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Archives for September 23, 2013

Our approach to dealing with wildfires is all wrong (Commentary)

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To grab the attention of politicians or the public, a fire has to do at least one of three things: It must burn lots of houses, kill people or involve celebrities (a celebrity landscape will do).

This year’s big fires have done all three.

The Black Forest fire in Colorado killed two people and wiped out 511 houses. Arizona’s Yarnell Hill fire immolated a crew of 19 firefighters. California’s Rim fire in and around Yosemite National Park has become the third-largest blaze in state history. And now, new wildfires are relocating the threats from San Francisco’s Sierra Nevada reservoir to its exurbs at Mount Diablo.

These blazes illustrate the major challenges of the American fire scene: Black Forest is a textbook example of fires that burn where houses and natural fuels intermingle dangerously. Yarnell Hill tragically highlights the limits of fighting fires and the costs of doing so. And the Rim fire is an unhinged wildland scene, where landscapes with once-manageable fires have turned feral.

These are not new problems. The vulnerability of its workforce has haunted the fire community since the Big Blowup of 1910 overran the northern Rockies and killed 78 firefighters.

Concern over fire’s removal — from wildlands and agricultural areas that traditionally relied on routine burning — inspired an intellectual revolution that sought to replace fire repression with fire management, even restoration. Policy reforms came to the National Park Service in 1968 and the Forest Service 10 years later.

Still, this was a revolution from above; the hard slog of translating ideas into programs came fitfully. The Yellowstone fires that mesmerized the media for much of the summer of 1988 revealed the difficulties of translating policy into practice.

By then the campaign to create a pluralism of fire programs had stalled. By the time it rebooted after the 1994 season, the climate had flipped from soggy to droughty, the politics had switched from bipartisan reforms to partisan attempts to roll them back, the workforce had shrunk and begun privatizing, and sprawl had sparked a new kind of fire and revived suppression as a politically safe stance.

As a result, we’ve been chasing flames ever since — at greater costs and with less effect. There is no reason to believe we will, in the near future, get ahead of the problems.

Take those burning houses. As early as 1986, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Fire Protection Association launched an initiative to protect homes in fire-prone areas. Today, the issue is no longer just ill-sited McMansions but a giant retrofit for 30 years of irrationally exuberant sprawl.

The National Association of State Foresters estimates that more than 72,000 communities are at risk and only 20 percent have a plan for protection.

Retrofitting up to a third of America’s housing is a challenge as daunting as rebuilding its crumbling bridges. It means not only replacing combustible roofs but enacting building codes, zoning reform, fire taxes and other infringements on private property.

Meanwhile, climate change may flip the script of people constructing houses where fires are, with fires instead coming to where houses are.

Some 83 percent of the communities at risk are in the Southeast; the 2011 blowup in Bastrop, Texas, may show what will happen if the Western fire scene moves east.

More basically, we have long misdiagnosed the problem. The emphasis has been on the wildland half of the equation, not the urban one. But it makes more sense to think of homes in hazardous settings as fragments of cities — exurban enclaves and suburban fringes with forested landscaping — rather than as wildlands cluttered with two-by-fours.

We know how to keep houses from burning. And we should know that if we build houses in the fire equivalent of a flood plain or a barrier island, the primary responsibility for protecting them is ours.

Regime change when it comes to wildland fire is even trickier.

Prescribed, or controlled, fire is a foundational principle in the Southeast, where places such as Florida are succeeding in replacing wild fire with tame fire, but it has foundered in the West. Efforts to get ahead of the flames are meager.

The largest, the Four Forest Restoration Initiative in Arizona, proposes to treat up to 50,000 acres a year for 10 years by thinning and burning. As a point of comparison, the nearby 2011 Wallow fire burned 538,000 acres in one savage swipe.

America’s firescapes also have a dangerous backlog; every wildland fire put out becomes a fire put off. The land eventually combusts as it must. Some burns are severe, some benign.

For reasons of cost, firefighter safety and ecological integrity, fire officers will have to work with the handful of fires — the 1 percent or so — that are doing the burning for all. Such megafires now account for more than 85 percent of costs and burned area.

Out of the legacy of such monsters, we must reconstruct more fire-resilient landscapes. But our institutional landscapes demand preparation as much our natural ones.

We need the ability to move quickly when breaks in the weather occur. We can’t rely on single-site projects or approval processes tied to the lottery of bad fire years. We need torch-ready projects with approvals and funding on hand.

Yet, we have underinvested in fire for so long that the catch-up costs seem staggering.

The traditional inclination is to rely on emergency interventions rather than systemic reforms; in this way, fire management resembles public health.

There is ample money and will for a response when a crisis is at hand, but little for the patient labor of prevention, innoculations and general wellness.

Worse, the cost of emergencies is stripping away everything else.

For example, the Forest Service just took $600 million from elsewhere in its budget to pay for fighting fires this summer.

And finally, the workforce.

Our attempt to suppress fire in a paramilitary fashion has unhinged landscapes and provoked fires that firefights alone cannot contain.

The fire community is growing weary of throwing crews at flames in a vain and sometimes lethal attempt to battle what, under extreme conditions, cannot be controlled. It may instead opt for a hurricane model in which warnings are issued, people board up windows and clean gutters, and then leave or stay as they choose, while crews wait for the flames to blow through before returning.

The fact is, you control wildland fires by controlling the countryside.

What we need as much as money is consensus about how we live in that countryside, or at least agreement about how to decide.

This year’s blazes also show why the National Cohesive Strategy for fighting fires — a project set in motion by Congress to protect against bad fires, promote good ones, and assemble a workforce and the resources to do so — is both necessary and tricky.

The strategy is a bold attempt to gather the federal government and volunteer fire departments, states and counties, public agencies and private landowners around the fire they all share. But they need to face one another across that fire, not stand with their backs to the flames and use them to animate some other message to special interest audiences.

And then Congress needs to join them. The legislation that mandated the national strategy has already stumbled because of underfunding.

It’s probably too late to do more than flee skillfully from the fires we face today. But we can begin positioning ourselves for the ones to come.

