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Archives for September 5, 2016

Terrific Flower Garden Design Technique

Even if you’re not Irish, St. Patrick’s Day is a terrific day for celebrating! For lots of people, this holiday is one of the year’s favorites. Some play hooky from work or school or they rush home later on to gown in tones of green. Out at the bars, the green beer flows, but some entertain at house and provide a broad selection of beverages for their guests. If you intend on hosting a celebration or a get together on St. Patrick’s Day and want to serve a choice of wines, then you have to consider getting a wine aerator to simplify the entire procedure!

Put A Little Pep In Your Set- Unless you plan to host a formal supper there is no genuine need for alright china. This spring, update your dinnerware collection with vibrant dining sets. Intense hued melamine and ceramic dishes will rapidly make clear the idea of spring. Popular designs consist of flower and unbalanced patterns.

Develop a devil angel tattoo 宴會廳 of an angel fighting with a devil. For complete result, they should be realistic looking. The angel ought to be dressed beautiful, with flowing hair, glowing halo, and wings that expanded broad. In the angel’s hand must be a big sword, as the angel Michael is often depicted with one. Although, your angel can be female, never ever forget that. The devil ought to be darker. Provide the devil dark hair, and put him/her in leather armor. If you desire to go the stereotype path, having the devil fight with a pitchfork, however a halberd is comparable and would have a greater impact in the devil angel tattoo design. Just make sure the devil has horns and it will be recognized.

It is an excellent idea to launch a site only after the material has actually been included. You do not want to aggravate your visitors by serving them a website that states, “Coming soon.” Only when all this preliminary content has actually been collected, must the website be launched.

Ask the bride-to-bes for their florist if you have actually attended current weddings where you like the flower arrangements. If you do not understand where to start, this is a good beginning point.

When you walk into any golf store that generally created clubs are much more expensive then cast clubs, you will discover. This is because of that forged clubs are made from one piece of medal that formed into the shape of the club. The clubs are completed off by a nice polish.

In closing, I will ask again. What is holding you captive or keeping you stuck? Do you want your kid to follow in your footsteps? Are you ready to emulate Susan and to commit to finding your love, function, and enthusiasm?

Article source: http://www.internetadsales.com/2016/09/05/terrific-flower-garden-design-technique/

A home with a view — and one amazing staircase

HURON When you first step into Scott Ptak and Lesle Tobkins sunny, yellow house at 646 Lawnridge S.E., you are totally taken aback by what has to be one of the best views Huron has to offer.

And its right out their patio doors.

With a desire to raise his kids in a more family-orientated environment, Scott Ptak relocated to Huron from Florida in 2010. Since moving into this house, Scott, Lesle and son, Sawyer, realized that their sloping and sometimes treacherous backyard had a slew of problems. Besides addressing the obvious safety issues, they also wanted to transform the space into an accessible, functional area to entertain family and friends.

This would be no small undertaking.

But, for Scott, who was a building contractor by trade in Florida for 26 years, specializing in unique churches and custom built homes, this project was more than doable. And after kicking ideas around in his head for more than five years, this summer he decided to turn his vision for his yard into a reality.

The first obstacle was removing the dead trees that were lost in the 2010 flood. Not only did the flood destroy a lot of their trees, but also devastated the nearby Butterfly Garden, where many weddings were once held. With the debris cleared, they could now start with a clean canvas.

Two large, tiered retaining walls were built one serving as a patio off the walk-out basement the second a container bed for decorative landscaping.

Once those were completed, a new hot tub could be put in place and the overhead upper deck could be built. Scott commented that the only way to remove the hot tub now, would be to take it out in pieces.

Facing east, their backyard literally drops down into the James River basin. As you step out onto the expansive upper deck theyve built, you immediately get a sense of just how far up you really are. It literally gives you that lofty, tree house feeling. The deck overlooks the valley filled with trees, farmland, a variety of wildlife and of course, the James River. This spacious upper deck, which will soon feature an outdoor kitchen, is surrounded by a unique railing system constructed of wood and cable inspired by the seaside dock bars found on the Florida coasts. This type of railing not only offers unobstructed views from every angle and addresses safety concerns, but is smartly designed to keep beverages from tumbling over the edge. To the right, there is access to what is simply an amazing set of stairs 54 to be exact that gently meander down from one of the landings (theres a total of nine) to the next, making the steep slope of the yard an easy trek.

Each landing comes complete with seating, making them the perfect spots to relax and take in a different view. In addition to more than 40 solar lights, theyve also added open areas along the stairway for easy access to the yard. Being able to build all of this level on such a steep grade took a lot of vision, planning and ingenuity

Scott said he thanks Boy Scout Troop No. 222, who were strong and brave enough to carry the heavy timbers in to get this huge project started. Scott is currently the Scout Master for this troop, and his son, Sawyer, is the Troop Leader. The finishing touch to this project will be found at the base of the yard, where a winter campground for the Boy Scouts is in the making, complete with a large stone fire ring, an ample wood pile, and level ground for pitching tents.

Since most of the state parks close for the winter season, Scott and Sawyer wanted a place where the scouts could perfect their cold weather survival skills and perhaps in the future, test their skills as a challenge against other colleagues.

Scott gives his son Sawyer credit as being instrumental in seeing the project though to the end. At only 15, and a sophomore at Huron High School, Sawyer aspires to follow in his older brothers shoes and join the U.S. Air Force after graduation.

Scott, an insurance adjuster and real estate agent with the Montgomery Agency, and Lesle, also with Montgomery Agency and a bus driver, are obviously very busy people. How they managed to find the time since mid-June to create all of this is staggering. And although there are a few details left to finish, they are already planning their next project.

Scott and Lesle expect traffic through the alley below them to pick up a bit with curious people, but please remember to drive slowly, there are always children playing in the area.

For the complete article see the 09-02-2016 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 09-02-2016 paper.

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Article source: http://www.plainsman.com/v2_news_articles.php?heading=0&page=72&story_id=30767

Next-Wave Recycler Sources Scrap, Solutions

What Blue Bottle is doing for coffee, Kangeter IV explains, is precisely what CASS intends to do in scrap processing and aluminum remelting: take a simple process and approach it from a new perspective.

Edward Kangeter IV is driving his Prius through the industrial section of West Oakland, Calif., en route to Blue Bottle Coffee, a roastery and café that sells coffee one cup at a time in pour-over fashion, along with high-end nibbles such as almond lavender pound cake, olive oil shortbread, and Gruyère pimentón pretzel buns. His purpose behind this excursion—aside from getting a great cup of coffee—is to use Blue Bottle as an analogy for CASS, the recycling company he leads as CEO. What Blue Bottle is doing for coffee, he explains, is precisely what CASS intends to do in scrap processing and aluminum remelting: take a simple process and approach it from a new perspective. After getting his order, Kangeter even snaps a photo of the beautiful design in the coffee froth. It’s an attention to detail he admires, an elevation of the coffee art.

You could say CASS wants to elevate recycling—to set a new standard for quality, efficiency, customer service, professionalism, sustainable operations, community involvement, and employee care. That’s an ambitious corporate vision, but Kangeter sees it as a necessary survival step for his company and the scrap industry as a whole.

“The industry needs to change and evolve,” he says. “It has been very successful historically, but times are changing. There’s a real need for our industry to evolve, and those of us that do will be successful, and those of  us that don’t will be regulated out of business.”

CASS has no intention of letting the latter happen to it.

Scaling the business

CASS began life in 1969, when entrepreneur Chal Sulprizio bought Associated Metals in Oakland and rechristened it Custom Alloy Scrap Sales. The small nonferrous scrap processor and aluminum melter had six employees and 1.5 million pounds of annual production. “Custom Alloy Scrap Sales was a one-man show,” Kangeter says. “Chal designed, operated, and fixed the equipment; he ran production; he was the commercial guy; he did everything.”

That all changed when Kangeter joined the company in 2006. Although he had no metals or recycling experience, he had business management experience and knew how to grow companies, having established more than 400 points of sale in North America for an Italian fashion brand. He wanted a new professional challenge—and more time at home with his family—so it was opportune when Sulprizio, his father-in-law, offered him the CEO post at CASS. He agreed, with the understanding that if the job didn’t work out, Sulprizio should fire him with no hard feelings.

Despite Kangeter’s dearth of industry knowledge, he says he was confident in his ability to “scale the business.” To do so, however, he needed to assemble a dedicated group of employees who could divide the responsibility of running it. “My responsibility was to find talented people who are passionate and committed to excellence to drive the business to the next level,” he says.

And drive it they have. In the past decade, CASS has grown to a 120-employee company, its revenue has more than tripled, and its profitability has more than doubled, Kangeter says. The company’s scrap processing operations have expanded beyond nonferrous to handle a “respectable amount” of ferrous, and its aluminum melting output now exceeds 50 million pounds a year. From the solid foundation Sulprizio established, CASS has “evolved and matured as a business model that became more disciplined and more profitable,” Kangeter says.

“As we became more profitable, we were able to reinvest in the business. That allowed us to develop new ideas and execute them—and that’s what we’re still in the process of doing.”

Focusing on sustainability and quality

One area in which CASS has pursued and executed progressive ideas is its aluminum remelting operation, which Kangeter quickly differentiates from smelting.

“We aren’t a smelter because a smelter uses chlorine and other hazardous chemicals to make its products. We’re a remelter that doesn’t use those chemicals.” Then he adds with a smile, “we’re the weird, organic hippies of the aluminum remelting industry—the farm-to-table operators.”

CASS takes what it calls a “craftsman approach” to its melting process and its many sustainability efforts. At the melting stage, Kangeter notes, CASS does not use chlorine gas or chlorine-containing fluxes to reduce the magnesium content in its metal. Why not? Because chlorine is potentially harmful to its employees and the residents of the surrounding community. “We just feel it’s the right thing to do,” says Shaun Caughell, furnace operations manager.

CASS also does not landfill any of its byproducts, which means its melting operations generate zero waste; instead, every one is applied to a product. The dry hearth, for example, generates a dry ash that—thanks to its lack of chlorides and other chemicals—steel foundries use as a “topping” to help molten metal flow during pouring, Caughell says. In addition to recycling its furnace dross, the company sells its baghouse dust, which is used to make products for the construction industry. The lime it injects into its baghouse to protect the bags from burning also makes the spent filter media more recyclable by neutralizing certain elements in it, Caughell explains.

The company also made several upgrades to its melting operations in 2011 to improve its efficiency and enhance its environmental capabilities. It installed an afterburner of its own design, making its air emissions well below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s national standards for hazardous air pollutants for secondary aluminum operations. In its dry hearth furnace, CASS upgraded the shell, installed a new refractory lining, added remotely operated doors, and invested in a state-of-the-art combustion system. It also reconfigured the furnace to use the waste heat from the holding furnace flue to increase the dry hearth melt rate.

In its holding furnace, CASS installed a thicker refractory lining; replaced two large burners with two smaller, more efficient burners; and added a permanent magnet stirrer, which replaced high-maintenance mechanical/graphite pumps. The magnetic stirrer uses rare-earth magnets to stir the molten bath. The magnet, located outside the furnace, requires no open well for a mechanical pump, a feature that prevents heat loss. This technology increases melt efficiency and evenly disperses elements in the melt, ensuring consistent chemistry from the first ingot cast to the last, Caughell says.

All of these operational changes allowed CASS to meet nitrogen-oxide emission standard requirements, lower its Btu consumption throughout its melting operations, improve fuel efficiency, achieve consistent product quality, and qualify for an energy rebate from the electric utility. Overall, the company more than doubled its melting productivity, Kangeter says.

CASS takes additional steps to enhance the quality of its products and distinguish itself   from its competitors. For instance, the company degasses its molten metal with ultra-high-purity argon rather than commercial-grade nitrogen because it produces a higher-quality product, and every pound of its aluminum goes through at least a 30-micron filter. “What’s more,” Caughell adds, “while pouring the molten aluminum into ingot molds, CASS employees remove a casting film from each of the 2,500 ingots in the heat to give them a final smooth, finished appearance.” A small detail, but “that’s what quality is all about—the small details,” Kangeter says.

On the topic of quality, Kangeter points out that CASS is certified to the ISO 9001 quality management system standard as well as the ISO 14001 environmental management standard.

“We spend a tremendous amount of time, energy, and money on this,” Kangeter says, “but if we want to be a best-in-class recycler, we felt it was critical to evaluate our entire methodology of doing business.”

The most difficult parts of the effort have been educating all 120 employees about the certification process and getting buy-in from everyone, in part because the effort “is additional work and is incredibly time-consuming on the front side,” he says. Has all the hard work paid off? “Absolutely,” he asserts. “It has allowed us to better understand and improve our process, eliminate unnecessary steps, speak a universal language on quality in our company and with others, better measure performance metrics, and recognize when we achieve our goals or not.”

Making people a priority

CASS’ certifications are two of many points of pride for Kangeter, but he says he is most proud of the company’s staff.

“We have a diverse, talented, passionate team that we built by implementing a people-focused corporate culture that strives to improve daily,” he says.

CASS pays its production employees more than the Oakland-area minimum wage of $12.55 an hour, and most of the staff earn a “considerable amount of overtime,” he says, due to the company’s six-day workweek in its processing division. “They’d work seven days a week if we’d let them,” he adds. CASS contributes more than double the California average to its 401(k) plan and provides an “above and beyond” health insurance program for which the company pays the majority of the premium for the employees and their families.

Those are the basics. The company also promotes from within whenever possible, offers professional tutors to teach English or Excel to any interested staff, provides full CASS-branded  apparel to all employees (from hats to T-shirts to high-end Carhartt work gear), holds a quarterly staff-appreciation event at which it raffles off gifts such as flat-screen TVs, and has an annual holiday dinner at an upscale venue for employees and their significant others.

CASS goes beyond even those perks, sponsoring a trust that helps employees’ children pursue higher education. It also provides interest-free loans to help employees manage personal or family emergencies, with repayment terms based on each person’s circumstances and ability. “We’ve been doing that for 40 years,” Kangeter says, “and we’ve only had two people not repay us.”

Even more unusual is how CASS seeks input from employees every year. The company hires a consulting firm to interview all employees about what they like and don’t like about the company, then the contractor provides an anonymous summary of the answers to senior management. “We go through the don’t-like list and try to react to it as quickly as possible,” Kangeter says.

Taking this process a step further, Kangeter meets personally with every employee at the end of each year to review his or her accomplishments in the previous year, discuss opportunities and challenges in the coming year, and set the employee’s compensation going forward. Those meetings take Kangeter more than two weeks to complete, but he says it’s worth the effort. “When I meet with everyone at the end of the year, I’m blown away by their passion for the company and the industry,” he says. “I just feel fortunate to be associated with such an inspiring group of people.”

Community activists

Just as CASS is committed to supporting its staff, it is equally dedicated to supporting the surrounding community. When Kangeter joined CASS, its Oakland neighbors considered the company a noisy, polluting, black-hat intrusion in their mixed-use neighborhood.

“I realized how few people understood what a recycling company does and what its value is,” he recalls.

To address this image and relationship problem, Kangeter decided to become “intimately involved” in the community. In his first two years with CASS, he attended more than 200 local meetings, he says. “I reached out to a local group that was at our throats,” Kangeter recounts, “and I started to attend their meetings, listen to their concerns, and become friends with them.” He learned that most of the complaints stemmed from misunderstanding the recycling industry—and that CASS could control many of the elements citizens found so offensive. “So we began to control and change them,” he says.

“We started inviting in local politicians and activists, showing what we do and how we do it, and it did wonders,” Kangeter says. “They realized that there was no evil empire behind the gate.” The company launched an advertising campaign on billboards in the Oakland area as well as in local media and national trade magazines (including Scrap). The campaign emphasized the company’s focus on sustainability and the recycling industry’s environmental and economic benefits.

CASS also embarked on a major beautification effort. It spent $250,000 to replace the chain-link fence around its commercial ferrous yard with a new wall made from recycled materials, with landscaping and climbing vines to make the structure more visually appealing. And it hired a locally renowned mural painter, Mark Bode, to create artworks on the walls around its main processing and office facility. Now visitors come from all over the world to take pictures of the murals, which also have served as a backdrop for music videos as well as fashion and automotive photo shoots.

“We turned a negative into a positive,” Kangeter says.

To further improve its community relations, six days a week CASS voluntarily runs an industrial sweeper on the public roads around its operations and collects illegally dumped material within a several-block radius of its facility. It also stopped storing its equipment in public rights of way, moving it onto company-owned property.

What’s more, CASS has become a high-profile corporate sponsor of numerous local groups, including City Slicker Farms, which helps West Oakland residents learn about healthy nutrition and grow their own food, and Save Mount Diablo, which works to protect, preserve, and enhance Mount Diablo—located in neighboring Contra Costa County—and its natural surroundings. (CASS offers an annual nature walk up Mount Diablo for any interested employees.)

Kangeter points with particular pride to CASS’ support of The Crucible, a nonprofit arts education organization in West Oakland that provides training in the fine and industrial arts. The group’s cavernous studio covers an array of art media—from glass to clay to metal—and teaches skills that students can use for artistic expression as well as on the job, such as welding and fabrication. In addition to providing at least $25,000 a year to support The Crucible’s youth intern program, CASS sponsors events throughout the year and Kangeter serves on the group’s board of directors.

As part of its community involvement activities, CASS supports The Crucible, a nonprofit industrial arts and education program in West Oakland. In addition to financial support, CASS donates various scrap metals to the program which participants use to create artworks.

Through these and other efforts, CASS has improved its community relations significantly and enhanced its corporate image, Kangeter says.

“We had more than 30 years of being the bad guy in the community, and in the past 10 years we’ve been able to change that. Now our neighbors embrace the company and the industry because they know we go out of our way to be the good guy and support the community.”

The next move

CASS has invetsed heavily in landscaping and beautification efforts to make its operations more visually appealing to the community.

Even as the community’s appreciation of CASS has grown, Kangeter says it can’t remain in its current home forever. West Oakland is becoming gentrified, and industrial operations like CASS are being displaced. He accepts that reality. “The neighborhood’s changing, and we have to change with it,” he says. “If we want to run an industrial business, we have to run it where that makes sense. It doesn’t make sense to run this business long term in this location.”

That’s why CASS plans to move a few miles away to a roughly 10-acre site near the Port of Oakland by 2020. The relocation will allow the company to “develop a state-of-the-art facility that will set a new standard for the industry—and set us apart from the competition,” Kangeter says. Among his ambitious plans for the new facility, he wants to have all of the company’s operations under one roof and “visually design the facility so that when you drive by you’d have no idea it’s a recycling facility.” The company also will try to automate additional functions in its furnace operations and other areas, and it will strive to run its processes off the electrical grid as much as possible. In that regard, Kangeter mentions solar power and the possibility of using methane from the nearby East Bay wastewater treatment facility to power its melting operations. The firm’s plans also call for the new facility to have an “educational component” where visitors can learn about the company and the industry, then see recycling in action. In the longer run, Kangeter hopes the new plant will allow CASS to become “completely vertical” by producing finished goods from the metals it processes and remelts.

Although today the new facility is only an architect’s rendering on Kangeter’s wall, he is confident the drawing will become reality, and he views it as the key to CASS’ future success. “It will establish the foundation of our business model for the next 40 years,” he says. Then, more reflectively, he adds,

“I hope that someday the kids of our current employees will say, ‘I want to work here,’ not just because it’s a paycheck but because it’s a great company that’s interesting and dynamic, and because we have our own approach to doing things.”

Written by Kent Kiser. Kiser is publisher of Scrap and assistant vice president of industry communications for ISRI. This article originally appeared in the July/August 2016 issue of Scrap. under the title ‘Next-Wave Recyclers’.  Scrap is a bimonthly publication of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. Reprinted with permission.

 

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Article source: http://earth911.com/business-policy/scrap-next-wave-recyclers/

Whispering Pines, three centuries in the making

The Trinity House Tour, Oct. 15-16

A rare treat awaits visitors when they visit Whispering Pines during the Trinity House Tour Oct. 15-16. The oldest of the three houses on the annual tour and floral art sale, Whispering Pines, outside Sperryville, has been lived in for nearly 300 years, and it boasts of significant construction during three different centuries.

Courtesy photo
The original log cabin of Whispering Pines, outside Sperryville, dates to the 1730s.

The original log cabin was built during the 1730s, and is unusual in that it consists of three stories — the cellar, the main room and the sleeping loft — along with an open back porch. Before 1840, there were large openings on both the floor and the ceiling of the main floor. This was to enable access to and from the cellar and the loft, with lean-to wooden stepladders.

Besides viewing the 1730s wide-planked flooring nailed with wooden nails in the loft, visitors will enjoy seeing such features as the original log beams, the two extant fireplaces (one of which was for cooking in the cellar) and one of the original glass panes in the early colonial window which slants out to the back porch. An antique apple stirrer and other farm tools, unearthed from various old rubbish heaps on the property, also are displayed in the cabin.

During the 1840s, a significant renovation and addition was undergone. The early Victorians added on a front main entry room with a large bedroom above. There was no bathroom, but a staircase was built to access the upstairs bedroom. The renovations, undertaken at the time when the home was a little more than 100 years old, included a plastering over to hide the logs of one wall of the log cabin, an entryway to access the cabin loft from the new bedroom and a covering over of the gap in the loft floor with planks held down by wooden nails.

A little more than a century later, during the 1950s, residents still had to use an outhouse and fetch their drinking water from a spring at the bottom of the hill.

Having owned the property since 1987, the current owners embarked on a third major addition and renovation in 2002. An upstairs master bedroom and a modern sitting room were added, while care was taken to keep the character of the original log cabin by adding such details as log beams in the ceilings and by continuing the flow and materials of the old tin roof. HVAC and plumbing carefully have been concealed with innovative solutions, including sections of lowered ceiling between beams, and an old wooden closet installed to hide ducts. Most exciting was the discovery of the original log-beamed front wall, and the air vent with wooden grate from the cellar, both of which had been covered over by the 19th-century occupants but now are exposed.

It is said that Bryans have always been up this hollow, and indeed, it is widely believed that Silas Lillard Bryan was born in this cabin in 1822, before Rappahannock County was formed. Silas moved to Illinois, became a state senator and later a circuit court judge. He fathered eight children, one of whom was William Jennings Bryan, a three-time U.S. presidential candidate, a U.S. secretary of state and a fierce opponent of Darwinism who was a flamboyant participant in the 1925 Scopes trial.

The wonderful landscaping and gardens have charming touches such as old-fashioned rope and plank swings and European-style cobblestoned drains. The home has a wide array of antique furnishings, and it is decorated with an eclectic art collection from Switzerland, Germany, France, the Eastern Shore and Rappahannock County.

This is a must-see for people interested in history, art, architecture, antiques and home construction.

The House Tour

For this special year — the 60th time the women of Trinity Episcopal Church have done it — the House Tour and Floral Art Sale are again during the third weekend in October — Oct. 15-16. The Diamond Jubilee house tour features three houses, spanning four centuries, that are open to visitors — an original log cabin of the 1700s incorporated into a home, a craftsman home in the town of Washington and a recently built, modern and ecologically sound home.

Tickets for the tour are available at Trinity Episcopal Church in Washington and at each house on the days of the tour. Hours are 11 to 5 Saturday, noon to 4 on Sunday. The tour costs $30 for all three homes, or $10 to see a single house.

Tea is served 4 p.m. Sunday at the church campus on Gay Street in Washington, with a festive Evensong service 5 p.m. Floral art, wreaths and preserved arrangements will be sold both days of the tour. For more information, visit trinwash.org/SaleTour or call 540-675-3716.

Article source: http://rappnews.com/2016/09/05/the-house-tourwhispering-pines-three-centuries-in-the-making/151312/

People who make a difference: McDermott helps grow Epworth identity through flowers

EPWORTH, Iowa — It’s possible some drivers on U.S. 20 will take the Epworth exit to check out the 24 flower gardens surrounding the brick Gateway Center cupola before heading downtown.

At least that’s what Mindi McDermott wants to see happen. She’s the root of the local Gateway Gardeners, helping make sure the other 15 or so active members are organized, and filling in where some garden plots are untended.

“I hope it makes people stop sometimes and say, ‘Hey, let’s stop to see those flowers,’ and maybe they’ll also check out Epworth,” she said. “With the Freedom Rock (near the site), more people are driving by and want to see it and the flowers close up.”

McDermott, 54, is modest about her role in making a difference. She’s quick to point to the many others who also plant flowers in about a dozen concrete pots around town.

“We all make decisions,” said McDermott, who nonetheless usually ends up making the phone calls to set up the annual spring meeting.

Mayor Sandy Gassman said that without volunteers, smaller communities would suffer.

“One of the things I’m most proud of in this city are people like Mindi,” Gassman said. “She is a person who is always willing to help. You can call her and she’ll be there.”

That’s how she got involved with the Gateway Gardeners club when it started in the late 1990s after the cupola was built.

“I think I got a phone call and somebody said, ‘Hey, do you want to help?” McDermott said.

Fellow longtime club member Judy Callahan can attest to McDermott’s efforts.

“She’s really good about covering for people if they can’t do what they’re supposed to do,” Callahan said. “It’s harder getting younger people to join, so it’s beneficial to have volunteers who are willing to make Epworth look nice.”

Each garden around the cupola is supposed to be adopted and cared for by residents. Mindi’s garden is on the southeast corner and includes irises, hostas, sedum and some annuals. She also works on two or three more that aren’t adopted.

McDermott grew up near Placid, where she had a garden and flower beds. She continues the hobby at her home across from the old Epworth Fire Department station.

“I have some flower beds and a very weedy garden,” she acknowledged. “One year I had beans, but the bunnies ate them.”

The Gateway Gardeners plant the flowers in pots downtown and ask nearby businesses to water them. During the fall, they take out the dead flowers and put in seasonal things such as fake leaves and scarecrows.

“Whatever we can find on sale,” McDermott said with a laugh.

She is proud of how garden club members help beautify Epworth.

“Little things like that make a difference in small towns,” she said.

Article source: http://www.thonline.com/news/tri-state/article_82e40c09-f433-54d5-8180-13f494a006ab.html

Garden Tips: Destructive Japanese beetle found in Oregon | Tri-City … – Tri

It was never a matter of if the Japanese beetle would reach the Northwest, it was a matter of when.

That could be now. Numerous adult beetles have been trapped and found eating on roses and other plants in Portland, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA). ODA says that this suggests “a breeding population of the non-native insect has been established.”

This is terrible news for gardeners and growers. A University of Kentucky publication says that “the Japanese beetle is probably the most devastating pest of urban landscape plants in the eastern United States.”

Japanese beetle-damaged plants emit volatile chemicals that bring more beetles to the party.

I am willing to bet that if you came to this area from the eastern part of the U.S., you already know too well why a Japanese beetle infestation is scary. As a pest, this pretty beetle packs a double whammy. Its grubs feed on grass roots and can be damaging to lawns. The extremely voracious adults are omnivorous, feeding on a variety of plant hosts, including roses, ornamentals, trees, shrubs, fruit and vegetables, often devouring the upper sides of plant foliage, leaving only the skeleton of veins and midribs behind.

The Japanese beetle is one of the scarab beetles and could be considered attractive if you like beetles. The adult beetle is almost a half-inch in length, with metallic copper wing covers and clubbed antennae. The head and thorax in front of the abdomen are metallic green. Along the sides of the abdomen are hairy patches that look like white spots.

Like so many insect pests, the Japanese beetle is an alien, coming here from Japan. It was first identified in the eastern U.S. in 1916, and it became established in all the states east of the Mississippi, except for Florida, by 1998.

Besides its rapacious appetite, this beetle’s propensity for aggregating on plants can lead to rapid and complete defoliation of a plant. Japanese beetle-damaged plants emit volatile chemicals that bring more beetles to the party. In addition, the unmated females emit a pheromone to attract more hungry beetles. Once done with one plant, they move onto another.

The Japanese beetle was first identified in the eastern U.S. in 1916, and it became established in all the states east of the Mississippi, except for Florida, by 1998.

Thankfully, there is only one generation of Japanese beetles a year, but with each adult female laying about 40 to 60 eggs, populations can build quickly. Control with pesticide applications is aimed at the adults on plants and their grubs in the soil. You may see Japanese beetle traps advertised for their control, but university research shows that the traps are effective in monitoring for the beetle’s presence, but not for control. In fact, the traps can result in more of the beetles finding your yard and causing damage.

Throughout the years, ODA has been working to contain and eradicate any Japanese beetle infestations. They believe that the origin of these infestations are air cargo carriers flying in through the Portland International Airport. ODA estimates that the infestation has been present for more than a year without detection. Right now, they are trying to pinpoint where the breeding population is so they can treat the infestation next year.

For us in Washington, it is good to know that the Washington State Department of Agriculture has been on the watch for the Japanese beetle and has been conducting trapping each year since the mid-1980s. So far, WSDA has not had to conduct eradication measures yet. I hope it stays that way.

Marianne C. Ophardt is a horticulturist for Washington State University Benton County Extension.

Article source: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/living/home-garden/marianne-ophardt/article99163092.html

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