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Archives for February 11, 2016

Business News: Route 23 Ford, Madison Home Expo

Route 23 Ford Hosts 7th Annual Push to Walk Casino Night

BUTLER: Route 23 Ford will host a Push to Walk Casino Night, which will feature a Texas Hold ’Em tournament, to raise money to help people suffering from spinal injury and paralysis.

A grand prize of $5,000 in Visa gift cards will go to the Texas Hold ’Em tournament winner, according to a press release from the dealership, which said that the Top 10 players will also receive special gift bags and other prizes.

The 7th Annual Push to Walk Casino Night will take place on March 19. Doors will open at at 6:30 p.m. and the tournament starts at 8 p.m.. Participants must be 21 years of age or older to attend and participate.

The entry fee for the tournament is $150 per person with Table Sponsorship and Premium Sponsorship opportunities available for $350 and $500, respectively. Attendees who don’t want to play can enjoy the buffet dinner for $50.

Home Expo coming to Madison in March

MADISON: The borough will be hosting its second Home Expo on March 5 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Madison Community House at 25 Cook Ave.

The event is free of charge to the public and is presented by the Madison Chamber of Commerce.

The expo will feature about 20 local contractors and home professionals, according to a press release about the event, which said that major sponsors for the event include: PipeWorks Services, 33 River Road, Chatham; Lakeland Bank, 265 Main St., and Weichert Realtors located at 15 Prospect St.

Home Expo is showcasing a select number of realty agencies and local banks who have much advice to lend on homeownership and financing options, the release said.

In addition to its major sponsors, the Home Expo will showcase the following home professionals: Cramers Carpet One Floor Home, Good Hands Property Care, Monk’s Home Improvement/Monk’s Kitchen Bath Design Studio, Smartly Organized, Reupholstery Restoration, Cardinal Landscaping, Better Homes Gardens Real Estate/Coccia Realty, PC Problems, Power Home Remodeling Group, Investors Bank, TomKat Fine Woodworking, The Toy Tamer, American Home Contractors, Coldwell Banker and Kienlen Lattmann Sotheby’s International Realty.

For additional information contact Karen Giambra at 973-377-7830 or

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Ann Arbor deer cull helping Food Gatherers feed the hungry

As the shooting of deer continues in Ann Arbor’s parks and nature areas, some fresh venison is going to feed the hungry.

Howell-based Great Lakes Custom Meats and More is processing the meat, which is being delivered to Food Gatherers, an Ann Arbor-based nonprofit food rescue and food bank program serving Washtenaw County.

Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger is partnering with the city and covering the costs of processing the venison.

City officials said last week the processing had begun, though specific details on how much venison has gone to Food Gatherers haven’t been released.

Over the past month, at least a few dozen deer — with a goal of eventually getting to 100 — have been killed by sharpshooters hired by the city.

The city’s stated goal is to reduce the deer population in order to reduce negative deer-human interactions, such as complaints about damage to gardens and landscaping, and to support biological diversity in nature areas.

This is not from Ann Arbor’s deer cull, but here’s a photo of what grilled venison looks like. Eileen Spring, president and CEO of Food Gatherers, emphasizes her organization hasn’t advocated for the cull, which has been controversial, but Food Gatherers is willing to make sure the venison goes to good use.

“As you know, Food Gatherers has been dedicated to the mission of alleviating hunger and its cause in our community for nearly 30 years,” she said.

“One in seven Washtenaw County residents struggle with food insecurity and we have a lot of work to do.”

Spring said the city announced the costs of processing the venison at a licensed facility would be covered and that the venison would be donated to Food Gatherers, so none of Food Gatherers’ funds are being used.

“We are a food rescue organization serving food-insecure people. If we receive venison, we will offer it to those in need as we would any other food donation that meets food safety standards,” she said.

Venison is seldom donated to Food Gatherers, Spring said, noting most of the organization’s donated meat — beef, poultry and pork — comes from retail grocers and is frozen and later distributed amongst the 150 pantries and donation sites around the county. Food Gatherers requested that the venison, if it was to receive any from the cull, come as ground meat in packages of one to two pounds, from a U.S. Department of Agriculture-certified processor.

Spring said last month Food Gatherers likely would make the venison available to people being served at pantries, as opposed to congregate meal sites, and it would be accompanied with recipes and tips for how to prepare venison.

She declined to comment more recently on where the venison might be going, citing the controversy over the deer cull and noting Food Gatherers has been targeted by some opponents of the cull who’ve threatened to protest Food Gatherers.

“Food Gatherers is concerned that any information on when or where venison would be distributed could lead some to target our partner agencies who distribute food to people in need,” Spring said. “This would be an unnecessary nuisance to our fellow nonprofit organizations and disrespectful to people seeking food assistance.”

Last year, Food Gatherers distributed more than 6 million pounds of food, 60 percent of which was fresh produce or protein, Spring said.

“The top priority at Food Gatherers — and really, our only priority — is to maintain our focus on fighting hunger in Washtenaw County,” she said.

“We remain in the business of providing food for tens of thousands of our county’s food-insecure citizens.”

Per conditions of the cull permit issued to the city by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the heads of all deer killed must be tagged and submitted to the DNR for testing for chronic wasting disease. The permit also requires the venison to be donated to a charitable organization and used for human consumption, with a notation to contact DNR Wildlife Biologist Kristin Bissell if there are any questions about whether a whole deer carcass should be tested for disease.

Lisa Wondrash, a spokeswoman for the city, said city staff selected Food Gatherers to be the recipient of the venison based on the agency’s size and its ability to store and distribute a large quantity of venison that would benefit many.

Wondrash referred questions about how the venison is processed to ensure it’s safe to consume to Great Lakes Custom Meats, which couldn’t be reached.

Bissell, who works in the DNR’s Waterloo Wildlife Office, said she wasn’t able to comment on the Ann Arbor deer cull because of ongoing litigation, but she spoke in general about deer processing and disease testing.

In general, Bissell said, any deboned venison cooked to the proper temperature is safe for human consumption as long as the animal hasn’t been injected with drugs and hasn’t been living in a highly contaminated environment.

The disease testing is separate from processing for human consumption, and most people eat venison that has not been tested for a disease, she said.

Bissell said the DNR is testing specimens for chronic wasting disease and tuberculosis as part of its efforts to understand the geographic extent of disease in the state and to monitor the health of cervid populations.

“Urban deer are seldom sampled for disease testing as they are not hunted; so we usually only test a deer that is a disease suspect deer (displayed symptoms consistent with a disease of population concern, died, then turned over to the DNR by an observer),” she wrote in an email. “With suspect animals, the whole carcass is submitted for full necropsy and testing. If an animal were to display symptoms of disease, the whole carcass would be submitted.”

If the head of an animal that looked to be normal was submitted for disease testing and the carcass was being processed for venison, and that head came back as a suspect for CWD or TB, the DNR’s Wildlife Disease Lab would be able to contact the person who submitted the head, give them the disease tag number and the kill tag number, which would be linked to the specific deer, Bissell said. Any meat associated with that deer then could be set aside.

Dean Hall, president of Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger, said his organization works with licensed processing facilities throughout the state to cover the costs of processing venison to feed the hungry. He said they’ve served that role for a number of culls over the years, now including the one in Ann Arbor.

Using money donated to the organization, Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger pays the meat processor $1 per pound of processed venison. So, if a couple hundred pounds are processed, that’s $200 for the processor.

Hall said the processor is essentially a charitable partner and doesn’t make a profit from it — just enough to cover costs.

He said they do it because deer are a resource that need to be managed, and they want to help provide the hungry with a high-protein, low-fat source of food.

“Basically, deer are a renewable resource,” he said. “They just keep procreating until something stops them, and Mother Nature has a couple of ways of doing that, whether it’s going to be disease or starvation. And man is the only predator outside of a coyote that could manage the deer in that area.”

Hall said if the deer aren’t managed, they’ll eventually eat themselves out of house and home, and that has ripple effects that impact other species.

“There are a lot of ground-dwelling animals that depend on that foliage and everything else, and they have to either relocate or they die because they have no food for themselves,” he said, describing the deer cull as a way to restore balance and level the playing field so other animals have a chance to live.

