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Archives for November 21, 2014

Gardening Tips: Planting spring flowering bulbs in fall

Matthew Stevens

Matthew Stevens

Posted: Friday, November 21, 2014 11:24 am

Gardening Tips: Planting spring flowering bulbs in fall

By Matthew Stevens

The Daily Herald, Roanoke Rapids, NC


Spring flowering bulbs, such as tulips, daffodils (sometimes called jonquils or narcissus), hyacinths and crocus add lots of color and enjoyment to early spring flower beds. These bulbs are among the first flowers to appear in spring and signal cold weather is on the way out and warmer days are around the corner. The ideal time to plant these bulbs in our area is late October through November, so let’s discuss planting techniques for those of us eager to put some bulbs in the ground.

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Friday, November 21, 2014 11:24 am.

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This week’s gardening tips: don’t worry about wind chill

During cold weather, you will hear about “wind chill” temperatures on the weather reports. Plants do not feel wind chill. Focus on the actual temperature. Wind burn may occur to some tropicals during windy weather, but this is different from freeze injury.

If you do not intend to plant cool-season vegetables in your garden, pull up all the weeds that might have grown up and clean out the beds. Then heavily mulch the beds with at least 4 to 6 inches of leaves or other mulching material. This will make it much easier to plant next spring, as you will simply need to remove the mulch, prepare the soil and plant.

Finish planting spring flowering bulbs, such as daffodils, Dutch irises, narcissus, lilies, etc., by early December. This is your last chance to buy tulips and hyacinths, which must be refrigerated for at least six weeks before planting.

Continue to add colorful cool-season bedding plants to your flowerbeds. Louisiana Super Plants selections, such as Sorbet viola, Amazon dianthus, Swan columbine, Redbor kale, Diamonds Blue delphinium and Camelot foxglove, are great choices.

Make sure the Christmas tree you choose is fresh. Needles should be bright green and should not fall excessively if the tree is shaken, and the needles and branches should be pliable. For the freshest tree, take the family out to one of the local Christmas tree farms and cut your own. To locate a Christmas tree farm close to you, go to the Southern Christmas Tree Association website at and click on Louisiana.

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Garden Tips: Don’t prune pendulous branches straight across of weeping willow

Local News

Rascal Rodeo at TRAC Nov. 22

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Upcoming home and garden events: holiday home tours and gift markets galore

This week’s home and garden events:
Parterre Garden Lecture Tour — Saturday, Nov. 22, 10-11:30 a.m., The Pitot House, 1440 Moss St. — Pitot House gardener Anna Timmerman leads a lecture and tour through the property’s parterre. The garden’s design can be traced back more than 150 years. $10 (free for Louisiana Landmarks Society members).

Recycling for the BirdsSaturday, Nov. 22, 10 a.m., Northlake Nature Center, 23135 Highway 190, Mandeville — Naturalist Anita Merrigan will teach how to make a birdfeeder with recycled materials. Program is open to adults and children. Cost: $5 (free for Northlake Nature Center members). Reservation required. 985.626.1238,

Exchange shop Art Market — Saturday, Nov. 22, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Hermann-Grima House, 818 St. Louis St. — The Hermann-Grima Historic House hosts a holiday art market featuring items from local artists and craftspeople. Free.


Turkey Frying Oil recycling Drop-OffNov. 28- Dec. 5, 8 a.m.-9 p.m., Whole Foods Markets, 5600 Magazine St., 300 N. Broad St. and 3420 Veterans Blvd., Metairie — Local Whole Foods stores will collect cooking oil used for frying turkeys during the Thanksgiving holiday. The oil will be recycled by Louisiana Oilworks into eco-friendly biodiesel fuel.

Arts Market of New Orleans Nov. 29, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Palmer Park at S. Carrollton and S. Claiborne avenues — The market features local art work, crafts, food, music and children’s activities. Free. 504.523.1465.

Le Marché des FêtesDec. 6, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Pitot House, 1440 Moss St.
Festival features sales of handmade art work, gifts and holiday plants, live music, house tours and a visit from Papa Noël. Proceeds benefit the Louisiana Landmarks Society. $5. 504.482.0312,

Country Day home tourDec. 4, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Old Metairie — Six Old Metairie houses will be open for tours during the Country Day Holiday Home Tour. Cost: $20 in advance, $25 at the door. For addresses and tickets: 504.931.6366,

Newcomb Art Department Holiday Studio SaleDec. 5, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Dec. 7, noon-5 p.m., Newcomb Art Department, Woldenberg Art Center, Tulane University — The annual sale features hand-blown glass ornaments, ceramic vessels, hand-printed gifts, paintings and sculpture made by Tulane art department faculty, students and alumni. 504.314.2228

Brother Martin Home TourDec. 6, noon-3 p.m., Old Metairie — Six Old Metairie homes decorated for the holidays will be open for visitors during the Brother Martin High School’s Ladies of the Shield Holiday Home Tour. Cost: $20 in advance, $25 day of the tour. 504.284.6700,

Harrison Avenue MarketplaceDec. 10, 5-8:30 p.m., 801 Harrison Ave. — Arts, crafts and food vendors will be featured.

Preservation resource center Holiday Home TourDec. 13-14, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. tour; 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. boutique, Trinity Episcopal Church, 1329 Jackson Ave. — Seven Garden District homes will be open for self-guided tours during the Preservation Resource Center’s annual Holiday Home Tour. A boutique, featuring arts, crafts and goods from local retailers, will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church, the tour headquarters. Cost: $40 ($30 for PRC members) in advance, and $45 at the door. 504.581.7032,

Piety Street MarketDec. 13, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., 612 Piety St. — More than 30 vendors offer art, jewelry, crafts, homemade goodies, vintage collectibles and flea market finds. 504.269.3982,

Going lawn-lessDec. 13, 9 a.m.-noon, Parkway Partners, 1137 Baronne St.
Marc Pastorek, a landscape designer specializing in prairie and savanna restoration projects, leads a talk on using sedges, sedge meadows, native grasses, wildflowers and grass combinations as an alternative to sod lawns. Pastorek will discuss ways to achieve a meadow effect without fertilizers or herbicides. Also available in Parkway Partners greenhouse will be holiday plants and fruit trees.

New Orleans Recycling Drop Off DayDec. 13, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., 2928 Elysian Fields Ave. — Orleans Parish residents may bring the following items for recycling: newspapers, junk mail, phone books, plastics (No. 1 through No. 7), small metal cans, cardboard, boxboard (cereal boxes), Mardi Gras beads, computers, cell/telephones, ink/toner cartridges, digital cameras/picture frames, batteries, light bulbs and tires (limit four). To register for free curbside recycling in Orleans Parish: call 311.

New Orleans Holiday BazaarDec. 14, 1-6 p.m., Creole Gardens, 1415 Prytania St. — More than 20 local vendors will sell handmade art, crafts, gifts, food and other items. Vendors include American Prep, Commune Vintage, Cissy’s Confections, Flying Fox, HiLo, Invade, LipScape, Lionheart Prints, Matters Inc., Olesya Robison, Obeah, Passion Lilie, Saint Claude, Smoke Perfume, See Scout Sleep, Southern Creed, Tchoup Industries, Twirl Shop and more. Creole Gardens will serve gumbo and boudin balls, and a “Santa Selfie Station” will be set up for adults and youngsters alike.
Have an item? To have your home or garden event listed, send a fact sheet at least two weeks before the event to or add it to the comment stream below.

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The Grade Blog

Susan Wooden, president of a local chapter of the California School Employees Association, told the board only internal candidates should be considered for the openings.

“There are plenty of good employees in the district,” she said.

The sergeant roles, newly created positions, are part of an effort to provide a ranking structure within the KHSD police department, said district spokeswoman Lisa Krch.

Sergeants will act in absence of the chief of police. They will evaluate subordinate officers and investigate general and criminal violations.

Starting salaries for the positions are set at $5,381 a month for one year.

Wooden, at the board meeting Monday, pointed out what she said were inequities in the hiring process for the two positions.

She called law enforcement agencies outside of KHSD’s police department and found each officer had open access to a preparatory book used to inform answers to 60 of 100 questions on the sergeant’s test, she said.

KHSD officers had to pay $150 for the book, and it wasn’t available to all officers, creating an unfair advantage for external applicants, Wooden said.

She took a similar stance in support of hiring internally when the district was searching for a new superintendent earlier this year. Bryon Schaefer worked in the district for more than two decades before assuming the top administrator role Aug. 2.

KHSD similarly hires office supervisors and planning supervisors and promotes teachers, deans and assistant principals from within the district.

“We train them,” Wooden said. “They know our ways. They know our system.”

Board President Chad Vegas called it a fair claim but said he would like to know more about the role of a police sergeant before forming an opinion.

Mike Williams, another school board member, said he agrees the district should promote from within when it’s best for children.

“I’m not opposed to hiring outsiders if that’s what our system and our children need for us to do our job right,” Williams said. “But I met a lot of these officers, and I’d be surprised if we didn’t have somebody that we could (hire).”

Bryan Batey, a board member, said the district has between 18 and 20 officers on its campuses. He said it’s worth knowing if KHSD is not training its officers to be sergeants like other agencies.

There should also be some incentive for KHSD officers to apply to be sergeants such as extra points applied to their sergeant exam scores, Batey said.

He added that KHSD treating classified workers differently from certificated employees who are promoted internally is “kind of insulting.”

KHSD Police Chief Michael Collier said after the meeting Monday the hiring issue was being considered and he couldn’t comment.

The practice of hiring internally in the high school district has been controversial.

Past Superintendent Don Carter announced his retirement Jan. 6. Soon after, the five-member KHSD board announced it would only consider district employees for the role.

The board ended up considering four candidates before unanimously appointing Schaefer March 3.

Dolores Huerta, president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, released a media statement that day.

“We are subject to the decisions of an old boys network,” she wrote.

Huerta said earlier this school year, she “absolutely” feels the same.

Camila Chavez, executive director of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, said the foundation would like to see less money spent supporting the police department and more money spent on alternative discipline programs. She said she doesn’t think the district needs two new police sergeants.

“So I’m more interested to know how many counselors have been hired, have trainings happened,” she said.

NEW SCHOOL GARDEN: Horace Mann Elementary School will use vegetables grown in a school garden students helped plant last Thursday to feed families in need in the community.

Kellogg Garden Products installed a raised-bed garden for students as part of a partnership between the soil company and the Bakersfield Blaze to increase interest and number of qualified applicants to work in nursery, soil and organic industries, Dayna Gardner, the Horace Mann principal, said.

Kellogg held a competition inviting students to submit garden designs for a chance to have a garden installed at their schools.

Two fourth-grade classes at Horace Mann submitted designs, and Silvia Towers, now a fifth-grader, won in May.

Her class also got a trip to a Bakersfield Blaze baseball game for her winning design.

STUDENTS FILL NEW SCHOOL: The Fairfax School District will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony next Monday finally celebrating the opening of a new K-6 school named Zephyr Lane Elementary.

Students in kindergarten and first grade began attending the new school Aug. 18. But a start date for students in upper grades was pushed back, Superintendent Michael Coleman said.

Kids in grades second through fourth joined at the end of October, and fifth- and sixth-graders moved in last Monday.

The $19 million campus, which includes a 3,438-square-foot administration building, a 7,049-square-foot multi-use building and a 2,431-square-foot library, sits on 14 acres.

It has three kindergarten classrooms and 28 classrooms for first through sixth grades. The school employees 29 teachers and 28 classified employees.

The campus was built for 850 students.

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City’s planning director, Marvin Krout, dies

Marvin Krout was a healer.

When he came to Lincoln 12 years ago to become planning director for the city, there was tension between the development community and city officials.

Krout listened, eliminating many of the bureaucratic delays and much of the red tape while staying true to planning principles, said Tom Huston, a Lincoln attorney who represents developers.

Today, he said, the relationship between developers and the city is much less adversarial because of Krout’s approach, Huston said.

Krout, 68, died Thursday morning after a brief illness.

“Lincoln has lost a true and valued friend,” Mayor Chris Beutler said in a news release. “Marvin Krout had a powerful mind and a long-range vision for what our community could be.

“His attention to detail, visionary ideas and hard work will continue to have an impact on our community far into the future.”

Krout, hired by Mayor Don Wesely, had master’s degrees in city planning and in architecture, both from the University of Pennsylvania.

He came from Wichita, Kansas, to lead the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Department in 2002.

“He was very calm in a high-pressure job, always reasonable and thoughtful,” said Wesely. “There had been times in the past when the planning director was very controversial. But Marvin’s style was a good fit for Lincoln. He worked well with everyone.”

Veteran Lancaster County Commissioner Larry Hudkins, who has had some battles with planning over the years, said he respected Krout’s wealth of knowledge and appreciated his concern with county as well as city issues.

“Instead of being confrontational, Krout said, ‘Let’s look at the things we can agree on and go from there,’” said Hudkins. “He was a fine, fine gentleman, and this reminds us all how fragile life is.”

Mike DeKalb, who retired from the Planning Department three years, ago, described Krout as a Renaissance man.

He had very high standards, DeKalb said. The department could accept no gifts, in order to make sure it stayed above suspicion. Even a box of cookies was sent back, he said.

Krout was respected by both developers and neighborhood advocates, groups that often have very different attitudes about what is good for the city.

Cathy Beecham, a neighborhood advocate and member of the Planning Commission, said, “Marvin believed that neighborhoods form the heart of our community and worked incredibly hard to ensure that Lincoln’s neighborhoods are walkable, with a sense of place and easy access to resources.”

Krout was fair-minded, helpful and knowledgeable, said Tim Francis, with the Capitol View Neighborhood Association.

“He had the interest of the city as a whole at heart. The city really sustained a loss,” he said.

From beautiful landscaping to pedestrian-friendly street fronts with windows, not walls, facing the street, Krout’s fingerprints are all over Lincoln, said Leirion Gaylor Baird, a member of the City Council and former planning commissioner.

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City looks to mold downtown plaza into ‘smart park’

The small area behind the Center Street parking structure was just supposed to be a spot where the city stored its picnic tables until the next weekly Summer Concert Series event.

That is until those picnic tables, locked together in bunches, became a gathering place of sorts for area business employees and visitors.

Judy Davids, community engagement specialist for Royal Oak, said even when the concert series ended in mid-August those who used the tables asked the city to not remove them.

“We never would have guessed locking those picnic tables together would create such a unique and good public space,” she said.

In an effort to capitalize on that interest, the city is working with Detroit-based Living Lab to come up with a concept plan, supporting graphics and a cost estimate to see if the city can create something permanent in the area. The cost for Living Lab to do the work is $4,000.

Dubbed the Center Street Smart Park, the plan is to create a space that would include technology and Wi-Fi access, sustainable landscaping, smart materials, tables to eat and work, interactive LED lights, solar charging stations and a “technology wow factor” among other ideas.

To make the park a reality, the city plans on taking advantage of the program the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Michigan Municipal League rolled out earlier this year called Public Spaces, Community Places.

This initiative gives local communities the opportunity to raise money with the MEDC matching every dollar up to $100,000.

“This is a great adaptive reuse of what is essentially a walkway,” said city commissioner Jeremy Mahrle. “We are looking for reasons to have people sit and stay in Royal Oak and this is a great idea.”

Both Mahrle and Mayor Jim Ellison also put to rest any rumors that this would take the place of the city’s large-scale plans to create a downtown central park.

“We are still working on that one,” Ellison said. “This though is the true definition of a pop-up park because it popped up where we had no idea it was going to happen because there was a need for it.

“It’s a great idea and a great use of some underused land in our downtown.”

Davids said Living Lab hopes to hold a half-day collaborative design session to help create the plan, and once the plan is in place, a multi-step public outreach plan will begin to raise the money needed.

“As far as we know we would be the first city in the nation to have a smart park,” Davids said. | 586-826-7209 | Twitter: @SOKEccentric

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Obama: ‘You Can Come Out Of The Shadows’

My fellow Americans, tonight, I’d like to talk with you about immigration.

For more than 200 years, our tradition of welcoming immigrants from around the world has given us a tremendous advantage over other nations. It’s kept us youthful, dynamic, and entrepreneurial. It has shaped our character as a people with limitless possibilities — people not trapped by our past, but able to remake ourselves as we choose.

But today, our immigration system is broken, and everybody knows it.

Families who enter our country the right way and play by the rules watch others flout the rules. Business owners who offer their workers good wages and benefits see the competition exploit undocumented immigrants by paying them far less. All of us take offense to anyone who reaps the rewards of living in America without taking on the responsibilities of living in America. And undocumented immigrants who desperately want to embrace those responsibilities see little option but to remain in the shadows, or risk their families being torn apart.

It’s been this way for decades. And for decades, we haven’t done much about it.

When I took office, I committed to fixing this broken immigration system. And I began by doing what I could to secure our borders. Today, we have more agents and technology deployed to secure our southern border than at any time in our history. And over the past six years, illegal border crossings have been cut by more than half. Although this summer, there was a brief spike in unaccompanied children being apprehended at our border, the number of such children is now actually lower than it’s been in nearly two years. Overall, the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s. Those are the facts.

Meanwhile, I worked with Congress on a comprehensive fix, and last year, 68 Democrats, Republicans, and Independents came together to pass a bipartisan bill in the Senate. It wasn’t perfect. It was a compromise, but it reflected common sense. It would have doubled the number of border patrol agents, while giving undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship if they paid a fine, started paying their taxes, and went to the back of the line. And independent experts said that it would help grow our economy and shrink our deficits.

Had the House of Representatives allowed that kind of a bill a simple yes-or-no vote, it would have passed with support from both parties, and today it would be the law. But for a year and a half now, Republican leaders in the House have refused to allow that simple vote.

Now, I continue to believe that the best way to solve this problem is by working together to pass that kind of common sense law. But until that happens, there are actions I have the legal authority to take as President — the same kinds of actions taken by Democratic and Republican Presidents before me — that will help make our immigration system more fair and more just.

Tonight, I am announcing those actions.

First, we’ll build on our progress at the border with additional resources for our law enforcement personnel so that they can stem the flow of illegal crossings, and speed the return of those who do cross over.

Second, I will make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy, as so many business leaders have proposed.

Third, we’ll take steps to deal responsibly with the millions of undocumented immigrants who already live in our country.

I want to say more about this third issue, because it generates the most passion and controversy. Even as we are a nation of immigrants, we are also a nation of laws. Undocumented workers broke our immigration laws, and I believe that they must be held accountable — especially those who may be dangerous. That’s why, over the past six years, deportations of criminals are up 80 percent. And that’s why we’re going to keep focusing enforcement resources on actual threats to our security. Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mother who’s working hard to provide for her kids. We’ll prioritize, just like law enforcement does every day.

But even as we focus on deporting criminals, the fact is, millions of immigrants — in every state, of every race and nationality — will still live here illegally. And let’s be honest — tracking down, rounding up, and deporting millions of people isn’t realistic. Anyone who suggests otherwise isn’t being straight with you. It’s also not who we are as Americans. After all, most of these immigrants have been here a long time. They work hard, often in tough, low-paying jobs. They support their families. They worship at our churches. Many of their kids are American-born or spent most of their lives here, and their hopes, dreams, and patriotism are just like ours.

As my predecessor, President Bush, once put it: “They are a part of American life.”

Now here’s the thing: we expect people who live in this country to play by the rules. We expect that those who cut the line will not be unfairly rewarded. So we’re going to offer the following deal: If you’ve been in America for more than five years; if you have children who are American citizens or legal residents; if you register, pass a criminal background check, and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes — you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily, without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law.

That’s what this deal is. Now let’s be clear about what it isn’t. This deal does not apply to anyone who has come to this country recently. It does not apply to anyone who might come to America illegally in the future. It does not grant citizenship, or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive — only Congress can do that. All we’re saying is we’re not going to deport you.

I know some of the critics of this action call it amnesty. Well, it’s not. Amnesty is the immigration system we have today — millions of people who live here without paying their taxes or playing by the rules, while politicians use the issue to scare people and whip up votes at election time.

That’s the real amnesty — leaving this broken system the way it is. Mass amnesty would be unfair. Mass deportation would be both impossible and contrary to our character. What I’m describing is accountability — a commonsense, middle ground approach: If you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. If you’re a criminal, you’ll be deported. If you plan to enter the U.S. illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up.

The actions I’m taking are not only lawful, they’re the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican President and every single Democratic President for the past half century. And to those Members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill. I want to work with both parties to pass a more permanent legislative solution. And the day I sign that bill into law, the actions I take will no longer be necessary. Meanwhile, don’t let a disagreement over a single issue be a dealbreaker on every issue. That’s not how our democracy works, and Congress certainly shouldn’t shut down our government again just because we disagree on this. Americans are tired of gridlock. What our country needs from us right now is a common purpose — a higher purpose.

Most Americans support the types of reforms I’ve talked about tonight. But I understand the disagreements held by many of you at home. Millions of us, myself included, go back generations in this country, with ancestors who put in the painstaking work to become citizens. So we don’t like the notion that anyone might get a free pass to American citizenship. I know that some worry immigration will change the very fabric of who we are, or take our jobs, or stick it to middle-class families at a time when they already feel like they’ve gotten the raw end of the deal for over a decade. I hear these concerns. But that’s not what these steps would do. Our history and the facts show that immigrants are a net plus for our economy and our society. And I believe it’s important that all of us have this debate without impugning each other’s character.

Because for all the back-and-forth of Washington, we have to remember that this debate is about something bigger. It’s about who we are as a country, and who we want to be for future generations.

Are we a nation that tolerates the hypocrisy of a system where workers who pick our fruit and make our beds never have a chance to get right with the law? Or are we a nation that gives them a chance to make amends, take responsibility, and give their kids a better future?

Are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms? Or are we a nation that values families, and works to keep them together?

Are we a nation that educates the world’s best and brightest in our universities, only to send them home to create businesses in countries that compete against us? Or are we a nation that encourages them to stay and create jobs, businesses, and industries right here in America?

That’s what this debate is all about. We need more than politics as usual when it comes to immigration; we need reasoned, thoughtful, compassionate debate that focuses on our hopes, not our fears.

I know the politics of this issue are tough. But let me tell you why I have come to feel so strongly about it. Over the past few years, I have seen the determination of immigrant fathers who worked two or three jobs, without taking a dime from the government, and at risk at any moment of losing it all, just to build a better life for their kids. I’ve seen the heartbreak and anxiety of children whose mothers might be taken away from them just because they didn’t have the right papers. I’ve seen the courage of students who, except for the circumstances of their birth, are as American as Malia or Sasha; students who bravely come out as undocumented in hopes they could make a difference in a country they love. These people — our neighbors, our classmates, our friends — they did not come here in search of a free ride or an easy life. They came to work, and study, and serve in our military, and above all, contribute to America’s success.

Tomorrow, I’ll travel to Las Vegas and meet with some of these students, including a young woman named Astrid Silva. Astrid was brought to America when she was four years old. Her only possessions were a cross, her doll, and the frilly dress she had on. When she started school, she didn’t speak any English. She caught up to the other kids by reading newspapers and watching PBS, and became a good student. Her father worked in landscaping. Her mother cleaned other people’s homes. They wouldn’t let Astrid apply to a technology magnet school for fear the paperwork would out her as an undocumented immigrant — so she applied behind their back and got in. Still, she mostly lived in the shadows — until her grandmother, who visited every year from Mexico, passed away, and she couldn’t travel to the funeral without risk of being found out and deported. It was around that time she decided to begin advocating for herself and others like her, and today, Astrid Silva is a college student working on her third degree.

Are we a nation that kicks out a striving, hopeful immigrant like Astrid — or are we a nation that finds a way to welcome her in?

Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger — we were strangers once, too.

My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. And whether our forebears were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in, and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like, or what our last names are, or how we worship. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal — that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will.

That’s the country our parents and grandparents and generations before them built for us. That’s the tradition we must uphold. That’s the legacy we must leave for those who are yet to come.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless this country we love.

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Yard MD blog: Brewster Village garden dedicated

Resident Bob Yandre, who watched over garden construction all summer, gets first ride along new pathway.Landscape construction class built new garden for residents and families to enjoy. November 20, 2014.
Rob Zimmer/Post-Crescent Media

Students enrolled in the landscape construction program at Fox Valley Technical College received an entire summer’s worth of hands-on experience using the newest, state-of-the-art construction equipment at nearby Brewster Village, where they spent most of the season, and well into fall, creating a peaceful outdoor sanctuary.

The program, led by horticulture instructor Jim Beard, involved the design and creation of a stone pathway, arbors, trellises and a gazebo to create a quiet place for family members of residence to gather for peaceful moments, contemplation and reflection.

Beard designed the hardscaping himself, while students in the program went to work, under Beard’s supervision to bring the designs to life.

Man on the move

Throughout the summer construction season, Bob Yandre, resident at Brewster Village, enjoyed watching the creation of the gardens and structures from his motorized wheelchair. Beard and his student crew enjoyed getting to know Yandre, a Korean War veteran with a reputation for being constantly on the move.

“My dad is 83 years old,” said daughter Patty Leiker. “He is always on the move and I know he thoroughly enjoyed being ‘honorary foreman’ of the Fox Valley Tech project, especially since he is a 52-year member of the Operating Engineers Local 139, spending his working days in construction operating the backhoe.”

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Beard and Yandre, both veterans, became quick friends and it became clear to Beard that their mutual bond was a lasting one. Moved by Yandre’s spirit and presence at the work site all season long, Beard said it was only fitting that Yandre be the first to travel the new walkway and path leading beneath the arbor and into the newly constructed gazebo.

As the final touches were put into place on the project, including edging and mulching, Yandre was invited to the site located on the northeast corner of the grounds where he guided himself along the beautifully designed pathway to the main arbor.

Visibly in approval of the newly completely project, Yandre and Beard exchanged a touching conversation as student workers rushed to get everything into place before the coming cold.

A special place

Beard and his student crews have designed and built a number of landscaping projects at Brewster Village, providing class participants with real-life experience, trial and error, creating and bringing to life elements that provide residents and family members with quiet places to enjoy the outdoors, privately when needed, as well as to witness the coming and going of the seasons.

You can bet Yandre will be spending a great deal of time in this newly completed section.

“While he misses my mom greatly, who passed away 4½ years ago from Alzheimer’s, he is happy living at Brewster Village because it has room for him to roam, and that is where my mom spent her last few months,” Leiker said.

— Rob Zimmer: 920-419-3734,;on Twitter @YardMD

• More from Yard MD: Build an easy natural bird feeder

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EP Minerals Launches AXIS ® Premium Soil Amendment for Golf Courses …

RENO, Nev.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–EP Minerals, LLC, a global leader in industrial minerals, today
launched AXIS, an all-natural premium soil amendment specifically
designed for golf courses, landscaping, sports turfs, and rooftop
gardens. AXIS is available in a lightweight diatomaceous earth version,
exclusive to EP Minerals, and in a calcined clay version. Both product
lines are 100% natural, environmentally friendly, and are United States
Golf Association (USGA) approved.

“AXIS has been rated the number one soil amendment for sandy and clay
soils by several soil and landscape experts. We’ve found that you can
decrease your water usage by up to 30% with AXIS. It increases water and
air infiltration to the root zone, making for healthier, greener golf
courses, and beautiful lawns,” said Jeff Kitchens, vice president of
performance aggregate products for EP Minerals. “AXIS actually improves
the soil – reducing compaction and improving drainage, even with
frequent freeze and thaw cycles because of its large internal pore
space. It gives more water back to the roots,” he added. AXIS has been
used successfully at hundreds of golf courses, numerous landscape
projects, sports fields around the country, and several large rooftop
garden projects.

To learn more about AXIS soil amendment products, contact EP Minerals at
1-800-366-7607 or online at

About EP Minerals

EP Minerals, LLC is a worldwide leader in diatomaceous
earth (DE), clay, and perlite. These unique minerals are used as filter
aids, absorbents, and functional additives serving dozens of diverse
markets including food and beverage, biofuels, swimming pool, landscape,
sports turf, paint, plastics, and insecticides. EP Minerals also
produces patented water purification media and arsenic removal products.
For more information, visit

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