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    Category: Landscape Yard

    If you’re planning to plant trees or shrubs, now’s the best time of year – Standard-Times - December 10, 2019 by admin

    Allison Watkins, Special to San Angelo Standard-Times Published 5:05 a.m. CT Dec. 8, 2019

    As unpredictable as our weather is, its always a sure bet that summer will be hot and dry.

    The crepe myrtle is one of the most versatile landscaping choices in Texas, available as ground cover, shrubs or trees.(Photo: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service)

    Thats why fall through winter is the best time of year to plant trees and shrubs, because it gives then time to establish good roots and overcome transplant shock before the harshest season hits.

    Of course, an old proverb says that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, and the next best time is now.

    Trees are the most permanent component of the landscape, and shrubs last long as well, so when installing these important foundation plants, do so with careful planning, good design and proper planting technique.

    Whether creating a brand-new landscape from scratch, or rejuvenating an old yard, now is a great time to plant. Large shrubs should be reserved for the corners of the home, to help it look wider.

    Dont cover windows with tall shrubs, or stagger them between the windows, as that can break up the visual flow across the front of the home and make it look smaller.

    Use dwarf shrubs for the front of the home so they dont get too tall and require frequent pruning.

    Depending on the specific landscape, a good general rule of thumb is to place trees at 45-degree angles off the front corners of the home not in front, visually dividing the home into sections, but framing it to highlight the home.

    The right planting depth is very important only plant trees as deep as the rootball; dont place in a deeper hole that requires soil to be filled in over the root ball. Sometimes nursery trees even have too much soil over the rootball in the container, so check to see if there is loose soil that can be scraped off the top.

    Remove excess soil until you see roots matted into soil, and dig the hole as deep as the roots are growing. Very large, heavy trees can even be planted slightly above grade because their weight will cause them to settle in a little deeper over time.

    Trees planted too deep will have issues later on the canopies will not be as attractive and the they will be more susceptible to stress.

    Improve soil with compost before planting shrubs, but not trees. Only the native soil dug from the hole should be used to fill after planting; trees are too large to amend all the soil their roots will occupy, so choose well-adapted species that do well in the local soil and climate.

    Apply a three to four-inch-deep layer of mulch after planting trees and/or shrubs, but dont pile it around the trunk like a volcano that can be stressful to the plants.

    Mulch helps trees and shrubs get established faster because it helps keep weed competition under control, moderates soil temperature, and conserves water.

    Allison Watkins is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent for horticulture in Tom Green County. Contact her at

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    If you're planning to plant trees or shrubs, now's the best time of year - Standard-Times

    Tom Brady still cant deliver any last-minute heroics with this Patriots offense – Boston Herald - December 10, 2019 by admin

    FOXBORO Tom Brady has the ball. Game on the line. Patriots are in the red zone. First-and-10 at the Chiefs 12-yard line. Down seven with 2:41 to play. Fans chanting his name.

    For the GOAT, this scenario has been automatic. Never a doubt. Just chalk it up. He ties the game. Play on.

    Only, this isnt the Brady, or the offense, weve been accustomed to seeing for nearly two decades. Its not the same group that kept trading scores with the Chiefs late in the AFC Championship game last season before finally putting them away in overtime, with three long third down conversions, before striking in the red zone.

    Brady can no longer will this offense to score points when it has to produce. He can no longer deliver the Patriots when the defense has one bad half, and one good half, as it did against the Chiefs in defending Patrick Mahomes last night.

    This offense went 2-for-12 on third down, and 1-for-3 in the red zone during Sundays 23-16 loss to the Chiefs.

    Blame the officials all you want, and they certainly deserve blame for botching calls that impacted the outcome.

    But the Patriots still had their chances to tie the game, or even win the game, but couldnt put the ball in the end zone.

    We got the ball. We moved it. We had some plays there where we could have scored, Brady said, we had some in the red area, we had a couple fourth downs, we just didnt make the plays when we needed to make them.

    Its been that way all year. At this point, its hard to see that changing. The Patriots went 2-3 over the toughest part of their schedule with the three losses to AFC opponents (Ravens, Texans, Chiefs) theyre likely to see in the playoffs. All three losses were similar in that the defense couldnt hold the opposing team under 20, while the Patriots offense wasnt capable of bailing them out.

    We just got to go out and play better and try to win next weeks game, said Brady, as the Pats are onto Cincinnati. Its disappointing. Were not going to feel sorry for ourselves.

    The heart and competitiveness of the 42-year-old quarterback was certainly still there down the stretch, as he took off on a 4th-and-6 from the Chiefs 29, gaining 17 yards to bring the Pats closer to the endzone, and keep their last gasp drive alive.

    That was the play that set up first-and-goal from the 12. But then there was an incomplete pass to tight end Matt LaCosse in the end zone. Brady hit Julian Edelman for a nine-yard completion setting up fourth-and-goal from the three.

    Again, the expectation was for Brady to deliver. Only, his try for Edelman in the endzone was broken up by KC cornerback Bashaud Breeland, who made a nice play to bat the ball away.

    That was the plan. The plan is to always score, but at the end of the day, we didnt, said Phillip Dorsett. We cant say the refs blew the game, because we still had a chance to score and we didnt. Weve got to play better.

    The Patriots resorted to trickery once again, to try and inject some life in the offense. On the opening series of the game, they used a flea-flicker, with Brady hitting Edelman for a 37-yard-scoring pass. They also had James White throw a pass to Jakobi Meyers for a 35-yard gain during the final, and futile drive.

    Just trying some different things to give us a little spark or momentum, said Brady. You know, we had a couple big ones (Sunday) on the flea flicker and then on the other one with the halfback pass. So, those were good plays, those were good momentum plays. I wish we could have made a few more of the other ones, too.

    Brady, who entered the interview room wearing a big bandage around his right throwing elbow, claimed it was nothing to worry about. He said it was the result of a hit, but that he would be fine and ready next Sunday for the Bengals.

    Hes been on the injury report with an elbow problem. He didnt seem hampered by the elbow on Sunday, even though his numbers werent very good (19 of 36 for 169 yards with one interception).

    Patriot fans actually booed the offense as it left the field for half-time. The Chiefs were in control of the game at the intermission as the offense was still having breakdowns, drops, a lack of protection and bad throws from the quarterback.

    But then something happened on the way to completely losing hope that order would be restored within the AFC landscape: the Pats rallied.

    With the help of another special teams punt block, the defense standing tall in the second half, Brady & Co. were able to creep back in the game.

    With the fans chanting Brady, Brady, Brady for every fourth quarter possession, they felt something great was going to happen in the end. Only, it didnt.

    We still had a chance, Brady said. Wish we could have scored there at the end.

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    Tom Brady still cant deliver any last-minute heroics with this Patriots offense - Boston Herald

    Flooding leaves small Missouri city with dozens of sinkholes – Missouri Lawyers Media - December 10, 2019 by admin

    Dozens of sinkholes, some up to 12 feet deep, are dotting the landscape in the small southeastern Missouri city of Caruthersville, forcing road detours, swallowing sections of peoples yards and leaving city leaders scrambling to make repairs.

    Months of flooding along the Mississippi River are to blame for the problems in the city of 6,000 people, which was built on a swamp, according to Mayor Sue Grantham. The nearly four dozen sinkholes have caused an estimated $4.5 million in damage, and things may get worse.

    Its probably going to continue and we may find more, Grantham said Friday.

    The holes range wildly in size, but the largest are up to 10 feet wide and up to 12 feet deep, Grantham estimated.

    Federal and state money will help with about 90 percent of the repair costs, but the city, which is near the Tennessee border and in one of Missouris poorest counties, will be hard-pressed to cover its approximately $450,000 share.

    Were looking for help from other places as well, Grantham said.

    So far, no verified damage has been confirmed at homes or businesses, though holes are showing up in yards.

    Homeowner Melvin Pipkins is convinced his house sits atop an emerging sinkhole. The home is surrounded by sinkholes in the yard, and Pipkins told KFVS-TV that that his new kitchen floor is coming apart at the seams and feels soft.

    At another home, a woman walking on her brick patio could feel the ground sinking beneath her feet, Grantham said.

    Several streets have been affected, including Ward Avenue, one of the busiest in town. Barricades surround a sinkhole on Ward Avenue that isnt far from the police station.

