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Archives for November 2, 2015

Elegant Home, Food & Wine Expo coming to WestWorld

Whether you are looking for home remodeling, solar energy, a soothing hot tub or landscaping, the Elegant Home, Food Wine Expo has everything you need under one roof Nov. 14-15, 2015 at WestWorld, 16601 North Pima Road. See what’s new in pools, spas, barbecues, home products and a full-slate of how-to seminars. Plus food and dessert tastings, wine and craft beer sampling by 25 wineries and craft breweries, along with the KJZZ Travel and Discovery Expo at the same venue.

“The Elegant Home Expo is a boutique event that combines the latest in home decorating and remodeling products and services with an opportunity to sample food, wine and craft beer throughout the show,” said Paul Smith, president of On The Edge Promotions.

While you are at the show meet Home design expert, TV and radio personality Steve Deubel who will be presenting creative, insightful home renovation projects. Duebel will be seeking homeowners who would like to showcase their home remodel projects for an upcoming network TV series, and he will be broadcasting his Image Home Improvement radio show live at the event.

Wine lovers are invited to sample wines from around the globe including Cape Mentelle, Dynamite, Newton Vineyard, Rosenblum Cellars, Chandon, Sterling Vineyards, Belcrème de Lys, Calfresca, Monterey Vineyards, Minuty, Rose ‘N” Blum, Numanthia, Turvée, Bodega Navarro Correas and Jade Mountain. Wine clubs, specialty foods, cookware and cooking demos will also be featured. While shopping for your dream home, enjoy dessert samples and taste craft beers from local breweries and brew pubs. Samplings and tastings will be available from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm each day, while supplies last.

Landscaping experts for do-it-yourself gardening to full-concept transformational designs will present decks, patios, fountains, ponds, waterfalls, fire pits and furnishings. Also drought-resistant plants, artificial turf, brick and concrete. Kitchen and bath vendors will display remodeling from countertops and cabinets to center islands. Choose from granite, travertine, concrete or stainless steel surfaces. For the bath, check out fresh ideas on vanities, shower doors, bath tubs and fixtures. Bring your project to ask the experts!

A pool spa blowout sale will be held at the Elegant Home Expo with hot tubs and outdoor lifestyle products at discount prices. Popular swim spas, therapy spas, aquatic exercise spas, portable spas and entertainment hot tubs are included.The KJZZ Travel and Discovery Expo will be held during the Home Expo. Check out travel and adventure vacations, getaways, and cruises, plus seminars by area travel experts and exciting travel giveaways. Attendees are invited to attend the Travel Expo at no additional charge.

Show sponsors are Awnings by Design and Sun City Awning. Other vendors will be showcasing energy-efficient heating and air conditioning, windows, doors, floors, roofing, shutters, blinds, water purification, fireplaces, pest control, financial services and TV satellite/home theater options at low show prices. Attendees are also invited to enter-to-win daily giveaways.

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Bookworm Sez: Book helps pet owners create contented critters

What makes your pet happy?

Throw a toy and find out. Go for a run, sneak a snack, sit quietly with a warm blanket and firm scratch, even watching TV can put a smile on Scruffy’s face because it’s all about being with you. But if you still need ideas, “Do Unto Animals” by Tracey Stewart has them for you.

If it’s possible, Tracey Stewart loved animals before she was even born: pictures exist of her heavily-pregnant mother with family pets. Animals always surrounded Stewart and when she was a child, she wondered if she could make a living through her love of them. After a few life-detours – including different jobs and men other than the one she’s married to now — she does.

A dog was Stewart’s first love; he was a rescue bully-breed but she says she’s not sure who rescued who, in this situation. A dog has always been “my four-footed soother, my crutch … my confidant, my best friend.”

She continued, “If guardian angels really exist, mine don’t have wings. They have wagging tails, soft pink bellies and terrible breath.”

