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Lansing-area artists use bridges as their canvas

When a bridge on campus needed repairing, MSU had two options: fix the bridge, or fix the bridge with some flair.

MSU chose the latter. The Public Art on Campus Committee, responsible for the placement and maintenance of artwork at MSU, held a contest where students could submit ideas for artistic railings for the bridge. Interior design senior Gavin Kata heard about the contest and submitted a series of sketches, an ode to the Red Cedar through changing seasons.

“I received an email about it from my advising office,” Kata said. “I kind of knew of the area and I felt like I had a good connection to that area, and so I came up with this idea of having the four seasons as being the bridge panels there.” 

Kata’s series of panels was chosen for production, winning him $2,500 to help offset tuition costs. The bridge was fitted with an adapted version of Kata’s original design, focusing on his autumn sketches. Fitting into the “Water Moves MSU” theme of the year, Kata’s ideas were incorporated into the bridge’s design, to be seen by anyone who crossed the Red Cedar near the Main Library and Spartan Stadium.

“It’s a great honor to have that displayed in such a prominent area on campus,” Kata said. “I was kind of blown away by the scale of it when I first saw it, it was just amazing.” 

The contest was “a win, win, win proposition” — a necessary infrastructure project that could involve students and add a touch of creativity, Infrastructure Planning and Facilities Campus Planner Stephen Troost said.

Troost is a member of the Public Art on Campus Committee. According to him, one of the criteria the committee uses in determining what will be displayed is that artwork should be integrated into the architectural and green space planning for the campus. Troost believes it is important to keep art’s functionality in mind on projects like these, as people do pay attention to the artistic elements in infrastructure.


“Whether it is ‘in your face’ or something much more subjective, our lives are positively impacted by the arts at many different levels,” Troost said in an email. “From state transportation departments, to the design of transportation facilities … to pop-up exhibitions, the incorporation of art is beneficial if not expected.”

The idea that art can liven up residents’ daily routines is one that seems to be taking hold in the region. Kata’s artwork over the Red Cedar is not the only, or even the first, bridge makeover in the Lansing area this year.

Over the summer, the Under the Bridge project transformed the US-127 overpass at Michigan Avenue into a mural-slash-light show, in hopes of attracting more MSU students over Lansing city lines. The overpass serves as a sort of unofficial border between the two cities, a border that before the project was described as “sterile, ugly and non-bikeable.”

Lansing artist Brian Whitfield, a four-time ArtPrize participant, was commissioned to paint the murals, which depict settings relating to both Lansing and East Lansing. He described the pre-renovation underpass as a “barrier” to students crossing into Lansing, something he wanted to see changed. Having had past experience painting murals, Whitfield responded to the city’s call for artists with a mix of excitement and ambition.

“I live right near the area, so (the bridge) is kind of right in my backyard,” Whitfield said. “I just thought it was an exciting challenge. I’ve done murals before, so it’s just that kind of fit right within what I do. I was a little nervous, but I wanted to try to step up to that challenge.” 

Whitfield, a graphic designer with the Michigan Department of Transportation, said part of the inspiration for joining the project was in his personal appreciation for aesthetically pleasing infrastructure. He agrees art can play a major role in improving quality of life in an area, an idea he’s seen MDOT take note of throughout his career.

“When I’m traveling down the highway, landscaping always strikes me; if it’s nicely landscaped, I’m always affected,” Whitfield said. “It makes my drive much nicer, I feel much better. … It’s always nice to have a nice design, a pleasing experience interacting with the area.” 

Under the Bridge was successful in shifting public opinion on the Michigan Avenue corridor, Whitfield said. This is something that he believes not only boosts Lansing’s economic potential, but residents’ everyday lives.

“Talking to the people on this project, they feel better walking and biking and jogging and commuting through the area,” Whitfield said. “They like walking under the bridge now instead of having to avoid it; it was kind of dull and dingy. It had a definite impact on the way that people feel about the community.” 

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Business Loop Community Improvement District’s vision includes pedestrians and bikers

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Vermillion Residents Get A Look At The Wheel Deal

VERMILLION — Vermillion residents were introduced to a future infrastructure addition to the city with the unveiling of a bicycle master plan during a public meeting Wednesday night.

The meeting, held at the Vermillion Public Library, brought in the design team from RDG Planning and Design, an architecture and landscaping firm from the Omaha and Lincoln area that was selected to plan the new bicycle route. RDG will also be working with Toole Design Group to design the plan.

The purpose of this first meeting was to initiate the plan to stakeholders and conduct surveys in order to make an appropriate bike route specific to the city of Vermillion. Various posters were placed around the room for people to provide input on the streets they currently use while cycling, images asking to rank a situation by comfort level and potential routes to be included in the plan.

“It’s an introduction,” said Marty Shukert from RDG Planning and Design. “It’s a way of getting some initial input or thoughts about, maybe areas we have to look at, streets that people use, general comments.”

Plans from other cities, including one from Brookings, were shown for people to provide input on whether idea may fit into Vermillion’s own needs.

Shukert and the team from RDG have had a chance to tour Vermillion by bike and by car to get a chance to make some first impressions.

“Our first impression is that it is a really beautiful town that has many assets, looks good, has a great distribution of destinations and a good foundation of trail development and street network that is going to make this a really good investigation and plan,” Shukert said.

He also noticed that the street network with secondary streets that provide effective routes to a destination and the generally flat landscape make it easy to pedal.

“There are excellent possibilities for the community to make bicycling more a part of the transportation way of life within the city,” Shukert said.

The objectives for the plan come in the three parts: bicycle transportation can help with a healthier and happier lifestyle, encourage more people to use bicycles as a way to reach a destination and to develop a system that can be implemented quickly enough to make a difference.

The main objective is that bicycles can be used as a means of transportation and not just for recreational purposes. Something that makes this unique is that it would be South Dakota’s first stand-alone bicycle master plan.

“We want to develop a system of bicycles and bicycle networking program that expands the routine use of bikes for transportation in Vermillion and the surrounding areas,” Shukert said.

This meeting was the first step in the planning process to get an idea of the current use of bicycles in Vermillion, how they can be improved and listening to stakeholders ideas or concerns about a bike path. The next steps would be looking at existing conditions, an implementation plan, public events and the approval process.

Those who were unable to attend the meeting, but wish to be surveyed can visit the website

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Community Members Share Ideas for State Street Underpass Revitalization Project

The concrete slabs underneath the Highway 101 overpass, connecting Santa Barbara’s waterfront and lower State Street, could soon come alive with an LED lighting installation or be adorned with murals.

City staff is undertaking a project to redesign the underpass as a safe and inviting destination with lighting, interactive art elements and reconfigured lanes for cars and bikes.

“This is a prominent area of State Street — of the 14 blocks of the downtown corridor, this is a two-block area,” said Nina Johnson, senior assistant to the city administrator. “We have researched cities all over the world, and found examples of cool places where they created unique spaces and solved design challenges for their community. There’s so much that is possible and potential.”

Johnson said the initial project budget is $100,000, and the project cost is expected to grow through community partnerships.

More than 100 residents gathered Wednesday night at the Community Arts Workshop in Santa Barbara to share ideas on how to make the State Street underpass a welcoming destination linking the waterfront to the downtown area.

The underpass project is one effort the city and community partners are tackling to enhance the vibrancy of the downtown corridor, in the wake of vacant businesses along State Street.

Johnson said improving safety and access for pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles is a project priority.

Seven accidents occurred in the area between 2011 to 2013, she said.

“The two intersections on both sides (of the underpass) have the top bicycle-involved accident rate compared to anywhere else in the city,” Johnson said.

At the community meeting, attendees were given sharpie pens, sticky notes, food, wine and an hour to jot down ideas under five different categories such as art and design, sound, interactivity, project concerns and traffic flow.

The blank white posters taped to the walls were filled with hundreds of suggestions.

One comment said “something to follow like the safe yellow brick road,” while another note read “LED lights possible to alter themes. Sound system. Sea and dolphin theme.”

The “stench of urine” and “vandalism” were among the various topics under the concern category.

Attendees expressed ideas about how to reduce sound impact from cars and using technology to mitigate the noise of vehicle echo, engaging art designs and creative solutions to enhance and attract people to the space.

More than 20 residents took to the microphone to share their plans about the future of the underpass.

The speakers said the artist should be local, and whatever plans are used should come from the community.

People suggested adding motion-tracking art, a multimedia space made to showcase work, tile murals that represent Santa Barbara, adding security cameras, wider sidewalks and reducing vehicle lane width, among other ideas.

The city also created a Pinterest board of more than 100 images showing lighting, street elements, sound, landscaping and a new traffic reconfiguration. 

At the end of the workshop, community members were given 10 stickers and asked to mark the concepts they liked.

So what’s next?

The workshop notes will be available on the city’s website, Johnson said.

City staff will seek additional project funding and build partnerships, as well as prepare a call for proposals with community input.

A project design team is slated to form with city staff, architects, design professionals, art organizations and artists to review proposals.

The project needs approval from Caltrans’ and the Historic Landmarks Commission, and possibly a coastal-development permit.

“We want to move as quickly as possible to release a call for proposals and then review them — we will need talented design professionals to get involved to help select proposals,” Johnson said. “We encourage everyone to get involved and look forward to partnering with different arts organizations, and encourage architects and designers to join.”

The underpass was built in the 1990s, according to Johnson.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Mason HS promotes community service ideas with Blue Ribbon Day

Mason HS promotes community service ideas with Blue Ribbon DayCopyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Video capture

MASON, TX – In 2010 Mason High School earned the honor of National Blue Ribbon School. In a tradition that continues today, the entire student body and staff participates in a day of community service.

With planning and coordination by counselor Melany Canfield and high school class officers,  meetings begin when school starts and officers are elected. Community members are organized and nominations for community jobs begin.

Activities can include making casseroles for the local food bank, painting the town square hand rails, picking up trash, cleaning the cemetery, painting the rodeo arena, decorating and cleaning  the local CASA office and Thrift Store, to raking leaves and trimming trees on the courthouse lawn.

Every student, every teacher and staff member of Mason High School participates in the event.  Usually several community members also help with the jobs and groups.

The most special job this year was the rehab of the Lilly’s Garden of Joy. Merlina Gamel, MHS technology director, was in a 4-wheeler accident approximately 15 years ago with her daughter just before the Christmas holiday. Her daughter Lilly Joy, died from injuries sustained in the incident—Gamel lost her right leg.

The garden was created in memory of Lilly by her classmates. Last year, during a remodeling project of school buildings, the garden had been ruined. Gamel and her husband, Steve were devastated. Community members and staff came together to donate $2,500 in landscaping materials to restore Lilly’s Garden of Joy. The project was done in secret and surprised the Gamels.

From MHS: “At MHS, kids are taught science, math, English, Spanish, history, geography, and how to express love by giving back to the community.

“A YouTube video of the event from the 2017 Blue Ribbon Service Day can be viewed here:

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Ninety Six board discusses landscaping pond behind complex – Index





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Gillette College Veterans Advisor remembers fallen soldiers

Loren Groves reads names of the 6,925 United States veterans who have died since Sept. 11, 2001, outside Gillette College on Friday.

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How an exterior makeover can add value to your house

Home exterior is one of the most important aspects to consider when evaluating your home. It is the way your house and yard look that enables the potential buyers to have a positive or negative first impression, and it is what makes them fall in love with the property. The beautifully painted facade, freshly cut grass and stunning landscaping ideas are just some of the things that will make buyers opt for your property.

There are many different ways you can increase the value of your property by focusing on improving your home’s exterior features.

The driveway

Creating a visually stunning driveway is a great way of adding value to your property. It gives the house a finished look, and you avoid having cars parked on the front lawn. There are a lot of options for creating an eye catching driveway. You can opt for either softscaping or hardscaping. The hardscape will consist of mostly the fences and walls around the driveway and here you can include different materials and textures to enhance various features of your driveway. On the other hand the softscape options provide a gentler visual appeal, which involves flower beds, ornamental trees, groundcovers, and shrubs. Generally softscaping is more colorful.

Give your facade a facelift

To interested parties your home’s facade represents the state that the house is in. Sometimes prospective buyers won’t even go through the front door if they don’t like what they see on the outside. In order to present you house in the best possible light, a fresh coat of paint is a must. First you have to prepare the base, fix up all the cracks, replace panels where necessary and check for any more serious damage to the exterior of the house. The next step is to opt for aluminium scaffolding so as to make all areas of your facade accessible for painting and any major repairs. When it comes to choosing façade paint color, first check if there are strict regulations regarding paint options in your neighborhood. If not, opt for lighter tones with a few darker accents on doors and windows to help bring out your home’s charm.

Don’t forget about landscaping

Having the perfectly decorated front and backyard can significantly increase the value of your home. Now in order to avoid constantly investing in new plants, you should opt for drought or cold resistant ones that can last for years to come. Apart from planting a tree or two, choose flower beds that can withstand harsh weather, and most importantly don’t forget to incorporate mulch.

Mulch is the lazy landscaper’s best friend, it will help keep the weeds away, add color to your yard and just make everything look more luxurious. This might seem as an unnecessary investment, but it will definitely pay off when you see the increased numbers on your home’s evaluation.

Fence up

Building a fence can significantly increase the overall value of your home. Buyers with children or pets will appreciate the privacy and security of an enclosed backyard. In addition if your neighborhood is full of homes with fences, you not having one will directly influence your home’s value. When it comes to fences there are different options to consider. The three main reasons to put up a fence are security, privacy and appearance, and the fence you choose depends on which of these three is most important to you. In addition, when choosing a material you should make sure it matches both the style of your home and of your neighborhood, so as not to stand out for the wrong reasons.

These are just some of the ways you can improve on the value of your home by changing up its exterior. Throughout the entire process it is important to stay consistent to the original design ideas, and to have all the different pieces match in order to create the perfect picturesque appearance of your home. The colors and styles should be complementary, and you need to keep in mind that your home’s exterior design should not stray far away from the neighboring houses as to ensure a certain level of architectural uniformity.

Have you undertaken any work to the outside of your house in preparation for a sale? Share your stories with us.

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City officials seek projects ideas for upcoming day of service

“The depth of Dr. King’s influence is so great that we wanted a significant way to honor his memory and teachings,” Office of Multicultural Affairs Director James McKissic said in a prepared statement.

Officials are looking for a range of service projects that include not only beautification but also education and outreach.

For example, volunteers made rounds at various apartments across Chattanooga to equip residents with information on their rights under fair housing law on 2017’s MLK Day of Service.

“By gathering 50 projects from all over Chattanooga, we can spread his message of social justice to every neighborhood while honoring his important legacy,” McKissic also said.

On Jan. 15, 2018, volunteers will gather on the campus of UTC at Chamberlain Pavilion and then fan out into neighborhoods to undertake landscaping, clearing debris, trail maintenance, painting, deep cleaning and project repairs.

Check-in is from 8 to 9 a.m., and work begins at 9 a.m. Work lasts until 12:30 p.m. or earlier, if tasks are completed quickly.

Click here to submit a project idea.

Click here for more information about volunteering.

Click here for information about donating supplies.

To become a sponsor, click here.

For more info and to get involved, click here.

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Upside downtown: Local leaders share ideas for revitalizing Main Street corridor

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