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Archives for August 16, 2017

Design for a legacy

July seemed to melt into August this year, with its relentless heat. The thickening dust of a thousand tractor wheels pulverizing the earth in the race to harvest perishable fruit filled the orchard air with a thick layer of particles. Little relief could be found in the eerily still nights with nary a breath of fresh air to ease the blistering heat.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, smoke from fierce forest fires across Oregon and as far north as Canada blanketed the Gorge, smothering the oppressive heat to the valley floor with the weight of a hundred horsehair blankets piled onto a feverish child. I sought some sense of beauty in this scorching summer solstice, but even the fiery sunsets that once painted the horizon with their blood red glow were obscured by the smoke’s density.

Sadafumi Ichiyama

The heat was intolerable even for our farm families, who seem to enjoy summer temperatures in the 80s much more than I, perhaps a nod to their heritage in a south of the border climate. When the temperature pushes into the 90s and past the century mark, neither man nor beast, regardless of climate of origin, is comfortable for extended periods of time.

We fed our farm families throughout cherry harvest, trying to provide respite from that which we could not control. We started picking and packing early, ending before noon, long before the afternoon heat reached its peak. As fans blew the hot air around us we sang songs, danced a little salsa, and held daily raffles to keep spirits high. I recognize all too well that I wear the backpack of white privilege among this community of Latina ladies and dare not complain of the other tasks that must be completed before the sun sets. Whether consulting with the State of Oregon or completing the business end of farming, pickers tallies, writing checks, documenting inspections and food safety requirements, all these tasks can be done in the luxury of an air-conditioned home, office or vehicle.

The cherry market was fickle this year, with little demand for smaller cherries. We will wait until September to see if the revenue from this crop comes even close to covering the cost of picking, sorting, packing and marketing the cherries, let alone the preceding 11 months of production expenses. Although we did not have to worry about rain damage this year, without a single drop falling throughout all of July, Mother Nature wasn’t going to let us off the hook that easily. The extreme heat led to less marketable cherries that were not only smaller, but softer and prone to pitting.

The day after cherry harvest was complete, we welcomed family from Philadelphia, Denver and Los Angeles into our homes. The children of Shu and Phyllis Yasui had come to inter their mother’s ashes alongside their father at Idlewild Cemetery. As customary at all family gatherings, we shared the bounty of our valley, spring chinook salmon from the Columbia River, cherries, blueberries and peaches from our farm, huckleberries and mushrooms from the forests around Mount Hood and Mount Adams.

We shared stories of those who had gone before us, filling the youngest generation with the spirit of their grandparents and great grandparents, keeping alive the traditions that bring us together as a family. Old friendships were renewed and new friends made among the youngest family members. It was a joy to hear the raucous laughter of college student and kindergartener alike as they drenched one another with water bazookas and balloons in an all-out effort to beat the heat.

As the blazing sun, still masked by the smoke-filled skies, finally sank below the west hills, we gathered inside to listen to Sadafumi Uchiyama share his vision for the Minoru Yasui Legacy Garden that will soon embrace the stone now settled on the Hood River Library lawn adjacent to Oak Street.

Uchiyama is the curator of Portland’s Japanese Garden, but has created works as close to home as the Japanese Heritage Garden at the OSU extension office in Hood River, and as far away as Japan. He has worked extensively on the Osaka Garden in Chicago, the Shofu-en in Denver, the Shoun-Kei Japanese garden at Duke University in North Carolina, the Rolex Headquarters in Dallas, Texas, and the Northern Plains Botanic Garden in Fargo, N.D.

The family is truly honored to have Uchiyama design the garden surrounding the Minoru Yasui legacy stone, taking on oversight of its construction as well. His vision is meant to enhance the legacy of Minoru Yasui’s work in “justice for all.” It is a humble yet compelling design that draws people in to contemplate the quotes, and to search within themselves for the strength to carry forward their own fight for justice. It draws on the spirit of this ancient and massive stone created eons ago by the flow of the Columbia and explosive power of the mountains surrounding the Gorge. The sheer weight of the stone evokes a sense of permanence and the need for future generations to engage in this eternal quest for justice honoring all that inhabit this planet. While Minoru Yasui’s life was dedicated to seeking justice for mankind, people of all gender, racial, ethnic, social, religious and cultural beliefs, the stone represents an even broader reach, encompassing animal, plant and environmental issues as well.

It has been a pleasure getting to know the Uchiyama family in this shared venture. We are honored to include them as a part of our extended family. I will share more of the development of the legacy garden in the near future, after the library foundation and board have a chance to see the conceptual drawings. It is our hope that many of you who share a passion for justice in any of its many configurations will join in the development and future maintenance of this unpretentious jewel soon to be located in the heart of our community.

The library foundation has graciously agreed to accept donations for the garden. Contact the foundation at Hood River County Library Foundation, PO Box 1582 Hood River, OR 97031 or make donations through their website at

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Garden Sale calls for design lovers

The heart of design will be at at KüçükÇiftlik Park on Sept. 9-10 this year. The 6th Garden Sale will bring different designs and designers together with design lovers. Displaying thousands of designs from textile to jewelry, from vintage objects to industrial designs, the Garden Sale will be extremely glamorous this year. Combining design, workshops, shopping and music, Garden Sale will have an energetic, colorful festival spirit.

You will be able to find many authentic designers and their designs at the festival which will turn into an experience that will be livened up by workshops, street musicians, film screenings and swing jazz sessions. Garden Sale, held with the partnership of URU and showhow, is an experience for those who want to spend an extraordinary weekend. Tickets for the Garden Sale Design Fest are on Biletix.

When: Sept. 9-10

Where: KüçükÇiftlik Park

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Get Growing: Finding peace and happiness in a shade garden

Special to the Reading Eagle: Gloria Day | Above, Oak leaf hydrangea and hakonechloa aurea such as this at the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture, Ontario, make a good shade border. Inset, author Jenny Rose Carey has helped raise the profile of shade gardens.

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Fresh ideas for spring gardens

THE historic home and idyllic gardens of Hesslewood, home of the Odendaal family, provided the perfect backdrop for the third quarter Greytown Garden Club meeting.

This well attended meeting was enjoyed by a large group of members and guests who, after the inspiring talk by talented gardener and landscaper, Alida Oosthuisen, spent time exploring the well established gardens of this stately home.

Greytown Garden Club president Jen Cowie said Alida is a self-taught, well grounded, passionate gardener and proprietor of Tuinhuis Garden Centre in Ladysmith. Drawing an analogy with how fashion trends change seasonally, Alida emphasised that gardening trends also change and the optimal time for contemplating these changes is in winter.

Changes need not be drastic or extreme, but new areas can be opened up for the planting of spring annuals by simply pruning back moribund growth or lifting branches to reveal fresh areas for planting.

By opening up and highlighting specific areas with simple, inexpensive, hard landscaping objects such as a strategically placed bird bath, statue, log or bench draws attention and revitalises what may have been a rather uninteresting or stagnant area of the garden.

From comments exchanged and overheard while enjoying a leisurely tea after the meeting it was evident that Alida’s down-to-earth presentation inspired many who attended this meeting to regard their gardens with fresh insight.

We now await the blessing of good spring rains to bring the gardens of the Umvoti district to their full potential once again.

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What Happened to the $9 Million Seventh Street Improvement Plan?

DTLA – Beyond putting Downtown Los Angeles in the spotlight and raising the tallest building west of the Mississippi, the development of the $1.2 billion Wilshire Grand Center came with a different kind of benefit: a big pot of money to improve the nearby streetscape.

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The $9.175 million was set aside as part of developer Korean Air’s deal with the city to entitle and construct the Wilshire Grand. In 2015, the city unveiled a plan to upgrade the streetscape along four busy blocks of Seventh Street.

The developer and the Department of City Planning held multiple public meetings to court feedback on upgrades between Figueroa and Olive streets, with ideas including widening sidewalks, building protected bike lanes and transit platforms, and adding landscaping. Korean Air and its local development partner AC Martin, not the city, were slated to handle the construction.

“There are efficiencies here because they already have to do streetscape improvements around their site,” City Planner Nicholas Maricich said in a March 2015 Los Angeles Downtown News article. “We’re getting more bang for the buck rather than doing the work via a bid.”


In 2015, city officials were considering improvement plans for Seventh Street including wider sidewalks and protected bike lanes. The work never occurred.

rendering courtesy of Melendrez/City Planning

Although the 73-story landmark was dedicated on June 23, no improvements have come to the street. About $1 million was spent for the outreach and initial design planning in past years.

Now city officials are talking about using that money as part of a far more expansive plan to upgrade Seventh Street beyond the Financial District, all the way to the Arts District.

As with the first round of plans, proposals include expanding bike infrastructure and preparing for a growth of transit, while also beautifying sidewalks and making Seventh Street more suitable for pedestrians, especially toward the east.

When Downtown stakeholders might actually see those improvements remains to be determined, as a schedule for the upgrades does not yet exist. The city took an initial step last week by assigning the city Department of Transportation and Bureau of Engineering the task of leading the project.

Public meetings will take place in coming months to detail the vision and get ideas from stakeholders along the corridor, according to the office of 14th District City Councilman José Huizar.

“The earlier conceptual design process and the feedback we received from stakeholders was valuable because it showed us what was possible, as well as what was not,” Huizar said in a statement to Los Angeles Downtown News. “More importantly, we learned what we really need to do is serve the entire DTLA portion of Seventh Street and expand the project into a comprehensive, east-west, multi-modal effort that serves all our Seventh Street neighborhoods and extends from the 110 Freeway to the L.A. River.”

The DOT expects to have “concrete plans” for the Seventh Street improvement project by the end of the year, added agency spokesman Bruce Gillman.

Streetcar Complications

The project is complex, as Seventh Street is a key corridor in other ongoing efforts, including the city’s broad Mobility Plan 2035 (which could change or add transit paths) and the proposed Downtown streetcar. Indeed, the sheer number of ideas and uncertainties derailed the initial plan, which aimed to beautify the streets around the Wilshire Grand with new curbs, lights, bus stops and greenery, said Chris Martin, CEO and chairman of AC Martin.

Martin supports the streetcar, but acknowledged it was the biggest challenge to moving the initial streetscape plan forward. Indecision on where and how the streetcar would turn right onto Seventh Street created the risk that upgrades would have to be ripped out and replaced in the future, he said. It did not help that a growing list of ideas from City Planning and other departments increased the scale of the project considerably.

“It’s a problem in this type of project when you bring everyone in and the work grows geometrically,” Martin said. “Everyone was adding vast ideas, and it became clear it was more than we could tackle, and far beyond the dollars we had. It’s unfortunate.”

The design process may be resuming, but the daunting task of fundraising lies ahead. No overall budget has been announced, and the city has not earmarked funding sources beyond the roughly $8 million remaining from the Wilshire Grand pot and a $2 million Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program grant, which would be used around Skid Row.

“The primary function of the grant is to fund affordable housing, but it allows us to do some pedestrian, bike and mobility work as well,” said Eddie Guerrero, a senior transportation engineer with DOT.

The existing dollars will be used as leverage when the city begins seeking other financing, whether state Active Transportation Program grants, federal funds or private investment, said Huizar spokesman Rick Coca.

It is unclear when more funding will be secured. The next milestone will be for the city to complete 30% of the preliminary engineering design. That will happen by May, according to Huizar’s office.

Twitter: @eddiekimx

© Los Angeles Downtown News 2017

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Fall Atlanta Home Show returns Sept. 8 through 10

SEMCO Productions, a Roswell-based producer of consumer and trade shows, will present the 34th annual Fall Atlanta Home Show and Outdoor Living Expo, Georgia’s largest fall home show, Sept. 8 through 10 at the Cobb Galleria Centre in southeast Cobb County. Over 300 exhibitors will showcase some of the newest and most innovative interior and exterior home improvement products and services, along with a special collection of garden design ideas, tools, hardscapes, outdoor furniture, spas, water features and more for home landscapes.

Headlining a roster of speakers on the Reliable Heating Air Home Show stage will be HGTV’s “Cousins,” John Colaneri and Anthony Carrino, who will entertain attendees Sept. 9 at 1 and 3 p.m. with an interactive presentation titled “Planning and Preparing for a Renovation.” The two will take questions from the audience during their presentation, and will chat with attendees afterwards. In addition, Realtor Egypt Sherrod, host of HGTV’s “Flipping Virgins,” “Property Virgins” and “Urban Oasis,” will take the stage Sept. 9 at 2 p.m. and Sept. 10 at 1 p.m. to share her views on “Real Estate Investing and Smart Upgrades for your Home.” One lucky attendee will win the grand prize of a seven-LED fixture outdoor lighting package provided by Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Atlanta.

“The Fall Atlanta Home Show is really two shows in one,” Michael Schoppenhorst, president of SEMCO and director of the Atlanta Home Show, said in a news release. “Our home exhibitors will feature the most updated ideas for kitchens, baths, media rooms, living spaces, storage areas and those crucial home systems like electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning. In the outdoor living area, attendees can explore ideas for porches, decks, outdoor kitchens, landscape lighting, patios and gardens. It’s easy to comparison shop, and many exhibitors will offer special show-only discounts to attendees. We invite members of Atlanta’s housing industry (Realtors, contractors, interior designers, landscapers, etc.) to enjoy the show free of charge Sept. 8. They just need to show a business card at the entrance for complimentary admission, courtesy of PMCPros.

“Our speaker lineup for the Reliable Heating and Air Home Show Stage is outstanding. Real-life cousins Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri … are known for their kitchen redesigns, but they also design whole-home renovations and have expanded their media presence through live-streaming video and podcasts. Atlanta’s own Egypt Sherrod is a nationally-known home space expert through her HGTV shows, guest appearances on all of the major TV networks and NAACP Image Award nominated best-selling book, ‘Keep Calm…It’s Just Real Estate.’ All three will be available following their presentations to meet attendees and answer questions. We’re also pleased to welcome first-time Atlanta Home Show speakers Reggie and Roger Ramos of Tucker-based Grow with the Flow LLC. They will share how they are converting unused lawn space into certified naturally grown produce gardens.”

One of the show’s most popular exhibits and gathering spaces will be the Backyard Beer Garden designed by Georgia Landscape and presented by Red Hare Brewing. Adults 21 and older can sample craft brews, while exploring ideas for their dream backyard with landscape professionals and bidding on silent auction items. The $5 tasting fee and auction purchases support Hope Atlanta, the programs of Travelers Aid to end homelessness in our community. The show also includes live radio broadcasts, including “The Lawn Garden Show” with Walter Reeves and “The Home Fix-it Show” with Dave Baker Sept. 9 on News 95.5 FM and AM750 WSB.

“Thanks to an improving economy and a competitive real estate market, many people are choosing to improve their homes through upgrades, additions and landscaping,” said Schoppenhorst. “And, because the home improvement industry is robust, there are excellent job opportunities available for skilled professionals. In fact, Georgia’s Department of Labor is predicting the state’s largest percentage increase in available jobs for 2018 will be for ‘specialty trade contractors’ such as electricians, construction workers and plumbers. To help inform our attendees about education and job opportunities, we have invited representatives from the Technical College System of Georgia to participate in the Show and let people know about the various degrees, diplomas and certificate programs available at Georgia colleges in such areas as carpentry, electrical, plumbing, construction management and much more. We will also have members of NARI Atlanta on hand (the National Association of the Remodeling Industry) to talk about career opportunities in the Atlanta area.”

Show hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 8 and 9 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 10. General admission tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the show’s entrance and online. Children 12 and younger and adults 65 and older (with valid ID) are admitted free. Military personnel and first responders receive a free ticket with the purchase of one general admission ticket (with valid ID). Free, on-site parking is available for show visitors. The Cobb Galleria Centre is located at Two Galleria Pkwy.

Information and tickets: or 770-798-1997 (info only)

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Outdoor Living & Landscaping Tour highlights beautiful yards

When Kurt Riester bought his Merion Village home in 2013, he was happy the interior had already been renovated.

The yard was another matter.

“There was nothing back there at all, just the old service walk and two plants,” Riester said.

Across town, in New Albany, Greg Bohls and his wife, Samantha Cowne, faced the same situation. Their beautiful Georgian home was in excellent shape but the landscape was standard fare.

“It just wasn’t terribly exciting, not a lot of diversity of plants,” Bohls said.

Riester’s and Bohls and Cowne’s solutions can be seen Saturday during the annual Outdoor Living Landscaping Tour presented by the Columbus Landscape Association. This year’s tour offers eight landscapes, small to large, traditional to whimsical, along with a refreshment and food stop at a landscape supplier.

Reister’s landscaping challenge began with a question: What to do with a yard that measured roughly 30 by 30 feet?

Riester and his partner, Mat Kerzee, found an answer 1,300 miles away.

Inspired by Key West’s vibrant colors and tropical flora, Riester and Kerzee sought to import a touch of Florida sunshine into their Columbus backyard.

“We wanted a space that reminded us we were on vacation,” Riester said.

With the help of Wood Landscape Services’ designer Tina Castorano, Riester and Kerzee turned their bare postage stamp into a lush, colorful retreat, right down to “grass” that is green even in winter.

The yard is a visual celebration. The yellow wood fence, Latin planters, bright blue umbrella and eye-popping seat cushions bounce off the red and white hibiscus, yellow roses and multiple varieties of colorful cannas.

Adding flair is “Wild Child,” a Mac Worthington sculpture of multi-colored metal ribbons climbing 7 feet into the air.

The patio and foliage left little room for a yard, which was fine with Riester. He didn’t want to mow anyway. So Castorano filled in the three patches with SynLawn artificial grass, an especially useful touch for Riester’s two dogs, Luna and Lance, who get one of the patches for a private dog run next to the garage. 

For their New Albany lawn, Bohls and Cowne took a different path.

As owner of Buckeye Power Sales, Bohls is a plant enthusiast as well as a Columbus Landscape Association member.

“The yard’s always been something my wife and I have enjoyed,” Bohls said. “We spend a lot of time at the Franklin Park Conservatory, with all the plants there. It’s nice to have a piece of that at home.”

With a goal of going beyond the standard mix of hostas and hydrangeas, Bohls enlisted the help of M.J. Design, run by Molly and Joel John — “a couple of plant nerds,” as Molly puts it.

And then they went shopping, visiting commercial nurseries around the state.

They returned with a full cart: more than 50 types of plants.

From the rising English oaks that flank the home’s entrance to the ajuga ground cover that lines the rear beds, the yard serves as a mini-arboretum.

Among the lineup: dragon’s eye pine, stewartia tree, globe spruce, hydrangea, limber pine, weeping cypress, purple beech, magnolias, geraniums, hibiscus, daisies, butterfly bushes, peonies, iris, coreopsis, Joe-Pye weed, anemone, lady’s mantle, amsonia, baptisia and miniature allium.

As Molly John puts it, “People who love plants will love this.”


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5 Insider Homestaging Secrets You’ll Love

If you’re looking to list your house, or simply do some sprucing up before fall, the long Labor Day weekend is a great time to do some budget-conscious fix-ups to your home. Here are 5 potential DIY upgrades that will yield instantaneous results, and won’t break the bank.

1. Update your kitchen tile backsplash: Kitchen backsplashes no longer serve to simply protect walls from spills and splatters. A wide array of eye-catching materials like glass, wood, metals, brick and stone make the backsplash the focal point of today’s kitchens. A updated backsplash can instantly transform the whole room.

2. Paint a room: If you’ve been waffling about painting before you list, go for it! Most buyers are looking for homes that are move-in ready, and a fresh coat of paint makes a great first impression. Painting before listing is also a good idea because it will help to make the pictures online for your listing look better. When buyers start their search, they’ll rule out houses online that don’t meet their tastes, and as they’re flipping through pictures many will dismiss homes with rooms with bold colors. Warm neutrals like light yellow or light gray are stylish and clean, signals that the home is well-cared for, or that the previous owner had an eye for design that might translate into other areas of the house.

3. Replace your kitchen or bath fixtures: If the fixtures are dated, not working, or crushed with mineral deposits, change them. A modern faucet catches the eye quickly and puts the mind at ease that it works well and doesn’t leak or spray.

Janesville City Council approves property-related ordinances

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The Janesville City Council on Monday also:

— Followed the Janesville Alcohol License Advisory Committee’s recommendation to deny a Class B liquor license for a proposed bar at the former Black Bridge Bowl. Several bar stakeholders spoke in favor of the bar, but the council denied it with no discussion.

— Referred back to the Sustainable Janesville Committee proposed ordinance alterations that loosen restrictions on gardening and landscaping.

The altered ordinances would allow vegetable gardens in front yards and a large percentage of residents’ yards to be landscaped with prior city review. Several residents supported the proposed changes, but the council requested committee feedback on plant height and setbacks.

— Asked the plan commission to clarify ordinances that would allow heavier vehicles to park in residential neighborhoods.

Family vehicles that fit the aesthetic of city neighborhoods have gotten heavier, which prevented them from parking in residential areas under previous ordinances.

Some council members expressed concern about how the ordinance changes would affect tow trucks.

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Janesville City Council schedules hearings on ordinance changes

JANESVILLEThe Janesville City Council on Monday approved new and altered ordinances to crack down on nuisance and vacant properties.

The council narrowly passed, 4-3, a new ordinance allowing the city to register vacant properties and charge fees to the owners.

Exemptions exist, such as if the property is used as a vacation home or on a seasonal basis or if it’s being actively renovated or offered for sale, said management intern Michael Smith.

Vacant properties are blights on neighborhoods, reduce property values and require a higher level of service, he said.

During the manhunt for Joseph Jakubowski, the FBI asked city officials for a list of vacant properties to search. Officials then realized the possible danger vacant properties pose to the public, Smith said.

In upcoming budget study sessions, the council will discuss a proposed $87,000 program that includes a full-time vacant building coordinator to register vacant properties.

Fees charged to property owners would fund the program, he said.

An estimated 436 residential properties must be registered in 2018 for the program to remain self-sustaining. That doesn’t include registration of commercial property, renewals or re-inspection fees, he said.

Two residents opposed the ordinance during a public hearing.

Council President Doug Marklein said the ordinance would lead to confusion about what constitutes a vacant property. Other ordinances already address many concerns the vacant property ordinance would fix, Marklein said.

Marklein and council members Jens Jorgensen and Tom Wolfe voted against it.

The council unanimously approved altering Janesville’s chronic nuisance property ordinance so the city can better respond to residences that have repeat problems.

Certain violations, such as arrests, count as an “action” against the property. If the property reaches four violations in a 12-month period, the property owner has to meet with city staff to devise an abatement plan to solve the issues.

The new ordinance has the same rules, but more things count as violations, including homicides and unsafe burning.

Another big change is that an arrest doesn’t have to be made at a property for it to count as an action against that property. Under the previous ordinance, the arrest had to be made at the property for it to count, a requirement that troubled the police department for years, said Sgt. Josh Norem.






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