Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for February 22, 2016

Get ready for summer at the Cottage & Lakefront show

Posted Feb. 21, 2016 at 8:59 AM

Holland, Mich.

Article source:

With millions in projects planned or in the works, Salina looking at a golden opportunity

Upgrades are in the works everywhere in Salina, from streets laden with orange traffic cones — complete with bike lanes and signs — to more services and new places to go and see.

There are applications for government assistance, pleas for donations and investors, and plans galore for everything from a repurposed flour mill to a revived Smoky Hill River channel that winds its way through town.

“It’s going on all over town,” Mayor Jon Blanchard said. “We’re doing it partly because it’s the smart thing to do; the wise use of assets in a public and private partnership.”

Jason Gage, who is in his 11th year as Salina’s city manager, has never seen this much simultaneous activity.

On the surface, it’s challenging, he said, but the improvements are good for Salina.

“Orange should be our favorite community color. It means there’s progress,” he said. “We’re preserving, enhancing, making the community better in response to our community’s needs. That’s a great thing.”

Revitalization rolls

For roughly a year, downtown Salina has commanded attention as a group of local visionaries have embarked on a project that will collectively exceed $100 million. The goal: to return some luster to what once was the center of everything in this town.

A field house, upscale hotel, entertainment center with bowling as its main feature, car museum, and a number of privately owned retail shops are slowly coming to fruition. Work also is underway to redesign a portion of Santa Fe Avenue, including reducing it to three lanes and widening the sidewalks, making more outside dining possible.

“This is a community that wants to do something to make itself better,” said Larry Britegam, chief strategy officer at Bennington State Bank. He is among many proponents of downtown revitalization.

The term downtown revitalization has evolved. Some refer to it as Salina 2020, which was originally the name for a group of Salinans who provided seed money.

“One thing that resonates is we have an entire community behind this,” Britegam said. “There are a lot of good ideas out there. We have had so much support and encouragement from people.”

Roughly three-fourths of the downtown upgrades will be financed with private money, Britegam said. The city and local backers are in the process of applying for STAR bonds. The bonds, used to finance development of major commercial entertainment and tourism areas, are paid off with sales tax revenue generated by the development, according to the Kansas Department of Commerce website.

“We have an opportunity to do something pretty special here, with private dollars. That doesn’t happen very often,” Britegam said.

“Once the downtown gets done, enthusiasm for the river project is enhanced, and once that’s done, you’ll have something amazing,” Britegam said.

Salina’s ‘flour’ power

Near the Union Pacific Railroad, bordered on the east by Santa Fe Avenue, on the west by Seventh Street and on the north by Pine, is the old H.D. Lee flour mill. Owner Bob Brown and a team that includes his wife, Marcy, their son, John Baker, and Chris Comeau, of Salina, are seeking investors to transform the mill, built in 1889, into the H.D. Lee Towers.

Plans for the multi-million-dollar project include condominiums, hotel rooms or a combination; a restaurant, bar, pool and gym; and live/work space for architects, artists or other businesses.

“I am putting the finishing touches on the number for three types of build-outs, kind of a plan A, B and C, and a business plan,” Brown said in late January. The project has caught the attention of a group of investors, he said.

South Salina thriving

New hotels, restaurants and retail businesses dot south Salina, where folks flock from north-central Kansas and farther away, particularly on evenings and weekends.

“There’s a lot of activity there,” said Don Weiser, president and CEO of the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Hilton Garden Inn Hotel, with a large convention center, is expected to open in early 2017 at 3320 S. Ninth, Weiser said.

“We’ve lost millions of dollars to other communities because we haven’t had a facility of that type (with a convention center). We’re excited about it,” Weiser said. “There has been a lot of growth in south Salina, and there are more things on the horizon. It’s going to continue.”

Health care moves south

In addition, Salina Regional Health Center is expanding and remodeling the former Sunflower Bank Building at 2090 S. Ohio to house the COMCARE medical practice currently located at 617 E. Elm.

The hospital is building a 20,000-square-foot addition at the site for a total of 39,000 square feet. The project will cost an estimated $10 million. The property currently is appraised by the Saline County Appraiser’s Office at $1.37 million.

Central Kansas Foundation for Alcohol and Chemical Dependency plans to buy the COMCARE building during the second half of this year and place its substance abuse treatment center under one roof.

Salina Regional also recently opened a walk-in urgent medical clinic at 2265 S. Ninth, site of the former David’s Bridal shop.

MedExpress opened an urgent care clinic in November at 2770 S. Ninth, in the former Del’s Electronics building.

Hospital and field house

Closer to its main campus, Salina Regional has been a major contributor and supporter of Salina 2020. Of the $4.5 million raised from private sources for the field house, $1 million came from Salina Regional, and $250,000 was given by the Salina Regional Health Foundation.

Salina Regional’s campus attracts people to Salina, whether they are patients and their families, visitors to the Kansas University School of Medicine-Salina, or people attending seminars and meetings in other hospital buildings.

The river and schools

At the Salina Bicentennial Center, $13.1 million in improvements have made the big building glisten inside and out.

The Salina School District is in the midst of a $110 million remodel and expansion involving all of its buildings, most notably Salina South High School, where much of the building will be razed and replaced in a $47 million project.

Friends of the River Foundation, formed in 2009, is moving toward a major revamp of the Smoky Hill River channel that runs through Salina. An attempt to pass a 0.25 percent sales tax increase in 2010 was soundly defeated, but fans of the project haven’t disappeared.

“We want to have water flow return to the old Smoky Hill River channel, as well as a trail that could be used by walkers, runners and bikers around the river,” said Jane Anderson, executive director of the foundation.

The Salina City Commission is asking voters to decide whether a special 0.4 percent sales tax that expires in 2019 should be replaced with a 0.75 percent tax for 20 years. The $1.35 million a year now used to pay off Kenwood Cove, the city’s aquatic center, would go to fund river renewal for 20 years. About $40 million over 10 years would go toward neighborhood street improvements, Gage said.

Wesleyan improvements

Kansas Wesleyan University is basking in the glow of a beautified campus with a new gym — Mabee Arena — and the outdoor Graves Family Sports Complex, which includes a new stadium, football field, track and more.

In the past decade, nearly $28 million has been spent, mostly from community foundations and alumni contributions, to give the campus a new look inside and out, said Paula Hermann, KWU spokeswoman.

Getting some attention

Long-ignored north Salina is undergoing a branding change to North Town, said Greg Stephens, a business instructor at Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus. K-State students and others from Wesleyan and Salina Area Technical College took part in the branding project. In all, five instructors from the three institutions have been involved.

North Salina slowly has been declining since the mid-1960s, when Interstate Highway 70 bypassed the area and took away the traffic that used to run through there via U.S. Highway 40. With some effort by North Salina Community Development, the north part of Salina is being dressed up.

Landscaping projects are ongoing or have been completed in several areas, including North Santa Fe Avenue at the remodeled and expanded Chuck’s Bar; Hawthorne Park, near the Sheriff’s Mounted Patrol headquarters, and at Five Corners at Broadway Boulevard, Ninth Street and Pacific Avenue.

The improvements prompted Allpak Battery to buy and remodel the former Midas building at 845 N. Broadway. The company was slated to move this month from 2745 Belmont.

“North Salina is getting nice, and we are excited to announce that we will become part of that,” said Jacob Peters, store manager. He mentioned the nearby landscaping.

The area is easily accessible, he said, and more affordable than other sections of Salina.

“It looks nice. I think it’s gonna come back,” Peters said.

The Hawthorne building

Not far from Five Corners, Phase II of the Heritage at Hawthorne Project — the site of the former Hawthorne Elementary School, 715 N. Ninth — is moving forward with the construction of 16 more apartments, bringing the total to 48, said Pat Beatty, of the Kansas City-based Overland Property Group. Beatty and partners Brett Johnson, of Overland Park, and Rex Vanier, of Hamilton, Mass., are Salina natives.

“We’ve always been excited about that part of town,” Beatty said. “We would not have been able to do it without the neighborhood revitalization that made both phases pencil. If we’re going to do infill development, it’s gonna take incentives.”

