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Archives for September 23, 2014

Normal traffic resumes on highway hit by slide

OSO, Wash. (AP) — Six months after a hillside gave way in the Washington town of Oso, burying 43 people and blocking a state highway, the community is taking another step toward recovery with the return of normal traffic on the route.

The state Transportation Department said Monday night that state Route 530 through the area is now open to two-way, 50 mph traffic. The department most recently had estimated that full reopening would come Tuesday but said crews have finished paving and striping the new roadway.

The highway was realigned and raised as much as 20 feet in places. Crews also installed six new culverts as part of a $28 million project funded by federal emergency money. Landscaping work will continue until mid-October.

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Food trucks report trouble at The Lot in Asheville – Asheville Citizen

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Argosy owners prepared to pay for late riverboat removal

SIOUX CITY | High waters may stop the Argosy riverboat casino from leaving the Sioux City waterfront by its Sept. 28 deadline, but its owners say they’re prepared to reimburse the city for any delay.

Under its contract with the city, the casino is required to leave its berth at Larsen Park Road 60 days after gaming operations end. If the boat’s owners — Iowa Gaming Co. and Belle of Sioux City — can’t move it out of the spot by then, they’re required to pay the city $7,500 in rent each month.

At Monday night’s City Council meeting, Mayor Bob Scott said the casino is ready to pay the city if high waters slow down the removal process.

“The rivers are way up, so the boat won’t go under the bridges,” he said. “They have to wait until the river flow is down about 3 feet. It’s at about 17 feet and it needs to be at 14 feet to move it.”

The Argosy closed on July 30, after parent company Penn National Gaming fought for two years to keep the casino open. Up until last week, the casino’s owners declined to reveal how the removal was going.

Scott says the owners filled him in just days ago.

“They’ve been working with the (Army) Corps (of Engineers) since Aug. 11,” Scott said. “I wish they would have shared that information with us, but I guess we needed to do a better job asking … It now appears they’re on target to try and get out of here as soon as they can.”

Councilwoman Rhonda Capron said it’s good to at least know the casino’s owners are on the same page as the city.

“They can’t be out of there by the 28th,” she said. “But they’re paying us rent until there’s a window of opportunity they can get the barge through. It’s not going to happen by the 28th, but at least they’re paying for the space while they’re still here.”

Once the boat is gone, city officials will have to determine what will take its place on the riverfront.

Capron said she’d like to see a park-like spot to beautify the area.

“We might put in some landscaping and a walking trail that overlooks the river,” she said. “I just want it to be welcoming.”

There’s also been some demand from community members for a fishing pier at the site.

“There’s a pretty steep incline there, so you might have a lot of struggles if you try and put in a fishing pier,” Scott said.

Regardless of what they decide, Capron said the final decision would be based on whatever the community supports.

“Some of these people are really coming up with some original ideas,” she said. “I’m looking for more input from our people, because we only get one shot to do this and it’s going to be there for a long time.” 

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Manito Mirror Pond improvements underway

RRACO Inc. owner Rick Atkinson, right, and employee Phil Harris place basalt boulders around the perimeter of Manito Park’s Mirror Pond on Monday. A major renovation project will improve the shoreline’s stability and pond’s water quality.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

How to contribute

Friends of Manito is still accepting donations to renovate Manito Park Mirror Pond. Checks can be sent to the Friends of Manito, 4 W. 21st Ave., Spokane, WA 99203 and should be designated “Mirror Pond.”

For more information, visit

Most of the water in the Mirror Pond of Manito Park has been drained, leaving behind a bright green scum floating on top of what’s left. Ducks swim through it, kicking up a trail of brown sediment as they paddle across.

It may not be pretty now, but Friends of Manito and the city of Spokane Parks and Recreation Department are working to change that. Fondly known as the “duck pond,” the Mirror Pond is getting an upgrade.

Horticulture Supervisor Steve Nittolo said the project is the first of several phases to a much larger project, which should take a couple of years to complete.

The current project includes landscaping and shoreline improvements and an auto-fill system to help maintain water levels.

“It’s going to look a lot better out there,” Nittolo said.

Work crews drained much of the pond to install the basalt boulders along the edge. They left some water to preserve the fish and turtles. Nittolo said the boulder wall will help protect against soil erosion around the pond and will be aesthetically pleasing. There will be new bushes and shrubs along a new walkway, which will be ADA accessible. The walkway will be gravel for now, and Nittolo hopes it will be paved in the future.

“The grass was a problem,” he said. Visitors would walk along the shore, wearing the grass down and eroding the shoreline. The trees and bushes should help improve some of the habitats of wildlife while making it less attractive to geese.

The auto-fill system will add water to the pond as needed and will shut itself off before the pond overflows. The Washington state Department of Ecology awarded a grant of a little more than $30,000 for the system, design and installation.

“This is just to make up water,” Nittolo said. The Friends of Manito have been discussing the pond with a lake management specialist about the water quality. Adding plants and reinforcing the shoreline should also help with the quality.

Last year the Friends put in aquatic plants and terraces, and Nittolo said there are plans for adding more plants to make the area more gardenlike. Ponderosa pines will be planted along the eastern shore of the pond. He hopes there will be signs in the future describing the plantlife.

“It’s going to bring it up to the level of the gardens of Manito,” he said.

Work began on the project Sept. 2 and is expected to be completed by Oct. 31. Once completed, the pond will be refilled. The Friends of Manito contributed about $51,000 for the project, and the parks and recreations capital fund matched that amount.

RRACO Inc. is the contractor and Land Expressions LLC was the designer.

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Greenspace: Church builds rain garden in a nick of time – Post

Posted: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 9:12 am

Greenspace: Church builds rain garden in a nick of time

Brian Todd,

Post-Bulletin Company, LLC

It’s been a bit of a wet mess these last few months. We’ve scarcely gone a week without some rainfall in town. So the folks at the First Unitarian Universalist Church, in Rochester, decided to build a rain garden on the church grounds.

“It was a combination of a lot of runoff, and we were seeing a lot of erosion along the hillside by the church,” said Bill Thompson, a member of the church who helped build the rain garden. After the planning that began in February, volunteers spent many Saturday mornings digging up plants, forming the two ponds and landscaping the new rain gardens.

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      Tuesday, September 23, 2014 9:12 am.

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      Botanic Gardens 2014-15 lecture series begins Sept. 27

      The president and board of directors of the Delaware Botanic Gardens,, are working to make the DBG a reality by 2016.

      The 37-acre site with 1,010 feet of waterfront on Pepper Creek is one mile east of Dagsboro on Piney Neck Road. DBG’s mission is to create an inspirational, educational, and sustainable coastal-plain botanic garden in southern Delaware for the benefit and enjoyment of the public.

      The DBG has a series of lectures planned for 2014-15. The website provides dates, times and locations of the four lectures. Cost to attend a lecture is typically $15, but free to DBG members. Individual membership is $40, but other memberships, including charter memberships, are available.

      The lecture series begins 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Sept. 27, at the Enrichment Center, East Coast Nursery, 30366 Cordrey Road, Millsboro. Michael Zajic, president and founder of DBG, will present “Best Spring Flowering Bulbs and Fall Gardening Tips.” Fall is the best time of year for most woody planting, lawns, and dividing perennials, and the right time to plant spring-flowering bulbs. Zajic will explain how to avoid pitfalls.

      Besides reminders on the best way to accomplish these tasks, participants will learn best choices for acquiring bulbs, lawn renovation and design tips. Zajic will also give a version of his famous patent formula for a unique organic fertilizer and plant tonic. A printout of notes will be provided.

      The second lecture, “Practical Home Landscaping: Old School to New School” will be presented by Rodney Robinson, principal of Rodney Robinson Landscape Architects Inc., from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Oct. 11, in the upstairs meeting room of the Lewes Public Library, 111 Adams Ave., Lewes. Robinson will discuss past decades of landscaping and gardening methods, and suggest ways to make home landscaping more fulfilling.

      The third lecture, “Delicious and Nutritious Microgreens for Pleasure or Profit” will be held from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015, at the Frankford Public Library, 8 Main St., Frankford. It will be presented by Wallace Pill, professor emeritus of horticulture at the University of Delaware. Microgreens are shoots of leafy vegetables that are harvested at the seedling stage for use in salads or garnishes. Pill will discuss how to produce microgreens in the home or for commercial profit. He will also discuss the production of herbs and edible flowers. This lecture is free.

      The fourth and final lecture of the 2014-15 year, “Partnering with Salt Marsh Plants to Solve Sea Level Rise Problems in the Uplands,” will be presented from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, April 11, at the Center for the Inland Bays, 39375 Inlet Road, Rehoboth Beach, by Jack Gallagher, professor emeritus of marine biosciences at the University of Delaware.

      There are several challenges in the coastal zone. One is that the burgeoning human population is creating more demand for food, feed, fuel, and freshwater. A second challenge is coping with the consequences of climate change (rising sea level, weather patterns, and impacts on aquifers). The discussion will focus on using the traits the coastal plants have acquired through their evolution. Such traits can help solve the problems humans are having in maintaining sustainable economic and ecological services in the coastal zone while resources there are changing. Note: The first half hour will be occupied by the annual meeting of the DBG.


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      Garden Tips: Control weeds with organic mulch, not landscape fabric

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      Manatee County Commission to consider exemption for boat race

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      Top 5 Tips On Garden Preparation For Winter From Bailey Nurseries

      New Roses Added To Easy Elegance CollectionThis year’s Farmer’s Almanac predicts that the Polar Vortex will return, especially in the Northern Plains and Great Lakes regions. It’s time to hunker down, as temperatures could drop to 40° below zero at the end of January and early in February. How can we advise customers to protect their gardens from yet another extreme winter? Read on for tips from Bailey Nurseries that you can share with your customers as the colder weather approaches.


      Hydrangeas took a hit last winter, and many people missed the big blooms of hydrangeas all season long. To keep them safe this winter, start by tracking the weather. When temperatures will be consistently below freezing, cover the crown of the hydrangea with mulch, leaves and/or straw before snow arrives. Snow insulates the crown and keeps it alive, so if you do not have snow cover, be sure the crown is fully protected from cold and wind. Covering the full plant with a garbage bag full of leaves, as well as the crown, is also effective on extremely cold nights.


      Roses can make some gardeners apprehensive, especially in the northern part of the U.S. With the right rose, they are an easy-care beauty just like any other shrub. Bailey Nurseries suggests Easy Elegance Rose Collection, a group of shrub roses that is bred for cold hardiness, heat tolerance and disease resistance. Crown hardy through Zones 4 and 5, depending on the variety, this collection can survive even the coldest winters, and come back each spring. These rose require little pruning, no rose cones and no special covering after their first year in the ground. In northern climates, once the temperatures are below 32°F and the plant is dormant, new plantings should be covered with mulch, oak leaves or marsh hay in an 8-inch mound from the crown. To keep the plants disease-free throughout the winter and spring, rake away fallen leaves and petals before mulching or snow setting in.


      We all saw extreme winter burn from the cold wind on hedges of arborvitae last year. To prevent this, try different varieties of evergreen that are cold tolerant.If you have a collector plant or two that tends to struggle in the winter, cover it with burlap or protective material for the coldest, windiest days. Only do this if you have a really special evergreen that is marginally hardy. If you cover the entire hedge, then you lose the winter beauty of the evergreen. Branches bending under the weight of heavy snow will bounce back once the snow starts to melt. Unless you are seeing breakage, allow the snow to grace the boughs and watch for them to perk back up in the spring.


      Assuming they are zone-appropriate, there is usually a little attention paid to preparing trees for winter. They are typically the reliable stand-by in the garden, and that remains true even with a fast-approaching winter. One thing to note is if your trees are starting to change color earlier than normal, especially in the first weeks of September, this may be a sign of stress, which could be caused by poor soil conditions, too much or too little water, or if the tree is planted too deeply. Especially for younger trees, watch this for the first year or two after planting and, if necessary, transplant the tree. If you feel that moisture is an issue and have in-ground irrigation, switch from every other day to a weekly watering of your lawn to allow for a deeper soak and less frequency. If the tree is planted too low, you can try grading the soil down so that the root flare – where the trunk flares out to the root system – is even with the soil level.

      Container Plantings

      Annuals aren’t the only plants filling containers anymore. Shrubs in decorative pots are a great way to create a focal point at an entrance or beautify a deck or patio. As we prepare for winter, there are a few options for what we can do with these containers. First, you can treat them like annuals, tossing the plants away and starting fresh next spring. This option may be a bit off-putting at first, but if you look at the cost, it’s the same to buy a beautiful shrub as it is to buy a hanging basket. The second option is to plant the shrub if you have the space and keep it living year after year. The final option is to prepare it to over-winter in the container. If you live in Zone 6 or warmer, you can lightly cover the crown and leave the container in place. For colder parts of the country, cover the crown and move the container into a garage or basement once it has gone dormant, and lightly water the container throughout the winter.


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      The Post-Frost Garden

      It’s happened – first once, then twice this week alone: a killing frost. The weatherman was helpful on these counts, and the advance advisory let me spend the hours prior harvesting. Tomatoes, cucumbers, string beans, pumpkins, and winter summer squash were all brought in before any damage was done to the produce themselves.

      Now, root crops and hardier brassica vegetables are still holding their own, sturdy and strong.  But the other garden beds, including the empty plots where a cover crop of oats is replacing potatoes, onions, garlic, and dry beans suggest a sort of vacancy to the garden. As Ryan noted with a chuckle, “Well…it looks a bit tidier with nothing in it!”

      True, and an observation I’ve made myself at times. There is an order created by emptiness.  Instead, though, we spend the warmer months finding the winsome beauty and energetic bounty in the lush chaos of a verdant garden. The weeds, the stump sprouts, the unruly herbs, the unstoppable raspberries, the preening cleome, and the dominating squash vines, not to mention the over-achieving beans and chest-high broccoli.

      The mint continues to hold its ground, and the raspberries can’t believe they’ll have to be pruned. Still, things are changing. The clover is no longer growing by the hour, and the weeds, ever pushy and persistent in over-extending their reach are, nonetheless, slowly settling into contented retirement around the edges I’ve worked to maintain. Paths and contours are re-defined, beginnings and endings are readily visible. “Crazy” isn’t the first word called to mind by a glance out the window.  

      The squash vines are now crumpled and condensed within the wooden confines of our kitchen compost bin, though they still, somehow, spill beyond its borders, but without the authoritative vigor of the summer. Walkways are now serving their purpose, and the days of jumping plants that had grown too big for their beds are behind us. Until next year.


      Which is already in sight, despite the fact that this very season is not yet concluded.  But the weeding, cover cropping, and applying of compost during these weeks are what unites the present with the approaching future. No season exists distinct from its predecessors, and the health of future vegetable generations depend on the care given to the garden at the conclusion of each preceding season. As summer officially transitions to fall, and all too quickly into winter, the fate of past, present, and future gardens continue to be woven together in a tangle of weeds, compost, and exceedingly delicious harvests.

      Time for fall clean-up of your garden and landscaped areas!  Weeding, mulching and pruning services available, plus edible landscapes and garden designs.  Contact Beth via for your annual, perennial, herbal, or ornamental garden needs (see Business Directory listing under ‘Garden Design Services’).

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