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Archives for September 16, 2014

Making Magnolia Blossom takes civic improvement ideas to Magnolia Planning …

The Magnolia Planning Commission had only one item on the agenda at its regular monthly meeting Monday evening, and met for about 20 minutes.

The commission heard a presentation from Aaron Street, assistant dean for integrated marketing and media relations at Southern Arkansas University, who explained the concept of “Making Magnolia Blossom,” a recently formed organization whose purpose is to improve the aesthetics of the city, beginning with Main Street.

Street shared the origin of Making Magnolia Blossom by explaining that there are frequent meetings at the university regarding efforts to recruit and retain students, and he asked himself what might be done to help that endeavor.

“I thought, what’s a centralized effort we could do at SAU to help the community, help SAU, and help students learn about civic engagement,” said Street. Toward that end, Street said a small group at SAU began meeting a couple of times a week throughout the summer.

The meetings resulted in establishing the goal of making visitors to the city come away with a better impression of Magnolia, which in turn led to the creation of Making Magnolia Blossom.

They decided their first attempt at improving the city’s appearance would begin with Main Street.

“Next time you drive Main Street, drive it like it’s the first time you’ve ever driven down Main Street,” Street challenged the commission. “See what you think. Imagine you’re an investor who’s thinking about coming to Magnolia.”

By contrast, Street showed photos and Google Earth street views of main streets of other comparable towns including Durant, Oklahoma, which ironically bills itself as the “Magnolia Capital of Oklahoma.”

“You can see that they don’t have any temporary signs,” said Street. “They have nice landscaping here and there. When you see signs, they look like they have limits on their size, on their height.”

Street also told the commission that Texarkana has ordinances prohibiting temporary signs, and has found their specific ordinances on the city of Texarkana’s website, which he will pass along to appropriate local officials.

Making Magnolia Blossom’s kick-off event will be known as “Big Splash Saturday” on October 25, and will concentrate on improving the appearance of Main Street.

“We’re encouraging people to go to www.magnoliablossom.org and register to volunteer,” said Street. “They can volunteer as an individual, a family or a team. We’re going to have T-shirts for everybody that day.” Making Magnolia Blossom also has a booth at the Columbia County Fair this week, and volunteers can sign up there as well.

The Tuesday before Big Splash Saturday there will be a gathering at the Grand Hall at the Reynolds Center on the SAU campus for team leaders and volunteers to explain to them how the weekend will proceed. “We’re going to be ready to go at 8 a.m. on October 25,” said Street.

Street says there has also been significant “buy-in” to the Big Splash event, and as word has spread businesses are offering support and assistance.

Regarding the Main Street clean up, Street said at least one company is offering an unusual form of help. “Spencer-Harris has said any business owner who has a sign or a pole that they don’t mind being taken away, that they will cut them down and remove them for us on Big Splash.”

After Street’s presentation, Jeff White, acting chairman of the planning commission, asked how Making Magnolia Blossom will receive its funding.

Street said that for the Big Splash event, the organization is looking for sponsorships and contributions, and said they already have around $5,000 committed. “So we have enough to make a big difference already, especially with the businesses that are coming on board, offering their services,” said Street.

As for longer range funding, beyond the Big Splash event, Street said they will “be looking at different grants, grant programs, ways to keep it sustainable.”

White also asked about enforcement in the event the city adopts new ordinances regarding signage and other matters related to aesthetics. David Nelson, Magnolia city building inspector, said that a few ordinances are already on the books, such as the recently updated dilapidated housing ordinance, but others are vague, and may require tweaking and updating. Nelson said currently when a violation is found he sends a letter, and 95 percent say they will take care of it. If that doesn’t happen, he sends certified letters. If there’s still no action to correct the violation, the city will “eventually take them before the city council and condemn (the property) or issue them a ticket if it’s just a sign violation.”

In addition to its website, Making Magnolia Blossom also has a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MakingMagnoliaBlossom.

Article source: http://www.magnoliareporter.com/news_and_business/local_news/article_06f835fc-3d8d-11e4-afa2-ef75f9680bcb.html

Group shares ideas for upgrading West Medford commuter rail station


Posted Sep. 15, 2014 @ 12:12 pm


MEDFORD

Article source: http://medford.wickedlocal.com/article/20140915/NEWS/140917690

Shipping container park starts – U

Construction has begun on a temporary park downtown made up of movable shipping containers.

Called “Quartyard,” the 30,000-square-foot city-owned development site at Market Street and Park Boulevard will include food and beverage outlets, art galleries and an educational and entertainment zone, projected to open in December.

“This model is very much a new model for San Diego,” said Philip Auchettl, CEO of RAD Lab, a design firm founded by graduates of the NewSchool of Architecture and Design.

photo
The Quartyard site, currently a parking lot, eventually will be developed for a high-rise residential building.Roger Showley

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The Quartyard site, currently a parking lot, eventually will be developed for a high-rise residential building.

Under a two-year lease with the city, Quartyard is meant to show how a vacant lot can be used for more than parking. Civic San Diego, the city’s development arm, is seeking a developer of a high-rise residential tower on the block.

“Parking is always a quick fix solution,” Auchettl said. “I definitely don’t think that’s the end of it. I think there are a lot more ways to activate a space rather than turning it into a parking lot. You could generate more income and create both a safer and more exciting environment.”

photo
Fourteen shipping containers will be outfitted with utilities and other features before being moved to Quartyard.Roger Showley

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Fourteen shipping containers will be outfitted with utilities and other features before being moved to Quartyard.

Twelve of the 14 needed shipping containers were delivered last week to a nearby vacant lot, also marked for development as part of the planned innovation district in East Village. Basile Studio, a local design and fabrication firm, is the general contractor to turn them into cafes and other uses. They will then be lifted into place at the Quartyard site.

Adam Jubela, one of the RAD Lab partners, is acting as general contractor for site work, which began Monday. Included will be foundations for the containers and underground utilities. Mooch Exterior Designs is overseeing the outdoor furniture and landscaping.

Best Beverage Catering will operate a beer garden; restaurateur Scott Slater will open a Sausage Meat sandwich shop; and John Bertsch, owner of the Meshuggah Shack mini-coffee shop in Mission Hills, will open his second shack. They will all own the containers and have the option to reopen in a new location once the lease expires.

Other uses are expected to include art and fashion shows, film festivals, educational events, farmer’s and craft markets and rotating food trucks. There’s also going to be a 5,000-square-foot dog run.

Auchettl said the city will receive performance-based rent that will be earmarked for the city’s affordable housing fund. The lease can be extended in 12-month increments if the permanent development is not yet ready to break ground in July 2016.

RAD Lab, which stands for research architecture development laboratory, was hatched by Auchettl, Jason Grauten, David Lowenstein and Michael Pogue as their senior project at NewSchool in 2012-13. Pogue has since backed out of the firm when he found a full-time job but continued on a volunteer basis.

The team used Kickstarter to generate about between $50,000 and $60,000 in seed money and received assistance in the early stages from Andrew Canter, CEO of Canter Companies, a real estate firm. Their principal investors are AdBloom Group, an advertising firm, and Sequoian Investments, both based in San Diego.

Auchettl said while Quartyard was being planned, the team also worked on another SM outlet in North Park and various projects by Sequoian.

“We’re playing around with conceptual ideas for container housing development projects,” he said, and scouting for a new Quartyard site once the present one needs to relocate.

Rad Lab urban park commercial space


Article source: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/sep/16/quartyard-containers-park-temporary-development/

Linton’s Enchanted Gardens Visited By Local Curb Appeal Contest Winner

Linton’s Enchanted Gardens in Elkhart, Ind. recently received a visit from the winner of 16 Curb Appeal, a local contest that awards those most in need of new front yard landscaping. Local TV station WNDU 16 hosts the contest each year, and the winner receives $5,000 worth of landscaping from Linton’s.

This year’s winner is Staff Sergeant Jordan Willsey, of Mishawaka, Ind., who is also a high school teacher. He visited the garden center earlier this month to get some ideas for his new front yard. Mark Linton showed him some perennial favorites, like a blue star juniper, white mums and a red drift rose. Linton says American pride will be a big part of this Curb Appeal project.

Next, Willsey will see where Linton decides to put the plants when the blueprints for the landscaping are revealed.

Click here for the full story, and for links to more coverage of 16 Curb Appeal.

Source: WNDU 16

 

Article source: http://www.todaysgardencenter.com/business-management/lintons-enchanted-gardens-visited-by-local-curb-appeal-contest-winner/

Farms, landscapers wary of new fertilizer rules

Farms, landscapers wary of new fertilizer rules

Farms, landscapers wary of new fertilizer rules

File photoAs head of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau, Richard Bonanno, whose family has operated Pleasant Valley Gardens in Methuen since 1910, opposes new, tighter restrictions on commercial fertilizers in the state.



Posted: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 3:05 am

Farms, landscapers wary of new fertilizer rules

By Christian M. Wade Statehouse Reporter

The Daily News of Newburyport

BOSTON — The sale and use of fertilizers laden with phosphorous, used to feed crops and keep lawns and fields green, will soon be restricted by a law that opponents say will hurt the farming and landscaping industries.

The rules, which stem from a law signed by Gov. Deval Patrick two years ago, seek to curb the use of phosphorus-laden fertilizers that wash into waterways, causing algae blooms that endanger marine life and public water supplies. One such bloom on Lake Erie forced Toledo officials to warn residents not to use the local water last month.

State officials say the regulations — which were supposed to have gone into effect Jan. 1 — were delayed by opposition from the lawn care industry, farmers and others. The new rules are expected to be implemented this fall.

Methuen’s Richard Bonanno, president of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau, said farmers are concerned the proposed setback and other restrictions will threaten the agricultural industry.

“If you’re growing a crop, you have to feed it. That’s what fertilizer is,” said Bonanno, a vegetable farmer. “Whether you get that fertilizer from manure, compost or a bag, you still have to feed that crop. Or it dies.”

“We’ve had a lot of pushback,” said Lee Corte-Real, director of the Division of Crops and Pest Services, part of the state Department of Agriculture. “We’re trying to balance protecting the environment while allowing the agricultural industry to continue to grow food. It’s a challenge.”

A 13-page draft of the rules requires retailers who sell the fertilizer products to separate them from other products and post an 11-by-17-inch sign that explains that phosphorus is a “threat to water quality.”

The rules will require homeowners and others who use phosphorus fertilizers to get a professional soil test demonstrating its need.

Violators face fines from $250 for a first offense to $1,000 for repeat offenses.

The use of phosphorus fertilizers will be banned from Dec. 1 to March 15.

Farmers who use phosphorus fertilizers will have to adhere to a series of rules for crops, which include respecting a 100-foot buffer from waterways and public water supplies and a 10-foot setback for hayfields and cow pastures.

Farms with more than 10 acres must come up with a “nutrient management plan” to use fertilizers with phosphorous.

State officials will grant exemptions where proximity to water is a necessity — for cranberry bogs, for example.

“We’re not trying to hurt the agricultural community,” Corte-Real said. “But we believe that the protections we are proposing are warranted.”

Environmentalists say phosphorus-laden fertilizers are not necessary for landscaping and agriculture, but contribute to nutrient pollution that saps oxygen from waterways, which fuels algae blooms.

Phosphorus itself is not toxic, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but feeds the bacteria and algae that can harm humans, animals and delicate marine life.

Environmental groups welcome the state’s restrictions but question their practicality.

“It’s really hard to imagine how this will be enforced,” said Julia Blatt, executive director of the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance. “I mean, who is going to be the phosphorus police, checking people’s lawns?”

Blatt said many environmentalists doubt the rules, as written, will have a measurable effect.

“I personally think they missed an opportunity to ban it outright,” she said. “But they chose to go this route.”

Corte-Real said the regulations will buy cities and towns some relief from pending storm water rules being developed by the EPA, which could force millions of dollars in infrastructure upgrades.

The EPA is set to release guidelines on storm-water permits for cities — including Salem, Gloucester and Lawrence — that require reductions in levels of phosphorus and other nutrients that scientists say are fouling public waterways from Maine to California.

Massachusetts’ rules will be weak compared to those of other states — including Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Vermont — which have bans on the sale and use of phosphorus fertilizers.

Bill Renne, vice president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, predicts the impact on stores that sell fertilizer will be negligible. Most major fertilizer companies that supply the retail market — including industry giant Scotts Miracle-Gro Company — are phasing out phosphorus.

“They’re not requiring stores to take these products off the shelf, which was our primary concern,” Renne said.

Lawn-care groups have argued against the new regulations, saying they will increase costs for the business owners and consumers but do little to reduce pollution.

Christian M. Wade covers the Massachusetts Statehouse. He can be reached at cwade@cnhi.com Follow him on Twitter: @cmwade1969


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Tuesday, September 16, 2014 3:05 am.

Article source: http://www.newburyportnews.com/news/local_news/article_6d03c014-ce46-5e1d-9cfb-7dab2e3c5baa.html

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum launches public fundraising effort



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    The proposed Tashjian Bee and Pollinator Discovery Center, which will be located near the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s iconic Red Barn.

    Photo: Provided by the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum,

    CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

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    The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum on Tuesday announced the kickoff of the public portion of a $60 million capital campaign, the most ambitious fundraising effort in its 56-year history.

    The arboretum — the largest public garden in the Upper Midwest — already has raised almost $45 million from private donors, including one $6 million gift for expanding a conservatory. About 328,000 visits were made to the Chanhassen public garden and education and research center in the year ended June 30.

    Now the final stretch of the five-year fundraising campaign begins for the remaining $15 million. In addition to the conservatory, the long list of projects planned includes a Chinese garden walk and a “discovery center” dedicated to teaching the public the importance of preserving bees and other natural pollinators.

    “We want to create a world-class arboretum for the citizens of Minnesota, keeping it the wonderful place that it already is,” said Ed Schneider, arboretum director and professor at the University of Minnesota.

    Last week, private donors attended an event at the arboretum to learn details of projects that have already been completed and others still in the works. “We’re hoping they’ll serve as good ambassadors who will help spread the word to get the whole community involved in enhancing the arboretum,” Schneider said.

    The idea for creating the bee and pollinator center began about four years ago with Marla Spivak, one of the university’s top bee researchers, said Judy Hohmann, the arboretum’s marketing and communications manager. Spivak told the arboretum she was interested in establishing a community outreach facility. About the same time, the family of Joe Tashjian, a St. Paul radiologist, expressed interest in such a project. Hohmann said the family knew Spivak and had learned about her research.

    “The stars really aligned, as public awareness of this issue grew and the gift [of $2 million] from the Tashjian family made the goal for a center more tangible,” Hohmann said. About $6.4 million has already been raised for the $6.9 million center, Schneider said. The facility will house exhibits on pollinators and programs on bees’ social behavior as well as the health benefits of bee products.

    The bee and pollinator center will be next to the arboretum’s Red Barn, which is being used for storage. Money from the capital campaign is being used to transform it into a sustainable farming and landscaping learning hub with interactive exhibits and displays. Some money also will go toward a new multi-use roadway that will branch out from the arboretum’s Three-Mile Drive and connect the Red Barn and the bee and pollinator center with other arboretum buildings and gardens.

    Work has also begun on the walk for a future Chinese garden whose features will include a wetland pond, weeping willows, peonies, day lilies and other plantings of Asian origin.

    The $6 million donation for expanding the Meyer-Deats Conservatory came from Armand Brachman, a comanaging partner of Dominium Co., a Twin Cities affordable housing and property management firm. Schneider said the expansion will allow the building to become a year-round facility with plant displays in various climate ecosystems.

    Several features of the capital campaign have already been completed, including the Harrison Sculpture Garden, the Wurtele Bog Walk, renovations to the Woodland Azalea Garden and Waterfall, a plaza and gatehouse at the arboretum entrance, and new visitor rest stops.

    Hohmann said the arboretum hopes to wrap up the fundraising campaign, which began in 2011, by fall 2016. Donors can target their gifts to specific projects on the arboretum’s website or in donation boxes at the gardens.

    Susan Feyder • 612-673-1723

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    Hope for Impatiens?

    Posted: Monday, September 15, 2014 3:26 pm
    |


    Updated: 3:26 pm, Mon Sep 15, 2014.

    Hope for Impatiens?

    By Bob Beyfuss
    For Columbia-Greene Media

    thedailymail.net

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    This week’s column was posted on the Cornell University “Mushrooms List Serve”. It was posted by Megan Daniels, a talented mycology grad student at Cornell. As little as four years ago, hybrids of Impatiens, were the most popular annual flower in America. Now, they are not even being sold at many garden centers.

    This year Grandma couldn’t find impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) to plant in her flower beds. She’s always planted impatiens! But lately, impatiens have been sickened by downy mildew, caused by Plasmopara obducens. This plant disease has received attention the past few years because it decimates the most popular varieties of this annual garden plant. What you probably haven’t heard yet is the story of how impatiens, through sex, sheer luck, and the attention of one man, rose to the pinnacle of popularity only to be suddenly destroyed, all thanks to an unassuming downy mildew that has been lurking close to our back yards.

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    Monday, September 15, 2014 3:26 pm.

    Updated: 3:26 pm.

    Article source: http://www.thedailymail.net/columnists/weekly_gardening_tips/article_295a166c-3d0e-11e4-87fb-375fecb97ebc.html

    Gardening Tips: Green Tomatoes, Planting Garlic, & More

    Earl May’s Tim Rundlett answers your questions regarding what to do about green tomatoes, how to prepare the soil for planting garlic, plus much more!

    Send us your questions for next week by clicking here.

    Article source: http://whotv.com/2014/09/13/gardening-tips-green-tomatoes-planting-garlic-more/

    Easy DIY tips for gardening in spring

    Easy tips to tidy the garden during spring.

    Spring is the time to get outdoors and freshen up the garden with new plantings and completing a few maintenance jobs. Photo: File

    WITH the weather warming up now is the time to start pottering outdoors to complete a few easy jobs that will have your garden looking in tip-top shape throughout spring and into summer.

    A must-do job, says Bunnings national garden care buyer David Hardie is removing the weeds from garden beds and the lawn. This will help plants recover from winter and get the garden back into shape during spring to encourage healthy growth and a strong planting season, Hardie says. Here’s Hardie’s top tips on how to keep the garden looking fresh in spring.

    • Encourage kids to start a compost bin in the garden to recycle organic garden and kitchen waste into a highly nutritious soil conditioner.
    • Remove new and emerging weeds from the garden by hand or with a hoe. Target stronger weeds with herbicide treatments that won’t damage flowers and plants.
    • Prune fruit trees in early spring before new fruit develops to encourage healthy growth and make it easier to harvest produce. Pruning trees will also help minimise pests and diseases.
    • Prepare the soil and plant seeds in early spring to allow them to grow to maturity as early as possible. Fertilise the seeds to give them plenty of food for growth.
    • Give new life to garden tools by cleaning them with disinfectant or investing in new tools to last the season.
    • Spring is an ideal time to plant vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers to ensure a bountiful crop for your summer salads.
    • Maintaining the lawn in spring will allow it to grow lush and green come summer. Aerate the soil to allow the lawn to breathe. Tackle weeds early and sprinkle fertiliser over the soil to ensure a strong lawn is grown.
    • Repot container-grown plants that have outgrown their current pot. Place them into larger pots with fresh potting mix or trim the roots of the plant and replant them into their existing pot with fresh potting mix.
    • Maintain water features and clean out accumulated rubbish and leaves that may have built up over winter. Re-pot water plants before returning them to ponds to give them a healthy new environment.

    marina.williams@farifaxmedia.com.au

    Article source: http://www.camdencourier.com.au/story/2562232/diy-spring-gardening-tips/?cs=2507

    Easy DIY tips for gardening in spring

    Easy tips to tidy the garden during spring.

    Spring is the time to get outdoors and freshen up the garden with new plantings and completing a few maintenance jobs. Photo: File

    WITH the weather warming up now is the time to start pottering outdoors to complete a few easy jobs that will have your garden looking in tip-top shape throughout spring and into summer.

    A must-do job, says Bunnings national garden care buyer David Hardie is removing the weeds from garden beds and the lawn. This will help plants recover from winter and get the garden back into shape during spring to encourage healthy growth and a strong planting season, Hardie says. Here’s Hardie’s top tips on how to keep the garden looking fresh in spring.

    • Encourage kids to start a compost bin in the garden to recycle organic garden and kitchen waste into a highly nutritious soil conditioner.
    • Remove new and emerging weeds from the garden by hand or with a hoe. Target stronger weeds with herbicide treatments that won’t damage flowers and plants.
    • Prune fruit trees in early spring before new fruit develops to encourage healthy growth and make it easier to harvest produce. Pruning trees will also help minimise pests and diseases.
    • Prepare the soil and plant seeds in early spring to allow them to grow to maturity as early as possible. Fertilise the seeds to give them plenty of food for growth.
    • Give new life to garden tools by cleaning them with disinfectant or investing in new tools to last the season.
    • Spring is an ideal time to plant vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers to ensure a bountiful crop for your summer salads.
    • Maintaining the lawn in spring will allow it to grow lush and green come summer. Aerate the soil to allow the lawn to breathe. Tackle weeds early and sprinkle fertiliser over the soil to ensure a strong lawn is grown.
    • Repot container-grown plants that have outgrown their current pot. Place them into larger pots with fresh potting mix or trim the roots of the plant and replant them into their existing pot with fresh potting mix.
    • Maintain water features and clean out accumulated rubbish and leaves that may have built up over winter. Re-pot water plants before returning them to ponds to give them a healthy new environment.

    marina.williams@farifaxmedia.com.au

    Article source: http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/2562232/diy-spring-gardening-tips/?cs=24