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    Improving the aesthetics and appeal of retrofitted sprinkler systems with pipework boxing – IFSEC Global - October 23, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Sprinkler systems

    Many existing properties across the UK could be better prepared for the risk of fire if sprinkler systems were fitted. However, with retrofit installations, pipework is surface-mounted onto ceilings and walls meaning systems can look unsightly, as well as being left open to damage. Gavin Byram, National Sales Manager at Pendock, explains more about the challenges, and how pre-formed sprinkler pipe boxing can be easily fitted by installers to ensure systems are discreet, aesthetically pleasing and well protected.

    Sprinkler systems widely recognised as the single most effective method for fighting the spread of fires in their early stages can help to protect life, property and livelihoods. The National Fire Chiefs Council has found that people are up to four times safer and 50% likely to be harmed or injured in instances where sprinklers are installed. While there is currently no requirement to retrofit sprinkler systems in existing buildings in England (though this may change with the upcoming Fire Safety Bill), the list of organisations backing, recommending or campaigning for retrofit installations is long.

    There have been calls for sprinkler systems to be fitted in many types of existing public sector and commercial buildings. The most well-publicised are, understandably, social housing tower blocks, following the Grenfell Tower disaster. A fire safety expert and others have said sprinklers would have stopped the fatal fire from spreading, and an independent review from the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee recommended that, where structurally feasible, sprinklers should be retrofitted to existing high-rise residential buildings to provide an extra layer of safety for residents. It also suggested that government should make funding available to fit sprinklers into council and housing association owned residential buildings above 18 metres.

    Increased focus has been placed on schools too. Home Office statistics for England show the Fire and Rescue Services attended 524 fires in education premises in 2019/2020, and research from insurer Zurich Municipal suggests that schools in England are nearly twice as likely to suffer from a fire as other types of non-residential buildings. The company has also recently launched a parliamentary petition to urge MPs to change the law on sprinklers in schools. The National Fire Chiefs Council has recently reiterated its call for all schools to have sprinklers fitted, following the loss of two schools in Derbyshire (which did not have sprinklers) in early October 2020.

    The installation of sprinkler systems has been recommended for many other types of public sector buildings, including care homes and hospitals, as well as commercial buildings. As a consequence, many property owners have therefore invested in retrofit sprinkler systems. In particular, we have seen local authorities and housing associations committing to fitting sprinklers in their high-rise residential properties, despite a lack of funding from government. Birmingham City Council, for example, is installing them throughout its 213 high-rise residential properties (at a cost of 31 million).

    Exposed sprinkler pipework

    Retrofit sprinkler installations can, however, be more challenging than new build projects, with the equipment needing to be fitted around existing structures, layouts and materials. With a retrofit installation, lengths of sprinkler system pipework are mounted onto ceilings and walls, rather than being concealed as would be the case in a new build property. As sprinkler pipework is usually made from chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC), and is orange, it can be really unsightly.

    Its essential for building occupants to feel comfortable with sprinkler system installations, but plans are not always met with immediate acceptance. Anecdotal evidence suggests that social housing landlords in particular can face resistance, especially in terms of aesthetics. While many tenants welcome sprinklers, some have refused to have them fitted in their homes because they believe the unattractive pipework would have a detrimental impact.

    Aesthetics are also important in education environments, with it being suggested that interior design can influence learning. As for hotels, B&Bs and guest houses, the propertys interior tends to be an important factor for guests in terms of their experience, and whether they choose to return.

    Sprinkler system pipework is therefore often concealed, or boxed in, so the visual impact is minimised. This goes a long way towards ensuring the sprinkler system is discreet and unobtrusive and complements the existing dcor. Concealing pipework also protects the system; accidental, or even deliberate, activation of sprinkler heads can have major consequences, including huge refurbishment costs.

