus landscaping projects are funded by donations from benefactors, which was the case with this summer’s work on the Morris Inn, or managed within the annual landscape budget.

Freshman Ian Flyke said he was pleased with the updates.

“I really like the campus changes, especially the rock courtyard between DeBartolo [Hall] and the Snite [Museum of Art],” he said.

Flyke said he began to follow Notre Dame’s landscaping team’s Twitter handle, @NDgroundscrew, to see updates on their work and pictures of continuing projects.

“I really like seeing what they’re up to now,” he said. “They have entertaining tweets.”

Senior Chris Ayala said he is impressed by the work done by the landscaping team.

“I think the landscaping is nice, but I really miss being able to sit on the raised ledge outside DeBartolo [Hall],” he said. “It’s aesthetically pleasing, but beyond that I don’t see any tangible benefits.”

Sophomore Ethan Muehlstein said he appreciated the improvements in front of Lyons Hall on South Quad.

“In the future, I’d like to see more flowers on God Quad so you can walk along flower paths, and overall more lights so you can highlight the gardens at night,” he said. “Nevertheless, the work the Landscaping team does is phenomenal and I am proud to go here and see it daily.”

Sophomore Haley Van Steenwyk said she is “still getting used to the changes,” especially by DeBartolo Hall.

“I like that they’re doing something different, but I think they should have had it all completed before we got to campus,” she said. “I like that they have more plants everywhere, but I feel like we’re still waiting to see a finished product.”

Contact Kyle Witzigman at

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CSUN-al Gardening series educates community about importance of animal …

CORRECTION: The gardening workshop is called CSUN-al Gardening, not CSUN al-Gardening.

The CSUN Botanic Garden hosted a gardening workshop last Saturday morning.

The workshop was about converting a garden into an Audubon Habitat and was conducted in Chaparral Hall by Alan Pollack, chair of the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society.

Pollack introduced different ways to convert gardens into a wildlife habitat for plants and animals. He explained the importance of preserving wildlife in gardens, conserving water and providing shelter to animals.

“Our wildlife is important because life on our planet depends upon our biodiversity,” Pollack said. “We need all the wild animals and the wild plants that live in our planet in order for humans to survive.”

Brenda Kanno, Botanic Garden manager, said that more than half of the 120 attendees came from CSUN’s surrounding communities.

Kanno said she feels good because these events are helping CSUN be a good neighbor.

Lynn Ruger, a resident in Woodland Hills, has been coming with her husband to the gardening classes since 2006.

“They are really great and we are grateful to CSUN for being supportive of this,” said Ruger. “We have learned a lot.”

CSUN staff that attended the workshop said they were pleased that the Botanic Garden continues providing this important information for them.

Susan Mueller, history department administrative support specialist, said she wants to “reduce her footprint,” meaning she wants to reduce her demand on the Earth’s ecosystem, by recycling and composting fruits and vegetables. She is using native plants now to help her achieve her goal.

Louise Adams, testing center administrative support staff, said she has also joined the movement to protect wildlife in gardens. She has already removed her lawn at home to bring in more native plants.

Workshop facilitator Pollack offered to personally help some of the attendees with their home gardens, and provided them with his business card.

“I hope to plant seeds in people’s brains that will encourage them to think about what kind of garden they have and [how] to make it wildlife friendly,” Pollack said.

He also added that a number of colleges are becoming more wildlife-friendly and have vastly improved in their landscaping.

Kanno said that the drought-tolerant landscaping approach has already started at CSUN.

“The campus recognizes the need to reduce water usage when they can, [while] still having something attractive to look at.”

The CSUN-al Gardening series has taken place the past 8 years and according to Kanno they will continue in the future.

The next workshop will be held in January 2014. The main topic will be about rose pruning.

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Gardens and parks rise to the top – eco

Landscaping in newer public housing developments has reached a new level as gardens and shared amenities are now designed to be above ground.

The evolution of these green spaces was seen among the various projects taking home prizes at the Housing and Development Board Awards which were given out on Tuesday. They were given to contractors and developers of HDB projects for good design and constructing homes well.

Take, for example, Casa Clementi in Clementi Avenue 1. The one-year-old estate boasts a 15,000 sq m landscaped deck that links the third storeys of the development’s 10 blocks. Residents of the 2,234-unit estate enjoy amenities such as children’s playgrounds, senior citizens’ exercise corners and pavilions spread across this landscaped deck.

Well-manicured bushes and tall trees line the expansive space and cover up airwells so that carparks on the first and second storeys are out of sight.

