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Archives for November 14, 2016

Extensive Stadium Course renovations completed – Florida Times

The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass project took seven months, survived one hurricane and touched almost every corner of the property, from the golf course the best players in the world will tackle in May for The Players Championship to building a small structure to house an industrial ball-washer — so those players could have a lounge near their practice area.

“There were a lot of different projects,” said Michael E. Johnson, the PGA Tour’s vice-president for design and construction services. “The scope and schedule and coordination of the multiple facets was a little unusual, for seven months. But we were surrounded by great people, staff, contractors and the support of the Tour, which gave us the resources we needed.”

The finished product, which did not exceed the estimated $50 million projection, will open on Tuesday, with shots hit by resort players and members for the first time since last April when it was closed to prepare for The Players.

The bulldozers began chewing up turf, sod and underbrush the day after Jason Day won the 43rd Players, and the 35th contested at the Stadium Course.

The major contractors were based on the First Coast: MacCurrach Golf Construction, which built the Stadium Course in 1980 and has been re-hired for every renovation since then, J.B. Coxwell for road and earthworks projects and Gardens South for landscaping.

The course is re-opening on schedule, despite losing time to clean up after Hurricane Matthew passed through the area on Oct. 7.

“It set us back about two weeks but everyone who was focused on what was going on outside the ropes turned it back inside the ropes,” said Players Championship executive director Matthew Rapp. “We have great teams and they worked even harder.”

The scope of the work was the most massive since the entire property was renovated and the new clubhouse built in 2006 and 2007:

* All 18 greens on the Stadium course were torn up and re-grassed with Tifeagle bermuda, which stands up to summer heat and winter chill better than the Miniverde bermuda.

* The practice facility was overhauled, with about 35 percent more turf added. Two USGA greens and two Sandbelt greens were built, plus other smaller target greens. The Tour professionals-only practice area was re-done, with two large putting greens (one undulating and one flat) and a new chipping area.

The main advantage for PGA Tour pros when they practice is that the balls they hit to the greens will react, depending on the shots they hit.

“They’re going to be maintained like greens on the course, rather than having a piece of turf with a flagstick in it,” Rapp said. “They know their distances. They need to know how the ball is going to perform.”

* The 358-yard par-4 12th hole was revamped to make it a driveable par-4 of between 285-to-310 yards. The large mound on the left was torn down and replaced by water and a fairway bunker. Another mound between the sixth and seventh fairways was taken out and also replaced by water, improving the aesthetics on a part of the course to which fans rarely ventured.

* The greens at Nos. 1, 4, 8, 11, 13 and 14 were modified slightly to allow for more pin positions and a new tee was built for the par-4 15th hole, creating a daunting shot through a chute of trees.

* New spectator mounds were built to allow for better views, especially in the areas around the fourth, sixth and seventh holes on the front, and the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th on the back. By adjusting cart paths and mounding, numerous “choke points,” or areas where it was slow going for spectators and players to get from one hole to the next have been widened.

* The PGA Tour Academy building is being doubled to 7,200 square feet, with four hitting bays (instead of two), a larger putting lab and a fitness area.

* The Agronomy department was re-located to an area near the seventh green and the volunteer staging area moved to a spot behind the 15th tee. Fewer carts, trucks, tractors and mowers will be going through spectator walkways.

* A new entrance road to the clubhouse from PGA Tour Boulevard is nearly finished that will offer a more dramatic view of the clubhouse; and a spectator entrance through the Nicklaus Gate will lead to a spot immediately behind the 18th tee.

Rapp said the new entrance to the clubhouse was designed to make it seem as if a driver was going down a fairway. Coming up the old road offered a view of the clubhouse through the parking lot.

“There have been all kinds of studies done that show the entry and exit experiences have a disproportionate influence on people’s impresses of their overall experience, how long they’ll stay, how much they enjoyed their stay and whether they’ll recommend it to their friends,” Rapp said. “You’re going to feel as if you’ve entered the golf course, that you feel like you’re a part of the golf course, as soon as you pass the PGA Tour headquarters.”

All that remains is some landscaping, especially around the north and east of the clubhouse where the maintenance and volunteer staging buildings once stood.

Some storm debris remains, but it is within wooded areas away from the course.

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City council discusses deer cull plan in Ann Arbor tonight

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WXYZ) – Ann Arbor City Council is holding a special meeting to move forward with plans for a deer cull.

The city says they need to reduce the number of deer inside city parks and nature areas. To do that, they want to kill 100 and sterilize another 60.

The city council says the large deer population led to an increase in the number of car crashes and is hurting residential gardens, private landscaping and the biodiversity and sustainability of plants, animals and insects.

The deer cull and sterilization would start at the beginning of 2017.

Sixty-three deer were killed earlier this year in a cull that was opposed by some people and animal activists in Ann Arbor.

The city has already acknowledged the plans to reduce the deer population will not satisfy everyone, but they hope for more awareness and acceptance.

Hiring professional shooters will cost money, but they say they have budgeted for the cost.

The special session of city council will be held Monday at 7 p.m. inside the city hall council chambers at 301 E. Huron Street. 

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5 garden tips for the week starting Nov. 12 – Whittier Daily News

1More tomatoes: In autumn, tomatoes often grow beautifully but stop producing. Here’s a way to get one more crop from them this season. First, stop watering the tomatoes and trim back the tops of the plants a few inches (not much). Then “root-prune” them by inserting a shovel its full length down one side of each plant near the trunk. This shock treatment will stimulate them to form more fruit. Water only if and when the plants wilt; and if frost comes before they ripen completely, harvest green tomatoes for cooking, or let them ripen on the counter inside.

2Water less: If you haven’t already done this, reduce automatic sprinkler settings for watering fruit trees, roses, landscape beds and even lawns. With the weather cooling, plants don’t need as much moisture. By early next month for most of us, automatic sprinklers can safely be turned off practically until spring. No sense wasting our precious water — or your precious money to pay for unneeded irrigation.

3Winter harvest: Plant your winter garden soon, if you haven’t gotten around to it yet. Winter veggies include beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, Chinese peas, garlic, leeks, lettuces, onions, peas, radishes, snap peas, spinach, Swiss chard and turnips. To be sure the ground is loose, friable and fertile, add aged steer manure or other organic soil amendments as needed before planting. Replant favorites as you harvest them, anytime through early February.

4Color your world: For garden color from now until spring, take time to plant annuals and hardy perennials. Ornamental cabbages, calendulas, candytuft, cyclamen, dianthus, forget-me-nots, larkspur, pansies, Iceland poppies, primroses and snapdragons, stocks and violas will sport their stuff quickly and continue through spring. Also put in bulbs, such as anemones, crocus, daffodils, hyacinths and tulips. These won’t flower so quickly or as long, but you’ll be glad you planted them when they show up next spring.

5Decorating idea: Take time to enjoy the astonishing reds, yellows, oranges and purples of autumn leaf colors in Liquidambars, Boston ivy and even grape vines. Take pictures to make a collage, or prepare and photograph an autumn-leaf screen saver for your computer. Or do it the old-fashioned way by pressing the prettiest leaves between layers of wax paper. Remember that? Wax paper folded in half over a wooden dowel at the fold, leaves inserted in between the top and bottom of the wax paper, towel, press it with a hot iron to seal the wax, then tie yarn or string to the dowel ends to hang it up.

— Jack E. Christensen

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Charlie Lane: UF plan seeks to strengthen Gainesville

Over the past few months, you may have read in these pages about the University of Florida’s Strategic Development Plan and its search for big ideas that would support UF’s preeminence goals and benefit the UF and Gainesville community.

After an in-depth research and planning process over the last nine months, I am happy to present details of UF’s Strategic Development Plan. The plan is meant to not only make UF an even better university, but also to support and strengthen the Gainesville community in many ways over the next 40 to 50 years.

Key to the plan are collaboration, innovation and preservation. UF and Gainesville must move forward as strong partners for this plan to succeed and lay the foundation for our community to not only thrive well into the 21st century, but also to be a model for the nation.

While some have expressed concern over whether the development plan might detract from Gainesville’s unique character and independent spirit, I believe there is room for growth and modernization while maintaining the qualities that makes Gainesville, Gainesville. The Strategic Development Plan supports this notion.

The core of the Strategic Development Plan comprises four main initiatives:

• The New American City: UF has some of the country’s brightest students and top researchers on its campus, and Gainesville faces challenges that are mirrored throughout the nation: issues of sustainability, access, education and wellness, to name a few. With the help of the city, we can turn Gainesville into a “Smart City Lab” that connects UF’s resources with community challenges to seek real solutions. As a city that solves its own problems and offers solutions for the rest of the country, we can forge a model that other towns and universities will emulate.

To support this initiative, UF is providing $250,000 in community research awards to help connect UF’s talent to community issues. We will also establish a unique UF-city of Gainesville working group to collaborate on common strategic goals.

• Proximity: UF is fortunate to have a beautiful, 2,000-acre campus to call home. But bigger is not always better. To enhance collaboration and innovation, the plan calls for refocusing UF’s academic core to the eastern third of campus. Concentrating scholars and students back to the campus’ historic core will not only encourage interactions and the exchange of ideas, but will also place UF’s core closer to its strong medical center to the south and Gainesville’s bustling downtown to the east.

Immediate plans to support this initiative include renovating the Plaza of the Americas and redesigning Newell Drive, which will open up the road as a main artery to further unite the UF campus with Gainesville.

• Strong Neighborhoods: UF and Gainesville cannot thrive without the strong neighborhoods that make us who we are. Porters Community, College Park, University Heights, Golfview and the Duck Pond are just a few of UF’s neighbors that we want to support by preserving their character and helping to identify opportunities to make them stronger.

In support of this initiative, UF will enrich neighborhoods with a $50,000 College of the Arts/city arts initiative. UF will also earmark a portion of the $250,000 mentioned above and explore further monetary and talent resources to help preserve and strengthen our neighborhoods.

• Stewardship: UF’s mission as a land-grant university includes being a good steward of the environment on and around campus. A study conducted earlier this year confirms that Gainesville also prioritizes its unique environment, revealing that Gainesville residents’ notion of what makes the city unique aligned almost perfectly with Gainesville’s great outdoor amenities.

With that in mind, the plan recommends studying open space, landscaping, street and utility networks, stormwater and other infrastructure, and partnering with the city on large-scale open spaces, bike-pedestrian trails and stream-corridor restoration to advance the region’s ecological health and outdoor amenities.

Immediate plans to support this initiative include the creation of a UF landscape master plan and providing $50,000 to identify solutions that will address a UF/city/county environmental issue.

While the initial planning phase of the Strategic Development Plan has come to an end, our work is just beginning. I am very excited about UF’s plan and am happy to see it unfold in the coming decades to make our already great university and city even better.

— Charlie Lane is UF senior vice president and chief operating officer.

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This $3M Clinton Hill townhouse gives you another chance to weigh in on the tub-in-the-bedroom trend

6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Chaz Langley explores the people and establishments breathe life into Chinatown. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

Nashville native Chaz Langley moved to New York to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter/actor/model, but along the way began snapping iPhone photos of his adopted city as another creative outlet, finding the process therapeutic. Through his Instagram account, he tells the stories of the people, places, and things that inspire him, using his other skill set of graphic design as a way to curate his collections. In “A Stroll in Chinatown” he captures the unique cultural establishments of Chinatown and the everyday comings and goings of the neighborhood’s residents.

See all the photos here

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