    Fitting sprinkler systems within live occupied sites is another challenge. In schools and hotels, installations can be carried out over holidays or during quiet periods, respectively, but social housing tower blocks will usually be constantly occupied. This makes it essential to carry out sprinkler system installations as quickly and efficiently as possible, with minimal disruption and inconvenience to tenants. In addition, the less labour-intensive the installation is, the lower the cost will be an important consideration for social housing landlords with limited budgets.

    Pipework boxing is one area where savings can be made, by making a switch to pre-formed solutions. Some sprinkler system companies employ carpenters or joiners to fabricate boxing in solutions on site. This involves constructing a wooden frame around the pipework and then fixing lengths of wood or MDF to it. The materials will need to be cut to size and shape and the boxing will need to be primed and painted. This approach will usually involve a lot of measuring and adjustment; flats in tower blocks typically have different internal layouts or architypes, and sprinkler system designs also vary from one company to the next. On-site fabrication can therefore be time-consuming which can prove costly and can delay completion.

    Example of pre-formed pipework boxing for a sprinkler system

    The end result especially in terms of aesthetics and consistency of fit and finish are not always satisfactory (or acceptable) either. Subcontractors often find themselves under pressure to complete jobs within a fixed (and usually tight) budget and timescale, which can affect the level of quality and workmanship that can realistically be achieved.

    An alternative is pre-formed, pre-finished sprinkler pipe boxing, which provides a neat, uniform finish while reducing the time and costs involved and minimising tenant disruption. It effectively covers lengths of sprinkler pipework running along ceilings and walls, with a small decorative cover plate concealing the sprinkler heads.

    Its simple to fit and doesnt require painting, making it a cost-effective, quick solution. In fact, we estimate it takes half the time to fit pre-formed pipe boxing compared to on-site fabrication. In our experience, a full sprinkler system installation in a flat (including the pre-formed pipe boxing) should be completed within three days.

    While boxing in was traditionally the realm of carpenters or joiners (being regarded as a specialist skill), todays pre-formed solutions mean a sprinkler system installer can carry out this work, even if carpentry and decorating skills dont come naturally. Installers can maximise their productivity and profitability on each job, which is particularly important in todays economic climate. Some installation companies report theyve been able to easily upskill their workforce, with the majority of installers being able to fit pre-formed boxing.

    Sprinkler systems protect people and property, and retrofit installations have therefore been recommended for many types of existing buildings. The aesthetic impact of retrofit systems will however need to be mitigated, with exposed pipework being unsightly. Pre-formed pipe boxing is a simple, neat, cost-effective, quick solution that minimises upheaval and maximises profitability.

    Pendock offers a range of sprinkler system pipe boxing and accessories, as well as assistance with drawing take offs and site visits.

    Revisit this unmissable webinar to hear from ASFP's Niall Rowan, FPA's Jonathan O'Neill, FSF's Dennis Davies and FIA's Ian Moore on how COVID-19 has affected the fire safety sector. It's essential listening for the current moment.

    Improving the aesthetics and appeal of retrofitted sprinkler systems with pipework boxingGavin Byram from Pendock explains how pre-formed pipework boxing can improve the aesthetics and ease of installation of retrofitted sprinkler systems.

    IFSEC Global

    ACM cladding remediation works begun or completed on 77% of identified high-rise buildings

    October legislation update from SHP includes latest from Fire Safety and Building Safety bills

    Modern methods of construction and fire performance time for a rethink?

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    Improving the aesthetics and appeal of retrofitted sprinkler systems with pipework boxing - IFSEC Global

    Carson City region braces for hard fall freeze; forecasters say bring in the pets, tomato plants – Carson Now - October 23, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    From sunny days and warm temperatures to anticipated overnight freezing ahead, fall weather will arrive over the next few days around the Carson City region, prompting a freeze watch by the National Weather Service and a warning for gardeners to bring in the tomato plants and other fall vegetables that haven't been harvested.

    Multiple periods of widespread sub-freezing temperatures are likely the end of this week through early next week. While sub-freezing temperatures are expected Thursday night, a much colder air mass will plunge lows into the low-mid 20s in the warmest of valleys, with single digits and teens for colder valleys Sunday and Monday nights.

    This is going to be quite the shock to the system after the warmth as of late, forecasters say, advising people to take the necessary precautions by protecting sensitive vegetation, prepping irrigation systems, protecting vulnerable populations, and be sure not to forget about pets.

    The Freeze Watch is in effect for Thursday night through Friday morning and affects Carson City, Douglas, Lyon, Washoe and Storey counties and much of northern and western Nevada. Forecasters say to expect frost and freeze conditions that could kill crops, other sensitive vegetation and possibly damage unprotected outdoor plumbing.

    The weather service warns this is the first of a series of upcoming anticipated freezes. After a warmer night Friday night, sub-freezing temperatures will return for Saturday through Tuesday nights. Lows may easily drop into the teens for valleys outside of urban centers Sunday and Monday nights.

    To prevent freezing and possible bursting of outdoor water pipes, they should be wrapped, drained, or allowed to drip slowly. Those that have in-ground sprinkler systems should drain them and cover above-ground pipes to protect them from freezing.

    Greenhouse Garden Center and Gift Shop in Carson City suggests homeowners take steps now to protect tender plants from the cold.

    Watering can still happen twice a week for trees, shrubs and perennials. If you have herbs, they should be OK but vegetables should be harvested now. Sprinkler systems should be shut down entirely by the end of the month.

    When shutting down the sprinkler system at the end of the month, you can still hook up your hose and water by hand. People should also check weather forecasts regularly, and make adjustments if necessary.

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    Carson City region braces for hard fall freeze; forecasters say bring in the pets, tomato plants - Carson Now

    Denver Weather: Major Weather Changes Start Thursday – CBS Denver - October 23, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Our warm weather pattern will come to an end on Thursday. Weve had such a warm October, that this will be quite the shock to the system when this cold hits later this weekend.

    We start with our first cold front on Wednesday night through Thursday. This will unfortunately whip up the wind even more as it passes through. We have Red Flag Warnings in place for the foothills down to southern Colorado thanks to this wind and dry vegetation.

    This front brings cooler temperatures and maybe a little light snow to the mountains, with just a slight chance for a few flurries in Denver.

    We are cold on Friday with highs in the 40s! We rebound quickly to the 60s on Saturday, but that wont last long. Saturday will also be very windy, which again is not good for our fires.

    Sunday is when we wake up to the big, major changes. Snow could start late Saturday night and will be going through the day on Sunday. Our temperatures will also plummet to the upper 20s! Ahead of this storm, youll want to at least drain your sprinkler system.

    We could see snow through early Monday morning before we clear out with cold temperatures.

    If youre wondering if the snow will help with our fires, the answer is yes. However, it wont be enough to put them out or really reduce their size. Any moisture is helpful, but the wind ahead of the snow will not be good at all.

    Read the rest here:
    Denver Weather: Major Weather Changes Start Thursday - CBS Denver

    Blaine Farmers Market going indoors for the rest of the year – Blaine Northern Light - October 23, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    By Oliver Lazenby

    For the first time, the Blaine Farmers Market will continue into the fall, using the old Wolten and Montfort grocery space at 648 Peace Portal Drive to host some vendors out of the weather.

    Starting Saturday, October 24, about 10 market vendors will be open in that building, which is next to the Black Forest Steak House. Depending on weather, some vendors will also set up at the G and H Street plazas, said Donna Raimey, Blaine Chamber of Commerce program and events coordinator. The market will continue to be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., she said.

    The space could potentially host more vendors once its overhead sprinkler system is installed, as city code would allow vendors to get farther from the door. Mike Mulder, who owns the property through Nimbus Properties, said hed allow the market to use the space through the end of the year for free.

    The Blaine Farmers Market has grown this year through the chamber of commerces effort. Raimey said the chamber put a lot of effort into the market because theres little else going on in town.

    Its such a positive thing for our community to have and its a sign of life downtown that we desperately need, she said. I think everyone was just really excited to be a part of something at a time when nothing is really going on.

    Nimbus bought the property in January 2019 from the Jacaranda Land Corporation and the company is nearly finished renovating. Mulder said the interior is like a Whole Foods or Trader Joes. With the Covid-19 pandemic and border closure, Mulder is waiting for the right tenant or opportunity, he said.

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    Blaine Farmers Market going indoors for the rest of the year - Blaine Northern Light

    Why Do We Keep Voting on This? Exploring the Prop. 13 Tax Revolt Family Tree – Lost Coast Outpost - October 23, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Illustration by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters; istock, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association


    The tax revolt started in California in 1978, but it never really ended.

    Four decades ago mad-as-hell voters banded together to pass Proposition 13, capping property taxes, slapping a constitutional muzzle on state government and wringing local budgets like a washcloth. The electorates anti-tax fever may have broken in the years since, but the legacy of Prop. 13 is still very much with us.

    Need proof? Check your ballot.

    This year, Californians are being asked to weigh in on two more changes to the tax-slashing constitutional amendment that has done more than any other California ballot measure to reshape the states fiscal landscape and the politics of taxation.

    Proposition 19 would pop open one new property tax loophole for older or disabled homeowners, while sewing shut another for people who inherit their parents and grandparents homes. And Proposition 15 would raise property taxes on many businesses the largest change to Californias property tax structure since Prop. 13 campaign leader Howard Jarvis was railing against high taxes and marinated bureaucrats.

    If it seems like California voters are perpetually being asked to redefine, clarify, overhaul or rewrite the terms of the 1978 tax revolt, its because we are. Since Prop. 13, the state has voted 33 times on potential amendments to it. These offshoots of Prop. 13 have sprouted their own offshoots, adding additions to revisions to edits of the original text. Forty-two years later, the tree first planted in 1978 has gotten mighty tangled.

    Its an evergreen story, said Jason Cohn, whose Jarvis documentary The First Angry Man, premiered last week. Cohn and his wife, Camille Servan-Schreiber, began working on the film in 2010 when voters were considering Proposition 26 a successful Prop. 13 patch that made it even harder for state and local governments to raise revenue through fees.

    Its never not relevant, said Cohn.

    There are few areas of California economic or political life that Prop. 13 hasnt touched. To recap, it:

    In the short term, the measure gave homeowners a lasting tax cut and, amid skyrocketing real estate prices, made it much easier for homeowners to stay in their homes. In exchange, property tax payments plummeted 60% in a year, cutting $7 billion from city and school district budgets.

    Longer term, Prop. 13 had a number of unintended consequences. State government assumed a much bigger role in school financing. Local governments suddenly had a bigger incentive to approve commercial real estate over residential development. Governments across California turned to other sources of revenue including income taxes, use taxes and fees to make up the difference.

    The Prop. 13 campaign reverberated across the country. Jarvis, the garrulous, pipe-smoking political gadfly who had been tilting at Californias tax code, Don Quixote-like, for decades, became a magazine cover-gracing populist hero overnight. Tax-capping measures sprouted up elsewhere, augering the landslide election of Ronald Reagan. In its wake, Jerry Brown, the states governor at the time, came to rebrand himself a born-again tax cutter one of many Democrats who would see taxation and government spending as four letter words for decades to come.

    The era of the tax revolt, I think, has largely ended in California, said Cohn. But Prop. 13 has its own status outside that liberal-conservative spectrum.

    Of the 33 changes put before the voters, 24 have passed. They come in three varieties:

    Under Prop. 13, a homes value is reassessed whenever theres a change of ownership or the property owner makes an addition or improvement. Property owners can find themselves slapped with a much higher tax bill if they opt to fix up their current place or move to a new one. As soon as Prop. 13 passed, people began scrambling for exemptions.

    If someone is forced to move after a natural disaster, dont they deserve a tax break? What if someone inherits a home from a parent is California going to impose an orphans tax? And what about the responsible homeowner who installs a sprinkler system? A solar panel? A rain barrel?

    Since 1978, the vast majority of the Prop. 13-related initiatives have carved out highly specific exemptions for niche investments and transactions, expanding the tax breaks protections one ballot measure at a time.

    Another key feature of Prop. 13: Legislators hoping to raise taxes need to convince two-thirds of their colleagues to agree. For local taxes, two-thirds of voters are needed to approve special taxes.

    But what if the taxes were used to pay off debt? If a regulator imposes a fee or a fine, is that a tax too? And whats a special tax anyway?

    Eight more measures have gone before the California voter to answer such questions.

    Proposition 13 makes it really hard for governments to raise revenue. That was the point. So when interest groups are particularly strapped, sometimes they go to the voters directly asking for a loophole.

    Despite everything, Prop. 13 still retains its basic structure, said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, one of the states most influential anti-tax groups. Property taxes are still capped at 1% of a propertys value, they can increase by only 2% each year and reassessment still occurs only with an ownership change or upgrade. Those are the three legs of the stool and those have not changed, said Coupal.

    What makes Prop. 13 such a moving target, constantly in need of more modest revisions and clarifications, he said, is its brevity. The 1978 effort took place before California proposition campaigns became the half-a-billion-dollar, professionalized business they are today.

    Overly-strict in some places and ambiguous in others, Prop. 13 was particularly poorly drafted. Darien Shanske, law professor at UC Davis

    Jarvis and his co-drafters were not insiders and they wanted a quick immediate fix that was really needed at the time, said Coupal. It was sparseso there were a lot of unanswered questions. You can criticize Prop. 13 for that but remember, the United States Bill of Rights is very sparse too.

    Darien Shanske, a law professor at UC Davis, agrees that Prop. 13s repeat presence on the ballot is a product of the way that it was written. But he doesnt liken its lack of specificity to the genius of the Founding Fathers.

    Overly-strict in some places and ambiguous in others, the measure was particularly poorly drafted, he said, which has led to continual efforts to prune or graft modifications onto it. Thats to say nothing of the frequent court battles over its precise meaning.

    Critics of ballot box budgeting contend that the Legislature is better equipped than voters to make complex taxation and spending decisions, and believe Prop. 13 has resulted in an infuriating catch-22. By making it more difficult for lawmakers to raise taxes, Prop. 13 makes it more likely that increases will require yet another ballot measure. And because constitutional amendments can only be changed through the popular vote, any direct changes to Prop. 13 have to go before the voters.

    Tax policy and refined spending decisions shouldnt be done within the Constitution, Shanske said but once weve started down this road, were stuck with it because now we cant fix it except through the Constitution.


    Via the Post It, CalMatters political reporter Ben Christopher shares frequent updates from the (socially distanced) 2020 campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics.

    Excerpt from:
    Why Do We Keep Voting on This? Exploring the Prop. 13 Tax Revolt Family Tree - Lost Coast Outpost

    Orland Police Officers To Wear Body Cameras, Test New Program – - October 23, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    ORLAND PARK, IL Officers of the Orland Park Police Department will soon be testing out an officer-worn body camera program. Village officials unanimously passed the memorandum of agreement between the village and the Metropolitan Alliance of Police the union representing Orland Park's police officers.

    According to the memorandum, the village is committed to the body worn camera pilot program, and body cams are an effective law enforcement tool that can reduce violent confrontations and complaints against officers.

    Officers will be testing cameras by three separate vendors, according to Orland Park Police Chief Joe Mitchell. The Axon body camera system is set to begin field testing in early November for 30 days, followed by Watch Guard and lastly, Panasonic in early 2021.

    The agreement states that body worn cameras provide additional documentation of police and public encounters and may be an important tool for collecting evidence and maintaining public trust.

    Mitchell said that due to considerable expenses in implementing the program, the department is doing its due diligence in determining the best platform for eventual permanent field use. He added the departments will be looking at the proper hardware, software and storage requirements, seeking to be fiscally responsible in the use of taxpayer funds.

    "The department will be putting each body worn camera through its paces to determine the strengths and ultimately the weaknesses of each system in the field," Mitchell said.

    Both the union and the village agreed to discuss the appropriate use of body worn cameras, if the program is successful and results in the expansion to all sworn-in officers, according to the agreement.

    The overall goal of the pilot program is to understand the need for cameras, anticipated benefits, costs, uses and privacy impact, according to the memorandum. The program will mainly have traffic control officers wearing these cameras, but say the program is not limited to traffic use.

    Mitchell said the decision to implement the program was his and didn't come due to any previous incidences, nor was it suggested from any residents.

    "The department has and will always continue to be proactive in the use of technology to accomplish our mission of protecting and serving the residents and people who chose to come to the Village of Orland Park to visit, work, eat or play," Mitchell said.

    The police chief said this new tool is useful because it will help police gather evidence of crime and support the actions of officers, and potentially "safeguard" officers and the department from any false allegations of wrongdoing.

    "Time and time again, department equipped vehicles with in-car video systems, have unequivocally refuted claims of violations of policy and procedures made by people that are stopped by the men and women of the Orland Park Police Department. Body worn cameras will be able to capture video far away from a department vehicle. Additionally, the union and sworn members of the department are in complete support of this pilot program," Mitchell said.

    More here:
    Orland Police Officers To Wear Body Cameras, Test New Program -

    Fire Sprinkler System Stops Apartment Fire Dead in its Tracks – Woodlands Online - October 15, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    SPRING, TX -- South Montgomery County Firefighters responded to a fire alarm just around dinner time Wednesday at the Rayford Edge apartments located at 25650 I-45 South. When the first unit arrived they found that a cooking fire had started in an apartment in building 7, but was quickly extinguished when a fire sprinkler in the kitchen was activated by the heat. The occupant reported that he had been cooking when cooking oil ignited a fire on the stove and began spreading smoke and heat throughout his apartment. Before he could even call 911, the buildings fire sprinkler system activated and contained the fire to the top of the stove.

    Firefighters checked to make sure the fire was out and cleared up the smoke in the apartment before turning the building back over to management. Fortunately, for the other residents and the buildings owner, the building had been equipped with a fire sprinkler system after it was destroyed by a previous fire. Many older apartment complexes were built before modern codes required them to be protected by fire sprinklers. In 2008, Montgomery County Commissioners Court adopted a County Fire Code after a series of disastrous fires and that code requires fire sprinklers be installed in all new multi-family buildings, including buildings like this one that are modernized or rebuilt after previous fires. Had the fire broke out in any of the other existing buildings in the complex that are not equipped with fire sprinklers, it would undoubtedly have spread further and led to extensive damage, risking the lives of residents and firefighters.

    The Montgomery County Fire Marshals Office has been working with owners of older multi-family complexes to bring them up to modern safety standards during major renovation projects. Two of the more dramatic examples are taking place at the Woodglen and Holly Creek Apartment complexes in The Woodlands. Both are undergoing renovation and ownership is committed to installing fire sprinkler systems in every building in both complexes after past fires have left residents homeless or worse. The vast majority of the nearly 3000 annual fire deaths in the Nation occur each year in residential property, with multi-family buildings at higher risk due to the number of occupants and sheer building size.

    While fire sprinklers are the best protection, and required in all new multi-family construction, tenants should make sure that there are working smoke alarms in every bedroom, hallway and living area. Under State Law, Texas Landlords are required to provide working smoke alarms in all residential rental property. Tenants are responsible for testing them, replacing batteries as needed and may not tamper with or disable any fire protection device, including fire sprinklers and smoke alarms.

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    Fire Sprinkler System Stops Apartment Fire Dead in its Tracks - Woodlands Online

    Making sure the grass is always greener on your side of the fence – - October 15, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    (Shutterstock Photo)

    Automated irrigation systems can make lawn and landscape easy unless the system has been poorly maintained.

    Broken sprinkler heads, hardware, and clogged lines can cause poor irrigation, over-saturation, and standing water. Neglecting irrigation problems can quickly lead to damaged landscapes, a heaving foundation, higher utility bills, and repair costs.

    Keep your irrigation system in good working order by performing routine system checks.

    AMWUA suggests that the system be checked monthly for leaks, clogged emitters, and other problems.

    Turn on the system at least 30 minutes before the inspection to allow enough time for emitter wetting patterns to show.

    Walk through the yard, checking the pipe/poly tubing for leaks, and checking each water distribution endpoint (emitters or micro tubing) to see if it is functioning properly. Because chipmunks find the small tubes tasty, look for tiny gnaw marks and punctures.

    Replace or repair damaged or clogged emitters and micro tubing.

    Check the location of water distribution endpoints. Emitters and micro tubing can be moved as a result of yard maintenance activity (i.e., raking) and pet activity (i.e., digging). Return stray emitters and micro tubing to their proper positions.

    Check the schedule on your irrigation controller. Sometimes power failures and other factors will cause the controller to return to a default schedule. Reset the controller if necessary. If the weather has changed, reprogram the controller to accommodate changing plant water needs.

    AMWUA also suggests annual maintenance, preferably during the spring.

    1. Flush the irrigation lines. Start with the cap that is closest to the control valve and work your way toward the end of the system.

    Flush each line for about a minute, until the water runs clear. Remember to close each cap before moving on to the next. Do not allow contaminated water to flow back into the line. Check valve boxes to make sure they are clear of debris.

    2. Clean and inspect the filters. Inspect filter screens for holes. Replace as needed.

    Clean the system by opening the end of the filter and turning on the system briefly.

    If there is calcium buildup on the screen, remove it and soak it in a solution of 50 percent water and 50 percent vinegar until the buildup is removed.

    3. Replace the controller battery. A fresh battery will save the programmed information and prevent the controller from reverting to the default program in the event of a power failure.

    Sprinkler heads: According to the Arizona Department of Water Resources, older irrigation pop-up heads can waste as much as 30 percent of the water they distribute. Their fine spray can easily be blown away. Invest in new units that will deliver the water in droplets at half of the typical rate of a traditional head and are less likely to be caught by a breeze.

    When sprinkler heads are missing or broken, water wont be evenly distributed across the lawn thus, causing wet spots, dry spots, and runoff. Check all sprinkler heads to ensure they are in the right position and angle. A bump from a lawnmower or foot can distribute more water to one side than the other, also causing uneven watering and dry spots.

    A clogged sprinkler head may result in a rise in water pressure that can cause significant damage throughout the irrigation system. Clogs are typically caused when dirt or other debris becomes lodged within a sprinkler head or other outlet. Look for dry grass or browning plants in areas that are typically well irrigated or standing water beneath a sprinkler are common signs that a clog may be present.

    Hardware, rust and corrosion: Dont blow a gasket. Literally, dont blow a gasket. Replace gaskets, seals, and valves before they wear out to prevent decreased water flow, or even increased water flow in spots it shouldnt be.

    Rust and corrosion may appear on metal parts and components that directly come into contact with moisture. Irrigation systems typically use pipes, fixtures, and other hardware that are specifically designed to resist corrosion, yet rusting hardware is still an issue. Rusty water or reduced performance is a sign the irrigation system is due for service and maintenance.

    Change and monitor control settings: Different plants have different watering needs depending on the season. They may require much more water during the peak heat of summer than they do in the cooler, wetter months. Change controller settings to adjust to your landscapes needs, including the run time of your irrigation system.

    Be mindful of the monsoon season. If it has been particularly dry, you may need to increase the watering or decrease if it has been a wet season.

    When to hire a professional: Maintaining an irrigation system can be a difficult undertaking for those who dont know what to look for.

    Finding, identifying, and repairing broken lines or hardware that may be the root of a problem can be challenging. Make sure all areas are diagnosed and repaired by hiring a professional, licensed, reputable landscaper who has a lot of experience with irrigation systems.

    Regular maintenance and tune-ups will keep your landscape the envy of your neighborhood, plus, it will also prevent water waste.

    Helpful resources:

    For more do-it-yourself tips, go to An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert for 35 years, Rosie Romero is the host of the Rosie on the House radio program from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturdays on KTAR-FM (92.3) in Phoenix, 9 to 11 a.m. on KAFF-AM (930) in Flagstaff, and 10 to 11 a.m. on KNST-AM (790) in Tucson.

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    Making sure the grass is always greener on your side of the fence -

    Vandals Cause Fire Damage to Thompson Mill Covered Bridge – Effingham’s News Leader - October 15, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Published on October 14 2020 8:14 amLast Updated on October 14 2020 8:14 amWritten by Greg Sapp

    Many people have made the journey to the Thompson Mill Covered Bridge near Cowden.

    Now, the journey won't be quite as sweet after vandals caused damage to the structure.

    Someone set trash inside the bridge on fire. Cowden Fire Protection District Assistant Chief Jim Allsop said there is a hole three feet around in the floor of the bridge. A couple of beams were also damaged.

    The incident occurred over the weekend. Allsop said his department was called to the scene, along with Herrick and Tri-County Fire Protection District firefighters, but the latter two agencies were called off once Allsop had the chance to examine the fire scene.

    The bridge has not been used for vehicular traffic since a new bridge was built beside the historic structure, but it is still under IDOT jurisdiction so it will be up to the State agency whether repairs will be made.

    Allsop said the damage might not have occurred but for budget constraints. He said the bridge was refurbished about 10 years ago including lighting and a sprinkler system just in case of incidents such as the one over the weekend, but a lack of funds led to the lighting and sprinkler system being shut off.

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    Vandals Cause Fire Damage to Thompson Mill Covered Bridge - Effingham's News Leader

    Orland Township Senior Drop-In Returns – - October 15, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author's own.

    Smiling eyes and excited chatter filled the air as Orland Township seniors happily entered the Orland Chateau for the Township's popular Senior Drop-In - socializing, card games and a long-awaited session of bingo, according to the office of Orland Township Supervisor Paul O'Grady.

    Due to the pandemic stay-at-home order, Orland Township suspended most senior activities, including drop-in, back in early March. After an eight- month hiatus, Township seniors were happy to see each other and get back to a regular activity.

    Supervisor O'Grady was on hand to welcome the seniors back and made his way around the room to speak to each and every senior in attendance.


    "We have missed our Orland Township seniors and have been working on a way to restart our popular senior group activities in a way that is safe for everyone," said O'Grady. "Since our activity center is unavailable for our regular activities until after the holiday season, we have worked out an agreement with the Orland Chateau to have drop-in once a week, on Tuesdays, for our seniors and to also have senior luncheons in November and December."

    The Orland Township Activity Center will be unavailable due to being an early voting site for the presidential election and then utilized to sort donations for the upcoming holiday programs. In previous years, Senior Drop-In has not been held during the month of December due to sorting for the Holiday Program.


    Following CDC guidelines, bingo attendees are required to wear masks except when eating or drinking. Tables are spaced for social distancing and will have no more than six individuals at a table.

    Every Tuesday, through the end of January, Orland Township will hold senior drop-in and bingo at the Orland Chateau, 14500 S. LaGrange Rd., Orland Park, with the following measures in place:

    Orland Township will also be hosting senior holiday luncheons in November and December. Information for those luncheons, including when tickets will go on sale, will be available at a later date.

    For more information on Orland Township's senior bingo or to reserve your seat, call the Township at (708) 403-4222.

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