At the awards ceremony, Casa Clementi’s contractor Straits Construction won the Distinguished Construction Award for its quality work, innovative building methods, project management and efforts to engage the community, while its designer Surbana International Consultants won the top award for the design.

Other projects with well-thought-out raised green spaces include Punggol Breeze, a 12-block HDB project with 964flats; Punggol Spectra, which has 1,142 units; and Senja Green in Bukit Panjang, which has 474 units.

Bounded by Punggol Drive and Edgefield Plains, the Punggol Breeze estate, which was completed in December last year, has a 270m linear roof garden atop the multi-storey carpark, and is the longest roof garden in Punggol.

The 7,000 sq m common green is planted with palm trees and willows, which will help reduce heat from the atmosphere and glare from the windows of the flats.

Ms Hoo Xin Yu, executive landscape architect from the development and procurement group at HDB, says that where possible, designers will “try to maximise areas for greenery and landscaping”.

Indeed, since HDB started building flats 52 years ago, the landscape surrounding public housing has gone from basic trees and children’s playgrounds to precincts that incorporate plants and trees, lawn areas and play stations for multi-generational use.

Plants and flowering shrubs are carefully chosen for their durability, ability to provide shade and easy maintenance.

Since 2009, all new multi-storey carpark roofs have been designed as accessible roof gardens, and planter systems were put in for large plants. Spaces have also been set aside for residents to start community gardens in the future.

Compared to the days when carparks were situated in front of flats, Ms Hoo, 26, says: “Instead of looking out at cars, the playground and gardens are a much nicer view. Also, this design makes the communal areas safer as they are free from traffic flow.”

On Wednesday, HDB launched a landscape guide to help developers plan better public housing areas and showcase current good designs.

The move is timely as newer neighbourhoods such as the upcoming Bidadari estate in Woodleigh, and potential public housing sites at the soon-to-be- demolished Paya Lebar airbase and Southern Waterfront City in Tanjong Pagar will be going into the design phase.

Ms Hoo says while HDB blocks may look similar, no two gardens are alike because designing landscapes depends on the size of the land.

For example, Punggol Breeze has a “meandering garden” while Casa Clementi’s is more linear.

But do not expect sky gardens, such as those in The Pinnacle@Duxton in Outram and the upcoming SkyVille@Dawson in Queenstown, in most of HDB’s new projects.

In those developments, residents have access to gardens that can be found every 11 storeys in the 40-storey-tall Woha- designed SkyVille@Dawson, and on the 50th storey at The Pinnacle@Duxton.

This is because the pool of plants which can survive at such heights are small, and the garden can be difficult and costly to maintain. For example, trees, which can provide shade but have huge roots, cannot be planted too high up as there is no space for their roots to grow.

Ms Hoo says: “We’ve had to change the way we design, so that we can maximise every site, and still have space for playgrounds and parks, even if it’s above ground level.

“These common areas and the greenery help make the neighbourhood look nicer than just having flats alone, and encourage residents to spend time outside and meet their neighbours too.”

Casa Clementi resident Thomas Tey, who lives in a four-room flat, loves how the gardenscape has the feel of private condominiums.

The 37-year-old real estate valuer, who often walks his dog there, says: “My friends even expect there to be a pool, just like in a condo. It’s a one-of-a-kind design where you get the garden this big, so I’m really impressed.”

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Solar Update: April 2010, vegetable gardening tips and tricks

The graph for the energy production of our SunPower solar panels tells the story of April. April showers bring May flowers. The various dips in production curve signals days in which it was cloudy and rainy in April. Thanks to the combination of rain and sun, our rose bushes in the front yard is in […]

Loni Stark

April 2010 produced exactly 300 kWh of energy.

April 2010 produced exactly 300 kWh of energy.

The graph for the energy production of our SunPower solar panels tells the story of April. April showers bring May flowers. The various dips in production curve signals days in which it was cloudy and rainy in April.

Thanks to the combination of rain and sun, our rose bushes in the front yard is in full bloom and this past weekend, we added mulch to our backyard to prepare it for the hot summer season to come.

I finally got around to purchasing the tomato plants for my vegetable planter box. It seems I am not the only one with the gardening bug as April also saw record downloads of my vegetable planter plans. I love hearing about all the wonderful things you are doing with your vegetable planter boxes and to see the photos of your completed planter boxes.

For all the gardening tips and tricks, check out my gardening section by clicking here.

This month also saw the addition of a new pomegranate shrub.

Loni Stark

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Tips on lighting a room well

Your choice of lighting has a huge impact on how your home looks and feels. But how do you choose when the options include everything from retro Edison-style bulbs with glowing filaments to compact fluorescents, plus lamps and fixtures in every shape and size?

“Lamps are one of the most important factors in a room’s design,” says designer Brian Patrick Flynn of Flynnside Out Productions. Yet homeowners often give lighting less attention than they do furniture or wall colors.

Here, Flynn and designers Betsy Burnham of Burnham Design and Molly Luetkemeyer of M. Design Interiors share tips on choosing the perfect lamps, lampshades and light bulbs to achieve maximum style and function.


If a room has no overhead lighting or wall sconces, these designers say it’s worth hiring an electrician to add them.

Flynn recommends using 2-inch or 4-inch recessed halogen lights overhead, rather than brighter 6-inch can lights.

“They instantly fill a room with the much-needed illumination,” he says, “but without looking tacky or heavy.”

Wall sconces also cast a flattering glow, and can serve as striking decorative pieces. Vintage (or new vintage-style) sconces are popular, says Burnham, and can be found at some flea markets. If you buy them used, “take them to a lamp shop to check all the wiring,” she says, and replace any worn parts before installing.

But don’t light a room exclusively with overhead lighting: Light from above that isn’t balanced by lamplight can be “prison-like,” Luetkemeyer says. “It casts a bunch of shadows and makes you look like a cadaver.”

Instead, create “pools of light” at different levels for a warm, layered effect, she says.

Flynn accomplishes this by choosing lamps at various heights. “It’s all a game of scale and proportion,” he says.

“If the lamps are going on a tall console table with a super long piece of art hung above it, I’m definitely going to be looking for tall, slender, maybe candlestick-style lamps. On low-to-the-ground end tables, I’m most likely going to aim for something squatty which is balanced with the proportion of the table and its nearby seating.”


Edison-style bulbs have become popular, and look great in industrial or vintage light fixtures or in chandeliers. But they can cost as much as $15 per bulb and give off minimal light.

So use them “as sculptural features integrated into lighting,” Flynn says. “Since they’re offered in many shapes, they’re almost like art. The ideal place for Edison bulbs is romantic spaces that are not high-traffic. For example, a chandelier above a bed in a master suite with Edison bulbs is ideal, since the room is not task-related and is meant for being sleepy and moody.” Burnham points out that these bulbs’ popularity may not last, so it’s probably impractical to invest in too many lamps or fixtures that look good only with them.

Another vintage option is the globe light that first appeared in the 1950s. Their “milky white finish and perfectly round shape” can cast a flattering glow, Flynn says.

“I use these a lot, especially in kids’ rooms,” he says, “due to their fun shape and nostalgic appeal.” Buy plastic globes rather than glass if you’ll be hanging them in rooms where kids may be roughhousing.

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Rose Garden safety tips

Santana Row will have a “Safety Day” at its Mommy Me and Daddies, Too event on Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to noon.

Members of the San Jose Fire and Police departments will be there to share safety tips. Additionally Andy Z will perform live and there will be face painting, arts and crafts and educational activities for parents and their pre-school age children.

Santana Row Shopping Center is at Stevens Creek and Winchester Boulevards.


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Covington Garden Club plans to ‘Plant, Grow, Design and Share’: Northshore …

“Plant, Grow, Design and Share” were thematically targeted by the Covington Garden Club for the 2013-2014 season. President Rebecca Weems extended a special welcome to new members at the meeting which was held at Christ Church Parish House on Sept. 5.

Connie Moore gave horticulture hints on readying a garden for fall, and Suzie Roux spoke about Blue Jays, the first responders in the bird world to alert others to danger.

Darla Boudreaux described her floral arrangement in the Creative Line Design category.

Following the meeting, all enjoyed a delicious spread of food prepared by Chairwoman Carolyn Pearce and hostess committee members Clara Marion, Mary Broussard, Beth Drown, Barbara Henry, Evelyn Talley and Lorraine Pendleton.

In addition to Weems, officers are Betty Plummer, first vice president; Darla Boudreaux, second vice president; Lynn Di Vincent, recording secretary; Marianne Boyer, corresponding secretary; Kyle Martin, treasurer; Donna Moran, parliamentarian, and Carolyn Pearce, membership.

The Covington Garden Club meets on the first Thursday of each month. For more information, call Carolyn Pearce at 892.0259.

News about west St. Tammany social events may be provided to Elizabeth Moore at; 985.893.0612; or by mail to 20490 Johnsen Crossing, Covington, LA 70435.





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