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Archives for October 18, 2013

Phoenix spending $560000 on First Street face-lift, more storefronts sought

The city of Phoenix is upgrading First Street with new lettered crosswalks and more trees and artwork along the downtown street.

The city of Phoenix is upgrading First Street with new lettered crosswalks and more trees and artwork along the downtown street.

Mike Sunnucks
Senior Reporter- Phoenix Business Journal

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The city of Phoenix is spending $560,000 on street improvements, decorative sidewalks, new trees and pedestrian-friendly upgrades along First Street in downtown Phoenix.

Downtown business owners, hoteliers and restaurants are also talking to the city about other improvements along First Street as a way to link Arizona State University’s downtown campus with CityScape, US Airways Center and the Phoenix Convention Center.

Tom Delaney, general manager of the Hyatt Regency Phoenix at First and Adams streets, said business owners and the city are kicking around a number of ideas.

“The goal is to make it more pedestrian friendly,” Delaney said.

He said there could be more storefronts and restaurant spaces developed along First Street, especially in between Washington and Monroe streets.

There has been some talk of closing at least part of Adams Street near the convention center and Hyatt to make it into a pedestrian mall.

Delaney said that idea is less likely to happen, but there is consensus to perhaps close other downtown streets for special events. “We’re really brainstorming ideas,” he said.

Ideas include narrowing First Street and putting in decorative sidewalks, crosswalks and landscaping to give the area a pedestrian-friendly feel.

Delaney said another goal is to make the downtown area more inviting for convention attendees and tourists.

The First Street road and sidewalk improvements are running from Washington Street to Moreland Street. City spokesman Matthew Heil said the first wave of street improvements will be done by Oct. 25.

That projects echo the $450,000 the city has spent on improvements, bike lanes and narrowing of Grand Avenue just west of downtown.

Mike Sunnucks writes about politics, law, airlines, sports business and the economy.

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Data center could be development prospect for Guilford prison farm site

The Guilford County Prison Farm site north of Gibsonville might be best suited for a data center, Alamance County Area Chamber of Commerce President Mac Williams said.

Williams said Friday that there are “different ideas floating around” on how the site could be developed. Williams said a data center makes sense since most are found in rural settings and don’t require a lot of traffic. He acknowledged that it could also be a good site for manufacturing.

“The idea of using the site as a data center has merit,” Williams said.

Williams said the prison farm at 7315 Howerton Road has potential, but a lot of work remains to make it a ready made site to attract business.

Officials from Alamance and Guilford counties met on Oct. 2 in Raleigh with N.C. Secretary of Commerce Sharon Decker to discuss preliminary plans on how the site’s infrastructure could be developed to attract business. The prison farm, on the Alamance-Guilford border, was passed over last year by a prospective company.

The potential regional partnership plan to develop the Guilford County Prison Farm is being called the Haystack Project.

Williams said after a company decided not to develop Project Swordfish at the site officials continued to work to determine how the land’s infrastructure could be developed. Williams said discussions on how the property could be used are “not going away.”

Williams said the site would also be ideal for manufacturing. How to develop the site’s infrastructure remains a challenge for local officials.

Alamance CountyManager Craig Honeycutt said Friday there are currently no meetings planned with GuilfordCounty or the state for further discussion on the matter. Honeycutt was one of several local officials who attended the Oct. 2 meeting in Raleigh which included Burlington City Manager Harold Owen and Gibsonville Mayor Lenny Williams.

GuilfordCounty jail inmates do landscaping and maintenance projects at the prison farm. Last year, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office said it was willing to move some of its operations away from the prison farm to another location just south of the existing site to make way for future development.

Williams declined to comment about Project Swordfish on Friday. After eliminating the Guilford County Prison Farm as a potential site in September 2012, the unnamed company continued to consider Hawfields for Project Swordfish, a project large enough to mean 450 new jobs and a $96 million investment. Local officials expect a decision later this year on whether Hawfields will be selected.

Graham City Manager Frankie Maness said Friday that the company is still considering Hawfields for Project Swordfish and that he last spoke with a company representative last week.


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Class Ring Returned, Don’t Forget Snapdragons, Halloween Safety: Top …

Here are the best of recent blog posts from Patch sites all around Maryland. Want to share your thoughts on local politics, sports or entertainment? Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Start a Blog” under “Post Something” on your Patch homepage. If you need help getting started, send an email to

In Chevy Chase, Ellouise Schoettler wrote about how an old photo of candy apples brought back a memory of a fun side trip she once took with her daughter.

Did you have a class ring in high school? Blogger and private investigator Greg Mazzella writes about a recent case where he tracked down a ring’s owner in his post Class Ring Finds Its Way Home After 60 Years on Odenton-Severn Patch. Find out the origin of the ring that a Maryland woman found at a flea market.

The government shutdown is over but is the stress of the situation may still be felt by many. Blogger Stacie Beard offers some coping advice in her post You Can’t Furlough Stress – Or Can You? on Bel Air Patch. “Bad things happen and you can survive them. Try to remain calm and move on,” she writes.

“The only way to bring about real change in Maryland is to find a way to bring Republicans, Independents and fiscally conservative Democrats together,” wrote Larry Hogan, chairman of Change Maryland. If you haven’t heard of Change Maryland, it is an independent non-partisan group with more than 60,000 members. To find out more, click here to read their blogs on Annapolis Patch.

Want some fall landscaping ideas? Look no further than Tim Hamilton’s blog on Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch. “This time of year, everyone is thinking cool-weather annuals and vegetables including pansies, mums, cabbages, kale, and lettuces,” he writes. “But don’t forget about other, lesser-appreciated annuals such as sunflowers, celosia, snapdragons that thrive in cool, fall weather.” Read more in the Gardening with Greenstreet blog.

If you’re looking for some new fall recipes, check out Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls from blogger Carol Woelfel Thames on Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch or Oma’s Chunky Applesauce from blogger Ellen Francis on Silver Spring Patch.

Help ensure all the little ghosts and goblins are safe while trick-or-treating with some tips from Annapolis Patch blogger and insurance broker Jeff Greene in his post Keeping Your Kids Safe on Halloween. He offers a safety tip sheet you can print and use to talk to kids now and hang on the refrigerator to review before the big night!

Are you interested in blogging on Patch but not sure how to get started? Contact Susan Jenkins at for details.

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Michelle, Michelle, How Does Your (White House) Garden Grow?

October 18 2013

Michelle, Michelle, How Does Your (White House) Garden Grow?

National Review

Charlotte Hays

Almost as heart-rending as the shutdown of the Panda Cam at the National Zoo was this:

The partial government shutdown has left the White House garden overrun with weeds, with fewer gardeners to maintain first lady Michelle Obama’s pride.

Regular maintenance has stopped on the garden and only periodic watering is being done, a White House official confirmed to CNN. That’s consistent with landscaping being performed on all National Park Service areas crippled by the shutdown throughout the country.

Of course, if the garden were something truly beloved of the First Lady and not just a stick with which to beat us over the head, she didn’t have to sit by and watch her garden go to ruin. It is a known fact: Gardens can be maintained without the federal government.

There is something telling about the image of the First Lady marooned in the White House, helplessly fretting that her garden is going to seed, waiting for government to do something before it’s too late. My grandfather, also vain of his vegetable garden, plowed it until he was in his nineties. Papa would hang his jacket on the fence by the parsley bed and spend happy hours maintaining a garden that was bigger than my apartment. Garden maintenance without federal aid is possible.

Did it never occur to Mrs. Obama to ask her daughters to help out in this dire emergency? Even Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen Elizabeth II, helped out by volunteering for the Girl Guides during World War II. The future monarch was a driver and mechanic—she was behind the wheel of a military truck. Why didn’t Mrs. Obama call Sidwell Friends, the prep school attended by her daughters, and invite young people over to help in the garden? It would have given them an appreciation of why it is important to pitch in when there is an emergency. I can think of just the pitch for Mrs. Obama when inviting Sidwell students to help in the garden: “Let’s move!”

What does it say that the First Lady took no action to save her garden? Well, of course, when you’re trying to make the government shutdown (so called—only around 15 percent of the government was closed) as hard as possible, you’ll take your sob stories where you can find them. There is that. But the episode shows that, even at the highest echelon in the U.S., self-reliance has taken a hit. Even the First Lady wanted the feds to come riding and tend her garden.

The failure to do what could be done to save the garden also, I think, shows how pampered the upper echelon of American society has become. The idea that one could weed the garden, even if only a small portion of it, never seems to have crossed anybody’s mind. The idea that this might be a nice, public-spirited task for children also seems not to have occurred to anybody at the White House. And if the notion of our First Family gardening when there are no cameras around strikes you as beneath their dignity, then let’s bring back George III (except of course that he did garden — that’s why he was called Farmer George).

But mostly, I think, what this revealed is that the White House garden is just a weapon to make the rest of us feel bad for not eating the way Mrs. Obama tells us to eat. It is, in short, a show garden. So was my grandfather’s. He was proud of his garden. Visitors to our house often had to go to the garden to pay homage to what Papa and Burpee seeds had wrought. But we really did eat what he grew and he really did love the garden. He would never have let it go to seed to score points. Now we know the truth about the White House garden. It’s a soapbox, not a garden.

— Charlotte Hays is author of the upcoming When Did White Trash Become the New Normal?: A Southern Lady Asks the Impertinent Question and director of cultural programs at the Independent Women’s Forum.


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On the market: Victorian offers vintage charms, updated appeal – Westport

The antique Victorian house at 11 Clapboard Hill Road looks like a small cottage as one views it from the road. In truth, it is a 6,011-square-foot residence hidden behind stone walls and strategic landscaping of perennial flower gardens and mature trees.

This updated vintage house sits on a 3.47-acre largely level and partially sloping property in the Greens Farms area. The estate is a private haven that includes a tennis court, heated in-ground swimming pool, bluestone patios and terraces, stone courtyard, art studio, and gardens. Its gardens are designed to bloom throughout the summer months.

The symmetry of the grounds and gardens complement the house, which is not symmetrical. The property could be mistaken for a botanical garden or an arboretum with the number of trees and specimen plantings it has. The pool garden was fashioned after the Italian Renaissance gardens of Villa d’Este in Tivoli.

Between its gardens and bluestone terraces and patios this property provides the best of indoor and outdoor living.

Interesting architectural details are visible throughout the house, which was built in 1900 and updated to infuse modern amenities into its early 20th century charm.

A stone wall lines the front of the property and a stone path leads past quintessential Victorian gardens to the formal front entrance, the door of which has beveled glass. Inside, the foyer is large enough to have a small sitting area, but small enough to convey warmth, which sums up the feel of the house as a whole. There are some rooms that are quite large, and yet they are more comfortable than intimidating. Other rooms, like an office, the first-floor staff quarters and laundry room, are more typical in size for the period in which the house was built. The staff quarters could serve as an au pair suite.

Although the current owners appreciate antique houses and furnishings, they have given a nod here and there to the modern day. The first-floor powder room features wallpaper of an artistically rendered herd of zebras galloping across a forest green background.

Step down into the formal living room, which has a wet bar with glass shelves, two walls of built-in bookshelves and a fireplace with a decorative white wood mantel. There are recessed window areas and a door to the courtyard, which can also be accessed via the formal dining room and the atrium area of the gourmet kitchen.

What was the original front-to-back parlor of the house now serves as the library. The dining room has recessed cupboards with scalloped Colonial arches. The family room has a chair railing and detailed millwork that resembles fluted columns at the wide entrance into the room.

