Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for December 26, 2015

Oprah Winfrey lands a tech-happy ski home in Telluride

Oprah Winfrey has dropped $14 million on a high-tech ski home in Telluride, Colo. — well within construction supervision range of the 60-plus acres she bought last year for $11 million.

The media mogul’s new place was purchased from tech entrepreneur Bob Wall, who served as chief executive for such companies as Theatrix Interactive and Clarity Wireless. The noted African art collector sold the contemporary home furnished.

Set on about 3.25 acres on the slope side of Mountain Village, the five-bedroom, 6.5-bathroom home with 8,700 square feet of living space has some standout features.

The 56-foot-long, 1,600-bottle wine cellar looks like a mining tunnel, complete with piped-in sounds of creaking wood and dripping water and an antique ore cart.

The great room has a glass fiber-optic bridge suspended above it that connects the master bedroom to an office.

An observation deck 35 feet above ground includes a fire pit. Reached by a walkway that Wall set up to sway in the treetops, the deck cost $140,000 to build.

A funicular that looks like an old mining tram leads to the ski slopes. The cost to install the one-minute ride was $240,000.

There’s a tower room, a theater, a seven-person hot tub and two wood-burning fireplaces as well as a guesthouse and a three-car garage. The home also has such Winfrey requisites as a gym.

High-tech remote-controlled gadgetry runs most of the systems of the custom house, built in 2001. But we’re not just talking window shades here. A radiant heat system keeps the driveway snow-free. Driveway sensors alert the homeowner when a car pulls up.

A Finnish-made sauna was altered by Wall to increase the temperature setting and the duration of the cycle. A $70,000 limestone bathtub has a system that maintains the water temperature.

The sale took place outside the Multiple Listing Service, although the house previously had been marketed publicly and featured on

Winfrey, 61, owns real estate in locations including Montecito, Calif.; Chicago; Hawaii and Tennessee. The billionaire gained fame hosting her own talk show, “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” She is executive producer of the 2016 series “Greenleaf.”

Local NBA star looks to pass

NBA All-Star Tyson Chandler, who plays for the Phoenix Suns, and his wife, Kimberly, have put their home in guard-gated Hidden Hills on the market for $9.995 million.

The professional basketball player put his stamp on the single-level Traditional-style house during his ownership, redoing the interiors while adding a detached man cave/theater room, a detached gym with a steam shower and horse facilities to the 1.34-acre property.

Beyond the vaulted entry, the home opens to a chandelier-topped living room with a fireplace and an adjacent formal dining room with an artistic domed ceiling. Patterned wall treatments, wainscoting, herringbone wood floors and neutral color tones lend a sophisticated look to the 12,000 square feet of space.

Other areas include a country-style chef’s kitchen with a wide center island, a den and a lavish master suite with coved ceilings and rows of picture windows. A total of six bedrooms and 11 bathrooms includes a guest suite complete with a kitchen and private living room.

French and bi-folding glass doors open to a covered lounge area and a swimming pool with a raised spa. Formal landscaping and large expanses of grass complete the setting.

Chandler, who owns other property in Southern California, bought the house five years ago for $5.45 million.

Jordan Cohen of RE/MAX Olson Associates is the listing agent.

A two-time California Mr. Basketball at Dominguez High, Chandler was drafted out of high school by the Clippers in 2001 and immediately traded to the Chicago Bulls. The 33-year-old has played 15 seasons for the Bulls, Mavericks and Knicks, among other teams, winning an NBA title with Dallas in 2011 and Defensive Player of the Year honors with New York the following year.

He signed a four-year, $52-million contract with the Suns in the last off-season.

Studio-ready home sold to Sia

Australian singer-songwriter Sia has added to her real estate portfolio with the purchase of a Toluca Lake compound for $5.15 million.

There’s live-work potential here with both a main house and a 4,500-square-foot guesthouse that had been in use as a recording studio. The seller was a trust for engineer Henry W. Sanicola Jr. and his wife, Jacqueline, who once owned O’Henry Sound Studios in Burbank.

The 1.3-acre gated property has a Traditional-style main house and a large motor court.

A living room, a library/study, an immense family room off the kitchen, five bedrooms, five bathrooms and a powder room are within the 9,500 square feet of living space.

French doors open to a flagstone-surrounded swimming pool, an outdoor fireplace and mature landscaping.

Sia, 39, last year released the album “1000 Forms of Fear,” which included the hit “Big Girls Cry.” She is working on her next album.

Earlier this year she bought a Mediterranean Revival villa in Los Feliz for $4.7 million and four months later listed the distinctive A.F. Leicht-designed house for $4.995 million.

Musician’s home a hit with TV exec

Singer-songwriter Dave Stewart of Eurythmics fame has sold his Toluca Lake home to “House of Cards” executive producer Dana Brunetti for $3.85 million.

The Spanish-style house, built in 1929, was once home to Toluca Lake’s original architect, Park French. His movie star clients included Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and Norma Talmadge.

Original stained-glass windows, wrought-iron railings and wood floors are among the period details. Living, family and dining rooms, a breakfast room, a library, a soundproof media room, a steam room, four bedrooms and four bathrooms are within the 5,426 square feet of living space.

Article source:

Garden conference to be held in Wausau – Leader

A conference inviting all northern climate gardeners will be held Jan. 22-23 at the Northcentral Technical College in Wausau that serves Lincoln and Marathon Counties. 

Presented by the North Central Wisconsin Master Gardener Association and the UW Extension, the Garden Visions Conference will include national and regional speakers, educations exhibits, photography contests and raffles.

All members from the public with an interest and curiosity in gardening are invited. 

Registration for the event is now open. Pre-registrations must be postmarked or submitted online by Monday, Jan. 18. 

Walk-in registrations will be accepted but session choices may be limited.

Kicking off Garden Visions on Friday, Jan. 22, Wausau chef Clint Schultz of Urban Bistro will team up with Megan Cain to present the 2nd Annual Slow Food Dinner. Cain will present “10 Mistakes I Made In My Vegetable Garden So You Don’t Have To!” after dinner.

The event’s keynote speaker is Kerry Ann Mendez of Kennebunk, Maine. She is especially dedicated to teaching the art of low-maintenance perennial gardening and landscaping and focuses on time-saving gardening techniques, workhorse plants and sustainable practices.

Her presentation includes recommended perennials, annuals, flowering shrubs and evergreens as well as incorporating focal points, vertical interest, sustainable practices, and more.

A garden designer, author and lecturer, Mendez has been featured on HGTV and in numerous magazines including “Horticulture,” “Fine Gardening,” “Garden Gate” and “Better Homes Gardens.”

She was awarded the 2014 Gold Medal from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, which honors those who have made significant contributions to the enjoyment and appreciation of plants and the environment.

Mendez has published three gardening books including “The Right-Size Garden,” released in February for aging gardeners.

For more information or to register, visit

Article source:

Beautiful Gardens: Medford, Minn., garden is so nice, they planted it twice

After years of living in the ancient farmhouse where her husband, Paul, was raised, Cyndi Maas was itching for a new home.

“I wanted to design my own house,” said Cyndi. She envisioned a one-story Craftsman-style dwelling that nestled into its site. “I’m a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright and using your topography to envelop your house,” she said.

So the couple sold the old farmhouse and had it moved across the road. Their expansive garden, so showy that it had been featured on garden tours, had to go, too.

“She said, ‘I want to tear it all out and start over,’ ” Paul recalled.

But not from scratch. The couple decided to keep their existing trees, shrubs and plants — then rearrange them to complement the new house.

“I said, ‘I will dig up all the plants and move ’em,’ ” Cyndi said. “Hundreds of plants … hostas … daylilies. Any perennial I had, I moved. The weeping crab was moved twice.”

The couple decided to keep their existing trees, shrubs and plants  then rearrange them to complement the new house.

Master Gardener: Tips on harvesting lemons

Q. Can you tell me when I should begin harvesting my Meyer Lemons?

A. Since we cherish lemons for their acid, not their sugars, pick them by size and appearance, rather than taste-sampling. So as soon as the fruit have reached an acceptable size — say, 2-3 inches long — you can begin harvesting. As they mature, their color will change from dark to light green to silver, or a yellowish green, then to yellow, the color of the ripe fruit.

Of course, you can use them at any stage. But as they mature, the acid content declines. So, pick them late only if you prefer your lemons more on the mild than the sharp side. The fruit will hang on the tree well. But if you mean to store it for an extended time, don’t harvest it when it’s wet, or early in the morning, as you may damage it. Follow these same general rules for limes, as well.

Juicing them and storing them in ice cube trays, which you can keep in the freezer for later use, is one handy storage trick.

Do you have a gardening question for University of California/Shasta College Master Gardeners? E-mail it to or call 242-2219. Follow them on Facebook.

Article source:

‘Tis the season for cranberries

Posted: Saturday, December 26, 2015 12:30 am

‘Tis the season for cranberries

By Bob Beyfuss
For Columbia-Greene Media

Happy New Year! No gardening resolutions for me this year. I will be happy just to have a garden and enjoy it as I did last year.

This week’s column was written by my friend Paul Hetzler, who is a Cooperative Extension agent up in St. Lawrence County. It is all about a fruit that many of you enjoyed over holiday dinners.

Subscription Required

An online service is needed to view this article in its entirety.

You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

Have an online subscription?

Login Now

Need an online subscription?



Current print subscribers

Login Now

Need an online subscription?



Current print subscribers


Saturday, December 26, 2015 12:30 am.

Article source:

Water Questions Answered

It has been about six months since mandatory water restrictions hit California, but billing methods, ways to cut back and other details about water cutbacks remain as confusing as ever.

This week, The Malibu Times is answering the questions to some common questions residents have about water cutbacks.

How are water use goals calculated?

Every two months, a new bill comes in the mail with a new target for how many units of water to use. But how are those goals created? They are based on the average residential use throughout District 29 for the same period in 2013.

If you have a water meter of one inch or less, like the vast majority of Malibu residents, you fit into this category. Because 2013 was before suggested cutbacks went into effect, it is considered to be a fair indication of “average” use across the area, before residents were strongly encouraged to use less water.

• Based on Malibu and Topanga’s heavy water use, the area was given an overall 36 percent cutback goal.

• Say the average use in Malibu in December 2013 was 100 units per household, the restriction for December 2015 would be 64 units. 

• If your household is accustomed to using 70 units per month, your personal cutback is six units to get to 64.

• If your household is accustomed to using 120 units per month, your personal cutback is 56 units to get to 64.

• The restriction will change every billing period to reflect the average for that period two years ago.

• According to bills provided to The Malibu Times, the goal for the current period is about .52 units per day.

How can I cut down?

Many Malibu residents have put in months of effort and thousands of dollars toward curbing water use, but even minor lifestyle changes can cause major water use reductions.

• Check sprinkler systems for leaky pipes or faulty sprinkler heads.

• Use rain barrels to collect rainwater for watering plants.

• Cut back on watering except when necessary to keep plants alive.

• Be sure to not water plants or landscaping within 48 hours of measurable rainfall.

• Install a graywater system for irrigation using water from appliances like washing machines.

• Replace some plants with succulents or cacti that do not require constant watering.

• Check out stories about the Greenberg family and Jan Burns — residents who have cut back on water use — for other ideas.

How are we doing so far?

Malibu’s water use reduction was off to a good start this summer, but since then, residents have struggled to keep up with the demanding targets. The target of 36 percent reduction in use is further away this winter than it has been since before mandatory cutbacks were put in place.

Versus the same period in 2013: 

• In June and July, Malibu residents on average cut 27 percent of water use.

• In August, Malibu residents on average cut 21 percent of water use.

• In October, Malibu residents on average cut 19 percent of water use. 

“It is important to note that October 2015 was one of the warmest Octobers that has ever occurred in Malibu,” Waterworks District 29 acting District Engineer Dave Rydman told City Council during a November meeting.

What about El Niño?

With all the rain predicted with this winter’s El Niño weather patterns, there is some speculation as to whether the ongoing megadrought will be relieved and water restrictions will be lifted.

According to recent data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the odds of drought “removal” will be slim, but “improvement” is likely in the period from December 17, 2015 to March 31, 2016.

“The most likely area for removal exists across extreme northwest California due to abnormal wetness during early to mid-December and a continued wet pattern forecast during the remainder of the month,” NOAA predicted. “Effects from the multi-year California drought, such as low reservoir levels, may continue beyond the outlook period.”

Please send any additional questions about water to for possible inclusion in a future story.

Article source:

New year brings new plans for more students Robert Moreno | Fri, Dec 25 2015 … – Star

The Chula Vista Elementary School District is adding a new school to its roster to relieve student overcrowding at some of the campuses on the east side.

The district that’s home to 30,000 students is set to break ground on school No. 46 in the Otay Ranch Village 2 area next April, with plans of opening as a year-round school in July 2017.

With more housing projects being developed in Otay Ranch, the Chula Vista Elementary School District will need to accommodate more students.

“It’s all based on growth,” said Oscar Esquivel, assistant superintendent of business services and support, about the addition of a new school.

The school is tentatively called School No. 46 because that will be the number of schools in the district. Giving the school an official name will be one of the last things the district does after the school is built, Esquivel said.
School No. 46 will join Camarena Elementary School, which opened in 2013, as the newest schools in the district.

It is estimated that School No. 46 will cost about $48 million with the purchase of the 10.3 acres the school will sit on. Esquivel said the school will be fully financed by Mello-Roos money. Esquivel anticipates having some of that money reimbursed if a state bond is approved next November.

Esquivel said 14 schools in the district were built by Mello-Roos funds.

School No. 46 will be a two-story school with 36 classrooms, including a multi-purpose room.

The school will house up to 800 students and 36 teachers.

Development for the school started about a year and a half ago. An architectural team and a construction crew visited newer elementary schools in San Diego County and Southern California to look at school designs, lighting, architectural landscaping concepts and different energy efficiency ideas to possibly incorporate in designing School No. 46.

Chula Vista Elementary School District spokesman Anthony Millican said School No. 46 would be vastly different from 2-year-old Camarena Elementary School.

“This one is special,” Millican said about the design. “It’s truly going to be a model for our other schools.”
School No. 46 will have fewer hard structures like big cabinet units. Instead it will have more movable storage spaces. Technology used by teachers and students will be accessed from any point in a classroom rather than a set area.

Many classrooms will have a large open window that administrators and visiting teachers can look into as they are walking in the halls without disrupting classrooms.

Millican said the idea for the school academically is to be innovative and creative and really build an environment for academic collaboration and creativity.

It is not yet known if the school will have a specialty such as being a visual and performing arts school or a science, technology engineering and math school. Millican said public discussions with the community will be held to decide on the academic desires.

Whatever the academic model will be, Millican is convinced that it will be one of the top K-6 schools out there.

“I believe it is going to be as good and second to none of any private school in the community, especially an elementary,” Millican said.

Article source: