Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for January 25, 2016

North Rosedale Park House With a Sweet Backyard Asks $198K

The inside is quite lovely, too, with five bedrooms, four bathrooms, hardwood floors, and unique crown molding. There are plenty of windows throughout overlooking the yard. The kitchen features open shelving, stainless steel appliances, and an eat-in breakfast nook. The living room has a cozy gas fireplace and a door leading to the deck. The third floor offers its own bedroom and full bathroom. There’s room for updating some of the spaces in the future, but it’s move-in ready as is.

Located in a nice family neighborhood, this could be the perfect home for those who like to throw barbecues and summer parties.

Click here to view the full photogallery.

· 15908 Glastonbury Avenue [Zillow]

Article source:

Bonita library plan pleases advocate – The News

For Bonita Springs City Council member Bill Lonkart, seeing a decision announced to build a new city library downtown coming a couple of months before he leaves office is as welcome as it was anticipated.

He’s been working toward the goal since he began his first term nearly eight years ago.

“It has taken this long to get the mission accomplished,” Lonkart said. “In 2008, when I came on council, I reviewed the situation with the library, I had every county commissioner down here at that time to visit the site where it is.”

Lonkart has also made a number of trips to Fort Myers to visit with commissioners on the subject of the library, as documented in lobbying logs county officials are required to keep.

“We didn’t have a sufficient place for a population of almost 50,000 that was growing,” Lonkart said. “We needed something that was modern, compared to what they have up in Estero.”

The South County Regional Library is located on Three Oaks Parkway in Estero.

Lonkart has been a regular patron of the existing city library on Pine Avenue.

“I go by there quite often,” he said. “If you want to have a meeting there, they have a very small room; its very inadequate. We got something that we were entitled to, since it should have been done years ago but working through the county we got the job accomplished.”

Lonkart is a veteran of government, having served in public office for a township in New Jersey before moving to Bonita Springs. He said getting a new library to replace the crowded Pine Avenue facility, and getting it built downtown, has taken more work than other projects in which he has been involved.

“It’s been more challenging, getting the county officials and the local officials here together, meeting, and getting it done,” he said. “The reason it couldn’t get done before this is the county was running an operational budget deficit of millions of dollars.”

A dedicated library tax is now generating enough revenue so that the new libraries for Bonita Springs and North Fort Myers can be built at roughly the same time, rather than doing one and then starting the second.

Lonkart smiled when asked if he was looking forward to being at the groundbreaking for the long-awaited library.

“Damn right,” he said.

Median landscaping and safety

Do plants installed along median strips help keep roads safer? Some traffic experts think so.

A 2013 study done for the state Department of Transportation found that 68 percent more crashes happen near intersections without trees and other plantings than at locations that meet FDOT’s standards for planting in median strips. Accidents with personal injuries tripled in areas without trees compared to locations that met the standard, the report found.

The study, Landscaping of Highway Medians at Intersections, was done by the Center for Urban Transportation Research, which also found that setback and tree spacing has “the potential of reducing the occurrence of injury crashes.”

South Lee County’s incorporated municipalities take median landscaping seriously. Bonita Springs has been involved in a $3 million tree-planting program in median strips, and Estero could eventually take charge of the work for some roads in the village.

A Florida Gulf Coast University survey of Estero’s infrastructure suggests that work on median strips in areas such as Estero Parkway near U.S. 41, Corkscrew Road, Oak Brook and Williams roads should be among the priorities for future landscaping projects.

Some Estero residents have complained about Lee County’s landscaping standards, and the work done by contractors, in some parts of the village.

Village Council member Jim Boesch said improving landscaping is a good chance for a village-wide community project that would take advantage of a spirit of volunteerism he sees around town.

“The more people we get involved in the village the better the village will be, they’ll be bringing back the information about this and that and when they go outside the city they say “’in our city they pay attention to all the people,” Boesch said. “What could be better than a city where people are involved and are happy to be involved.’”

In Bonita, the Everglades Wonder Gardens makes use of a corps of volunteers who help maintain the park’s gardens. Executive Director Janet Martin noted recently that many of them retired to Southwest Florida condo life and miss the opportunity to dig in the dirt and make things grow.

FDOT has design standards for media plantings, setting rules for sight distances, spacing of trees, the height of trees and ground cover — even for the diameter of tree trunks.

Boesch said a community effort to improve landscaping has other benefits.

“It would make the city distinguished from all other areas and it would enhance the entire look of Estero,” he said. “It would bring an ultimate increase in home value to the people and would bring a different level of pride to the village.”

Interactive children’s pool coming

The Bonita Springs interactive water feature will soon be moving off the drawing board into a construction phase.

Formerly referred to as the children’s activity pool, the $712,000 project will be a 1,900-square-foot, family-oriented water attraction adjacent to the community pool at the city’s Pine Avenue recreation area.

Funding for most of the project will come from park impact fees paid by developers. The area will include slides and other water-based attractions and will include 42 chaise lounges for parents and caregivers.

The facility will be separate from the existing main community pool, with a separate gate and a fence between them to keep tots from wandering off into the larger and deeper pool. Once it opens, the city will hire lifeguards for the children’s pool, paid for by an annual operating appropriation of $150,000 to $175,000. It will include a “beach entry zone,” allowing children to gradually wade into the water as they would at a beach. The deep-end will be 18 inches with two sets of slides and a number of other water features.

Family restrooms, to help parents attend to the needs of the younger patrons, was added to the complex after it was first approved

Article source:

Sposato manager earns Certificate of Merit in Landscape Design from Longwood Gardens

Heather Spencer, a residential maintenance manager at Sposato Landscape in Ocean View, has earned a Certificate of Merit in Landscape Design from Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa. “I can’t believe it’s finally over and I did it,” said Spencer, a Rehoboth resident.

Spencer completed the course, which is part of the Continuing Education Program at Longwood Gardens, in two years. It included classes in plant identification, sustainable landscape design and drawing, which was her favorite class. “I knew about trees and shrubs but didn’t know how to draw. Now, I can draw them on a design properly. I also learned how to read grading and elevations.”

A bit of serendipity led Spencer to her profession. She was studying geography in college, but a counselor advised against it. ”She told me I didn’t seem to have a passion for geography. Here I was, a senior, and she threw me for a loop. She asked me what classes I enjoyed most and I said `ornamental horticulture’. I knew I would have a career working in the plant world.” She eventually got her degree from the University of Delaware in plant science.

Spencer, who has been at Sposato since 2014, said she decided to go to Longwood Gardens to increase her knowledge and skills in the areas of horticulture and landscaping. “I worked for another landscape company before coming to Sposato. They used to throw a lot of projects at me, and I got experience on the fly. I learned a lot in that type of environment. I worked in service, production and installation. I used to put together plant packages for new homes.”

Spencer admitted that it took a large commitment of time and money to pursue the certificate. It cost her about $3,000 for tuition, books and art supplies. That didn’t include the gas it cost for the weekly four-hour round trip from Rehoboth Beach to Longwood Gardens and back.

Although there was no urgency to complete the courses in two years, Spencer said she was determined to get it done. “Longwood Gardens is the Harvard of landscape design in continuing education. Longwood Gardens is known around the country if not the world. So I decided I would take on the commute and go to the best. The instructors and supporting staff at Longwood are incredible.”

“It has been a pleasure having Heather in our program,” said Matthew Ross, coordinator of Continuing Education at Longwood Gardens. “She provided great insight as an active horticulture professional and great enthusiasm. Making the time for the commute, scheduling her courses and finding time to complete her assignments on time is not an easy task while juggling work responsibilities and deserves acknowledgment. I hope that her passion and dedication is contagious and is a testament to the importance of professional development in the horticulture industry.”

Longwood Gardens is one of the premier display gardens in the United States and has exotic plants, horticulture events, and seasonal and themed attractions. Encompassing 1,077 acres of gardens, woodlands, meadows, fountains, and a 4.5-acre conservatory, Longwood continues the mission set forth by Pierre S. du Pont to inspire people through excellence in garden design, horticulture, education and the performing arts.

Spencer also thanked her fellow Sposato managers who looked after her properties when she had to leave for school. “My partners at work were a lot of help. If I had to leave for class, I would ask them to check up on my crews to make sure everything was OK.”

Spencer said her education is not complete. “I think it’s important to continue to build my skills,” said Spencer, who is planning to get her Delaware Nursery Professional certification next. “I’m not done. I believe you learn differently as you get older. Learning keeps you fresh and engaged. It also helps me in my current position in the company. Clients want enhancements to their landscapes. They want better lines of sight on their properties. I’m more equipped to do that now. I think I add more value to my job.”

“You have to be impressed with Heather’s determination to get this done,” said Sposato founder Tony Sposato. “I think we all need to constantly work on developing our skills and knowledge.”


Article source:

Fundraiser 5K is Feb. 20; gardening tips offered

Posted: Thursday, January 21, 2016 10:17 pm

Fundraiser 5K is Feb. 20; gardening tips offered

TODAY’S WORD is narrate (ner-ayt). Example: The author narrates her story in great detail.

THURSDAY’S WORD was petulant (pe-che-lent). Definition: (of a person or their manner) childishly sulky or bad-tempered. Example: John Doe is a petulant and fussy man who blames everyone else for his problems.

Caring Hearts for Healthy Soles 10K and 5K Fitness Walk at the Stuart site of Patrick Henry Community College is not until Feb. 20, but that leaves time to get in shape and to pre-register. The cost is $30 for the 10K through Feb. 10, then $35 through race day; and $15 for the 5K walk through Feb. 10, then $20 through race day.

Visit and click on news and updates for more details and to print a registration form. Call Christie Fain at (276) 694-3410 or email for more information.


The following are bully plants, as promised in Thursday’s Stroller. The following information can be of help to gardeners in the spring planting.

According to the North Dakota State University Agriculture Extension, science confirms some plants bully others. Certain plants grow rapidly, crowd others and take more than their fair share of water, sun and nutrients. Some exude toxins that retard plant growth or kill plants. Other plants are upstanding citizens and do good by adding nutrients to the soil, drawing beneficial insects into the garden or by confusing insects in search of their host plants.

As a gardener, you’re both the mayor and the city planner for the city that is your garden. By growing plants with good companions, you bring peace and prosperity to your town.

As in city planning, the way you lay out your vegetable garden is crucial. Avoid planting vegetables in large patches or long rows and interplant with flowers and herbs. Large groupings of one type of vegetable serve as a beacon to problematic pests. If you mix in flowers and herbs, it becomes more difficult for pests to find your veggies.

Here are several combinations found to be beneficial over time from Todd Weinmann of North Dakota State University Agriculture Extension:

  • Beans: Companions — Beet (to bush beans only), cabbage family, carrot, celery, chard, corn, cucumber, eggplant, pea, potatoes, radish, strawberry. Enemies: Garlic, onion and shallot stunt the growth of beans. Allies: Marigold deters Mexican bean beetles. Nasturtium and rosemary deter bean beetles. Summer savory deters bean beetles, improves growth and flavor.
  • Cabbage family (Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, kale and kohlrabi): Companions: Beet, celery, chard, cucumber, lettuce, onion, potato, spinach. Allies: Chamomile and garlic improve growth and flavor.
  • Corn: Companions — Bean, cucumber, melon, parsley, pea, potato, pumpkin, squash. Enemies: Tomatoes and corn are attacked by the same worm. Allies: Odorless marigold and white geranium deter Japanese beetles. Pigweed raises nutrients from the subsoil to where the corn can reach them.
  • Tomatoes: Companions — Asparagus, carrot, celery, cucumber, onion, parsley, pepper. Enemies: Corn and tomato are attacked by the same worm. Mature dill retards tomato growth. Kohlrabi stunts tomato growth. Potatoes and tomatoes are attacked by the same blight. Allies: Basil repels flies and mosquitoes, improves growth and flavor. Bee balm, chives and mint improve health and flavor.


Thursday, January 21, 2016 10:17 pm.

Article source:

Taxicab Authority faces devastating audit – Las Vegas Review

It’s going to take some time for the dust to settle on last week’s explosive audit findings that Southern Nevada taxi companies took advantage of their customers to the tune of $47 million in unnecessary fuel surcharges and overpriced credit-card fees.

We may get an idea on how that will shake out this week when the Nevada Taxicab Authority meets for the first time since the audit findings were announced.

Will authority board members accept responsibility for approving some of the measures that led to fuel surcharges that were in place even after the price of gasoline dipped below $3.25 a gallon, the threshold for adding the charge?

Will they take the blame for enabling a credit-card fee of $3 per transaction, though there apparently was no research justifying the cost? Auditors say the companies could break even on the cost if the fee were 90 cents, but cab company execs say if the fee is ordered to 90 cents, the technology would go away because the companies wouldn’t be able to afford to keep it.

What about the finding that the agency’s enforcement officers were cultivating a law enforcement culture when a regulatory environment was expected? Were board members active in that decision, or was it staff direction that led to that culture shift?

Will Gov. Brian Sandoval remove one or more members of the board for failing to attend the Audit Committee meeting, which was teleconferenced last Tuesday between Carson City and Las Vegas? It’s clear he wasn’t happy that board members dissed him and his committee when the findings were released.

Will board members be compliant? Or will they be defiant?

How it shakes out may help define how many of us get around in the Las Vegas Valley in the years ahead. While most of us road warriors have our own vehicles, thousands depend on buses, shuttles and, yes, taxis to get around for trips to the grocery store or the doctor’s office.

Many cabdrivers I know have steady local customers they drive from place to place. And, like it or not, cabdrivers often are the first point of contact visitors have with our community, so they serve an important role as tourism ambassadors for Las Vegas.

In addition, all of us share the roads with cabbies, and the last thing most of us want to see when merging onto Interstate 15 is a grumpy cabdriver speeding in the right-hand travel lane.

We may learn a few more things when the board gathers.

One of the audit recommendations is to scrap the Taxicab Authority and turn its regulatory responsibilities over to either the Nevada Transportation Authority or a county board. Both ideas have merit.

The Transportation Authority already oversees taxis in every county except Clark, so it’s equipped to handle the regulatory issues. Clark County also could take it on. County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak once sat on the Taxicab Authority board and understands the issues it faces. Besides, the current Taxicab Authority oversees only the 16 cab companies operating in Clark County, so it seems appropriate that the county take it on — as long as it’s funded to do so.

But placing local cab oversight in the Transportation Authority’s hands may make the most sense because that has been a position many transportation leaders have advocated since that state agency was formed more than a decade ago as the Transportation Services Authority.

In addition to monitoring taxis, the Transportation Authority has jurisdiction over ride-hailing companies — entities the Taxicab Authority can’t touch. But it has been clear for the past year that the Taxicab Authority approved measures that would make it easier for the cab companies to compete with Uber and Lyft. Members did so wanting to keep the cab industry strong against the ride-hailing invaders, and they viewed that as leveling the playing field in an environment that seemed tilted toward ride-hailing and its sparkling smartphone application technology.

What transportation regulators didn’t count on was that along with the sparkle of the technology came the hubris of the companies, and everybody had to deal with company executives who took every opportunity they could to tell Nevada leaders how old school and backward they were.

A few more questions: If a decision is reached to scrap the Taxicab Authority — and there could be movement in that direction as early as next month — what happens to the dozens of employees that work for the agency? That’s an issue Taxicab Authority Administrator Ronald Grogan, who has been on the job less than four months, began addressing last week when the audit story hit.

What will the five authority board members do? These aren’t exactly get-rich positions with members statutorily allowed to be paid a maximum of $80 a day for each day they conduct board business. Is the job worth the aggravation?

It’s almost time for anybody who cares about the cab industry to buckle their seat belts for this trip. Who says you have to actually get in a car to go on a wild ride?

— Questions and comments should be sent to Please include your phone number. Follow the Road Warrior on Twitter @RJroadwarrior

Article source:

Plans for "The Amp House" advance at 33rd & Garfield

The city Planning Commission has approved a zoning change to allow redevelopment of the Garfield Aquarium into four residences and 900 square feet of co-working space at 3255 Garfield Ave. S.

A three-stall garage is planned for the rear of the property, along with a rooftop solar array and greenhouse.

The building operated as a utility substation for more than 80 years, and has been vacant since the 1990s.

Developers Aaron and Karen Parker have previously discussed plans to build more housing on the vacant portion of the site, which was not part of the recent application.

Parker said that in order to make the project viable, the 1911 building must receive designation from the National Register of Historic Places.

Parker said he does not yet own the site.

“Because the property is essentially of no use without a zoning change, we didn’t want to run rashly into this and buy the property and not be able to do anything with it,” he said.

City staff said they received many letters in opposition to the plans and a few in support.

At the Planning Commission hearing, resident Devin Hogan said he spoke as a millennial in support of the project. He called the plan an “extremely reasonable proposal to turn a decrepit, decaying industrial property into a place that people want to live.”

“People like me want to live in urban areas,” he said.

Resident Michael Nelson said that while parking is tight — especially during kickball games — it’s not impossible.

“As someone who has rented in the neighborhood up in the Wedge, where parking is way more tight, walking a few blocks is usually not a major problem for someone who is renting,” he said.

Resident Jon Loer said parking is often at a premium, however.

“Past six o’clock at night you’re lucky if you can find a place to park,” he said. “I think we have 97 units on this block already, so there just is no place to park.”

Other residents worried about a “bait and switch,” or the possibility of a future sale to another developer with different ideas.

Resident Bryce Pier said Aaron Parker has shared at least six iterations of the plan, varying from four units to 17 units. He said if the zoning change is approved, there isn’t much the neighborhood could do to prevent the second phase of the project. And if the sale falls through, Xcel would be sitting on a much more valuable piece of land eligible for redevelopment, he said.

The Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the height increase and zoning change to a Neighborhood Office Residence District (OR1). Commissioners also approved the requested setbacks to allow a front stairway and patio along 33rd Street, with a condition to green the landing and create a landscaping plan.

“I would not vote for it if I thought there were a possibility for some wildly out-of-character uses,” said Commissioner Sam Rockwell. “I just look at the OR1 … and it just is not much different than what is allowed in residential [districts]. … It allows more residential units, which I believe is a good thing.”

Article source: