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Archives for January 26, 2016

Singapore’s artificial natural paradise

Nothing about the 130-acre park is as it seems. As the land it was built on wasn’t there in decades past, everything was created from scratch. This is landscaping on an epic scale, with every plant, every tree and each spec of dirt planned. It’s punctuated by giant “Supertrees,” vertical gardens that mimic real trees on a grand scale. The supertrees stand up to 50 meters (164 feet) tall, housing plants, solar panels, and collecting rainwater. Some also act as exhaust pipes for an underground biomass powerplant, which runs on natural waste from the park.

The Big Picture is a recurring feature highlighting beautiful images that tell big stories. We explore topics as large as our planet, or as small as a single life, as affected by or seen through the lens of technology.

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Rising Demand for Landscaping Services Boosting the Global Hedge Trimmer Market, Says Technavio

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–According to the latest market research report by Technavio, the global
hedge trimmer market
is expected to grow at a CAGR of close to
5% by 2020.

In this report, Technavio
covers the present scenario and growth prospects of the global hedge
trimmer market for 2016-2020. To calculate the market size, Technavio
analysts have considered the revenue generated through sales of hedge
trimmers, such as corded hedge trimmers, cordless hedge trimmers, and
Gas-powered hedge trimmers.

“More disposable income means that even individual or residential users
will be increasingly inclined towards landscaping during the forecast
period. Landscaping services have largely grown on account of the rising
emphasis on providing aesthetic appeal to residential and commercial
properties. It is to be noted that landscaping can increase the value of
the property by almost 11%-12%,” said Abhay Sinha, Technavio’s senior
industry analyst for agricultural

”As a result, the landscaping of lawns and gardens has gained
considerable momentum over the years. Landscaping also requires regular
maintenance to preserve its appearance and appeal. To fulfill these
requirements, the demand for garden equipment such as hedge trimmers
will witness a rise during the forecast period,” added Abhay.

North America: largest contributor for the global hedge trimmer market

According to the key findings of this research study, North America will
continue to dominate the market until 2020 with a share of close to 58%.
North America is one of the most urbanized landscapes in the world with
close to 80% of the population, specifically in US and Canada residing
in cities. Rapid urbanization in the region drives the focus on
maintaining biodiversity and the fragile eco system. Thus, the
popularity of landscaping in this region fuels the growth of the overall
hedge trimmer market.

In 2009, sales in the US landscaping services market in particular fell
nearly 7% due to the economic recession. The market recovered from that
plunge with a sales growth of about 12% in 2013. Since then, the economy
has moved further ahead and has once again led to a rise in the demand
for new homes and offices across the country. This rise in the
construction industry has indirectly led to more demand for landscaping
services, which we believe will also lead to more demand for garden
equipment like hedge trimmers.

The hedge trimmer market in Europe to reach close to USD 368 million
by 2020

There has been an increase in construction activity in Europe. New
residential construction in Europe is expected to grow by 3.2% until
2016. The population in this region is largely investing on renovation
of old houses and lawns. This trend is expected to result in more
landscaping activity in Europe. Another factor that we believe will
positively impact the hedge trimmers market in Europe is the region’s
growing aged population segment. By 2040, more than one in seven
Europeans will be aged 75. Typically, this age group tends to prefer
gardening as a recreational activity, which drives the prospects for
hedge trimmers.

Additionally, the region has witnessed a surge in the tourism industry.
Tourism plays a key role in Europe’s economy. Travel and tourism
contributed close to USD 1,512.4 billion to Europe’s GDP and the tourism
market witnessed nearly 588 million tourist arrivals in 2014.
Investments for beautification and enhancement of parks and gardens in
public, residential, and commercial areas are predicted to rise over the
next four years. This trend is predicted to positively impact the hedge
trimmer market in Europe.

Browse related reports:

Purchase any three reports for the price of one by becoming a
Technavio subscriber. Subscribing to Technavio’s reports allows you to
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About Technavio

Technavio is a leading global technology research and advisory company.
The company develops over 2000 pieces of research every year, covering
more than 500 technologies across 80 countries. Technavio has about 300
analysts globally who specialize in customized consulting and business
research assignments across the latest leading edge technologies.

Technavio analysts employ primary as well as secondary research
techniques to ascertain the size and vendor landscape in a range of
markets. Analysts obtain information using a combination of bottom-up
and top-down approaches, besides using in-house market modeling tools
and proprietary databases. They corroborate this data with the data
obtained from various market participants and stakeholders across the
value chain, including vendors, service providers, distributors,
re-sellers, and end-users.

If you are interested in more information, please contact our media team

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After Winter Storm System Jonas, Borsello Landscaping Provides Tips for Protecting Gardens and Lawns

With the remnants of severe winter storm system Jonas littering the Northeast U.S. coastline, Borsello Landscaping is providing expert tips on how homeowners and businesses can preserve their landscaping during future severe winter weather storms.

Hockessin, DE (PRWEB) January 25, 2016

Delaware-based landscaping design company Borsello Landscaping was recently in the middle of the massive winter storm system “Jonas” — along with millions of other residents who found themselves buried in snow. Customers have already asked how they can protect their homes against the onslaught of snow and cold weather, and how they can prepare their homes and yards against any future inclement winter weather.

Jonas spread over 12 states on the N.E. coast, with many cities seeing two to three feet of snowfall in just a couple days. The storm extended along a 1,000-mile path from the Mississippi River up to southern New England. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe was the first to declare an official State of Emergency warning on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, while Washington D.C. and New York City both became abnormally quiet. Meteorologists in Delaware estimated that Jonas dropped around 12 to 18 inches of heavy snow in the state.

As residents begin clearing out the snow and fortifying their homes for the remaining winter season, Borsello Landscaping is releasing some simple tips to help residents protect their gardens and backyards for spring planting:

1) Do not brush or knock ice off of plants or branches. It’s actually better to let it just naturally melt off the plants, rather than brushing it or knocking it off. Even if the limbs are already bent over or damaged, residents will cause more damage trying to knock it off.

“Just like animals evolve, plants evolved to adapt to the winter,” says Amy Sassaman, Marketing Manager at Borsello Landscaping. “Your foliage has grown tolerant to ice and snow, and you will usually end up causing more permanent damage than the ice will.”

2) Rock salt is effective for melting ice, but it’s important to choose the correct kind of salt to protect landscaping. Always read the label to make sure the ice melt is concrete, stone, brick, and pavement safe; many kinds of sidewalk salt can be harmful to walkways, causing all kinds of trip and fall hazards once the snow melts.

3) Instead of spreading rock salt, many public work crews brine roadways with a saltwater solution, while some homeowners prefer to use Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) as a deicer.

4) For brand new pavement or walkways, residents can simply place a tarp over the area before ice forms.

5) If homeowners are concerned that certain trees or plants in their yard are not suited for colder temperatures, then they can protect the roots against “winter burn” by adding an extra layer of mulch to gardens before a big storm hits.

6) Finally, safety should always be a top priority. Depending on how big the storm is and how much snow falls, it may help to clear some snow during the storm instead of after. However, if it’s too cold or windy, it’s best to stay inside and wait for the entire storm to pass before clearing patios, walkways, or driveways.

About Borsello Landscaping

Borsello Landscaping is comprised of an experienced lawn and landscaping design team. Their consultants take the time to understand what customers expect, and on what budget. To learn more, visit

For the original version on PRWeb visit:

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Tips for first-time gardeners

It seems like every gardener has a vegetable garden first. I planted and weeded in my family’s vegetable garden as a child, but my “first” vegetable garden was grown in 1998. It was a simple but ambitious spread – corn, cantaloupes, tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash and flowers.

There are so many things I learned in that first vegetable garden. I had failures and successes. There’s even a picture of me with the first two crookneck squash that I harvested in early June 1998.

