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Archives for April 5, 2016

Garden Art Can Bring Drama and Design to Outdoor Spaces

If you came across any of Barbara Sanderson’s work in a garden, you might think you’d stepped into Alice’s Wonderland. The Seattle-based glass blower crafts flowers, arbors, lights and fountains for natural settings, aiming to create a magical, otherworldly tableau.

“I love to add another dimension to what already exists,” she says.

Art created for the outdoors can bring drama and design to a garden or patio. Sheila Jeffrey, a landscape designer from Collingwood, Ontario, suggests thinking of outdoor space as you would a room, with a floor, walls and ceiling.

“As with interior art, consider the overall theme or feel of the space when you’re choosing outdoor accents,” she says.

“Walls or fences are often overlooked and are a great place for an interesting focal point.”

For wall art, consider vintage objects, such as picture frames, mirrors, cast iron grates, architectural elements or antique signs as outdoor wall art.

Arrange groupings of small vessels like planted terra cotta pots, buckets or paint cans. Put themed vignettes on shelves.

“Vintage ’60s metal wall sculptures are a favorite of mine,” says Jeffrey, “and you can often find them at yard sales. Clear-coat them with a good exterior-grade polyurethane before displaying.”

Sanderson’s inspiration for making outdoor pieces comes from fond memories of visiting her grandfather’s English garden as a teenager.

“I spent some time gazing into his pond, appreciating the soothing sound that water makes in a garden setting,” Sanderson recalls. “I returned home determined to create a water feature for myself. That was the beginning of my focus on garden artwork.”

She forms glass into colorful, plump little birds that can be placed in a found nest, or in one of Sanderson’s spun-glass nests. Pitcher plants in vibrant hues of gold and carmine, mounted on copper rods, catch the rain.

There are Seussian fiddlehead ferns and mushrooms, as well as colorful “glacicles” rigged with lights to line a path or poolside.

And for a pond or birdbath, Sanderson has created the “bee preserver,” a glass ball studded with glass nubs so that bees have something on which to rest when they’re drinking. ( www.glassgardensnw.com )

Margie Grace, a landscape designer in Santa Monica, California, often incorporates salvaged elements like driftwood, branches and stones into her projects. They can be used to make mosaics and interesting screens. She used an old metal bed as a planter, with flowers as the “pillows” and “quilt.” Her fondness for functional art led her to create a “canalito,” a canal made from stones that carries away storm water, while winding artfully around trees and beds.

“Art can evoke the very nature of a place,” she says, pointing out a kinetic sculpture in a hill-top garden that mimics the pelicans soaring off a nearby bluff. ( www.gracedesignassociates.com )

If your balcony or backyard has no view, consider one of Gizaun Art’s wooden wall panels. The Portland, Oregon-based studio uses all-weather, ultraviolet, translucent inks to apply photo images of flowers and landscapes onto red cedar boards, ready for hanging. Designs include sunflowers, lighthouses and landscapes. ( www.gizaunart.com )

Wind and Weather stocks some backlit, punched art crafted from recycled metal drum lids in Bali. Choose from a zodiac, sun and moon, or several whimsical designs like cats on a moonlit fence, or a train chugging through a wintry night. ( www.windandweather.com )

For a small terrace, the Trigg geometric container, designed by Moe Takemura for Umbra, might be just the thing. The sleek, diamond-shaped ceramic or concrete-resin vessels perch inside a slim brass frame. They could hold herbs, succulents or extra keys. ( www.allmodern.com )

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/garden-art-bring-drama-design-outdoor-spaces-38160380

‘Sustainable Perennial Garden Design’ With Professional Horticulturist

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April 5, 2016

Town and Country Garden Club of Newtown’s program for Wednesday, April 13 is “Sustainable Perennial Garden Design —Working With Nature,” a slides and PowerPoint presentation by Robert Herman.

The presentation starts at 7 pm at Newtown Senior Center, 14 Riverside Road in Sandy Hook. Admission is free and Open to the public.

Robert Herman has over 30 years of experience as a professional horticulturist, almost seven of which were spent in Europe as “Meister” for the Countess von Zeppelin Nursery in Germany.

At Missouri Botanical Garden he served in the horticulture and education departments, and at White Flower Farm in Litchfield, he was Director of Horticulture.

Mr Herman has taught for the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) and the former Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Mass., as well as the International Master of Landscape Architecture program at Anhalt University in Germany.

He currently teaches part-time in the Horticulture Department at Naugatuck Valley Community College. His articles have appeared in American Nurseryman, Fine Gardening, the German magazine Garden and Landscape, and the Hardy Plant Society Journal in England.

In 2010 Mr Herman received the American Horticultural Society’s Teaching Award and the Perennial Plant Association’s Academic Award.

Reservations for Town and Country Garden Club programs are not needed, but additional information is available by calling 203-405-3171 or 203-426-2785.