Stephen Pyne, a historian in the school of life sciences at Arizona State University, is writing a book about the history of fire in the United States since 1960.

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Curb appeal: Design options abound for driveways

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Sunday, September 22, 2013


The driveway that came with the 1921 Craftsman-style house that David Ulick bought five years ago was the original concrete one, marred by cracks and with tree roots starting to break through.

”I didn’t like the driveway,” said Ulick, of Pasadena, Calif. ”I wanted something a little bit nicer.”

He looked through books and drove through the Craftsman-rich neighborhoods of Pasadena to get ideas before deciding on a concrete drive with an antique finish, accented with reclaimed red bricks from the 1920s.

”I wanted this to look like the original driveway, an original, nice driveway, and using used bricks gives it a nice old-fashioned look,” Ulick said.

”It really makes it a grand entrance for the house,” he added, noting the brick walkway up one side. ”I figured I’d treat the Craftsman the way it deserves to be treated, and maintain its design style and heritage.”

While a driveway may still be a utilitarian afterthought for many homeowners, others like Ulick are adding some serious curb appeal to their homes by moving beyond basic options like grass or gravel, asphalt or concrete.

”The driveway is commonly overlooked,” conceded Michael Keenan, an adjunct assistant professor of landscape architecture at the University of Minnesota. ”Driveways are not cheap necessarily, but they are completely functional and necessary if you have a car and a garage.”

Doing up the driveway, Keenan said, is a chance to ”celebrate the function because it is a piece of the property you do use every day.”

The design options have grown in the last decade or so, he said, as pavers — made from precast concrete, clay and natural stone like granite — are being turned out in a range of colors and sizes. Some have rounded edges for an older look; others are mottled to add color variation to the driveway.

Installing a customized driveway is a way to put your own stamp on the hardscape and set your house apart from the rest. Depending on the neighborhood, the materials and the quality of the craftsmanship, Keenan said, a driveway also could increase a home’s resale value.

”It does become a point of distinction,” he said. ”It is something people notice. It is elegant.”

The least expensive paved driveways are made of asphalt, which cost about $12 to $15 a square foot, and concrete, costing about $14 to $18 a square foot, Keenan said. Though concrete is more resilient and lasts longer, both materials will crack over time, he said.

Pavers, which start at about $20 to $25 a square foot, should last a lifetime, Keenan said. ”The key is the fact that the pavement acts as flexible fabric and it can move with the earth, and isn’t a rigid system and isn’t prone to cracking,” he said.

Pavers can be used to make traditional patterns like basket-weave or herringbone, or be fashioned into a custom look.

For a less traditional look, use a paver that comes in three or four sizes and lay them out at random, Keenan said. Or get a custom design without breaking the bank by using concrete pavers accented with more expensive natural stone pavers.

Keenan is also the co-founder and design director of reGEN Land Design in Minneapolis. He works with homeowners to find the best driveway for their home. People are most concerned with the color, which might be chosen by looking at the home’s roof, siding or trim color.

”I don’t think you can make a value judgment on which one is the best,” Keenan said of driveway designs. ”It’s got to fit the building that you’re paving next to.”

He might recommend, for example, a traditional red-brick driveway to go with a light blue Colonial home. For a contemporary, environmentally ”green” home, he might choose light-colored, permeable pavers — a more environmentally sound choice because they let water back through to the earth under the driveway, rather than forcing it to run off and collect debris on the way to bodies of water.

In Naples, Fla., landscape architect W. Christian Busk installs ”living driveways” that feature real grass interspersed among pavers. That reduces heat and glare and provides some drainage.

”We blur the lines between where driveway ends and where landscape begins,” says Busk, president of Busk Associates. ”It always looks beautiful.”

Back in Pasadena, the concrete-and-brick option that Ulick chose is popular among the many Craftsman and other historical homes in the area, said Mark Peters, the chief estimator for Boston Brick Stone, which helped create Ulick’s driveway.

”It’s a very rich feel and it’s understated,” Peters said.

Since he got his driveway in 2009, Ulick said, he has received many compliments, and people sometimes stop to ask if his driveway is the original.

”That’s a bigger compliment,” he said, ”that it looks like it’s been done years and years and years ago.”



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New Sheriff in Town

Monday, September 23, 2013

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The Isla Vista community has been gearing up for the start of UCSB’s school year on September 22, and students will find a few changes. Each of these changes has the potential to make the area a little nicer, safer, and more pleasant.

First and foremost, a new Sheriff’s Department lieutenant now heads the Isla Vista Foot Patrol. Lt. Robert Plastino took over for Lt. Ray Vuillemainroy, who moved to overseeing the Santa Maria Substation.

Cat Neushul

Plastino is a San Diego native who is well-versed in the unique challenges Isla Vista poses. He worked as a Foot Patrol officer 10 years ago before moving on to become head of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s human resources department. He also served in Iraq and is a decorated war veteran. His previous experiences make him the perfect candidate for this post. He knows how to deal with chaos and still find ways to address individual needs. So far, he said, his new job has kept him incredibly busy.

In the past two weeks I have met with Plastino twice to discuss issues of particular interest to local residents. We talked about noise, trash, and Halloween. In each of these discussions he showed himself to be intelligent, focused on community improvement, and most importantly, in possession of a good sense of humor.

Anyone working or living in I.V. has to have a sense of humor. Isla Vista is a very different place where rules, like stopping your bike at stop signs, are often flouted, and some students believe that anything goes. Things that would not be tolerated in other areas, like Montecito, are accepted as part of the I.V. culture. But the lieutenant does not accept this as a given. He said things have changed for the better in I.V. since he worked here 10 years ago, and he wants to keep up the forward progress.

Plastino already has a long list of tasks that he would like to spearhead. As he meets residents, he listens to their concerns in order to see where law enforcement efforts can become more effective. He is working with UCSB and SBCC officials to enhance accountability for students in Isla Vista and is discussing ways to use the property owned by Santa Barbara County in downtown I.V., that formerly housed the Isla Vista Neighborhood Clinic, as a possible community meeting space.

