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Archives for December 28, 2014

Lewes library discussion turns to existing building

Lewes — With much attention focused on the city of Lewes’ potential contribution of up to $1 million for the construction of the new Lewes Public Library, little time has been spent discussing the fate of its current facility once its vacant in early 2016.

Deputy Mayor Fred Beaufait, chair of the library project committee, steered his group in that direction Dec. 18. The existing facility sits on the same city-owned property as Stango Park along Kings Highway. Once the library moves out, he said, the building is the city’s to deal with.

“What is important in my mind is to recognize that there are some things we could do with that building that will add to the costs to the city and some other things we could do that may provide income for the city,” he said.

Significant work would be required to renovate the 13,400-square-foot building and bring it up to code. Beaufait estimates that expense could be $500,000 to $1 million. Knowing that, Beaufait said, there are several paths the city could take moving forward. The city could keep the building and put it to some public use, such as a new home for the police department, city hall or Board of Public Works; it could renovate it and then lease it; the city could lease the building to a tenant who would take on the renovation work at its own expense; or the city could sell it.

Determining its future use could impact the committee’s ultimate decision on how much it contributes to the new library’s construction. The library’s fundraising committee has requested a $1 million donation from the city.

“We certainly have to think about what’s good for the city; how it would be used,” Beaufait said. “Not just to keep it with the doors closed and letting it rot. How can we use it for the betterment of the town?”

Some residents have suggested it could be used as a museum for the historical society or a potential home for one of the area’s many other nonprofit groups. Resident John Mateyko urged the committee to leave the building in the hands of a civic organization.

“I can’t imagine that out of a civic use,” he said.

He said the building’s relationship with Stango Park is important and whatever its future use is it must be compatible with the park.

“The functional relationship between that building and the park makes Stango Park one of our gems,” he said.

Beaufait agreed that most residents identify the library building as part of the park. When concerts are held in Stango Park during the summer, he said, the library serves as a place for people to use the bathroom.

“The people have an investment in that building, and if we sold it are we really carrying out the people’s wishes?” he said. “I’m sure we’re going to hear from the public how it might be used.”

Councilman offers contribution counterpoints

Is $1 million an appropriate amount of money for the library to ask for? Councilman Rob Morgan wants to ensure the city’s library project committee has all the facts when making its recommendation.

At the Dec. 18 meeting, Morgan was allotted time to make a presentation to the committee. He used his time to shed light on points, he said, he believes the committee has not heard.

He opened and ended his presentation by saying he is looking at the potential endowment with an open mind and is not for or against specific contribution levels at this time. The committee’s recommendations will eventually come before him and the rest of city council.

He outlined the costs the city will be asked to cover, including some items that fall into a gray area that are not part of a library contribution request. Those include landscaping for the entire 5.5-acre Thompson property, maintenance to the new trailhead and further costs to complete a landscaping master plan.

The city contributed about $1 million toward the purchase of the $2.5 million Thompson property. Lewes Public Library contributed $1.24 million for the 3.5 acres where it plans to build. The remainder of the purchase was funded by a $250,000 open space grant from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and a $50,000 anonymous gift. The library has asked the city to contribute $1 million toward construction of the new facility.

It has also asked the city to continue its annual contribution to the library operations of about $45,000 in utilities and in-kind services. If the library were to remain on the Thompson property for 30 to 50 years, Morgan said, the city would likely need to set aside an additional $1 million to cover its annual contributions.

From his perspective, he said, the city could cover the request through selling city assets, waiving fees, tapping into cash reserves or raising taxes.

Before determining how to move forward, he said, he wants to know if all avenues are being explored by the library’s fundraising campaign. He asked if it is fair for the city to pay 15 percent of the total cost of the $13 million project. Census numbers indicate Lewes’ population is decreasing while the rest of the library’s service area is increasing, he said.

“If the library expects a 50-year life, what will be the average percentage the city represents of the entire service area population?” he asked.

Growth is occurring just outside the city in places like along Gills Neck Road, where eight developments will exist in the coming years.

“Some of their residents are going to be closer to the library than some of ours,” he said. “They are very much in the service area. Are their homeowners’ associations willing to pay their fair share, their percentage of the project cost corresponding to the portion of the service area their citizens represent? They opted to not be a part of the city. Is the city now being asked to pay their share too?”

According to library documents, Sussex County has contributed $13,500 to the construction fund and covers about 25 percent or $184,000 of the library’s annual budget.

Morgan also worries the committee may not be hearing from all of the city’s residents. In talking with members of the community, he said, he’s heard some opposition to the city giving any additional funds to the library. Those people, he said, are not willing to make their feelings public.

He said he hopes people will not be deterred from speaking their minds at the library committee’s upcoming workshop at 5 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 7. The purpose of the workshop is to hear from the public about the city’s potential contribution to the library project as well as any ideas for the existing library building.

Beaufait said he fully expects to hear all sides.

“I haven’t found the people of Lewes to be too timid in expressing themselves, so I’m hopeful we’ll get good input,” he said.

