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VETERANS MEMORIAL PARK: Wedge Bramhall Bench Dedication is Saturday Sept. 23

Community Preservation Committee Chairman Bill Keohan was on his way to a meeting in North Plymouth when he stumbled upon fellow real estate broker Wedge Bramhall yanking vagrant weeds clinging relentlessly to the decrepit building at 308 Court St.

PLYMOUTH – Community Preservation Committee Chairman Bill Keohan was on his way to a meeting in North Plymouth when he stumbled upon fellow real estate broker Wedge Bramhall yanking vagrant weeds clinging relentlessly to the decrepit building at 308 Court St.

It was 2012, and Keohan stopped to chat with Bramhall, and to commiserate over the fate of brokers who often find themselves performing landscaping duties in order to sell a property. Bramhall shook his head, and declared that the town ought to simply buy the 308 Court St. property, tear it down and create a landscaped entrance to Veterans Memorial Park behind it.

Keohan liked the idea, and his committee went to work drafting a Town Meeting request to buy the property. In 2013, Town Meeting liked the idea too, and appropriated $350,000 in Community Preservation Act funds to buy the home in order to tear it down to create a Court Street entrance to the park.

Sadly, Bramhall would not see his plan materialize. His death in 2014, after a bout with cancer, left the community bereft of one of its most beloved residents.

“After Wedge passed away we continued to work with the owner for over a year,” Keohan said. “Eventually, she agreed to sell property at less than its value. She asked that we remember her friend Wedge in the entrance.”

And, just as he had suggested, the building was torn down and a beautiful walkway and landscaping were installed at the site.

Hewn from granite preserved from the 1820 Courthouse restoration, a stone bench honoring Bramhall now graces the entrance to this park.

The community is invited to attend the Wedge Bramhall Memorial Bench Dedication at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 23.

“When processing an application, sometimes, to get the price down, we’ll offer naming rights,” Keohan explained about the dedication. “If they sell a piece of property to us at less than its value we will sometimes offer naming rights.”

A write-up of the dedication event seems to encapsulate Bramhall’s immense contributions to the town:

“His family goes back for many generations in Plymouth and he has, without fanfare, been an example of all that is best in Plymouth. His generosity, honesty, humor have served the town in many ways. He had the vision to see how this new pedestrian entrance to Veterans Park will enhance the life of people of North Plymouth.”

Keohan said the dedication ceremony honors a Plymouth visionary.

“This entrance idea was one of many ideas that Wedge had,” Keohan said. “He was always thinking about Plymouth. About making Plymouth a better place. We were more than happy to accommodate this idea of a memorial bench.”

In coordination with veterans, the Community Preservation Committee will hold a formal dedication to the new entrance and a rededication to the World War I memorial on the site on Nov. 11.

Follow Emily Clark on Twitter @emilyOCM.



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Grand Strand home show brings experts, insights & ideas this weekend – WBTW

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) The 2017 Home Improvement Outdoor Living Show is in Myrtle Beach Friday through Sunday, September 22 to 24. Joan Inglis is one of the workshop presenters, and she joined News13 NOW at 9 a.m. on Friday to give a preview of the show, specifically her workshop. Inglis is the owner of Carolina Spaces, and her presentation covers ways to add style and value to your home.

Here’s a QA summarizing the tips Inglis shared Friday morning:

  • What are the safest colors to use on big-ticket renovation projects? Begin all projects on permanent fixtures in the house (like tile, hardwood, and cabinets) with streamlined colors – the timeless colors – black, white, brown, and tan.
  • What if we’re just looking to update the look of a living room? Light-colored furnishings are really popular.  Instead of going stark white with upholstery, look for cream or gray fabrics.  Then use an accent color or two in art, pillows, and accessories.  Keep the color flowing throughout the room.
  • What can we do to make our bedroom more inviting? Replace your light fixture with a chandelier ; clear away all clutter from nightstands and chests; and add a plush rug under the bed.

Inglis will have more tips during her workshop at the home improvement show. More details about the show and the workshops are below:

Presenting Organization:           Horry Georgetown Home Builders Association

Date:                          September 22, 23, 24, 2017

Hours:                        Friday and Saturday – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sunday – 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Location:                   Myrtle Beach Convention Center

Ticket Pricing:         $5.00 Children under 16 – free

Exhibits:                    More than 200 Exhibitors will showcase their products and services.   You’ll find everything for small projects such as new flooring, new doors and windows, roofing, energy conserving products, Hurricane Protection products, new kitchens and bathrooms, awnings and sunrooms, to whole house remodels.

And it won’t stop with the house itself, people are staying in their homes longer, so it makes sense for them to improve the quality of their life by improving their home.  Install a pool or spa, build an outdoor living/grill area, add a deck or patio, palm trees, water feature or spruce up your landscaping – the possibilities are endless and enjoyable.

Meet the Pros:         Brochures are a great way to get general information about  products, but nothing beats a face-to-face chat with a professional.  This is your opportunity to see and talk to home improvement, remodeling, construction, outdoor living and related industry professionals all in one place at one time – no appointment necessary.

Workshops and Demonstrations:

  • Interior Design
  • Landscaping Yard Care
  • Culinary Demonstrations

For a complete listing and description of workshops, demonstrations and speaker bio’s visit

Special Events:

  • Culinary Demonstrations and Food Tastings Learn from local chefs as they share secrets, techniques and recipes. Following the demos please stay and enjoy a tasty sampling.
  • Specialty Market Place A selection of exceptional southern fare, local honey and produce, fresh baked goods, salad dressing, gourmet dog treats, essential oils, beeswax candles and much more. Gourmet foods and everyday essentials to please your palate and delight even the pickiest of people.
  • Support Our Local Artists –Visit the Waccamaw Arts Crafts Guild Exhibit and see local artists share and demonstrate their art.
  • Don’t forget to pack it up and take it home – once you have experienced the market place and cemented your ideas, make sure you keep the product brochures and business cards in a file at home.  They will serve as a resource for your home improvement or outdoor living project as well as a resource for future purchases.

Workshops Demonstrations

Friday, September 22, 2017

12 pm            How to Become a Clemson Extension Master Gardener  by Gary Forrester, Clemson Extension Service – Clemson University Extension Service offers the citizens of South Carolina the Master Gardener Course.  This 14-week course is taught at the Horry County Extension Office in Conway each spring, meeting 1 day a week for 3 hours.  Enrollees learn all the aspects of gardening along the coastal regions of North and South Carolina.  After successfully completing the course and the required volunteer community service, you will be awarded the title of Clemson Extension Master Gardener.   At this seminar you will learn more about the program as well as meeting local Master Gardeners.

1 pm              Updating Tips to Add Style and Value to Your Home by Joan Inglis, Carolina Spaces – There’s no better time to update your home than the present!  Whether you’re planning a complete remodel or a quick refresh, it’s important to stay with styles that have longevity and add value.  Learn the difference between fads and trends.  Hear how colors can affect your mood.  Know the latest in kitchen and bath materials, lighting and flooring.  In all your updating, keep resale in mind!

2 pm              Building Maintaining Water Gardens by  Gil Belcher, G D Aquatics – Design the perfect low maintenance water feature for your home.  Eco balance is the key!

3 pm              Herbs 101 by Gary Forrester, Clemson Extension Service– Herbs can be utilized in the landscape is a variety of ways.  Culinary herbs can be grown to allow for fresh herbs to be used in cooking.  Herbs can be grown as decorative ornamentals as well as providing a food and nectar source for may butterflies and beneficial insects.  At this seminar you will learn what herbs will grow well in our climate as well as how to care from them.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

12 pm            Fallspice Chocolate Whoopie Pies  by Chef Geoff Blount, International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach – What’s not to love when you pair fall spices and chocolate.  Join Chef Blount as he prepares this delicious treat.

1 pm              Solar 201 by Nick Safay, Solar Program Outreach Coordinator, Santee Cooper – Installing different Grid-Tied and Off Grid Solar Energy Systems for your Home.

2 pm              Passion Fruit Marshmallow Lollipops by Chef Geoff Blount, International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach – Watch Chef Blount demonstrate how to make this fun and tasty treat.

3 pm              Updating Tips to Add Style and Value to Your Home by Joan Inglis, Carolina Spaces – There’s no better time to update your home than the present!  Whether you’re planning a complete remodel or a quick refresh, it’s important to stay with styles that have longevity and add value.  Learn the difference between fads and trends.  Hear how colors can affect your mood.  Know the latest in kitchen and bath materials, lighting and flooring.  In all your updating, keep resale in mind!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

1 pm              Pecan Cream Tartlets by Chef Geoff Blount, International Culinary Institute of Myrtle BeachIn this culinary demo, Chef Blount shows you how to prepare this Southern creation.

2 pm              DIY Ottoman by April Holiday and Debbie Duncan, Reflections Home Design – A demonstration of how to turn repurposed materials into a stylish ottoman.

3 pm              Container Gardening by Gary Forrester, Clemson Extension Service – Containers can be a valuable tool for any gardener limited by space or poor soil conditions.  A wide variety of plants can be grown in containers ranging from annual ad perennial flowers to any type of vegetable adapted to your climate.  At this seminar you will learn all the ins and outs of successful container gardening.

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Wasco Nursery offers ideas for Fall plants beyond Mums

By Fall, many of your annuals, and some of your perennials, have already flowered and moved past their prime. Many don’t prosper during this season, so it’s time to clear them out and replace them with new plants that enjoy cooler weather and look fantastic until the snow comes.

Mums are a very popular plant for Fall, but they’re not the only option for those wanting to maintain a beautiful landscape throughout the autumn months. Kim Schroeder, Perennial Manager for Wasco Nursery, advises customers to consider planting Asters, Pansies, Ornamental Peppers, Rudbeckia, and Sedum during this time of year. “We also encourage adding cabbages, kale, Heuchera, and grasses to fall landscaping projects,” said Schroeder. “They all do well in the cooler weather, and add colorful foliage. You can’t forget to water them, but with the lower temperatures, they don’t need as much.”

There are many varieties of these plants to choose from. “The most popular Fall plants we carry have more of the jewel-toned colors,” added Schroeder. “While most can be added to containers to decorate front porches or backyard patios or decks, the Asters, Rudbeckia, Sedum, grasses, and cabbage varieties can go right into the ground.” These plants do very well in sun or in part shade.

Fall is a good time to plant perennials, especially those that have large root balls. Hostas and irises benefit from planting, or dividing and replanting, during this time of year. Peonies can also be planted or transplanted during Fall, but shouldn’t be planted too deep. If planted more than two inches above the bud on the root, they won’t bloom.

All Fall plantings should be carefully watered until the ground freezes, in order to keep their roots healthy and strong. For more Fall landscaping ideas and tips regarding how to care for your new plants, please contact:

Wasco Nursery Garden Center

41W781 Route 64

St. Charles IL 60175

Ph: (630) 584-4424

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50 Small Business Ideas for Those Who Love the Outdoors

There’s a common misconception that business owners are constantly glued to a computer screen and cooped up in an indoor office. But you shouldn’t let this notion hold you back from starting a business. In fact, even if you love spending all your time in the great outdoors, there are plenty of outdoor businesses you can start that let you enjoy entrepreneurship and fresh air at the same time. Here are 50 different outdoor business ideas for people who love being outside.

Outdoor Business Ideas

Lawn Mowing Service

Any home or business with a yard full of grass needs a way to keep that lawn maintained. By starting a lawn mowing business, you can provide regular maintenance services to those local homeowners and businesses.

Gardening Service

You can also offer a more specialty gardening service if you’re looking to work more with flowers and plants other than basic grass.

Landscaping Service

Or you could focus more on big landscaping jobs for homeowners or businesses that are looking to re-do or add some exciting landscaping elements to their outdoor spaces.

Lawn Cleanup Service

It might not be glamorous, but homeowners, especially those with pets, also need a way to keep their lawn neat and free of any messes. And by providing that service, you get to spend a lot of time outdoors.

Plant Nursery

Or maybe you prefer to spend your time outdoors working on growing your own plants. You can do so and then offer those plants for sale in a local nursery setting.

Produce Farm

You could also grow fruits and vegetables at an outdoor produce farm if you have enough space. Then you can sell those items to local grocery stores or consumers.

Roadside Produce Sales

You could also source various produce items and then sell them outdoors at a roadside farm stand.

Dairy Farm

If produce isn’t your thing, you might consider starting a dairy farm instead. You’ll need some specialized equipment. But you can provide dairy to make milk, cheese, ice cream and a variety of other products.

Livestock Farm

Or you could raise animals at a livestock farm, again, if you have the proper space, equipment and training.

Farm Equipment Rentals

You can also spend a lot of time outdoors by offering and maintaining farm equipment that local farmers can rent for various purposes.

Horse Stable

If you have the space and experience working with horses, you could also open up your own horse stable where you can offer riding lessons or other experiences.

Dog Training Service

Or you might prefer working with dogs instead. In that case, you can start your own dog training business where you work with clients and their pets mainly outdoors.

Dog Walking Service

You could also stick with a more basic service and simply offer to walk dogs for people in your local area.

Pest Control Service

Another way for you to provide a service while spending a fair amount of time outdoors, you could start a pest control service where you work specifically in people’s yards and around the perimeter of their homes.

Junk Hauling Service

You could also provide a service where you haul away junk from homes and businesses, meaning you’ll spend a lot of time carrying and sorting large items outside.

Graffiti Removal Service

For homeowners and businesses that want to cover up or eliminate outdoor graffiti, you could provide a specialized removal service.

Car Wash and Detailing Service

You could also start a car washing business where you provide services for customers, either in a set location or by traveling to their locations.

Bicycle Repair Service

Or if you prefer working with bicycles, you could set up a bicycle repair shop in a garage or enclosed outdoor space.

Above Ground Pool Sales

If you prefer to start a sales based business, you could focus on selling above ground pools to homeowners by traveling to their yards or setting up a showroom type setting.

Pool Cleaning Service

You could also start a pool cleaning service where you provide regular maintenance to homeowners with above ground or built in pools.

Window Washing Service

Or you could provide outdoor window washing services to homeowners or businesses that don’t have the time or desire to clean their own windows.

Awning Cleaning Service

Another specialized cleaning business, you could provide awning cleaning services to homeowners or businesses with dingy looking outdoor awnings.

Gutter Cleaning Service

And providing gutter cleaning services can allow you to build up a base of customers who you provide services for on a regular basis.

Roof Installation and Repairs Service

Or you could provide larger one-time services to homeowners, like roof installation or repairs.

Deck Building Service

Another way to spend a lot of time working outdoors, you could build outdoor decks for homeowners looking to add some unique outdoor seating space.

Fence Installation Service

Or you could provide fence installation or repair services for homeowners in your area.

House Painting Service

House painting is another specialty that should give you the opportunity to spend a lot of time outside, especially if you specialize in exterior paint jobs.

Construction Cleanup Service

You could also provide cleanup services for construction businesses that want to outsource that part of their work.

Woodworking Service

If you enjoy building things, you could set up an outdoor or garage workshop where you can complete various woodworking projects for customers.

Handyman Service

Or you could start a service based business as a handyman, where you complete various outdoor projects for homeowners.

Tour Guide Service

If you live in an area that’s popular with tourists, you could start a business where you offer guided outdoor tours or just set up a kiosk outside where you can answer questions and offer guidance to visitors.

Outdoor Travel Excursion Service

You could also offer specialty excursions for visitors like hiking or biking tours, rock climbing excursions or even water activities.

Scuba Diving Excursion Service

More specifically, you could offer scuba diving lessons or excursions if you’re trained and set up in an area that’s popular with scuba divers.

Outdoor Fitness Classes

For fitness savvy entrepreneurs, you could start a business where you offer outdoor fitness classes in areas like yoga, pilates or kickboxing.

Summer Camp

Or maybe you prefer organizing fun outdoor activities for kids. If so, you might consider starting your own summer camp.

Boat Tours Service

If you live near the water and have access to a boat, you could start a tour guide business where you offer guided tours on the water.

Boat Rentals

You could also rent out your boat or boats to people looking to spend a day out on the water, or even offer dinner cruise options.

Fishing Guide Service

If you’re specifically interested in fishing, you could offer a fishing guide service to people visiting your area who want to learn all the best fishing spots.

Hunting Guide Service

Similarly, if you have access to enough land that is safe for hunting, you could offer a hunting guide service to visitors.

Bicycle Delivery Service

If you’re located more in a city setting but still want to spend most of your time outdoors, you could start a bicycle delivery service where you take items from place to place within your city.

Snow Clearing Service

In the winter, you can offer snow and ice clearing services to homeowners. This can also be an additional service for those who run lawn mowing or landscaping businesses in the warmer months.

Christmas Tree Farm

If you have enough space to work with, you could plant some evergreen trees and set up a Christmas tree farm that people can visit to pick out their perfect tree for the holiday season.

Garage Sale Organizing Service

You might also consider providing a service for homeowners looking to sell some of their belongings in a garage sale but who need some help organizing and setting up the sale.

Ice Cream Stand

If you simply want to sell a product outdoors, ice cream is a popular outdoor favorite.

Fair Food Vending

You could also sell various dishes that are popular at fairs and similar events, like corndogs and funnel cakes. And you can set up outdoor stands at different events throughout the year.

Farmers Market Vending

If you grow your own food or make various food products, you can set up a stand at a local farmers market, since most are based outdoors.

Flea Market Vending

Flea markets are also held mainly outdoors. So you could set up stands at various flea markets to sell handmade or secondhand goods.

Mobile Retail Boutique

For those looking for retail business opportunities, you could set up a mobile retail shop in a camper or similar setup, then take it to art fairs and similar outdoor shopping events.

Coffee Cart

You might also consider setting up an outdoor coffee cart at local events or a thoroughfare that’s popular with pedestrians.

Landscape Photography

And finally, you can spend your time outdoors taking photographs that you can then sell or license.

Lawn Mower Photo via Shutterstock

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Ideas for Scotts Valley’s future

There’s no lack of ideas for the future of Scotts Valley.

In a meeting this week and in responses to an online survey, more than 900 people contributed suggestions about the city’s future.

The continuing dialog for the city’s new General Plan moved forward this week with the release of the Envision Scotts Valley Outreach report

At a Monday meeting, about 100 participants recorded more than 250 comments on their ideas for the future: built environment, natural environment, mobility, community, and looking ahead.

In addition, 813 people responded to an online survey.

“It’s pretty amazing the amount of comments we received,” said Jenny Haruyama, city manager.

The existing General Plan was adopted 23 years ago, in 1994.

The General Plan Advisory Committee – composed of city employees, government officials and members of the public – launched the effort with a workshop last June.

Highlights of the two surveys include:

•       The community places a high value on the small-town character of Scotts Valley and want to retain this quality of life.

•       Maintaining the valley’s natural resources and visual character is a high priority for the community.

•       Development of the Town Center into a mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly project is a high priority.

•       The pace of future development should be done carefully, with a focus on more high-quality restaurants and retail options.

•       More housing choices that are also affordable.

•       The expansion of pedestrian sidewalks and bike paths, as well as trails in open space, is a high priority.

•       Residents frequently use city parks and are satisfied with activities and programs.

•       Landscaping and building guidelines were recommended for Mt. Hermon Road and Scotts Valley Drive.

A Town Center project – dealt a serious setback earlier this summer when the primary developer abandoned the effort – is of prime importance to residents.

“Please do something with the Town Center property to mitigate the eyesore it creates,” answered one respondent.

Another resident wrote, “Make downtown center walking/bike friendly. No driving in the middle of it. Park outside of it. Please don’t mess this up.”

A 2008 Town Center plan proposed 180,000 square feet of retail space and 250 residential units on a 15-acre site on Mount Hermon Road.

Respondents also weighed in on the number of hotels being built.

“”I don’t think more hotels is the right (kind of) growth for our city.”

The next public advisory committee meeting will take place in late October.

For complete copy of the Envision Scotts Valley Outreach report go to 

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Edible landscape planned for Melfort parks

Imagine a perfect day playing at a local park. Running around, going down slides, reaching new heights on the swing or rolling down hills takes a lot of energy.
Fresh fruits are a good source of energy and the local Partners to End Poverty organization are looking to combine fruits with parks.
They will be setting up edible landscaping at some parks around the city, planting some apple trees.
“The idea is that through the edible landscape children and families will be able to freely access fresh fruit from the local public park,” said Tim Onsrud a coordinator with Partners to End Poverty.
“The trees also enhance the beauty and variety of the landscape so we like to think it’s a win-win. That everyone gets something good out of it.”
Exactly which parks and where they would go in the play areas was yet to be determined at deadline, but he had some preferences.
After checking out some of the playgrounds with new director of community services Ryan Danberg, Onsrud had some ideas.
“The Maude Burke (playground) and the Stovel Ave one would be really great to have the trees in.”
The program comes to Melfort after growing into a successful in Nipawin for the past couple of years.
Although he knows the trees will be successful in Melfort he understands some residents’ skepticism.
“I think  the response is better when they are actually bearing fruit. They like the idea of it, once you and go  by, grab some fruit and pop it in your mouth it’s better than just using your imagination,” he said.
Helping the programs grow is the partnerships the Partners to End Poverty has with other groups including the City of Melfort, the Melfort Kinsmen and a group called Ecofriendly Sask.
“None of it works without the partners so thanks to the City and the Kinsmen.”
The local Kinsmen Club donated $250 to the project.
“”We’re really happy to be able to contribute and give back to the community like this,” said Dave Baker, the past president of the Melfort Kinsmen Club.

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Gardening during the fall season

Daphne Williams from Valley Landscaping gives homeowners some ideas of strong fall plants for the garden.

Fall is actually one of the best times to plant. There’s a tendency for there to be more moisture, the temperatures are still warm and it promotes better root growth to plant in the fall. The cooler temperatures make for a perfect recipe.

A lot of people think that once summer is over, planting season is over.
These are great because they have great late-season bloom, they have bright foliage, multipurpose uses — attract birds, give them food in the fall and winter, and they’re low maintenance.

An evergreen shrub is easy to take care of, has wonderful foliage for fall and it’s called the “Bergundy Bunny.” The color really stands out, and birds can also use the plumes to take back to their nests.

Nothing says fall more than the Sedum AutumnJoy. It starts out in summer with a white bloom, and then it fades from light to pink to medium, then to rust.

There are 98 different varieties of the “Coral Bells.” Orange, plum, purple, black, gold, greens, silvers, any color you can imagine.

Pansies and violas are great cool-season annuals. They thrive in cool temperatures.

Hydrangas are great for small gardens and not much time.

For more information visit

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Fall landscaping ideas – WISC – – WISC

Pile of fall leaves with fan rake on lawn

Are you looking for ways to spruce up your yard this fall? Check out these landscaping ideas that are perfect for the autumn months ahead.

1. Plant fall flowers

Mums are hearty flowers that flourish in the fall weather. Go for deep colors like red and plum to spice up your lawn.

2. Highlight your front door

Another great way to add a splash of color to your exterior is by painting your front door a deep fall hue. If you don’t want to commit to painting, you can always add a festive wreath,

3. Install outdoor lighting

This is not only a great decorative idea, it’s a practical one too! As winter approaches, it starts to become darker earlier and earlier. Install decorative lighting to illuminate walkways and use lanterns to brighten entrances.

4. Play with pumpkins

Add pumpkins and other gourds to your porch for a distinct fall look. This is a cheap and natural way to play up the autumn look.

5. Keep it clean

Remember to clear out those gutters and keep the lawn cut short in the fall. This will give you a clean pallette to work with for decorating.

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Derry seeks ideas for property development – Eagle

DERRY — The town may be getting closer to finding just the right outcome for what to do with some vacant property.

A vacant town-owned lot at 19 Elm St. is one space where officials hope to put the right plan into play.

A Request for Proposal, or RFP, is currently released, inviting potential developers or interested parties to send in proposals that might benefit the community and that land.

The RFP states that the town “is interested in a development that stimulates economic activity and is a catalyst for smart, sustainable growth. The Town will consider proposals that are creative, visionary, and benefit the community.”

The 1.69-acre Elm Street site was once home to a former shoe factory and other businesses, with an old building demolished last summer that stood there for decades.

The building had fallen into much disrepair through the years and town officials decided it was a dangerous eyesore that needed to be torn down.

There were major issues cited by town code enforcement and fire department officials, including a faulty sprinkler system and other major structural problems.

Now councilors are hoping that the RFP release will help bring ideas back to Derry as to what type of building or use might suit that property best.

As part of that process, any ideas or information gathered will also put current zoning and any potential changes in zoning on the list for consideration.

“The RFP will give use ideas, and fast track development,” Councilor Jim Morgan said earlier this year.

The town spent about $101,000 on the property along with another $25,000 for landscaping once the building was demolished. Add in a tax liability of about $118,000 and the town’s total investment is $250,000.

In addition to the Elm Street inquiry being sent out, councilors also decided to include another town-owned property at Abbott Court into the RFP plan to also get information and ideas on what might be best for that property.

The town has owned that parcel many years and not only is is standing vacant, but it needs some cosmetic care. Finding the perfect development plan that will also support economic growth and the community is key, officials said.

The Abbot Court site includes not only the 5 Abbot Court land, but also three other parcels on Central Court..

The property is in the downtown business district that allows for mixed use and a variety of other permitted uses including retail, commercial and residential. The land is also adjacent to Derry’s rail trail and within walking distance to Broadway and its businesses.

Many ideas about what to do with Abbott Court have floated through town boards over the years.

Deadlines for both the Elm Street and Abbot Court RFP process is Oct. 27. More information on these parcels is available at

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Preparing for Conference Season

For most contractors interested in professional growth, learning more about their industry, checking out new equipment, and just getting away to think about their company’s future, attending an industry conference is usually in the cards. And with many national conventions just around the corner, I thought it might be helpful to provide some practical ideas to maximize your attendance.

Whether your specialty is concrete, asphalt, roofing, electrical, masonry, excavation, general construction, decorative concrete, iron and steel, mechanical, sheet rock, striping, sealcoating, landscaping, plumbing – OK, I’m getting tired noting all of the incredibly important specialties there are in construction. You get the idea.

No matter your construction focus, attending an annual conference is not only a great idea, it can and often does provide you with profit-increasing and production-improvement ideas. However, exactly how much you get from attending a conference is greatly dependent on how you prepare. So, consider a few ways to increase and enhance your next learning experience at a convention or conference late this year or early next.

1. Please…review carefully the educational opportunities

It still amazes me how many contractors just plan on going to a convention and will sign up for “something” once they arrive. Not only is this poor planning, it speaks volumes about how that contractor runs his or her business or project. Most of the national conventions provide a pre-convention syllabus about the education classes offered, when demonstrations will be provided, and which suppliers will be showing. I give the attending an “A+” for coming to the convention but an “F” for failing to plan ahead and having a strategy for what they want to gain.

2. Divide and conquer

Once you have studied the convention offerings, consider who you will be sending to the conference and split up your team to attend a wide variety of meetings and demonstrations. While there may be some classes or demonstrations that would be good for all of your folks to attend together, with so much in the offering at a convention it might be wise to gain a wider base of information by splitting up your “goers” to attend different sessions and then bring the information back to the team.

3. Pick attendees selectively require expectations be set

Attending a convention for the first time is especially exciting for most attendees. However, putting a first-time attendee in a city like, say, Las Vegas, can be like taking a child into a toy store. With all of the other “temptations” that can be experienced outside the convention alone, you would be wise to get your folks specifically matched up with those classes they need.

Attending a conference should be viewed as an honor and one that will produce positive results for both the individual attending and your company. After selecting those individuals who will be attending the convention and after having chosen those sessions the individual will be attending, have the same individuals identify what their goals or expectations are for learning. They should write this down for you, keeping a copy for themselves.

Having sent employees to conferences in the past myself, here are three questions I always incorporated into their going to a convention. They were told that when they returned from the conference, that they would present to me their answers to the following questions:

  1. What did you learn overall?
  2. What did you learn that would improve your individual work?
  3. What did you learn that would improve our company?

To really answer these questions they would have needed to first attend each session and then take good notes on the session’s learning points.

4. Conduct a daily convention “debrief”

If you are attending the same convention with any of your workers, get a daily debrief by having a short meeting, before going to dinner, to allow everyone to update one another on the classes they observed, their take-aways and learning points, and how they can see any lessons learned helping the company. This is a great way to keep the interest alive, place a bit more accountability on each person to listen with more focus during the classes attended, and begin to think in terms of application. You can still have the employees provide a presentation based on the questions presented in #3 above, but having daily “debrief” can generate better learning.

5. Gather speaker’s contact info ask for extra handouts

After almost 25 years of speaking at construction conventions and conferences, I am still amazed at how many contractors and their workers who “sneak in and out” of classes. Why a contractor would pay hundreds of dollars for classes and then not be more assertive to find out more information about helping his company is beyond me. While not all contractors are comfortable with communication, the environment at a construction-themed conference is full of the same contractors, all who want to be better, or they wouldn’t be attending. Losers don’t attend such conferences, thinking they know it all anyway.

Don’t be shy about approaching the session speakers. That’s what they are there to do, assist you. Ask them questions that may not have been addressed or that you wanted to ask privately. Ask the speaker for their recommended articles and books to acquire.

6. Create a list of learning points prioritize

I’ve told convention goers for years that they need to list out all of their learning points from attending a convention and then prioritize the items. Why? When most contractors attend a convention, especially for the first time, they can leave the conference with hundreds of ideas. Confusion and frustration can set in as a contractor tries to determine where to start. In fact, the frustration is similar to a mosquito buzzing in to a nudist colony…sort of hard to tell where to get started first.

Another point on prioritizing items learned: Look at working on your first three to five items on the list. To think you and your company can work on 15 to 100 items in one year is just foolish. Look at how to make the best three to five tips part of your company THIS YEAR, then you can move to the next three to five the following year.

Now, as you work on implementing the first three to five tips and you find you’re moving further ahead than you first imagined, then certainly take on the next few and begin working on implementing them.

7. Build a library of workbooks expect others to checkout

Depending on the size of your company, you may not take everyone to a convention. From those who do attend, however, use their workbooks and create a library for other workers to checkout the workbooks to review. In fact, several contractors I work with have engaged those who attended the workshop to teach it as best they could to those back home who were not in attendance. This certainly places a bit more accountability on those who attended the conference, but it’s a great way to make attending the meetings more important.

Sending your employees to a national or regional construction convention is a waste unless you build more into the expectations. The days of sending workers to conferences and treating it like a “perk” or vacation will yield you nothing in return. While convention hotspots such as Las Vegas, Orlando, San Antonio, San Diego, etc., are certainly relaxing places to visit, placing greater importance on learning and holding people accountable to providing some output of information upon their return will provide you with a great “R.O.E.”…Return on Education!

Send as many workers as you can to your next national convention…just be sure to use as many of the tips shared in this article to help maximize their learning and your future results!

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