Lights and More Lights

Since safety remains of the utmost concern, Plastino was particularly enthusiastic about the addition of energy-efficient LED lighting along Del Playa Drive, Sabado Tarde, Trigo, and Pasado roads. Last year, members of Associated Students UCSB were instrumental in highlighting the safety concerns posed by inadequate lighting in Isla Vista, and Santa Barbara County allocated the funds through a Community Block Grant to make improvements. This was just the first phase in a long-term plan to address lighting issues.

Locals will also notice that the median along El Colegio, near Isla Vista elementary school, has been revamped. New landscaping and lovely street lights have been added.

With a new school year beginning, and renewed efforts to beautify and improve Isla Vista, there are reasons to be optimistic. Each time someone makes a small effort to improve the I.V. environment, we all benefit.

Below are extracts from my conversation with Lt. Plastino.

When did you take over command of the Isla Vista Foot Patrol?

I was officially assigned to Isla Vista on July 8. Prior to that transfer, I was the lieutenant of the Human Resources Bureau for the Sheriff’s department, where I spent the past four years. Before that, I was a sergeant for the Central Stations patrol, which includes the Santa Ynez, Solvang, Buellton, and Lompoc areas.

Tell me about your background.

I grew up in Solana Beach, a small coastal town in San Diego County. After high school, my parents moved the family to Nipomo. I attended San Diego State University and obtained a B.S. in Business Management. I later obtained a master’s from Cal State Northridge in Public Administration. But in between, I worked in the private sector, first for a company in Orange, and then later for a company in Irvine. I had this desire to do something more and to serve the community. So while maintaining my job, I joined the Army National Guard as military police. I ended up enjoying my experience as an MP so much that I decided to switch careers and make law enforcement my main profession. I moved back to the Central Coast in 1997 and was hired by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

I was first assigned as a deputy to Isla Vista in 1998 and again in 2004. Each time, I spent close to two years in Isla Vista, doing foot and bike patrols. I’ve also worked various other assignments in the department, including gangs, DARE, background investigations, narcotics, SWAT, and I’m currently the supervisor for the Sheriff’s Underwater Search and Recovery Unit (dive team).

I was deployed numerous times with my military unit. Once, during the Bosnian war and then twice after 9/11. My wife and I were married just days before I deployed for Iraq in 2003. After I returned home, we wanted to start a family, so I left my part-time military career in 2005. I now have a 7-year old son and twin daughters, one and a half years old.

I love living in Santa Barbara County and working here. I feel privileged that I can raise my family in such a beautiful location.

What are some of the improvements you are trying to bring about?

The first things that come to mind are safety, quality of life, and social responsibility. I don’t think we can ever reach a point where we say that safety concerns have been completely eliminated; improving the safety of residents and visitors to Isla Vista is at the top of my list. There are methods to make this happen, but it requires involvement from the community as well as law enforcement. Resources from the Sheriff’s Department are not unlimited, so we have to get creative in our solutions. This involves buy-in from the community, so we turn to community leaders for assistance. I personally rely on partnerships with Supervisor Doreen Farr, the University Police Department, and other UCSB departments such as the Dean of Students Office, the Associated Students, Women’s Center, and Office of Student Life. Additionally, I provide and obtain input from the Isla Vista Community Network, business owners, the California Highway Patrol, permanent I.V. residents, and many other area stakeholders. Improving safety is the job of the entire community.

Getting the word out and creating that shift in thinking is critical, and it is a challenge at times. However, even simple efforts such as the “Stop Burglaries in I.V.” campaign, which reminds residents to lock their doors and windows, make a difference.

Quality of life improvements are more subjective and less quantifiable than pulling crime statistics. This involves practices regarding safety, but it also requires proper infrastructure to make Isla Vista a desirable location and one that can cater to its diverse population. We have families, retirees, students, professors, businesses, homeless, and a myriad of other residents and visitors that provide for an incredible array of culture and ethnic diversity.

Improving the lives of individuals from such varied backgrounds is a humbling and daunting task. Again, I cannot make these types of improvements alone. I have worked with the Isla Vista Recreation and Parks Department to come up with solutions in regards to the district parks. I have also urged the building of the Pescadero Lofts project, which will provide low-income housing and onsite medical and mental services for our homeless population so they can begin the process of recovery and rehabilitation. For students, I have worked with the Associated Students at UCSB to provide education to the student body about our laws and regulations, as well as methods to keep themselves and their neighbors safe. Additionally, I’ve met with property owners to discuss ways that they can provide living situations that benefit them and their renters in positive ways. This includes coming up with ideas for lease agreements that assist law enforcement in shutting down parties with too many occupants, or fining tenants that contribute to underage drinking.

Compared to the previous years I was assigned to Isla Vista, I’ve seen a phenomenal change in student attitudes toward their own social responsibilities within the community. This is such a refreshing and encouraging transformation from previous years, where it seemed very few people showed an interest in making positive social changes in the community. Cultivating this new mentality is something I embrace and want to see continue. I was recently approached by a UCSB Bike Club student who noticed the large number of derelict bikes scattered throughout Isla Vista. He had a desire to refurbish abandoned bikes that the Sheriff’s Department would normally confiscate and destroy if the owner could not be located. He was willing to fix these bikes with club money and then give them away to needy students and Isla Vista residents. Working with him, we have started a program that is socially responsible, helps clean up the community, and provides a benefit to those that are in need. This is the kind of effort that I strive to cultivate and improve among the population.

How are you working with officials at SBCC to improve collaboration?

On Friday evening, September 20, SBCC President Lori Gaskin came out to Isla Vista to see how we provide safety to her students and to get an idea of how her students are impacting the town. She was very engaged with the students on the street, some of whom immediately recognized her and approached her in a positive way. She also witnessed some of her students receiving citations for various alcohol-related crimes.

As we walked up and down the increasingly busy streets of Del Playa, Sabado Tarde, and the business loop, we talked about the difficulties of educating new students about our laws and regulations. Each year, we get a fresh group of new students that don’t know how to keep themselves safe in such a dense population, or what the impacts of their actions might have on their future. Early in the evening, one SBCC student was cited for being a minor in possession of alcohol, and it was his second offense in two weeks. He understood that he was going to lose his driver’s license for a year because of the second citation. The lesson learned was that maybe better education, up front, for incoming students is needed to help them make wiser decisions.

Of course, there will still be plenty of young adults that do not take sage advice and are destined to either learn from their own mistakes or end up paying the consequences in court. Both President Gaskin and I agreed that collaborative efforts between SBCC and Isla Vista Foot Patrol could help alleviate some of these problems. Over the next few months, I will be working with her to improve our combined interest in educating students of their responsibilities and then holding them responsible for their actions. It’s a small percentage of students that end up making bad choices, but we will be working together to make that percentage an even smaller figure.

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Yardsmart: Pitfalls of gravel

Here in the Southwest, gravel has long been a part of our landscapes. Desert gardeners know the benefits and pitfalls of this natural material, which is available in many colors, sizes and pebble shapes. Now gravel has become a national obsession. It’s hot stuff in modern gardens for filling gaps between contemporary concrete pavers. Elsewhere, it’s used in lieu of mortar between flagstones of all shapes and sizes. Still other landscapes have gravel walkways often used as secondary paving in side yards.

What makes gravel so widely appealing is its low cost and the colors and textures available. You need not be limited to typical gray pea gravel. Visit a gravel yard to see firsthand what’s immediately available. Note that some gravels are uniform in color while others are a mixture of hues that may fit better with your project. You’ll also see the difference between sharp crushed gravel and pebbles rounded by water.

This is all rooted in the “green” concept of permeable paving. Unlike poured concrete, gravel walking surfaces allow water to pass through and percolate down into natural soil underneath. The ground acts as a giant filter, catching pollutants so water moving through is cleaner when it reaches the water table. The problem with surface runoff from solid paving is that it carries debris and toxins into storm drains that later deliver a payload of crud into nearby waterways.

If you’re thinking of using gravel for your next landscaping project, beware of the pitfalls that desert landscapers learned to avoid long ago.

— Litter. Organic matter from plants, be it leaves or lawn clippings, settles into the nooks and crannies of gravel surfacing. This is a problem with gravel that’s dark in color; every bit of detritus stands out like a sore thumb. Organic matter also filters down between the stones to gather underneath where decomposition creates fertile ground for weeds.

Use fine-textured gravel that packs tighter and is easily raked or blown clean. Choose a light-hued gravel with variable colors so litter won’t stand out.

— Traveling. Gravel has been known to travel outside its designated area under the pressure of foot traffic. Sloping ground also results in buildup at the bottom of an incline due to gravity. Avoid river-rounded pebbles; they are more likely to travel compared to crushed gravel, which has sharper edges that hold fast.

— Kick and track. Surfaces such as decomposed granite or crushed sandlike gravel are often kicked into other areas or tracked far and wide on shoe soles. This could be a problem if interior floors are wood or tile, which could be easily scratched by the sharp stones picked up in shoe treads. Avoid gravels finer than a quarter-inch for walking surfaces or as filler between pavers or flagstones.

— Soil. Know your soil before selecting gravel. Where the ground is dense, it becomes soft when wet. All gravel will sink into moist clay from the weight of foot or vehicle traffic. Over time, more gravel becomes embedded deeper and deeper as your surface layer grows progressively thinner.

To separate such soils from gravel, lay a sheet of heavy weed-barrier fabric (not plastic) over the designated area before spreading pebbles. It acts like a barrier to keep gravel separated from your soil while remaining permeable so water still moves through. This fabric is essential in areas that were former lawns to prevent perennial grasses from returning to infest your gravel.

Gravel can be a great alternative or a real nightmare, depending on your choices. Don’t let your gravel sink, travel or sprout weeds. Follow these guidelines to help make your project as successful on day one as it will be a decade down the road.

Maureen Gilmer is an author, horticulturist and landscape designer. Learn more at Contact her at or P.O. Box 891, Morongo Valley, CA 92256.

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Grasses go native



The City of El Mirage used these fountaingrass plantings along some of their streets. Although it is a lovely grass, fountaingrass is a non-native species of grass in Arizona. It is native to Africa and was introduced into Arizona for landscaping purposes. It has since spread throughout wild areas in southern Arizona. They compete with native species for nutrients in the soil, for sunlight, and for moisture, and can cause dramatic changes to the natural landscape.



Deer grass: Native species. This row of deer grass at El Mirage Park is an example of a good use of native grasses for urban desert landscaping. Deer grass (Muhlenbergia rigens) is a dependable ornamental grass for the Valley, adapting to many different uses in gardens and landscaping. It grows rapidly and becomes thick and lush in full sun, even doing well in high-heat reflective exposures, and in shade. It grows to about 4 feet tall and 4 feet wide and is drought-tolerant. In the fall, the plant grows long, thin green flower spikes. These spikes dry and weather to a tan color, giving the plant a lovely “halo” look. Deer grass is recommended for use in Valley gardens and landscaping.



This lawn is a mixture of Bermuda grass and Arizona fescue, aka Arizonica. Bermuda grass has long been a staple for lawns in the Valley. But it has been established as an invasive, non-native plant in Arizona. It competes with native plants for survival, and it is the leading cause of hay fever in our Southwestern deserts. Fescue, on the other hand, is native to the U.S., and is hardy in heat or shade. It is drought tolerant but is not invasive or threatening to grass species native to Arizona. Fescue or rye grass (a close relative of fescue) is recommended for cooler-weather lawns.

Margaret Francis

Posted: Sunday, September 22, 2013 9:15 am

Grasses go native

By Margaret Francis

Your West Valley


Grasses go native

Grasses are wonderful additions to our gardens and yards. The numerous ornamental varieties that are native to our Valley deserts are generally large and hardy and easy to find at your local nursery. They are perennial evergreens that grow rapidly. There are also grasses good for use as lawns in our desert Valley of the Sun.

The tall ornamental grasses can be planted in the ground or grown in pots. Their height and fullness give a lush look to our gardens. These plants also provide graceful movement amongst our flowers, rocks and trees. Grasses invite birds and other garden critters to come for shade and food. Many of these grasses grow very large and can be depended upon to fill empty spaces in our gardens with flair. They will also stabilize the soil and prevent erosion.

Ornamental grasses for the desert are hardy, drought tolerant and easy to care for. I highly recommend them for any garden or yard. Plant them behind flowers or around accent stones. Plant them against walls and posts, in corners or on raised areas. Grasses can also be used to surround a patio or sitting area for privacy.

When considering growing ornamental grasses or lawns, all Arizonans are encouraged to make sure they use only native grasses in their gardens and yards. Non-native grasses that begin as ornamentals in yards are finding their way into wild areas of the state and are greatly damaging the delicate ecosystems so vital to the health of our state’s unique native plants.

Arizona is the third-most biodiverse state in the U.S. These non-native species are such a threat to Arizona’s natural habitats that a number of concerned groups around the state are encouraging the public to learn about native and non-native species before planting new grasses in gardens. For information about native and non-native plants in Arizona, here are a few of the 35 or so groups who can help:

• Arizona Native Plant Society, based in Tucson

• Desert Survivors, a non-profit organization based in Tucson; see a complete list of native grasses on their website

• Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, in Tucson

• Nature Conservancy in Arizona

• University of Arizona Desert Laboratory

Margaret Francis lives in Sun City.


Sunday, September 22, 2013 9:15 am.

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Gardening tips, concerts, plays: Oregon City and Canby events


Pioneer Community Choir:  The group enjoys singing popular
standards with a few serious choral numbers for variety. Open to new
singers through Oct. 11. Rehearsals weekly 10 a.m.-noon Fri, Sept.
6-Nov. 8; with performances Nov. 15-Dec. 13. Pioneer Community
Center, 615 Fifth St., Oregon City; $30 dues for fall term; Melinda Beyers, 503-381-9827 or

Family Story Time Hour: All ages invited to pursue new
adventures with story-teller Missy. Weekly 11 a.m. Fri. Oregon City
Public Library, 606 John Adams St., Oregon City; free; or 503-657-8269

brooksrobertson.jpgView full sizeBrooks Robertson performs Sept. 19 at the library.
Concert: Features finger-style guitar player, Brooks
Robertson. 7 p.m. Thu, Sept. 19. Oregon City Public Library, 606 John
Adams St., Oregon City; free; or 503-657-8269

Healing Garden Gala:
Children’s Center will host its second annual Healing Garden Gala on
Thursday, Sept. 19, at the clinic at 1713 Penn Lane in Oregon City. This
premier Clackamas County event allows community members throughout the
region to unite on behalf of abused and neglected children.

reception and open house style tours will begin at 6 p.m. and will
feature heavy appetizers and a hosted bar. Beginning at 7:30 p.m.,
guests will enjoy a live program with speaker Jessica Farmer, volunteer
and community advocate, and special guest Steve Dunn of KATU Channel 2

Presenting sponsor is Airstream Adventures Northwest, and
gold sponsors include Warn Employee Community Impact Project and NW

Tickets cost $100 each and tables of 10 are available
for $1,000. Receipt of RSVP and payment by Sept. 5 ensures your seat at
this event. Register online at

 If you
would like to attend the gala or support the event as a sponsor, contact
Shauna Lugar at 503-655-7725 or

Barbara Peschiera, executive director, Children’s Center


POMC_Memorial_Garden.09-09-13.jpgView full sizeThe
Oregon/Washington Memorial Garden is the eighth memorial for the
National Organization for Parents of Murdered Children in the United
States and is the only one in the northwest.

Oregon City and the Greater Portland Area Chapter of Parents of
Murdered Children are proud to announce the completion of the
Oregon/Washington Memorial Garden located in Mountain View Cemetery.
This is the eighth memorial for the National Organization for Parents of
Murdered Children in the United States and is the only one in the
Northwest. It will be a beautiful place for anyone who has lost a loved
one or child due to homicide.

Parents of Murdered Children
invites all interested parties to attend the dedication of the
Oregon/Washington Memorial Wall and the National Day of Remembrance for
Murder Victims.

murdered.jpgView full sizeThese
murder victims and others will be remembered in a special ceremony
hosted by the Greater Portland Area Chapter of Parents of Murdered
Children Sept. 25 in the Mountain View Cemetery.

This special event will be at 1 p.m. Sept. 25 in Mountain View Cemetery, 500 Hilda St., Oregon City.

the dedication ceremony, lunch will be hosted by Beavercreek
Cooperative Telephone and the Greater Portland Area Chapter of Parents
of Murdered Children Inc.

–Scott Archer, Oregon City community services director


68 tucker snocat.JPGView full size1968 Tucker Sno-Cat
Mount Hood Exploration:
This summer when Lake Oswego writer Jon Bell came upon a 1968 Tucker
Sno-Cat at the city’s antique car show, he was enthralled to find an
out-of-season relic of Mount Hood’s past so far below its snowy grooms.

presents tales and images illustrating Mount Hood’s history in a free
evening program at 7 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Museum of the Oregon Territory
in Oregon City.

Bell is the author of “On Mt. Hood, A Biography
of Oregon’s Perilous Peak.” Like his 2011 biography of Mount Hood, Bell
is steeped in every aspect of the mountain, from its influence on the
development of snow-moving technology to its rich geological and
cultural history. He applies himself to exploring its facets both as a
mountain climber and a historian.

bell on hood.jpgView full sizeAuthor Jon Bell on Mount Hood.

free program is recommended for all ages, and takes place at Clackamas
County Historical Society, 211 Tumwater Drive, Oregon City. More
information: 503-655-5574 or

–Roxandra E. Pennington, Clackamas County Historical Society

Clackamas Repertory Theatre concludes its ninth season with “The 39
Steps,” a madcap farce adapted by Patrick Barlow from John Buchan’s
novel and Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 film.

REPPIC.JPGView full sizeJayson
Shanafelt (from left), Jayne Stevens, James Sharinghousen and Travis
Nodurft in the Clackamas Repertory Theatre’s production of “39 Steps.”

turned “The 39 Steps” into a farce by having four actors play all of
the 151 characters in Hitchcock’s thriller. One actor plays the hero who
is unexpectedly thrust into a deadly game of espionage and the lone
actress plays three characters, leaving the remaining two actors, Clown 1
and Clown 2 to represent a 147 characters, a variety of heroes,
villains, men, women, children and the occasional inanimate object.

lectures, “Hitchcock Talk,” with Ernie Casciato, take place an hour
before performances every Saturday and two Sundays, Sept. 29 and Oct. 6.

Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday
at 7:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19-Oct. 6, in the Osterman
Theatre at Clackamas Community College. Tickets range from $12-$26 and
may be purchased at or by calling 503-594-6047. The
low-price preview is Sept. 19.

–Clackamas Repertory Theatre


New Student Experience Orientation: Designed to help first
time students get acquainted with the campus, connect with faculty and
current students, learn about academic programs and extracurricular
activities, and become familiar with critical resources to be a
successful student. Free pizza lunch. Participants can earn one free,
transferable credit (register through myClackamas at
for CRN# 24302). 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Fri, Sept. 20. Randall Gymnasium,
Clackamas Community College, 19600 S. Molalla Ave., Oregon City; free;
admissions and recruitment office, 503-594-3284 or

Social Media Mondays: Trevor Dodge, a Clackamas Community
College instructor, will lead a discussion on Pinterest. If you have a
laptop or other digital device which you’d like to practice on, bring
it. 7 p.m. Mon, Oct. 7. Oregon City Public Library, 606 John Adams St.,
Oregon City; free; or 503-657-8269

Fire Prevention and Emergency Preparedness: Clackamas Fire
District #1 will be onsite providing education on fire safety and
prevention in observation of National Fire Prevention Awareness Week.
9-10:30 a.m. Tue, Oct. 8. Pioneer Community Center, 615 Fifth St.,
Oregon City; free; 503-657-8287

Willamette Falls Festival: Hosted by
the Willamette Falls Heritage Area Coalition, the event celebrates the
area’s heritage, culture and outdoor recreational opportunities through
activities that include a We Love Clean Rivers Benefit Dinner,
fireworks, live music, artisan farmers market, tribal cultural
demonstrations, a fun-athlon with a 5K fun run, paddle and bike events,
Plein Air artists and RiPPLe Artist demonstrations, a heritage parade,
jetboat rides, industry tours, heritage trail tours, and Geocaching.
Proceeds benefit We Love Clean Rivers. 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Sat, Oct. 5; 8
a.m.-1 p.m. Sun, Oct. 6. Clackamette Park, 1955 Clackamette Drive,
Oregon City; free;

apples.JPGView full size
Food Preservation Classes: The Extension
Service is offering a variety of food preservation classes this summer. The
classes are staffed by experienced volunteers who provide instruction and hands-on
opportunities for participants to practice safe food preservation techniques
and build self-confidence and skills.

The schedule continues with:

  • Tuesday,
    Oct. 8, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.: All About Apples
  • Saturday,
    Nov. 9, 9 noon: Introduction to Pressure Canning

is required. Cost is $30 per class, with the exception of the Fermented Pickles
classes, which are $35 each. Fee includes instructional packet, recipes, and
sample product to take home. The classes will be held at the OSU
Extension annex, 200 Warner Milne Road in Oregon City. To register and for other information, call 503-655-8634
or visit

ellen whyte promo color LGjpg.jpgView full sizeEllen Whyte

60th Eastside Birthday Bash: Features the Ellen Whyte Plus
Sized Band. 9 p.m. Sat, Oct. 19. Trails End Saloon, 1310 Main St.,
Oregon City; $10 cover charge;‎ or Ellen Whyte at
Medicare 101 Presentation: Certified SHIBA counselors will
give an extensive overview of Medicare and the most recent changes.
Questions encouraged. 2-4 p.m. Mon, Oct. 21. Pioneer Community Center,
615 Fifth St., Oregon City; free; 503-657-8287


haggart2.jpgView full sizeCheck out the sky at the Haggart Observatory located in Clackamas Community College.

Sky Viewings: The Rose City Astronomers is offering monthly public sky viewings at the Haggart Observatory at Clackamas Community College.

free viewings begin around sunset and continue until about 11 p.m.,
weather permitting, on the following Saturdays: Oct. 26, Nov. 30 and Dec. 28.

The Haggart
Observatory, located at the Environmental Learning Center, offers views
of the night skies through 24-inch and 13-inch Newtonian reflector
telescopes. Viewings are free during the astronomy club’s Public Nights.

Space in the observatory is limited, and viewers may at times
have to wait to look through the telescope. If the weather is uncertain
during the day of the event, call 503-594-6044 after 3 p.m. for a
recorded message announcing if the viewing will be held or canceled.

For more information, contact Diana Fredlund, Rose City Astronomers media director, at media@rosecityastronomers.


End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center (Oregon City)
and Oregon City Visitor Information Center
at 1726
Washington St. is open from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. daily from Sept. 3-30; and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Thu-Mon (closed Tue-Wed) from Oct. 1-May 31.

Admission: $9/adults, $7/seniors, $5/children ages 4-17
(children 3 under are free, as well as military personnel)

For information on new
education programs, exhibits and events, school/group reservations, volunteer
opportunities and more, visit

Clackamas Mineral and Gem Club Meeting: Visitors welcome.
Monthly 7-9 p.m. third Tue. Zion Lutheran Church basement, 720
Jefferson St., Oregon City; $12 annual dues, or $15 family, plus
optional $10 newsletter subscription; or Bea Settle, 503-631-3128
tracy.jpgView full sizeTracy
Hill (right), coordinator for the McLoughlin Memorial Association,
gives a bobbin lace demonstration at the McLoughlin House. Victorian
handcraft demonstrations are offered from noon to 4 p.m. on the second
Saturday of each month, except for December and January, at the museum
at 713 Center St. in Oregon City.

Victorian Handcraft Demonstrations:
Visit the website for theme. Monthly noon-4 p.m. second Saturday.
McLoughlin House, 713 Center St., Oregon City; free; or 503-656-5146

Oregon City Saturday Farmers Market:
Farmers and vendors
sell local produce, flowers, plants, meat, fish, eggs, cheese, bread,
pastries, nuts, honey preserves, hummus, soaps, lotions, wood crafts,
and hot and cold food and drinks. Features live music, cooking
demonstrations and a Kids Power of Produce Club. Debit, SNAP and WIC
accepted. Weekly 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat, through Oct. 26. Clackamas County
Public Services Building, Parking Lot, 2051 Kaen Road, Oregon
City; free admission; or Jackie
Hammond-Williams, 503-734-0192, or

ocspringflow.jpgView full size

For teens:

Teen Wii Night: Grades
6-12 invited to play a Wii game and eat free snacks. 6:30-8
p.m. Thu, Sept. 5 and Nov. 7. Oregon City Public Library, 606 John Adams St., Oregon
City; free; or 503-657-8269

For adults:

Beginning Line Dancing:
the basics and simple dances. No partner needed. Weekly 1-2 p.m. Mon.
Pioneer Community Center, 615 Fifth St.; 50 cents per class;

Busy Bees:
Have fun making crafts, sewing
quilts and aprons, and creating other items for fundraisers. Weekly 9
a.m.-noon Mon. Pioneer Community Center, 615 Fifth St.; free;

Intermediate Line Dancing: Learn the latest and traditional steps. No partner needed. Weekly noon-3 p.m. Tue. Pioneer Community Center, 615 Fifth St.; 50 cents per class; 503-657-8287

Dance Lessons:

The Bachelors ‘N’ Bachelorettes Square and Round Dance Club offers
lessons weekly 7-9 p.m. Tue. The club for singles and couples also hosts
dances weekly 7:30-10:30 p.m. Wed. Abernethy Grange, 15745 S. Harley
Ave.; $5 per lesson (first lesson free); or Gene
or Patricia Neils, 503-829-8529

Knitting and Crocheting:

Learn basic stitches and share tips. Bring your own needles and yarn.
Registration required. Weekly 10 a.m.-noon Wed. Pioneer Community
Center, 615 Fifth St.; $20 for four sessions; Janice Tipton,

Chrysalis: Women Writers: Local author Pat Lichen guides women writers of all levels
through discussions of their work. Weekly noon-2 p.m. Wed. Clackamas
Community College, Literary Arts Center, Rook Hall, Room 220, 19600 S.
Molalla Ave.; free; 503-594-3254


Clackamas County Chapter of Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG): Visitors welcome. Monthly 7-9 p.m. fourth Tue. Atkinson Memorial Church, 710 Sixth St., Oregon City; free; 503-887-4556

CASA 101 Volunteer Orientation:

Child Advocates, Inc. is recruiting volunteers to serve as Court
Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) for foster children. Informational
meetings offered monthly 6-7 p.m. first Wed. Mt. View Professional
Building, Suite 203, 101 Molalla Ave., Oregon City; free; or Linda Rinnan, CASA manager, 503-723-0521 or

Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Group:
Share feelings, thoughts and experiences to better cope with and manage
the shared problems of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Monthly
1-3 p.m. the second Thu, except Nov. 22. Pioneer Community Center, 615
Fifth St., Oregon City; free; Diana Miha, 503-317-2245 or

Grief Support Group: The Bristol Hospice “Build a Bridge of Hope”
support group, facilitated by Joanne Petrie, a chaplain, is a chance
for people to share feelings and receive support from others who are
experiencing grief. Contact Bristol Hospice volunteer Marilyn Fergus,, for more information. Monthly 1:30-3 p.m. the
second and fourth Thu. Pioneer Community Center, 615 Fifth St.,
Oregon City; free

National Alliance on Mental Illness Connection Group:
A recovery support group just for persons with mental illness
regardless of their diagnosis. Meetings offer a flexible and casual
environment without an educational format, and no registration or
enrollment obligation is required. Weekly noon-1:30 p.m. Wed. Stewart
Community Center, 1002 Library Court, Room 15, Oregon City; or
503-344-5050 or


planting-seeds.JPGView full sizeLearn the fundamentals of saving seeks in a class Nov. 19 at the Canby Library.
Master Gardener series: Are you new to gardening or an experienced hand?

following workshops at the Canby Public Library have something to offer for everyone:

  • Tuesday,
    Sept. 24 at 6:30 p.m. –
    Fall maintenance in the garden.
    Fall is a good time to add new plantings, move or transplant shrubs and
    perennials, and mulch your garden.
  • Tuesday,
    Oct. 15 at 6:30 p.m. –
    Fall and winter gardening.
    Learn how to extend the growing season, and to enjoy fresh vegetables all
    year long. See which vegetables will grow and produce during fall and
  • Tuesday,
    Nov. 19 at 6:30 p.m.
    Seed saving. Learn the
    fundamentals of saving seeds. Once you are familiar with these concepts
    you can easily and successfully save just about any seed you want.

Participants may come to one or all workshops free of
charge. Classes are presented by OSU Master Gardener volunteers of Clackamas
County.  The library is at 292 N. Holly St. For more information, call 503-266-3394 or visit

Saturday Game Day: Games and activities for families. 2 p.m. Sat,
Sept. 21. Canby Public Library, 292 N. Holly St., Canby; free; or 503-266-3394

josefgrape.jpgView full size
Grape-stomping Festival: The 31st annual event features
grape-stomping contests, food and music by the Original Donaumusikanten,
an eight-piece German band from Bavaria. Noon-6 p.m. Sat-Sun, Sept.
21-22. St. Josef’s Estate Vineyard Winery, 28836 S. Barlow Road,
Canby; $10, includes souvenir glass and tasting; or 503-651-3190
History Book Group: Read and then discuss “A People’s
History of the Supreme Court: The Men and Women Whose Cases and
Decisions Have Shaped Our Constitution” by Peter Irons. 4 p.m. Wed,
Sept. 25. Canby Public Library, 292 N. Holly St., Canby; free; or 503-266-3394

CaseyMacGill.jpgView full sizeThe Casey MacGill Trio performs Sept. 26 in Canby.

Concert: Decades of music collide as multi-instrumentalist
and vocalist Casey MacGill leads his trio in a program of classic
American swing and popular songs. Hosted by Live On Stage, Inc., and the
Canby Community Concert Association. 7:30 p.m. Thu, Sept. 26. Richard
R. Brown Fine Arts Center, 721 S.W. Fourth Ave., Canby; $25, or $20 in
advance for ages 14 and older; free to others; or Diane Brown, 503-266-9574

Family Night: Music by Grupo Condor. 6:30 p.m. Thu, Sept. 26.
Canby Public Library, 292 N. Holly St., Canby; free; or 503-266-3394GupoCondorPromo2011.jpgView full sizeGrupo Condor performs Sept. 26 at the Canby Public Library.

“Catch the Wave”: Cascade Harmony
Chorus performs in preparation for an international competition in
Hawaii in November. 7:30 p.m. Sat, Sept. 28. Richard R. Brown Fine Arts
Center, 721 S.W. Fourth Ave., Canby; $28 general; or 503-266-7464

Mark_Allen_Cunningham.jpgView full sizeMark Cunningham
Conversation Project: Join Mark Cunningham for a
thoughtful conversation about the future of reading in “From Print to
Pixels: The Act of Reading in the Digital Age.” 6 p.m. Tue, Oct. 1.
Canby Public Library, 292 N. Holly St., Canby; free; or 503-266-3394


Grief Release: Hosted by Bristol Hospice, the course
encourages unhurried healing to bring life back into focus from the blur
of pain, confusion and bewilderment caused by loss. Provides practical
step-by-step support as a road to restoration. First class is mandatory.
Weekly 1:30-3:30 p.m. Wed, Oct. 2-9.
Country Side Living, 390 N.W. Second Ave., Canby; free; Joanne Petrie,


Canby Saturday Market: Vendors sell produce, flowers,
plants, food, and arts and crafts. Weekly 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat, through Oct.
27. Canby Cinema 8 parking lot, 252 N.E.
Second Ave., Canby; free admission; or 503-680-5088 or
radishes.JPGView full size

Bridge Games:

Card game for senior citizens. Weekly 1 p.m. Mon, except holidays. Canby Adult Center,
1250 S. Ivy St., Canby; free; or 503-266-2970

Line Dancing for Beginners:

Wanda Matlock teaches senior citizens the basics. Partner not required.
Weekly 1-2 p.m. Mon, except holidays. Canby Adult Center, 1250 S. Ivy St., Canby; free,
but donations appreciated; or 503-266-2970

Line Dancing:
Wanda Matlock teaches senior citizens some advanced steps. Partner not
required. Weekly 1-2 p.m. Tue and Thu. Canby Adult Center, 1250 S. Ivy
St., Canby; free, but donations appreciated; or


Practice English or Spanish and help other learners in a friendly atmosphere.
Weekly 10:30 a.m. Mon (except Sept. 2 and Nov. 11). Canby Public Library, 292
N. Holly St., Canby; free; or 503-266-3394

Tuesday Evening Dinner: Senior citizens can
make new friends while eating a free dinner. Weekly 5-7 p.m. Tue. Zoar
Lutheran Church, 190 S.W. Second Ave., Canby; free;
or 503-266-4061

Canby First Friday:
Monthly 5-8 p.m.
first Friday. Join participating merchants in downtown Canby for
family-friendly activities, dining, wine and shopping discounts.

Handiwork Group: Senior
citizens socialize while producing craft projects. Weekly 10 a.m. Tue.
Canby Adult Center, 1250 S. Ivy St., Canby; free; bring your own project
supplies; or 503-266-2970

Pinochle: Card
game for senior citizens. Weekly 1 p.m. Tue and Fri. Canby Adult
Center, 1250 S. Ivy St., Canby; free; or
Yoga Fitness: Erin Hancock teaches the class for senior
citizens. Weekly 1:15 p.m. Wed. Canby Adult Center, 1250 S. Ivy St.,
Canby; free, but donations appreciated; or

spiced-popcorn.JPGView full size
Wednesday Afternoon at the Movies: Adults
invited to snack on free popcorn and tea while watching a movie. Visit
website for titles. Weekly 1 p.m. Wed. Canby Adult Center, 1250 S. Ivy
St., Canby; free; or 503-266-2970


For information, visit or call 503-266-4021.

Planning Commission: Monthly 7 p.m. second and fourth Monday in Canby
City HallDevelopment Services Office, Council Chambers, 155 N.W. Second

*Canby City Council: Monthly 7:30 p.m. first and third
Wednesday in Canby Development Services Office, Council Chambers, 155
N.W. Second Ave.

*Urban Renewal Agency: Monthly 6 p.m. second
Wednesday in Canby Development Services Office, Council Chambers, 155
N.W. Second Ave.

*Canby Parks and Recreation Advisory Board: Monthly 7 p.m. third Tuesday in Canby City Hall, Conference Room, 182 N. Holly St.


Kiwanis Club of Canby:

Kiwanis is a worldwide service organization of individuals who want to
improve their communities. Weekly noon-1 p.m. Mon, except holidays. Old Town Hall,
Cutsforth’s Thriftway, 225 N.E. Second Ave., Canby; $7-$10 for lunch; or Nancy Murphy, 503-266-6048

Rotary Club of Canby:

Rotary is a worldwide organization of more than 1.2 million business,
professional, and community leaders. Members of Rotary clubs, known as
Rotarians, provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical
standards in all vocations and help build goodwill around the world.
Weekly 11:45 a.m. Fri. Old Town Hall, Cutsforth’s Thriftway, 225 N.E.
Second Ave., Canby; no-host lunch;

Canby Chamber of Commerce: Network
while eating lunch. Reservations recommended. Monthly 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
first Tue. Old Town Hall, Cutsforth’s Thriftway, 225 N.E. Second Ave.,
Canby; $12-$15; Canby Chamber of Commerce, 503-266-4600 or by email to

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Competition to design and build "organic heritage garden" at Le Manoir aux …

22 September 2013

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