The committee has been given a February deadline to make a recommendation to city council, so Beaufait said the workshop may be the public’s final opportunity to offer their opinions. For more information about the library project, go to

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CARL LOVE: Helping out with the drought – Press

CARL LOVE: Helping out with the drought


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You’ve shortened your showers, watered the lawn less, stopped hosing down the driveway and even turned off the faucet while brushing your teeth – and still it’s not enough.

It’s the drought police who are mandating more, more and more.

Now, state officials dare to complain about us, that we only dropped our water use by 6.7 percent in October, the second lowest decrease since reporting began last summer. They’re looking for us to be in the 20 percent range. Even with the recent soaking we’ve experienced, we’re still a long way from ending this historic drought.

So instead of traditional New Year’s resolutions such as dropping some pounds, hitting the gym or eating better, one could infer that we should be vowing to take more drastic drought buster measures such as, oh, I don’t know, how about flushing the toilet less!

Yes, Gov. Brown – the guy known in the 1970s as Gov. Moonbeam for his exotic ideas – now is sounding more like Gov. Tidy Bowl as he exhorts us to step up our drought-fighting game by easing up on the flushing.

With these increasingly stressful times – Will I be arrested if I flush my toilet? – It’s time to turn to the people who need water like Sony needs cyber security.

We’re talking about the Old Town Temecula Farmers Market, that popular place on Saturdays filled with merchants, including many local farmers.

Gale Cunningham and Linda Engle, who manage the place, have seen this drought take a toll like no other in recent times.

Engle has lived in the La Cresta area for 25 years and is used to 15 inches a year in rain. In recent times, it’s been single digits and she estimates she’s reduced her water use by 75 percent.

Cunningham, who’s lived in Fallbrook for 35 years, depends on wells, but she’s curtailed what she grows because of the drought. For all the farmers here, cutting back on what you grow is like taking a pay cut. The drought is serious business to these folks.

Noting the recent rains and watching so much of it go bye-bye into storm drains, Engle wonders why we don’t invest more money in capturing this precious commodity instead of spending so much on the proposed bullet train.

At least we try in Southwest Riverside County. Eastern Municipal Water District in Perris – the county’s largest and the one that provides water to my house in Murrieta – reduced total water usage in its system by 25 percent from June to October. The average per person use in October was 105 gallons a day, lower than the state average of 109 gallons.

Our water use on the December bill was 107 gallons a day for my wife Joanne and I, so presumably that means we’re doing well if our average per person use is 53.5 gallons. To help get there, we’ve basically let our back yard grass die – it had already been shredded by our three dogs – and we’re hopefully going with drought tolerant landscaping back there next year, as well as replacing our grass front yard.

And, much to Joanne’s dismay, I’m even flushing less. Hey, it makes Gov. Tidy Bowl happy.

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School strife & development dominated South Burlington’s 2014


From school spending to energy spending, from major construction projects to court cases, 2014 was a busy year in South Burlington. A relatively quiet town meeting day in March gave way to a summer full of development dreams and one week of disrupted school schedules in the fall.

Here, the Burlington Free Press recounts some of the year’s top stories:

Teachers picket on Dorset Street

In October, the first teachers strike in South Burlington history closed schools for five days, angered parents, saddened students and ultimately resulted in a new three year-contract that both sides could live with.

Teachers took to the picket lines after they had been unable to reach a contract agreement with the South Burlington School Board, which said it was acting in taxpayers’ best interest. The two sides hammered out their differences, often without progress, in marathon negotiation sessions that stretched into the night in the empty halls and library of Frederick Tuttle Middle School.

South Burlington allowed fall athletics and other activities to resume midway through the strike, using staff members and administrators but excluding teacher coaches.

The new contract increases total compensation by about 8 percent over three years for the teachers, who are the highest-paid in the state, and allows teachers to retain their previous health insurance plan with higher contributions. The budgetary impact of the new contract remains to be seen.

“I think where we’ve ended up is about as good as we could have expected,” School Board Clerk Martin LaLonde said when the board approved the agreement.

The strike highlighted competing pressures on school budgets throughout Vermont in 2014, as Gov. Peter Shumlin urged local school districts to contain spending and lawmakers pledged to address education property taxes in the next legislative session. South Burlington’s school budget narrowly passed in March. The city hosted a statewide summit on education taxes in August, and the City Council joined other towns in calling for a temporary property tax cap.

A group advising Vermont House Speaker Shap Smith, D-Morristown, has suggested that the state government create a model or statewide teachers’ contract that district could use, among other ideas for changing the state’s education finance system.

Downtown developments

Summertime brought a sudden shift of tone in conversations about downtown development.

South Burlington has envisioned City Center as a densely-developed downtown between Dorset Street and Hinesburg Road. In July, developer Gene Beaudoin proposed buying Rick Marcotte Central School for $7 million and building a two-phase project that would include major retailers as well as housing, office space, parking and public space such as a library.

Calling it “a lot to digest,” city officials and school board members pledged to diligently consider the proposal, starting with an appraisal of the school.

