Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for January 16, 2018

’70s shag is chic again


Arianna Vonderhoe is seeing a 1970s comeback in home design, but not everyone is so accepting.

Instead, people are taking back the decade in small pieces instead of an all-out “That ’70s Show” look, says Vonderhoe, a designer at Fairfield Galleries in Fort Wayne.

Vonderhoe says the mid-century modern look is being pushed in house design and colors.

Shag rugs are back in vogue, as well as furniture that has a rounded leg “like the Jetsons look,” she says – really straight, clean lines.

In addition, pillows are going more retro with a tie-dyed look, Vonderhoe says.

She says Fairfield Galleries is also seeing more rattan or wicker furniture, including a wicker cocktail table.

One way to make the ’70s theme work for your style, Vonderhoe says, is to add a few pieces here and there. 

She says people aren’t buying “matchy, matchy” pieces anymore. “People are really mixing a lot of pieces,” she says, making their design choices more eclectic.

– Terri Richardson, The Journal Gazette

Disco may be dead, but the spirit of the 1970s is not. In homes all across the country, people are adding their own splash of ’70s style in updated, modern ways.

Here are five current top decorating trends that have an unmistakable ’70s flair.

• More macram, please. From dip-dyed wall hangings to simple plant hangers, macram is coming back in a big way. Whether you purchase these items already made or you enroll in a class to make them yourself, macram offers an easy way to add texture and an artistic touch to your home.

• Groovy colors. The blazing orange walls of the ’70s may not be back anytime soon, but homeowners are again using more dynamic colors to define the insides of their home. In fact, Sherwin-Williams has named a bold, jewel-toned blue-green color, Oceanside SW 6496, as its 2018 color of the year.

“This trendy color is perfect for a ’70s palette,” said Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. “The complex collision of deep blue and green in this color is somewhat grounding for more vibrant colors in a ’70s-inspired palette. You can use large doses of it on the walls and then add brighter pops of color with orange or green a la Sherwin-Williams Amber Wave SW 6657 or Avocado SW 2861 on throw pillows and blankets.”

• A shagadelic rug. Yes, shag is more than an Austin Powers euphemism. It’s also a resurgent design trend. Homeowners frequently purchase these cozy rugs for children’s areas like nurseries and playrooms. Whether sheepskin or conventional textiles, a shag rug is something you’ll go out of your way to walk across.

• Wicker man … and furniture. A staple in sun porches for generations, wicker furniture is making a big comeback this year, from headboards and chairs to mirror frames. Available in a wide array of colors and shades, wicker can be used to create the perfect centerpiece in your bedroom, living room or, yes, even your porch.

• Green living … literally. In the 1970s, people believed that there was no such thing as too many plants in their home. This affection for indoor greenery is back, and homeowners have revitalized confidence in their green thumbs. From large potted plants in the corner to hanging basket plants, green living is in and people are loving the opportunity to create an urban oasis of their own.

Article source:

Growing trends in gardening


It’s only 59 days until March 20, the first day of spring. Have you examined your garden yet to begin plans for improvement? Or, have you considered how your landscape might be updated to enhance your life? If not, then let me share what I’m reading about garden trends for 2018.

First, gardening is on the rise. It’s estimated that roughly six million new gardeners joined our ranks in the past year alone and the great majority were millennials (ages 18 to 34). It’s good to know that younger gardeners are picking up the trowel and that their “rooted-in-nature” ideas and views will help shape the future.

Industry leaders, from media sources to plant companies, have been consistent in choosing themes related to “good health” for the trends of 2018. The Garden Media Group, naming 2018 as “Nature’s RX for Mental Wellness,” says discontent, depression, and anxiety are skyrocketing and notes that the World Health Organization predicts anxiety will be the number one health issue by 2030. It’s no surprise, either, to hear that young people are the most stressed of all.

Here, then, are a few of those trends emphasizing health and wellness for the coming year, including some I hope you will consider for your own garden.

Garden Design Magazine predicts gardeners will continue to experiment with what they grow, especially new edibles such quirky melons and exotic greens, adding variety to their diet and more fun to their gardening efforts. New-to-you plants also include flowers that attract and nurture pollinators, as well as houseplants that clean the air and create a more relaxing environment indoors.

The magazine notes, too, that gardeners are putting more thought into their winter landscapes, pushing the seasonal boundaries for color and texture when the garden is typically at its low ebb. Suggestions include evergreens that change color in winter, deciduous woodies with colorful or peeling bark, and early bloomers that offer their flowers in late winter.

Monrovia, a plant wholesale company, sees “an unequaled demand for unique, sustainable, and social share-worthy plants,” pointing to suburban plant hunters who want plants that no one else has. From heritage fruit trees to “who-knew” annuals, they predict gardeners will look far and wide for species that create customized havens, rather than cookie-cutter spaces. At least some of those plants are likely to have patterned foliage, as a huge increase of “saves” on Pinterest feature leaves with dots, dashes, stripes, and slashes.

Pointing to a greater interest in shrubs as gardeners simplify, Monrovia also predicts hydrangeas will cement their status as the plant of the decade in 2018 with a slew of new varieties that are the perfect size for pots, have sturdier stems that don’t flop, thicker leaves tolerant of wind and heat, and offer other improved characteristics that solve consumer problems.

The Garden Media Group notes a trend in growing your own protein, saying that 23 million Americans now identify as flexitarian (a person who is primarily vegetarian but occasionally eats fish or meat) and that 38% say they go meatless at least once per week. The best protein-rich foods to be grown at home include edamame, peas, quinola, broccoli, corn, asparagus, spinach, kale, millet, and sunflower seeds.

The group also notes water elements in the garden, from pools to rainscapes, are more important than ever, pointing to the overwhelming response to Longwood Gardens’ $90 million, two-year fountain renovation, plus the “Wonders of Water” theme chosen for the 2018 Philadelphia Flower Show to be held in March. Personally, this is news I’m happy to hear, as I’m planning to add another water feature to my own garden soon.

The trend that excites me most, however, is the idea of “imperfect gardening” or embracing the ancient Japanese practice of wabi-sabi — the appreciation of imperfection in life and the ability to age gracefully. Repurposing old objects, utilizing natural materials, leaving seed heads for foraging birds and clover for hungry bees, and finding other ways to honor the delicate balance between nature and nurture, is something I hope all gardeners will strive for in 2018.  

Article source:

Longwood Gardens Appoints New Director of Outdoor Landscapes

Brunsendorf comes to Longwood from The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple in London, where she served as Head Gardener of the Inner Temple Garden since 2007. While there, she led and implemented a strategic planning process to revitalize the infrastructure and horticultural features of the garden, developed a tree management plan, instituted apprenticeship and volunteer programs, and managed the horticulture staff and budget. Brunsendorf also served as a gardener at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London, where she maintained plant collections across the gardens and nurseries, including the displays in the tropical and temperate glasshouses. Brunsendorf has studied and trained at gardens around the globe, including in South Africa, Germany, France, Botswana, Jerusalem, and the United States, including a stint as an International Ornamental Horticultural Trainee at Longwood Gardens. She holds degrees in Ornamental Horticulture from Thuringian State Ministry in Germany; a Kew Diploma from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; and a Master’s in Conservation from the University College in London.

As Director of Outdoor Landscapes, Brunsendorf will ensure that Longwood’s outdoor display gardens continue to meet extraordinary horticultural design and display standards of excellence, while driving innovative thinking and implementation across the outdoor gardens.

“Our global search for a Director of Outdoor Landscapes attracted many talented candidates from both near and far,” said Longwood Gardens’ Vice President of Horticulture Sharon Loving. “Andrea’s horticultural expertise, her international experience and perspective, and her proven record of implementing imaginative garden design made her the perfect candidate for this position. We are excited to have Andrea continue to grow and advance our reputation as one of the great gardens of the world,” Loving said.

“I am honored to be chosen to lead the Outdoor Landscape division at Longwood Gardens,” said Brunsendorf. “It is an exciting opportunity to return to the Garden that made such a lasting impression on my creativity and professional growth. Longwood is renowned for its horticultural expertise and excellent standards,” Brunsendorf said. “Having been part of so many international training programs, it was my time at Longwood particularly that inspired me, acted as a kind of measure of best practice, and benchmark of what is possible when you commit time and effort to a garden. I look forward to not only continuing, but elevating the horticulture displays that Longwood is known for around the world.”

About Longwood Gardens
Longwood Gardens is one of the great gardens of the world, encompassing 1,083 acres of gardens, woodlands, meadows, fountains, a 10,010-pipe Aeolian organ, and a 4-acre grand Conservatory. Longwood continues the mission set forth by founder Pierre S. du Pont to inspire people through excellence in garden design, horticulture, education, and the arts. For more information, visit                

Cision View original content:

SOURCE Longwood Gardens

Related Links

Article source:

Column: Bringing nature home

It was a warm August day when I pulled up at the Rambosek home in Woodbury. Tucked behind a dense patch of woods at the end of a dirt strip driveway, I found a rustic farmhouse, a corn crib, a picturesque red barn, and an old, yellow dog – not the typical Woodbury scene. I had met owners Cheryl and Tom earlier that month at the Washington County fair, and promptly invited myself over when I heard about their prairie. It’s not often you find a nearly 20-year old prairie in the middle of suburbia.

The Rambosek’s bought their home in 1980 when most of Woodbury was still corn fields and open space. The house sat on eight acres of land, and the previous owners had been renting out the front and back fields to local farmers. A handful of trees and scrubby brush around the house were the only natural vegetation in sight. Tom immediately set to work planting the field between the house and the road with trees from the Minnesota State Forest Nursery, sold in bundles of 500.

“That was when I was young. I can’t do that anymore!” he laughed, saying he soon switched over to buying trees from the Washington Conservation District in smaller bundles of 25.

For a few years, the Rambosek’s continued renting out their back acre until they eventually decided to convert the land to prairie. “We were only making about $25 an acre for rental, so it wasn’t really worth it to us financially,” Tom explained. In 1999, they attended a presentation at Century College, given by local restoration ecologist Steve Thomforde, and were inspired to create a prairie of their own. With Thomforde’s help, they came up with a planting plan and went to work.

Because the land had been farmed intensively for several years and was essentially weed-free, it was actually pretty easy to convert to prairie. Tom disc plowed the field to loosen up the soil and then they sprinkled it with seed. Over the years since then, they’ve burned the prairie a few times, most recently with help from Prairie Restorations Inc., but have never had many problems with invading weeds due to the buffer of corn fields still surrounding their property.

Today, Cheryl and Tom Rambosek’s prairie is an oasis of color and life. During my visit last August, I counted dozens of different flowers in bloom – cup plant, compass plant, rattlesnake master, bee balm, purple coneflower, yellow coneflower, false indigo, blazing star, and asters, in addition to stately grasses like big and little bluestem. Monarch butterflies, black swallowtails and yellow swallowtails danced in the breeze as they flitted from flower to flower. Bird song filled the air. Cheryl showed me her many different paths through the prairie, and I marveled at how different the landscape looked from every angle.

Though the Rambosek’s began their landscape restoration efforts more than thirty years ago, many Minnesotans are just beginning to develop an interest in gardening with native plants. To help people get started, the Washington Conservation District offers free site visits (April – October) to identify best locations for plantings, connect landowners with available grants, and suggest flowers, shrubs and trees to plant. They also sell low-cost trees for larger habitat projects, $35 for 25 trees. Request a spring site visit or order trees on-line at

Local nonprofit Wild Ones also provides information and inspiration to help people create natural landscapes. The annual Wild Ones Design with Nature Conference will be held on Saturday, Feb. 17, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at University of St. Thomas. This year’s conference theme is “Natural landscape as the new norm,” and guest speakers will include Jared Rosenbuam and Rachel Mackow, sharing ideas for nourishing wildlife and incorporating edible and medicinal plants into landscaping; and Catherine Zimmerman, producer of Hometown Habitat, who will share stories from people around the country who’ve exchanged conventional yards for natural landscapes. Learn more and register at Early bird discount ends on Jan. 27.

Angie Hong is an educator for East Metro Water – – which includes Brown’s Creek, Carnelian Marine – St. Croix, Comfort Lake – Forest Lake, Middle St. Croix, Ramsey Washington-Metro, Rice Creek, South Washington and Valley Branch Watersheds, Cottage Grove, Dellwood, Forest Lake, Grant, Hugo, Lake Elmo, Newport, Oak Park Heights, Oakdale, Stillwater, St. Paul Park, West Lakeland, Willernie and Woodbury, Washington County and the Washington Conservation District. Contact her at 651-330-8220 x.35 or

Article source:

North Olmsted seeks community input with Gateways Plan meeting

NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio – A key part of North Olmsted’s 2015 master plan was to enhance the community’s aesthetics through signage, landscaping, lighting and public art.

Now city officials are moving forward with what’s called the Gateways Plan, which will be discussed in detail at a public meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 24 at North Olmsted City Hall.

“The vision of our master plan was the North Olmsted community aspires to be a more attractive place to visit,” North Olmsted Director of Planning and Development Kimberly Lieber said. “So we looked at the word attractive from the standpoint of the physical realm, housing stock, infrastructure and economic climate.

“This plan is really trying to address that physical realm: What the community looks like and the amenities that we offer. We’ve been meeting as a staff committee for a couple of months, but this is the first public meeting that we’ll be presenting our draft ideas and getting back feedback from our community.”

Those draft ideas run the gamut across the city regarding gateway signage, landscape enhancements and sound-wall enhancements. The list includes entrance ways at I-480 and Great Northern Boulevard, Clague Road and Stearns Road.

Also being discussed are Brookpark Road corridor improvements, pedestrian overpasses and the bike path along I-480 between Great Northern Boulevard and Stearns Road.

“We also have pump stations and other city facilities that are really infrastructure sites throughout the city,” Lieber said. “What kind of landscaping treatments could we consider to soften the appearance of those and make them just more friendly to fit into the neighborhoods?”

Already Lieber said city officials have bounced a few preliminary ideas and concepts off ODOT, which was supportive. Just as a master plan is ostensibly a wish list, the same goes for the city’s current efforts. Finances will dictate which parts of the Gateways Plan are implemented.

“Phasing is certainly the way we’d go,” Lieber said. “We know we can’t tackle every single project at the same time. The scale of projects range widely from small improvements to fairly major undertakings. So part of the process will be to prioritize the projects.

“There’s also a potential for grant opportunities. We’re looking at all of these enhancements with potential future funding either through Cuyahoga County, community development dollars or supplemental grant dollars.”

After the upcoming meeting, Lieber said the public can comment further on individual projects as they come before the North Olmsted Planning Commission and ultimately City Council. She expects elements of the Gateway Plans to enter into the design phase later this year.

“This is a concept plan, not a document,” Lieber said. “We’ll need to do more investigation of every location, the specific utilities in that area, the access to electricity if required or soil samples.

“But we won’t get that to level until the overall concept plan is approved by the community and Council thinks we’re headed in the right direction.” 

Article source:

Livingston Residents Express Ideas and Concerns at Riker Hill Art Park Open Forum

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Livingston and Essex County officials were enthusiastic about the outcome of a productive public forum held on Thursday at Livingston Town Hall to gather residents’ input regarding the revitalization of Riker Hill Art Park (RHAP).

As mayor in 2016, current deputy mayor Al Anthony worked hard to receive a commitment from Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo to improve this 42-acre site, which is currently the highest point in Essex County and served as a U.S. Army Nike Missile Base until the county purchased it in 1974 and converted the buildings into studio space for 38 artists. Thursday was the start of what the Livingston council hopes will be a great working relationship with the county on this project.

The overall consensus in the room was that RHAP is unique to any other park in not only the county, but in New Jersey as well. The popular opinion among residents was to enhance the park while maintaining the natural and cultural elements of it—focusing on the arts, the walking paths and the views.

Sign Up for E-News

“In the last 15 years that I’ve served as county executive, one of my initiatives was improving our parks—we have the first county park system in the country, but prior to me being in office, they were totally neglected,” said DiVincenzo. “We had 17 parks when we started. Now we have 23 parks and that’s something we’re all very proud of. To me, when you improve a park, it’s about a quality of life, it’s about economic development and it’s about improving property values.”

The county executive had a negative experience when holding a similar meeting nearly ten years ago, where many Livingston residents expressed concern about noise, drainage, traffic and losing the uniqueness of the park. Although some of these continue to be concerns, DiVincenzo assured residents that restaurants, housing and athletic facilities were not being considered in this project, and asked only they keep an open mind.

Local artist, Arts Council of Livingston member and 25-year Livingston resident Hugh Mahon said there are “so many things that come together at RHAP” and that this project is an “incredible opportunity.” Although he agreed that the park needs landscaping and the buildings need to be addressed, he asked that the county not change too much.

“That park, at this point, is unique,” he said. “It’s unique because of the art that’s created there, it’s unique because of its historical value, it’s a unique place for people to walk their dogs, and in order to enhance its uniqueness…they don’t need to be changed. You can put up cherry trees, you can make ponds, you can do all kinds of things, but this park is unique and the artists who work there bring uniqueness to Essex County. This has an incredible amount of opportunity for people to recreate, for artists to flourish [and] to bring business to a town like Livingston. We need to make this work, [but] don’t mess with its uniqueness.”

Other residents and artists said they were enthusiastic about having a place like this as a focal point in the area and were thrilled to see how many people came out on Thursday to express their interest in the project.

Throughout the forum, common suggestions included expanding the sculpture park; reopening the fossil trail that was once utilized by school children; sprucing up the exterior of the existing buildings; installing low-level lighting, infrastructure and signage throughout the park; enhancing the landscaping; adding picnic tables; and creating a more specific lookout point.

Among the popular suggestions was adding informational signage, such as an astrology map, an educational tool along the dinosaur trail explaining the types of fossils that used to be found there, a plaque with the history behind the Nike missile base and more. Other suggestions included bringing in performing arts or offering movie nights by re-building the outdoor amphitheater and inviting food trucks rather than opening a restaurant.

Major concerns that were taken into account included traffic, excessive lighting and noise, drainage and evening entertainment. In addition to keeping the cultural aspects of the existing facility in mind, many also asked the county to consider the many animals that currently take up residence at RAHP.

The biggest concern among residents was that the small road that currently leads from a residential area up to the park cannot handle commercial traffic. Many called it a “ramp” or “path” rather than a road, and said that if there were to be any consideration for a high-density facility, this would be a major issue.

In addition to residents who live nearby RHAP and the artists in residence at it, other local dignitaries who spoke included the president of the Riker Hill Art Park Association, an art critic from The Star Ledger, members of the Livingston Environmental Commission, Livingston Open Space Committee and other local organizations and county freeholders.

Many expressed that DiVincenzo has proven himself during his years as county executive and said they were confident that he would take the residents’ concerns and ideas into account.

“When I go through RHAP, it’s probably one of the most beautiful places to watch the sunset here, it’s the highest point in Essex County and it’s a large parcel of land that can use a facelift,” said Essex County Freeholder Len Luciano, a Livingston native and resident of West Caldwell. “Joe D. doesn’t stop when he invests money into something […] and I think that’s the same thing here with Riker Hill. I think we need to start with some of the bare basics: make it safer, work on drainage and engineering, make it ADA compliant, maybe even have some low-level lighting…you just have to have some trust in your government officials.”

Luciano acknowledged the current Livingston council members for having the courage to put together a resolution with the county to consider a facelift to this hidden gem within the community. He also said he was “proud of all of the folks that had the courage to tell us what they’d like to see.”

“The one thing I can say that we’re not going to do is that we’re not going to waste the opportunity to spend money in Livingston,” he said. “The county exec has promised that he has allotted money for 2018 to do something up there, so we’re all going to put our heads together and make sure that it’s something that everyone in the community is going to look forward to enjoying, their children can enjoy, and it’s going to increase your property value.”

Essex County Freeholder and longtime Livingston resident Pat Sebold, who not only lives near the park but also serves on the Open Space Trust Fund advisory board, said she has been bothering DiVincenzo about enhancing RHAP for many years and looks forward to the day he presents a real plan to the advisory board to make it a desirable place in Essex County.

Livingston native Jill Denker noted that DiVincenzo, Sebold and other county officials saved the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo and expressed her confidence that the RHAP project would be no different. She was confident that the county would maintain an open line of communication with the residents to ensure that the current feel of RHAP is not lost in the process of making the park a destination for all to enjoy.

Joseph Perello of Suburban Consulting Engineers reiterated that there is currently nothing designed and that the county is still in the process of gathering input from residents. He and three of his teammates took diligent notes during the meeting and said that they would determine the priorities and begin the next stages of planning. 

Mayor Ed Meinhardt thanked the county for not only supporting this project, but for agreeing to conduct this preliminary meeting with Livingston residents as well. He also thanked the many people who attended for having an open mind, sharing their thoughts and respecting the process.

Livingston Township Council members agreed that the revitalization of RHAP is going to be a special project and one that will be a huge asset to the township and the county.

Article source:

Registration underway for Master Gardener Class





Article source:

Bladen Journal | Ten resolutions for the home gardener

Reflecting on the many current issues and concerns, it is tempting to feel overwhelmed and rather helpless, to shrug off action with the attitude, “I’m only one person, what can I do?”

But even in your own gardens, we can do much to address the problems of modern life. We can make a significant difference in out individual lives, and gardeners collectively could have an impact on many of the nation’s problems. Now is the time to make a commitment to the future with resolutions we will carry through.

1. Fight inflation. A well-planned garden (30×50 feet), under optimum conditions, can be expected to yield up to $500 in produce (with no taxes to be paid). In addition, gardening is an inexpensive recreational activity that can be shared by the entire family. Landscaping can add 10-15 percent to the value of your property, and it is an investment that keeps growing.

2. Improve your family’s nutrition. The garden is not only an inflation fighter, it is a source of highly nutritional foods that tastes fresher and better when you grow them yourself.

3. Conserve energy. By properly landscaping, you can reduce your air conditioning bill in the summer and heating bill in the winter. Learn about the use of trees and shrubs to modify your environment.

4. Reduce pollution. Your landscape can be useful in reducing air and water pollution. Be careful that in caring for your plants, you do not become a chemical polluter. Many homeowners use more chemicals per square foot than farmers. Look for alternatives.

5. Protect the environment. Plan your landscape with food and shelter for wildlife, or incorporate wild flowers around your home. You will be richly rewarded. Do not take more from the environment than you return to it. Plant flowers for our pollinators.

6. Conserve water. Clear, pure water is a product of a complex system and should not be wasted. Never simply run cold water down the drain while waiting for it to turn hot. Save it for your houseplants or humidifier. Investigate the use of trickle or drip irrigation for your garden.

7.Improve our educational system. Kids learn from more sources than just their teachers. Give a child a plant, and teach him or her how to care for it.

8. Improve your community. Make your neighborhood more attractive by working with others. Start with an attractive, well kept landscape. If you have no space, plant a geranium or zinnia in a window box.

9. Improve your health. Gardening is great preventative medicine. Not only does it provide physical activity, it also relieves many of the stresses and tensions of modern life.

10. Show you care. Share your horticulture skills and products with a friend. Then, for a greater challenge, share them with a stranger—someone in a nursing home, in a half-way home, in the local hospital, or a disadvantaged neighbor.

If you are needing help in your landscape to have a more efficient yard, call the Bladen County Cooperative Extension 910-862-4591 or come by the office, 450 Smith Circle Drive in Elizabethtown.

Nancy Olsen is a horticulture agent with the Bladen County Cooperative Extension Office.

Nancy Olsen

Bladen County Cooperative Extention

Article source:

Mesa Urban Garden sets classes through February

Three classes on gardening and home landscaping are being offered by the Mesa Urban Garden, 212 E. 1st Ave.

The classes start 1:30-2:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, with a program called “Compost, Mulch Rock.” Catherine, The Herb Lady, will talk about use of mulches in home gardens, including “patience mulch.” There also will be a garden book swap and seed bank giveaway. Other classes follow on Jan. 27 and Feb. 3. Information:

Article source:

Hampton School District hosting Lifetime Learning Academy – Tribune

Updated 4 hours ago

Lifetime Learning Academy is a new community education program offered through the Hampton Township School District, with classes set to begin next month.

The program, which will be held February through April, will feature courses in areas of arts and crafts, digital technology, gardening and home improvement, health and wellness, and academic enrichment courses, all taught by HTSD staff and local experts, according to Dr. Rebecca Cunningham, assistant superintendent with the district.

The Lifetime Learning Academy “captures the ongoing excitement about learning new things that are enjoyable and informative, and which can enrich the quality of life for our community members,” said Cunningham.

Last year, the district piloted a community education program by partnering with the local Baierl Family YMCA. This year it is being handled within the district as it will help “streamline” the process.

“We were very appreciative of their willingness to partner with us and to share their expertise in putting a program together,” said Cunningham.

The current program has a guiding committee which includes HTSD, Hampton Township Community Center staff, and the Hampton Community Library in order to offer a balanced set of courses, said Cunningham.

Residents and nonresidents can register on the school district website or mail in a form, she said.

Mary Alice Hennessey, a school board member who worked on the pilot programming last year, said she is every excited about this new academy, especially with many of the courses being taught by district staff and local experts. She said the instructors are looking forward to sharing their expertise and personal interests.

And it’s a chance for residents who do not get opportunities to interact with district staff to see the wealth of knowledge here, she said.

The classes will be taught at one of the Hampton schools during the evenings, whether one night or several. And classes are at direct-cost, which covers the cost of the instructor and materials needed, except if noted otherwise, said Cunningham.

Specific examples include courses in the area of arts and crafts, including “Beginning Knitting,” “Painting,” and Pet Portraits.” Courses in digital technology include “Microsoft Excel,” “Advanced Google Searching,” and “iPad 101.”

Gardening and home improvement courses include “Gardening Tips 101;” and “Residential Renovation Design.” Academic enrichment courses will feature “Civil War,” “Introduction to Poetry Writing,” and “Film Studies.”

For those wanting to learn more covering health and wellness, they can take “CPR for Laypersons,” “Health-Smart Eating” and “iRest Inspired Meditation.”

Maggi Aebi is the instructor for iRest Inspired Mediation, who said the course helps de-stress and is a method of deep relaxation.

“There’s a lot of stress to be an American. I think anxiety is at an all-time high,” said Aebi.

She focuses on teaching to anyone with everyday stress of varying causes, whether health-related or not, with a special focus on military veteran stress. Her son, SSgt Edward F. Greiner Jr., was killed in an accident outside of Ft. Bragg, N.C., where he was stationed and awaiting re-deployment to Afghanistan. So she said it’s a way to honor him.

She said iRest and yoga and meditation also greatly helped her when she was suffering from a tumor and meningitis, which affected her physically.

“Yoga has helped me to come back to a place of normalcy,” she said.

A few free courses being offered are “Social Media 101” and “Digital Etiquette” which do require an RSVP so they know how many people for which to prepare.

Cunningham said they are open to local experts proposing a class. If so, they can contact Nancy Schindler at or call 412-492-6319 for a course proposal form, which will then be reviewed by the guiding committee when developing the fall 2018 courses.

More information and registration can be found through the district website at under community tab.

Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.

Article source: