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Archives for November 14, 2015

Pace students aim to start real businesses

Posted Nov. 12, 2015 at 10:28 AM
Updated Nov 12, 2015 at 10:32 AM

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From riverside paths to picnic spots, Detroit quickens the pace for space

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Police, task force plan safety meet for Dana Drive residents

FAIRFIELD — The Fairfield Police Department, in partnership with the Fairfield Quality of Life Task Force and NorthBay Healthcare, will host a community safety meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday on Dana Drive.

The street will be closed to through traffic, with the meeting taking place in the middle of the street in front of 1190 Dana Drive.

Dana Drive, an apartment-lined street in central Fairfield, has been a crime-prone neighborhood for several years and has been the subject of a crime-prevention and neighborhood-revitalization effort by the city’s Police Department and Quality of Life Task Force for more than two years, according to police.

Police intensified patrols in the area, while the task force used grant funding to enhance street lighting, improve landscaping and add security cameras – all of which has resulted in a dramatic reduction in reported crime and calls for service on Dana Drive, police said.

The purpose of this community meeting will be to update residents on progress made over the past two years to make the Dana Drive neighborhood safer and to inform them of what the next steps will be, police said.

NorthBay Healthcare, which operates nearby NorthBay Medical Center, is partnering with the Police Department and the Quality of Life Task Force to determine community needs on Dana Drive and generate ideas for how NorthBay can help its neighbors, police said.

Dana Drive residents and those nearby are being invited to come to the community meeting and meet some of the officers who patrol the area on a regular basis, as well as the crime prevention specialists who have been organizing the ongoing effort to improve the area.

Crime prevention specialists will be conducting a resident survey to try to learn about neighborhood needs, according to police.

Police and task force members met with apartment owners and managers at a recent meeting hosted by NorthBay Healthcare to get owners and managers involved in the Police Department’s Crime Free Multi-Housing Program. It’s a state-of-the-art crime prevention program designed to reduce crime, drugs and gangs on apartment properties, according to police.

Fairfield has dozens of apartment communities that participate in the program, including some neighborhoods that are prone to crime, police said. All of them experienced significant safety improvements and reduced calls for police services once the program was fully implemented, according to police.

The city’s Fun on the Run program will also be part of the Dana Drive event. It’s a free mobile recreation and nutrition program that brings activities for children right to the heart of Fairfield’s neighborhoods. It’s funded by the Fairfield Community Services Foundation.

Although the street will be closed to through traffic for the event, residents will have access to their respective apartment driveways.

For more information about the event, call Crime Prevention Specialist Jeff Conner at 428-7673.

Reach Kevin W. Green at 427-6974 or [email protected].

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Ecologist bringing green alternatives to Royal Oak, from lawns to storm water

Royal Oak officials and residents next week will hear from an ecologist on how the use of native plants everywhere from home gardens to public infrastructure can help save money and the environment.

“There are a lot environmental benefits to using native plants,” said Tom Regan of the Royal Oak Environmental Advisory Board. “One big advantage is to retain storm water.”

Homeowners and businesses alike have turned to landscaping with native plants. Royal Oak recently changed its storm water retention ordinances for businesses to allow for demonstration projects using bioswales or rain gardens to offset costly retention basin requirements, though no businesses have come forward yet. The city also now has its first public rain garden along a city parking lot with some more to come next year.

“The culture is changing,” Regan said.

John DeLisle, principal ecologist of Natural Community Services based in Southfield, is set to talk to the Royal Oak Environmental Advisory Board at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Royal Oak Senior Center, 3600 Marais.

DeLisle practices what he preaches. Several years ago he removed the standard grass lawn from his Southfield home and planted a variety of native plants on his one-acre property in what he calls an ecological restoration.

The change created a natural habitat on his land for butterflies, bees, birds and other wildlife as well as plants that hold and purify storm water.

“Turf grass has roots that are only two inches thick and acts almost like cement with storm water runoff,” he said. “You need deep-rooted plants to take water that comes into yards and parks before it gets to the streets.”