 



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Copyright ©2016 The Newtown Bee / All rights reserved

Digital Marketing / Rebel Interactive Group

Article source: http://newtownbee.com/sustainable-perennial-garden-design/

Premier Land Planner Wendell Pickett of Greey|Pickett Partners with Harvard Investments on Cadence at Gateway …

PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Even at first glance, Cadence
at Gateway’s
(http://cadenceaz.com/)
land, neighborhood and amenity plan feels different. That’s
because today’s homebuyers are different. They demand convenience and
connectivity. They expect sustainable landscapes with a distinctive look
and easy access to outdoor activities. They want neighborhoods that make
sense, laid out logically, yet allow neighbors to easily connect. To
meet these needs, Arizona-based
real estate investment and development company Harvard Investments

turned to someone with years of experience creating functional,
aesthetically pleasing and award-winning designs — Wendell Pickett.

“I’ve done hundreds of land plans, so I knew right away this project was
a chance to provide something beyond what was being built in the
market,” said Wendell
Pickett, partner of Greey|Pickett
. “This community is designed to be
the best of the best, yet remain inclusive, intimate, attainable; so it
really fits the needs of today’s homebuyer.”

Wendell Pickett, of the acclaimed Scottsdale-based land planning and
landscape design firm Greey|Pickett, is one of the most active land
designers in the industry. Well known for designing premium resorts and
luxury-driven second home communities, he’s designed more than a million
acres of land across the U.S. and abroad. Winning national accolades,
his firm specializes in full-service design consultation for multi-use,
urban and master-planned communities, including land planning, community
theming and landscape architecture.

“Wendell has a reputation of providing developers with a strong return
on investment and fresh ideas that actually reflect the desires of the
market,” said Craig Krumwiede, president of Harvard Investments. “His
vast experience with high-profile projects translated to delivering
excellent, achievable ideas for our newest community, located in the
East Valley. His multi-level thinking — from land acquisition through
construction administration — is a great asset to the Cadence at Gateway
team. He’s really the lynchpin bringing all the teams together.”

Wendell, along with the firm’s other principal Russell Greey, each have
more than 30 years experience ranging from custom homes to multi-million
dollar theme parks and everything in between. Familiar projects include
Summerlin in Las Vegas, Vistancia, Windgate, Wickenburg Ranch,
Encanterra and The Chicago Cubs Spring Training Facility.

“We’re building a community where the family home built at Cadence could
be passed from generation to generation,” Pickett said. “Beyond the
neighborhoods, we’ve pushed the envelope to complete this vision, with
the encouragement of Harvard Investments. Honestly, we’re building more
amenities and special touches than we have to — but these guys support
my philosophy of give more, do it better and don’t build the stuff no
one uses. We designed Cadence in accordance with the desire for lush
landscaping and need for shade, but also selected responsible plants
that conserve precious water. We placed parks throughout the community,
filled with stuff to do, and each park, trail or community space is no
more than 300 feet from any home.”

Learn more at http://www.greeypickett.com/
and (http://cadenceaz.com/)

Article source: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160405006748/en/Premier-Land-Planner-Wendell-Pickett-GreeyPickett-Partners

In poor neighborhoods, does ZIP code have to equal economic destiny?

Sitting on the front stoop of her apartment building, the peeling paint of a front door behind her and concrete all around, Timantha Gaither says she thinks the whole thing should be knocked to the ground.  

“They should raze it and start over,” says the mother of two.

Perhaps surprisingly, it is her sister, Raven Hicks, who has three children of her own and lives in a comfortable suburban home, who defends the Forest Cove apartment complex in the Thomasville Heights neighborhood of Atlanta.

Yes, it’s seedy, she acknowledges. Children on their stoops watch prisoners exercising in the razor-wired federal prison across the street. The whole neighborhood is jammed between an old landfill and the penitentiary. But apartment complexes like Forest Cove are important to ensuring housing for all, Ms. Hicks says.

It is an argument taking place with increasing frequency across the United States, at kitchen tables and in city halls and statehouses: Is it better to move out of low-income neighborhoods like Thomasville Heights or to try to fix them?

Until recently, Atlanta was considering demolishing Forest Cove and closing Thomasville Heights Elementary School – in effect, to destroy the village in order to save its inhabitants. Instead, it’s trying to see if it can’t improve the neighborhood enough to give the dozens of kids playing outside on a recent afternoon a better shot at the future.

There are economists who might tell Ms. Gaither her children would be better off if she called the movers. In 2014, Stanford University economist Raj Chetty nailed down a startling explanation of how American upward mobility works: While low-income adults rarely do better by moving to a better-off neighborhood, their children do. In fact, the longer children are exposed to better economic circumstances, the more they achieve in school and the higher their eventual earnings.

But that finding doesn’t offer comprehensive policy solutions. After all, “it’s impossible to evacuate all of our low-income neighborhoods,” says Wellesley College economist Phillip Levine.

As a result, city officials, community activists, and residents are looking for ways to fix low-income neighborhoods, rather than encourage people to move out.

Now, the research is raising new questions: For example, if living in Thomasville Heights suppresses outcomes, can improving conditions there offer a solution?

Atlanta offers a lens on possible answers. In the South, the odds of upward economic mobility – especially for poor black people – can be more daunting than almost anywhere else in the US.

Only 4 percent of children from Thomasville Heights will ever go from affording pig ear sandwiches at Wyatt’s Country BBQ to the $111 average cover at Bacchanalia, one of the city’s finest eateries, according to Professor Chetty’s research. That compares with 10 percent in a city like Seattle or New York who make that leap from the lowest to the top income quintile.  

“The problem with [focusing on moving people out of bad neighborhoods] is that people don’t necessarily want to leave their communities, and the fact is not everyone can move to whatever counties we’ve found lead to better outcomes for kids,” adds Robert Sampson, a Harvard University sociologist who specializes in how neighborhoods affect equality. “That means we have to provide opportunities for people in the places [they] live.”

The effect of place on economic mobility highlights the cultural and racial legacies that disproportionately weigh down kids like those pinballing through Forest Cove.

“The causal effects of place” account for between 50 and 70 percent of the differences in intergenerational mobility, Chetty and Harvard’s Nathaniel Hendren found in a 2015 study.

‘Part of the same “us” ’

Other studies have shown that 1 percent of young white adults in the US are both individually poor and live in a neighborhood with more than 30 percent poverty. For blacks, that number is closer to 20 percent.

“I reject this whole idea of cultural poverty, that [notion of], ‘What’s wrong with those people – why don’t they move from lowest to the middle to the top? It must be something in their culture,’ ” says Ted Ownby, director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi in Oxford.

“Any type of explanation that starts to sound like the problem is internal to the group itself just runs into all sorts of historical and ethical objections.

“What that disregards are the deep drawbacks to having people who are not just experiencing the human unhappiness and misery that come from being stuck in the lowest levels of poverty, but also the range of social problems it causes for them and everyone around them,” he adds. “What we have now in the South – and other parts of the country – are people who don’t feel that the poorest places are part of the same community, part of the same place, part of the same ‘us.’ ”

It’s not as if those stuck in the poorest corners of America don’t move – they just don’t tend to move up.

Some Atlanta elementary schools, including Thomasville Heights Elementary, see as much as 40 percent of the school population churn each year as parents struggle to find and retain housing. The result is that, in effect, their kids become grade-school migrants. As with other factors in poor America, a sense of constant dislocation makes it more difficult for students to succeed, studies have found.

Under a new school superintendent, the school district has begun exploring charter school options and implementing strategies that have shown benefits for many poorer students. Longer school days, for instance, reduce their exposure to what can be violent and drama-filled home lives. The school system is also sending one of its star principals to try to break the inertia that has settled in on this hill by a prison.

“You have one of the highest birthrates intersecting with the highest poverty rate in the city; the school is the lowest-performing, and that’s it: You’re stuck,” says Leslie Grant, an Atlanta school board member.

There is research showing that an improving neighborhood can improve the lives of the children in it, economists say. In 2009, the Pew Charitable Trusts reported that kids who stayed in a neighborhood that got progressively better also benefited, increasing earnings by $7,000 per year over those who lived in neighborhoods where poverty rates were entrenched.

In Atlanta, there are no formal initiatives aimed at the problem. But there’s no doubt more attention is being paid as the city’s continued success as a global trade hub sharpens the divide between the richest and the poorest.

‘There are good people up in here’

Tony Jones is one example of how upward mobility works in the real world. The city worker grew up moving from project to project as his mom struggled to pay the bills. Even though he escaped that poverty (he owns a nice house in Forest Park, Ga.), he still returns to visit friends at Forest Cove nearly every day after work.

“This may seem like a bad spot, but there are good people up in here,” he says as dozens of children play on the narrow paths, lighting firecrackers.

While mobility research confirms that moving out pays off for children, studies show that low-income Americans don’t necessarily want to take on debt or move to wealthier neighborhoods and leave family and friends behind. What they want are the same services that better-off locales have.

Across the country, bipartisan ideas are starting to focus on practical, even low-cost, ways to help people by giving more serious and long-term assistance to their neighborhoods. Professor Sampson calls this “affirmative action for neighborhoods.” They range from tax and job credits to stronger code enforcement in an effort to raise living standards.

“The newest and most provocative research about economic mobility shows the importance of place,” agrees Erin Currier, who directs projects on economic mobility at the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington.

Under the Obama administration, the federal government has started the Promise Neighborhoods Initiative that puts funds toward directly improving neighborhoods. But Congress funded only a handful of grant recipients, which focus on what some call providing extra “cradle-to-career” services ranging from family to school support – all with the neighborhood as the organizing principle. One of those projects is the Harlem Children’s Zone, where 9 out of 10 students now achieve passing scores on New York’s rigorous Regents tests.

Cities are taking their own steps as well. Charlotte, N.C. – which along with Atlanta is one of the worst cities for bottom-to-top mobility – has begun a long-term community investigation looking into how to solve the riddle. Portland, Ore., where neighborhoods are also deeply segregated, is doing the same.

A house-by-house recovery

As with many such neighborhoods, poverty isn’t endemic to Thomasville Heights. Jeff Stanciel and his wife retired from government service and bought a house here for a song a few years ago. They landscaped and bought themselves an Escalade. Their lime-green ranch overlooks a pretty tree-lined street – though what appears to be a small grove across the street is really an overgrown abandoned house.

Mr. Stanciel is part of a civic group that pushes the city to mow abandoned properties and to seize and raze empty and decrepit homes. The group recently paid for two crisp neighborhood signs – “Welcome to the Thomasville Heights Community” – bordered by landscaping. The community fought to keep a Thumbelina-sized library open. Such efforts played a role in ultimately getting Atlanta Public Schools not to close Thomasville Heights Elementary, but rather invest more in it than almost any other grade school in the city.

The struggle in his neighborhood, Stanciel opines, is to not give up. “Around here, there’s a thin line between living and surviving,” he says.

Slowly, he says, the neighborhood has started coming back, house by house. At Forest Cove, there have also been improvements. A new owner has hired a full-time maintenance crew, which residents say has dramatically improved conditions.

And for “people with five or six kids and no money, where are they supposed to go?” asks resident Anquavious Seals, a father of three. “At least it’s a place to sleep.”

It may be tougher here than in most places to move from the very bottom to the very top, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed notes, but Atlanta does better in moving people into the middle class.

“Nearly 70 percent of Atlanta children in the bottom-income quintile escaped from that group,” Mr. Reed wrote in The Huffington Post, beating out New York, San Francisco, and Boston. “Surely helping a larger percentage of people moderately improve their economic status is a better outcome than significantly helping only a small percentage.”

Is stability the new American dream?

For many Americans, that’s enough. In 2014, according to a Pew survey, 92 percent of Americans said it was more important to be financially stable than to move up – a seven percentage-point increase since 2011.

That holds true here in Thomasville Heights, as well.

“The level they want to get to is to be comfortable, to pay the bills, the food, to keep their places – and that’s a challenge,” says James Booker, a longtime resident and president of the local civic league.

New findings on the role of place in economic outcomes are arriving at an opportune time. As Harvard’s Sampson notes, “Violence is down…, people are moving back to cities, racial segregation is moderating, and immigration has revitalized many neighborhoods across the country.”

All of this, he says, is increasing prospects for racial and class integration in “urban areas that not too long ago were written off or were thought to be dying.”

Want to read more?

Article source: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2016/0404/In-poor-neighborhoods-does-ZIP-code-have-to-equal-economic-destiny

In poor neighborhoods, is it better to fix up or move out?

Sitting on the front stoop of her apartment building, the peeling paint of a front door behind her and concrete all around, Timantha Gaither says she thinks the whole thing should be knocked to the ground.  

“They should raze it and start over,” says the mother of two.

Perhaps surprisingly, it is her sister, Raven Hicks, who has three children of her own and lives in a comfortable suburban home, who defends the Forest Cove apartment complex in the Thomasville Heights neighborhood of Atlanta.

Yes, it’s seedy, she acknowledges. Children on their stoops watch prisoners exercising in the razor-wired federal prison across the street. The whole neighborhood is jammed between an old landfill and the penitentiary. But apartment complexes like Forest Cove are important to ensuring housing for all, Ms. Hicks says.

It is an argument taking place with increasing frequency across the United States, at kitchen tables and in city halls and statehouses: Is it better to move out of low-income neighborhoods like Thomasville Heights or to try to fix them?

Until recently, Atlanta was considering demolishing Forest Cove and closing Thomasville Heights Elementary School – in effect, to destroy the village in order to save its inhabitants. Instead, it’s trying to see if it can’t improve the neighborhood enough to give the dozens of kids playing outside on a recent afternoon a better shot at the future.

There are economists who might tell Ms. Gaither her children would be better off if she called the movers. In 2014, Stanford University economist Raj Chetty nailed down a startling explanation of how American upward mobility works: While low-income adults rarely do better by moving to a better-off neighborhood, their children do. In fact, the longer children are exposed to better economic circumstances, the more they achieve in school and the higher their eventual earnings.

But that finding doesn’t offer comprehensive policy solutions. After all, “it’s impossible to evacuate all of our low-income neighborhoods,” says Wellesley College economist Phillip Levine.

As a result, city officials, community activists, and residents are looking for ways to fix low-income neighborhoods, rather than encourage people to move out.

Now, the research is raising new questions: For example, if living in Thomasville Heights suppresses outcomes, can improving conditions there offer a solution?

Atlanta offers a lens on possible answers. In the South, the odds of upward economic mobility – especially for poor black people – can be more daunting than almost anywhere else in the US.

Only 4 percent of children from Thomasville Heights will ever go from affording pig ear sandwiches at Wyatt’s Country BBQ to the $111 average cover at Bacchanalia, one of the city’s finest eateries, according to Professor Chetty’s research. That compares with 10 percent in a city like Seattle or New York who make that leap from the lowest to the top income quintile.  

“The problem with [focusing on moving people out of bad neighborhoods] is that people don’t necessarily want to leave their communities, and the fact is not everyone can move to whatever counties we’ve found lead to better outcomes for kids,” adds Robert Sampson, a Harvard University sociologist who specializes in how neighborhoods affect equality. “That means we have to provide opportunities for people in the places [they] live.”

The effect of place on economic mobility highlights the cultural and racial legacies that disproportionately weigh down kids like those pinballing through Forest Cove.

“The causal effects of place” account for between 50 and 70 percent of the differences in intergenerational mobility, Chetty and Harvard’s Nathaniel Hendren found in a 2015 study.

‘Part of the same “us” ’

Other studies have shown that 1 percent of young white adults in the US are both individually poor and live in a neighborhood with more than 30 percent poverty. For blacks, that number is closer to 20 percent.

“I reject this whole idea of cultural poverty, that [notion of], ‘What’s wrong with those people – why don’t they move from lowest to the middle to the top? It must be something in their culture,’ ” says Ted Ownby, director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi in Oxford.

“Any type of explanation that starts to sound like the problem is internal to the group itself just runs into all sorts of historical and ethical objections.

“What that disregards are the deep drawbacks to having people who are not just experiencing the human unhappiness and misery that come from being stuck in the lowest levels of poverty, but also the range of social problems it causes for them and everyone around them,” he adds. “What we have now in the South – and other parts of the country – are people who don’t feel that the poorest places are part of the same community, part of the same place, part of the same ‘us.’ ”

It’s not as if those stuck in the poorest corners of America don’t move – they just don’t tend to move up.

Some Atlanta elementary schools, including Thomasville Heights Elementary, see as much as 40 percent of the school population churn each year as parents struggle to find and retain housing. The result is that, in effect, their kids become grade-school migrants. As with other factors in poor America, a sense of constant dislocation makes it more difficult for students to succeed, studies have found.

Under a new school superintendent, the school district has begun exploring charter school options and implementing strategies that have shown benefits for many poorer students. Longer school days, for instance, reduce their exposure to what can be violent and drama-filled home lives. The school system is also sending one of its star principals to try to break the inertia that has settled in on this hill by a prison.

“You have one of the highest birthrates intersecting with the highest poverty rate in the city; the school is the lowest-performing, and that’s it: You’re stuck,” says Leslie Grant, an Atlanta school board member.

There is research showing that an improving neighborhood can improve the lives of the children in it, economists say. In 2009, the Pew Charitable Trusts reported that kids who stayed in a neighborhood that got progressively better also benefited, increasing earnings by $7,000 per year over those who lived in neighborhoods where poverty rates were entrenched.

In Atlanta, there are no formal initiatives aimed at the problem. But there’s no doubt more attention is being paid as the city’s continued success as a global trade hub sharpens the divide between the richest and the poorest.

‘There are good people up in here’

Tony Jones is one example of how upward mobility works in the real world. The city worker grew up moving from project to project as his mom struggled to pay the bills. Even though he escaped that poverty (he owns a nice house in Forest Park, Ga.), he still returns to visit friends at Forest Cove nearly every day after work.

“This may seem like a bad spot, but there are good people up in here,” he says as dozens of children play on the narrow paths, lighting firecrackers.

While mobility research confirms that moving out pays off for children, studies show that low-income Americans don’t necessarily want to take on debt or move to wealthier neighborhoods and leave family and friends behind. What they want are the same services that better-off locales have.

Across the country, bipartisan ideas are starting to focus on practical, even low-cost, ways to help people by giving more serious and long-term assistance to their neighborhoods. Professor Sampson calls this “affirmative action for neighborhoods.” They range from tax and job credits to stronger code enforcement in an effort to raise living standards.

“The newest and most provocative research about economic mobility shows the importance of place,” agrees Erin Currier, who directs projects on economic mobility at the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington.

Under the Obama administration, the federal government has started the Promise Neighborhoods Initiative that puts funds toward directly improving neighborhoods. But Congress funded only a handful of grant recipients, which focus on what some call providing extra “cradle-to-career” services ranging from family to school support – all with the neighborhood as the organizing principle. One of those projects is the Harlem Children’s Zone, where 9 out of 10 students now achieve passing scores on New York’s rigorous Regents tests.

Cities are taking their own steps as well. Charlotte, N.C. – which along with Atlanta is one of the worst cities for bottom-to-top mobility – has begun a long-term community investigation looking into how to solve the riddle. Portland, Ore., where neighborhoods are also deeply segregated, is doing the same.

A house-by-house recovery

As with many such neighborhoods, poverty isn’t endemic to Thomasville Heights. Jeff Stanciel and his wife retired from government service and bought a house here for a song a few years ago. They landscaped and bought themselves an Escalade. Their lime-green ranch overlooks a pretty tree-lined street – though what appears to be a small grove across the street is really an overgrown abandoned house.

Mr. Stanciel is part of a civic group that pushes the city to mow abandoned properties and to seize and raze empty and decrepit homes. The group recently paid for two crisp neighborhood signs – “Welcome to the Thomasville Heights Community” – bordered by landscaping. The community fought to keep a Thumbelina-sized library open. Such efforts played a role in ultimately getting Atlanta Public Schools not to close Thomasville Heights Elementary, but rather invest more in it than almost any other grade school in the city.

The struggle in his neighborhood, Stanciel opines, is to not give up. “Around here, there’s a thin line between living and surviving,” he says.

Slowly, he says, the neighborhood has started coming back, house by house. At Forest Cove, there have also been improvements. A new owner has hired a full-time maintenance crew, which residents say has dramatically improved conditions.

And for “people with five or six kids and no money, where are they supposed to go?” asks resident Anquavious Seals, a father of three. “At least it’s a place to sleep.”

It may be tougher here than in most places to move from the very bottom to the very top, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed notes, but Atlanta does better in moving people into the middle class.

“Nearly 70 percent of Atlanta children in the bottom-income quintile escaped from that group,” Mr. Reed wrote in The Huffington Post, beating out New York, San Francisco, and Boston. “Surely helping a larger percentage of people moderately improve their economic status is a better outcome than significantly helping only a small percentage.”

Is stability the new American dream?

For many Americans, that’s enough. In 2014, according to a Pew survey, 92 percent of Americans said it was more important to be financially stable than to move up – a seven percentage-point increase since 2011.

That holds true here in Thomasville Heights, as well.

“The level they want to get to is to be comfortable, to pay the bills, the food, to keep their places – and that’s a challenge,” says James Booker, a longtime resident and president of the local civic league.

New findings on the role of place in economic outcomes are arriving at an opportune time. As Harvard’s Sampson notes, “Violence is down…, people are moving back to cities, racial segregation is moderating, and immigration has revitalized many neighborhoods across the country.”

All of this, he says, is increasing prospects for racial and class integration in “urban areas that not too long ago were written off or were thought to be dying.”

Want to read more?

Article source: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2016/0404/In-poor-neighborhoods-is-it-better-to-fix-up-or-move-out

Proposal calls for 26 units, retail space

A new apartment building may spring up at the northwest corner of East Main Street and Parkview Avenue, if the city of Bexley Planning Commission gives the go-ahead.

The commission conducted an initial review of an application for the Parkview Main Apartments, a proposed four-story apartment building with retail space on the first floor, in February. Applicant Michael Lusk of Michael Lusk Architecture, which is developing the property, provided more details at the commission’s March 28 meeting.

The proposal would put the development on a vacant 0.809-acre lot at 2109 E. Main St. The building would consist of 26 apartment units ranging from 1,628 to 1,988 square feet. Each apartment would have a balcony, and plans also call for an outdoor deck on the north side of the second floor.

The development would also include an underground parking garage.

“There’s 45 garage space for 26 units,” Lusk said. “If there’s empty spaces, we can label them as visitor spots, and we suspect there will be (empty spaces).”

South Parkview Avenue resident Rob Coleman said he’s in favor of the new development, but added that one possible downside is traffic congestion.

“My only concern is what’s going to happen to traffic flow at Parkview and Main,” he said.

The planning commission tabled the application, pending review of a landscaping plan by the city’s Tree and Public Gardens Commission, until its next meeting at 6 p.m. April 25 at Bexley City Hall, 2242 E. Main St.

In other business, the planning commission reaffirmed its vote from its February meeting to move the temporary restroom in Commonwealth Park 10 yards to the north. Last August, the commission approved placing the temporary restroom in Commonwealth Park for a trial period that began in September and ended in mid-November. Recreation Director Michael Price said the restroom is necessary for athletic teams.

The city of Bexley Recreation and Parks Department came before the planning commission on March 28 to request the restroom remain in the location in which it was placed during its trial period. Price said the city would like to give residents an opportunity to weigh in on the new location.

“We wanted to make sure they had an opportunity to speak their concerns,” he said.

At the commission’s February meeting, Commonwealth Park South resident Donna Smith had requested the restroom be moved 10 yards to the north to avoid the facility being cleaned and serviced in front of her house. Smith said she appreciates the city’s request to gather more public input, but she didn’t understand why the issue came before the commission again since none of her neighbors spoke out against the move last month.

“The decision that was made, was made at a public forum to which the neighbors were invited,” she said.

Before reaffirming their vote to move the restroom 10 yards to the north, planning commission members suggested the city explore options for a more permanent restroom facility in Commonwealth Park in the future.

Price and Mayor Ben Kessler said the city has begun discussions about a comprehensive master plan for Commonwealth Park that would include options to fund a permanent restroom facility.

“We are continuing to seek funding for a plan,” Kessler said.

Article source: http://www.thisweeknews.com/content/stories/bexley/news/2016/04/04/parkview--main-apartments-proposal-calls-for-26-units-retail-space.html

Syosset Colonial for sale features botanical paradise

The owners of this Syosset Colonial, listed for $659,000, transformed the yard into a lush botanical paradise, says listing agent Mara Navaretta of Homes By Mara. They took great care in selecting specimen plantings of varying heights and colors that can be enjoyed from the porch and patio on the 0.33-acre property.

The yard also features two man-made ponds with lily pads, Navaretta says, as well as statues and ornamental stone formations that complement the elaborate landscaping.

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When you enter the 1922 home, you’ll find the original enclosed porch and a combination living and dining room with ornate stonework on the walls and above the fireplace. The three-bedroom house offers two full baths, hardwood floors, skylights and a finished basement. There’s an updated kitchen with cherry cabinets, granite counters and a center island, Navaretta says, and sliding glass doors leading out to the serenity and beauty of the gardens.

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The property also offers a two-car detached garage that Navaretta says is suitable not just for storage and parking but as an artist’s studio.

Article source: http://www.newsday.com/classifieds/real-estate/syosset-colonial-for-sale-features-botanical-paradise-1.11651067

Grand opening festivities set for garden center expansion

Although Scottie Parks does seem to be a fixture in Pleasant Hill and the surroundings, it doesn’t seem possible from his youthful appearance that he has worked for Uplands Village for 31 years. 

Uplands held a youth achievement program, which Parks participated in summers when he was a teenager. In addition, he started cutting lawns and working in neighbors’ yards, which naturally segued into his own landscaping business at an early age. 

As a full-fledged member of the Uplands maintenance staff, Parks has become certified in electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems services. He also assists the IT manager with technical installations. Besides this full-time occupation, he has provided landscaping services and materials for individuals, churches, and small companies. For many years those skills were administered from his home until he established a small business location on Hwy. 70 west in Pleasant Hill eight years ago. At that time, his wife, Tammy, left her position with the Cumberland Medical Center to manage the facility.

Scott’s Garden Center and Landscaping Materials has now moved east on Hwy. 70 into a much larger building with extensive grounds permitting a much greater storage of materials. Grand opening festivities are scheduled for Saturday, April 9, with a ribbon cutting at noon. Tammy Parks is chief purchasing agent and designer and continues managing the expanded Garden Center. She has an artistic eye for the unusually attractive yard ornaments, wind chimes, bird feeders, banners and flags. The building painted a spring green at 8217 Sparta Hwy (Route 70 west) is stocked with garden supplies, gloves, shoes, tools, pottery, flags, poles, plant fertilizers, soil supplements, oil lanterns, lights, seeds, vegetable and flower bedding plants and more.

Hours are Monday through Thursday, noon to 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Other staff members and garden crew are Roger Hamric, Steve Parks, Conor Crockett and Raymond Carson. Scottie manages the landscaping crew. Some of the services that can be contracted for through Scott’s Garden Center are installing and caring for lawns, tree cutting and pruning, care of gardens, bushes, trees, landscaping and most all outdoor services. Plans are underway for a greenhouse to grow the bedding plants. For now they are purchased locally from several distributers. The Center will carry the well-known Bonnie plants. There is a cooler to keep local fruits and vegetables in season fresh for the customers. Landscaping materials such as mulch, topsoil, manure, pea gravel and peat moss are in large supply on the grounds. Scott’s Garden Center plans to acquire bushes and trees from the McMinnville nurseries and carry feed for livestock. Scott can be contacted at 510-6530 or 277-3942. Pleasant Hill is extremely proud to see a local family taking on such an enterprising expansion serving this area of Cumberland and White counties.

This week in Pleasant Hill:

Wednesday, April 6 — 9 a.m. to noon, volunteers prepare for the Trash and Treasure Sale in the Blue Barn off of Lake Rd., behind Uplands Wellness Center. Many needed. This is the last day for donations.

Wednesday, April 6 — 3 p.m., FILM FESTIVAL: DOCUMENTARIES:  “Food, Lifestyle and Sustainability” Room 4 in the PH Community Church – 277-5467 for info.

Thursday, April 7 — 2 to 3 p.m., Erin and Will Siler will provide musical entertainment with guitars and a sing-a-long at Wharton Homes in Dougherty Home.

Friday, April 8 — 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Trip to Cheekwood Gardens in Nashville. Call (932) 277-3519 to reserve.

Friday, April 8 — 10 a.m. in Fletcher House Dining Room, The Art Circle Library brings books, audio books, and DVDs.       

Friday, April 8 — 10 a.m., Rm 1 of PH Community Church “The Wisdom of Richard Rohr” led by Mark Canfield, Shalom Center for Continuing Education weekly course. Cost $20. To register go to www.shalomcenterpleasanthill.com or call Barbara Everett at 277-3968.

Friday, April 8 — 2 to 3 p.m., Pleasant Hill Community House, AARP/PHCC free Tax Preparation. Appointments necessary – call Corey at 277-3096.

Article source: http://www.crossville-chronicle.com/news/lifestyles/grand-opening-festivities-set-for-garden-center-expansion/article_f12d44d0-fa80-11e5-9f84-3b5b35115acf.html

Gardening Season Tips

The weather might not be able to make up its mind, but maybe you have — on whether you will be gardening this year. Jamie Council has more on tips for gardeners and what you can do with your crops.

(Jamie Council-KX News) We may not know when or if we will get more snow, but gardeners are already prepping for planting season — which is more than a month away.

(Robert Kibbler, President of Minot Farmers Market) “Seedings starting in greenhouses. I wouldn’t say you can plant anything right now, but later. It’s coming.”

(Paige Brummund, NDSU Extension Agent) “So anytime that we have a nice warm spring, we have people that are really eager to get out there and work and its fine to get out there and work and start cleaning up the garden and doing those type of things, but beware of planting too early. North Dakota is known to have late Spring frosts.”

(Jamie Council-KX News) Late May is the time to put plants in the ground And the NDSU Extension Center wants to help both novice and experienced gardeners gear up for the season with Spring Fever Garden Forum sessions at 27 sites state-wide on a variety of topics.

(Paige Brummund, NDSU Extension Agent) “Trees, gardens, flowers, and we’re also going to have hands-on activities, so you get the best of both worlds. You get these NDSU experts that are base out of Fargo — We are going to stream them live on the video screen and then in each distant location the county agent to be there to provide activities, help answer questions, facilitate discussion.”

(Jamie Council-KX News) And once your crop is ready, you might want to consider joining the Minot Farmer’s Market.

(Robert Kibbler, President of Minot Farmers Market) “Looking for more members and we grow pretty much organic foods. Why not just buy it from the local vendor?”

(Jamie Council-KX News) The free sessions will take place every Monday in April. The NDSU Extension Office in the new administrative building by the courthouse will serve as the location for the Ward County sessions, but more information can be found at ag.ndsu.edu slash springfever.

In Minot, Jamie Council, KX News.

The sessions start at 6:30 and run until 8:30 and they ask you to pre-register either online or by calling ahead. The video is also available online, A Farmer’s Market informational meeting will be held tomorrow at 7 PM at the Minot Public Library.

Article source: http://www.kxnet.com/story/31640490/gardening-season-tips

Prepare Your Perennial Garden With Simple Spring Tips

STAMFORD, Conn. — Spring has arrived early in Fairfield County, and it’s time to prepare your perennial garden for the upcoming season. We will still have an occasional frost — and even possibly snow — but the mild winter and the unseasonably warm month of March has made this the time to break out the trowels and planters.

To prep your garden, start by cutting back any remaining dead perennial foliage from last season and rake the garden clean of leaves/branches and other debris. A leaf blower or rake may can be used, but take caution not to rake away too much good soil, mulch and nutrients. If possible, remove debris from atop the perennials and keep the area neat and attractive. If the mild winter has also caused a growth of weeds in local perennial gardens; now is the best time to remove them.

Perennial gardens should also be fertilized each spring; organic fertilizers by Espom often do the trick. Holly Tone works wonders for acid loving plants and shrubs and Plant Tone can be used for rest of the garden. The fertilizer can be spread by hand over the garden with a hard plastic cup. Be careful to follow the manufacturer’s instructions especially when fertilizing delicate seedlings as to not over fertilize.

Applying mulch to your perennial garden greatly enhances its appearance, adding a neat and clean touch to any plot. In addition to superior aesthetics, mulch protects perennials from harsh weather, reduces evaporation, helps control the soil temperature and greatly inhibits the ability of weeds to germinate. Two inches of mulch is usually enough, be careful not to mulch over the top of small/delicate perennials or to mound the mulch up on the base of tree bark or shrub. Compost mulch is best for supplying nutrients to the garden but not the best at blocking weeds. Bark mulch should be shredded until it has an “earthy” quality. Large “wood chip” mulch is the least efficient form of mulch.

Article source: http://darien.dailyvoice.com/lifestyle/prepare-your-perennial-garden-with-simple-spring-tips/649467/