Though allergic, Stewart has loved a cat or four. She can’t live with them comfortably – she’s tried! – so instead, her children act as champions of cats needing homes. And that’s a good way to help animals: if you can’t have one, virtually adopt one.

Just because an animal doesn’t sleep in your house doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do for it. Your back yard is full of what Stewart calls “The Landscaping Team, Pest Control Team, and Cleanup Crew.” 

If you live on or near a farm, she says you should visit a barn often. Cows and pigs are no dummies and there’s a lot to learn on the back (or front) of a horse.

Other things you can do for animals: learn animal massage. Visit a shelter and adopt a mutt. Don’t believe everything you’re told about pit bulls or black cats. Remember that bugs and worms are friends. Know how to help an injured animal.

It’s a good thing animals can’t buy books. We should all be glad they can’t read, either, because if they could, they’d want to go live with author Tracey Stewart.

But here’s the thing: there really isn’t anything new inside “Do Unto Animals” – it’s just all framed differently. Lovers of the four-footed already know how to pet a dog well. We’re aware of spay-neuter programs, that bees are dying off and that livestock have personalities. Here, though, Stewart reminds us of these things in a shoulder-bumping, almost affectionate way… and besides, it’s hard not to be thoroughly smitten with an author who makes up dog breeds.

A “White-Bibbed Snuggler,” indeed.

For animal lovers, “Do Unto Animals” is an easy, enjoyable read – maybe twice. It might teach you something, and if it doesn’t, well, so what?  This book about making contented critters will make you pretty happy, too.

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Project Tracker: ‘Grey Goose’ project seeing get-up-and-go

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JANESVILLE—WHAT IT IS: It’s taken a few months longer than first planned to start a rehab at the former tobacco warehouse off Centerway that is now known as “The Grey Goose.”

But bricks last week started to fall on the demolition of a lean-to on the south side of the former Greene Brothers warehouse at 207. N. Academy St. on downtown Janesville’s west side.

Owner Mark Robinson said work is underway now shoring up the four-story, 24,000-square-foot brick building, putting on a new roof, re-grading landscaping and adding parking areas surrounding the building.

Renovations to turn the expansive, open wood-beam interior into open-concept commercial and retail office space will roll out in earnest over the winter, Robinson said.

The project is running about four months behind schedule based on earlier project plans, and Robinson said that potential costs for the project have jumped from earlier estimates of $2.5 million to $3.2 million.

THE PLAN: Robinson, a local attorney, and Jon Ballard, owner of local website development firm Foremost Media, had planned earlier this year to transform the building’s upper floors into office space for Foremost Media.

The white-collar company had outgrown 2,000 square feet of leased space on the east side, and it’s looking to expand its workforce, Ballard said.

As it stands, Foremost Media and a reality company Robinson owns a major stake in—R.K. Smith, which now has offices at 123 N. Jackson St.—would relocate and occupy 15,000 square feet of the building.

Robinson said that leaves open about 8,000 square feet of space on the first floor for another business. He said some ideas for that space include specialty retail or a deli-style restaurant.

THE HANGUP: Construction estimates for a historic renovation of the 1890s warehouse wound up costlier than earlier estimates. The property will have new interior and exterior staircases built, along with a new elevator.

But Robinson said exterior brick repairs and insulating the building, which was once a tobacco warehouse, will be the costliest portions of the work.

“The tuck-pointing that’s needed, it’s a lot of manual labor. And dealing with the inside of the building, in order to insulate the walls, it’s pure man hours,” Robinson said.

Robinson said contractor Corporate Contractors, Inc., which is a owned by Beloit-based Hendricks Holdings Co., gave the lowest bid for the work.

The city earlier had earlier agreed to a $425,000 tax increment financing loan to push the renovation forward and approved a $75,000 TIF loan to Foremost Media. Robinson also was working on a tax credit from the state Historical Society, which he’d earlier anticipated would pay for at least 40 percent of the project.

