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    Category: Retaining Wall

    Crumbling Riverview Drive wall again to be discussed by Alton aldermen – Alton Telegraph - January 21, 2020 by admin

    Jeanie Stephens,

    Crumbling Riverview Drive wall again to be discussed by Alton aldermen

    ALTON Altons Committee of the Whole will vote on several resolutions, including pertaining to the crumbling retaining wall altop the bluff at Riverview Drive at its next meeting Tuesday.

    After several layovers, the resolution approving repairs to Riverview Drives retaining wall remains on the agenda as city officials wait for possible funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Since damage to the retaining wall occurred during torrential rains last spring, along with record flooding, officials hope that FEMA will award disaster relief funding for repair, they said.

    The Committee of the Whole will meet at 6 p.m. at Alton City Hall, prior to a city council meeting Wednesday, at 101 E. Third St.

    Other resolutions up for a vote and listed on the meeting agenda include improvements to State and Belle streets, demolition proceedings, agreements with Spay Neuter Illinois Pets (SNIP) Alliance and STO (Spencer T. Olin Community Golf Course) LLC, as well as bid reports for asbestos abatement, demolitions and equipment rental.

    Roadway improvements include State Street, 200 feet south of Rozier Street, to the city limits 300 feet north of Delmar Avenue, and improvements to Belle Street, from State Street to 260 feet south.

    SNIP Alliance, in partnership with Riverbend Pet Food Pantry, has requested use of a structure on city of Alton Public Works Departments grounds, where SNIP would conduct spay and neuter clinics, and Riverbend Pet Food Pantry also would be at the premises.

    An ordinance regarding the lease of property to STO, also will be addressed, for operation of the Spencer T. Olin Community Golf Course.

    Other resolutions concern demolition of two properties, one at 1923 Gross St. and the other at 3108 Hillcrest Ave.

    Asbestos abatement bids involve 2807 North St., 1332 Monroe St., 909 Rixon St., 1407 Cyrus St. and 2724 Residence St.

    Bids for demolition of six properties include 619 Brookside Ave., 905 Gold St., 1812 Ervay Ave., 2709 and 2713 Viewland Ave., and 1305 Harold Ave.

    Equipment rental bids are for Gordon Moore Park improvements, publicly endorsed by the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau.

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    Crumbling Riverview Drive wall again to be discussed by Alton aldermen - Alton Telegraph

    This Week in Lincolnville: The biggest issue we face – - January 21, 2020 by admin

    Lincolnvilles sixth grade science students braved the cold one recent day to conduct an investigation of high tides at the Beach. Through "Weather Blur," a program from the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, the class spent the fall developing the research question, "How high is the high tide at Lincolnville Beach over the course of a lunar cycle, and how does this compare to 20 years ago? Then they had to figure out how to answer this question, what data they would need and how/where they could find it.

    At the Beach that cold day, students measured the distance from the high tide line to the retaining wall at the beginning of the parking lot to see how close the water gets at a high tide during a full moon. In the coming days, the class will use data from NOAA's Tides and Currents site to analyze trends from 20 years ago and from this current lunar cycle.


    MONDAY, Jan. 20

    Town Office and School Closed, Martin Luther King Day

    TUESDAY, Jan. 21

    Book Group, 6 p.m., Library

    WEDNESDAY, Jan. 22

    Finance Advisory Committee, 10 a.m., Town Office

    Budget Committee, 6:30 p.m., Town Office

    Middle School Concert, 6:30 p.m., Walsh Common

    THURSDAY, Jan. 23

    Soup Caf, Noon-1 p.m., Community Building


    AA meetings, Tuesdays & Fridays at 12:15 p.m., Wednesdays & Sundays at 6 p.m., United Christian Church

    Lincolnville Community Library, open Tuesdays 4-7, Wednesdays, 2-7, Fridays and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon. For information call 706-3896.

    Soup Caf, every Thursday, noon1p.m., Community Building, Sponsored by United Christian Church. Free, though donations to the Community Building are appreciated

    Schoolhouse Museum open by appointment, 505-5101 or 789-5987

    Bayshore Baptist Church, Sunday School for all ages, 9:30 a.m., Worship Service at 11 a.m., Atlantic Highway

    United Christian Church, Worship Service 9:30 a.m., Childrens Church during service, 18 Searsmont Road

    This investigation has led to some interesting discussions about storm surge during historical storms and future sea level rise predictions. If you have any information about previous storm surge or flooding events at Lincolnville Beach, either anecdotal or photos, to share with them let the school know. The students are also interested to hear if there is any local planning for sea level rise in the coming years.

    This certainly isnt the science I was taught in sixth grade, studying the effects of a world-wide situation on our very own shore.

    A week ago we seemed to be heading into one of those open winters, when a six-inch snowfall gets the weather people all excited, warning us to take precautions, to stock up, to bring in our dogs, to bundle up. Then the six inches turns out to be three and a half, the snow turns to rain, and by morning theres just a mess. Thats not the way winter used to be, but then I guess thats the story of the day.

    In true Maine fashion where the weather changes by the hour, today were snowed in, frozen solid, truly in winters grip. Furnaces run around the clock, heat pumps do their best to keep ahead of the cold, and I throw another log on the fire. And then another.

    But even though winter can still clamp down, even though Maine is still the kind of place that snowbirds flee in flocks, winter has changed. Ive spent 50 consecutive winters here and can offer first hand knowledge: Winter has changed. By late November/early December wed be snow-covered, and except for the predictable January thaw a handful of days when the temperature would rise into the 40s, and we all ran around in shirtsleeves there was no relief from below freezing temperatures. Every year we endured at least one stretch of below 0 days, -10 all the way to -25.

    The snow piled up and up, until my mailbox disappeared from view, snow halfway up my front sunroom windows, hip-deep on the flat, over our heads where we threw it up by the shovelfuls along the driveway.

    Our middle son treasures a story of being abandoned by his brothers in a snow cave they built. When it collapsed around him, they went inside to get warm and didnt mention their brother was buried in it.

    The cross country skiing at Tanglewood was reliable; a couple of good snowfalls would cover the roots and rocks of the trails, and for weeks Id start every day with a ski around my favorite loop, up to the water tower and back out to the gate on the road that was never plowed.

    Snow days were only called when it was truly horrible you know, blowing snow, howling wind, lousy visibility. There were just four or five days built into the calendar, and no superintendent wanted to go over. Those were the days when class was held on Saturday mornings to make up the lost time or added in June.

    But a snow day was a big deal in a household with three little boys AND a teacher. Its hard to say who was the most excited at the phone ringing at 5 a.m. I had to stay inside to hear the phone while he, the teacher, went down into the barn to milk the cow. When it came, Id run right down with the news. But if it hadnt, it would be a pretty grumpy husband carrying in the pail of warm milk.

    If it had, hed be right upstairs, dancing around, singing his Snow Day song, while the boys were glued to the TV news, watching the school closings for Union 69. Thats us. And when it finally came through, wed all celebrate with a big breakfast of bacon and eggs. The boys couldnt wait to get outside with their sleds. Snow forts, snowball fights, snow caves. Theyd stay out until their mittens were sodden, cheeks bright red, snowsuits soaked.

    The first sight of bare ground, sometime in March, was a cause to party. People celebrated in all kinds of ways: one group of friends put on an annual play at the Grange, billed as a Cabin Fever Reliever. At our house I probably made an extra batch of home brew to get us through.

    All these years later (my grandchildren are the ages their fathers were when the snow piled up) were learning to live with what we call our new normal. Not only are the Arctic and Antarctica ice sheets melting, the permafrost thawing, and the seas rising, but our own ecosystem is changing.

    The ground barely freezes anymore. The snow is fleeting, turning to rain or sleety snow before morning, those brilliant days of sunshine and sparkly snow, a rarity. Australia and California have their horrific bush fires; we have ticks wintering over, ice storms and warming ocean waters.

    We cant invent our way out of it, this climate change which science has been telling us for decades is man-made. There is no easy fix, not even a complicated technological tour de force that will prove we humans are still in charge. No, this time we have to learn to work with the natural forces not by extracting oil, gas, and coal from the ground or even wood from the forests to heat our houses, to drive our cars or power our electricity but by harnessing the renewables the sun, the wind the tides.

    With our world facing unprecedented warming and the consequences wild fires, flooding, crazy storms it seems to come down to the tiniest of efforts. The kids wonder what local planning is in place. The one place we do have power, we 2,164 citizens of this municipality on the coast of Maine, is right here. The power to plan, to budget, to make decisions that will tally up on the good side of this climate debacle weve allowed.

    Lincolnville has a self-appointed energy team, not a town committee, not even an ad hoc one, but rather, an informal group of people who are committed to figuring out our tiny piece. Who are they? Cindy and Jim Dunham, Richard Glock, Greta and Gary Gulezian, Bob Olson, Janet Redfield, Cathy and John Williams.

    They are largely the ones who are responsible for the solar panels atop the Library roof, powering virtually all that buildings electrical needs, including heat, as well as providing credits that pay the LIA buildings electric bill.

    Once that project was completed, they looked at the municipal bill. They worked with the Fire Department and the town to use the large field adjacent to the Fire Department for a solar array big enough to cover the Town Office electric bill, including the Beach street lights. With that up and running, they researched more efficient street lights, ones that wouldnt light up the night sky, but would focus on the sidewalks. They lobbied for those new lights, and they were recently installed.

    Their latest goal is the biggest one of all: Lincolnville Central Schools electricity, the largest user in town. An extensive town-wide search for a piece of open land, big enough and with three-phase power already present, was unsuccessful. Then along came a project that seemed tailor-made for our needs. An investor-owned solar project in Livermore Falls that was marketing their energy credits to schools, on the theory that schools are a stable entity for a long-term contract.

    John Williams, the spreadsheet guy on the team who researches and analyzes all the data, says the town will see between $150,000 and $200,000 in savings on the schools electric bill over the 20 years of the contract. The way it works is this: the investors sell their solar-generated power to CMP for 9 1/2 cents per kilowatt, and each kilowatt is worth 13 cents for us when we go to pay our bill to CMP. That 3 1/2 cents is our savings. With the current yearly electric bill at $39,000, taxpayers will save $9,000 this year alone.

    Lawyers for the schools have looked at the contract, and all agree it is a solid agreement with the proper default provisions.

    By the way, if you want to contact the energy team, make a comment, ask a question you can reach them here.

    Since CHRHS, the Fivetown CSD we belong to, already has solar roof panels and the wind tower, they signed up to fulfill all the rest of their electricity needs with the Livermore project. So did SAD 28, Camden Rockport middle and elementary schools. Hope voted for their school to go solar as well.

    So far our LCS School Committee has refused to consider the project, citing the need to hear from townspeople before signing a 20-year contract. The Livermore investors expect to have all their capacity spoken for by the end of February, so if we want to see our school go solar we need to act soon. Our children know how important this is for the future of the planet. Theyre learning this in school, they hear about it on social media, they know who Greta Thunberg is.

    Heres a chance for us to weigh in. Let our School Committee members know how you feel about the school going solar:

    Jared Harbaugh

    Briar Lyons

    Mike Johnson

    Matthew Powers

    Becky Stephens


    David Kinney sent out this post on the Bulletin Board last week:

    The Board of Selectmen has created a committee to explore the opportunities available to the Town regarding high speed Internet service (broadband). The Town now needs people willing to serve on the committee. If individuals dont step forward to help the effort is likely to wither and fail. And if the effort fails the only option that residents have will be whatever the marketplace wishes to offer. It is up to you! Be part of the solution. Dont rely on others to do it for you. If you want to be part of the solution stop by or contact the Town Office. Committee work is not difficult and no special knowledge is required. Applicants simply need an interest, want to make their community better and be willing to put in some time and effort.

    That says it all!


    If you have a child who will be five years old on or before Oct. 15, 2020 its time to pre-register him/her for kindergarten! Call the office, 763-3366 and let them know.

    HAL (Hope-Appleton-Lincolnville) students are invited to join the CRMS (Camden Rockport Middle School) wrestling team. The first practice is Tuesday, Jan. 21, 4-5:30 p.m. at the CRMS cafeteria. Contact Aaron Henderson, call 522-5252 or email him.


    Elizabeth Eudy reports: Our Book Discussion is Tuesday the 21st at 6 p.m., and we will be talking about Samantha Powers memoir The Education of an Idealist. Wed love for you to join us. Well be reading "The Giver of Stars" by JoJo Moyes for February and The Orchard by Adele Crockett Robertson for our March meeting. Start reading!


    Bob Porter, who lived at the Stevens Corner end of Youngtown Road passed away a couple of days ago. Bob retired many years ago to a house right next to the one he grew up in, along with his five siblings. The family moved there from Camden during the Depression. I didnt know him very well, but we always had pleasant conversations; he was 90 years old.

    Doll Fest

    The First Annual Doll Fest, that is, will be held Saturday, March 14 at the Community Building. A group of knitters who meet weekly at one anothers houses realized a few months ago that most of them were making dolls knitted, sewn, clay, papier mache, all sorts of dolls. Lets have a doll show, we decided. Yes, Im one of them. Our Doll Fest will feature handmade dolls of all kinds, doll-making workshops, collections of dolls, and a tea party. If you collect dolls or if your child has dolls we invite you to show them. If you make dolls and would like to show others your techniques let us know. Either way, contact me, Diane or Julie Turkevich or Cyrene Slegona. And mark your calendars!

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    This Week in Lincolnville: The biggest issue we face -

    Weston senior housing idea back on the table – Milford Daily News - January 21, 2020 by admin

    A new proposal, to be sponsored by the Select Board and likely coming to another special Town Meeting in the next few months, calls for eight housing units, one of which will be affordable.

    WESTON After failing to receive a two-thirds majority at special Town Meeting last month, a proposal for a so-called Transit Oriented Senior Development (TOSD) at 255 Merriam St. and 11 Hallett Hill Road will return for another vote.

    Currently, the 2.9-acre site near the Silver Hill MBTA station is approved to become a 10-unit Chapter 40B housing project, in which two units will be deemed affordable.

    Under the TOSD proposal, which was supported by 216 Town Meeting voters with 149 opposed, only eight units of housing for adults 55 and older were to be built, but none affordable.

    Due to the two-thirds rule, the proposal would have required 244 "yes" votes to pass.

    A new proposal, to be sponsored by the Select Board and likely coming to another special Town Meeting in the next few months, calls for eight housing units, one of which will be affordable, and additional square footage achieved above garages or by altering roof slope lines.

    Select Board Chairman Chris Houston said at last weeks board meeting that the impact on the neighborhood of the TOSD proposal is much less than the 40B possibility, including not having to clear-cut trees (and) not having to build a 12-foot retaining wall going into the ground to accommodate the utility engineering, which would jeopardize even more trees on other properties potentially."

    The engineering of utilities and stormwater drainage would be substantially less likely to push the limits under the TOSD, Houston said. You do ten in there, youre packing it super tight.

    Also under the TOSD, an historic barn on the property would be preserved.

    During last months special Town Meeting, the Planning Board voted 3-0, with two recusals, against the TOSD bylaw proposal.

    A zoning provision applicable to only one specific area for the sole benefit of that one area - financial or otherwise - is the very definition of spot zoning, Planning Board member Alicia Primer said at the time.

    Houston addressed that concern during last weeks Select Board meeting.

    There is a chance that a court could find it to be spot zoning, though the trend in recent court decisions would be that because theres a public purpose - in this case promoting senior housing and affordable housing - it seems like a lower risk that a court would actually find it to be spot zoning, Houston said. Best practices are awesome, but sometimes the real world gives you reason to deviate from best practices. I think the benefits of this compromise outweigh the sort of violation of a best practice, that frankly I still dont understand why its necessarily best.

    Houston noted precedent in 2005, when the town created Active Adult Residential Development District (AARD) zoning in order to allow for the senior housing development Highland Meadows between Rte. 20 and Highland Street.

    It is true that the AARD is specified in generic terms, so theoretically it is not limited to Highland Meadows, Houston said.

    The only reason the AARD exists is because they wanted to address the Highland Meadows situation," he continued. "No one just woke up and said we really need some Adult Active Retirement District here, lets just create them in the abstract. It was entirely oriented toward Highland Meadows.

    Town Planner Imaikalani Aiu told selectmen last week that he didn't believe it was good planning practice to put in zoning in reaction to a single development on one lot.

    "As a professional planner, I think if theres an expressed need for affordable housing or senior housing, you look at it holistically and you go ahead and you find the best spots for it and you create that zoning," he said. "By that definition, I couldnt endorse a practice like this.

    At special Town Meeting, Planning Board member Susan Zacharias said the developer, Geoff Engler, certainly seems to have all of these people in the neighborhood held hostage, and this is not the way to do zoning bylaws.

    Select Board member Laurie Bent noted this was one article at special Town Meeting where she changed her mind during the presentations.

    I went in thinking, No, Im not going to vote for this, and it was not an easy vote, because of the loss of the affordable (units) and the feeling that we were being held hostage to the developer, Bent said. But the historic impact and the tree impact and how hard the neighborhood worked to try to have some control over what was happening changed her mind.

    So I think that this is a win-win, she said of the new proposal.

    Michael Wyner can be reached at 508-626-4441 or

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    Weston senior housing idea back on the table - Milford Daily News

    Mountain lion feeding on carcass thrills wildlife viewers – Torrington Register Citizen - January 21, 2020 by admin

    Photo: Kathryn Ziesig, AP

    Mountain lion feeding on carcass thrills wildlife viewers

    JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) Photo safari trip leader Brent Paulls game plan one day this month happily went out the window.

    A traveling wildlife guide from Tulare, California, Paull had just wrapped up leading three West Coast photographers on a three-day Yellowstone National Park tour. The group rolled into Jackson in the late afternoon to round out their week in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, pulling in around 4:15 p.m to the parking lot of the Super 8 Hotel.

    Greeting the bunch was a line of 150 photographers immediately across Highway 89. Naturally, they moseyed over with their cameras to see what was up.

    We havent actually checked in yet, Paull said. We just got out of the car and walked across the street.

    Even as sunlight faded, there was no mistaking the critter centered in the viewfinder of Paulls long-lensed camera, mounted on a tripod on the sidewalk next to the Maverik convenience store. In the frame was a mountain lion, tucked into the base of a juniper tree on High School Butte.

    Social media had already tipped Paull and his clients off to a cougar visible somewhere in the Jackson area, but they had no idea the big feline was sticking tight to the slopes just across the street from their hotel.

    The close encounter thrilled Springfield, Oregon resident Jim Woodward one of Paulls clients.

    This is my first cougar, Woodward said. Its amazing. We just drive in here to the motel, and theres a cougar on the hillside. Well, thats convenient.

    For almost a week the buzz around Jackson has been about a mountain lion drawn down to the base of the butte towering above town and staying put to dine on a mule deer carcass stashed by a rock retaining wall above South Park Loop Road. Word spread quickly after the secretive cat was first sighted, and by early Wednesday afternoon dozens of onlookers had assembled to lay eyes on a cougar, a rare sighting anywhere in the world let alone in view from your gas pump.

    Peak cat activity, at least in the light, came that first day.

    Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes! Bridger-Teton National Forest wildlife biologist Jason Wilmot exclaimed from the drivers seat of his pickup truck. Its moving.

    The apex feline predator took a few big bounds and bombed the hillside, sending magpies fleeing from the remains of the deer carcass, which partially protruded from the snow. On Wednesday the awe-inspiring behavior repeated itself a handful of times: The mountain lion would linger upslope obscured by the branches of the nearest juniper tree, and then, seemingly annoyed, scamper downhill to send scavenging corvids skyward.

    He came down the hill pretty hot, Jackson resident Jenn Hunt remarked that first afternoon.

    Resident Nina Lenz, seeing her first lion, was jubilant.

    Its my birthday! Lenz blurted while clapping. And I saw it!

    Such was the mood midday in the parking lot of a west Jackson gas station.

    But the chance at seeing the native big cat on the move proved fleeting.

    In the overnight hours last Wednesday, the cougar took the initiative to fully cache its carcass, covering it entirely in snow. With ravens and magpies out of the picture, the cougar appeared content napping in the trees and sagebrush during nearly 10 daylight hours in subsequent days, padding down only to chew off pieces of frozen venison once the sun had set.

    Photographers and inquisitive spectators dwindled as the days passed, though even through to Sunday night a dozen or so folks remained with their cameras fixed on the obscured, lethargic cougar lingering in the trees and waiting for darkness.

    This has been the name of the game, bundled-up Victor, Idaho, resident and avid wildlife photographer Jack Bayles said from the seat of a lawn chair. Were all disappointed how good shes been at caching (the deer). There were a hundred crows through here today, but none of them actually touched down.

    The lion, Bayles explained, hardly budged during daylight hours for three straight days, though there were a couple of exceptions, including one feeding foray around dawn. Out on a walkabout much higher up High School Butte on Sunday morning, the cougar was also observed spooking a herd of mule deer, he said.

    Speculation has run rampant over what to make of the cat.

    Some theorized that it was the same animal seen in February 2018, photographed feeding on a deer next to the Welcome to Jackson, Wyoming sign just south of Smiths. Late Sunday a former employee of the defunct Teton Cougar Project who lingered on the scene wondered and hoped that it was a dispersed offspring of one of her old research cats, F61.

    Wildlife officials, who didnt intervene by moving the carcass, said they were not too concerned with the cat and its proximity to a crowd. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department dispatched employees on occasion to check in, but the agency didnt maintain a presence at the scene.

    Obviously, the priority for us is public safety, and we dont view it as a public safety issue really, Game and Fish spokesman Mark Gocke said. The cats been keeping to itself for the most part, and it seems like everybodys staying at a safe distance.

    Gocke said that because the cat isnt marked wearing an identifiable tracking collar or ear tags its difficult to say anything about its life history with certainty. While not exactly routine, the animals presence right at the edge of town on a slope that holds mule deer in the winter isnt shocking, he said.

    We have good lion habitat all around us, Gocke said. Im sure theyre around more than we know. Theyre just so secretive.

    When lions do come within eyeshot of roads and developed areas, a carcass, which can sustain a cat for a week, is often the reason. Such was the case in March 2018, when a cougar fed on a downed bull elk carcass about 500 yards off of the National Elk Refuge Road across from Miller Butte. Dozens of viewers turned into hundreds, fueled by the cats snowballing presence on social media, which attracted wildlife watchers from afar.

    The Elk Refuge also was host to Jackson Holes most famous visible mountain lion, a cat nicknamed Spirit. In 1999, the lioness denned with her three kittens on the southeast corner of Miller Butte near the road. The weekslong show inspired the formation of a Jackson-based advocacy group the Cougar Fund and a book, Spirit of the Rockies: The Mountain Lions of Jackson Hole, along with ample press from national media.

    This go-around at High School Butte, Jackson Hole wildlife filmmaker Jeff Hogan was a mainstay at the scene. A cinematographer who has left remote cameras at many mountain lion kill sites, he was glad the public has had a chance to see what he has observed many times.

    I think everything that cat is doing is completely normal behavior, Hogan said nine hours into filming on Thursday. The only thing thats kind of unusual is that we spotted her. If that kill was behind one of those junipers up there, wed never even know that cat was there.

    Some folks surmised the cat looked unusually thin and bony, but to Hogans eye the animal looked to be in good shape.

    She looks frickin great, he said. Shes a gorgeous, sexy-looking cat.

    Determining sex of a mountain lion from afar isnt easy, but the crowd drifted toward dubbing the cat a female.

    Its definitely a female, wildlife photographer Savannah Burgess said. The facial features, the ears make it a female.

    Burgess said she sent images to former employees of Pantheras Teton Cougar Project, who confirmed the hunch.

    The most faithful photographers staked out to see the Maverik lion adapted to its behavior, becoming nocturnal themselves. Burgess was among those who got in the habit of waiting around well into the evening to see the cat feed. Luckily, its presence coincided with a full moon, helping with visibility.

    Its cool to see all the behaviors, Burgess said on-site Sunday while the cat was still in hiding. Shell unbury the carcass and lick the meat and shake the hair off of it. You can see how strong of an animal she is when shes pulling at that frozen carcass. Her back legs come off the ground!

    As the skies darkened Thursday, Paull and his clients were also readying to linger along the Maverik sidewalk into the winter night. Their bags were still packed and loaded in their vehicle, parked in the Super 8 lot across the highway and its stream of vehicles. Mountain lion in view, they had no intention of leaving.

    Well stick it out, Paull said. These cameras all shoot at 200 or 300 thousand ISO. You can shoot in complete darkness. It doesnt mean the picture is good, but a picture is a picture is a picture.

    Gary Kunkel, one of his clients, chimed in: And itll be of a lion.

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    Mountain lion feeding on carcass thrills wildlife viewers - Torrington Register Citizen

    Cemetery trust fund can’t be used for wall repair in Grantville – Newnan Times-Herald - January 21, 2020 by admin

    The Newnan Times-Herald

    The Grantville City Council will vote on a contract to repair the cemetery retaining wall at their next meeting on Jan. 23.

    The contract to repair the wall would be with Russell Masonry and cost $5,200.

    At the councils December meeting, Mayor Doug Jewell broke a tie-vote and opposed the contract to give the city time to determine how to pay for the repairs.

    During the councils work session on Monday night, the council and mayor discussed whether they could use SPLOST funds or money in the cemetery trust fund to pay for the repairs.

    Its not that I dont want the wall fixed, Ive been wanting that done for a long time, but when it comes to financing, I want to make sure we can use those funds first, Jewell said of the cemetery trust money.

    Al Grieshaber, city manager, said it is unlikely that cemetery trust fund money will be used for the project.

    Councilmember Ruby Hines, Jewell and Ann Tucker recently resigned from their positions as trustees, which leaves Marion Cieslik as the sole cemetery trust fund trustee.

    According to City Attorney Mark Mitchell, a single trustee cannot make decisions regarding the cemetery trust fund.

    As of Dec. 16, Cieslik has three months to appoint new trustees to the cemetery trust.

    The remaining trustee, Marion Cieslik, was not in favor of using cemetery trust fund money to build the cemetery retaining walls so I suspect he will be opposed to the use of cemetery trust fund monies, Grieshaber said. Consequently, because he has up to three months to appoint remaining trustees, he may frustrate any attempt to repair the cemetery retaining wall.

    Mitchell said as the city council is proceeding currently, repairs to the wall could be funded with SPLOST money.

    Councilmember Jim Sells said he was in favor of the contract with Russell Masonry.

    Im comfortable with the contract and I think we need to get out of the spot were in right now, he said. Were going to be deciding on him or nothing at the next meeting.

    More here:
    Cemetery trust fund can't be used for wall repair in Grantville - Newnan Times-Herald

    How to Get Rid of 9,000 Tons of Toxic Topsoil – The New York Times - January 21, 2020 by admin

    So in the spring, a small team of workers in Tyvek suits, gloves and goggles began stripping six inches of soil from the Lorraine Street fields, the most highly contaminated of the sites, situated directly across from the Red Hook housing projects. Using front loaders, excavators and bulldozers, workers placed soil in piles on the edges of the site, covered with large tarps. All but a few pockets of soil have been dug up on the first site. Thirty-nine trees have been removed and 62 will be replanted.

    Then in the summer, a small convoy of dump trucks each weighing between 18 and 20 tons began moving the soil out of the neighborhood, their tires and undercarriages hosed down with a pressure washer to remove any contamination before heading out.

    The trucks then take a route away from the Red Hook Houses for a 90-minute-long highway drive to the Fairless Landfill in Falls Township, Pa., a town of around 33,000 people across the Delaware River from Trenton, N.J. Any recyclable concrete from the site is being shipped to Allocco Recycling in Brooklyn, a scrap yard near Newtown Creek.

    Some local residents asked why dont we move it out by barge, said Martin Maher, the head of Brooklyn Parks. Mr. Maher and his team researched the possibility, but found it would actually involve more trucks, more loading and unloading of the contaminated material and cost twice as much.

    The area is regularly sprayed with water to keep dust to a minimum, and the air is continually monitored for contamination, with results posted at the local Red Hook Library.

    If all goes according to plan and winter is not too harsh, the ball fields in Phase 1 should be open by late spring, and the entire project completed by 2023.

    Karen Blondel, an environmental justice organizer from the neighborhood, was worried that Red Hooks vulnerability to flooding might affect any work on the ball fields and pushed for additional measures.

    Read more from the original source:
    How to Get Rid of 9,000 Tons of Toxic Topsoil - The New York Times

    Retaining walls that last – Record Herald - December 23, 2019 by admin

    Far too many retaining wall projects start with this simple step: homeowners see a clearance sale on retaining wall blocks, make an educated guess how many they need, and have the big box store deliver them. Once the pallets of block are stacked in the yard, they set aside a weekend or two, recruit some friends or family, and undertake a construction project.

    We can easily understand do-it-yourself energy (we call it the energy of the innocent) because weve gotten over our heads in home improvement projects many times, when we should have reached out for expert assistance. By the time the project is finally finished, weve made enough mistakes to learn how to do it right the next time. As were fond of saying, anything worth doing is worth doing twice.

    Building decorative garden walls is very satisfying and rewarding, as well as being good exercise. When the purpose of the wall is more functional, its important to add an engineering step before starting the project. Retaining walls for purposes like holding back hills, supporting paving or buildings, and controlling runoff are serious projects with long-term consequences, so learning by doing isnt always a good idea.

    As a certified hardscape contractor, we often get called after the fact when structural retaining walls fail for one reason or another. This is never a pleasant experience for us or the homeowner. Its vastly more expensive and time-consuming to fix a poorly-installed retaining wall that to install it in the first place. Usually the cause of the wall failure is designed-in and the only solution is to remove it and start over.

    In previous columns weve offered retaining wall tips. Heres a brief summary of the basic principles weve already talked about:

    Hardscapes should never be built on fill, or on ground that stays wet because of improper drainage. The center of gravity of a retaining wall should be BEHIND the wall foundation, or footer. The taller the wall, the more it should start below ground. The heavier the wall, the more substantial the footer needs to be. There needs to be a way for water to freely escape from the footer trench, and from behind the wall, by gravity. Backfill behind the wall should be clean crushed (not round) stone.

    Walls should be tied back into the hill, so that the weight of the backfill prevents the wall from moving. Geotextiles are a typical method; there should be a layer of geogrid back into the hill every two courses on taller walls. Water runoff behind the wall should never be allowed to run into the backfill behind the wall. Curved walls, or walls with multiple corners, are vastly stronger than long straight walls.

    Understanding these basics is a good start, but there are many more tips and tricks that come with training and experience. Every wall situation is different, and there are many different types of segmental wall systems, each with cost-benefit tradeoffs. We want you to succeed with every home improvement project you dream about. Its important to know your own limitations before you begin.

    Steve Boehme is a landscape designer/installer specializing in landscape makeovers. Lets Grow is published weekly; column archives are on the Garden Advice page at For more information is available at or call GoodSeed Farm Landscapes at (937) 587-7021.

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    Retaining walls that last - Record Herald

    Discussion begins on fix for Highland Park retaining walls – Grand Haven Tribune - December 23, 2019 by admin

    Retaining walls near Highland Park are not in critical need of replacing but will need to be changed in the coming years. The walls and options for handling them were discussed during last Mondays City Council meeting.

    We received a call from a homeowner and have had some discussions with the Highland Park Association on some of the failing walls, said Derek Gajdos, Grand Haven Department of Public Works director.

    Gajdos noted an issue with the failing walls is not knowing who owns them - as some are on private property and others are in the road right-of-way, who will pay for the replacement and who will continue to maintain the walls into the future.

    The estimated price for the repairs is $300,000, Gadjos said.

    Its a significant cost, he said. My question for council is where are we heading with that?

    One option could be to split the costs 50/50 between the city and homeowners, similar to what is being done on Lake Avenue, while another option discussed during the meeting was to split the $300,000 three ways.

    Members of the Highland Park Association, Bill Van Lopik and Bob Minnema, current and past president respectively, used the example of a retaining wall fixed near Minnemas home.

    When the wall needed to be repaired, the bill was split evenly between the city, Minnema and another homeowner to the west and residents in the area.

    Van Lopik and Minnema said they could bring the proposal of splitting the bill three ways - between the city, the homeowners nearest the walls and the association - to their annual association meeting in July.

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    Discussion begins on fix for Highland Park retaining walls - Grand Haven Tribune

    O’Fallon, Missouri fights to remove tire retaining wall for child with autism – - December 23, 2019 by admin

    O'FALLON, Mo. An O'Fallon, Missouri mother told the 5 On Your Side I-Team she's just trying to keep her young daughter who has autism safe on her own property.

    So why is the city of O'Fallon taking her to court?

    Even under her mother's watchful eye, Leera Brown, 4, is hard to keep up with. The little girl has a seemingly endless amount of energy, according to her mom Ariel Brown. But she also has some limitations as well.

    "She's autistic and she has balance and coordination issues. She will literally trip on air," said Brown.

    That coordination issue, says Brown, has led to her falling off the family's 4-foot brick retaining wall in the past.

    That's why her mom said she began looking into safer alternatives to replace the brick wall. After doing some research, she created a retaining wall made of recycled tires. Each tire was painted, and plants and landscaping were installed in and around the display.

    "Most people don't believe me that it's tires. They have no clue. So i put a lot of work into trying to make it look nice," said Brown.

    The wall has some admirers, but the city of O'Fallon is not one of them.

    "Just because you have good intentions, does not give you permission to violate city law. It does come down to that," said Tom Drabelle, a spokesperson for the city of O'Fallon. "It was also brought to us by her neighbors. It wasn't something we went out looking for."

    The use of old tires is against several city codes.

    Drabelle points to one specifically under prohibited 'Nuisances', which states, "Any accumulation, deposit or outside storage or any vehicular or equipment parts, inoperable appliances and other equipment, junk or material of any nature where said accumulation, deposit or outside storage may constitute an attractive nuisance danger to children, provide a breeding or nesting area for vermin, rodents and other animals, or collect stagnant water."

    "The use of old tires as a design element... It's a health risk to the community. The second thing is, it's also a fire risk," said Drabelle.

    Brown argues the tires aren't collecting water, and aren't inviting vermin since they have plants and soil in them.

    The city wants the wall taken down. Later this week, a judge will decide on the fate of the wall.

    Brown said the wall has already proven to be effective in its purpose.

    "[Leera] ended up tumbling down this but only had a couple minor scratches. If it had been the regular retaining wall, we would've been lucky to just be in the hospital," said Brown."When it comes to my daughter's safety. I will fight to the end for it."

    If the judge rules in the city's favor, the family will be responsible for taking down the wall. If they refuse, the city could do it for them and send them a bill. The family will also be fined for the citation.

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    O'Fallon, Missouri fights to remove tire retaining wall for child with autism -

    Thousands of New York buildings may pose same risk as the one whose damaged faade killed architect last week – MarketWatch - December 23, 2019 by admin

    729 Seventh Avenue, at the southeast corner of 49th Street and 7th Avenue mear Times Square in Manhattan, as photographed in March 2018.

    The building that fatally dropped a hunk of faade on a Manhattan woman last week is just one of thousands citywide with open violations and some of the longest-offending buildings have no scaffolding to protect unsuspecting passersby, the New York Post says it has learned.

    Some of those violations including one against a crumbling Bronx building looming over a daycare playground are more than a decade old, a review of city records found.

    Of more than 5,300 open citations citywide against buildings for failing to maintain safe exterior walls under NYC Admin Code 28-302.1, the Post has identified the 10 addresses with the longest-standing open infractions that also lack protective sidewalk sheds.

    Among the offenders is the five-story building at 333 150th St. in the Bronx, which abuts the Brightside Academy daycare centers playground and has open violations dating to 2008 for a rear retaining wall that collapsed in 2004 and at one point blocked the buildings rear entrance for years.

    Today, the buildings faade is visibly damaged, with cracks on the molding surrounding the building a source of concern for parents from the neighboring child care site.

    Thats scary, said mom Keila Ocasio, 30, who was dropping off her 3-year-old twins at Brightside on Thursday. We walk down this street with our kids all the time. It could be anybody.

    Architect Erica Tishman was killed Tuesday after a chunk of facade dropped off 729 Seventh Ave. in Manhattan.

    The structure had damaged terra cotta at areas above 15th floor in several locations which poses a falling hazard for pedestrians, the city Department of Buildings found when the owners were issued a violation in April for failure to maintain exterior building facade in a safe manner.

    Meanwhile, the 150th Street building in the Bronx still has 13 open violations including one for the same code under which 729 Seventh Ave. was cited.

    While its owners paid the $5,000 fine associated, there is no indication they fixed the underlying issue, city records show.

    And its not the only property in the city with longstanding, unresolved violations under the same section of law.

    A six-story building at 207 Clinton St. in Manhattan has a 2008 facade violation for corroded soffit/facia at top of bldg and cornice at 5th floor is separating from exterior wall.

    I think its terrible that they got a complaint in 2008 and they havent done anything about it, said neighbor Orlando Perez, 62. Obviously the laws sanctioning the landlords are too lenient. They probably figured its worth leaving it like that than spending money to fix it.

    A property at 14-18 Boerum St. in Brooklyn has racked up so many violations and nearly $30,000 in unpaid fines that one neighbor said the owners dont do work, they just make holes.

    The owners were cited under 28-302.1 in 2015 for missing bricks on the fifth floor, broken awnings on two other floors, and a 7th floor balcony crack, the records show.

    Other properties identified by the New York Post with long-open facade violations under Admin Code 28-302.1 are:

    A seven-story mixed-use building at 1627 Amsterdam Ave. hit with a violation in 2011 for failing to maintain an exterior decorative cornice and for severly [sic] corroded tin.

    An apartment building at 254 Seaman Ave. in Inwood cited in 2013 for cracks, deteriorating and displacement in parapet facade, and flower pots stored on facade ledge.

    The Church of Saint Michael at 424 W. 34th St. in Manhattan, issued a violation for missing asphalt roof shingles and cracked cement stucco in 2014.

    A mixed-use building at 201 W. 145th St. dinged in 2014 for the deteriorating condition in parapet, and cracking throughout the buildings exterior.

    Public School 130 at 151 E. 5th St. in Brooklyn, cited in 2015 for exterior brick facade (that) has become porous allowing water to penetrate into bldg.

    PS 58 at 455-459 E. 176th St. in the Bronx, which was ticketed in 2015 for exterior walls that have become porous allowing water to penetrate and water leaking from facade.

    An eight-story apartment building at 1670 174th St. in the Bronx slapped with a violation in 2013 for spalling on balcony slabs.

    In a statement Sunday, Department of Buildings spokesman Andrew Rudansky said the agency swept over more than 1,300 facades that require repairs to make sure each had appropriate pedestrian protections in place after Tishmans death.

    In cases where we found property owners had inadequate pedestrian protections, we are issuing enforcement actions, including orders to put up sidewalk sheds, he said.

    The owners of several buildings identified by the Post did not return calls seeking comment. Others maintained work had been done and claimed the violations were still open because they failed to file the paperwork certifying the repairs had been made.

    The owner of 333 150th St., Earl Bailey, insisted the issue was fixed at least three years ago.

    At Brooklyns PS 130, facade and masonry work was completed but has yet to undergo a final inspection, schools spokesman Kevin Ortiz said adding that work to repair PS 58 will be taken care of by a full-scale masonry project that has not begun.

    The owners of 1627-1635 Amsterdam Ave. said in a statement that they contracted to fix the chimney cap and that a sidewalk shed would go up Monday.

    In other cases, physical work has long been completed, though as a landmarked building, there can be delays before the paperwork is registered by the city, the statement said.

    Despite the city records regarding chimney and brickwork violations at the Church of Saint Michael, a man identifying himself as the pastor claimed the citations were for plumbing and electrical issues, not the facade.

    Thats all been fixed, yes, he said. It was plumbing and electrical.

    An official at one building had a different take, saying the violations there were fake.

    There are no violations, basically, said Miriam Chan of Ymm Realty LLC, which owns 207 Clinton St. in Manhattan. Those violations are fake violations.

    So many people, so many people live in the building, she said. They dont pay. Whenever the company asks them to pay they call 311, they create all kinds of information, fake information.

    But, she said, the company already engaged a structural engineer to take care of the problem.

    Additional reporting by Khristina Narizhnaya, Kevin Sheehan and Olivia Bensimon.

    This report also appears at

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    Thousands of New York buildings may pose same risk as the one whose damaged faade killed architect last week - MarketWatch

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