The Hawthorne project was given a 95 percent property tax abatement that scales back to 50 percent by the 10th year, he said, or 2021. After that, the owners will pay 100 percent of the property taxes.

Without that help, Beatty said, “It’s a lot easier to build on the outskirts than in town.”

Overland Property Group is a donor and fundraising volunteer for the field house project planned at the southeast corner of Fifth and Ash streets. Beatty said he feels good about the STAR bond financing for portions of downtown redevelopment.

“Based on what I’ve heard from people involved with it, knowing what we’re doing to bring people from out of town, I feel like we have a really strong case for STAR bonds,” Beatty said.

Article source:

Lafayette planners propose alternative design for I-49 Connector; addresses concerns over state plan

Lafayette city-parish planners have proposed a major design change for the Interstate 49 Connector, floating the idea of elevating the interstate as it skirts downtown and scrapping plans for two downtown interchanges.

The potential changes address key complaints that a preliminary design by the state Department of Transportation and Development might not be a good fit for downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods.

“For us, we just kind of said, ‘Let’s look at this in a different way,’ ” said city-parish planner Neil LeBouef, who helped introduce the proposal last week to DOTD committees guiding the design of the new interstate.

The proposal, which aims in part to keep the six-lane interstate from dividing the city and fouling local traffic patterns, has quickly gained traction but has yet to be carefully scrutinized by engineers for feasibility.

“There are a lot of rough edges, a lot of things that need to be worked through,” said city-parish Planning, Zoning and Development Director Carlee Alm-LaBar.

The I-49 Connector is the roughly 5.5 miles of planned interstate through Lafayette, part of a larger project to extend I-49 from Interstate 10 to New Orleans.

Estimated to cost at least $700 million, the connector is among the most expensive and complex sections of the route, and DOTD last year launched an outreach effort seeking public comment on how to design the stretch through Lafayette.

The effort met early complaints that DOTD was clinging to a preliminary design for the connector and not open to any significant changes, and earlier this year, the state agency announced an extension of the public comment period to consider new ideas.

City-parish planners and others worried a planned downtown interchange for I-49 at Second and Third streets might send traffic speeding through the Congress Street corridor, an area now being studied for a makeover as a slower route more friendly for walkers, bicyclists and developers.

DOTD’s preliminary design also brought the height of the interstate down to near ground level between the interchange for Second and Third streets and the nearby Johnson Street interchange, creating a possible barrier for pedestrians and not allowing space for the parks and other features proposed for under and around the interstate.

The alternative design unveiled by city-parish planners last week addresses both issues.

The interchange at Second and Third streets would be scrapped, as well as the Johnston Street interchange, and the interstate would be elevated where it skirts downtown.

City-parish planners say removing the large interchanges and raising the interstate near downtown will make it easier for local traffic, pedestrians and bicyclists to move between downtown and areas on the other side of the six-lane interstate and could leave more land open for new development.

“I think it’s great. It addresses several of our concerns,” said Downtown Development Authority CEO Nathan Norris. “It substantially improves the quality of the connectivity between downtown and neighborhoods to the east.”

The plan offered by city-parish officials also envisions redeveloping the Evangeline Thruway near downtown with street parking and wide sidewalks as part of a plan to revive the area.

The planned connector generally follows the path of Evangeline Thruway through Lafayette, but the interstate would veer westward, away from the thruway near downtown.

“All of a sudden, it gives a great purpose and functionality to Evangeline Thruway,” Norris said.

Still undetermined is how drivers coming and going from the downtown area would get on I-49.

City-parish planners have proposed using slip ramps, possibly accessed near Pinhook Road south of downtown and Willow Street to the north.

Slip ramps are generally one-way on and off ramps that mesh into the existing local street pattern, as opposed to the full-blown interchange spread out over several acres.

City-parish traffic engineer Warren Abadie said much work is needed in the coming months to vet the alternative design for the connector, including studies to determine how the changes would affect the ability of the road to move heavy traffic and how on-off ramps would tie-in to the downtown area.

“We feel it has a lot of promise, but right now, it’s just an idea,” Abadie said.