The city initially had tied a December 2015 deadline to the project’s TIF loan, but Robinson said the city now plans to amend the loan agreement to give the project a six-month extension through June 2016.

Robinson said he thinks the building could be renovated and ready for move-in as early as April.

Robinson said contractors plan to re-use some brick from the lean-to crews were tearing off the south side last week for spot-repairs on the main building. The lean-to brick also could be re-used to build new entryways on the building’s north and south sides.

Ballard has said Foremost Media plans to grow its workforce from about 25 to as many as 40 workers in the next few years, under the city tax credit deal.




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Get out the rake; piles of leaves can house trouble

For a few glorious days, they played a starring role on our hills and in our hearts, but then they faded and fell and no longer were the leaves we’d peeped but a graying and moldering organic carpet choking our gutters and landscaping.

If a leaf falls in the forest and no one’s around to rake it up – well, that’s not your problem. Not so, though, when the drop zone is your yard. But given enough time, unprovoked, won’t leaves, you know, turn into mulchy stuff – and mulch is good, right?

For caretakers of properties in urban and suburban areas, the equation’s not that simple, said Pat Sullivan, of Smart Garden Design in Colorado Springs. Piles of leaves provide a breeding ground – and cozy, wintertime lair – for the diseases and pests that can wreak havoc on lawns and gardens come warm temperatures. They also can be a Petri dish of nascent weeds and other unwanted, invasive plants awaiting an inevitable springtime cue to thrive.

“Sanitation is the first rule of disease and insect prevention,” Sullivan said. “The insects and diseases that bother you during the growing season are spending the winter in that leaf litter, waiting for spring. Evict them now.”

Leaves aren’t only a domestic complication. Each fall, the city steps up street cleaning schedules and reminds residents to take care keeping public drains clear during a season that traditionally sees significant precipitation. Stormwater inlets clogged with leaves and lawn debris can exacerbate flooding and adversely impact water quality. In fact, blowing or sweeping lawn refuse into the street violates Colorado Springs city code and could earn you a fine.

The clearing of leaf- and needle-fall in suburban natural and wilderness areas, such as Black Forest, is key to fire mitigation, especially during times of drought. Unchecked tree debris, if ignited by a lightning strike, could spark an especially hot and aggressive fire. In an effort to avoid such devastating scenarios – again – the volunteer-run Black Forest Slash Mulch program encourages vigilant stewardship, clearing and maintenance. “We take any kind of tree debris except roots and anything larger than 8 inches in diameter because those don’t go into the grinder,” said board member Carolyn Brown, whose program collects loads of organic “slash” and grinds it up into mulch that’s made available, for free, to the public.

The bad news for those just getting around to cleaning up yards this late in the season is that the operation is closed for winter – “so please don’t dump your Christmas tree over the fence,” Brown said.

The city of Colorado Springs doesn’t have an organic recycling program for residents’ yard waste, but several local aggregate companies accept drop-offs of most organic debris for a moderate fee.

Pioneer Sand and Gravel takes wood materials for between $10 and $20 a load, depending on the size. The company’s Black Forest store is the best location for such deposits.

“They might get turned down if it’s too full at the other yards, but we’ve got plenty of room here,” said sales associate Matt McCooey, adding that loads can include branches, sod, yard scrap, leaves, pine needles and stumps, but no root balls and nothing that’s been burned. And, “everything must be separated out, and not mixed together.”

Drop off a load of yard waste at Rocky Top Resources during business hours on a Saturday – along with a nonperishable food or monetary donation to Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado – and your deposit is free. Weekdays, the cost is $7 a cubic yard with a $10 minimum.

“The biggest thing is there can’t be any trash. We’ve had issues with that,” said Rocky Top employee Jared Martin, whose company processes the debris into mulch. “If there’s any trash, we can’t accept it.”

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A model business: The tiny world of big buildings

“The model-maker is like the psychic to the world,” said Bterani, who was an early mover in the model-making space.

He started the firm in 1989, just as the Gulf Emirate was opening up to the outside world.

Since then, 3dr has created models for the likes of Hong Kong Airport, the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai and the World Trade Center Tower One in New York City.

The company’s latest work is the W hotel being built in Dubai which was proudly displayed to CNN when we visited the 3dr workshop.

Models range from $5,000 to $10,000 per square meter, while 3dr’s most expensive project cost over $5 million dollars.

And with a turnover of $120 million a year, 3dr’s model making business is clearly anything but child’s play.

The company justifies these not inconsiderable prices with its obsessive attention detail. Eighty gardening specialists alone are focused solely on getting the right trees to match the locale for the models.

“I see other models and the landscaping is a bit stiff not as alive as it should be,” Bterani said. “Developers love (our landscaping) it because it has actually been made by actual farmers.”

Craftsmen are also on call everyday to ship and assemble models for viewing. “At any given point in time we have 20 people somewhere in the world installing a model,” he said.

But this regimented organization is absolutely necessary.

Multi-billion dollar projects can live or die based on a viewing of his firm’s model, Bterani added.

Check out some of 3dr’s most ambitious models by playing the video atop this story.

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Tropical Gardening: Arbor Day is time to think trees

Next weekend, Hawaii’s focus is on Arbor Day and that means planting more trees!

According to Peter Van Dyke at Amy Greenwell Ethno Botanical Garden in mauka South Kona, native trees such as kamani, manele, halapepe, kou and hibiscus will be available. They will be giving away trees from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday through Sunday (Nov. 6-8). Most trees will be Hawaiian natives and plants introduced by the early Polynesians referred to as “canoe” plants such as kukui.

For details, call the garden at 323-3318.

Also, the Hawaii Department of Forestry Waimea nursery will be distributing native plants from 8-noon Friday.

For more information, call nursery manager Jacob Witcraft at 887-6063.

Normally, the state Forestry Service in Hilo supplies trees on this special day as well, but fears of spreading little fire ants from Hilo to other sites has meant no plants will be available from there.

Speaking of ants, it is a good idea to check any plants purchased or given to you to make sure you do not bring an infestation to your garden.

We are fortunate county and state planners encourage landscaping as much as possible when developers apply for permits to build subdivisions and shopping centers. Unfortunately, our requirements are somewhat minimal when compared to many communities in Florida and California that also depend on a strong tourist industry.

Developers from Kohanaiki, Kukio, Hualalai, Waikoloa and north to Kohala go that extra mile to really beautify their projects with lush landscaping. Smaller projects in Hilo and Kona often do not make that effort. When it comes to maintaining the landscape, they sometimes try to save a few bucks and the landscape deteriorates.

In the long run, millions of dollars might be lost, as well as not keeping the communities attractive to local residents and visitors alike. To make matters worse, even though permits are given based on a commitment to landscaping, there sometimes is no follow through or trees are planted and then cut down at a later date.

It is vital we continue to encourage good landscaping on big projects such as new roads and highways while at the same time landscape and maintain the little pieces of paradise we call our homes.

Our island is special in that we can grow almost any plant in the many microclimates that exist here. We have some of the most beautiful scenery found anywhere in the world. However, it does take conscious planning, planting and maintenance to bring out the best.

By planting trees, we actually can change the “microclimate” and make our gardens and community several degrees cooler in the summer.

If trees are placed just right, we even can create a garden climate that is warmer and less windy during the cooler season. It’s really interesting when we expand these basic principles.

USDA foresters have research data that supports the theory reforestation might increase local rainfall in dry areas and modify temperature extremes. You might say trees are natural air conditioners.

When enough are planted in an area, temperatures remain cooler in the summer. The sun’s rays don’t have a chance to penetrate and heat up the ground.

In the winter, those strong trade winds are blocked. The trees keep things cool in July and give protection from wind in January.

The best place to start improving the beauty of the island is right at home.

In selecting trees for shade, consider the hundreds of species of tropical plants that produce food as well as shade. Depending on your taste, available space for planting and location, we can grow almost anything.

The more popular types of fruit trees include mango, coconut, citrus, guava, avocado, papaya, lychee, breadfruit and banana.

Of course, our No. 1 nut, the macadamia, also is an attractive choice.

Besides the more common edibles, the cashew, carambola, sapodilla, sugar apple, sour sop, loquat, longan and tamarind are other ornamental trees.

We don’t have to stop with those.

Shrubs such as the natal plum, ceylon gooseberry, surinam cherry or pineapple guava also can be used.

Vines often add the right touch on a fence. Passion fruit, ceylon spinach, winged bean and others will produce goodies to treat your appetite.

Even edible ground covers can be incorporated into a garden.

Many herbs are tough and attractive as are some of our tropical vegetables, such as dry land taro, sweet potato, monstera, and Tahitian spinach.

There are so many choices, the list is almost endless. Several books are available at local bookstores and garden supply stores. Sunset’s “National Garden Book” is a great starter.

There also are many publications available through the University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service to help you with care and use of some of the plants you might select.

These can help in planning your landscape and maintaining it in the proper manner.

This information is supplied by the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. For further information about gardening and landscaping, contact one of our master gardeners at 322-4892 in Kona or 981-5199 in Hilo.

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Here are some tips on winterizing your garden

Special to the Reading Eagle: Susan Shelly | Vegetable gardens should be cleaned out, with waste going into the compost bin.

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Garden Tips: Don’t fear orb weaver spiders

With the Halloween decorations up, it would be hard to miss that folks find spiders scary, along with ghosts, zombies, bats and other creatures. Spiders are portrayed as nasty eight-legged monsters, but they are not that bad.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend expressed her concern about a spider outside my door. I investigated and found a big orb weaver spider spinning a web in the corner of the doorway. I carefully used a broom to relocate this cutey to the garden.

It is not unusual for folks to notice orb weavers at this time of year for two reasons: their webs and their large size. Orb weavers are a family of spiders that spin large orb-shaped webs with concentric rings and radial spokes. The webs are intricate and can be pretty.

They are not aggressive, being more likely to flee than bite, but they will bite in self-defense.

Because orb-weavers are nocturnal, they spin and repair their webs at night, and then settle down in the center to await food. Despite having eight eyes, orb weavers’ eyesight is poor, and they depend on vibrations to let them know when they have captured prey in webs. Insects caught in the web will be injected with a venom that paralyzes, wrapped with silk and carried to the center of the web for eating when the orb weaver is ready.

They sound gruesome, but orb weavers are basically benign to humans. They are not aggressive, being more likely to flee than bite. However, they will bite in self-defense, but the bite reportedly only produces some localized pain, reportedly no greater than a wasp sting.

The other reason we typically notice orb weavers in late summer and early fall is their large size. However, they are not that big much of the year. Most start out the season hatching from eggs produced the previous fall by the females. They carry on their work, spinning webs and eating insects throughout the growing season.

It is not until late in the season, after they mate, that the female’s abdomen becomes enlarged because of eggs. There are types of orb weaver spiders notable for their brightly colored abdomens, oddly shaped bumpy abdomens, or both. Some are called cat-faced, monkey-faced or humpbacked spiders because of the odd spiked shape of their abdomen.

When ready, the female produces an egg sac from her enlarged abdomen. The females and males will die with the arrival of frost, to be survived only by their eggs that will hatch the next spring.

Orb weavers are really nothing to worry about. They are an outdoor spider and most types are never found inside the home, only around the yard and garden. They are also considered beneficial because they eat other insects in the garden.

I was not able to convince my friend, but I hope that I have reassured you that these big scary spiders are nothing to fear.

Marianne C. Ophardt is a horticulturist for Washington State University Benton County Extension.

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