A large sunroom doubles as a billiard room and has French doors to the terraced stone patio overlooking the pool.

The gourmet kitchen has a ceramic tile floor, two center islands topped with marble counters, a farm sink, and glass-front cabinets with interior lighting. The kitchen has Viking Professional appliances, including a six-burner range top with a griddle, double wall ovens, refrigerator, wine cooler and beverage refrigerator. The eat-in area has two walls of windows, skylights and a vaulted ceiling.

Upstairs, there is a unique open space, sort of like an interior courtyard. The owners use this as a den or sitting area or casual family gathering space. There are five bedrooms on the second floor, all of which are accessed from this carpeted “courtyard,” and all are en suite. One bathroom has a sauna.

The master bedroom has a fireplace. Another bedroom has a door to a balcony/wood deck.

Outside, a border of hornbeam hedges hides the tennis court. The art studio has a vaulted ceiling with lots of natural light. A vegetable garden is enclosed with deer fencing.

For more information or to set up an appointment to see the house, contact Melanie Smith of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services New England Properties at 203-319-3409.


TYPE: Antique Victorian

ADDRESS: 11 Clapboard Hill Road

PRICE: $3,800,000


AMENITIES: beach rights, 3.47-acre property, tennis court, heated in-ground swimming pool with spa, art studio, proximity to Greens Farms train station, bluestone patios, stone courtyard, pergola, skylights, stone walls, invisible fencing, built-in bookshelves, wet bar, butler’s pantry, gourmet kitchen, four fireplaces, green shutters and window boxes, front and rear staircases, staff quarters, fenced vegetable garden, sauna, security system, audio system, large sunroom, French doors, central air conditioning, landscaped flower gardens, specimen trees, balcony

OTHER INFORMATION: six bedrooms, seven full and one half baths, two-car attached garage, full unfinished walk-out basement, zoned hot air steam oil heat, attic, shed, random width hardwood floors, workshop, wall-to-wall carpeting, laundry/utility room, wood roof, stone foundation, septic system, public water

SCHOOLS: Greens Farms Elementary, Bedford Middle, Staples High

ASSESSMENT: $2,137,800

TAX RATE: 18.07 mills

TAXES: $38,630

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Gardening Tips: Keeping pesty bugs out of your home

Posted: Friday, October 18, 2013 11:31 am

Gardening Tips: Keeping pesty bugs out of your home

By Matthew Stevens

The Daily Herald, Roanoke Rapids, NC


Every year when the weather begins to get cold, certain types of insects will find their way into homes in search of water and heat. Lady bugs are probably the most common culprits, but others, such as box elder bugs and kudzu bugs, may be found inside as well. Usually these insects will come in through small openings in the siding, cracks around windows, doors or other openings.

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Fall vs. spring: Garden cleanup tips – Petoskey News

Cydney Steeb gardening column

Cydney Steeb gardening column

Posted: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 10:15 am

Fall vs. spring: Garden cleanup tips

Cydney Steeb
Advanced Master Gardener


Wasn’t it a gorgeous weekend for gardening!? I was busy enjoying the fall colors with our Master Naturalist class at Petoskey State Park on Saturday, but spent three hours cleaning up yellowing foliage in my gardens on Sunday.

I was reading about fall vs. spring garden cleanup and one thought mentioned to consider was; if you leave it until spring, the wilted dead foliage might make a nice winter home for mice and voles. Since I had a serious problem with voles last winter I decided to make an effort to clean up everything except my ornamental grasses and coneflowers. Ornamental grasses provide great winter interest and my birds love coneflower seeds. I also decided to leave my peonies since they have wonderful fall color. It’s OK to cut back your peonies now if you’d like to.

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Garden: Tips to tackle blight

Q: We had terrible blight on our tomatoes this year so I ended up throwing out lots of little tomatoes. Does blight affect pole beans as well or any other vegetables?
Heidi Naman

A: Pole beans don’t get blight. But potatoes do. The last two summers have been so warm and dry it’s been easy to harvest good crops of potatoes. But in a normal year with sporadic rain, many potato plants have blight by the beginning of August.

Peppers can get late blight, but usually don’t. Eggplants are also said to be susceptible.

Blight is a fungal infection that blows into gardens on rainy winds or splashes up from infected soil. It thrives on wet foliage.

That’s why the usual advice is to grow tomatoes under cover: in greenhouses, outside under polyethylene tunnels or under south or west wall roof overhangs. Keeping tomato plants dry definitely stops blight and enables you to grow most any tomato you wish, including heritage varieties. But not everyone has cover available.

People with no shelter for tomatoes can get good harvests outside by growing blight-resistant tomatoes. When their roots are in natural soil, tomatoes grow fast and produce massive crops.

The oldest blight-resistant variety is the large-fruited Legend, which is sometimes sold as a transplant in garden centres. Breeding of blight-resistant tomatoes is conventional (not GMO).

This and the newer blight-resistant varieties can be grown from seed. Gardeners who  start their own transplants can harvest big crops of tomatoes by summer’s end. Blight on these varieties starts very late and moves very slowly.

Blight-resistant varieties I grew this year include the cherry tomato Mountain Magic, the paste type RomaVF and the beefsteak type Defiant.

Only recently have these seeds become commercially available and not everyone has been offering them. This year I bought mine online from Veseys. Grown outside, tomatoes are somewhat later to ripen, but quantities are immense and with blight-resistant tomatoes the plants are still producing when blight-stricken tomatoes have given up.

By the end of September all my tomatoes were black with blight on the older stems but still had fresh, green new stems. By mid-October the new stems were still blight-free and so was the remaining green fruit which had to be ripened inside.

Tomatoes are easy to freeze; just wash, dry and drop them into a plastic bag). Once frozen, their skin lifts off easily if they’re held under hot, running water.

© Copyright 2013

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Vaastu Tips For Your Garden

have a lot of good luck with your green surrounding.

Experts say that the planning and design of your garden should have a significant effect on your mood, health and prosperity. Your garden should be built in the house, so that it enables a person to feel close to nature. It should also help one to enjoy the serenity and calmness affected by the presence of the plants which you have grown in your home. It is largely believed that people make gardens to refresh their character. It is the lush green surroundings which help in relaxing and restoring ones inner peace.

In every home you will have some sort of a garden space and in large homes you will have a large garden space, smaller homes create a smaller garden. Here are some of the best Vaastu guidelines for your garden space and plants which are decked in it. It is believed that if you follow these Vaastu tips for your garden, it will bring prosperity to the residents of the home.

Take a look at these Vaastu garden tips:


The placement of the garden should always be in the northwest direction of your home. It can also be placed in the East direction if North is already accommodated. Placing your garden in the North will bring in peace of mind for the residents of the home.


If you are planting tall trees, they should not be placed in an area in front of the door. The tree should be placed in the East direction of the garden. Avoid placing the tall trees in the middle of the garden as well.

Fruit trees

If you are planting fruit trees, it needs to be planted in the East direction of your home. Placing the fruit tree is this direction will help to produce more fruit on your tree.


For good luck and presence of God, it is best to place an idol in your garden. An idol in your garden should be placed in the center to draw in the spiritual vibes emitted from the sun.

Dry plants

Make sure to trim your garden over a period of time. Never have dry leaves or branches in your garden area. One Vaastu tip for gardens that you need to follow is to get rid of your dried leaves before the sun sets for the day. It is a bad omen to keep dried leaves in your garden area until the next sunset.

These are some of the Vaastu tips for your garden you need to follow. You can also place a fountain in the East or North area of your garden area. The fountain placed in your garden will always keep your flowers and trees in full bloom.

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