Article source:

Weeping trees are graceful additions – Tribune

Weeping trees are graceful additions

Updated 22 hours ago

Weeping trees have become popular landscape plants over the past decade. No, weeping trees don’t cry; instead, they are trees with branches that droop toward the ground, creating a cascade of flowers or foliage. With their graceful, pendulous growth habit and unique form, weeping trees are eye-catching additions to foundation plantings, shrub beds and even perennial gardens.

Most weeping trees are created through either a natural genetic mutation or a technique known as grafting. To make one of our most common weeping trees, the weeping cherry, two different ornamental cherry varieties are combined together to make a single tree. The buds of a cherry with a cascading habit are grafted onto the trunk of a regular, straight-trunked ornamental cherry. If the graft unions take, the buds will grow and produce the lovely cascading effect while the trunk stays straight. To keep a weeping cherry weeping, any straight, upright branches that grow up out of the graft union need to be pruned out.

Though weeping cherries are pretty ubiquitous, there are many other less-common trees that exhibit this lovely trait. They are worth seeking out, if you’re looking for something a bit more unusual for your landscape. Here are a few of my favorite weeping trees:

Weeping Japanese maple (Acer palmatum dissectum): The lacy leaves of the weeping Japanese maple cascade toward the ground, creating a mound of foliage. These trees are slow growing and seldom reach much taller than 10 or 12 feet at maturity. Sometimes called laceleaf Japanese maples, they prefer afternoon shade, if possible. There are numerous varieties of the weeping Japanese maple, including the red-leaved “Crimson Queen” and “Red Dragon,” the gold-leaved “Filigree” and the green-leaved “Viridis.”

Weeping birch (Betula pendula “Youngii”): Among the prettiest of all the deciduous weeping trees, the weeping birch is gorgeous for both its graceful mounding habit and its interesting bark. Reaching 15 feet in height and requiring full sun, the weeping birch has dark green foliage and white bark that peels off in sheets. The fall foliage color is a bright yellow.

Weeping blue Alaskan cedar (Xanthocyparis nootkatensis “Pendula”): This is an upright, pyramidal evergreen with striking blue-green foliage. It reaches up to 40 feet in height, so give it plenty of room. The open, sweeping branches are covered in drooping growth. A beautiful North American native, this tree produces small cones. It prefers soils with excellent drainage.

Weeping larch (Larix decidua “Pendula”): This deciduous conifer is very striking. Its branches of gray-green needles will drape all the way to the ground if left unpruned. The mounding form reaches up to 10 feet tall with an equal width. Though this tree doesn’t produce flowers, it does turn a lovely yellow in the fall before the needles drop. The only downside to this great tree is its need for irrigation during hot summer weather.

Sargent’s weeping hemlock (Tsuga canadensis “Sargentii”): A stunning evergreen specimen, the weeping branches of this hemlock are covered with soft green needles. Though regular hemlocks reach 60 or 70 feet tall, the weeping form maxes out at a mere 12 feet — and that’s only after decades of growth. The wide, mounding habit of this tree looks stunning in the landscape. Like other evergreens, it prefers acidic soils and must be planted in a well-drained site. As with the large hemlocks found in our forests, the weeping hemlock is susceptible to attacks from a sap-sucking insect known as the woolly adelgid. If you suspect an adelgid infestation (they look like tiny, fuzzy tufts of cotton along the branches) contact an arborist immediately.

Horticulturist Jessica Walliser co-hosts “The Organic Gardeners” at 7 a.m. Sundays on KDKA Radio with Doug Oster. She is the author of several gardening books, including “Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control” and “Good Bug, Bad Bug.” Her website is Send your gardening or landscaping questions to or The Good Earth, 503 Martindale St., 3rd Floor, D.L. Clark Building, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

Article source:

Garden briefs: Feb. 21 – Las Cruces Sun

Novelty Iris Lecture: 2 p.m. today at the Clubhouse, 905 W. Conway St. Doors open at 1:45 p.m. Novelty Iris: What? Why? Who? lecture by Jean Richter, of the Novelty Iris Society and president of the Sydney B. Mitchell Iris Society. Hosted by the Mesilla Valley Iris Society.