City Center also saw the long-awaited opening of a Trader Joe’s grocery store and Pier 1 Imports store on Dorset Street. City Manager Kevin Dorn called it “the beginning of City Center.”

Other downtown-related design work continues, including a workshop for the design of Garden Street scheduled for Jan. 15.

Movement in airport neighborhood

The Vermont Supreme Court in July allowed Burlington International Airport to proceed with demolishing or removing dozens of homes in the adjoining neighborhoods.

Airport neighbor George Maille had challenged zoning permits, arguing that the airport should have had to undergo more rigorous site plan review before tearing down the homes.

The court ruled 3-2 that removing a structure is not a “change of use” under South Burlington’s ordinances, and therefore the airport’s permits are valid.

The airport plans to take bids next month for companies interested in removing the homes, said Aviation Director Gene Richards. The actual removal project would begin around April 15 and last up to six months.

“We want to make sure we find the balance for the neighborhood and the community,” Richards said.

Richards denies rumors that the airport is planning to build a hotel on the vacant land. “We have no plans other than the 2030 plan,” he said, referencing the airport’s Vision 2030 Master Plan, which was last updated several years ago.

And if the airport does build a hotel, Richards said, it would be on top of the existing parking garage.

Energy competition heats up

South Burlington is chasing a $5 million prize for reducing community natural gas and electric use, competing against dozens of communities nationwide in a contest organized by Georgetown University. Volunteers are rallying support and gathering ideas for slashing energy bills.

This month, the South Burlington Energy Committee announced in a Facebook post that the city has made the cut as a semi-finalist — meaning South Burlington will begin tracking its energy use for two years starting in January.

The formal announcement comes Jan. 14, and the committee is planning a kickoff party Jan. 24 at Frederick Tuttle Middle School.

A smoother ride to I-89?

A road-widening project on the edge of South Burlington that’s designed to ease headaches for drivers coming out of Burlington and merging on to Interstate 89 is nearly complete.

Construction began in May on U.S. 2 near the Staples Plaza and the Sheraton Burlington Hotel and Conference Center. Public Works Director Justin Rabidoux said new traffic lights and signs should be in place within a month.

It’s still too early to evaluate the project’s success, said Rabidoux, who initially predicted the wider road would reduce congestion by 30 to 50 percent.

But even without formal metrics, the public works director said drivers seem happier.

“What we’re hearing from people is leaving Burlington trying to get onto the interstate, or just trying to leave Burlington, there’s a lot less backup, a lot less bottleneck,” Rabidoux said. He said the new arrangement is less confusing, so drivers are less likely to weave into another lane at the last second.

The state and federal government are essentially paying for the entire project, which is on track to come in within the $2.5 million budget, Rabidoux said.

Paint and paving at City Hall

City Hall got a makeover in 2014, including a sign, new paving, sidewalk, landscaping, a flagpole. The South Burlington Rotary Club contributed to the project, said Project Director Ilona Blanchard. The gray concrete building has also been brightened with sections of blue paint.

The city also completed stormwater work on site that allows water to leave the property more quickly without clogging pipes, and drastically reducing the risk of flooding in the building, said Rabidoux, the public works director.

Inside the building, the city upgraded the sound system, replaced furniture and added a projector to the main conference room where City Council meets and replaced furniture in another conference room, Blanchard said.

Other news:

City Council Chairwoman Pam Mackenzie stepped down in October for an out-of-state professional opportunity. Mackenzie had been chairwoman since 2013. The remaining councilors, led by Acting Chairwoman Pat Nowak, selected John Simpson to fill the seat temporarily.

South Burlington schools on Dorset Street completed an initial school year with a methadone clinic nearby. In the name of student safety, the School Board fought the location of the HowardCenter clinic at the Supreme Court, which ruled in the clinic’s favor. The school year ended with “no significant incidents” related to the clinic, Superintendent David Young said.

Officials continue to tussle over the value and property taxes for Burlington International Airport, which is owned by Burlington but located in South Burlington.

South Burlington High School Principal Patrick Burke returned to work in August after chemotherapy treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Students rallied behind Burke following his diagnosis in March, raising thousands of dollars for the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge in Burlington.

Contact April Burbank at (802) 660-1863 or Follow her on Twitter at

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Top 10 of 2014: Provo and Payson LDS temples gain momentum

Editor’s Note: This is the sixth part in our 10-part series counting down the top news stories of 2014.

UTAH COUNTY — Between an Angel Moroni and a long-awaited dedication date, new LDS temples in Utah Valley have excited county residents and made headlines in 2014.

This year, the Provo City Center Temple saw considerable progress, with most of its exterior construction completed and stained-glass windows installed. In March, the pinnacle emblem of Mormon templedom was erected: the Angel Moroni.

And as the Payson Temple nears completion, Utah County residents were excited to receive the LDS Church announcement earlier this month that the temple will be dedicated in June.  


The Payson Utah Temple, announced in 2010 with construction beginning in late 2011, will be dedicated June 7, with a cultural celebration held June 6. From April 24–May 23, the temple will be open to the public.

Payson City is also awaiting bids from eight external firms to develop a master plan for the 1,000-acre undeveloped land that surrounds the temple. City officials are hoping the property value in the area will boost, and are planning to zone the area for high-end, executive homes that will also attract more commercial business.

The new temple will serve approximately 22 LDS Church stakes from Spanish Fork to Nephi, comprising approximately 78,000 members of the church. Those members are currently served by temples in Provo and Manti.

Payson Mayor Rick Moore told the Daily Herald he is looking forward to the upcoming dedication of the city’s new temple and the excitement surrounding it.

“I am excited to see it coming,” he said. “It is good to finally have a date. I am looking forward to it.”

It will take plenty of preparation for the city to be ready for the open house and the traffic it is expected to create.

Moore said the city is working with police departments from throughout the state who have recently gone through temple open houses and dedications to prepare Payson for its own dedication.

“We know it is going to be a big challenge, but it will be well worth it,” he said.


The Payson Utah Temple and Provo City Center Temple will be the third and fourth temples in Utah County, which will help alleviate demands on the Provo Utah Temple, which is operating at capacity, and the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple in American Fork.

Construction at the second Provo temple continues, and according to an LDS Church website, the temple now has its drywall up and interior walls are being primed and painted.

The interior of the temple is being designed with a Victorian style that characterized the former Provo Tabernacle, and some say will be similar to the Manti temple.

Andy Kirby, the project manager for the City Center temple, said the interior will feature several rooms, and patrons will experience sessions that progress from room to room.

There are two A rooms that hold 96 seats, one large B room, and the Celestial Room. The temple will handle 100 people starting a new temple session every hour. There are also five sealing rooms used for marriages.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime project,” Kirby said. “It’s a symbol of rebirth. It’s an honor to work on it. Some of the most beautiful parts of the temple will be covered up.

“We have challenges every week. We have problems all the time, and we’ve been inspired as to what to do. This is an icon to pay homage to our pioneers, and to the dedication of the church to rebuild it.”

Provo City Public Information Officer Corey Norman said the city is anticipating the effect of the temple on its downtown area.

“We’re clearly excited about the way the temple is going to affect our downtown commerce and the way people move about downtown,” he said. “We’ve coordinated closely with the church to make this as seamless as possible with downtown visitors increasing in the area.”

Norman said business owners in the Provo downtown area are also excited.

Work continues on the temple site’s outside gazebo and grounds, with gazebo construction keeping the Victorian style of the temple.  

The 5,290-square-foot, two-story pavilion, located approximately midway between 100 and 200 South, will serve as a waiting area for non-temple patrons and a place for wedding parties to take pictures. It will connect to the underground parking via elevator.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints expects the Provo City Center Temple to be a busy wedding temple, with all of the photo areas that will be provided.

When it comes to landscaping, both temple patrons and the community will get more than the lush flower gardens, trees and grass that will be planted at the site.

A 17-foot bronze, four-tiered Victorian fountain with ornamental nozzles will grace the grounds near 100 South. The finial at the top is replicated from a stair newel post from the tabernacle’s interior banister that led to the pulpit and stand. Scalloped shingles matching the original 1800s design will be used on the roof. The top of the fence posts will feature beehives.

Public gardens with benches, shrubs, trees and grass will be open 24/7 on the north end of the property, similar to the old tabernacle park.

“This is an urban temple,” said Gary McGinn, Provo’s community development director. “They are going to landscape the heck out of it.”

Local observers will note the great strides construction crews have made during the past few months. The site is beginning to unfold just how much of a showpiece and a welcoming edifice the new temple will be.

Completion is still more than a year out — no date has been set by the LDS Church. It is anticipated the temple will be completed by the end of 2015.

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Which houses sold among this year’s Buying Here properties?

Potential home buyers aren’t the only ones who enjoy the Post-Gazette’s weekly Buying Here feature on the cover of the Sunday Real Estate section.

People who live near the featured properties are often interested in how they compare to their homes and how much the sellers are asking. Others are intrigued to learn about a neighborhood or municipality they have never visited or, in some cases, never heard of. And then there are the house junkies who love to see what other people do with their houses.

If you are in that group — or even if you’re just nebby — here’s an update on what sold and what didn’t in 2014:

No place like home

The Cape Cod at 1 Old Farm Road in Rosslyn Farms was so nice that it sold twice, but the owners ended up keeping it when the deals fell through. The four-bedroom, 2½-bath home is surrounded by gardens so spectacular that they were featured in Fine Gardening magazine. It was on the market for $559,000 when the story ran in August. Two sets of buyers made offers, but the owners couldn’t close on a property they wanted to buy.

Townhouse goes fast

Joshua and Katrina Manning knew they wouldn’t have much time to enjoy the mature landscaping and walking trail at 1707 Michael Drive in Baldwin Borough when the article ran Nov. 15. But they didn’t expect it to sell the very next day.

Easy work for a Craftsman

Another quick sale came at 608 Berlin Road in Forest Hills.

A vision in Brookline

The twin-gabled beauty of 912 Berkshire Ave. in Brookline blew up our Twitter account as fans of the home and neighborhood sang their praises on social media after it was featured in October.

Hollywood in Pittsburgh

Many people in Squirrel Hill recognized 1830 Beechwood Blvd. when it was featured in the newspaper in October. Richard and Nancy Silvers purchased the neighborhood landmark in 2002 and set about restoring its six bedrooms, five full baths and two powder rooms on 1.4 acres.

Old Gold in Garfield

There is nothing else quite like 5505 Margaretta St. in Garfield. Built in 1892, the three-bedroom, 2½-bath home is the only Gold Certified LEED home in the region as certified by the Green Building Alliance of Pittsburgh.

House on the Ohio

It’s not every day that a boat comes with a house, but that’s what drew John Menhart to the home at 115 River Road in Glenfield that also has a beach and private boat dock on the Ohio River.

Chatham Village sale

Beth Goodwin’s Mount Washington “project” was a labor of love, and it showed. Taking a worn and tired house at 654 Pennridge Road in Chatham Village, she created a home that featured modern conveniences while honoring its history.

Vintage beauty

A new family is calling the Dutch Colonial at 7410 Brighton Road, Ben Avon, home now. The house, hidden behind a curtain of trees before it was rescued by Rose and Mike Clark, was featured in January at $345,000 and sold in August for $325,000.

From Texas to the North Side

John O’Leary and his wife, Margie, worked hard to take their house at 126 Dunlap St. in the North Side’s Observatory Hill neighborhood from the beginning of the last century into the 21st with loads of hard work, dedication and sanding.

Owners’ sweat equity

There is an old real estate tradition that says if you bury a statue of St. Joseph upside-down in the backyard, your home will sell.

And while agent Mary Jane DiMartino of Keller Williams Realty will neither confirm nor deny that it works, she did say that not long after Connoquenessing Township homeowner Paula Arnold did a bit of digging in her backyard (along with cutting the $749,000 asking price), the house sold for $662,000.

Digging probably seemed easy for Mrs. Arnold, who helped build the house at 154 Reiber Road with her husband, Doug, a contractor, in 1999-2000.

“The people that bought it loved everything about the house — the privacy, the beautiful lot and the quality of the construction,” Ms. DiMartino said.

“The buyer really liked the garage space, too, because they liked to tinker with cars.”

Rosa Colucci:; Lizabeth Gray:

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Ann Arbor residents express strong opinions for and against hunting deer in city

Ann Arbor residents have mixed opinions about the idea of allowing hunting or sharpshooting inside the city to reduce the deer population.

As of Friday, more than 360 people had participated in a deer management survey hosted on the city’s A2 Open City Hall webpage.

Some respondents are voicing strong support for culling the herd and feeding the meat to the poor, while others argue the deer don’t deserve to die and they’re concerned about allowing people to fire weapons inside the city.

Nearly 64 percent of survey respondents have said they do not support firearm hunting in the city, and 54 percent do not support bow hunting in the city.

Respondents are more evenly divided on the question of hiring skilled sharpshooters to kill deer in the city; 45 percent said they do not support the idea, 39 percent strongly support it, and 15 percent moderately support it.

The survey remains open until Jan. 2.

The city is spending up to $20,000 to develop a deer management plan over the next few months, giving consideration to both lethal and non-lethal methods.

The city estimates it could cost $25,000 to $27,000 to “harvest,” meaning kill, 40 to 50 deer each year.

The initial survey results show the top concerns about deer are deer-vehicle crashes and damage to plants and gardens.

There were 50 deer-vehicle crashes reported in Ann Arbor last year, one of which involved a personal injury. None were fatal.

About 52 percent of respondents indicated their gardens or landscapes have been damaged by deer.

The initial survey results show strong support for efforts to educate residents about deer-resistant landscape plantings, installing signs or reflectors at deer crossings, managing roadside vegetation to increase visibility, and prohibiting feeding deer.

Below are some of the written comments that respondents have submitted to the city through the online survey.

72 opinions about deer in Ann Arbor

“You think that encouraging people to shoot guns and bows within the city is a good idea? You are insane. I do not want anyone coming close to my house with the intention of firing a weapon to kill anything.”

“I would be quite concerned about public safety if you allowed firearm hunting of deer within the city limits.”

“The deer population MUST be reduced and controlled.”

“This is a top priority for me. They are causing much grief.”

“I do not want people with weapons wandering on the city property adjacent to my property or any other property around me. I’d rather have the deer continue to destroy my landscape.”

“I do not support the taking of animal life for the greater convenience of humans.”

“My hypothesis is that the deer population in the city is increasing in part due to loss of native habitat near the city. So providing greenbelt and other open space is a priority for future development.”

“I hunt deer myself, and I’d be concerned about firearm hunters, except demonstrated, trained marksmen in and out of season. I think bow hunters are much more skilled and cautious, and would be a viable option in-season.”

“Deer overpopulation is a serious problem and the longer the city takes to make a decision on next steps, the deer population will continue to expand exponentially.”

“I am sad about this, and not a hunter, but this overabundance of deer does not belong within city limits.”

“No offense, but I do not want any politician making this decision based simply on people being upset that their garden has been disturbed.”

“I think that people who live close to parks or on the edges of town where the deer are more likely to be, should just accept that this is part of living in this section of town. If they are so worried about their plants, then they should be educated on how to prevent some of the damage and learn to live with the rest.”

“No murder.”

“It’s a non-problem that education and tolerance can mitigate. I’d like to see more safe corridors for wildlife through the city, along the waterways and under the expressways.”

“I don’t think the deer problem is any worse than in the past? How come we’ve never had to have a deer management program in the past? I have much more damage from groundhogs.”

“They are sentient beings that have no less right to live than any other species, humans included. Killing these animals would be a terrible mistake.”

“Something must be done, and while I do not approve of hunting, I understand that lethal methods must be used to manage the deer population, which has increased in size and comfort in wandering close to houses.”

“There had better be a vote on this if we are planning to spend 20 to 27k a year when only two neighborhoods are really affected. Next will we be paying flood insurance for other neighborhoods?”

“Lethal removal by skilled and managed hunters would be the most effective and humane solution.”

“People think they own this world, which just isn’t true. We’ve taken so many animals homes and we just want to kill them when they get too close. It’s ridiculous and we cant keep killing animals because we don’t like them eating out plants or they might cause accidents.”

“I have lived on Englave Drive for 30 years and we had no dear problem in the 1980’s. We rarely saw deer. Now I have a deer herd grazing every day in my yard! We own 20 acres in deer country of Benzie county and never see a deer—up there they say that we down here have ‘city deer’ that have lost their fear of humans. They come in from the countryside to graze on the good food we call landscaping.”

“The deer population should be reduced by the most humane option that is effective. The survey questions are poorly worded, as they ask for my ‘feelings’ about matters that should be determined by data. My impression, which remains amenable to change if provided with information to the contrary, is that skilled sharpshooters would provide the best approach to reducing deer populations within and around the city.”

“Thank you for tackling a major problem in our city. While emotions may run high, the scientific evidence and numerous plans for lethal methods around the U.S. support our taking steps to assure a small, healthy herd — much the way the DNR does for our state’s rural areas.”

“In 2014, I have sustained thousands of dollars of damage to my property. My landscape has been a 15-year project of mine, with all work being done (and plantings paid for) by me. I am absolutely sick about it. Let’s face it, a city is an artificial construct. We need natural predators, and if sharpshooters are the only viable option we have, they should be here!”

“There has been damage to the crops in the Project Grow Garden and the food producing plants/trees in Buhr Park. Because of the scale, it is difficult to fence everything effectively. They also come into our yards and eat vegetables and food-producing shrubs. These problems have increased over the last several years.”

“I reside within the ‘deer belt’ and believe the deer to be a part of the natural landscape.”

“This is Ann ARBOR. We should have a city that celebrates nature and ALL its creatures.”

“We have deer in our yard daily.”

“I have lived for four years near three large nature areas in the city, and feel the deer can be avoided during driving if one is paying proper attention.”

“Killing is not a sport. It is just killing. Since we don’t control the deer (as we do cattle and pigs and chickens), killing may be a challenge but should be done swiftly and effectively. I don’t want to find an injured deer on my property.”

“Deer are not a big problem in my Sugarbush Park neighborhood. Don’t spend a lot of money on studies; leverage experience of other communities, DNR, etc. Any herd thinning should be done by trained professionals to avoid accidents and ensuring the job gets done.”

“Washington Post had an article recently about how they thinned their deer herd and were able to feed the poor. A local food processor prepared the venison for later distribution. Maybe that would work in Ann Arbor.”

“I would have a concern with fire arms as a method for safety reasons, but if properly managed bow hunting with a compound bow would be an effective and a safe method. I would have concern with a cross bow as it utilizes a loaded weapon with a trigger.”

“I think this is an awful solution to the problem. After all, if the main concern is deer/car accidents, then does that mean that we should use similar management techniques to make sure children don’t run into the street and cause an accident? Are we proposing to use similar management techniques to take care of other road kill such as skunks, possums and raccoons?”

“I feel that the deer in the city limits are not any more ‘out of control’ than in any other part of the state. It would be wrong if other cities followed suit. We just may end up with too few deer.”

“The deer that eat plants in our yard (vegetables, roses etc) come from the Arboretum. Lethal means could not be employed there due to public safety.”

“Currently, my frustration with the urban deer herd in northeast Ann Arbor is the major source of my dissatisfaction, after living in the city for 40 years. We have friends who live in outlying small towns and even in the country – rural, farm lands and they do not face the challenges from deer that we face here in Ann Arbor.”

“Though I recognize that my feelings may not be logical, I can support bow hunting within the city, but I am strongly against sharpshooters within the city.”

“REDUCE THEM. This pussy-footing around about not killing (culling) them is silly. Few people, vegatarians and vegans excepted, have issues with eating animal or seafood flesh. Getting all attached to deer because they’re ‘pretty/graceful’ (whatever) is ridiculous. The meat from a deer can be put to good use in this area!”