Almost 20 years later I still start gardening season with great ambition. Today, I’m growing some of the same things I grew 18 years ago, but there are always new seeds and plants that I try – both flowers and vegetables.

One thing I never tire of doing is giving advice to first-time vegetable gardeners. A vegetable garden is a great reward for any gardener because with just a little effort, there’s usually a reward of something good to eat as well as the reward of knowing that you grew it yourself.

Are you or someone you know thinking of starting your own garden this year? It’s hard to pass up tempting displays of brightly colored seed packets or rows of bright green plants.

An important thing to know before you start planting seeds is whether or not the seeds need to be started indoors or if the seeds can be sown directly in the ground. The back of each seed packet will indicate the best way to get the seeds to germinate.

Gardeners that want to get an early start can direct sow pea seeds in mid-March.

Squash, gourds, and cucumbers can also be direct sown into the garden after the first frost. Several pea seeds should be grown to ensure a good crop of peas, but two or three squash or cucumber plants may be all you wish to have for a small garden.

Corn and beans are also seeds that can be direct sown. Corn takes several rows for proper pollination, so a good deal of space is necessary. Beans don’t take a lot of space, but you will want to plant several seeds (like peas) for a good harvest.

Peppers, tomatoes and eggplants are available in seed packets, but first time gardeners will probably have greater success growing these common vegetables from the seedlings available in nurseries.

First time gardeners should also try growing a few flowers. Many annual flowers can be direct sown into the ground in late May. Some good and colorful ones to try are marigolds, cosmos, zinnias and sunflowers.

Anyone who’s just a little interested in gardening should take a pot or two or a small bit of ground to grow a vegetable and annual flower garden. I can’t promise it will all be a success, but the rewards will outnumber the failures. Who knows where you’ll be 20 years and two crookneck squash later!

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How to encourage use of courtyards

Michael Hass

I recently visited a very well-run health center with assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing. The context of the visit was to talk through expansion options because census is high and there is demand for short-stay rehab in their beautiful setting. In short, everything is going well for the community and its residents. But along the tour, the executive director pointed out a lovely exterior courtyard with lush landscaping and interesting sculptures. “The sad part,” she said apologetically, “is that no one ever goes out there and we don’t know why.” 

This is only the most recent time I’ve heard something very similar about attractive (and expensive) courtyards in the senior living environment. Here are tips to help subtly encourage usage of these great amenities.

First, courtyards can be, but usually aren’t about lovely landscaping. There is a deeply innate human desire to engage with the outdoors, feel sunshine on the face, smell fresh air, and enjoy a pretty view. I’m certainly not advocating bare concrete or dirt, but I do think we tend to offer great plant life as the primary draw when other things will get people engaged. 

My No. 1 critique of most courtyards is that they are entirely enclosed without a view to anything other than another wall of the health center. That was certainly the case with my recent encounter. In communities that are already built, it can be hard to create a new vista. I recommended adding more glass to one side to try to create a view through the building and out to a ravine behind the building. In planning stages, consider a three-sided courtyard oriented towards a far-off view or a bustling street or just some taller trees. Elopement can be addressed with a trellis if fencing feels too institutional. Looking at four walls of the same building in which a resident spends all day isn’t really a draw.

Another common cause of the empty courtyard is that the courtyard itself feels like a decision. In other words, if a resident has to “decide” to go out there, they probably won’t. The most heavily used courtyards I’ve seen are “on the way” to someplace else. Maybe they separate the assisted living and the skilled neighborhoods, or divide the residential wings from the common spaces. A courtyard should be something in the path of travel, not just a way to use up open space in the back. If you can make a courtyard to parallel an indoor corridor, you’ll find that people, staff included, will make it a pleasant detour and increase traffic out there. This might also mean easier to operate doors with more glass so that it feels like a part of common circulation.

Speaking of doors, try providing at least one doors onto the courtyard from each side of the building. I see so many courtyards that have one door, usually from the dining room or living room (not “on the way” anywhere). This, again, makes the courtyard a destination rather than a path and doesn’t draw anyone to use it. If the courtyard was the connector to two neighborhoods, staff and residents alike would be more inclined to pause along the way and enjoy the setting. Be sure to include senior-friendly benches and places wheelchairs can pull off the path in groups and alone.

Likewise, the courtyard should include a combination of full-sun, full-shade, and filtered light resting spots. When we provide an all-or-nothing approach to sunshine, the transition from indoors to outside is so drastic that it, again, becomes a deliberate choice to use the courtyard. Perhaps the most important piece of advice I have is to create a transition space outside each door that moves a person from inside to part outside to fully outside. The most heavily used courtyards I see have a veranda outside the door so there is a bit of transition between fully indoors and fully out. Something in human nature wants to make a more gradual shift between private places and public ones.

Obviously all these ideas presume that a resident is free and able to move throughout the spaces in their environment and that no physical barriers or limitations restrict it. Blowing trash and dead plants are assumed to be non-issues. And activity-oriented engagements like raised planters and edible gardening certainly encourage usage of these great spaces. But the more subtle issues with almost subconscious implications will make these places the true attraction we all want them to be.

Michael Hass is a managing partner at Drive Development Partners. He can be reached at

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Bible-based meditation center opens in Fruitland Park

Meditation center

Meditation center

Tabernacle Meditation participants discuss their experiences at the close of a two-day trial program in Fruitland Park. Some reported visions and feelings of profound awareness during their sessions.

Posted: Monday, January 25, 2016 5:40 am

Bible-based meditation center opens in Fruitland Park

By Steve Fussell


FRUITLAND PARK — Two local business executives opened a Bible-based meditation center in a century-old luxury home on Berckman Street, two blocks east of City Hall.

Meredith Cheshire and Sarah Rimel formed Sandcrane Production Company in 2013 to create a learning program that helps participants strengthen their Christian faith and ideals.

Meredith Cheshire is president of Mulberry Integrative Medicine and HC Medical Group in The Villages, and her husband is City Commissioner Chris Cheshire. Rimel is co-owner of Custom Scapes Landscaping in Lady Lake.

The two women spent more than two years writing and editing scripts for the Tabernacle Bible Based Meditation Program. Sound designer J.S. Epperson, who recently relocated to Fruitland Park from Los Angeles, helped them rehearse, record and stage original compositions for the two-day program.

The Cheshires bought the run-down Berckman Street house last year and restored it. A sound studio, meditation dormitories, a pillow-filled media room, offices and a kitchen are all designed and furnished to help participants achieve an emotional experience that combines deep relaxation with intense focus on Christian ideas.

Tabernacle uses a sophisticated sound technology to help participants relax and focus on their thoughts. By reducing distractions – windows draped, lights dimmed, eye shades distributed and cell phones collected – meditation can induce profound feelings of relaxation and sharp concentration.

At the end of a two-day trial last week, three participants reported that they experienced biblical visions during their sessions. All eight participants enthusiastically expressed heightened feelings of confidence, a greater sense of purpose in their lives and a sincere dedication to Christian ideals.

“I know what I need to do now,” one participant said. “I get it.”

Tabernacle offers the two-day experience from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays or Saturdays and Sundays. Reservations are required. Tuition, which includes snacks and lunch both days, is $299 per person.

More about Bible

  • Jasper Pierre Jasper Pierre
  • Local churches and pastors Local churches and pastors
  • Local churches and pastors Local churches and pastors

More about Fruitland Park

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  • Discuss


Monday, January 25, 2016 5:40 am.

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Fruitland Park

| Location Tags:

Lake county,

Fruitland park

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Why Fair Job Scheduling for Low-Wage Workers Is a Racial Justice Issue – Truth

Over the past few years, two movements have exploded into the public’s consciousness. In the wake of Trayvon Martin’s murder and police killings of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland and many other people of color, Black Lives Matter has emerged as a powerful set of voices calling for racial justice, including an end to racially motivated violence.

At the same time, a growing movement of low-wage workers demanding higher wages and paid sick time has led some corporations to improve their policies for workers, and to dozens of localities and states adopting minimum wage increases and paid sick days laws.

The next frontier in the fight for fair workplaces is job scheduling. Protests by retail and food workers, high-profile New York Times articles, and other subsequent media coverage of workers experiencing erratic, unpredictable schedules has led to public outcry, the introduction of federal legislation to improve work schedules, and more than a dozen state and local proposed laws.

There is considerable overlap between these issues and the activists that are at the center of both movements. As Ron Harris, an organizer at the Twin Cities-based group Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC), explains, people “don’t live single-issue lives. … The people getting shot are low-wage folks. … They are over-policed and under-resourced.”

I spoke with Harris to learn how NOC is leading the fight for fair scheduling in Minneapolis by taking an approach grounded in a commitment to racial justice. The campaign demonstrates the possibilities that emerge when advocates connect the dots between job quality issues and racial justice in their strategy and messaging.

Liz Ben-Ishai: Tell me about your organization, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC)

Ron Harris: NOC is a non-profit that focuses on work at the intersection of race, public policy and the economy. Our members are primarily low-wage Black folks living in north Minneapolis. Our mission is to shift the balance of power between folks who have and folks who don’t have, and in our opinion, the folks who don’t have are low-income black people in Minneapolis.

We derive a lot of our ideas about what issues we will work on from the bottom up. At monthly meetings called “issue cuts,” we discuss the issues and members vet the ones we will work on.

This past year we worked on a series of local future of work proposals, including fair scheduling, earned sick and safe time [time to deal with domestic or sexual violence], a policy to end rampant wage theft and raising the minimum wage to $15. We’re also working on police reform; we made a series of demands of our local police department, and in 2016 we will take those to the state level. We led the charge in repealing two laws that only two cities in the country have – “lurking laws” and “spitting laws.”

If you spit in Minneapolis, for instance, you can get a misdemeanor. These laws were targeting low-income black people, black men in particular. We beat that law in Minneapolis – now it is gone.

We also work on voter restoration. There are approximately 47,000 people in Minnesota who don’t have the right to vote because of a past criminal conviction. We’re working on a bill at the state level to end that. And we’re working with the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) on their Federal Reserve campaign, engaging with National Fed and Local Fed banks in town, working on influencing economic policy and who is elected to those boards.

How has NOC been involved with organizing and advocacy related to fair scheduling in the Twin Cities?

We got involved with fair scheduling because members of our base were coming in saying they were working jobs where they didn’t know their schedule until the day before or even the day of. They were forced to close businesses and come right back and open up the next morning. We call this “clopening.”

So we started to work with national partners, CPD included, to come up with a fair scheduling policy that mirrors work in other cities and states. Our state government is divided [between Republicans and Democrats], so we thought we’d take this to the city level.

NOC has been heavily involved in crafting the policy. This is where the “issue cut” came in. There were a series of generic provisions in the first scheduling policy and we laid these out for our membership and asked our membership base: “What do these sound like? Are they too strong? Too weak? What’s missing?” It led to a tailored approach that reflected the voices of the members.

On the field side, we gathered hundreds and hundreds of stories of people experiencing these scheduling issues. As we gathered their stories, we brought members to city hall and took them on lobbying visits.

Why is scheduling a racial justice issue?

If you think about the folks who are the most likely to have an unfair schedule and the least likely to be able do something about, at that intersection it tends to be people of color, particularly women of color.

If they don’t have access to a fair schedule, they are likely working a low-wage job, and if they are in a low-wage job, they likely have inadequate access to transportation… and you can see how there is a domino effect.

Why is it important to frame public discussions of fair scheduling in terms of racial justice?

We frame it as a racial justice issue because, living in Minneapolis, we have some of the worst economic disparity gaps in the country. With those dynamics, we almost had to frame it that way. We thought this could be an opportunity to close some of these gaps.

The thousand of stories we collected about employers hiring new people instead of giving out more hours to their current employees or getting schedules the day before people were supposed to work – all of those stories were coming from low-income communities of color, so frankly, that was the only way we could frame it.

We thought that our city leaders and elected officials would be sensitive to the opportunity to close the gap. In 2013, a majority of the city council was elected running on some kind of racial equity platform. So, our messages to the media and to elected officials were the same: “Hey, the folks that we donated to and endorsed ran on a racial equity platform and we haven’t seen any action from them for the past couple of years. We need this now. Here’s a perfect opportunity for you to close these gaps.”

We also tried to connect the dots, highlighting that the people most likely to suffer from [unfair schedules] are those with black and brown faces. Refusing to act means that you really don’t care about these gaps. It means, you ran on these things, but you’re really not committed to acting on them.

In your outreach to “high-road” employers, is it useful to discuss the connection between scheduling and racial inequity?

We’ve been working on really trying to engage people across sectors in fixing these gaps. So, for example, it’s not just the role of the community to advocate for itself and to bring awareness to this issue. The business community has a role, too. We recognize employers’ value as job creators, but also emphasize that by changing some of their worksite practices, they can also be adding to the movement.

We frame this for employers as: “Do the best you can where you are. We all have an opportunity. We all have a role.” And it really worked with some employers.

Even though the legislation wasn’t ultimately brought to vote, because of the campaign that we ran and the stories that were brought to light, some business owners are reporting that they are already changing their practices. Maybe they were giving their schedules five days in advance and now they’re going to work towards 10 days. One landscaping company used to say, you don’t leave until the job is done. Now they say if it is 6:00 P.M. and you aren’t done, just go home and be with your family.

Although we haven’t had much luck with large chain employers, one exception is Target. They have committed to changing their scheduling practices, almost in lockstep with what we have been pushing. We have talked about this as a racial justice issue with Target. We’ve said, as the largest employer in the city, they have a really unique opportunity to make an impact [on racial equity]. They also want their customers to have more money in their pockets – they need a strong economic environment, too.

The movement for racial justice has been gaining strength and momentum around the country in the wake of police killings. Within that movement, do you think there is enough attention to job quality and fair workplace issues?

Nationally, no. Locally, definitely. With NOC and Black Lives Matter, yes, we’re talking about police brutality, but also an overall culture of injustice that exists. In Minneapolis, in particular, some of the chants are we don’t want to get shot by police – but we also want a $15 minimum wage and all these other things.

The intersection of race and the economy has been really strong here. It’s a compounding effect where if you pay attention to the folks who are getting brutalized by the police, these aren’t middle class and rich folks. These are low-income black people. They are getting stopped because they are walking down the street when they are “not supposed to be,” technically. The people getting shot by police are low-wage folks – they are over-policed and under-resourced.

What could the fair scheduling movement be doing to further highlight the racial justice aspects of scheduling issues?

Really to ground the work in story telling. Make sure you have a strong base of individuals who are actually going through [unfair scheduling] who can speak from experience. No one can deny someone’s story. Stories help to justify everything you do.

Also, get the data. We gathered data that shows that the people who are most likely to work the jobs that have unfair schedules, they are black and brown, and most likely women. The data alone reflects that this is a racial justice issue.

Build a broad-based coalition, including people who understand how to do racial analysis and member based organizations, so the members can really speak for themselves.

How can scheduling advocates support the work of racial justice advocates?

If you think about it, if people are advocating for police reform, criminal justice reform, the people they are standing up for are people who are working these crappy jobs. So, fair scheduling advocates just need to stand up and say, our people are the same exact people. They don’t lead single-issue lives, they lead lives that are compounding multiple issues.

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