Permaculture Class Series: Doug Smith, farmer at Townside Farm, will start a four-part permaculture class series from noon to 4:30 p.m. today at The Commons 501 E 13th St., in Silver City. The first class on Dry Land Water Harvesting, an intro to contour maps and catchment areas. In addition, you can learn how to use online tools and resources, to help make better decisions in your own yard. Classes are $30 each or all 4 for $100. Info: 575-388-2988.

Lush and Lean Workshop: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Thomas Branigan Memorial Library, 200 E. Picacho Ave. Presenter will be Dr. Rolston St. Hilaire, New Mexico State University, and topic will be How to Install Drip Irrigation Systems. Learn to correctly design a water-optimized drip irrigation system. Free. Info: 575-528-3549 or

Gardening Class: 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, in the community room, Mountain View Market Co-op, 1300 El Paseo Road. Learn tips and tricks to gardening in Las Cruces. Class presented by Jackye Meinecke, local gardening expert. Topic will be Creating a Garden in a Small Space. Learn tricks and guidelines to create an oasis in a small space. From garden room to raised vegetable garden, make the most use of the space you have available. Cost is $10 and $8 for co-op members. Reservations are requested. Class size is limited. Reservation or info: 575-323-0903 or


Lush and Lean Workshop: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 3 at Thomas Branigan Memorial Library, 200 E. Picacho Ave. Presenter will be Leslie R. Kryder, MWR, CLIA, QWEL, and topic will be How to Create an Irrigation Schedule. Learn to create an appropriate irrigation schedule for your residence. Free. Info: 575-528-3549 or

Annual High Desert Gardening and Landscaping Conference: March 10-11 at Cochise College, 901 N Colombo Ave. Sierra Vista, Ariz. Join them for the 23rd High Desert Gardening and Landscaping Conference, an educational experience for everyone with an interest in gardening. Registration for both days is $110 or for one day $75. Registration: tks4oaboeidk=a07ebsmtfoca1a1d786.


Farm volunteer days: 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays at the MVM Farm, 2653 Snow Road. Find out more about composting, vermiculture, aquaponics, laying hens and crop planning in this region. Info: 575-523-0436,

Sidewalk Nursery: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in front of the Mountain View Market Co-Op, 1300 El Paseo Road. Robledo Vista Nursery specializes in low water-use native and adapted plants. Info: 915-203-4385.

Garden question hot line: The county Agricultural Extension Office maintains a hot line for county residents to answer questions and solve problems related to home gardening, including trees, lawns, shrubs, native plants, weeds and insects. The hot line is staffed by trained master gardeners each Tuesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. Info: 575-525-6649.

Article source:

Reeves: Spring landscape, gardening seminar on tap – Longview News

The Gregg County Master Gardner Association will have its Spring Landscape and Gardening Seminar from 9 a.m. to noon March 5 at First United Methodist Church in downtown Longview. Be sure to use the Whaley Street entrance.

This year’s conference will feature Kent Ormsby from Gilmer. He will discuss permaculture (no-till gardening) and natural techniques to use in the garden and around the home.

Greg Grant also will be featured on the program. He is a renowned speaker and author of several books on horticultural topics. He works include “In Greg’s Garden: A Pineywoods Perspective on Gardening, Nature, and Family” (2012) and “Texas Fruit and Vegetable Gardening” (2012). He also co-authored “Heirloom Gardening in the South: Yesterday’s Plants for Today’s Gardens” (2011), “Texas Home Landscaping” (2004) and “The Southern Heirloom Garden” (1995).

Greg’s topics will be “Picking Grinning,” a discussion on vegetable gardening; and “Let Me Introduce You … ,” a presentation on landscape plants.

Tickets are available from any Gregg County master gardener or from the Gregg County Extension office in Longview. Tickets cost $10 in advance or $12 at the door.

February lawn and garden checklist

Don’t fertilize newly set-out trees or shrubs until after they have started to grow, and then only very lightly, the first year.

When buying plants, the biggest is not always the best, especially with bare-rooted plants. The medium to small sized (4 to 6 feet) usually become established faster and will become effective in the landscape more quickly than the large sizes.

Complete the bare-root planting of woody landscape plants his month. Container and ball-and-burlapped plants are in good supply and can be set out most any time. Winter and early spring planting provides an opportunity for good establishment before hot weather comes.

Prune roses during February; use good shears that will make clean cuts. Remove dead, dying, and weak canes. Leave four to eight healthy canes, and remove approximately one-half of the top growth along the height of the plant.

Now is an excellent time to select and plant container-grown roses to fill in bare spots in your rose garden.

Wait until after they finish flowering before pruning spring-flowering shrubs such as quince, azalea, forsythia and spiraea.

When pruning shrubs, follow these steps: prune out any dead or damaged branches first; thin out by removing about one-third of the canes or stems at ground level, removing the oldest canes only; shape the rest of the plant, but do not cut everything back to the same height.

Plant dahlia tubers in late February and early March.

Plant gladiolus corms; space planting dates at two-week intervals to extend flowering season.

Fertilize pansies once again for continued flowering. Don’t forget to water when needed.

Now is the time to start to make applications of a good quality pre-emergent to the lawn for control of annual weeds such as crabgrass, goose grass and others. Try to have this out on the lawn no later than March 15, sooner if possible. Keep in mind that pre-emergent herbicides will not work on perennial weeds.

Join me on my horticultural blog site with the Longview News-Journal, “Talk Across the Fence” at

For information on extension programs, call us at (903) 236-8429 or visit at

— Randy Reeves is a Texas AM AgriLife extension agent for Gregg County.

Article source:

‘Gardening’ Tips

Posted: Sunday, February 21, 2016 5:45 am

‘Gardening’ Tips

Karen Restivo

The Bay City Tribune


For as long as I can remember, I’ve been taking part in an annual forty-day period of spiritual self-examination called Lent. 

I totally understand why Mardi Gras fulfills the need to “party on” before opening the door to forty days of denial.  

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?



Choose an online service.

    Current print subscribers


    Sunday, February 21, 2016 5:45 am.

    Article source:

    Follow these tips to plan ahead for upcoming gardening season – Scranton Times

    We have passed many winter milestones by now — the sun is setting later, GroundHog’s Day was a couple of weeks ago, Presidents Day was last week.

    Even though winter can linger, and February’s weather can be brutal, there are signs this season is coming to a close. With all these passings, we can start to plan and be more active in the pursuit of home gardening. Here are some early season tips to guide you:

    •Indoor houseplants: It’s easy to overlook these, as they have been sitting on a shelf and you pass by them constantly, but they still need care. Check to make sure they aren’t root bound and repot as necessary. They can be moved to a sunny location now that the days are longer, but be careful to avoid placing them in a draft.

    • Bulbs: You should check on the condition of the tender bulbs you dug up and stored for the winter. Signs that they did not survive are softness, shriveling and rot. For the health of other bulbs, discard anything showing these symptoms.

    • Seed packets: Do you save your own from years past? Or, are you looking to get a fresh supply? Take inventory now, and order early. This way you can purchase what you want before things sell out. If you start seeds indoors, refresh yourself with days to germination, light, soil, and moisture conditions. Make sure all your equipment is sanitized.

    • Plans: Now is a good time to plan your landscape and garden. Make notes of what you remember what flourished and what plants struggled. Important, too, is know your USDA hardiness zone. In our area, there are many microclimates. The USDA has an online tool to help you find suitable plants for your garden, and it is based on your zipcode. Check it out at plant

    There are some seeds that can be started soon but plan ahead so they will be at the right stage of development when you transplant them outside.

    • Plants: Check your hardy perennials, trees and shrubs for winter and storm damage. Prune any injured limbs to avoid disease any further damage. And, most people don’t think of their lawn as a plant, but it is, and needs care even in the winter. If you haven’t had a soil test recently, spring is one fo the best times to amend your turf. Soil test kits are available for purchase in our office. The test will give the best treatment recommendations for your soil and save you money.

    The Penn State Master Gardeners have plenty of free information on any of the above topics. Plus, we will be having a training, if you are interested in becoming a master gardener. The classes begin March 8 and are held on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6 to 9 p.m. Contact us at 570-963-6842 or email for more information.

    STEVE WARD is Master Gardener coordinator Penn State Cooperative Extension in Lackawanna County.

    Article source: