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Archives for June 16, 2014

100: objects in 100 days: Post-9/11 highway art gets reaction from around nation

Immediately following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a patriotic fervor spread like wildfire over the United States.

The song “God Bless America” and the American flag took center stage for many as means to let the world know this country would not back down under trial and turmoil. There were hopes of a brighter day.

For South Carolina Department of Transportation employee Robert Smoak and his maintenance crew of seven, keeping the patriotic spirit and hope alive took on a whole new meaning through the creation of “smiley face” indicating the state’s slogan, “Smiling Faces, Beautiful Places” along with a 52-foot-by-75-foot U.S. flag. Both were formed out of rocks.

The first of its kind in the state, the smiley face and the flag, located near U.S. 601 and Interstate 26, were part of a two-year thought process related to the DOT’s Colorful Spaces beautification program around 2000.

The site was chosen for its visibility and flow of traffic.

“We have had people all over the U.S. call about that thing,” Smoak said, noting the display has put Orangeburg County on the map. He said people see it and remember Orangeburg County is the place where the unique landscaping exists.

“It is one of a kind. When they come through, it is eye-catching.”

Smoak said the events of Sept. 11 had a profound influence on the design and the idea of the display.

“It was still so fresh in our minds,” he said. “We were basically brainstorming and we took paper home and drew up a rough sketch to it and tried to improve it as we built it. The traffic was crazy over the American flag. You would not be out there five minutes before somebody would come out blowing their horn.”

Every maintenance office in the state participated in the beautification program by completing a colorful landscaping project in their respective counties.

The projects included both tree and flower plantings along state-maintained highways, but where the flag was placed there was no water available.

“People from other counties have tried to replicate it, but I don’t think they have the elevation,” Smoak said. “That hill was just right for the elevation.”

A few months after the project was complete, changes were made over concerns the design was not in keeping with proper flag etiquette.

Proper use and display of the U.S. flag prohibits making changes to the design.

The changes involved removing the outline of South Carolina and other symbols representing the state from within the flag and replacing them with stripes.

By Dec. 15, 2001, crews found themselves busily grading and backfilling the landscape in preparation for the placement of the nearly 36 tons of stone and 28 gallons of red, white, blue, and for the smiley face, yellow paint.

Smoak said his crew utilized traditional landscaping techniques, along with some innovation to form the flag.

For the stripes and the rest of the flag, steel molds were constructed to prevent the rock from shifting.

The “smiley face” and related artwork were moved to the other side of I-26 across from the flag.

Contribution of materials for the original work, as well as knowledge, was received from sources such as Waters Edge Rentals, Sherwin-Williams, Sunshine Recycling, Fogle Brothers Construction Co. and SuperSod.

Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551.

Article source: http://thetandd.com/news/local/objects-in-days-post--highway-art-gets-reaction-from/article_138f3d56-f508-11e3-813e-0019bb2963f4.html

Plan for downtown Pismo Beach includes Ferris wheel, parking changes

Imagine taking a trolley ride to the downtown core of a classic seaside town and walking toward the pier, where a Ferris wheel awaits. Nearby, children play in a public fountain or use a slide to reach the beach below.

Others climb or pose for photos on huge letters spelling “Pismo Beach.”

These are a few ideas contained within a strategic plan for downtown Pismo Beach, which was recently approved by the Pismo Beach City Council.

The strategic plan is both the culmination of several months of community outreach, including multiple workshops and a survey of tourists, and the starting point for change in this key part of Pismo Beach.

The plan will be used as a guide for future improvements downtown – though the individual concepts, which include turning the pier parking lot into a public plaza, will all go through the city’s normal planning process before any change would take place.

It offers a glimpse toward the future and a long-term vision that will steer planning efforts, city officials said.

“Looking at this plan, I think we have a very bright future,” City Manager Jim Lewis said.

Downtown Pismo Beach includes the area bordered by the intersections of Dolliver Street (Highway 1) and Price Street, Highway 101, Pismo Creek and the ocean.

The strategic plan divides the area into five districts, each with suggested improvements. For example, “Restaurant Row,” a name referring to the many cafes, restaurants and wine bars on Price Street, could benefit from more landscaping, trees and small string lights.

The plan also suggests the wooden promenade on either side of the pier be extended even further up and down the beach, to encourage visitors to leave their cars at their hotels and walk downtown.

Other ideas include more outdoor dining, public art and street lighting or decorative sidewalks to better connect Restaurant Row to the pier area.

Some community members said downtown could be improved by cleaner streets and more consistent street features, said Erik Justesen, CEO/President of RRM Design Group, which completed the plan.

“A lot of people see it as a jewel in the rough and some effort in crisping it up was on their minds,” he said.

The biggest changes are proposed for the current parking lot next to the pier. The plan includes two ideas; both involve turning the parking lot into a public plaza with space for entertainment.

One option suggests closing Pomeroy Avenue from Cypress Street to the pier plaza and moving parking underground; the other idea keeps the street open and adds some diagonal parking.

A few residents attending a recent City Council meeting said they were concerned about losing parking spaces and the impact that closing Pomeroy Avenue could have on businesses.

The council agreed to table all of the circulation and parking options in the strategic plan. The ideas will be evaluated as part of an update of the city’s circulation element (part of its general plan) and will come back to the council at a future meeting.

Reach Cynthia Lambert at 781-7929. Stay updated by following @SouthCountyBeat on Twitter.

 

Article source: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2014/06/16/3113726/downtown-pismo-beach-plan.html

Are Pensacola Beach crosswalks danger zones?

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Article source: http://www.pnj.com/story/news/2014/06/16/pensacola-beach-crosswalks-danger-zones/10630225/

How to garden with allergies: Avoid risky plants, take precautions – Merced Sun

Amanda Tedrow loves to garden, but she has a problem. It’s a common one that many people who share her passion for plants can understand: She has plant allergies.

“I’ve gone through formal testing, and I’m allergic to pretty much everything except the weed Johnsongrass,” she said.

Her allergies are so severe that they forced her to leave a dream job as curator of the shade and native flora gardens at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia in Athens. Instead, she became the agriculture and natural resources agent for the Athens-Clarke County Extension office where she answers gardening and landscaping questions from the public.

If you are a plant lover but are one of the 35 million Americans that the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America estimates suffer from hay fever or if you have another pollen allergy, don’t despair. There are still ways you can enjoy gardening. Here are some suggestions.

Before you go outside:

_If you are on allergy medications, take them before you start gardening rather than after symptoms start.

_Wear a NIOSH-approved face mask, hat, glasses, gloves, and a long-sleeve shirt to reduce skin and nose contact with pollen.

In the garden:

_Avoid touching your face or eyes while working outdoors.

_Limit gardening to early in the morning or later in the afternoon or evening when pollen counts tend to be the lowest.

_Garden after it rains when the water has washed pollen off plant and other surfaces and left pollen wet and less susceptible to being carried by the wind than it would be on dry days. Be aware, though, that brief thunderstorms may increase pollen counts.

Precautions:

_Use gravel, oyster shell, or special plant ground covers such as vinca or pachysandra as mulch rather than wood chips, since the latter can retain moisture and encourage molds to grow.

_Be cautious about using hedges because the tangle of branches can easily collect dust, mold, and pollen. If you have hedges, keep them pruned and thin.

_Ask a family member or friends who don’t have allergies to mow lawns and weed flower beds.

_Keep grass cut low � 2 inches � to help prevent or at least limit the stems from dispersing pollen.

_Keep windows in the house closed while mowing and for a few hours afterwards.

_Clean and replace furnace and air conditioner filters often. HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters are often recommended because they capture at least 99 percent of pollen, animal dander, dust, and other particles for all-around better air quality.

_Immediately shower and change your clothes when you go back indoors, making sure to wash your hair to remove allergens trapped there. As an alternative, wash your hands often and rinse your eyes with cool water to remove clinging pollen.

What to plant, what to avoid: A pollen primer

Allergy sufferers can also increase their garden enjoyment by understanding what causes the pollen problem in the first place. When many plants flower they reproduce by releasing large quantities of pollen into the air. Once released, the wind carries the pollen, a fine coarse powder with individual grains so tiny they are almost invisible, to other plants. When the pollen lands on a compatible pistil of another plant, it pollinates that plant.

Plants that produce wind-borne pollen are the ones that allergy sufferers should avoid planting because they can easily inhale the tiny pollen particles. When someone with a pollen allergy inhales the pollen through their nose or throat, they get allergy symptoms � sneezing, a runny or stuffy nose; itching in the throat or in the ears; hives; swollen eyelids and itchy eyes; and coughing, wheezing that may cause them to have trouble breathing. Some people are allergic to pollen from specific plants while others are allergic to pollen from multiple plants.

As an alternative to choosing plants that produce wind-borne pollen, gardeners with pollen allergies should select plants that are pollinated by insects or birds. Pollen grains in insect/bird-pollinated plants tend to be larger, heavier, and stickier than pollen produced by plants that rely on wind-borne pollination. Instead of traveling through the air, insects and birds carry this type of pollen from plant to plant. Consequently, plants pollinated by insects and birds are much less likely to cause an allergic reaction than plants that produce wind-borne pollen. The staff at your local garden center can help you select insect/bird-pollinated plants for your area. Luckily, this group contains plants that produce many of the brightest colored, attractive, and sweetest-smelling flowers for the garden. Some examples:

_Flowering plants – begonia, cactus, chenille, clematis, columbine, crocus, daffodil, daisy, Dusty Miller, geranium, hosta, impatiens, iris, lily, pansy, periwinkle, petunia, phlox, fose, salvia, snapdragon, sunflower, thrift, tulip, verbena, and zinnia.

_Shrubs – azalea, boxwood, English yew, hibiscus, hydrangea and viburnum.

A quick disclaimer. Unfortunately, even if you plant an “allergy-free” garden, bear in mind that many of the wind-borne pollens that might affect you can travel to your yard from other gardens in the neighborhood, nearby parks, or even from as far away as the next state. At least you’ll know which plants to avoid in your own garden by knowing the worst pollen offenders.

Peak pollen times will depend on the plant, the weather and your location, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma immunology. If you suspect you have plant allergies, it’s essential, the college says, to identify which plants trigger your symptoms. To avoid guessing about the culprit and, perhaps, guessing wrong, they suggest you talk with an allergist who can help you determine what you might be allergic to and who can recommend treatment options tailored to your specific situation.

Allergy seasons’ friends and foes

To help give you an idea of which plants are an allergy sufferer’s friends and which ones are foes, here’s a general season-by-season guide of blooming plants divided into good guys/bad guys. The guide will help you get started on your own allergy-free garden � or at least let you know what’s blooming next door or around the corner that may be making you miserable.

_Late winter and early spring: Most trees release pollen as winter is ending and spring is beginning.

Trees most likely to cause allergy symptoms include: Alder, Ash, Aspen, Beech, Birch, Box Elder, Cedar, Chestnut, Cottonwood, Elm, Hickory, Juniper, Maple, Mulberry, Oak, Olive, Palm, Pecan, Pine, Poplar, Sequoia, Sycamore, Walnut, and Willow.

Trees less likely to cause allergy symptoms include: Apple, Cherry, Chinese Fan Palm, Fern Pine, Dogwood, English Holly, Hardy Rubber Tree, Magnolia, Pear, Plum, and Red Maple.

_Late spring and early summer: Grasses, of which there are hundreds of types, release pollen in the late spring and early summer.

Grasses most likely to cause allergy symptoms include: Bermudagrass, Fescue, Johnsongrass, June, Orchard, Perennial Rye, Redtop, Salt Grass, Sweet Vernal, and Timothy.

Grasses less likely to cause allergy symptoms include: St. Augustine.

_Late summer and fall: Weeds usually let go of their pollen in the late summer and fall. Ragweed is by far the worst offender.

Other weeds most likely to cause allergy symptoms include: burning bush (also called kochia, Mexican fireweed, and summer cypress), Cocklebur, lamb’s quarter, mugwort, Pigweed, plantain, Poison Ivy/Oak/Sumac, red (sheep) sorrel, Russian Thistle, Sagebrush, scales (atriplex), and tumbleweeds.

Weeds least likely to cause allergy symptoms include: None!

This article – http://www.mnn.com/health/allergies/stories/how-to-garden-with-allergies – originally appeared on the Mother Nature Network at www.mnn.com.

Article source: http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2014/06/16/3700798/how-to-garden-with-allergies-avoid.html?sp=/99/215/167/

In Boise, a demonstration garden that is both beautiful and fire-conscious

A coalition of agencies and volunteers is hoping that firewise gardens can help Westerners reduce the growing threat that wildfires pose in this country.

The Firewise Garden at the Idaho Botanical Garden in Boise is the first of a series of demonstration gardens showing homeowners how they can live on the edge of the wildlands safely and beautifully. Visitors today can see the mockorange shrubs – a cousin of Idaho’s state flower, the syringa – blooming in the June heat next to flowering prickly pear cactus, yellow blanket flowers and pink soapwort.

“The home site, which is what we call the first garden now that we have spread out, took us seven years to get it looking like it does now,” said Brett Van Paepeghem, a former Bureau of Land Management fire staffer who now runs Idaho Firewise, the nonprofit group coordinating the gardens.

The Firewise Garden was born out of the 2000 fire season, the worst at the time since 1910. Seven million acres burned and fires caused $10 billion in losses – including entire neighborhoods in Los Alamos, N.M. BLM botanist Roger Rosentreter, now retired, got the idea from a similar garden he saw in San Diego.

The plants there would not grow in Idaho’s climate. So he and Van Paepeghem convinced the BLM to partner with Boise State University, the Idaho Botanical Garden and later the College of Western Idaho to build the garden in what once was an ugly weed patch. With volunteers and interns, they have developed the garden into a three-zoned area that shows how to make a yard less flammable and easier to protect if a wildfire were to race through the cheatgrass that covers the Boise Foothills.

Zone 1, the area within 30 feet of a house, is planted in grass. As Ann DeBolt, Rosentreter’s wife and a botanist with the Idaho Botanical Garden, said, “That’s where you have your patio.”

Zone 2, the area 30 to 60 feet from a house, has low shrubs and fire-resistant plants such as silver-edged horehound, autumn amber, mockorange and flowering quince.

“One thing I like to promote are dwarf shrubs,” said Rosentreter. “We want stuff in Zone 2 that’s compact.”

Zone 3, the area 60 to 100 feet from a house, can be left with existing plants, shrub and trees. Homeowners are encouraged to prune the overhanging limbs and to thin the brush so that if a fire enters this area, it doesn’t climb into the trees. Traditional conifers such as pine trees and firs, which are filled with resin, can be replaced with larch and tamarack, which look the same but are far less flammable.

“The needles don’t burn, they smolder,” Rosentreter said.

The “home site” serves another important purpose, DeBolt said. More than 300 different varieties of plants have been tested here to see whether they survive in Idaho’s climate. New gardens in Twin Falls, Mountain Home, Eagle and elsewhere are growing the database of fire-resistant species available to homeowners.

“This whole garden started out because there wasn’t a lot of literature for this area,” DeBolt said.

Now that he’s retired, Rosentreter lectures across the West on fire, rangelands and home protection. He and Van Paepeghem are taking the firewise message wherever they can, not only to help make people safer and their yards more beautiful, but also to help reduce the costs of fighting fires.

The nation is spending more than $1 billion annually on wildfires – mostly in the West – as climate change has helped make recent fire seasons longer and hotter. Most of that money is spent to protect homes and communities, costs that could be dramatically reduced if developments next to wildlands were designed like the Firewise Garden.

It’s a message that has finally caught on.

“Homeowners need to start first in protecting outward,” Van Paepeghem said.

Rocky Barker: 377-6484

Article source: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2014/06/16/3236822/creating-firewise-communities.html

Demonstration garden in the Foothills shows to make your landscaping beautiful …

A coalition of agencies and volunteers is hoping that firewise gardens can help Westerners reduce the growing threat that wildfires pose in this country.

The Firewise Garden at the Idaho Botanical Garden in Boise is the first of a series of demonstration gardens showing homeowners how they can live on the edge of the wildlands safely and beautifully. Visitors today can see the mockorange shrubs – a cousin of Idaho’s state flower, the syringa – blooming in the June heat next to flowering prickly pear cactus, yellow blanket flowers and pink soapwort.

“The home site, which is what we call the first garden now that we have spread out, took us seven years to get it looking like it does now,” said Brett Van Paepeghem, a former Bureau of Land Management fire staffer who now runs Idaho Firewise, the nonprofit group coordinating the gardens.

The Firewise Garden was born out of the 2000 fire season, the worst at the time since 1910. Seven million acres burned and fires caused $10 billion in losses – including entire neighborhoods in Los Alamos, N.M. BLM botanist Roger Rosentreter, now retired, got the idea from a similar garden he saw in San Diego.

The plants there would not grow in Idaho’s climate. So he and Van Paepeghem convinced the BLM to partner with Boise State University, the Idaho Botanical Garden and later the College of Western Idaho to build the garden in what once was an ugly weed patch. With volunteers and interns, they have developed the garden into a three-zoned area that shows how to make a yard less flammable and easier to protect if a wildfire were to race through the cheatgrass that covers the Boise Foothills.

Zone 1, the area within 30 feet of a house, is planted in grass. As Ann DeBolt, Rosentreter’s wife and a botanist with the Idaho Botanical Garden, said, “That’s where you have your patio.”

Zone 2, the area 30 to 60 feet from a house, has low shrubs and fire-resistant plants such as silver-edged horehound, autumn amber, mockorange and flowering quince.

“One thing I like to promote are dwarf shrubs,” said Rosentreter. “We want stuff in Zone 2 that’s compact.”

Zone 3, the area 60 to 100 feet from a house, can be left with existing plants, shrub and trees. Homeowners are encouraged to prune the overhanging limbs and to thin the brush so that if a fire enters this area, it doesn’t climb into the trees. Traditional conifers such as pine trees and firs, which are filled with resin, can be replaced with larch and tamarack, which look the same but are far less flammable.

“The needles don’t burn, they smolder,” Rosentreter said.

The “home site” serves another important purpose, DeBolt said. More than 300 different varieties of plants have been tested here to see whether they survive in Idaho’s climate. New gardens in Twin Falls, Mountain Home, Eagle and elsewhere are growing the database of fire-resistant species available to homeowners.

“This whole garden started out because there wasn’t a lot of literature for this area,” DeBolt said.

Now that he’s retired, Rosentreter lectures across the West on fire, rangelands and home protection. He and Van Paepeghem are taking the firewise message wherever they can, not only to help make people safer and their yards more beautiful, but also to help reduce the costs of fighting fires.

The nation is spending more than $1 billion annually on wildfires – mostly in the West – as climate change has helped make recent fire seasons longer and hotter. Most of that money is spent to protect homes and communities, costs that could be dramatically reduced if developments next to wildlands were designed like the Firewise Garden.

It’s a message that has finally caught on.

“Homeowners need to start first in protecting outward,” Van Paepeghem said.

Rocky Barker: 377-6484

Article source: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2014/06/16/3236822/creating-firewise-communities.html?sp=/99/101/102/

Moles, grubs and slugs

Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014 12:30 am
|


Updated: 9:13 am, Mon Jun 16, 2014.

Moles, grubs and slugs

By Bob Beyfuss
For Columbia-Greene Media

thedailymail.net

|
0 comments

By mid-June everyone is busy trying to keep up with lawn mowing and the plethora of other gardening activities that all seem so crucial right now. Remember that there is still plenty of time to put in a new vegetable or flower garden from scratch. Trees and shrubs and perennials can also be planted over the next month or so with no real sense of urgency. I am waiting for a few mid-season perennial plant sales to be announced before I try to get rid of a steeply sloped portion of lawn that I am tired of mowing. Years ago I tried to establish myrtle (periwinkle) on this slope, but it has just not spread as I hoped it would, so now it is time for Plan B. Myrtle prefers to grow in partial shade and this spot is in full sun which is what I believe is the reason why it has not spread. I think I may plant Oenothera this time, as this yellow flowered perennial is very aggressive, some might call it invasive. There are also a few other nice perennials that were suggested to me by my local garden center manager (Thanks Rachael!).

Lawn care is something that really is best done right now, except for trying to establish a whole new lawn from scratch, which is best left until September. Many gardeners noticed earlier this spring after the snow finally melted, that there were numerous, raised tunnels, in the lawn which seemed to coincide with patches of dead turf. These tunnels are caused by interesting creatures called moles. Moles are mostly subterranean carnivores with tiny, beady eyes and very soft brown to black fur. They rarely venture aboveground and their presence is determined either by observing the tunnels, or in the case of the star nosed mole, by the presence of piles of soil randomly appearing on top of the lawn. These piles of soil are indeed baffling for most observers as they are not associated with any other disturbance or holes or tunnels. They appear as though aliens showed up in the middle of the night and dropped some soil samples at random in the yard. Star nosed moles do look like aliens actually, as a Google search will confirm.

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on

Saturday, June 14, 2014 12:30 am.

Updated: 9:13 am.

Article source: http://www.thedailymail.net/columnists/weekly_gardening_tips/article_fe250216-f557-11e3-a59e-001a4bcf887a.html

Tips for keeping bagworms out of your garden

Take a tip from you hydrangeas–when they start to bloom, it’s time to spray for a troublesome little pest called the bagworm.

They don’t bother hydrangeas so much, though. They stick to arbor vitae and plants with that type of foliage.

Bagworms eat the arbor vitae and form their cocoon from the plant material.

Timing is everything if you have an arbor vitae! Sooner is better to act.

Article source: http://whnt.com/2014/06/12/tips-for-keeping-bagworms-out-of-your-garden/

Your Home and Garden: Roofing Tips

Roof

Roof



Posted: Monday, June 16, 2014 10:35 am

Your Home and Garden: Roofing Tips


0 comments

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) – Tuning up your roof is like tuning up your car, if you keep up with the annual maintenance, your roof will last longer.

We were joined this morning by Rudy Rowe, the owner of Rowe Roofing. Rowe shared with us how cleaning your gutters and replacing loose shingles can keep your roof happy. You can watch the full interview below:

You can watch Your Home and Garden every Monday at 5:30am on WTXL’s Sunrise.

More about Roofs

  • ARTICLE: Types of Roofing Shingles

More about Construction

  • ARTICLE: Overnight closures on Old Bainbridge Road in Tallahassee
  • ARTICLE: Construction continues along Gaines Street
  • ARTICLE: Metal roofing 101
  • ARTICLE: Wakulla County gets highway beautification grant

More about Human Interest

  • ARTICLE: Annual event raising funds for families affected by HIV/AIDS
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  • ARTICLE: Veterans being honored on D-Day anniversary

on

Monday, June 16, 2014 10:35 am.


| Tags:


Roofs,



Construction,



Human Interest,



Structural Engineering,



Architecture,



Domestic Roof Construction,



Rudy Rowe,



Tallahassee

Article source: http://www.wtxl.com/news/your-home-and-garden-roofing-tips/article_59739c4e-f563-11e3-b96e-001a4bcf6878.html

Garden party planned at Governor’s Mansion

— The Governor’s Mansion Centennial Celebration is hosting a Summer Solstice Garden Celebration next weekend.

The June 21 event will include several sessions featuring experts in horticulture, garden design, culinary arts and entertaining.

There will be a breakfast session hosted by Kentucky floral designer Roiann Ridley and lunch session hosted by chefs Christopher Hirscheimer and Melissa Hamilton.

Other sessions will feature Katy Moss Warner, president of the American Horticultural Society; Stacy Hirvela, former garden editor for Martha Stewart Living and bestselling garden author; and Beth Sebastian, Kentucky Governor’s Mansion floral designer; among others.

The event will take place at the Kentucky Governor’s Mansion from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. with a continental breakfast and lunch provided.

Article source: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/06/16/3293812/garden-party-planned-at-governors.html