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Archives for September 26, 2014

Fairhope approves Knoll Park plan, dissolves committee

FAIRHOPE, Ala. — The Fairhope City Council approved a Knoll Park maintenance and landscaping plan and dissolved the Knoll Park Committee at its regular meeting on Monday.

The move was not without controversy, as 13 residents spoke for and against the plan for nearly an hour during public participation and the council debated the issue for more than 40 minutes before the vote.

In the end, the council approved a version of the plan presented by local landscape artist Joe Comer which would be overseen by the Public Works department. The council then voted 3-2 to dissolve the Knoll Park Committee, which was created in the spring after a special public meeting on the issue in February.

Knoll Park is a 4.6 acre park located on the crest of the bluff overlooking Mobile Bay. Residents in the city have been divided over whether to continue with the ongoing longleaf pine ecosystem restoration, mow and maintain it like a city park, or a compromise with a manicured perimeter and natural interior. Residents and council members have also been divided over the issue of prescribed burns, which advocates say are necessary for the health of the longleaf pine habitat.

The resolution approved on Monday accepts the landscape plan for Knoll Park designed by Comer, subject to the Public Works director Jennifer Fidler’s discretion. The Public Works director is authorized to oversee the park, subject to the maintenance plan adopted by the Knoll Park Committee on June 11. The resolution passed with a unanimous vote.

Councilmen Mike Ford, Rich Mueller, and Kevin Boone voted in favor of dissolving the committee, while Councilwoman Diana Brewer and Council President Jack Burrell voted to keep it intact.

Boone said that no other city park has its own committee and that it is time to move forward with the park.

“I would like to see the park move in a positive direction,” he said. “I’m tired of looking at it the way it is.”

Brewer said that Knoll Park is different in that no other city park is in the middle of a longleaf pine habitat restoration project.

“This is not just another park,” she said. “We’ve heard over and over it is not just another park. I feel strongly about citizen involvement, and we appointed this committee and these are all volunteers. They are citizens and they have just as much of a right in the process as we do. I don’t think we should dissolve something that we appointed, we asked them to serve in this capacity to help guide this process. To eliminate it because we don’t like what they’ve come forward with is wrong.”

Burrell agreed with Brewer, saying he would like to have the committee around to help the city oversee the implementation of the plan.

“I think this is a bad move,” he said. “I think the Knoll Park Committee is useful in making sure that the plan we just approved, or any future plan, would be implemented properly. We have a field of experts unlike any we will find again, and they can provide valuable input.”

During public participation Green Nurseries owner Bobby Green, a Knoll Park Committee member, said the park is not in the condition the committee would like but that there has been progress made.

“At this point it is greatly improved from the looks 12 months or so ago,” he said. “It is not to the point we would like to see. It needs continued vigilance. It needs fire as a tool to bring it back to the point the Founders sought, 100 or so years ago. That would bring life back into the forest.”

Wisteria Garden Club member Linda Gibson said she hopes that Knoll Park is still around for her 5-month-old grandson to see when he grows up.

“I know that if we work together we can get things in there that will make it last,” she said. “I like the park. I’m opposed to 20-foot azaleas, I’m opposed to anything that will take away from the natural beauty that is there. My grandson is going to be 5 months old, and I would like for him to be able to see what this looks like, what Fairhope looked like when people first came here in the 1800s.”

Committee member May Moss Parker asked for more time.

“I would like to appeal that our committee has a little more time to do some work,” she said. “Please give us a chance. Please let us keep the committee and let us try to work this out. I appreciate the beauty of the town. “

Others, like Fairhope Avenue property owner Rick Hall, trust the city to make the park beautiful.

“I think there can be a compromise of all these good ideas,” he said. “I’d like to put my support behind the council to take care of it. Y’all are doing something right because Fairhope looks so good. I’m confident that y’all can come up with a solution to the situation at Knoll Park.”

Mayor Tim Kant told the council that $36,000 had been budgeted for the plan in the upcoming city budget, which will be put up for a vote at a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday at City Hall.

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Congestion at issue at Flagstaff candidate forum

The public got to hear some of the solutions Flagstaff City Council candidates had for the city’s water, zoning and traffic problems at Wednesday night’s debate.

One of the hottest topics of the night was traffic congestion.

“It’s something that we beat our heads against,” said incumbent Councilmember Scott Overton. “It’s a tough nut to crack, especially on Milton.”

The current solutions the city has for the problem are small —  removing some driveways on to Milton and adding some medians, he said. The only major alternative is the Lone Tree Road corridor.

“But we still have to be open to ideas,” he said.

 Mayor Jerry Nabours agreed that the city was going to have to think of other solutions for Milton.

“We’re geographically challenged with the Rio de Flag, the mountains and the railroad,” he said.

Challenger Jim McCarthy said the city should work more with the state on finding a solution for Milton.

Candidates were also asked about a big box store ordinance that the city passed in 2004 and was overturned by voters in 2005. The ordinance would have limited a retail store to 125,000 square feet and prohibited retailers from setting aside more than 8 percent of their floor space for groceries.

Candidates were asked how they felt about the ordinance and would they have voted for it, if they were on Council at the time. All of the candidates agreed that the ordinance was inappropriate.

“I think the voters got this one right,” said Overton. “Very rarely do we see something like this. There were some things in there that were a turn off to voters. “

Challenger Charlie Odegaard agreed.

“I don’t believe in ordinances that limit. I really believe in free-enterprise. I believe I can be better than the big box stores in my business,” he said.

Incumbent Mark Woodson said “The rules were in place we didn’t need another layer on top of it. But this issue is not over. I’ve had some constituents come to me and ask me if I would support a law that would prohibit (retail) chains from moving into downtown Flagstaff. This idea that we can stifle competition is wrong.”

McCarthy agreed that the ordinance was wrong, but said the city needs to preserve some of its character. He pointed to The Standard, a large student housing complex that was proposed for site near Route 66 and Blackbird Roost, as an example. The developer of the project withdrew their zoning application after the surrounding community objected to the project.

“The Standard was inappropriate for that location,” McCarthy said.

The city needs to balance the needs and wants of land owners and the rights of neighbors, he said.

Candidates were also asked their thoughts on the renewal of the reclaimed water agreement with the Arizona Snowbowl.

Nabours said he had no regrets about signing the agreement. The Snowbowl put a lot of money into building the pipeline. The city is just selling them water, he said.

McCarthy said he would not have voted for the contract when it was first proposed. However, he would have voted to renew the contract.

“I think we have to honor that contract,” he said.

McCarthy said he disagreed with the idea of using reclaimed wastewater for the ski resort because the water should be used to recharge the city aquifer. The city also should have taken the concerns of the local Indian tribes more seriously when negotiating the original contract.

Odegaard pointed out that the Snowbowl generates a lot of revenue for the city both in the sale of the treated wastewater and sales taxes from visitors. The wastewater, which is used for make snow, also eventually recharges back into the aquifer.

“I asked the director of the Snowbowl if he would have been able to open this year without reclaimed water and he said, ‘No,” Odegaard said.

Overton said the city was very respectful to the community when it came to making a decision on the issue.

“The water is a great product,” he said. The city uses it on its parks, landscaping and sports fields during the warmer months.

“This is something that we would have been pushing down the Rio de Flag in the winter,” he said. Instead the city is making some revenue by selling it.

Woodson said the original Snowbowl contract was a good opportunity. Not only was a major customer willing to invest millions to get the water, but it allows local businesses to make plans for the winter.

Candidates were also asked what they would like to improve at the city.

Odegaard said he wanted to improve the approval process for businesses.

Woodson said the city needed to continue to work on “straightening the pipes,” making it easier for developers and business owners to get through the regulations and get what they need.

McCarthy wanted to make the approval processes for construction, opening a business and zoning more predictable. He’s spoken with a number of residents who have been told one thing by one department and then told something different by another department.

“I think people should be given a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’,” he said.

The future of the city’s water was another topic brought up at the debate.

“It’s one of the most complex issues we have to deal with,” Overton said. “I have to thank the Council that bought Red Gap Ranch. They were thinking of the future. We have to have a strategy. We can’t conserve our way out of this. To think we don’t need another water source is wrong.”

Red Gap Ranch is located about 40 miles outside the city limits. The city bought it several years ago in order to obtain the rights to its groundwater.

Overton said Council’s job now was to make sure all of the paperwork to finish the Red Gap Ranch pipeline was complete, so when the city needed the water all it would have to do was build the pipeline.

Woodson said the city needed to better educate the public on how to use water wisely. It also needed to make better use of the reclaimed wastewater it created.

“If we can reduce demand, it creates less of a challenge later,” he said.

Nabours pointed out that water was going to become like gasoline. The price was going to continue to climb.

“Rates aren’t going to be as cheap as they are today,” he said. “We’ve been working on a path for the pipeline with the (Arizona Department of Transportation) and there’s an agreement for the right of way along I-40 circulating among the Governor’s office. It would be a deficient City Council if we weren’t working on it.”

McCarthy said the city should rethink the use of its reclaimed wastewater if it wanted to push the need for Red Gap Ranch into the future. Reclaimed wastewater should be recharged into the aquifer, not wasted on landscaping and sports facilities.

Only five of the eight candidates for Council and the mayor’s office attended the event. Councilmember Celia Barotz sent her regrets that she could not attend because she would be celebrating the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. Mayoral candidate Jamie Hasapis said he had a previous commitment, as did Council candidate Eva Putzova.

Both Putzova and Hasapis said they received their invitations to the debate the week before the event, which was cosponsored by the Flagstaff Republican Women and the Flagstaff Tea Party.

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Simple ideas to refresh your entryway – Marshfield News

Most people enter their home through the garage or backdoor, forgetting how the front entrance looks to neighbors and guests. Your front door is often the first thing others notice about your home. That’s why it’s key to make a positive first impression.

How to create an inviting entrance

Transform your home’s curb appeal with a new front door. With so many new entry door systems to choose from, ranging from single doors, to double-door options, to those accented with decorative glass, or transoms and sidelights, it’s easy to find one that fits your budget and your style. Choose a design option to create a distinctive look, whether you’re building a new home, remodeling, or simply replacing an old door.

Pick a standout color for your front door

Sticking with your door? A fresh coat of paint will do wonders. Try a bold color to brighten a neutral color scheme. Pick a color that coordinates with your home’s exterior, but dare to be bold with color contrast to add eye appeal.

Update your hardware

Why stop with a fresh coat of paint? Refresh old doors with new hardware. Choose handles and door knockers that complement your home’s exterior design.

Replace broken or damaged items

Replace broken light fixtures, burned out bulbs and worn out weather-stripping on exterior doors. Pitch that faded wreath, worn out mat and dead plants, and instead, add a bright new welcome mat and eye-catching seasonal decorations.

Clean up, accent with contrast

Use a little elbow grease and ammonia-free, vinegar-based glass cleaner to wash the windows. Wipe down window and door frames and sweep sills with a dry paint brush or vacuum to remove dirt.

Fill flower boxes or containers with boldly colored plants to accent your front door. If you’ve painted your door red, plant red and white or red and purple flowers to create a designer look. Or if you’re keen on green doors, try purple or orange flowers for contrast.

Illuminate your walkway

Make it easy for others to see the way to your front door at night. Transform and illuminate walkways with easy-to-install solar lights. Stake them in the ground positioned so solar cells get enough southern exposure for sunlight to recharge nightlights during the day.

Trim bushes, create great container gardens

Landscaping should accent your home, not dominate it. Keep bushes below the bottom sill of your windows to improve your view. Trim or replace overgrown shrubs and trees. Keep plant material trimmed several feet away from your home to minimize damage from wind or insects, and help eliminate a place for prowlers to lurk. Keep your porch and steps clear of clutter and create container gardens to accent your entry. Fill decorative containers with plants that accent your home’s color scheme, front door and landscape design.

Courtesy of Brand Point.

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Long Beach couple conserves water with native landscaping


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Conserving water wasn’t the only reason Joshua Frank and his wife, Chelsea Mosher, converted their tiny yard and parkway to California coastal and chaparral native plants.

As surfers, they wanted to curb runoff and create a habitat for local wildlife in their downtown Long Beach neighborhood. Their 1923 California bungalow sat empty for a few years until the 30-something couple — he’s managing editor at the online political journal CounterPunch, she’s an artist who teaches photography at California State University, Long Beach — moved in and began tackling the neglected grounds.

With volunteers from Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Gardens and a cash-back incentive from the city’s Lawn-to-Garden Turf Replacement Program, they ripped out truckloads of grass and gravel, replenished the sandy soil and put in drought-tolerant landscaping.

“This is the dormant season for native so our garden doesn’t look as showy,” Mosher says. Frank chuckles, saying “It’s definitely better in the spring — if we get any rain.”

To compensate for dry spells, they hand water their landscape of pink flowered currants, California mountain lilacs, Pacific mist, seaside daisy and more to keep it thriving without going above the Tier 1 usage level on their bill.

“It is a shift to switch from looking at palm trees, bougainvillea and birds of paradise,” Mosher says. “Because anything can grow in Southern California, it starts to seem like there is no regional landscape. With this, I can appreciate it.”

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Noted artist creates glass canopy for SLU

The latest phase of Amazon’s South Lake Union campus features a glass installation that invokes a forest canopy.

Spencer Finch created the piece, “There is Another Sky,” which developer Vulcan Real Estate unveiled Thursday. The title bears some similarity to Finch’s “Trying To Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning,” which was the only work of art commissioned for the National September 11 Memorial Museum.

“There is Another Sky” is a glass canopy, along with 100 LED “fireflies” throughout the planted areas of the courtyard where the piece stands. The lights are choreographed to activate in the late afternoon when natural light is low, creating a scene similar to a forest floor at dusk, and blink in a variety of flight patterns, according to a news release.

The latest Amazon development takes up most of the block bounded by Ninth and Westlake Avenues North and Republican and Mercer Streets. It consists of five- and six-story office buildings, totaling 395,000 square feet. Two more phases, scheduled for completion next year, will bring the expansion to 1 million square feet.

The installation is part of a “galleria” connecting Ninth and Westlake, with plazas at each end. In addition to Finch’s piece, it has water features, landscaping and heated outdoor seating.

The new development also has public bike racks, a bike fix-it kiosk and 400 square feet of space for Seattle’s first Pronto bike-share station. A South Lake Union streetcar station is integrated into a portion of the building facing Westlake. The project is targeting gold-level certification through the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, with such features as the bike-share station, rain gardens, water catchment and retention systems, and green roofs.

Finch’s piece is the 18th work of public art that Vulcan has commissioned for South Lake Union. Click through the gallery above to see “There is Another Sky,” “Trying To Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning” and other public art works in South Lake Union.

Read more real estate news. Visit’s home page for more Seattle news. Reach Aubrey Cohen at or (206) 448-8362.

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Tours draw attention to history and landscaping in Doylestown area

A few steps north of the historic Fountain House in Doylestown — you’d know it as the Starbucks at Main and State streets — sits an unassuming brick building that looks like a remnant of the borough’s Colonial past.

So thought Anne Biggs, in the days before she became a local historian, when it was rumored to be the oldest building in the borough.

“Joseph Fretz (a local hotelier) wanted a sort of a grill room attached to the Fountain House. It was built with heavy beams, huge fireplace, big chimney in the back. The style of the roof, the windows, looked ancient,” she said.

But the building is more pre-World War I than Revolutionary War. A restaurant when it was built around 1905, the structure now houses a cigar shop.

According to Biggs, such seemingly effortless architectural transitions illustrate the genius of Adam Oscar Martin, who designed homes, businesses and other structures starting in the late-19th through the mid-20th centuries.

“He built what was needed for the time, what was needed for the client, the use of the building, but also building for the sensibility of the surrounding area. He did something really exquisite,” she said.

Martin’s work is the subject of the first docent-led walking tour to be offered by the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce Architectural and Environmental Committee’s Excellence in Design series.

The event starts at 1 p.m. Sunday, rain or shine, at the top level of the parking garage at Broad and Union streets and runs three hours.

Admission is $20, payable at the start of the tour.

Organizers also are throwing an after-party at Maxwell’s on Main, at 37 N. Main St., with a cake to celebrate Martin’s 141st birthday, which, coincidentally, is Sunday.

Participants will get a short course in Martin’s work, with reference to five homes the architect designed in his trademark square and sturdy style, including his own house.

Among the residences on view is a home built for a member of the Sheetz family around 1909 on East Court Street. It has a hip roof and is clad in smooth stucco. “If you look at that, and the Fretz clubhouse, you couldn’t get two buildings that were more different,” said Biggs.

Martin was known for his stylistic range, described by the James A. Michener Art Museum as “from Queen Anne to shingle to Tudor, from Colonial Revival to Craftsman bungalows … from

original designs to commercial work to alterations and additions.”

Among his non-residential designs in Doylestown is the Standard Club on East State Street, built as a Moose lodge in 1913; the present Medical Healing Arts Center on East Oakland Avenue that once was a union headquarters; and the headquarters of Doylestown Fire Co. No. 1 on Shewell Avenue, opened in 1903.

Martin was in skilled architectural company over the years who contributed to the visual character of Doylestown. “I could say if we took Oscar’s buildings out, we would lose a lot,” said Biggs. “He really had quite an impact on the built environment … his buildings lasted, they were built extremely well. They are still beauties.”

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Also on Sunday, a different group, Bucks Beautiful, holds its annual kitchen and garden tour of area homes, this year revved up with different vintage cars on view at each of seven locations.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine, and raises funds for projects such as planting daffodils along highways throughout the county.

The sites on the self-guided tour include Old Glory Farm in Buckingham, a onetime designer show house; a home on West Court Street in Doylestown with a tile installation by Henry Chapman Mercer dating from 1929; and Carousel Farm in Buckingham.

Among the classic vehicles on view are a 1928 Ford Model A Woody station wagon (West Court Street), a 2012 Tesla Model S Signature (Old Glory Farm) and a 1939 Chevrolet 3/4-ton pickup truck and a 2005 C6 Corvette (Carousel Farm).

The cost of the kitchen and garden tour is $35. Tickets are available in advance at The Doylestown Bookshop, Bucks Country Gardens, Bountiful Acres and the Bucks County Antique Center in Chalfont. On the day of the event, tickets are on sale at Carousel Farm and the tour stop at 110 Pine Valley Road in Doylestown.

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Spring gardening: five easy tips for a beautiful lawn

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Garden tips for October

Posted: Thursday, September 25, 2014 7:30 pm

Garden tips for October



• You can continue to replant or establish cool-season lawns like fescue.

• The mowing height for fescue should be lowered to approximately 2 inches for fall and winter cutting.

• Broadleaf weeds like dandelions can be easily controlled during October (HLA-6421 HLA-6601).

• Mow and neatly edge warm-season lawns before killing frost.


• Plant cool-season annuals like pansies, ornamental cabbage or kale, snapdragons and dusty miller when temperatures begin to cool.

• Begin planting spring-flowering bulbs like tulips, hyacinths, crocus and daffodils.

• Good companion plants for bulbs are ground covers such as ajuga, vinca, English ivy, alyssum, moneywort, thrift, phlox, oxalis and leadwort.

• Peonies, daylilies, and other spring-flowering perennials should be divided or planted now.

• Dig and store tender perennials like cannas, dahlias, and caladiums in a cool, dry location.

• Purchase trees from nurseries and garden centers at this time to select the fall color you prefer.

• Many perennials can be planted at this time and the selection is quite nice.

• Plant fall mums and asters and keep them watered during dry conditions. Don’t crowd since they take a couple of years to reach maturity.

• Plant container-grown trees and shrubs this month.

• Check and treat houseplants for insect pests before bringing them indoors and repot rootbound plants.

Fruits Vegetables

• Dig sweet potatoes and harvest pumpkins and winter squash.

• Remove green fruit from tomato plants when frost threatens.

• Harvest Oriental persimmons and pawpaws as they begin to change color.

• There is still time to plant radishes and mustard in the fall garden.

• Use a cold frame device to plant spinach, lettuce and various other cool-season crops for production most of the winter.

• Plant cool-season cover crops like Austrian winter peas, wheat, clover, and rye in otherwise fallow garden plots.

• Remove all debris from the garden to prevent overwintering of various garden pests.

• Start new planting bed preparations now with plenty of organic matter.

Water Gardens

• Take tropical water garden plants indoors when water temperatures near 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

• Close the water garden for the winter by placing hardy plants in the deeper areas of the pool. Stop feeding the fish.

• Cover water gardens with bird netting to catch dropping leaves during the winter months.

The following workshops will be held at the OSU Extension Center, 930 N. Portland, OKC, unless otherwise specified. They are free and open to the public. For questions call 713-1125. Third Thursday gardening: “Winterizing — Putting your Garden to Bed,” Oct. 16th, 6-7 p.m.

RAY RIDLEN is a horticulture/agriculture educator for the Oklahoma County OSU Extension Service. He may be reached at 713-1125.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014 7:30 pm.

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Ray Ridlen, Osu Extension, Garden Tips For Next Month

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Garden Tips: Advice for digging up summer bulbs

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