Homeowners who have rain gardens can have a large impact and reduce storm water runoff into the sewer system from their property by up to more than 90 percent, DeLisle said.

“It can have a big collective impact,” he added.

A movement in the Midwest away from traditional suburban lawns has been underway for years. It started in Wisconsin.

“In Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin and the northern Chicago suburbs, suburban lawns are now in the minority and native gardens are the majority,” DeLisle said. “You also see that in California and Oregon. It’s been slower to catch on in Michigan and Ohio.”

Abandoning lawns for native plants means homeowners no longer have to use fertilizers that continue to cause significant problems in streams, rivers and lakes.

Agricultural and lawn fertilizers run off with rainwater and affect everything else downstream, disrupting the ecosystem and causing algae blooms that can create toxins, deoxygenate the water and kill fish.

“It’s the whole reason beaches close in Macomb County and downriver,” DeLisle said.

Storm water and how to handle it is a major issue for municipalities, especially older developed suburbs like Royal Oak.

Some Royal Oak City Commissioners have pushed for green alternatives to storm water detention systems, including bioswales — a landscaped space with gently sloped sides filled with plants and vegetation that absorb and filter storm water. Rain gardens are similar but typically are walled in when used on a large scale.

Royal Oak in September created its first public rain garden along a median parking lot on Fourth Street across from Grant Park, said City Engineer Matt Callahan. It is about 300 feet long and 7 feet wide on the eastbound side of the street.

The rain garden is an alternative to drains in the public parking lot that used to feed into the water-sewer system.

“We put in native plants that use a lot of ground water and clean the water,” Callahan said.

The city plans to create a couple of similar rain gardens next year in areas where roadways fail to drain well. Rain gardens are also incorporated into plans for a new Kroger Marketplace store slated to open at 12 Mile and Stephenson in Royal Oak next year. The developer is creating the gardens, which won’t offset the project’s requirements for storm water detention systems, Callahan said.

Many people in Royal Oak continue to press for green alternatives, both to regionwide storm water issues and to what vegetation they plant in their own yards.

“This isn’t the answer to all our problems,” Regan said of using native plants. “It’s going to be one of a lot of small answers.”

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6 lovely homes for the literary-minded

Santa Fe, New Mexico. Built in 1970, this three-bedroom home has a two-story library that can hold 10,000 books. The adobe house features a wine cellar, seven fireplaces, Mexican tile, and a master suite with a kiva fireplace, two bathrooms, and a study.

The 20.8 acres include vegetable gardens, a greenhouse, a guesthouse, and an artist’s studio. $4,200,000. Ashley Margetson, Sotheby’s International Realty, (505) 984-5186.

Sewickley, Pennsylvania. Built in 1900, this six-bedroom stone house is in the village downtown. The large library has a red marble fireplace, glass bookcase doors, crown molding, and a bay window with a cushioned seat.

Details of the fully renovated home include a grand staircase, stained-glass windows, and a master bedroom with a spa bath. $1,950,000. Kathe Barge, Howard Hanna, (412) 779-6060.

Long Grove, Illinois. This five-bedroom home has a 1,128-square-foot library accommodating 10,000 books in its two-story wraparound balcony shelves. Additional details include oak hardwood, skylights, a wet bar, a screened porch, and an updated kitchen.

Zoned for horses, the 3.2-acre property has a three-stall barn and 60 varieties of trees. $789,000. Ron Gerberi, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, (847) 668-8110.

Langley, Washington. This five-bedroom house on Whidbey Island is owned by bestselling mystery writer Elizabeth George. The shingle-style home has a gym, a library with a fireplace, and a master suite that includes a spa bathroom, a sitting area, and a fireplace.

The 9.7-acre property has mature landscaping, a barbecue pavilion, a cottage, and a three-car garage with an apartment above. $5,200,000. Scott Wasner, Realogics/Sotheby’s International Real Estate, (206) 910-1410.

Far Hills, New Jersey. This six-bedroom home sits on 9.6 acres along a dead-end road. The house features a two-story, wood-paneled library with a spiral staircase and holds up to 6,000 books.

Other details include French doors, a great room with a stone fireplace, a chef’s kitchen with a stone arch, and a large pool with a patio. $3,900,000. Molly Tonero, Turpin Realtors/Christie’s International Real Estate, (877) 788-7746.

Cambridge, New York. This three-bedroom colonial was built around 1820. The living room features a wood-burning stove, a wall of built-in bookshelves, ornate ceilings, and an attic studio.

The 0.77-acre property borders a stream and has a two-story carriage barn and a historic building that could serve as a writer’s cottage. $339,900. Deborah Andersson, Select/Sotheby’s International Realty, (518) 496-0237.

**Want more? Check out “6 fantastic homes under $300,000”**

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Rangely Community Gardens wraps up fruitful season

From left: Kasen Aguirre, Jackson Aguirre, Matthew Morgan and Grady Aguirre haul a cartload of pumpkins during the Rangely Community Gardens’ October pumpkin giveaway. More than 800 pumpkins were given away free during the event.

From left: Kasen Aguirre, Jackson Aguirre, Matthew Morgan and Grady Aguirre haul a cartload of pumpkins during the Rangely Community Gardens’ October pumpkin giveaway. More than 800 pumpkins were given away free during the event.

RANGELY I The Rangely Community Gardens wrapped up a diverse and fruitful season this month with its annual pumpkin giveaway to all children in Rangely and Dinosaur.

The Gardens grew more than 500 pumpkins on site and 300 more were donated by Rio Blanco County’s Colorado State University Extension Office/4-H Clubs, led by Bill Ekstrom.
Although hundreds of pumpkins were given away to school children and preschoolers, extras were sold by donation to other community members and distributed to the elderly toward the end of the giveaway week.
“Our pumpkin giveaway has become so successful and well-loved that next year we plan to make sure we have enough pumpkins on hand to provide them all week to anyone in the community who wants them,” Rangely Community Gardens President Beth Wiley said. “They will always remain free to kids and sold by donation to anyone else who wants one.”
When an overtly large pumpkin appeared in the patch, gardeners, volunteers and visitors enjoyed ogling the 100-plus-pound behemoth all fall as it grew bigger each week. Finally it was cut and delivered to Parkview Elementary School to be raffled off during their annual Night at Hogwarts.
It took four college students to move the pumpkin, and 3-year-old winner Terran Allen, though delighted, needed help getting it home.
The Children’s Garden program, in its second season, saw an expansion in space and participation this year. With the help of a state grant written by Rio Blanco County Public Health, a group of moms led by Mary Dillon grew and harvested a variety of vegetables from early summer through fall.
Additional plots were gardened by individual children, including KJ Benson, who accomplished her summer goal of growing a watermelon. Remaining plots were planted and maintained by Gardens volunteers.
Volunteers from the community, college and high school came together in early spring to install a “food forest,” utilizing a sustainable landscaping strategy called permaculture.
The system mimics natural ecosystems to create orchards and gardens that are organic, productive, resource-efficient and low maintenance. The orchard was designed by Colorado Northwestern Community College instructor Robyn Wilson, who will continue to give oversight and guidance as the space matures.
More moms and kids as well as individuals gathered Fridays during the autumn for a second year of Garden Club, this year headed by Marisela Preciado and Sandra Guzman, last year’s participants-turned-volunteers. Along with a variety of crafts, participants went on a vegetable treasure hunt to make a salad, dug potatoes and painted signs for the Gardens’ various vegetable patches.
In addition to those who visited the Gardens, townspeople were able to enjoy local, organically grown vegetables for months this summer by stopping by Heritage Building and Home Center to purchase freshly harvested produce from bins hosted on site.
Vegetables are sold by donation only.
“It’s an affordable way to eat healthy and support the Gardens at the same time, and Heritage has been an important source of support over the years,” Wiley said. “They’ve donated a substantial amount of materials and supplies, and we owe a huge part of the construction of the Children’s Garden to Beckey and John Hume’s generosity.”
Volunteers may be preparing the Gardens for winter rest, but already they’re thinking ahead to future days of rejuvenation and renewal.
Next season will include additional fruit trees and plants added to the orchard, expanded vegetable plots grown by volunteers to be donated and sold in the community, and Rangely’s first 4-H Garden Club for youth ages 8-18 led by Garden’s President Beth Wiley.
“The growing season may have come to an end for this year,” Wiley mused, “but we are still putting the garden to bed and already planning next year’s vegetable plots.”
“Volunteers and donors are welcome aboard anytime as we prepare for next season by making garden plans, raising funds and planning activities,” she said. “None of this happens without a lot of community support!”
To learn more about how to get involved, contact Wiley at 970-274-1239 or

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Gardening Tips: Flowers in the fall and winter garden

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4 design tips from the Birmingham Home and Garden Inspiration Home


(WIAT) — The 2015 Birmingham Home and Garden Inspiration Home showcases the latest trends in home design. It is located in Calton Hill in Mountain Brook, on Montclair Road, in between the post office and the community center.

Mary Stackhouse toured the house with Anne Lyle Harris of Birmingham Home and Garden to see what trends are popular in interior design right now:

  1. Mixing finishes — from the herringbone back splash in the kitchen to wood finishes throughout the home and the Lucite and mirrored accents, the designers behind the Inspiration Home weren’t afraid to mix and match materials.
  2. Red — even though it’s a bold and trendy color, when matched with neutrals and cool tones it plays well as an accent.
  3. A luxurious master bedroom — with its muted colors and cozy throws, the bedroom is an oasis to relax and wind down.
  4. Multi-functional rooms — Most of the rooms in the Inspiration Home can serve multiple purposes — like a sun room that can be a breakfast nook or a reading room.

Get more interior design ideas at the 2015 Birmingham Home and Garden Inspiration Home from now until Deccember 6, 2015. CLICK HERE to purchase tickets for $10.

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News

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HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW: Tips on how to ripen ‘green’ squash harvested from …

Posted Nov. 13, 2015 at 10:00 AM

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To get your garden ready for the cold

Taylor Johnston, greenhouse and garden manager at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and founder of ever-so-cool women’s workwear label Gamine, knows how to keep greenery well-protected come winter. Here are five tips to ready your garden before the chill sets in.

1. Don’t feed the animals: Critters are stocking up for the coming months, but once the snow hits they’ll nibble whatever they can find. Take the time to screen them out now. “If you’re working around Peter Rabbit as much as we are in the Monk’s Garden at the Gardner, it’s a good idea to think about adding wire mesh screens or cages around specimen trees and shrubs with thin bark,” said Johnston. “Some of the museum’s stately saucer magnolia, Chinese lace bark elm, and specimen witch hazel were stripped clean under the snow banks last winter.”

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2. Get a jumpstart: Johnston advises not to leave weeding till the warmer months. Pulling weeds in the fall can actually save you time when the seasons change. “Even if you simply remove seed heads, that will go a long way for reducing your weed population in the spring,” she said.

3. Tie up loose ends: Woody plants also need extra protection, said Johnston. She recommends taking the time to tie up branches, especially those “in the line of falling ice dams or roof avalanches.” Also, an anti-dessicant spray, used sparingly, can help keep your plants from getting bone dry before the ground freezes.

4. Take in some house guests: “If you pot your bulbs in pots, you will want to move containers to a protected spot so they are not exposed to moisture,” Johnston advised. “Tender plants like dahlia, alocacsia, or elephant ears should be dug up before the frost and stored in a greenhouse, a spare room in the house, or a cellar away from freezing temps.”

5. Chip, chip, chip away: Chipping — mowing over your leaves a few times — is something Johnston recommends. “Use the leaf mulch as a top dressing for perennial and vegetable beds,” she said. “Chipping is important ,as whole leaves take much longer to break down. Also, many leaves, especially maple leaves, can mat together and form a moisture barrier working against your efforts.”

Rachel Raczka can be reached at

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