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Archives for August 19, 2016

Garden designer to star on Bake Off


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Article source: http://www.hortweek.com/garden-designer-star-bake-off/landscape/article/1406118

Giving Back: Incoming UK freshman makes her hometown of Burkesville a more beautiful place

By Katie Pratt and Jeff Franklin
Special to KyForward

Molly Morgan takes pride in her hometown of Burkesville. As a high school junior, the 4-H’er set out to make the town and Cumberland County a more beautiful place.

“I attended the Rogers Scholars program two years ago, and they really encourage you to go home and give back to your community,” Morgan said. “Burkesville is known for its tourism, because we are right on Dale Hollow Lake, so I thought about beautification activities I could do in the county.”

Morgan and her mother Amy, approached Elijah Wilson, the county’s University of Kentucky cooperative extension agent for 4-H Youth Development, about ways she could do this. The result was a committee headed by Morgan and comprised of local leaders.

Two years later, Morgan and the committee she started, Partners with P.R.I.D.E., have added rock and landscaping to three of the town’s welcome signs and have installed flower beds along the roads going through the Southern Kentucky town.

“You wouldn’t believe the positive responses we have had from the landscaping,” Wilson said. “It really has changed the perception of people in our community and the people who visit our community. When you come into Burkesville, you feel like you have arrived somewhere. We want to move forward with more things like this.”

The committee has made the community enhancements with funding from a $10,000 Appalachian Regional Commission grant that Morgan and Wilson received. Morgan obtained the matching funds for the grant by convincing local residents and businesses to sponsor the project.

“It’s been a learning experience and has helped me communicate better with my own age group and has given me more confidence to approach leaders in my community,” she said.

Groups, such as Extension Master Gardeners, not only sponsor a sign but also provide upkeep for their sign’s landscaping. The Master Gardeners installed rock and landscaping at the Burkesville welcome sign on State Route 90.

While Morgan is entering UK this fall as a health sciences major and plans to become a doctor, the committee’s work will continue in her absence (UK Now Photo)

“I enjoy looking at the welcome signs in surrounding communities. Some of them are really pretty, so it’s nice that we have something comparable,” said Joan Radford, former president of the Cumberland County Master Gardeners.

Other local organizations including the Cumberland County High School Future Farmers of America chapter and the city have helped with maintenance of the areas.

While Morgan is entering UK this fall as a health sciences major and plans to become a doctor, the committee’s work will continue in her absence.

“We are getting new sponsorships each year, and we just started getting renewal sponsorships,” she said. “I hope it grows even more.”

Wilson hopes this project can spark ideas and interest in other young leaders in the county community that numbers 6,800 people.

“We need young people to step up, because they are going to make our community successful in the future. They are our future,” he said.

Katie Pratt and Jeff Franklin write for UK Now

Article source: http://www.kyforward.com/giving-back-incoming-uk-freshman-makes-her-hometown-of-burkesville-a-more-beautiful-place/

Burlington Jct. City Council appoints new city lawyer


Burlington Jct. council members voted during their August 10 meeting to approve Taryn Henry as city lawyer. Henry replaces Pat McLaughlin, who has taken leave for health issues.

City officials met with two potential attorneys. Henry’s fee was $135 per hour while Robert Sundell’s rate was $250 per hour. Henry was awarded the contract.

Mayor Justin Plymell gave the following report:

•Phase one of the $45,000 street project should begin in the next week. Mid-America Road Builders, Platte City, will repair and rebuild streets in the northwest district of town.

•The pending Riddler litigation was settled out of court.

•The pending Ebrecht ordinance violation fine litigation will be transferred to Henry.

•City officials purchased commercial-grade flower boxes with money from the lamp post project. These will be placed in front of Main Street businesses. Future downtown landscaping ideas were discussed.

Darren Mace gave the maintenance report. Mace said the maintenance chainsaw was not powerful enough to clear fallen trees. The council voted to purchase a new one.

The following items were discussed as new business:

• Community Hospital-Fairfax will bring in a modular clinic to open in October.

•SSM Health St. Francis Hospital, Maryville, sent personnel to assess the condition of a vacant module clinic. They are considering establishing a local facility.

•Council members discussed the need for a designated semitruck parking lot. They do not want trucks parking on the streets after the street project is complete. Several locations were discussed and members will check their availability.

•Plymell has applied for Burlington Jct. to become a Purple Heart City as recognition of city veterans who have earned Purple Hearts. Registration if free. Plymell will donate the funds to place a plaque next to the city limit sign.

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Article source: http://www.nodawaynews.com/burlington-jct-city-council-appoints-new-city-lawyer/

How Milwaukee Shook Off the Rust

The drive into Milwaukee once offered a sweeping vista of the American industrial apocalypse.

Abandoned factories and decaying smokestacks cast shadows over rusting rail yards, weed-choked lots, heaps of junked automobiles and small mountains of sand, coal and salt. The odor from the slaughterhouses, a massive coal-fired power plant and, especially, a yeast factory wafted up to the traffic, while waste from a century and a half of tanning leather, pouring steel and butchering beasts seeped into the river below. Once the beating heart of this great industrial city, the Menomonee River Valley had become, in the words of a mid-1980s Milwaukee Journal reporter, “an ugly, rust-colored lesion on the city’s midsection.”

Story Continued Below

Fast-forward two decades and Wisconsin’s most visible eyesore is barely recognizable. Down in the valley floor—four miles long and a half-mile wide—cyclists spin down the Hank Aaron State Trail, while elementary school classes watch great blue herons pick their way through the marshes. Salmon and steelhead trout run up the river in fall and spring respectively. Kids play on soccer fields, while adults play games of chance in the Potawatomi tribe’s $450 million casino, its 21-story tall glass and steel hotel tower looking down on rebuilt streets, viaducts and landscaping and the $75 million Harley-Davidson Museum, now one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions.

Most impressive, though, is the industry: acre upon acre of new manufacturing buildings designed to please the New Urbanist as well as the corporate shareholder. There’s the North American headquarters of a Spanish wind power component maker, an Italian manufacturer of solar hot water heaters, and a French blender of teas; a steel wire-making plant; the neo-Italianate façade of a local family’s quarter-million square foot pizza factory which employs hundreds from the neighborhoods up on the bluffs to the south, many of who can walk to work over an attractive covered pedestrian bridge. Century-old tanneries still cure hides in brick buildings along the river, while a local microbrewery is putting the finishing touches on its new plant-and-tavern in a converted Victorian-era coal gasification plant. One-hundred and twenty-five businesses operate in the Valley, employing more than 16.000, more than twice as many as many as 20 years ago.

“You had a city keen on keeping and attracting manufacturers who were unhappy in areas of residential or commercial encroachment, and was willing to put them right in the center,” says Christopher De Sousa, director of the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson University in Toronto, who studied Milwaukee’s effort. “It’s place-making that’s celebrating where stuff is made.”

While many cities have sought to repurpose their old industrial zones into hip condos, restaurants or commercial lofts for tech companies—or simply knock them down—Milwaukee has invested in resurrecting its own, with intense planning, new infrastructure and exacting design standards. In the process, a coalition of public officials, community activists and manufacturers have created a model for the 21st century industrial park, where manufacturing, recreation and environmentally-friendly engineered landscapes co-exist. Milwaukee is at work applying the lessons learned in the nearby port district and in the 30th Street industrial corridor several miles to the north.

“Having clean air, a clean river, and bike trails doesn’t discourage industry at all,” says John Norquist, Milwaukee’s mayor from 1988 to 2004, when the Menomonee Valley plans were drafted and put into motion. “You don’t have to create a Hell on Earth around them to make money. They like clean air and vegetation as well.”

***

There was plenty of clean air and vegetation in the valley in 1795, when the Quebecois fur trader Jacques Vieau built his shack in the valley in 1795, becoming the first Euro-American resident of what is now Greater Milwaukee. Nestled between what were then much higher bluffs, the valley floor was filled with marsh, ponds and wild rice thickets, and Vieau’s mother-in-law’s people, the Potawatomi, harvested rice, medicinal plants and game of all sorts from their seasonal villages along the rim. “It was like a pharmacy and a grocery store and a way to make a living rolled together,” says Jeff Crawford, the tribe’s attorney general.

Vieau bought the Potawatomi hunters’ pelts, which could be easily transported a mile down the Menomonee to Lake Michigan and hence all the way back to Montreal and the wider world. The confluence of the Menomonee, Milwaukee, and Kinnickinnic rivers was the best natural harbor on the lake’s entire western shore—90 miles closer to the world’s sea routes than the Chicago River to the south, a fact that made the spread of a city here almost inevitable. Commerce brought settlers; settlers drew farmers; agricultural production fostered stockyards, breweries, toolmakers and foundries. The Potawatomi were persuaded to give up their Upper Great Lakes territories in the 1830s and many were deported to distant Nebraska and Kansas via a march known as the Trail of Death, though there were exceptions. “Our band refused to move, stayed in Wisconsin and hid in the woods,” says Crawford, whose band received federal recognition as the Forest County Potawatomi. “Over the decades we were pushed into the remotest areas of the state where there was less contact with white people.” They wouldn’t return to Milwaukee until 1990, planting a sovereign beachhead that would help transform the valley.

The city grew in leaps and bounds through the middle of the 19th century, rivaling Chicago as the economic capital of the Midwest so long as goods moved by ships through lakes and canals rather than by rails overland. In 1862, Milwaukee was the largest wheat shipping port on the planet, and was attracting industries to process and build things from Midwestern resources before exporting them from its dockyards. In pursuit of water power, factories and workshops spread first up the Milwaukee River and then, after the Civil War, into the marshes of the Menomonee. “The lower riverbanks became so crowded there was this pressure to reclaim more land,” says Milwaukee historian John Gurda. “So in 1869 they started to fill in the valley’s wetlands, by hand and horse, with the gravel on the bluffs, garbage, anything they could use.” In the process, immigrant laborers lowered the northern bluffs by 60 feet, while signs appeared in low spots advertising free dumps. “Here rotten potatoes and fruit, the contents of paunches and entrails of animals, the refuse of meat shops and all sorts of filth are deposited in the marsh and a thin covering of ashes and dirt placed over them,” the Milwaukee Sentinel reported in 1886, by which time the valley was already one of the most intensively developed industrial zones in the country.

Much of this growth was fueled by the spread of what would eventually be called the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad. Spreading through the Valley even before it was properly filled in—the first tracks sank 30 feet into the muck the night they after they were laid—the “Milwaukee Road” connected the city with the Mississippi River in the early 1850s, the Great Plains by the 1880s and over the mountains to Seattle in 1909. This sprawling network—over 10,000 miles of track—funneled to over 100 acres of yards in the valley, including the enormous Milwaukee Road workshops where 8,000 workers built and repaired locomotives and rolling stock. Connected to the world by land and lake, the valley was, in the 1920s, home to metalworking shops, breweries, distilleries, stockyards, meatpacking plants, brick yards, warehouses and America’s largest tannery, which churned out leather from the hides of castoffs of Wisconsin’s burgeoning dairy industry. Fifty thousand people worked in the valley each day, many arriving on foot through tunnels and across bridges from the neighborhoods on the valley’s rims. Viaducts soared overhead, allowing automobiles to travel between the north and south sides of the city, but never touch the valley below.

This isolation doomed the valley. As commerce shifted from rails to trucks in the postwar period. Disconnected from the city’s road network and cut off from the north side by the construction of Interstate 94 in the 1960s, the valley began losing industries to the suburbs, then to the de-unionized American South and ultimately to Mexico, China and beyond. Industries that remained competitive—high-skill metalworking, meat packing, the brewing of beer—were automating, requiring a smaller workforce which was, in any case, dispersing in automobiles to the expanding suburban fringe. The Milwaukee Road, crippled by the debts taken on by its rapid Pacific expansion, stumbled from bankruptcy to bankruptcy through much of the 20th century and shut down entirely in 1985.

While some industries carried on, much of the valley had become a no man’s land. “A lot of companies had closed up shop or moved overseas or out to the suburbs and left behind a lot of vacant land,” says Corey Zetts, executive director of the Menomonee Valley Partners, a non-profit that has helped coordinate the district’s renewal. “The stuff that got put there was everything you didn’t want in the rest of your city: scrap yards, stock yards, tanneries, coal piles, junked cars and a bingo hall the city had been fighting against.”

The valley also got cut off from the surrounding neighborhoods, as the stairs, tunnels, and bridges that workers traversed to walk to the factories below fell into disrepair and were dismantled. The Near North Side, largely African-American and stranded behind I-94, was almost entirely severed from the valley floor. This only compounded the economic obstacles to residents of what was and still is one of the most racially segregated cities in America, and one where the decline in manufacturing hit African-Americans especially hard. (This month’s violent unrest after a police shooting in Sherman Park, several miles to the north of the Menomonee Valley, has drawn renewed attention to a yawning opportunity gap.)

But for the valley, fortuitously, three things came together at once that prompted a rethinking of what was possible for what had become the city’s biggest brownfield site: a baseball team looking for a new home, a federal grant awarded to a far-thinking neighborhood clinic and the Potawatomi tribe’s unwanted bingo hall.

***

In 1950, the city built the 21,000-seat County Stadium atop a former city dump at the very head of the Valley, and it was there that Bud Selig’s Milwaukee Brewers had been playing since he had brought the team from Seattle in 1970. Selig, a local businessman who would later serve as commissioner of Major League Baseball, had expanded the stadium and fought a successful battle against the state legislature’s plan to put an un-air conditioned state prison in the valley, right next to the Brewers’ parking lot. (The fetid site, a Brewers attorney explained, would prompt prisoners to riot “in all probability…on a hot humid day when it can get the most attention with 50,000 people in the stadium.”) His team desperately wanted to build a new stadium, and ultimately chose the parking lot next door as the site. The team initially said it would pay the $105-million construction costs if the city bought the land and provided the infrastructure. In the end, it cost more than triple that, with taxpayers footing most of the bill.

The prospect of a new stadium drew attention to the possible repurposing of the derelict Milwaukee Roads complex next door. The defunct railroad was now owned by a real estate investment firm called the Chicago Milwaukee Corporation, or CMC, which had let its 140-acre complex in the valley fall into wretched disrepair. “Their strategy was to sell the rural land immediately, but to sit on land in cities, to promise to build luxury apartments or shopping centers or whatever they thought would excite people to change the zoning and then sell the parcels for more,” says mayor Norquist, who became suspicious after CMC unveiled proposals for a $300 million apartment, shopping and entertainment complex. “I checked with my counterparts in Chicago an Seattle and learned they actually weren’t going to do anything. They just wanted to up-zone it and sell it to us for more.” Norquist’s administration moved to seize the property by eminent domain, prompting a decade-long legal struggle over the heart of the valley.

The question remained as to what to actually do with the district. Under Norquist, a city planning theorist who would later head the Congress for New Urbanism, Milwaukee engaged the valley’s industrial tenants and neighbors, undertook a market study and concluded that its best use would be to stay true to its origins as a manufacturing center, not an entertainment district, city park or shopping mall. The 1998 document identified the Milwaukee Roads property as a top priority, arguing it should be redeveloped as an eco-industrial park. Nobody was sure the plan wouldn’t just end up on a back shelf, alongside so many others, but the explosive success of a tribal business on the other side of the valley put everyone on notice that change was coming.

***

While the city grappled with CMC, the Potawatomi—whose reservation is located six hours’ drive to the north—had purchased the old campus of Concordia College, an 11-acre assemblage of 19th century gothic buildings on the city’s West Side where they hoped to create a high-stakes bingo hall that would support a tribal school and cultural center. Unfortunately, area residents opposed the bingo part of the plan. “So a deal was struck with the city where we would put the bingo hall someplace else,” recalls Crawford, the tribe’s current attorney general. And where, in 1987, did the city propose to put this unwanted activity? A 7.5-acre city-owned plot on the eastern end of the Menomonee Valley, sandwiched between a coal-fired power plant and a massive slaughterhouse and meat packing plant. So it was that the Potawatomi returned to the Menomonee—the name is derived from the word for “wild rice” in their language—converting the blighted parcel to tribal trust territory and, in 1990, opening a $105-million bingo facility.

“There was severe decay all around and you couldn’t walk on the streets because there was glass and metal and trash dumped all over it,” Crawford recalls. “We clearly would have liked to have had prime real estate, but that wasn’t feasible. So we were purposefully put in a place where we would not bother anybody else. Then we set to work to redevelop the place.”

The Potawatomi, located two miles downriver from where the Brewers’ were proposing to build their stadium, began lobbying to connect the valley with the surrounding street grid, highways and even the valley itself. Canal Street, the main artery bisecting the district, stopped halfway up the valley, meaning there was no way to get directly from the sports stadium area to the bingo hall. There were so few roads or ramps leading into the valley—a vestige of the car-unfriendly planning of the early 1900s—that even longtime city residents didn’t always know how to get there. The Potawatomi’s paying clientele from Chicagoland had an even harder time. When the tribe replaced the bingo hall with a $120-million casino in 1998, it made sure to put gigantic ersatz torches on the outside. “We wanted something visible from the highway,” Crawford says, “because not even the taxi drivers could find it.”

The casino business was booming, and the Potawatomi directed some of the windfall to improving their surroundings. The tribe helped fund studies on how to extend Canal Street, became active and deep-pocketed participants in the discussions about the valley’s future and helped lobby for state funding for a new non-profit entity that was just getting off the ground—the Menomonee Valley Partners, which was charged with executing the city’s vision for the valley. The tribe also became benefactors of one of the unlikeliest of players to spearhead a complex redevelopment effort, a community health clinic that saw cleaning up the valley as central to their mission to enhance the well being of their clients.

***

The 16th Street Community Health Center had been providing medical care for those who couldn’t pay for it on the city’s Near South Side since 1969. Operating out of a former jewelry store in what had become a largely Latino neighborhood, its medical staff had been recording elevated lead levels in almost 40 percent of the children it tested. This led to an Environmental Protection Agency-funded effort to test and correct lead paint issues in homes and apartments in the mid-1990s that cut cases by 90 percent and capitalized on the trust and contacts the clinic’s doctors and Spanish-speaking outreach staff had developed. This got the attention of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, which partnered with the clinic on another EPA-funded project to identify and clean-up contaminated industrial sites spread through the neighborhood. Their informants flagged numerous troublesome sites, including an old tannery where kids played by day and by night people burned old film t o collect the zinc and other trace metals.

“We had to fence off the property and send people in moon suits,” recalls Peter McAvoy, the clinic’s longtime environmental health director. “The neighbors were like: What about us? We played there when we were kids and now are kids are there and you can’t go near it without those suits!” Such projects required a startling range of expertise, resources and coordination to remediate, which got McAvoy and his colleagues thinking it would be a lot more efficient to take them on at a much larger scale. Their clients needed places safe places to play, exercise and work and fewer sources of pollution.

“So we said: why don’t we go into the Valley? It was the largest brownfield site in Wisconsin and one of the most visible,” McAvoy says. “That’s when we organized our first charrette.”

Charrette is the French word for wagon, and in the architectural world it refers to the habit of students at Paris’s Ecole des Beaux-Arts to work on their models in the carts taking them to their presentations. In modern parlance, it’s a lightning design workshop—often done pro bono—where architects, planners and stakeholders come together to brainstorm a design solution that’s satisfactory to all. Nearly 100 architects and planners responded to the health center’s 1999 call to hold a workshop for the Menomonee Valley at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The resulting plans, presented days later at the tony Wisconsin Club, featured a variety of ideas, from retail to modern manufacturing, all fitting within the city’s broad 1998 plan for the area. “What was clear was that the existing railroad yards could be consolidated, making room for all sorts of possibilities,” McAvoy recalls. “This got people talking…and got us thinking: How can we take it to the next level and get somebody to actually come in and design one of these concepts?”

McAvoy flew to Washington and presented some of the most promising concepts to grant officers at, of all places, the National Endowment for the Arts. “They said, ‘This is really interesting, but we don’t do that stuff,’” McAvoy says. “And I said: This is a chance for you to connect to people in a different kind of way, urban design as art.” The pitch worked, yielding a $50,000 grant toward the holding of a national design competition to flesh out the details of how to rebuild the Milwaukee Road property.

NEA’s tacit endorsement went a long way toward convincing non-Wisconsin donors and designers that a community health clinic could spearhead a 140-acre urban redevelopment effort. Larry Witzling, an architecture professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, had run national design competitions and took the helm. “The hardest part of the competition was that there wasn’t any good geographical base data for the valley,” he recalls. “Nobody had a drawing that showed where the columns of the viaducts landed. It was really the forgotten back alley of the community.” Twenty-five firms from around the world submitted plans for the 2002 contest.

The winning design, from Denver’s Wenk Associates, has served as the template for the development of the western part of the valley: an industrial park that integrates recreational features and a “working” landscape of flood control and pollution-cleaning parks, all built with sustainable, New Urbanist design standards. The final plan, approved by the city council in 2003, included job quotas for the manufacturing sites: 22 jobs per acre, each paying a living wage reckoned at the time to be $12 an hour. “We didn’t want four forklift operators working in a 120,000-square-foot warehouse,” says David Misky, the brownfields expert at the city’s Redevelopment Authority. “The property taxes would be fine, but the rest of it, not so much.”

The city could pick and choose who and what happened at the site in 2003 because it had finally seized it from CMC by eminent domain—“a friendly condemnation,” Misky calls it. “We could have sold the whole project out in a couple of years if we weren’t picky, but it’s taken us about 10 years to find the right mix of developments that we could feel good about,” he says. “But we needed the help of multiple groups to do the heavy lifting—the corporate sector to invest, the non-profits to help make the connection with the neighborhoods. It’s more than the city could do on its own.”

***

Like so many other successful projects across the country—in Cincinnati, Denver, Des Moines, and Philadelphia to name a few—the Menomonee Valley’s rebirth required a public-private partnership. The vehicle for this was a small non-profit, the Menomonee Valley Partners, with four employees and a board split between valley firms, public officials, representative from the adjacent neighborhoods and at-large members from further afield. The Partners fostered relationships, recruited businesses and even stepped in a few times to buy key properties. They received gifts from private foundations, companies and philanthropists. But their most critical early funding came in the form of a rare $750,000 allocation from the state budget earmarked from casino revenue sharing funds via the influence of the Potawatomi. “Without them, this decisively would not have happened,” says Zetts, the non-profit’s executive director.

These funds allowed the Menomonee Valley Partners to buy an old salt yard at the eastern end of the Valley from Morton Salts, merge it with a city-owned lot next door, and sell it at a profit to Harley-Davidson, which built its 130,000-squre foot museum on the site. The partnership also developed a 140,000-square foot building next to the slaughterhouses in the central part of the valley that became home to a solar panel manufacturer and a printing company. “We wanted to make sure the area was used for manufacturing and not storage, which is what everyone wanted to do down here,” Zetts says.

Luck played a role in executing the plan for the Milwaukee Roads site, which needed eight or more feet of fill to raise it above the flood plain before it could be developed. In 2004, the state was rebuilding an enormous highway interchange over the northeastern part of the valley, displacing nearly a billion cubic yards of fill. Instead of trucking it out of the city, trucks spread it over the 140-acre site, raising the parcels to developable heights and with enough leftover to construct three hills in the midst of what would become Three Bridges Park. “These got shaped to resemble the glacial topography that was here before the railroad came and tore it all down,” Zetts says. “It’s all restored again now, but it’s really going to confuse the geologists who dig around here in the 24th century.” In the meantime, the city extended Canal Street to the western half of the Valley and rebuilt the Sixth Street Viaduct so that it dipped down to grade in front of the Harley-Davidson Museum, suddenly creating easy access to the area from downtown. A city bus route began running up the valley alongside the new Hank Aaron State Trail, which hikers and cyclists could now follow from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi.

The city was building it, but would they come? In City Hall, officials anxiously awaited the first pioneer.

***

A few blocks south of the Valley on Maple Street, Giacoma Fallucca and his brothers were drowning in pizzas.

The family’s Palermo Villa frozen pizza firm—founded by their Sicilian immigrant parents—had grown by leaps and bounds in the 1990s, and despite expanding over an entire city block and to a leased satellite facility in Chicago, was bursting at the seams. Their 12,000-squre-foot freezer was only large enough to manage their raw materials and current production at a factory in a residential neighborhood that ran day and night. “Every pizza we made went right on a truck and out to a distribution center,” he recalls. “It was to the point where we were not gong to be able to produce all the pizzas we had in demand, and the first word out of new retailers’ mouths were ‘Can you handle our volume?’ We had to do something fast.”

The Falluccas wanted to stay in the city, where they’d been born and raised and had 200 skilled and loyal employees. But retrofitting any of the buildings on the market to meet U.S. Department of Agriculture requirements was next to impossible. “We were desperate,” Fallucca saus. “My brother said he couldn’t do this much longer, so went to the city.” City Development Commissioner Rocky Marcoux suggested Fallucca consider building on a 13-acre site at the Milwaukee Road site, which trucks were in the process of covering in eight to 12 feet of dirt. “We immediately thought it was a great idea,” Fallucca says. “It was right in the middle of the city, within five miles of most of our employees’ homes, with plenty of space and infrastructure all around us.”

Palermo’s bought the property and a year later opened a state-of-the-art, 125,000-square-foot pizza factory, complete with corporate offices, a pizzeria and public tours. The company retained its 200 city employees, plus dozens more who relocated when it closed its Chicago plant. The Milwaukee plant has since doubled in size, employing 700—many from the Near South Side—who collectively churn out half a million pizzas each day. “The city people were saying we took a chance on them, but we didn’t really,” Fallucca says. “We needed it. It was the prefect location. The only risk for us was that the fill wouldn’t get trucked here in time for us to finish building the plant fast enough.”

With an anchor landowner in place, a new pedestrian bridge running across the river to the Near South Side, and plenty of shiny new infrastructure, the manufacturers continued arriving: Badger Railing, a maker of spiral stairs and outdoor railings; Derse, a builder of high-tech trade show displays; steel products firm Charter Wire; Italian solar water heater maker Caleffi. The Potawatomi expanded the casino for a third time in 2008, then built a hotel in 2012, bringing the tribe’s investment in the valley to nearly $600 million.

By now, the Menomonee had generated buzz far afield. In 2009, Ingeteam, the Bilbao, Spain-based manufacturer of wind and solar energy components, looked at hundreds of sites across the U.S. to build a North American production line. “We wanted to be in a place in the center of the country with access to a qualified supply chain and labor pool, and Milwaukee had this heritage in power and control systems that made it very attractive,” says Aitor Sotes, CEO of the firm’s U.S. subsidiary. “And the site itself was something we loved, as was being a part of an effort to make a site go from brown to green, if you will.” Ingeteam chose the valley, where it now has 167 employees working in a 138,500-foot factory across the street from the covered pedestrian bridge linking the Near South Side with the Valley’s new 24-acre park.

Shortly after Ingeteam moved in, construction crews were at work on the other side of the pedestrian bridge, converting an old tavern into the new branch of the Urban Ecology Center, a Milwaukee non-profit that had resurrected troubled parks elsewhere in the city, making them into outdoor classrooms for area public schools. Now the Menomonee Valley Partners had convinced them to try to do the same for the valley, and help them turn what were then piles of fill and construction debris into a great park and nature education resource. They bring a steady stream of kids to the Menomonee’s banks, from kindergarteners learning their colors to eighth graders engaged in ecological experiments. “Most of our work focuses on the biological life that’s coming back into the area,” says branch director Glenna Holstein. “It’s really important for kids and adults to understand that nature isn’t just something ‘out there,’ but part of our community and our city’s identity.”

Today the Milwaukee Roads development has just one parcel left and has already met its overall employment goal of just over 1,300 new jobs. More than 40 companies have moved into or expanded in the wider valley, with a million square feet of green buildings constructed, and over $1 billion invested since 2000.

“They managed to fill the place up during a recession,” says Ryerson University’s De Sousa. “Everything has become a celebration of this new, sustainable industrial district.”

Colin Woodard is a Politico Magazine contributing editor, the author of the recently released American Character: A History of the Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good and a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting for his work at Maine’s Portland Press Herald.

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Article source: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/08/milwaukee-what-works-industrial-clean-up-214174

Zen garden at Asian American Resource Center place of culture, peace

GARDENING

Zen garden at Asian American Resource Center place of culture, peace

Tranquility. Peace.

Visitors might feel those things as they step into the Zen garden at the Asian American Resource Center on Cameron Road. Open to the public, the garden is located in an interior courtyard at the city of Austin Parks and Recreation Department facility.

“It is like a hidden gem,” says Taja Beekley, manager of the center. “We do consider it to be the heart of the center.”

+

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The garden contains many elements associated with a Zen garden. A wooden bridge crosses through it, and a stone patio overlooks a dry creek bed. Patterns can be made in the rake garden.

The book “Gardens in Detail” describes a Japanese Zen garden (karesansui) as a “dry landscape with carefully arranged rocks, moss, trees and bushes, surrounded by raked sand or gravel and enclosed by a wall.”

A central feature of the center’s garden is a Ginkgo biloba standing elegantly, which Beekley refers to as “our signature tree.” It is a male tree, which is important, she says. The fruit of the female tree can be messy and smelly.

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Austin Fall Home Garden Show

The Austin Fall Home Garden Show features exhibits that give ideas for landscaping and home design. Austin Fall Home … read more

Austin Fall Home Garden Show

“We wanted to use a combination of plants of Asian-based origin, as well as native species,” Beekley says. In addition, she says, a “water-conscious” approach was taken. For example, a type of bamboo that works well in Texas was found, she says. Also, a rain harvesting barrel sits in a corner.

During the design process, a pond had been considered, Beekley says, but koi are expensive and have a lot of maintenance requirements. “We chose the dry landscape,” she says.

The roughly 16,000-square-foot center had its grand opening in September 2013, she says, to provide a cultural space and resources for Austin’s Asian-American Pacific Islander community. The center has a ballroom, offices and computer lab, as well as a community garden.

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Austin Fall Home Garden Show

The Austin Fall Home Garden Show is happening Aug. 26-28. It will feature many booths from companies that deal in … read more

Austin Fall Home Garden Show

The Zen garden, which was always part of the plans, was constructed after the building was complete, so the larger rocks, she says, were “lifted up … over the roof with a crane,” she says.

The garden provides lots of natural lighting throughout the facility, Beekley says. “It really does make a difference.”

A city landscape architect designed it, and it is used in many ways.

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Ricardo B. Brazziell

Le Garage Sale features more than 70 local boutiques under one roof. Ricardo B. Brazziell / American-Statesman 2009

Ricardo B. Brazziell

Ping-pong enthusiast Chen Chang, 63, says the garden space is enjoyable during “cooler times.”

The center has held special events in the garden, such as an ikebana demonstration and tai chi classes. In addition, sometimes people use the garden simply to take a break.

“You see people out there reading a newspaper,” Beekley says. “We have a lot of family-friendly events. … (Children) love to come out here and play. We wanted everyone to be able to interact with the space.”

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Carolyn Lindell

Visitors can use the custom-built rake to create patterns in the rocks. Contributed by Carolyn Lindell

Carolyn Lindell

Visitors are asked to be respectful of the garden, and children are asked to not throw the rocks, Beekley says. Visitors can rake the rocks into patterns using a rake that hangs near a bench, she says.

The rake was constructed and donated by volunteer Jim Rodriguez, a longtime enthusiast of “old Japanese culture. I’ve been studying that for about 40 years,” he says.

Rodriguez noticed the center had a regular garden rake that “did not create the grooves that you see in traditional Japanese rock gardens.”

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Carolyn Lindell

The Asian American Resource Center’s Zen garden is between the buildings. Contributed by Carolyn Lindell

Carolyn Lindell

“I suggested they needed a Japanese rake … a proper rake,” he says. “I had seen these kinds of rakes in the past … as part of my exploration of Japanese culture.”

Rodriguez, who heads a nonprofit and teaches karate at Rising Sun Aikido, says he had never before constructed such an implement.

After a few trips to the home improvement store, he found the materials he needed. Using the long handle of an existing rake, he used dowels to “build the actual teeth of the rake,” he says. The handle is about 6 feet long and the dowels are each about 5 inches long. Once he had the materials, he says, it took only an afternoon to assemble. He is pleased with the finished product.

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Carolyn Lindell

The Zen garden at the Asian American Resource Center uses native and Japanese plants. Contributed by Carolyn Lindell

Carolyn Lindell

“It does exactly what I wanted it to do,” he says. “I would like to go over there sometime and do a very traditional raking job in the garden,” like in a Japanese temple, he says. “That’s one of the things on my to-do list.”

Overall, Rodriguez says, the Zen garden serves as “an area that a person can just sit for contemplation purposes and relax.”

EVENT

Home Garden Show features HGTV’s Chris Lambton

It’s not quite fall yet, but the Austin Fall Home Garden show is happening next week at the Austin Convention Center, 500 E. Cesar Chavez St. The show will feature a landscaping, outdoor and gardening area; a home improvement area; a new product zone; a kids’ zone; a pet zone; and a Texas gifts area.

This year the special guest is Chris Lambton of DIY’s “Yard Crashers” and HGTV’s “Going Yard.” We’ll have an interview with Lambton next week. The show is open 2 p.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 26 with workshops on affordable energy by Built Green Custom Homes at 3 p.m. and interior trends from Lowe’s at 4 p.m. Learn about creating a bee-friendly yard at 3 p.m. and growing citrus at 4 p.m.

On Aug. 27 the show runs 10 a.m.-7 p.m. “The Natural Gardener” presents at 11:30 a.m. Lambton talks at 1 and 3 p.m. Lowe’s has workshops at 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Kevin Clark of Georgetown Fence Deck talks outdoor living at 5 p.m. You also can learn about bamboo at 10:30 a.m., container gardening at 11:15 a.m., resilient gardening at noon, weather at 12:45 p.m., citrus at 2 p.m., simple landscaping at 4 p.m., solitary bees at 5 p.m. and bamboo charcoal at 6 p.m. The zoo show comes at 1:30 p.m. and birds of prey are on display at 3 p.m.

Aug. 28, the show runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with Lambton talking at 1 p.m. and Lowe’s presenting at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Built Green talks again at 4 p.m. Learn about honey bees at noon, bamboo at 1 p.m. and citrus at 2 p.m. Then enjoy the zoo show at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $9 for adults and $7 for seniors; 16 and younger and active military are free. There are $1 off coupons at showtechnology.com.

SHOPPING

Find the deals at Le Garage Sale next weekend

Le Garage Sale, the shopping bazaar where Austin boutiques sell last season’s wares, returns Aug. 27-28 at the Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Spring Road. More than 70 Austin stores are participating including Cynthia Bloom, Bellezza, Adelante, Dylan Wylde, Blue Lux, Izzy Ash, Leighelena, Milk + Honey, Luxe Apothetique, Rare Trends, Raven + Lilly, Estilo, Fortress of Inca, Strut, and Solid Gold. The show hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 27 with a VIP shopping hour at 10 a.m. and Aug. 28 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets are $10 a day at the door, cash only, or buy online before you go. legaragesale.net


Asian American Resource Center

8401 Cameron Road

austintexas.gov/aarc

Article source: http://www.mystatesman.com/news/lifestyles/home-garden/zen-garden-at-asian-american-resource-center-place/nsGj2/

Reading seeking tips on saving seeds – Winston

Posted: Friday, August 19, 2016 12:15 am

Reading seeking tips on saving seeds

By Mary Jac Brennan
Special Correspondent

Winston-Salem Journal

Q: What is the best way to save seeds?

Answer: Select a healthy and vigorous plant to collect seeds from, not one that shows any signs of disease or weakness. Once the seedpods have formed, collect them on a dry, sunny day. Wash your hands, have a clean jar or plastic bag along with a Sharpie to label your collections.

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Mary Jac Brennan is the agent for fruit and vegetable horticulture for small farms and local food for the Forsyth Cooperative Extension. Contact Mary Jac about commercial production, local foods, and sustainable agriculture questions. For information on home and gardening issues, contact the Forsyth Cooperative Extension office at maryjac_brennan@ncsu.edu or call (336) 703-2850.

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Article source: http://www.journalnow.com/home_food/home_garden/garden/reading-seeking-tips-on-saving-seeds/article_e9e043aa-1b16-59b8-841f-3e9d7ad61b63.html