    Caruthersville sits deep within the region known as the Missouri Bootheel, where the terrain is flat delta.

    We were built on a swamp so we have a lot of sandy soil, Grantham said. So itll move on you.

    The problem was worsened by the months of severe flooding along the Mississippi River earlier this year, which left the ground saturated and soggy. Even now, at a time of year when the river traditionally runs low, the Mississippi is just a foot below flood stage in Caruthersville.

    The city is especially vulnerable because the river makes a meandering turn around the town that essentially circles it on three sides.

    Pemiscot County received a disaster declaration, which opened the way for federal and state help to pay for some repairs. Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency have been assessing the damage, FEMA spokeswoman Crystal Payton said. Some state funds may also be available.

    City leaders expect to learn in about a month how much federal and state money theyll get.


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    A Behind the Scenes Look at How One Sportsbook Handles the Craziness of an NFL Sunday – Sports Illustrated - December 10, 2019 by admin

    Taylor Ballantyne/Sports Illustrated

    The Hudson River shimmers below the Manhattan skyline on a still Sunday morning in October. The world outside the PointsBet office in Jersey City, N.J., is calm, serene. Oddly, so is the world inside the offices, which feels strange given how much is at stake on this NFL Sunday for PointsBeta sports betting operator attempting to make its mark this side of the Hudson River, in the state of New Jersey, where a battle is taking place with hundreds of millions of dollars on the line.

    PointsBet, an Australian online bookmaker, is just two years old, one of several new industry players in New Jersey, where the sports gambling market has been exploding since a U.S. Supreme Court decision in May 2018 paved the way for legal, regulated bookmaking in the Garden State. Today, at PointsBets New Jersey 17th-floor office, employees have packed a glass-encased room nicknamed the trenches. Its two hours before the 1 p.m. kickoff of todays slate of football games, and the young analysts, most wearing matching black shirts with the PointsBet logo stretched across it, are monitoring the bets coming in and comparing lines from other bookmakers.

    One Burgundy chair sits taller than the other black swivel ones around it. Jay Croucher, PointsBets 29-year-old Director of Sport Analytics, sits there tracking six computer monitors at a time at his battle station, along with looking up at two rows of four television screens apiece plastered up in front. His polished appearance, mixed with a strong Aussie accent, fits right in with PointsBets youthful and globally diverse office. Croucher is in charge of overseeing the entire operation on Sundays and has final call on accepting the biggest wagerswhether or not, for example, to take a big bet from a sharp. Its a decision that can change the fortunes of a bookmaker like PointsBet on a given Sunday.

    It is a key role for a company that is looking to find any edge it can in the New Jersey market, which is at the forefront of the sports betting movement across the country. PointsBet is competing in a New Jersey betting market with several bookmakers that had a head start on it, including DraftKings, FanDuel, William Hill and MGM. While each book is looking to emerge as the top dog among New Jerseys betting options, the state itself has materialized as the biggest new player in the U.S. sports betting landscape. In September of 2019, New Jersey accumulated a $445.6 million handle, which trailed Nevadas $546.4 million, per Legal Sports Report. New Jersey, however, has significantly shrunk the gap between the two states. In September of 2018, just four months after the Supreme Court overturned PASPA, New Jerseys handle was $184.0 million and Nevadas was $571.0 million. And New Jersey actually edged Nevada in betting handle in July and August of 2019. So as the gap continues to close between the two, this football season serves as an indicator for what state is generating the most action.

    Despite everything thats about to unfold on Week 6 of the NFL season, despite the exposure PointsBet has today, Croucher appears as calm as the waters outside the windows. Among his six personal screens, hes constantly monitoring the betting market for where each bookmaker has its current pregame and in-game lines set. Another one always displays the Intercepta screen where traders can manually approve bets that exceed typical liability limits and monitor potential risk in real-time.

    Ive never been a big gambler. Ive got a lot of faith in the market and the market prices, Croucher explains. I know that gameday, sharp liquidity in the NFL is stronger than me thinking that the Eagles defensive line is going to overwhelm the Vikings offensive line. All that stuff is generally priced in.

    Ive always been interested in gambling by the market dynamics and the market psychology of why does the public think this when I think that? And what biases are coming into this? Why are lines progressing through the weekis that real information or is it just public bias? The psychology behind that I find really interesting and I find that more interesting than potentially losing money.

    Croucher started at PointsBet from the get-go as one of the first traders hired when the company launched in Australia in 2017. Croucher was just finishing law school before being brought on, so he worked in PointsBets legal team, in addition to helping set the odds. He moved to the U.S. in late June of this year and is now wearing many hats as the Director of Sports Analyticswhether its handling risk, changing prices to align with the rest of the market or overseeing everyone elses roles in the trading room.

    Crouchers decisions will help shape PointsBets fortunes on this NFL Sunday, and every Sunday this fall will help shape PointsBets fortunes in the larger gambling landscape that is changing at a breakneck speed. In a crowded market, PointsBet is an underdog, an unknown from the land down under with the odds stacked against them. So why does it think it has a chance?


    In September of 2018, PointsBet announced Johnny Aitken, its former Chief Operating Officer, as the U.S. CEO to head its expansion efforts. His first mission: to make headway in New Jersey. Aitken came over from William Hill after managing a trading desk of over 100 and a betting handle in the billions. Aitken, like Croucher, grew up in Australia, and developed an interest in U.S. sports at a young age, asking for a Patrick Ewing No. 33 Knicks jersey for his eighth birthday. He estimates that 40% of Australias betting activity is on U.S. sports, while Europe is 3-4%.

    So while that immersion helped when he moved to the U.S. to build out PointsBets American clientele, he was starting from scratch in a New Jersey market with several competitors that already had brand awareness and, in some cases, a preexisting userbase. PointsBet was going up against these very bookmakers for a coveted deal at the Meadowlands that ultimately would allow it to operate in New Jersey. PointsBet had to pitch why it deserved a seat at the table. In betting terms, PointsBet landing the deal it ultimately did was initially considered such a longshot, that the odds probably would have been off the board.

    We did face a huge uphill battle going into a market where FanDuel and DraftKings have, estimated, invested one to one-and-a-half billion dollars worth of marketing, Aitken says. Were also going up against casino-resort such as MGM and Caesars. William Hill was the first European bookmaker, so when they set up here in the U.S., they had an advantage on us as well.

    When youre coming into a market where you have zero percent brand recognition, zero percent database, dont own any resorts, we really are starting from scratch. Even when we won our first deal last year in June, we didnt have a bank account. I was working out of a lobby from a hotel.

    PointsBetand every other new operatormust find ways to differentiate their business from the competition. Aitkens key strategy for getting PointsBets name out there was rocking the boat on price and promotion. PointsBet offers a -105 vigorish or juice (bet $105 to win $100) on its pregame NFL spreads, whereas its competitors are at -110 (bet $110 to win $100). While that difference in price has attracted more bettors, it puts more pressure on Croucher and the rest of the traders since PointsBet is working with smaller margins.

    PointsBet launched its online sportsbook in New Jersey in January of 2019, and one week later, Aitken saw a prime opportunity to put its name on the map via promotion. Millions of dollars bet across the country were swung on the infamous Nickell Robey-Coleman non-call in the NFC Championship Game between the Saints and Rams. PointsBet announced shortly after that every Saints bet would be refunded as part of its Good Karma Payout initiative. Several outlets picked up the story, giving PointsBet P.R. traction and more brand awareness.

    Now in the midst of its first NFL regular season, PointsBets Jersey City office manages the markets in New Jersey and Iowa, and has market access to 10 states overall. PointsBet now has over a 5% market share in New Jersey, per Aitken, which ranks third behind DraftKings and the leader in the state, FanDuel.

    Unlike its competitors, PointsBet wants to keep its operation lean and its trading room small.

    Its funny, when we have people come into the office, theres this Hollywood image in their head that its going to be like Wall Street from the 1980s with guys throwing pieces of paper at each other and theres that old-school trading floor mentality, Aitken says. Now, modern trading is a combination of technology, data science and trading. Rather than us hire 100 traders and have them all come in and have their own opinions of pricing and how to trade, we like to use a lot of automation, a lot of technology, a lot of data science and still have really smart people at the wheel like Jay [Croucher] in New Jersey and Australia.

    PointsBet has nine traders in its Jersey City office and another 15 in Australia. There are six on duty inside the N.J. trading room with the second half of Panthers-Buccaneers underway in London, about 90 minutes before the 1 p.m. EST kickoff. PointsBets traders are in their twenties and thirties, with about a third of them from abroad. What they may lack in experience compared to the folks in the desert that have been doing this for decades, they certainly make up for in mathematics-based backgrounds.

    Its long departed from the Vegas archetype of older guys kicking back with cigars and talking about what the line should be, Croucher said. Its a lot more model-driven now. A lot of our prices come from our quants.

    We recruit traders based not only on deep understanding of the sport, but they also need an understanding of probability and odds. Were looking for guys who understand numbers. If you know numbers, you understand them and then youve got the deep understanding of the sport, then thats all we need to mold a trader. So thats why they skew younger, weve got a lot of guys who come from finance services, commerce, guys who understand the market. Because thats what gambling is, its the market.

    A four-figure in-game bet comes in on the Intercept for Panthers/Buccaneers under 61.5 points. The games total was 47.5 before kickoff, but with the score at 34-18 early in the fourth quarter, the in-game total is 14 points higher than where the market closed pregame. Senior sports analyst Matt Pollett approves the bet on the Intercept, but the live in-game total moves to 62 just seconds later, meaning the bettor didnt get the best number.

    Taylor Ballantyne/Sports Illustrated

    The teams exchanged punts before the Panthers padded their lead to 37-18 with 7:56 left following a 29-yard field goal from the Panthers Joey Slye. That bettor cant have more than 6.5 points scored the rest of the way, or else his under is finished. The Bucs then drove 75 yards, including a fourth-and-one conversion in the red zone, to score a touchdown on a Dare Ogunbowale three-yard run to paydirt with 4:47 remaining. Head coach Bruce Arians opted to go for two in a 13-point game, giving the under 61.5 bettor one last chance. Those hopes soon evaporated after Jameis Winston scrambled into the end zone to make it 37-26, which ended up as the final score.

    Next on the docket: the early afternoon games. A five-figure bet came in this morning on Eagles +3 at the Vikings, and its identified in the Intercept as a sharp client. While the term sharp money may be misconstrued nationally, PointsBet has categorized two different types of sharps that it deals withsteam chasers and market makers.

    Sharp money can be taking a price thats best price in the market, Croucher says. So its just someone looking at a board of all the prices and we happen to be sitting above for whatever reason, so theyre betting with us. If youre taking best price in the market over and over again, then the margins generally going to be in your favor and youre going to win.

    Or theres the other type of sharp money where youre generally betting early, and then the closing price is moving in your favor. So its very difficult to beat NFL gameday prices, because theres so much sharp liquidity in the market because all the sharps have bet early week and theyve told the market where the price should be. But if you bet early week, then the lines are less solid. If we find that people are consistently beating that closing price with the price they took early week, then theyll be considered as sharp accordingly.

    Since its gameday versus early in the week, the five-figure bet on Eagles +3.5 doesnt move the line, but rather shifts the price of Eagles +3.5 from -105 to -110. Croucher explains that PointsBet would need significant activity to come in on the same number in order to shift the line so close to kickoff, especially on a key number like +3.5.

    Around 90 minutes before the start of the early slate, NFL teams announce which players will be inactive. Typically, bettors have a general idea beforehand of who will be playing and who wont be, so the game lines wont shift much from inactives unless something very unexpected occurs. For instance, when Chiefs wideout Tyreek Hills return against the Texans was announced after a five-week absence, the line and total stayed put at Kansas City -3.5 and 54.5.

    Where some of the more under-the-radar inactives could have a role in the betting market is player props. When the Ravens ruled out rookie receiver Marquise Brown against the Bengals, there was activity on the first touchdown scored prop. Fellow Baltimore pass-catcher Miles Boykin was originally listed as a longshot +600, however after a few bets were taken, that number jumped to +250, where he now had the seventh-best odds on the board to reach the end zone first.

    One of the biggest prop bets of the day also came from the Ravens-Bengals game. This was on Ravens quarterback Lamar Jacksons rushing prop, where a bettor secured over 60.5 yards. That grabbed the attention of the person in charge of the Intercept at the time, senior sports analyst Nick Welch. Welch was able to verify that the price was in-line with PointsBets projections, despite Jacksons well-known rushing ability, so the bet was accepted.

    Another prop that appeared in Intercept caught Welchs attention, although not because of the amount.

    This just came in: [Cowboys wideout Michael] Gallup to get nine-plus receptions at [+2000], Welch said. It was a small bet, but it was me looking at the price and thinking Thats a good price, we dont have to lay that +2000 for the rest of the day. So thats why Im just rolling it to +1600 now.

    The traders spend a lot of time during the week preparing and discussing where to set pregame player props at. They huddle up early in the week to discuss the previous weeks results and what theyre looking for in the upcoming week. Theyre also keeping a close eye on who is placing these bets and the amount. They have to be able to identify why certain props are drawing big money consistently, and adjust quickly accordingly. But Croucher actually surmises that taking these sharp bets are overall a net positive, as they give him and the PointsBet traders more intel about the market.

    We pinpoint things that weve noticed our sharper clients are betting on, Croucher said. We noticed early on that Patrick Mahomes his passing yards were too low earlier in the season. They were being set at 300, 305, 310, which is more in line with last seasons average.

    Just with that Chiefs team and theyre a bit more banged up this year, theyre running the ball less and theyre also not blowing out teams as much because Mahomess numbers last year were so skewed because he wasnt playing in the fourth quarter when they were blowing out the Bengals by five touchdowns. Now, the market has reflected that and Mahomes this week is at like 320.5 yards. So its little things that we point out like that that were noticing early week.

    Not every notable play cashes, though. The Eagles lost 38-20 to the Vikings. The Boykin first TD prop lost on the first play of the game, as Bengals returner Brandon Wilson brought back the opening kickoff 92 yards to the house. Gallup finished with four catches. Jackson, on the other hand, crushed his rushing total prop, as he accumulated 152 yards on the ground.

    As 1:00 p.m. EST rolls around and the games kick off, the early focus shifts to monitoring in-game bets on Intercept that need to be approved. Welch, along with all the other traders, has a screen that lists the current live odds at every other bookmaker, allowing him to scope out any discrepancy between PointsBet and the rest of the market. There are bettors with access to this information as well, and they are ready to snipe quickly if PointsBets live line is off from market standard.

    When the Chiefs, up 7-0 at the time, were facing third down in the red zone after recovering a Carlos Hyde fumble in the first quarter, PointsBets in-game line was at Texans +13. The Texans closed as 3.5-point underdogs, and other bookmakers had the in-game line at Texans +11.5. But Welch attributed the contrast in lines to the third down being a swing play, where bookmakers models are programmed differently to account for third downs. Some models are more aggressive with how they price in-game lines right before swing plays based off of bookmakers different implied probabilities for converting. So Welch approved that Texans +13 live bet, even though he knew that bettor was getting the best of the number compared to what the rest of the market was offering.

    As most of the games go into halftime, this is when all of the traders in the room are sprung into the action. While second-half lines or totals are largely automated, the traders have discussions regarding live player prop lines and, by default, second-half player prop lines. While the players talent and the pregame line are aspects in setting those props, the most important factors are game flow, projected opportunity and general market consensus.

    For example, the Texans led the Chiefs 23-17 at halftime. Since Kansas City was down and the game was high scoring, the traders assumed that Patrick Mahomes would throw a lot in the second half. As a result, Mahomess adjusted live passing yardage line and second-half passing yardage line will be more in line with half of his pregame passing yardage prop of 320.5, since the market was already anticipating a high-scoring, close affair between the Chiefs and Texans.

    On the other hand, the Vikings led the Eagles 24-10 at halftime. Kirk Cousins had 209 passing yards after the first two quarters, and his pregame passing yardage prop was 250.5. The traders, however, are anticipating fewer throws or less of an opportunity for Cousins in the second half because the Vikings are up two touchdowns and because Minnesota will likely go into more of a conservative gameplan. So unlike Mahomes, the traders will not be using half of Cousinss pregame passing yardage prop to dictate his adjusted live passing yardage line at the half, and instead have to come up with a new number on the fly.

    Taylor Ballantyne/Sports Illustrated

    As Aitken alluded to, while PointsBets operations are so dependent on technology, theres also a human element needed in order to strike the perfect balance. All of the traders are involved in a discussion for creating adjusted live/second-half player props right before the half of the early games, including Chiefs-Texans.

    Alright, so Deshauns at 139. Prematch was effectively half that.

    I think since Watson is at half of his prematch now, that price is gonna hold the rest of the game given hes still gonna be clearly throwing the ball. So were just gonna go back up with his prematch price, 275.

    So Mahomes is 232.

    And down.

    And hes gonna be throwing.

    Id say 385. 390.

    Prematch he was 320.5. Id say take half of that again. So 392.5.


    Eighteen yards. Four targets.

    Theyre giving him nothing.

    Add 30 yards on that? 35?

    But it is Hopkins.

    52 on [one bookmaker].

    He was 81.5 pregame. So slightly less than half of that given the coverage.

    Only 48 then? 49?

    Lets call it 50 just to make it round. 50.5


    So 42, which is basically exactly half his prematch price. Effectively double that.


    What about Tyreek?

    He was 74.5 prematch. Hes at 66 yards, but there was a 46-yarder in that. Hes been targeted eight times.

    101.5 on [one bookmaker].

    Would you back under or over on 101?

    Id back over.

    So 106.5?

    Yeah, he only needs one catch.

    Hes been targeted eight times. Yeah, 106.5.

    Oddsmakers are always looking at discrepancies between their lines and other books. The one that caused the biggest stir in the room was Hopkins. PointsBet opened the Texans wideouts live game yardage prop at 50.5 at the half. A different bookmaker opened theirs at 52 and shifted to 51.5, while another one surprisingly opened it at 79.5. The price on that over 79.5 quickly shot up to +200, while the under went from -115 to -278.

    Oddsmakers are setting these lines hoping for even action on both sides. On that specific Hopkins live yardage prop, the fact that there was a huge discrepancy in the market was clearly taken advantage of by some bettors, since the price on that Hopkins under 79.5 yards line went all the way to -278.

    One prop that PointsBet adjusted based off the market was Mahomess passing yardage. There was a double-digit differential there between PointsBet and multiple bookmakers, so Croucher shifted it from the original 392.5 to 400.5 in the middle of the halftime break.

    Hopkins finished with 55 receiving yards in the game, while Mahomes only notched 273 passing yardslargely due to the fact that Kansas City had just three possessions in the second half.

    Adjusting the player prop market isnt even the toughest level of improvisation that traders have to pull off.

    On Sundays, I think the biggest difficulty is responding to unexpected injuries or weather during games, Croucher says. So much of the in-play pricing now is automated based off the prematch closing price. But if Drew Brees gets injured in the second quarter against the Rams, then that prematch price, which I think was Rams -3, that goes out the door completely. You have to react in that circumstance and theres no model that can answer for what the difference is in that specific situation between Drew Brees and Teddy Bridgewater coming off the bench for the rest of the game.

    And thats where trading now really comes into it, where you just have to take a calculated best guess. Or in games, mainly with total-related markets, its usually when theres a lot of rain expected and it just never comes, and then the totals are all out of whack and you have to adjust those on the fly. Those are the two most difficult aspects, just dealing with unexpected things in play that throw everything to hell basically.

    The traders were tested early in the third quarter of Seahawks-Browns. Baker Mayfield was taken to the locker room, which suspended the in-game line. The Browns, who closed as one-point favorites, were leading 20-18 at the time, with the Seahawks taking over possession at their own 42-yard line. While Mayfields status for the rest of the game remained unknown, PointsBet still had to put up a new in-game line.

    In-play modeling is heavily tied to the prematch closing price, Croucher explained. When theres a game-altering injury and prematch pricing becomes obsolete, the models prematch closing price needs to be altered to account for the new situation, thus informing more accurate in-play pricing. In this case, a Baker injury would skew the closing price back toward Seattle being favored.

    In an adjustment to Mayfields injury, PointsBet opened its new in-game line at Seahawks -4.5, with its pricing more aggressive than other bookmakers. William Hill put its new in-game line up at Seahawks -3, while Bet365s -3.5 live line was quickly bet up to -4.5. Seattle scored a touchdown on that drive to make it a 25-20 game, however Mayfield jogged back onto the field and didnt wind up missing a single play. Croucher estimated that even with Mayfields early-season struggles, the sophomore quarterbacks value to the line compared to backup Garrett Gilbert would be 4-4.5 points.

    As the early games wrap up, the New Jersey traders responsibilities this Sunday are winding down as well. Most of them stay in the office until halftime of the late afternoon games, before handing off control to the trading team in Australia. Croucher, the last vacate the room, departs from his Burgundy chair and heads home to his wife and child. While the war that is the NFL season still has a long ways before concluding, another Sunday battle has been carried out in the trenches.

    Taylor Ballantyne/Sports Illustrated


    There are two states on everybodys radar for sports betting in 2020. New York does have legalized sports betting, however bets can only be made in person at four upstate casinos. Without mobile betting available, that leaves NYC residents much more likely to venture to New Jersey to place their action. On the West Coast, the wheels are starting to churn in California. In November, Native Americans proposed an initiative for the states 2020 ballot that would legalize sports betting in certain locations in California. This comes months after Senator Bill Dodd and Assemblyman Adam Gray introduced a bill that would also give California citizens the opportunity to vote to legalize sports betting on the states 2020 ballot. If California were to implement it, that could have a major impact on Las Vegas and Nevada.

    PointsBet, though, has its sights set on a different state to further build its brand. Colorado became the 19th U.S. state to legalize sports betting on Nov. 6, however the bookmaker already had zeroed in on it as the next step of its expansion.

    Like the deal with the Meadowlands that allowed PointsBet to begin in New Jersey, the bookmaker struck a partnership with Double Eagle Hotel and Casino that will permit it to launch a retail and mobile sportsbook in Colorado. PointsBet also will have a new office in downtown Denver. Aitken is already out there, along with most of PointsBets U.S. executive, legal and social teams.

    But why Colorado? PointsBet is convinced that given the states immense support for its four professional sports teams, that developing an interest in sports betting will be an easy process. Additionally, PointsBet has already been working with Colorados university systems to recruit the schools top tech students to bolster its efforts in that department.

    PointsBet is aiming to have 200 employees in its Colorado office, which is scheduled to open in April of 2020. After starting from scratch in New Jersey, PointsBets next goal is to become the top sportsbook in Colorado. And its not stopping there.

    [Our goal] is to have a national footprint. Once were in 10, 12, 15, 20 states hopefully within the next 3-4 years, were a national brand, Aitken said. If you asked anybody, Would PointsBet enter the market in New Jersey without any brand awareness and achieve over 5% market share over six months? theyd think youre crazy. Weve done that now, and for us, within 5-10 years, ultimately we do want to be number one in the entire country. We have the capability to do that, with our technology, our people and our complete focus on the U.S. market.

    Read more:
    A Behind the Scenes Look at How One Sportsbook Handles the Craziness of an NFL Sunday - Sports Illustrated

    He may be slow, but Preps Matt Crowley finds a way to move his team – The Boston Globe - December 10, 2019 by admin

    Needing a play to keep the chains moving and their lead intact against Catholic Memorial at Gillette Stadium, Crowley made the play of the game. Facing third and 8 near midfield, Crowley was flushed out of the pocket after side-stepping a late-blitzing CM linebacker. With CMs Owen McGowan in hot pursuit, Crowley sprinted to the sideline and threaded a perfect cross-body throw to Jackson Delaney, who had broken back to the middle of the field after running an out route to the first-down sticks.

    That was unreal, said Prep offensive guard Cooper Smith.

    Said St. Pierre: I told him he aint fast, he knows. But hes a winner. That was the play of the game, in my opinion, keeping that drive alive. Thats just moxie. You cant teach that. Thats why hes a three-year starter for us.

    Three plays after that 16-yard completion, Crowley lobbed a pass up the left seam, where Matt Duchemin got inside leverage on his defender and then juggled in the ball over the top of him for a 32-yard score. That made it a 21-7 fourth-quarter lead for St. Johns Prep, which won its second straight Division 1 title.

    Crowley finished with 145 yards on 7-of-12 passing. That included a pretty throw to set up the Eagles second touchdown and 14-0 lead in the first, a simple smash concept that opened the deep left sideline for Duchemin, who was pushed out at the 1.

    There were plenty of other factors that led to Preps win:

    Commitment to power John DiBiaso-coached teams, going back to his quarter-century run at Everett, are legendary for their application of Double Wing schemes when in need of a jolt. The formations hallmark foot-to-foot line splits virtually eliminate blitzing and make it difficult to identify the right ballcarrier.

    St. Johns Prep used some of those splits throughout the game, from more traditional formations, commanding the point of attack seemingly with brute force. That included the games first score, a 14-yard James Guy zone toss in which he smartly cut back after seeing a backside linebacker over-pursue, opening a canyon to run through.

    Stifling pass defense Between sophomore Matt Mitchell and freshman Joenel Aguero, Preps secondary is going to be a problem for the next few years. Duchemin, the senior, said the secondarys point of emphasis was to keep CM receivers on their outside hip all night, and two plays in particular helped key the win.

    In the first half, Duchemin came up with the Eagles first interception by making a great read. Backpedaling before the snap and covering CMs outside receiver, Duchemin broke toward the hash marks when he saw CMs Barrett Pratt overthrow a slot receiver, and slid for a diving interception.

    Then in the fourth, with CM driving in Eagles territory on fourth and 6, linebacker Tripp Clark saw McGowan settle in a spot just beyond the first-down marker, and wisely settled in front of him, dropping the would-be pick but forcing a turnover on downs regardless.

    We put in a new game plan and as DBs, weve got to play with swagger, so we just went out there and balled out, Duchemin said.

    Mega morale It truly says something about St. Pierres skills as a motivator that, as overseer of a perennial top-five program, he could get the defending Division 1 state champs to fiercely buy into a David-vs.-Goliath mentality.

    And we do mean fierce. As players soaked in their victory on the Gillette turf, the no-respect card was volleyballed around with gusto. Smith talked about wanting to change the way the state thinks about us. Crowley talked about embracing that we were the underdogs.

    Their head coach was even more emphatic.

    We had a huge chip on our shoulder all year, St. Pierre said. We were the returning state title winners, and everyones talking about Central Catholic, Springfield Central, and CM. Like yeah, St. Johns Prep is top five, but nobody really talked like we were in title contention. That [made the kids mad], to be quite honest. I wasnt too happy about it either.

    Hes not wrong. If St. Pierre had been within earshot of the Mansfield fans in Friday nights Division 2 title game, he would have heard a smattering of We want CM! chants from the student section as the seconds counted down on the Hornets rout of Lincoln-Sudbury.

    A few other observations from Saturdays Super Bowl slate . . .

    As expected, Springfield Central rolled to a second straight title in Division 3. What started with a throttling of Everett at Memorial Stadium ended with a dominant postseason run in which the Golden Eagles outscored the opposition, 181-53, and saw workhorse tailback Marcus Crawford average nearly 9 yards a carry throughout the playoffs, with 11 touchdowns.

    The Golden Eagles arent going away any time soon.

    Crawford, the years biggest breakout candidate, will be back. So is 6-foot-5-inch receiver Joe Griffin and defensive lineman Terry Lockett, a monolith in the middle who counts Syracuse and Michigan among his current suitors. Centrals line averaged more than 270 pounds across, and its conceivable it will be even bigger in 2020.

    Coach Valdamar Brower and his any time, anywhere approach to scheduling has the Eagles on everyones radar following the Everett rout by taking CM and Central Catholic to the wire. And with an enrollment of more than 2,000 students, theyll all but certainly be placed in Division 1 when the next realignment comes.

    But that is a year away. So for now, the stalwarts of an otherwise quite competitive Division 3 landscape in Eastern Mass must groan, and sit back and enjoy watching freshman quarterback sensation William Pop Watson.

    Watson was already hauling in FBS offers before he entered high school, and he backed up the hype in his very first game, throwing for more than 300 yards in that win over Everett. Saturday, he only completed six passes, but four of them went for touchdowns totaling 187 yards.

    When was the last time a quarterback this good got this much praise early? The sky is the limit for Watson, whose father Bill Watson is now Centrals defensive coordinator after a successful run as head coach at Springfield Putnam.

    He was a freshman, then we played Everett and then he grew up really fast, Brower said of Watson. Hes been carrying himself like a senior since the seventh grade.

    With the MIAA at eight divisions for its statewide tournament, and only a limited amount of time to get in all the games at Gillette Stadium over two days, games must stay on time and they must be fast.

    The byproduct of this was the shortening of the quarters from 12 to 10 minutes. The 12s were in play during the regular season and all games leading to Gillette. Outside of several injury delays, games mostly went quick, as there were no overtimes.

    When you add it up, as Leicester coach Tim Griffiths noted after his Wolverines lost to Abington in the Division 7 final, its a significant amount of lost time to deal with.

    Ten-minute quarters, thats eight less minutes. Thats a big difference from what were used to, he said. Regardless, [Abington] made plays and we didnt.

    But the MIAA Football Committee, following national federation rules, is committed to 12-minute quarters going forward, and with the likelihood that there will be five divisions starting in 2021, it will be a moot point.

    Brendan Hall can be reached at

    Read more:
    He may be slow, but Preps Matt Crowley finds a way to move his team - The Boston Globe

    World Architecture Festival 2019: Day Two winners announced – Archinect - December 10, 2019 by admin


    Winner in the Completed Building Hotel and Leisure category: Lindis Lodge by Architecture Workshop Patrick Reynolds Photography

    World Architecture Festival just wrapped up Day Two of the high-profile, three-day event in Amsterdam.

    After yesterday's announcement of the Day One winners, another field of shortlisted projects from around the world were presented by their architectural design teams today, and a few lucky ones managed to win in their respective categories.

    Swedish firm White Arkitekter scored two category wins with projects in Greenland and Kenya today, and Heatherwick Studio's recently completed London Coal Drops Yard added another title to yesterday's success with the Vessel at Hudson Yards in New York.

    Find today's winning projects below, check out the category winners of the coinciding INSIDE World Festival of Interiors here, and stay tuned for the big reveal of the World Building of the Year title tomorrow.

    Completed Building Hotel and Leisure: Architecture Workshop - Lindis Lodge, Omarama, New Zealand (cover picture)

    Jury notes: "Poetic, inspiring secluded lodge, sensitively considered, hence seated elegantly within its extreme weather open landscape. An innovative piece of parametric architecture assembled by local labour on site. Most sustainable project from water treatment, heating, cooling, natural ventilation, insulation; just amazing!"

    Qasr Al Hosn: Al Musallah by CEBRA CEBRA

    Completed Building Religion: CEBRA - Qasr Al Hosn: Al Musallah, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

    Jury notes:"Through the landscapes, they have enhanced this heritage site and in doing so, created architecture."

    Coal Drops Yard by Heatherwick Studio Hufton+Crow

    Completed Building Shopping: Heatherwick Studio - Coal Drops Yard, London, United Kingdom

    Jury notes:"Though a simple gesture, the project becomes a landmark for Kings Cross while respecting the site's heritage."

    Bayalpata Regional Hospital by Sharon Davis Design Sharon Davis Design and Possible Health

    Completed Building Health: Sharon Davis Design - Bayalpata Regional Hospital, Achham, Nepal

    Jury notes:"This is an example of when architecture provides more than a building. Although modest in scale and architectural expression is delivers a massive leap in healthcare provision in a region with scarce resources. A great example of an architect listening closely and responding intelligently to site and situation. The building is rooted in its site through its use of onsite materials and has impeccable zero carbon design credentials."

    Villa B by Powerhouse Company Bas Princen

    Completed Building Villa: Powerhouse Company - Villa B, Munich, Germany

    Jury notes:"Architecture self-knowingly precision engineered to meet quality expectations beyond luxury."

    Oasis Terraces by Serie + Multiply Architects Hufton + Crow

    Completed Building Mixed Use: Serie + Multiply Architects - Oasis Terraces, Singapore

    Jury notes:"Oasis Terraces aims high to achieve civic dignity when it turns every day functions into a space of higher importance, and turns an empty plot in a social housing area into a crown jewel. The project displays a very successful integration of disparate programmes into a coherent composition, which appears very adaptable to alternative uses. The flow of pedestrians and admirable accessibility, with moments of emptiness, combine to produce a beautiful composition of build form and landscape."

    KOKUGAKUIN UNIVERSITY Learning Center by NIKKEN SEKKEI Nozomu Shimao

    Completed Building Higher Education and Research: NIKKEN SEKKEI - KOKUGAKUIN UNIVERSITY Learning Center, Tokyo, Japan

    Jury notes:"The new learning centre solves complex urban challenges in a way that looks effortless, creating a modern shrine in the centre of Tokyo. The building has a poetic relationship with both city and ancient shrine precinct."

    75.9 House by Omer Arbel Office Omer Arbel Office

    Future Project House: Omer Arbel Office - 75.9 House, Surrey, Canada

    Jury notes:"The judges felt that the combination of the experimental process with fabric form concrete tightly contained within its external frame but internally and spatially arranged making incidence, opportunity and surprise in the relationshipbetween thebuilding and landscape. The hollow column capitol creating the containers for pink magnolia trees to set an at roof level was sublime."

    Badaevskiy Brewery, Redevelopment by Herzog & de Meuron and APEX project bureau Herzog & de Meuron

    Future Project Residential: Herzog & de Meuron / APEX project bureau - Badaevskiy Brewery, Redevelopment, Moscow, Russia

    Jury notes: "Striking at first glance, this project turns out to be a clever and considered example of 'critical conservation' - a brave juxtaposition of old and new that reinterprets the use of pilotis at the urban space."

    Psychiatric Clinic, Nuuk by White Arkitekter AB, DIFK Dipl.-Ing. Florian Kosche, F Engineering AS White Arkitekter and Luxigon

    Future Project Health: White Arkitekter AB / DIFK Dipl.-Ing. Florian Kosche / F Engineering AS - Psychiatric clinic, Nuuk, Nuuk, Greenland

    Jury notes:"The only facility for the whole island dealing with a range of psychiatric disorders. Climate change is being addressed. An important institution in the community with the architecture respecting the environment."

    De Meelfabriek by Studio Akkerhuis Studio Akkerhuis

    Future Project Commercial Mixed Use: Studio Akkerhuis - De Meelfabriek, Leiden, The Netherlands

    Jury notes:"The proposed project (now under construction) revitalises an abandoned industrial site, formerly a flour factory, into a new piece of city with a wide range of uses. The Meelfabriek is a cluster of buildings, largely retained, partially removed to improve permeability and public spaces. Located on the historic green/blue fortification, the Meelfabriek connects routes to the old city centre, and a ring of green parks. Exposing the inner beauty of the internal heroic structures cleverly gives a new value to the historic structures. Twelve buildings on two and a half hectares, comprising 55,000m2, housing, offices, arts centre, sports facilities, and public access to the tops of the buildings - a truly mixed use complex which is permeable to the public thanks to this mix of functions. The Meelfabriek could serve as a model for other industrial brownfield sites."


    Future Project Competition Entries: DESIGN & MORE INTERNATIONAL - THE CULTURAL CANYON - Rebuilding Baghdad Design Center, Baghdad, Iraq

    Jury notes:"The cultural canyon reveals a delicate layering of history with a humble and respectful approach towards inherent cultural values of its site. Its novelty stems from a rich re-interpretation and rigorous research of meeting path in the urban public realm."

    The Tanks at Bushwick Inlet Park by STUDIO V Architecture Studio V Architecture and Ken Smith Workshop

    Future Project Experimental: STUDIO V Architecture - The Tanks at Bushwick Inlet Park, Brooklyn, USA

    Jury notes:"The Tanks at Bushwick Inlet Park embrace a collaborative process that integrates community needs and ideas in the architectural process while preserving industrial heritage. The notions of regeneration, re-rehabilitation and re-appropriation activate the healing of a site, both socially and ecologically."

    The School in a Park by Maisam Architects & Engineers Maisam Architects & Engineers

    Future Project Education: Maisam Architects & Engineers - The School in a Park, Amman, Jordan

    Jury notes:"This new campus for the old established school demonstrates sensitive balance between preserving historic memories and creative, new architectural statement."

    The New GoDown Arts Centre by White Arkitekter White Arkitekter

    Future Project Culture: White Arkitekter - The New GoDown Arts Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

    Jury notes:"Strong social and anthropological studies leading to consultation and participating client relations. Multidisciplinary and international team. Combination of social, traditional and environmental objections clearly articulated. Good use of local materials and construction. Clear idea of inhabilitation articulated in presentation - but a strong sense of the need for spontaneity throughout the public spaces. Courtyard appears vibrant and believable."

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    World Architecture Festival 2019: Day Two winners announced - Archinect

    I took my daughter to where I grew up. Maybe I was simply chasing ghosts – Irish Times - December 10, 2019 by admin

    I suppose I shouldve known better. But one morning, back in July, my daughter and I walked the short walk to our old house in rural Ireland. I was quietly hoping she may have been a little intrigued about our destination.

    Of course my old stomping ground was always going to be a bit of a step down from London, where weve just done the tourist things and spent the best part of a day wandering around transfixed at the Harry Potter wonder world at Watford. It hardly needed to be said that the village of Finea in Co Westmeath falls a little short compared to the majesty of Tower Bridge.

    We are here in farming country with only scant signs of human activity. There is the unmistakable enduring smell of slurry being spread somewhere. Ive been surprised to see the honeysuckle with its distinct scent, still there, still thriving on the side of the road, near Fagans gate. There are also elderberry, blackthorn, and ash and sycamore saplings, but regular hedge slashings have put paid to their upward trajectories. The only traffic, large lorries from Plunketts quarry, have us standing well back in the ditch as they trundle past weighed down with their loads of ready-mix concrete, sand and blocks.

    I wasnt sure what to expect. The smell of a turf fire? A discarded soccer ball or frisbee in the front yard? Maybe a neat stack of split firewood. Perhaps even an inquisitive collie or a cat stretched out on a windowsill basking in the sunshine. Or, maybe I was simply chasing ghosts. Id find out soon enough.

    On we go, past Mastersons and Dermodys. I glance up at Maol hill where my brothers beasts are dotted like tiny Lego pieces in the top field, just below the remnant of the hazel copse. Wed head up there the following day. Around the bend and we are almost there, on the home straight. This section of road used to be the final hundred yards or so of our daily mile-long straggle home from school. Sometimes wed summon enough energy to sprint the last 20 yards or so anxious to get inside and retrieve our dinner from the bottom drawer of the range. For a few moments, I imagine I could almost be going home, one more time, only, of course, Im not.

    Originally a thatched cottage, the upper floor was added at a later stage, about a 100 years ago, which housed our family of 12. Its windowless grey gable is more weathered, more mundane than I remember. Inside, the three bedrooms upstairsand the 14-step stairway linking them to the downstairs kitchen and parlour. Those bedrooms with their rattling sash windows and wafer-thin glass were nigh impossible to heat. Jackdaws casually commandeered the two inactive chimneys at either end of the roof every spring. Keeping the kitchen warm in winter was a perennial challenge for our old Stanley No 8 that my mother was forever force-feeding with turf and wood. But for all that, it was our homefor 30 years and I knew no different, and Im still not sure Id ever want to change any of it.

    For years, the old man, a cautious man, had talked and talked about building a bungalow - for so long it seemed that wed simply shrugged and dismissed his talk as mere wishful thinking. It became our running joke and we were happy to indulge his flight of fancy. But his dream finally became a reality in his final few decades, long after most of us had gone, after he reluctantly sold a few acres, and they moved the few hundred metres to where they had a view of the spire of the church in Granard. They too had joined the world of ubiquitous modern-day bungalow dwellers, scourge or blight, some would argue, of contemporary Irish landscape. But it was their very own bungalow with its double-glazed windows, central heating and pebble-dashed exterior walls and clever-shaped chimney crowns that thwarted even the most determined jackdaw. It was a house that could hold its own with any other dwelling in the locality and our parents were inordinately proud.

    As we drew closer that morning, it was obvious no one was at home. Id been told the house was up for sale. The curtains were not drawn. There was no sign of a car or even a bicycle, and the chimney was giving off no smoke. But at least the ancient fuchsia on the embankment was still going strong. Down the roughly quarried well-worn stone steps, we cantered, boldly, as if we still had some claim on this place and into the front yard that was now covered with crushed white rock like the stuff that decorates some of the plots in the local graveyard. Everywhere was spick and span. The interior had been totally transformed. Schmick, to use an Australian adjective, is the description that came to my mind. Devoid of any clutter and now just a single open plan space, it seemed inconceivable that this was the same space where wed been reared cheek by jowl.

    Even the outhouse had been refitted with a shiny new slate roof, and a new door, painted a blood red. This shed, which also doubled as the old mans workshop, used to be a repository for all manner of things; fishing rods, bicycles and in winters, an ideal place to hang pheasants and ducks bagged on Sunday afternoons during the shooting season. The ancient looking wheelbarrow sprouting clumps of red geraniums looked contrived, incongruous. And perhaps because of all these faux additions, the place had taken on the unmistakable feel of a weekender or a bolthole that was devoid of any emotion or character.

    Year after year, in all kinds of weather, and especially when the back field was too soggy, my brothers and I seized every available opportunity to kick a ball around in this yard, honing what we imagined were our putative soccer skills, as if we might be the next Frank Stapleton or Kenny Dalglish; while our mother fretted that at any given moment an errant ball could well come smashing through the kitchen window. Occasionally, we came close, but the modest size of the window meant it always escaped unscathed.

    The sense of quiet that morning was unnerving. Ghosts of my crowded childhood were barely below the surface. We should go now, I had told my daughter, and I was surprised by my impatience. There is nothing to see here, its changed too much, I added, as if to explain my need to get going. She shrugged, indifferent, offering no protest and we turned and headed towards the stone steps, and before I knew it, we were away back down the road, where the superior pebble-dashed bungalow and its well-tended lawn, and its view of the church spire, and our hire car awaited.

    Read more:
    I took my daughter to where I grew up. Maybe I was simply chasing ghosts - Irish Times

    23 Backyard Landscaping Ideas – HGTV - December 5, 2019 by admin

    Subtle Terracing in Backyard Water Features Adds Interest to Backyard Landscape Contemporary Tiers Create an Easy Backyard Playhouse Backyard Vegetable Garden

    A well planned backyard vegetable garden plot can yield a bountiful harvest of vegetables from spring into fall. A variety of crops, such as tomatoes, squash and herbs, will flourish in a well watered and sunny spot.

    A level backyard lends itself to a courtyard effect and multiple outdoor "rooms."

    What some homeowners would see as deficitsa sloped and shady backyardthese homeowners have turned into assets. This tranquil, restful escape from busy city life features a path that winds through groves of 'Knock Out' roses, butterfly bushes, azaleas and areas of visual interest, from a koi pond to a bird bath, along the way.

    Old and new architectural styles combine in this striking backyard Southern pavilion. The focal point (#1) is the striking fireplace. A woven, seagrass rug (#2) softens the space. Water-resistant furniture (#3) makes sense in this space exposed to the elements.

    Fancy a swim under the stars or how about a dip in a pool lit only by the light of a firewall?

    Is your backyard is graced with large, sturdy trees? Then maybe what you need is a treehouse. DIY designs range from simple, open-air decks to fully-finished spaces complete with plumbing and electricity.

    Fire pits create a wonderful focal point for an outdoor gathering space and add warmth to backyard gatherings on cool evenings.

    Landscape designer Jamie Durie removed the lawn from a shady backyard and then filled the space with tropical plants, a floating lounge and a daybed.

    Moss gardens mean even shade is no deterrent to green. Moss makes a beautiful border in this Japanese garden and requires no mowing, leaving more time for meditation.

    The rest is here:
    23 Backyard Landscaping Ideas - HGTV

    9 things to see, eat and drink near Brooklyn’s new Wegmans – Brooklyn Daily Eagle - December 5, 2019 by admin

    Eye on Real Estate: Welcome to waterfront Brooklyn, Wegmaniacs.

    The long-awaited 74,000-square-foot Wegmans grocery store in the Brooklyn Navy Yard has been open for about a month, gladdening the hearts of devoted shoppers who refer to themselves as Wegmaniacs.

    Ive got a suggestion for all of you who are schlepping a long way to Wegmans. Why not turn your shopping trip into an urban adventure?

    Theres so much cool stuff to see in the area including historic architecture, driverless cars and places to day drink. Wegmans stays open until 11 p.m., so you have lots of time to do other things before you hit the produce department.

    Go and see Vinegar Hill, a quiet, picturesque waterfront neighborhood that combines 200-year-old rowhouses with a Con Ed substation that extends for blocks and blocks along the shoreline of the East River. The neighborhood is right up the hill from Wegmans Sands Street entrance.

    The area was named after the Battle of Vinegar Hill, which took place during the Irish Rebellion of 1798. Irish immigrant shipbuilder John Jackson owned a lot of the land on which the neighborhood was built. He chose the name to honor his homeland.

    At the top of the neighborhoods highest hill, behind a fence and gate, theres a landmarked mansion built in 1805 and 1806 for the Commandant of the Brooklyn Navy. It has been privately owned since 1979. The address of the Commandants House is 24 Evans St., if youre looking for it on a map.

    Charles Bulfinch designed the house, the city Landmarks Preservation Commissions designation report about it says. Of course his name rings a bell. He designed part of the U.S. Capitol.

    The Vinegar Hill Historic District consists of several blocks in various parts of the neighborhood. It includes Greek Revival-style rowhouses located at 67, 69 and 71 Hudson Ave., which were constructed in 1817.

    At the edge of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, theres an extraordinary 1.5-acre park with a winding boardwalk built a few feet above a former burial ground. It is open to the public.

    This somber and peaceful place is called the Naval Cemetery Landscape. It is part of the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative.

    When youre walking around the area surrounding Wegmans, this is NOT the next thing you will see after finishing a Vinegar Hill stroll.

    But Im mentioning the Naval Cemetery Landscape now because I want to suggest that you see it early in the day while theres plenty of daylight. It takes a good long while to walk there.

    You have to head down Flushing Avenue and go all the way to Williamsburg Street West, then turn left.

    People who died at a hospital in the Navy Yard were buried in this hallowed ground. But in the 1920s, this cemetery was decommissioned.

    Many of the dearly departeds remains were taken to Cypress Hills Cemetery where baseball great Jackie Robinson is buried.

    However, other bodies were possibly left behind in the Naval Cemetery, archival and archaeological investigators realized in the 1990s.

    The raised boardwalk is a sign of respect for the unmarked graves that are probably on the site.

    There are also two lines of gigantic stones that form pathways in the park.

    The terrain is planted with native meadow grasses, wildflowers and photogenic milkweed plants.

    In one corner of the park, semi-circular rows of benches form an amphitheater.

    In another corner, theres an area called the Sacred Grove with a wooden bench for quiet contemplation. A compartment on the bottom of the bench holds a notebook in which visitors are invited to write their thoughts.

    If you turn your head while sitting on this bench, you can catch a glimpse through the trees of the former Navy Yard hospital. It was built in 1838 and is made of Tuckahoe marble.

    Several years ago, developer Doug Steiner of Steiner Studios showed me around the Naval Annex, which is the area where the hospital is located. Hes restoring the buildings in the 20-acre complex and turning it into a location for film and TV production.

    The Brooklyn Navy Yard where Wegmans is located is an immensely historic place. President John Adams established it in 1801, when the American Republic was young.

    Famous ships that were built at the 300-acre site include the USS Arizona, which the Japanese sank in their Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. Women worked at the Navy Yard during World War II Jennifer Egans novel Manhattan Beach delved into that historic phenomenon.

    In this day and age, the Navy Yard belongs to the city. Its now an industrial park full of businesses that make innovative products such as bomb-proof underwear (Crye Precision) and tools that are used on the Mars Rovers (Honeybee Robotics).

    Most of the Brooklyn Navy Yard is closed to the public. But there are guided tours that share some of its most interesting secrets.

    One provides an overview of the Navy Yards past and present; another offers an inside look at the businesses located there now. One tour focuses on the Navy Yards architecture, anothers about the Navy Yards role in World War II and anothers about urban ecology. Sign up for them on the Navy Yards website.

    A few years ago, Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. President and CEO David Ehrenberg gave me a tour of the facility. It was great fun.

    One spot in the Navy Yard that is open to the public is the ground floor of Building 77 at 141 Flushing Ave., where you can get a bite to eat.

    The Lower East Sides famous century-old bagels and lox purveyor, Russ & Daughters, opened a shop and food-production facility in Building 77 a couple years ago. Its a good spot to sit for a bit and nosh on bagels and smoked Scottish salmon, or Irish salmon, or sable, or the list goes on and its all good.

    Building 77 was constructed in the 1940s as a storage facility. It didnt have any windows. The Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. recently renovated it.

    Have you ridden in a self-driving car yet? You can try one out in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

    When youre done with your Russ & Daughters snack, walk out the back of Building 77 and head for the NYC Ferry landing.

    A path for pedestrians and cyclists passes alongside Dock 72, a 16-story office building I recently toured (this was a tour for reporters). Its the first new-from-the-ground-up commercial building to be constructed at the Navy Yard in more than 10 years.

    At the end of Dock 72 by the ferry landing, a spot is marked for the self-driving cars that a company called Optimus Ride is operating in the Navy Yard. The vehicles will shuttle you to the Navy Yards Cumberland Gate or if youre a timid passenger, you can take a very short ride that ends outside Building 77.

    The car moves verrry slooowly, less than 20 miles per hour, as the Brooklyn Eagle reported earlier this year. And a human being, whos referred to as a safety operator, sits in the drivers seat in case anything goes wrong.

    The Optimus Ride cars are New Yorks first commercial self-driving vehicles.

    Theres a vineyard in the Brooklyn Navy Yard called Rooftop Reds on top of Building 275. And its open to the public.

    Its the worlds first commercially viable urban rooftop vineyard, its website says.

    You have to make a reservation, which is free of charge, to get access to Rooftop Reds. Also, you have to go to the Navy Yards Sands Street entrance to be allowed into the complex.

    Its a unique experience to stroll down rows of grapevines with industrial buildings all around you and the top of the Empire State Building rising up from the horizon. This time of year, the vines are leafless and austerely beautiful, like wiry modern sculptures.

    There are hammocks to hang out in, and picnic tables, if you want to stay outside and stare at the superb scenery while you sip your vino. Theres indoor seating as well.

    At the end of the vineyard where the hammocks are set up, you see Downtown Brooklyns new high-rise apartment towers standing in a row. Off to the left, you get a glimpse of the iconic Williamsburgh Savings Bank Clocktower Building.

    When you sit at the picnic tables, you get a view of Navy Yard buildings located on one side of Flushing Avenue and homes on the other, which are in a neighborhood called Wallabout that Ill tell you about in a minute.

    There are historic exhibits at the Navy Yards Building 92 at 63 Flushing Ave. It consists of a glamorous brick home constructed as the Marine Commandants residence in 1858 with a modern addition in the back.

    Also, in Building 92s Yard Work Gallery, theres an exhibit of works by artists whose studios are in the Navy Yards Building 30.

    Off Flushing Avenue just steps away from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, theres a shop whose address is 14 Clermont Ave. Head Hi, as its called, sells books, art, coffee and snacks.

    The book selection is beautiful. Its a good spot to stop and refuel with caffeine before you head off to the serious business of shopping at Wegmans.

    The body of water where the Brooklyn Navy Yard is situated is called Wallabout Bay.

    Once you know that, youll be less surprised to discover that Brooklynites with a sense of history call the neighborhood bounded by Flushing, Carlton, Myrtle and Classon avenues Wallabout.

    In this neighborhood, you find the citys largest concentration of mid-19th century wooden houses. Theres a city-designated Wallabout Historic District on Vanderbilt Avenue. Greek Revival-style Lefferts-Laidlaw House at 136 Clinton Ave. is an individual city landmark.

    Preservation activists are campaigning for landmark designation for Wallabouts most culturally significant house 99 Ryerson St., where famed poet Walt Whitman lived when he published the first version of his ground-breaking volume Leaves of Grass. To keep things simple, the advocates refer to the neighborhood where Leaves of Grass House is located as Clinton Hill.

    A petition urging the Landmarks Preservation Commission to designate 99 Ryerson St. has 7,000 signatures.

    Whitman was the Eagles editor in the 1840s.

    So. About Wegmans. The dazzling new supermarket has an entrance at 21 Flushing Ave. As I mentioned at the beginning of this story, theres also an entrance on Sands Street.

    My colleague Paul Frangipane and I toured the Wegmans right before it opened and created a list of reasons people are obsessed with this grocery chain.

    Now that its fully stocked and full of shoppers, the Brooklyn Wegmans is even cooler than I thought it was on tour day.

    On a recent visit, I tried out the stores Burger Bar. The hamburgers and French fries were great.

    There was quite a crowd at the cheese counter, where a misting system keeps the goods moist without forming puddles.

    There were beautiful orchids in the floral department and bounteous bread displays in the bakery.

    Did I mention theres a cocktail lounge on the mezzanine? It was full.

    Follow reporter Lore Croghan on Twitter.

    Eye on Real Estate is veteran reporter Lore Croghans weekly column on Brooklyns built environment. Whether its old as Abraham Lincoln or so new it hasnt topped out yet, if a building is eye-catching, Eye will show it to you.

    Read more here:
    9 things to see, eat and drink near Brooklyn's new Wegmans - Brooklyn Daily Eagle

    How to plant that live Christmas tree in your yard – TribLIVE - December 5, 2019 by admin

    Theres an unmistakable pine scent released when brushing against the evergreen trees lined up outside of Best Feeds Garden Centers location in Ross. That aroma conjures up childhood memories of sleepless nights and presents under the tree the next morning.

    Owner and manager Dwayne Evans is getting ready for the holiday season, and he recommends trying a live Christmas tree this season, which is added to the landscape after the holiday.

    People are starting to do it more than they have in the past five to 10 years, he says of planting a live tree. But its something people used to do a lot.

    Its a way to enjoy the tree for years to come, instead of just a month or less.

    The shopping process for a live Christmas tree takes a little more thought, because youre envisioning what the tree will look like inside as well as a part of your landscape.

    There are white pines, Norway spruce, firs, blue spruce and many others to choose from. There are even smaller live trees that could be tabletop decorations.

    When youre buying a tree, Evans says, its almost costing you as much to buy the cut tree as the live tree. So why not give it a try?

    Prepare now

    Its not as difficult as you might think, he says. But preparation begins now because the planting hole must be dug before the ground freezes.

    Shop first and see how big the root ball is, Evans says. The planting hole should be about a foot wider than the root ball. Thats not as critical as the depth though. The tree should show its root flare near the trunk when planted. When digging the hole, use the shovel handle to get the depth close.

    Its pretty simple, Evans adds with a smile. The roots are in the dirt; the trunk and branches are out of the dirt.

    Save that soil in a spot that wont freeze, like on a piece of plywood in the garage. It will be used to backfill the hole once the tree is in the ground after the holiday.

    Indoor care

    Its the transitions in and out of the house that are important. Evans recommends getting the tree about a week before Christmas and staging it somewhere outside where its protected from rain and snow.

    No one wants to drag a wet, messy tree through the house. A bright spot under cover, such as a patio, would work and then it should go into the garage a day or two ahead of the move indoors.

    Once you get it inside, he adds, you have to remember its a living plant, it needs a drink.

    Putting the root ball in a tub or large plant tray and adding water sparingly would help make the tree happy. It should not be placed near a furnace register or in front of a bright sunny window, as those places can dry the tree out.

    In a week tops, it needs to be transitioned back outside for a day or two in the garage, then the patio and eventually into the ground.

    Evans has a great trick for making sure the tree does not transpire too much water when put outdoors. He sprays the needles with Wilt Pruf or Wilt Stop.

    Its like us putting Chapstick on, he says. It helps to retain the moisture in the plant.

    Hes even seen the product applied before bringing the tree inside.

    Planting the tree

    Double check the depth when the tree is in the hole and adjust accordingly. Slice the bottom and sides of burlap (it will rot away) and untie the fabric from around the trunk. Leave the metal cage on, as it will hold the soil in place and bend down the protruding metal tabs so a string trimmer or lawnmower wont encounter them.

    A layer of mulch is a good idea; it should look like a doughnut not a volcano and never touch the trunk of the tree.

    The upside of doing this, Evans says, is youre buying something and not throwing it away. Youre also helping the environment by putting something outside that helps to clean our air.

    Or maybe you want to hide your neighbor, he adds with a laugh.

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    How to plant that live Christmas tree in your yard - TribLIVE

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