“Please work with HSHV to find a humane solution to this challenge. I am much more likely to support a plan endorsed by HSHV than one developed without its input and endorsement.”

“1) Conduct an aerial survey of deer, (2) finding a solution to keep them in forested areas of the city, (3) clearing brush from sides of some roads for better visibility of deer coming onto road for motorists.”

“I haven’t seen any increase in the deer population in decades. I have not seen any deer at all, let alone an abundance of them.”

“I think all humane alternatives should be tried first.”

“It makes me happy to see deer, and this is the first I have heard of them causing any problems within Ann Arbor. I hope we can find a humane solution to managing the population. TNR (trap neuter release) is effective to manage the population of stray cats and dogs.”

“The compensatory rebound effect is a real and serious consequence of lethal deer management. Research it.”

“It has been shown that lethal methods do not provide long-term effectiveness. I do not know where the City of Ann Arbor is getting their information that ‘research concludes that lethal removal measures are most effective for managing a deer population,’ because that information is false. More research has been concluded that lethal methods are not the most effective. It has been found that after a cull, the remaining deer reproduce more because there is more food available.”

“We need fences along M-14 and US-23. Ann Arbor should be a shining example of humane wildlife management.”

“Just because it is the most effective, that does not make it humane nor ethically and morally responsible. Ann Arbor prides itself on a great deal of things. Mass deer killings should not be included in that list.”

“There are non-lethal and effective alternatives. I believe educating residents is one. Preventing car/deer crashes can surely be done in lots of ways. I do not support killing part of the ecosystem because it is considered a nuisance.”

“They have been here for a long time and deserve more respect. No, I do NOT support lethal removal of deer!”

“There are too many deer in Ann Arbor. While cute, the deer are destructive to our native forests and a danger to motor vehicles.”

“I have not tried the odor repellent and fencing myself, but both of my neighbors have done and they have been highly effective. We also did fencing in our religious center around the vegetable garden and were successful. Education is the answer! Killing is not!”

“We need to take action NOW. The scale of the problem only increases with the passing of time.”

“I think it is a shame to have to kill…always kill. We have eliminated their habitat and now we want to kill them. The deer are just trying to live their lives, but we sentence them to death. We are an irresponsible, cruel species.”

“Yes, they might cause some accidents. People do cause accidents too. Is the answer kill whoever causes accidents? Or just because they are animals and we keep building and overpopulating our city we have the right to kill them?”

“While deer cause some problems, I don’t think there’s any clear evidence of an INCREASED problem, so I question whether this initiative is necessary.”

“The deer have none of their natural predators in Ann Arbor–particularly, no wolves. We have upset the natural balance, so I reluctantly think that we need to kill some of the deer, have the meat dressed, and see that someone benefits from the hunt. I am a vegetarian, by the way, yet this is what I believe.”

“It is unnecessary and a waste of city funds. Leave them be!”

“I would want to see multiple humane options first put in place to see how effective they are.”

“While lethal management of deer might be effective temporarily, it is not a long-term fix as the remaining deer will have more food and produce triplets, thereby quickly replacing those that were killed. This is a well-documented fact regarding deer management. One controlled hunt leads to many more controlled hunts as it creates a temporarily smaller herd that produces more fawns that if the herd had been left alone. This is something the DNR always forgets to tell people. Leave the herd alone or invest in non-lethal measures so that the results are longer lasting!”

“I would be less opposed to the deer if they would eat the garlic mustard, dame’s rocket, buckthorn and honeysuckle.”

“If you allow shooting and bow hunting of deer within city limits, you are opening the city up to liability when inevitably some unsuspecting person or pet gets caught in the crossfire.”

“My 5-foot garden fence totally prevented deer damage. This fall we expanded the fenced veggie garden area. A neighbor had some success with an odor based repellent. I suggest educating resident about it. We had a couple of families of 3-4 dear come more regularly through the neighborhood this year. We really enjoyed seeing them. We did sustain damage to tulips, hostas and unfenced tomato plants. The squirrel population also seemed higher this year. From the study report I don’t see a significant rise in the deer population or accidents. To us the deer are more a pleasure than a problem.”

“Leave them be. Perhaps you should stop developing the city so much that they have nowhere to go. “

“Our parks are so heavily utilized by residents that I feel any true ‘hunting season’ within the city limits would have a major impact on the contentment of residents toward their choice to live in this city, even considering the limited timeframe of a hunting season (due to the amount of daily use), to take away some of those parks, even for just a couple weeks a year.”

“This is cruel and unnecessary. I am strongly against ‘lethal removal’ a.k.a. killing deer because humans are infringing on their natural habitats.”

“Fencing, plantings, deterents in a yard is not the answer- the deer will just move on to another yard, another neighborhood. There are too many deer in A2 and Washtenaw County for either our safety, our environment, and eventually for their health.”

“I hit a deer on Plymouth just two years ago (totalled the car) and still I don’t see them as that big of deal. One deer in five years… I can live with that.”

“I have not experienced the deer as a nuisance and find many of the claims greatly exaggerated.”

“If populations are hunted, I think donating the meat to a charity would be a good use. And I do not think large populations should be hunted as I fear that drastic changes may cause adverse affects to our ecosystem.”

“I enjoy seeing deer around. If they are truly problematic, I would support nonlethal measures to control the population.”

“In the past few years deer have become a serious problem in our neighborhood. It’s not good for the ecology, the people or the deer. We need to find ways to cull the herd.”

Ryan Stanton covers the city beat for The Ann Arbor News. Reach him at or 734-623-2529 or follow him on Twitter.

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New beginnings: Alan Titchmarsh’s tips on preparing your garden for the next …

Perk up your patio with a few new containers, banishing those that have fallen apart or look dreary.

Remember, a few large containers looks more stylish than lots of smaller ones, and they don’t dry out so quickly in summer.

Add some evergreens and winter-flowering heathers to give them winter beauty.

Pressure wash the paving before you move the containers back and you’ll find that not only does it look smarter, but you won’t skid and risk breaking your neck.

Overgrown borders are best renovated in early March, but plan what you will replace the oldies with now and order the plants you need.

Seed orders, too, are best made out before the rush. Wait until March and the varieties you need may well be sold out; order now and you’ll get the pick of the crop. When the seeds arrive, keep them in a cool, dark place.

It’s not all hard slog. With a glass at your side and a warm fire in front of you, this is the time to dream.

Come spring, those dreams might well be a reality – if you take the trouble to undertake a little forward planning and a modicum of hard graft.

Don’t miss Alan’s gardening column in today’s Daily Express. For more information on his range of gardening products, visit

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Feed the Burbs and Zachary’s BBQ, Norristown, create an herb garden

Tom McGlynn of Feed the Burbs throws down straw, while Shana Hostetter spreads it out, to top off the new soil and compost at Zachary’s BBQ in Norristown Saturday, Dec. 27, 2014.
Adrianna Hoff―The Times Herald

NORRISTOWN Winter is now in full swing, but on Saturday morning, a group from Feed the Burbs, working with Zachary’s BBQ on Markley Street, looked toward the spring growing season with the first in a series of backyard-to-table workshops.

Feed the Burbs first got involved at Zachary’s when member Dave Swedkowski, a longtime patron of the restaurant, told chef Keith M. Taylor about his group and its philosophy. Taylor, who believes in a farm-to-table approach to cooking and is constantly looking for new ways to minimize Zachary’s carbon footprint, invited the group to work with him.

One of his methods of promoting sustainability, Taylor said, is to use as much recyclable material in takeout packaging. Half of Zachary’s packaging is now based on sustainable products, such as aluminum and recycled plastic. Looking to educate others on the principles of permaculture, Feed the Burbs’ plan is to start an herb garden at Zachary’s. Saturday’s workshop was Part 1: soil building. Although the garden will start small, it will be used as an educational tool to show how anyone can maintain a garden in an urban or suburban environment.

The goal of permaculture is summarized in three primary ethical imperatives: care for the Earth, care for the people, and share the surplus.

Feed the Burbs’ ideas reflect the natural environment’s needs and an attempt to work with nature rather than against it.

“The fact that landscaping can be edible, it can be useful, and it can be environmentally beneficial,” said Feed the Burbs CEO Tom McGlynn.

The first step happened in the beginning of fall, when McGlynn took soil samples and sent them for analysis to the University of Massachusetts Extension Center for Agriculture. The laboratory measured pH levels and generally looked for anything unusual that may need to be worked on later. The samples came back with optimum results, giving the go-ahead for the first workshop.

“Our battle plan today is to dig up the perennials, then dig up the annuals and incorporate them back into the soil,” McGlynn said.

The garden utilizes soil-building techniques such as adding new soil made up of compost, nonprotein-based kitchen scraps, horse manure, horse bedding and pine needles. None of the materials were paid for, in keeping with the focus on reusing materials and producing no waste. The perennials that previously adorned the flower bed in front of the restaurant will be transplanted to a different location. Then a layer of straw as mulch will be added on top to help keep the soil from drying out.

It’s important to note that any type of kitchen scrap can be used for a compost pile, McGlynn said, as long as it’s not a protein base, which means no meat or meat products. There is a compost pile already maintained at Zachary’s BBQ, which is made up of different vegetable and fruit scraps from the kitchen.

The intention is to create a garden that uses natural development that mimics the ecosystem, rather than conventional means to maintain it. It’s one of the reasons the group is using a soil based on its own combination of ingredients rather than a purchased topsoil. The natural ingredients will break down and create better nutrients for the plants that will be planted in the spring, McGlynn said.

The next step will be the design workshop, which will start the process of creating a site analysis. That workshop will also have information on where to find seeds and plants for the garden.

“The beauty is when we get to harvest time,” Taylor said.

Feed the Burbs is an ecological service, based in the Norristown area, that offers services in landscape design and garden maintenance, as well as community workshops. The group is currently working with the Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library to create a series of workshops in the Spring of 2015.

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Design Master Class: Cameron Flythe remakes a Raleigh kitchen


Curliss: Resolving to experience life

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