A helicopter flyover last February counted 116 deer in the city, and an expanded aerial survey in March counted 168 deer, including in areas just outside the city.

The City Council voted 8-1 last August to approve a four-year culling program with only Mayor Christopher Taylor opposed. The council then voted 10-1 in November to hire USDA sharpshooters to carry out the first cull this winter.

Ryan Stanton covers the city beat for The Ann Arbor News. Reach him at

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Genevieve Trimble to be honored for restoring a landmark Louisiana garden

At 94, Genevieve Munson Trimble is only looking forward. Sitting recently in the sun room of her house in the Universities section Uptown, Trimble gazed across her lawn toward the lattice-work panels that top a brick wall. She and her late husband, Morrell “Bud” Trimble, had installed the panels for privacy and visual interest when they purchased the home in 1951.

“I guess you could say that was my first effort at formal landscaping,” said Trimble, who for decades has divided her time between New Orleans and St. Francisville, where she owns the renowned Afton Villa gardens.

“I love this house, but it’s the spring opening of the gardens at Afton next month that’s got my attention,” Trimble said. “We’ve planted 13,000 pansies. And that’s just the start of it.”

Trimble, who gained a national reputation for the 1980s restoration of the New Orleans Botanical Garden in City Park, is the author of the new book, “Afton Villa, The Birth and Rebirth of a Nineteenth-Century Louisiana Garden” (LSU Press, February 2016).

The Afton Villa plantation home burned to the ground in a 1963 fire and its gardens fell into disrepair until Trimble and her husband purchased the 250-acre property in 1972. The book chronicles the Trimbles’ decades-long renovation of the estate’s 42 acres of formal landscaping.

The New Orleans Botanical Garden will host a book signing and celebration of Trimble’s civic and philanthropic work on Feb. 17 at 5 p.m.

For most of her life, that work has been focused on restoring public gardens. Trimble served as president of the New Orleans Botanical Garden Foundation for 25 years and received numerous awards from groups such as the Foundation for Landscape Studies, Longue Vue House and Gardens and the Foundation for Historical Louisiana.

In 2001, she received a lifetime achievement award from the Garden Club of America, ranking her among such prestigious winners as landscape designer Beatrix Ferrand and endangered-plant advocate Pamela Copeland.

A 2001 profile of Trimble in The Times-Picayune called her the city’s “first lady of gardening.”

Today, she shuttles between Afton’s sweeping acreage and her cozy French Provincial-inspired yard in New Orleans.

More on Afton Villa:

For a review of Trimble’s book, ‘Afton Villa: The Birth and Rebirth of a Nineteenth-Century Louisiana Garden,’ click here.

The Trimbles’ home in the city began as a modest, low-ceilinged 1890s cottage with arts-and-crafts embellishments. In 1927, architect Richard Koch designed a formal addition for Joseph Weiss, a prominent New Orleans doctor who owned the home at that time. Koch visually linked the addition to the original structure by a series of facades that give the impression of a French country house modified over generations.

Inside, the inspiration is more Versailles than village, though, with ceilings rising to 12 feet and French doors and tall windows offering views of the outdoors. In 1970, Koch designed a swimming pool for the property, complete with classical stone flourishes and a pool house in the form of a pigeonniere.

In the entrance hall of the main house, a terra cotta stone-and-stucco staircase with wrought-iron railings ascends to the second floor connecting the original structure and the Koch addition.

The black-and-white marble floor of the entry hall and the flagstone of the sun room were the only ground-level floors to survive the 4 feet of water that flooded the house in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Underneath the staircase, a small door leads to one of Trimble’s favorite spaces: a small, low-ceilinged black-and-white sitting room, part of the original house. Down the hallway, tall doors open into the living room, with bookcases and paneling painted a custom color called “green tea.”

“Mr. Koch told me he took some green tea to a paint store and asked them to match it. It’s a deep, lovely color,” Trimble said.

Across the hall is the dining room, with deep scarlet walls and a beamed ceiling that evokes the French Quarter as much as the living room embodies French eclat. Formal portraits and neo-classical paintings and panels embellish the walls.

All the furniture in the room had to be redone after Katrina, including the tall bombe cabinet.

“I used to keep the doors (to the cabinet) open to display Bud’s family’s collection of Old Paris Porcelain,” Trimble said, “but they stay closed now. One night, there was a big party across the way, and a bottle of whiskey came flying through the window and landed on the floor just in front of the cabinet.

“It was a very good whiskey,” Trimble added with a smile, “but it could have destroyed the china just the same.”

With one hand on the cane she’s used since knee surgery last summer, Trimble leaned over to pick up the folded tissues that had fallen to the floor when she opened the cabinet for a visitor. She deftly slid the tissues between the cabinet door and ledge and gently closed it. (Such tissues are often known as “Natchez latches” because they’re used in so many historic houses to secure doors that won’t stay shut.)

The adjacent pantry, kitchen and breakfast room, which Trimble now uses as an office, are in the original structure. She enjoys cooking and entertaining, both at home and at Afton Villa, where she remains active on the property.
Afton’s gardens will be open for public tours during this year’s Audubon Pilgrimage (March 18-20) in St. Francisville.

“I just hope we don’t have a surprise freeze,” Trimble said of the preparations for the opening. “We’d have to tear out the damage and find new plants at the last minute, which isn’t always easy to do.

“In the first years, we ordered 8,000 tulips from a prominent horticulturist in Amsterdam. I thought that was a lot until he told me what they did at Bellingrath Gardens. But our numbers have grown over the years,” she said.

It’s Trimble who personally greets visitors to the gardens.

“Bud always worked very hard on the gardens,” she said, “but his idea of greeting people was to sit in a nice, comfortable chair under the old oak tree in front of the ruins, welcome guests and answer their questions.

“I get up and take them all around,” she said. “I just can’t stay still.”

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All the Dirt on Gardening: Planting tips give early start to gardens

Planting seeds outside during the winter is essential for success with many plants, ideal for others, and just plain convenient for some.

Seeds that need cold treatment (cold stratification) include the ones with protective coatings, native wildflowers, and cold-hardy perennials. The instructions for seeds such as Pulmonaria and Achillea say to try to start them at 60 degrees, but if that fails, chill the containers. Or, chill them at the beginning. Go to the website for a list of seeds’ requirements.

Three cold-treatment methods that work include: 1) Plant in recycled containers that are monitored outside; 2) Pre-chill the seeds in the refrigerator; and, 3) directly sow the seeds on prepared beds that are either open to the elements or mulched.

Flowers such as poppies, larkspur and nigella are planted directly on top of prepared soil now. These and other deeply rooted flowers rarely do as well if they are transplanted from containers. Clear the bed and prepare the soil first. I usually put a thin layer of vermiculite on top and/or potting soil under winter-seeded areas so I can monitor them for rain or animal damage.

Green vegetables such as spinach, chard, broccoli, and kale can be direct-sown in the ground now and mulched. They come up when the soil and air temperature are to their liking. Some cool weather vegetables, such as Alaskan peas, can rot in the ground if they are planted this early because they are 2 inches deep where the soil stays cold and wet.

Sowing seeds in recycled plastic is an ideal method for most perennial plants. The containers provide protection from birds, squirrels and neighborhood cats as well as reducing weather damage.

To make a min-greenhouse garden, collect clear plastic bottles from milk, juice, etc. Poke drainage holes in the bottom with scissors or something like a heated ice pick. Cut containers horizontally at least 4-inches from the bottom and discard the bottle caps.

Gather your seeds and write the plant’s name and date planted on the container with a permanent marker. Also put a marked tag, such as a Popsicle stick inside each container.

When planting begins in the spring it will reduce the confusion if your labels include a hint about where they go in the garden (sun or shade, wet or good drainage, etc.).

Fill the bottom of each mini-greenhouse with loose soil such as commercial potting soil. Many people mix their own out of garden dirt, sand, compost and perlite.

Wet the soil and let it drain. Tiny seeds that need light to germinate are pressed into the top of the soil and seeds that need dark to germinate are pressed into the soil.

Secure the top of the greenhouses with tape. It does not have to be a perfect seal but you want it to hang together through rain, freeze, warm days and wind.

Put the containers in a sunny spot where rain and snow can enter through the top. During periods of no rainfall, bottom water the greenhouses by putting them into a plastic and pouring water – not freezing cold water – into the pan. When the soil has absorbed enough water to be moist not wet, drain the saucers.

If plants emerge on warm days you can open the greenhouses but re-seal them again before freezing temperatures return.

To pre-chill seeds indoors, wet 1/3 cup garden sand with 2 teaspoons water. Add seed and refrigerate in a labeled plastic bag. Mark the bag with the ideal start and end dates of cold treatment. Check the seeds weekly for sprouting. Immediately plant into containers any seedlings that emerge.

Wait another month to start seeds of tender perennials and annuals.

Reach Molly Day at

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GCA Trust to focus more on horticulture than garden design

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Garden designer gives talk

Gordon Hayward, a nationally renowned garden designer and author, will present a talk entitled “The Inevitable Garden” on Feb. 23 at 7 p.m., at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture.

Hayward’s illustrated talk will explore fine European and American architecture, gardens and their makers, as well as lessons learned from magnificent farms, vineyards and cattle ranches across Europe and America as far west as Hawaii.

Drawing on his 30-year career, Hayward will use these examples to look at the elements that come together in a garden that balances design, setting and emotion, and that create a compelling landscape that feels inevitable. For Hayward, a garden with soul, clarity, varied emotions and an unself-conscious design comes out of the fusion of three key elements: people, architecture and the land. Hayward has been designing gardens professionally from his home in southern Vermont since 1985 with particular emphasis on gardens in the Northeast, as well as the Eastern Shore of Maryland, though he works nationwide.

He is also a nationally recognized garden writer and lecturer. He wrote for Horticulture Magazine for 25 years and lectured with the magazine on nine multi-city lecture tours across America.

The Inevitable Garden is the first of four talks in the new By Design series, a collaboration between the Monadnock Center and atHome magazine.

Admission is $15 and $10 for members. Tickets may be ordered online at, or by calling 924-3235.

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APSU shares proposed plans for newly-acquired property

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Austin Peay State University (APSU) announces that the school will have access to the Jenkins and Wynne property as soon as April of this year.

Don Jenkins wanted to give APSU the first opportunity to obtain property and held off on accepting offers from others.

During a press conference Wednesday, Feb. 10 he reminisced on his time in Clarksville and spoke about how his love for APSU has only grown over the years.

The property is about 10.75 acres that includes five buildings totaling about 90,000 square feet. Eighty-one percent of the property is parking and will be used for student, faculty or staff when the property is released to the university. The university expects parking to be accessible before the buildings are available.

The ideas discussed at the unveiling are not finalized because the mass planning process has not started yet. The university is currently looking for donors who will support the growth and development of the new property.

Mitch Roberson, Vice President for Finance and Administration, and Derek van der Merwe, Vice President for Advancement, Communication and Strategic Initiatives, spoke on the proposed plans for the property.

Courtesy of Tuck Hinton Architects Courtesy of Tuck Hinton Architects Courtesy of Tuck Hinton Architects Courtesy of Tuck Hinton Architects Courtesy of Tuck Hinton Architects Courtesy of Tuck Hinton Architects

The short term plans for the use of the buildings will be determined by the space allocation committee and the long term use for the buildings will be determined by the master planning committee.

Austin Peay wants to create a campus identity on College Street with landscaping and an extended quad. Another objective for the university is to have a gateway to the campus so that Austin Peay stands out in the community.

The long term plans are laid out in three sections: academic, social, and community. The university is hoping to forge partnerships with the downtown community to make the proposed social plans successful.

“What we are able to offer with the new property will increase our contribution to the economy,” President White said.

In addition to the new property, APSU plans to add five bachelor programs, nine master degrees and three doctoral programs.

APSU Jenkins  Wynne (3) APSU Jenkins  Wynne (19) APSU Jenkins  Wynne (26) APSU Jenkins  Wynne (23) APSU Jenkins  Wynne (21) APSU Jenkins  Wynne (9)

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Lions Club considers building public disc golf course

The Mena Lions Club is moving forward with plans to build a disc golf course on their 35 acre property, where a traditional golf course operated on and off for nearly 70 years. Disc golf, also known as frisbee golf, is a flying disc game where individual players throw discs at a metal chain basket.

Players have to navigate their throws around the natural landscaping and traverse from the beginning to the end of the course with the fewest number of disc throws. “It’s a growing sport that is great for all ages, eight-year-olds to 80-year-olds can play,” said John Little, a disc golf course designer, who designed the Lion’s potential course.

“We’re right at a million people who play on a regular basis and there are more than 5,000 courses in the United States. There are 17 states that have more than 100 courses each.” Little said that a disc golf course is a fairy low-cost way to utilize the property, especially in comparison to a regular golf course and that installation and maintenance costs are minimal.

After designing a course for the property with 18 “holes” with an option expansion to 27 holes that would make the course capable of hosting professional tournaments, he quoted the Lions a price of $11,855 for the the entire course including installation.

The bulk of the cost would be to purchase the baskets that catch the discs, which run about $355 each. But Little said in previous towns he has installed courses in, local businesses will sponsor holes in exchange for having their names on the baskets. The 19 baskets for the basic course (18 holes and a “putting green”) would cost just over $6,745.

The remaining $5,110 would pay for signs, benches, trash cans, concrete, basket sleeves, design, shipping and installation. Little said some tree clearing would also have to be done, but could likely be done by Lions and volunteers in a day or so. The course in full is 1.6 miles walked, but is set up where after the first nine holes, players are back at the beginning and can choose to do the second half or end their play.

“It’s not too difficult to play, but you don’t have to play it strictly as a sport,” Little said. “You can play it as exercise with just one disc and if it takes ten throws to hit the basket, that’s fine. It’s fun — just like throwing a frisbee.” He said it’s great for families and friend groups because of the exercise and small cost.

“Families can have a good time playing together in a sport that isn’t very expensive and where it doesn’t matter what your skill level is,” Little said. “It’s something they can always enjoy for a day or afternoon and you get the health benefits of bending and walking through the course.” He said there are people who take the sport very seriously and travel all over to try new courses.

“It is challenging when you get into it, just to throw the disc where you want it to go,” he said. “Younger generations who are really into the sport travel quite often to play a new course and to get out and go together.”

There are currently courses in De Queen, Poteau, Charleston, Russleville, Van Buren, Conway, as well as multiple courses in bigger cities like Fort Smith, Hot Springs, Texarkana and Little Rock. “We would be paying for this entirely through sponsorships, donations and fundraisers,” said Lions President Gary Gann, who said they would be seeking basket sponsors and fundraising the rest.

“We do have a couple of grants we’re working on,” he said. “It’s not something we’re counting on, but it would be nice.” Gann said they are in the early stages of planning a gun show as a fundraiser to be held in April to help pay for this. “I think it’ll give a place for another activity for not just young people, but for churches and community organizations to plan events,” Gann said. “Hopefully we’ll have professional tournaments.” He said he could see them expanding to the full course “fairly easily” once the main course is installed.

“(The Lions) are very optimistic about it,” he said. “We’re excited.” Gann said they have already have some bids out for people to mow the grass. “Generally we’re looking at a couple of times a month during the Summer depending on the weather, which is a whole lot better than with a golf course, where we basically had to mow everyday,” he said.

He said the Lion’s Club would pay for the maintenance fees until the course started making money, which would hopefully be enough to pay over the operating costs. Any extra money earned would go to Lion’s Club charities, he said. They haven’t set the course fees yet, which normally range from $2-$5 to play for the day and may or may not include disc rental, but Gann said they are currently considering an honor box where people would drop the amount owed.

Discs would likely have to be bought or rented in-town and brought to the course, but an in-house mini-pro shop or vending machine for discs were both discussed and haven’t been ruled out by the club for the future. Gann said they are still doing some research work before signing the contract, which mostly involves talking to other small towns about how their disc golf courses have fared.

He said they plan to make a final decision Friday, and if the executive board votes in favor of it, they will have a club vote and then sign the contract. Once the contract is signed, Gann said they would start fundraising and would hope to have the course installed and open to the public by June of this year.

The first Lion’s Club golf course was already on the Highway 71 South property when it was donated to them in the mid-1940s. It was operated by an on-site manager who collected greens fees in exchange for maintaining the property, until an ice storm in 2012 caused extensive damage to trees and fairways. It has sat blighted since.

“We weren’t ever making any money off of it,” said Gann. “It was just a service for the community.” But Gann said operating costs became too high and there wasn’t enough money to make it worth it for someone to run the site.

Other more modern golf courses, like the one at the Ouachita Country Club, also provided too-steep competition and drew regular golfers away. The club even approached the City in late 2015 as a last-ditch effort to see if they might provide options to restore the golf course, but were told the city could not take on the expense of the course, according to Gann.

The old golf course dead in the water, Gann said Lions Club members have been brainstorming ideas on what other service they could provide for the community with the property. They considered a driving range, putt-putt golf and even briefly flirted with an idea for a racing track, before discarding them all due to either cost or lack of local interest. In early January however, a club member came forward with the idea for a disc golf course, touting it as a low-cost installation with minimal maintenance expenses.

Mena/ Polk County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Paula Bailey said she’s in full favor of a disc golf course. “Anything we can add as a tourist attraction and give to our community is great,” she said. “I absolutely think that it could possibly bring new people and it could give visitors and residents another option of something to do.

I’m all about it and I’m all about progress.” Mayor George McKee said he is sad to see the old golf course go for good, but could see it working. “I think it’s worth a try,” he said. Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison said the venture “isn’t very risky,” and will “definitely be good.”

“If we can get some participation from the public it won’t be bad,” he said. “It’s another thing thing we can put on our resume for the area. There’s nothing negative about it.” For more information about the proposed course, contact Lions at 479-234-1377 or 479-216-5329.

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Milwaukee NARI home improvement show offers look ahead to spring

During what’s predicted to be a frosty stretch of weather, the Milwaukee chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry will be offering a respite from the cold with its annual Spring Home Improvement Show at State Fair Park.

The 54th annual NARI show will feature about 250 exhibitors with ideas ranging from how to make the most of your basement to how to produce a garden that’s a neighborhood showpiece.

The show opens Thursday at noon in the Exposition Center, 640 S. 84th St., in West Allis. It runs through Sunday.

“It’s a great way to come out over the weekend and not only see things new and trending for homes – interiors and exteriors – but then also just to experience some of the other fun things that are happening there,” said Diane Welhouse, executive director of Milwaukee NARI.

Among headliners this year are two television celebrities: Skip Bedell, co-host of Spike TV’s “Catch a Contractor” and the DIY Network’s Kayleen McCabe, host of “Rescue Renovation.”

Other experts appearing at the home improvement show include: Milwaukee’s Mr. Fix-It, Tom Feiza; plant and gardening professional Melinda Myers; “grillologists” Mad Dog Merrill; and Meijer healthy living adviser Maribel Alchin.

The show will feature an outdoor living area and beer garden, with landscaping by Breezy Hill Nursery Inc. and Exteriors Unlimited Landscape Contractors Inc. — a spot where visitors can anticipate the colors of warmer weather and enjoy a cold one.

A “tiny house” — a 400-square-foot model packed with home amenities — also will be on display.

“I will tell you it is amazing,” Welhouse said. “It has every amenity in it that you need. It’s really beautiful.”

At the interior design area, students from Gateway Technical College, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Milwaukee Institute of Art Design and Mount Mary University will create rustic country, modern rustic and rustic industrial themed spaces using reclaimed and vintage furniture and décor.

Show hours are from noon to 8 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is $10 at the gate, or $6 for seniors age 60 and older. On Thursday, admission is $5 at the door. Tickets are available in advance for $8 at various locations, and a $2 off coupon is available online from Weather Tight windows. NARI said active and retired military veterans will be admitted free with ID, and children 15 and younger also are admitted free.

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