Page 11234..10..»

    Rewilding: rare birds return when livestock grazing has stopped – The Conversation UK - June 9, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    After a particularly long week of computer based work on my PhD, all I wanted was to hike somewhere exciting with a rich wildlife. A friend commiserated with me I was based at Newcastle University at the time, and this particular friend wasnt keen on the UKs wilderness, its moorlands and bare uplands, compared to the large tracts of woodland and tropical forests that can be found more readily abroad.

    Luckily, I count myself among many who are charmed by the rolling heather moorlands and sheep grazed uplands, whose colours change beautifully with the seasons. But my friend had a point there is something very different about many of the UKs national parks compared to those found in much of the rest of the world: the British uplands are hardly the natural wilderness that many perceive.

    These upland habitats are in fact far from what they would have been had they remained unaffected by human activity. In particular, grazing by livestock has been carried out for centuries. In the long run, this stops new trees from establishing, and in turn reduces the depth of soil layers, making the conditions for new vegetation to establish even more difficult. Instead of the woodlands that would once have covered large areas of the uplands, Britain is largely characterised by rolling hills of open grass and moorlands.

    Read more: 'Pristine' landscapes haven't existed for thousands of years, says new study

    Government policy has long been to keep these rolling hills looking largely as they do now. But the future of the British uplands is uncertain. Regulations and government policy strongly influences land management, and the biodiversity associated with it. In fact, the management required to maintain British upland landscapes as they are now management that largely involves grazing by sheep is only possible through large subsidies. And due to Brexit, this may change. A new agricultural policy will soon replace the often-criticised Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

    What this will look like remains unclear. There are a range of competing interests in the uplands. Some wish to rewild vast swathes of the land, while others want to intensify farming, forestry and other commercial interests. The rewilders tap into the increased interest in restoring natural woodland due to its potential in carbon uptake, increased biodiversity and reintroduction of extinct species such as wolves and lynxes, while some farmers argue that this will be bad for the economy. The UK stands at a crossroads, and interests are rapidly diverging.

    Whatever path is taken will obviously have an impact on the unique assemblages of upland plants and animals, many of which are internationally important. But upland birds and biodiversity have for a long time been on the decline. Whether rewilding is the answer to this or not has long been debated: some claim that we need to stop grazing animals to allow the natural habitat to reassert itself, while others claim that some species, such as curlews, rely on such grazing practises for their survival.

    This article is part of Conversation InsightsThe Insights team generates long-form journalism derived from interdisciplinary research. The team is working with academics from different backgrounds who have been engaged in projects aimed at tackling societal and scientific challenges.

    But our new research, published in the British Ecological Societys Journal of Applied Ecology, provides the first experimental evidence to our knowledge, that stopping livestock grazing can increase the number of breeding upland bird species in the long term, including birds of high conservation importance, such as black grouse and cuckoo. This is interesting, as it is often argued that land abandonment can result in lower biodiversity and that livestock grazing is essential for maintaining it.

    Our research shows that, depending on how the uplands are managed, there will be bird winners and losers, but overall when sheep have gone the number of bird species returning increases.

    Before going into the research itself, its important to consider the history of British upland land management. Truly natural habitats in the UK are few and relatively small. Deciduous woodland, and to a lesser extent coniferous forests, used to cover most of the British uplands below the treeline. For example, only about 1% of the native pine forests that once covered 1.5 million hectares (15,000km) of the Scottish Highlands remain today.

    These woodlands provided homes for charismatic species such as pine marten, red squirrel and osprey, together with now extinct species such as lynx and bears. But centuries of farming has shaped most of the upland landscape to what it is today: a predominantly bare landscape dominated by moorlands, rough grasslands, peatlands and other low vegetation.

    These marginal areas tend to have low financial profitability for those who farm the land. And so a range of other activities, such as grouse shooting and commercial forestry, exist to boost rural community incomes.

    Despite their low profitability, however, many grazed areas are considered to represent high nature value farming. This seems paradoxical, but basically means they are considered important as habitats to protected species benefiting from open upland landscapes. One such species is the iconic curlew.

    Because farming is tough in the uplands and its a struggle to make a profit, landowners receive, and often rely on, subsidies to maintain their farms. The form of these subsidies has changed over time, in line with the current perception of appropriate land management for food production. At the moment, the scale of these subsidies are based on the size of the farm, but they also require that the farmer maintains the land in a good agricultural state. This leaves little room for shrubs or trees, except along field edges, especially in England where there is no financial support for agroforestry (where trees are integrated in agricultural land).

    Read more: Why massive effort needs to be put into growing trees on farms

    But these subsidies will soon no longer be allocated through the EU and so its time to reconsider what kind of land management should be supported. It seems sensible to consider introducing financial support for other land management types, such as reforestation, natural regeneration or wildflower meadows. Such habitats have other public and nature conservation benefits.

    Its not just farming and aesthetics that are at stake here. Challenges such as climate change and air pollution should also inform how financial support for appropriate land management is managed. For example, floods are predicted to become more common as the climate gets warmer. Reforestation can help to diminish floods, the roots channelling water down through the soil instead of letting it run off the land. Re-establishment of woodlands can also improve air quality: the leaves absorb harmful gases such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.

    But rewilding, or any form of restructuring land management, can be costly. It therefore needs to be based on the best scientific evidence, preferably from well-designed experimental research studies. In controlled experimental studies, the cause for any effects found can more easily be determined, as opposed to observational studies, which risk being biased by other, confounding, factors. But due to the cost and complexity of maintaining them, long-term, experimentally manipulated land use studies are rare, and with it the necessary evidence base for long-term management decisions.

    Ive been lucky to be involved in one such long-term experiment. The Glen Finglas experiment, managed by the James Hutton Institute, was set up in 2002 in Scotlands Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. The experiment examines the long-term ecological impacts of different livestock grazing intensity levels on plants, arthropods (insects and spiders), birds and mammals. These grazing levels reflect the conventional stocking rate in the region at the start of the experiment (about three ewes per ha), low intensity grazing at a third of the conventional stocking rate (with sheep only or both sheep and cattle), or no grazing at all.

    The experiment has six replicates of four grazing treatments and covers around 0.75km of land, with 12km of fencing. This may not seem large, but in experimental terms, it is. According to Robin Pakeman, a researcher at the James Hutton Institute who manages the project, the experiment constitutes an unrivalled resource to understand how grazing impacts on a whole range of organisms.

    Since the start, the Glen Finglas experiment has shown that grazing intensity affects plants and the amount of insects and spiders. The highest amount of plants, insects and spiders were found in the ungrazed areas. This was not too surprising as grazing livestock removes vegetation, which results in reduced habitat conditions for insects and spiders overall (although some species benefit from grazing).

    There have also been studies on carbon storage, vole abundances and fox activity within the experiment. These have shown higher carbon storage and higher fox activity in the ungrazed areas.

    Meanwhile, the research on birds within this experiment has, from the start, focused on meadow pipits. These small, brown birds are the house sparrows of the uplands, yet often go unnoticed. But they are the most common upland bird and an important part of upland food webs, forming key prey for birds of prey such as hen harriers and a common host for cuckoos. The experiment has provided unique insights into the ecology of this fascinating little bird, and a much clearer understanding of how it is affected by grazing.

    In just the first two to three years, it became clear that meadow pipits could be affected by grazing intensity. My PhD supervisor, Darren Evans, found that the breeding density and egg size were both positively affected by low intensity mixed cattle and sheep grazing. But there were no differences in how many meadow pipit chicks were produced and fledged between the grazing treatments, at least not in the very early phase of the experiment.

    I wanted to test whether these results changed in the longer term. Together with colleagues from Newcastle University, the British Trust for Ornithology, The James Hutton Institute and The University of Aberdeen, we looked at whether 12 years of continuous experimental grazing management had affected the breeding success of meadow pipits.

    We assumed that low intensity grazing, compared to high intensity or no grazing, was most beneficial for pipit breeding productivity. We found the low intensity grazed areas did indeed seem to be better for meadow pipits, but the effects were not clear enough to be statistically significant. And there seemed to be potentially more important factors, such as predation, affecting their breeding outcome.

    But although we did not initially set out to test it, we found other, more significant, effects on the wider bird community.

    When the experiment started, there were almost no bird species other than meadow pipits in and around the treatment areas, hence the focus on them. But in 2015, while looking for meadow pipit nests, we came across a few other beautiful nests in the low intensity grazed areas. These nests had colourful blue eggs or eggs that appeared to have been painted with dark brown watercolour paint. These turned out to be stonechat and reed bunting eggs, two bird species that had not previously been seen in the experiment.

    Later on, we saw that they had fledged successfully: the parents would call them to warn about human intruders. If we didnt get too close, the newly fledged young would curiously nudge their heads up through the vegetation. By this stage of the experiment 12 years in the vegetation had actually become quite dense and high in the ungrazed and some of the low intensity grazed areas.

    We also detected several black grouse nests, mainly in the ungrazed areas. Most of them were already hatched, but one had a female who bravely stayed put on her eggs every time we visited this area until they hatched.

    Another great discovery was when we found a meadow pipit nest with one egg that seemed oddly big in comparison to the rest of the clutch. We were really excited to realise that it had been visited by a cuckoo that had laid an egg there, which hadnt happened during the early years of nest monitoring in the experiment. This egg had a brown spotted pattern which was fascinatingly similar to the meadow pipit eggs. (As exciting as this all may seem, nest searching should only be carried out under permit. I also had a bird ringing permit covering my research activities).

    Thanks to all these encounters, we decided to test how the different grazing treatments affected the species richness of breeding birds. Over the first two years, we found that there was basically no difference. But another decade on and there were clearly more bird species found in the ungrazed areas compared to the other experimental plots.

    It was not only bird species richness that needed time to respond to the change in grazing management. Although plant structure responded early, it was not until 2017 14 years since the experiment began that an effect on plant species richness could be detected. In this case, the variety of species was greater in the intensively grazed areas, probably because the livestock holds back fast-growing plants from dominating. Whether this would remain the same in another decade is far from clear.

    The ungrazed areas in our study, meanwhile, showed more shrub and tall-growing plants after a bit more than a decade. There were also patches of deciduous tree species, which were not there when the experiment commenced.

    Rewilding is such a fractious debate because of the difficulty in obtaining solid scientific evidence on which to base decisions. It takes a very long time far longer than our political cycles, most research studies, perhaps even a lifetime to determine what the ultimate effects of large scale land management on the environment are. In our experiment, changes have been very slow. Pakeman explained to me that this is partly expected in cold and infertile habitats but another reason for slow responses is that plant communities exist in a sort of mosaic, with each community having a different preference for the grazers. He continued:

    The long history of grazing has meant that the most highly preferred communities show little response to grazing removal as they have lost species capable of responding to this change.

    There is no one management practice which creates the perfect environment. Some bird species (skylark and snipe) were only found in grazed areas. Other species were more abundant in the ungrazed areas. There is no one size fits all.

    But much more consideration and effort needs to be given to unattended land and its potential for boosting biodiversity. There is no single answer to what is the best alternative, but our experiment indicates that a mosaic of different grazing types and shrub or woodland would be more suitable if the aim is to increase biodiversity, carbon uptake and habitats for endangered species.

    The experiment also showed that changing the management had no effects on plant diversity and bird species richness in the first years. But this may only be the beginning of the transformation. Another decade of no grazing may result in even higher, or lower, species richness. This shows how important it is to be patient in receiving the effects of land management on plants and wildlife.

    Our results bring some experimental evidence to the debate around sheep farming versus rewilding. Hopefully, decisions around new policies and subsidy systems will be based on such evidence. As new policies are formed, there will inevitably always be winners and losers, among both humans and wildlife, according to which habitat types receive more support.

    Biodiversity is incredibly important. It creates a more resilient ecosystem that can withstand external stresses caused by both humans and nature. It also keeps populations of pollinators strong. At the moment, perhaps the most current and urgent reason is that it could be instrumental in protecting us from future pandemics. A wider range of species prevents unnatural expansions of single species, which can spill over their diseases to humans.

    But preserving biodiversity is just one element of long-term environmental aims. Other processes, such as increased flood protection and carbon storage, which both can be achieved through more vegetation, may soon become more prevalent.

    There are therefore several biological processes pointing towards public gain from increasing the area of unmanaged land. Across Europe, land is being abandoned due to low profitability in farming it. There are predictions that the amount of abandoned land in Europe will increase by 11% (equivalent to 200,000km or 20 million ha) by 2030. This is often reported negatively, but it does not have to be. The problem most people see with land abandonment or rewilding is the decrease in food productivity, which will have to increase in order to feed a growing human population.

    But as Richard Bunting at the charity Rewilding Britain explained to me, a decline in food production could be avoided, while increasing the areas subject to rewilding to 10,000km (a million hectares) by the end of the century:

    Were working for the rewilding of a relatively small proportion of Britains more marginal land. One million hectares may sound like a lot, but there are 1.8 million hectares [18,000km] of deer stalking estates and 1.3 million hectares [13,000km] of grouse moors in Britain. In England alone, there are 270,000 hectares [2,700km] of golf courses.

    Read more: Climate crisis: how to make space for 2 billion trees on a crowded island like the UK

    As farmers and other upland land owners may be opposed to the idea of rewilding, I also asked him how this would work in practice. He told me that he believes farming and rewilding could work well together, but he had some caveats:

    We do need conversations around fresh approaches to the way farming is carried out and how land is used. A key point here is that for farmers, engaging with rewilding should always be about choice, as we seek a balance between people and the rest of nature where each can thrive.

    There are many ways to rewild. The Woodland Trust have been successful in restoring ancient woodlands and planting new trees by protecting them from large herbivores such as deer and livestock. Another method is to let nature have its way without intervening at all. This has been successful in restoring natural habitats, including woodland, such as the Knepp estate in West Sussex, which Isabella Tree has made famous in her book Wilding.

    After 19 years of no conventional management, The Knepp estate now hosts a vast range of wildlife, including all five native owl species, the rare purple emperor butterfly and turtle doves. Large herbivores, including both livestock and deer, graze the area on a free-roaming level. These animals are replacing the large natural herbivores such as aurochs, wisent and wild boar which would have grazed the area thousands of years ago.

    So there is room for discussion on what environmental and financial benefits there may be of different rewilding, or woodland restoration projects, and where they are most suitable.

    The first thing to do, I think, is to diversify the types of land management championed by the government through subsidy. Natural habitats could be increased through more financial benefits to landowners for leaving land unattended, while improving public interest in visiting woodlands and thereby the support for preserving wild habitats.

    Meanwhile, long-term research of land-use change would give us a better evidence base for future decisions. But this must go hand in hand with much needed serious evaluations of rural communities long-term income opportunities under alternative management scenarios, which will always be a cornerstone in land use politics.

    For you: more from our Insights series:

    To hear about new Insights articles, join the hundreds of thousands of people who value The Conversations evidence-based news. Subscribe to our newsletter.

    See the article here:
    Rewilding: rare birds return when livestock grazing has stopped - The Conversation UK

    Why is this tree leaning? How to stake new trees: Ask an expert – - May 29, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    What a spring its been and gardening has just begun. If youve got questions, turn to Ask an Expert, an online question-and-answer tool from Oregon State Universitys Extension Service. OSU Extension faculty and Master Gardeners reply to queries within two business days, usually less. To ask a question, simply go to the OSU Extension website and type in a question and the county where you live. Here are some questions asked by other gardeners. Whats yours?

    Why is this currant leaning?OSU Extension Service

    Q: During this recent rainy stretch my red flowering currant has taken a dramatic lean to the east so that the trunks are at about a 60-degree angle to the ground. This is a 2-year-old plant that is about 6 feet tall and still growing fast. Other than this tipping, it appears healthy and robust. It is planted in part shade, in native soil, and close to a neighbors garage, which is directly to the south of the plant. Part (not all) of one lateral root to the west of the trunk is now visible above the soil. The now-tipped plant is encroaching in space for other plants (a bleeding heart and a huckleberry). The soil is wet but not water-logged or particularly loose. Should I try to stake the currant? Are there other options you would suggest? Multnomah County

    A: Staking in this situation is a good idea. A couple of issues are relevant here. One is to minimize disruption and damage to the plants in the ground at the base. The other is whether you should use a single sturdy wooden stake available from local garden centers or several smaller stakes that surround the shrub. This article includes a visual to provide an example of one type of staking and support bindings. Perhaps in this situation a large single stake can be sunk behind the plant and bound securely to the stems with available straps. Garden centers in our area may be able to offer professional tips to ensure that the plant is properly staked and continues to grow properly.

    Staking and watering of new tree plantings are important questions. This website and this one will provide you with the research-based answers to these questions. Staking is a temporary way to provide the tree support while the root system gets established. It should be loose enough to allow the tree to move a little but rigid enough to keep the tree from snapping off in the wind. Trees should be watered deeply for the first two to three years until the roots are established. The roots must be kept moist but not so wet that they cant receive oxygen from the soil. Jack Shorr, OSU Extension Master Gardener

    Q: Asking specifically Willamette Valley or Portland Metro area, do you know of any studies about the effectiveness of treatments vs. removal of affected birch trees? Once the borer larvae are in the cambium of the birch, is the tree likely to survive, even if treated with insecticide? Would leaving a host tree be more detrimental for the overall urban canopy? Any studies on this would be much appreciated. Multnomah County

    A: Here's the best info OSU has on bronze birch borer, though it's focused on the Klamath Basin

    I don't know of any studies to pass on to you.

    The insects generally are a problem for trees that are already stressed from drought, soil compaction damage, age, etc.

    If you are seeing major dieback, the tree is already on its way out and insecticide treatments will only prolong the situation.

    For me, Id remove affected trees and plant something else. Weston Miller, OSU Extension horticulturist

    The tree has oak leaf blister mites.OSU Extension Service

    Q: We have a young scarlet oak tree that we planted last year. It seemed to be growing well and then we noticed this spring as it started to get new leaves that it started to slump over at the top and also get these weird markings on some of the leaves. Is the tree sick? Do you have any advice on how to help it? Multnomah County

    A: The tree has oak leaf blister mites. Although their damage may be considered unsightly, it doesn't affect the health of the tree. No treatment is recommended.

    The top of the tree is bent over because the load of new leaves is too heavy for such a spindly stem. Perhaps the tree was grown in too shady a site.

    You can reduce the load on the stem by thinning out the end growth.

    It appears that the tree is tied to the support stakes with either a wire or cord. That should be changed to a wide stretchable tie, perhaps a section of old hose (but without a wide inside), a strip of bicycle inner tube, or a broad flexible commercial tie. Jean R. Natter, OSU Extension Master Gardener diagnostician

    Subscribe to Oregonian/OregonLive newsletters and podcasts for the latest news and top stories

    See the rest here:
    Why is this tree leaning? How to stake new trees: Ask an expert -

    In a first, Uttarakhand releases report on conservation of endemic, threatened floras – India TV News - May 29, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Image Source : PTI

    In a first, Uttarakhand releases report on conservation of endemic, threatened floras (Representational image)

    Uttarakhand has become the first state to release a unique report highlighting its conservation efforts to save over 1,100 rare plants from extinction.

    Herbs like Ashwagandha, Giloy, Kalmegh and Chitrak, which are presently part of scientists' research to find a possible cure to coronavirus, are included in this conservation programme executed by whistleblower forest service officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi.

    As many as 1,145 plant species have been conserved out of which 46 species are endemic to Uttarakhand and 68 species are rare, endangered or threatened, under red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) or under state biodiversity board, under this project by the research wing of the state forest department.

    The report, one of the largest repositories of conserved plants, was released on Sunday. Chaturvedi said this project is aimed at germplasm conservation so that species remain conserved with the forest department even if they disappear from their natural habitat in the wild. Conservation of endemic species is considered to be particularly important as they exist in one geographical region only.

    Brahmkamal, an endangered plant named after Hindu god Brahma, and mythological Sanjeevani herb are also among the conserved floras under this programme. Brahmkamal (scientific name:Saussurea obvallata), found at over 12,000 feet altitude in the Himalayan region bordering China, is the state flower of Uttarakhand and considered a very sacred flower. It also has tremendous medicinal properties, is used as antiseptic and for treatment of other ailments.

    Sanjeevani (Selaginella bryopteris) is another rare herb which has found a mention in Ramayan. Similarly, Thuner (Taxusbaccata), a tree found at very high altitude in Himalayan region and at the verge of extinction because of extraction of taxol, used in treating breast cancer, and Bhojpatra -- a holy tree on the bark of which ancient scriptures were written -- being the last species in tree line, are also conserved by the Uttarakhand forest department.Bhojpatra (Betulautilis) is found in the Himalayan region at around 10,000 ft altitude, before the start of glaciers.

    The conservation programme covers all classes of plants - tree, shrub, herb, bamboo, wild climbers, fern, orchid, grass, cane, alpine flowers, palm, cycad, cactus, succulent, aquatic species, insectivorous plants and even lower plants like moss, lichen and algae, which have been documented, classified and conserved for the first time.

    The report, running into 196 pages, prepared on these conserved species of floras contains detailed information of each plant on nine parameters family name, scientific name, local name, endemism, conservation status, number and location at research establishment, uses and thumbnail size photograph. Around 386 species, conserved, have medicinal properties.

    At present extinction rate of plant species has reached up to 5-7 species per year, as per various estimates, owing to climate change, global warming, smuggling/illegal extractions and unplanned construction among others which will have very adverse consequences for future, Chaturvedi said.Chaturvedi, who heads the research wing of Uttarakhand forests department, said that from now on an updated version of this report would be brought out annually in the month of April.

    It is for the first time that such a report is being published by any forest department in the country, he said. As per the report, the main aim of this project is also to promote conservation of plant species among the general public so as to end plant blindness, a term coined by US botanist Elisabeth Schussler and James Wandersee in 1998 meaning inability to see or notice plants in ones own environment.

    It is because of plant blindness that most of the conservation efforts, public attention and funds are diverted into conservation of glamorous mega fauna species like tiger and elephants, there by completely neglecting plant conservation despite the fact that they play much more important ecological role, wildlife activist Ajay Dubey said.

    Plant diversity, the worlds greatest renewable natural resource, is being lost at an alarming rate, and we must act with the greatest urgency to document and conserve it before it is too late, said the report that took one year to complete.

    Some of the famous and endangered plant species conserved are Chandan, Raktchandan, Ritha, Vajradanti, Jatamasi, Dhoop, Badritulsi, Sita Ashok, Mithavish, Sarpgandha, Brahmi, Salampanja (orchid), Kalmegha, and Buransh among others.

    Latest India News

    Fight against Coronavirus: Full coverage

    Read the original here:
    In a first, Uttarakhand releases report on conservation of endemic, threatened floras - India TV News

    Invest in Emerald Ash Borer Tree Treatment Before It’s Too … - April 19, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Ash trees are widespread throughout the U.S. and are common in the Dayton, OH, area. These trees make a beautiful addition to your yard and are an important part of our ecosystem. Unfortunately, Emerald Ash Borers (EAB) are ravaging the ash tree population throughout the country, and the only way to prevent the destruction of your trees is through vigilant EAB treatments. Contact the experienced crew at Lawn Plus LLC to help protect your ash trees today.

    EAB is an Asian, wood-boring beetle that was first discovered in Michigan in 2002. Since then, EAB has destroyed tens of millions of trees in more than 25 states. Adults are green beetles roughly the size of a penny, and have long slender bodies.

    EAB larvae tend to cause more damage than adults. Females lay eggs inside the tissue of the tree. Upon hatching, the larvae chew through the underside of the bark, essentially starving the tree of nutrients. Adults feed on and destroy the leaves. Signs of infestation include:

    To date, EAB has primarily spread through human-assisted movement. This is why many states and municipalities prohibit the movement of firewood across county lines. To help prevent the spread of EAB, collect or buy firewood where you plan to burn it. Do not bring firewood with you when you travel, and leave unburned wood at the campsite.

    Because EAB is so prevalent in Ohio, we recommend treating all ash trees that are of value to you. EAB is fatal to an infested tree within three to five years, so time is of the essence. At Lawn Plus, we utilize the Arborjet System to directly inject our EAB treatment into the tree. This form of treatment is 98% effective and only requires biennial application, saving your tree and your wallet.

    Lawn Plus has provided Miami Valley with EAB treatment and other lawn care services since 2005. If you have ash trees in your yard, contact us at (937) 839-5296to schedule service. We also offer pest control services for moles, mosquitos, and other insects. We look forward to serving you!

    Here is the original post:
    Invest in Emerald Ash Borer Tree Treatment Before It's Too ...

    Bruce Kreitler: Surviving in the shade and skip the Dicamba – Abilene Reporter-News - April 19, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Bruce Kreitler, Special to the Reporter-News Published 5:00 p.m. CT April 12, 2020

    Having been in a lot of yards lately, and also having observed the effects of our very plentiful rainfall, I notice that weeds are doing very well this year.

    Just a couple of things I want to point out about big broadleaf weeds in a yard, before I move on.

    First of all, if you do any kind of post-emergent treatment, do those as spot applications, directly on the weeds.

    Secondly, don't use anything with Dicamba as one of the active ingredients. You can check the front of the product container, be it bag, bottle,= or box, and somewhere (albeit in small print), it will say active ingredients, with a listing of them below that heading. If you have trees and shrubs, and one of those active ingredients is Dicamba, use something else.

    I do feel obligated to mention that my recommendation against Dicamba in a landscape is not based on any industry-wide information or research. Also, I get a lot of pushback from other people in the industry concerning my dislike for Dicamba.

    Many professional applicators are using it, and they consider their use as successful, so my opinion is not too popular. I will say that I know of a couple of pros, who are using limited amounts of Dicamba, and do seem to be doing OKwith it.

    Bruce Kreitler(Photo: .)

    However, that is much different from the over-the-counter formulations available to the general public. Having been in a lot of yards where trees and shrubs are not doing well, and finding out that the one thing in common those yards have is some kind of use of Dicamba, I have decided it's just best to keep Dicamba, in any form, out of those yards.

    Anyway, what I wanted to mention this week is shade, and plants in shade. Since one of the things that I spend a lot of time on is helping people grow large shade trees, I get to talk to a lot of people about the effects of that shade (other than making things cooler and more tolerable in the summer).

    Generally, when trees, such as live oaks and cedar elms, are planted asshade trees, there are other plants in the same area that require full sun, or at least a fair amount of sunshine. As time goes by, and we move into the future, those trees grow, and one big result of that is that they slowly extend their shade umbrella (which is the goal), and that area of shade slowly consumes the sunlight that other, smaller plants need.

    More: Bruce Kreitler: How much wood could woodcutters cut if cutting wood in today's woods

    More: Can you name that bloom?

    More: Bruce Kreitler: The world was built on trees

    A typical example would be crape myrtles. Crape myrtles are easy to establish, easy to grow, colorful plants, that happen to need full sun. A crape myrtle that is slowly overtaken by a larger plant, such as a tree, will just as slowly, do worse and worse.

    When that happens, people, who are used to having an attractive plant there, will want something to replace it. Of course they will want something just as colorful, but there aren't a lot of "color" plants that can produce their color without plenty of sunlight.

    What I would like to recommend for shaded areas, where some kind of bush or shrub is desired, or needed as a replacement, are hollies. There are lots of different kinds of holly bushes, and in my experience, most of them do OK in the shade.

    Granted, they do better in full sun, but most of them do passably well, even in fairly heavy shade.

    Read or Share this story:

    The rest is here:
    Bruce Kreitler: Surviving in the shade and skip the Dicamba - Abilene Reporter-News

    Lucky the Town Council isn’t in the forestry business – Alice Springs News Online - April 19, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    By Guest Writer RALPH FOLDS

    With reports of high staffing numbers at the Alice Springs Town Council Im writing to share an insight into how some of them are spending their time (and our rates).

    This little tree (1.2m) and recently denuded by processional caterpillars is the subject of an extraordinary and costly campaign by the council to remove it.

    Its a small tree, no worries. Check the paint tin put there for a size comparison.

    Ive planted many of the trees on the nature strip in my street and I planted this tree about 18 months ago.

    When a new neighbour moved in next door she wanted the tree removed so she could use the space for a car park.

    A Ranger called me and said the tree needed a permit or it would have to go.

    I got the permit.

    On March 10 two ASTC staff, one a manager, visited me.

    The tree permit was a mistake they said, my tree needed a Verge Development Permit and I had two weeks to get one.

    This permit is for a major development and requires an Aboriginal Authority approval.

    My little tree needs a sacred site clearance?

    I wrote to CEO Jennings querying this requirement.

    No response with the clock ticking on tree removal.

    I complained to the NT Ombudsman, challenging the permit requirement.

    I wrote to CEO Jennings asking him not to remove the tree while my complaint to the Ombudsman was underway.

    No response.

    The Council has not responded to the Ombudsman.

    I called ASTC manager Chris Gosling.

    He didnt know about the Verge Permit: Thats a different department.

    But he raised a new problem.

    Will my little tree eventually exceed the height limitation for street trees?

    I remembered it was a small tree but couldnt recall the species.

    An arborist will need to establish the species and report to him.

    The Council arborist called and examined the tree.

    So ASTC Rangers, ASTC manager visit, CEO, Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority, the NT Ombudsman, arborist, and no final decision yet on this little tree on the nature strip in front of my house.

    What is this all costing?

    I think I will remove the tree to avoid more waste of rate-payers money.

    But I do get the impression the Council have too many staff with not enough to do.

    The News invited a comment from the council at 11.57am today. None had been provided by the time of publication of this report.

    CORRECTION 5am April 17: Chris Gosford changed to Chris Gosling.

    Read this article:
    Lucky the Town Council isn't in the forestry business - Alice Springs News Online

    Here is a list of West Michigan businesses hiring amid COVID-19 outbreak – - March 25, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Many businesses across the country are closing their doors amid the COVID-19 outbreak. And now many workers are losing their jobs. However, in West Michigan, there are opportunities available for people to find both temporary and full-time work.

    13 ON YOUR SIDE spoke to local and national businesses with offices in West Michigan that are looking to hire employees as inventory and cleaning services are needed.

    13 ON YOUR SIDE spoke to Kevin Belk, Senior Vice President of DK Security based in Grand Rapids. He says there are a lot of positionsthat their company is looking to fill, no experience required.

    "Weve had a lot of our existing clients ask for additional security officers and then weve had another of other people that have contacted us, business, the healthcare industry has asked for help on a temporary basis," Belk said.

    "Applicants need to be 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED and they need to clear a drug test and a background screen. Then we provide the training here at DK Security, all the training they need to become an efficient officer and we do that all in house in Grand Rapids," he said.

    DK Security is looking to hire for both temporary and full-time positions.

    Amazon tells 13 ON YOUR SIDE that they are looking to fill 3,300 available jobs in Michigan.

    United Commercial Services, a Grand Rapids based cleaning company, tells 13 ON YOUR SIDE that they are still hiring.

    The Grand Rapids-based grocery store says they are actively looking to hire as many as 30 to 40 people per store.

    Shipt, the grocery shopping delivery service used by Meijer and Target, is looking to add 2,000 shoppers in the Grand Rapids area because of increase demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting Tuesday, March 24 Shipt will be recruiting shoppers. According to the company, shoppers must be at least 18 years old, have reliable transportation and a current drivers license.

    For more information on Shipt and visit

    The Vice President of Sales for Enviro-clean Matt Koster told 13 ON YOUR SIDE the company has jobs available that have some advantages at a time like this that don't require being close to others.

    "Much of our cleaning/disinfecting is done after hours. You do not come in contact with the general public. We have flexibility to work with people's desired shifts. Weekly pay is something else we just implemented which our employees enjoy. Jobs are located across the viewing area," Koster said.

    Samaritas tells 13 ON YOUR SIDE:

    Kevin Belk, the Senior Vice President of DK Securities said everyone has to do their part to get through this.

    "...we need to be patient, we need to be kind to one another and certainly part of our job is to try to figure out how we can help. How we can get people to work so that the healthcare industry can operate more efficiently. And we just want to be a good part of that," he said.

    TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Grand Rapids South is still hiring amidst the chaos. We will help supplement the income in any way that we can. Part-time, full-time, and seasonal. Hiring immediately! Applying is easy, just click the link: Get paid for your hard work! This is a general labor position, applicants must be:

    *Willing to submit a pre-employment background check and drug screen* At least 21 years of age to qualify to be a driver and have a valid driver's license

    TWO MEN AND A TRUCK offers:

    - Pay range of $13 - $18 per hour, including tips, bonuses, and raises- 100% Drug Free- Health insurance, paid time off, and 401k available- Full-time, part-time, seasonal work available- Work hard and get a raise twice per year- Opportunities to earn cash tips from customers.

    SpartanNash is looking to hire 2000 employees companywide. Find more information on their website.

    Hope Network, the healthcare and life services provider, is hiring entry level direct care and packaging staff in Grand Rapids. Direct care team members assist in the personal care and development of people affected by mental illness or developmental disabilities, and Hope Network Industries the organizations packaging division offers on-the-job training to all individuals, including refugees, ex-offenders, and those with employment barriers. Temporary, part-time, and full-time opportunities are available with no previous experience required. Find more informationon their website.

    Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services in-patient hospital is open and accepting patients seeking treatment for behavioral health and substance use issues. The position with the most openings is psychiatric technicians who work directly with our hospital patients and residents.

    To see all job opening at Pine Rest go to the website.

    Wedgwoods Residential Program is exempt from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay at home order and remains open. Wedgwood is hiring for direct care positions part-time and full-time roles, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd shifts. To see all open positions and apply, visit All interviews will be conducted virtually.

    Company offers year-round stable employment for individuals who have experience working in the great outdoors. We are currently looking for tree trimmers for our MI Commercial Construction, Residential, and our Tree & Shrub Care work crews to work in the West Michigan area as well as openings on our traveling work teams who support the utilities. We offer excellent pay, 100% company paid medical, disability, and life insurance and profit sharing bonuses. The best part about Integrity Tree Services is our culture- we offer work sites free of smoking, alcohol, drugs, profanity, and gossip.

    To learn more about us and our openings, please visit IntegrityTree.Careers

    Related Video:

    More stories on 13 ON YOUR SIDE:

    Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this.Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.

    Have a news tip?, visit ourFacebook pageorTwitter. Subscribe to ourYouTube channel.

    Continued here:
    Here is a list of West Michigan businesses hiring amid COVID-19 outbreak -

    How to Look Your Best on a Webcam – The New York Times - March 25, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Consider Light and Sound

    To make sure you can be easily heard, Mr. Mendelson advised using a room with carpeting and window treatments to absorb sound. (He was speaking by phone from his childrens bedroom, which he described as having an area rug, two upholstered headboards, Roman shades and stuffed monkeys.) His home office is all wood and glass and a beautiful place to work, he said, but too echo-y for conversations.

    And to look your best, Ms. Rottet warned never to sit directly under a light source; it will throw under-eye and next-to-nose shadows. A lamp or window positioned two feet directly opposite to you that lights you evenly will be most flattering and will not cast glare on your screen. (People adept at videoconferences also swear by ring lights: circular fluorescent or LED lamps that reduce facial shadows and the appearance of imperfections.)

    To avoid glare and unwanted reflection, Ms. Rottet said you should not let a light source, either from a light or window, be seen directly in the camera. Have the light source in front of you or beside you, but not in camera view, she said.

    But how much fun is neutrality? Some homebound workers are finding in videoconferencing setups a chance to project an upbeat attitude or convey a hopeful message.

    Ms. Minervini, for example, prefers her own surroundings to be vibrant. I love having video chats from my kitchen its new, modern and bright, even on a cloudy day, she said. For a background, she recently hung a mixed-media work by an artist friend, showing swirling waves, battleships, a rustic house and what looks like the profile of George Washington. She described the piece as energetic.

    Mr. Hart said he chose to sit in front of a Whats Up? South! map while teaching remotely because it is attractive and makes a humanistic point: North and South are relative to each other, he said. Depending on your perspective the world may appear upside down, and yet there is no absolute up or down. He also wears school swag. The message to his dispersed students, he said, is that we are all still at Amherst regardless of where we are currently.

    Excerpt from:
    How to Look Your Best on a Webcam - The New York Times

    PROGRESS 2020: Business briefs – The Times - March 1, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder


    West-AirComm Federal Credit Union

    West-AirComm Federal Credit Union has been a proud part of Beaver County for more than 70 years. Founded in 1949 by the employees of Westinghouse Electric, the credit union has its roots deep within the industry of the region.

    West-AirComm serves more than 20,000 members with both technology and personal service. The financial services include investments and loans at some of the best rates in the region, free checking, first mortgages and home equity loans.

    West-AirComm puts the credit union mission of People Helping People into motion on a daily basis. The staff offers personal service if you have questions about your finances.

    The staff also volunteers their personal time to charitable organizations in the community. In 2019, they volunteered more than 1,200 hours and raised $11,000 for the spotlight charity, Operation Troop Appreciation.

    West-AirComms 2020 charity initiative Cruisin for a Cause, will benefit the Beaver County Association for the Blind. The nonprofit organizations mission is to provide services to blind and visually impaired persons that promote their independence, prevent blindness and give those who are blind or disabled employment opportunities. The money raised help to fund the associations goal to provide a better means of transportation to the visually impaired.

    From being deeply rooted in industry to providing financial services and supporting the communities it serves, West-AirComm cares about its members.

    For more information, visit or visit any one of the branches in Beaver, Aliquippa or Moon Township.

    Farmers Building and Savings Bank

    ROCHESTER Farmers Building and Savings Bank, 290 West Park in Rochester, specializes in mortgage loans, home equity loans and home improvement loans. The bank also offers do-it-yourself construction loans to enable those who have construction knowledge to assist in the building of their home.

    The bank has drive-through facilities and off-street parking. It is handicapped accessible.

    Farmers provides premium-rate passbook savings that earn interest from day of deposit to the day of withdrawal.

    What is unique about our passbook savings accounts is that they are not internet accessible. This helps alleviate identity theft issues, said Dennis L. Goehring, president and managing officer. You, the account holder, bring in your passbook for transactions. Its simple and safe.

    Farmers also offers Christmas club accounts and direct deposit of payroll, Social Security and pension checks. Funds are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

    Farmers Building and Savings Bank is one of Beaver Countys few remaining independent financial associations. All employees and managers are from the Beaver County area and boast more than 150 years of combined banking experience. They include Martin Samchuck, Rita L. Hinton, Sarah Brogley, Pamela Locke and Dennis L. Goehring. Since the bank was founded in 1894, theyve employed only 17 individuals.

    More information is available by calling the bank at 724-774-4970. Youll speak with a real person, not an automated answering system.

    Friendly Federal Credit Union

    ALIQUIPPA Friendly Federal Credit Union, 2000 Main St. in Aliquippa, is a full-service institution that continues to expand its offerings and membership.

    Friendly Federal offers auto loans, home equity loans, holiday and vacation clubs, mortgages, IRAs, certificates of deposit, money markets, free checking, direct deposit, a youth club, debit and credit cards, home banking, bill pay and an onsite ATM machine.

    For the past 18 years, the institution has received the Bauer Financial five-star rating for exceptional performance. This year, it celebrates 65 years of service.

    The credit union was founded in 1955 as the J&L Service Department Employees Federal Credit Union. The J&L Byproducts, Seamless and Steelworkers Credit Union joined the institution. In 1986, the financial facilitys name was changed to Friendly Federal Credit Union. Today, the credit union has assets of more than $53 million, with a membership of about 5,000.

    Cynthia Hladio is the chief executive officer/manager. Phyllis Heckman is the branch manager. Carl E. Hennen is the chairman; Ed Murphy is the treasurer; and Lynn Nero, Helen Pane, Sue Ronosky, Amy Walker and Deanna Ross are directors.

    The branch office is located at 384 State St. in Baden.

    Information: 724-375-0488; 724-869-3500;


    Myers Service Center & Quality Quick Lube

    BEAVER In January 1990, Rick Myers and his sons, Rick and Ron, opened an auto repair business at 475 Buffalo St. in Beaver. They wanted Myers Service Center & Quality Quick Lube to do three things: be honest and upfront with customers, provide quality, affordable work each and every time, and earn the continued loyalty and trust of each customer.

    Thirty years later, the Myers family has been blessed to have so many returning customers, many of whom they consider extended family, and blessed to have dedicated auto technicians and employees.

    To Mark, Matt, John, Paige, Gray, Alaina and Paul, thank you for your dedication and for giving customers excellent service day-in and day-out. That commitment to excellence is what makes the business successful.

    The Myers family business couldnt have succeeded without these great employees and loyal customers. Thank you. Myers Service Center and Quick Lube looks forward to continuing such service for many years to come.

    Information: 724-774-7655.


    Geneva College

    BEAVER FALLS Geneva College prepares undergraduate students to serve faithfully and fruitfully in their lifes work. With a vocational focus and liberal arts core, a Geneva education is grounded in Gods word, enabling students to think, write and communicate well in todays world.

    For traditional students, Geneva offers more than 145 majors and programs, including biology business, communication, computer science, education, engineering, nursing, psychology and student ministry. The faculty cares about the success of each student, and the 13-to-1 student-faculty ratio makes that possible. Geneva professors have real-world work experience, academic achievements, and are actively engaging the culture through research and writing while professing an active Christian faith.

    In addition, Geneva fields 18 varsity sports teams in NCAA Division III athletics for men and women, hosts intramural sports leagues and coordinates more than 200 student activities each year.

    Adult undergraduates can earn a degree at Geneva in as few as 16 months and complement their professional and family commitments with full online programs.

    The masters degree programs MBA, counseling, cybersecurity, higher education and leadership studies can help students excel toward a more promising future. These high-demand professional degrees equip students for principled Christian service to their organizations and the world.

    In 2019, U.S. News & World Report ranked Geneva as the No. 3 Best Value Regional University for combining high academic quality with affordability. Kiplingers Personal Finance also lists Geneva on its prestigious list of national Private Universities of Value.

    Genevas main campus is located in Beaver Falls. The college is governed by the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America.

    Geneva College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, and national or ethnic origin.

    Information: 800-847-8255;

    Penn State-Beaver

    CENTER TWP. Penn State Beaver offers the personal experience of a small campus with the resources of a Big Ten research university. Students come from western Pennsylvania as well as 28 states and seven foreign countries to live in our newly remodeled residence hall, participate in our championship-winning intercollegiate sports and learn from award-winning faculty.

    Students and the community now have an opportunity to participate in the Beaver Valley LaunchBox, a signature program of Invent Penn State, a commonwealth-wide initiative to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in the region and help spur economic development, job creation and campus-community collaboration.

    The LaunchBox is powered by community business leaders, professors and ambitious students to provide subject matter expertise and training to help local entrepreneurs and innovators to build and grow their businesses and convert their ideas into a reality successfully. We have partnered with the Beaver County Library System to establish Creative Corners in each of the countys public libraries. We also offer community workshops in the libraries and on the Penn State Beaver campus.

    To learn more about the Beaver Valley LaunchBox and our community programs visit on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and at

    Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School

    MIDLAND Educating children in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, better known as PA Cyber, is one of the largest and most experienced online public schools in the nation.

    Students will find creative online learning environments, personalized instruction and top-notch curriculum at PA Cyber. Qualified, state-certified teachers use rich academic content that is aligned to state standards and meets the approval of the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

    PA Cybers instructional model focuses on its students. It recognizes their changing developmental stages while respecting their differences and unique abilities. Using a flexible but focused learning model, PA Cybers teachers create a personalized education program for each student.

    Headquartered in Midland, PA Cyber has offices throughout Pennsylvania. They serve as a hub for enrollment, orientation and enrichment. The nearly 10,000 students enrolled in PA Cyber belong to a real community, where they grow academically, emotionally, socially and physically.

    PA Cyber offers choices for live and self-paced instruction, along with a variety of opportunities for interaction with teachers and peers. The extensive course list and program offerings include the creative and performing arts, STEM and gifted programs, advanced placement classes, and a variety of clubs and other activities. Certified faculty and staff are available to engage with students and families at their convenience.

    PA Cyber provides a tuition-free, accredited curriculum with access to all technology and the personal guidance students need for success. The technology platforms are leading edge, user-friendly and enhance the educational experiences of the students. Each student receives a laptop, printer, textbooks and online connectivity, as well as an expert technological support team that is responsive, skilled and dependable.

    PA Cyber graduates can be found attending highly regarded universities, colleges, professional academies and vocational schools. Any school-aged child living in Pennsylvania may enroll.

    Information: 888-722-9237;

    Community College of Beaver County

    CENTER TWP. Community College of Beaver County, the second smallest community college in Pennsylvania, accomplished big things in 2019 on its Center Township campus.

    In March, Roger W. Davis was named the colleges ninth president after serving as interim president since May 2018. Davis, who holds a doctorate in urban educational leadership from Morgan State University in Baltimore, is the colleges youngest president. He joined CCBC in July 2016 as executive vice president and provost.

    Academically, CCBC launched the School of Industrial Technology and Continuing Education. The School of Aviation Science founded by James M. Johnson was renamed in his honor. The program, which celebrated 50 years of flight, offers the No. 1 aviation training program in the nation. It includes four two-year degree programs professional pilot, air traffic control, aerospace management and unmanned aerial vehicle (drones).

    Additionally, ranked CCBCs nursing school fifth in the nation, and G.I. Jobs magazine named the community college a military-friendly school. CCBC also received the Carnegie Science Award for Leadership in STEM education of its high school academies, and is the first non-profit higher education program in the state to provide digital textbooks for a single low-cost fee.

    For more than 50 years, CCBC has been a gateway to success for area students and continues to provide a path to prosperity and family-sustaining careers.

    Clarion University of Pennsylvania

    Clarion Universitys more than 4,700 determined students are building a bright future through challenging academics and diverse interests, all while living in a charming, civic-minded town that embraces them.

    Clarion offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business, education, health science and the arts with a 19-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, and nationally and internationally accredited programs. The university leads Pennsylvanias State System of Higher Education with 28 national accreditations and offers a multitude of internship and study abroad opportunities that give students hands-on experience in their chosen field and in research before they earn their degree.

    The university is comprised of its scenic campus in Clarion, which has evolved since its seminary beginnings in 1867, its Clarion University-Venango campus in Oil City and Clarion Online, which offers excellence in education from anywhere in the world.

    The 2020 US News and World Report ranks Clarion Online in its Top 100: best online bachelors programs and business programs, best online nursing graduate programs and best online master of education programs.

    With a focus on professional development, the university has launched inventive programming and certificates. The Respiratory Care three-year bachelors program prepares students to be registered respiratory therapists and work in diverse roles through the health care delivery system.

    The Department of Special Education and Disability Policy Studies and the Competent Learner Model Center of Excellence announced new, online certificate programs. Undergraduate and graduate level certificates in assistant applied behavior analyst and competent learner model are available as well as an advanced competency certificate program for special education students.

    The university also offers an online opioid treatment certificate, the first of its kind in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

    More than 160 student organizations complement 175-plus academic programs, including academic, Greek, political, multi-cultural and service groups. Students from 42 states and 15 countries attend Clarion which boasts 58,236 alumni worldwide.


    Sheffield Lanes, Lounge

    ALIQUIPPA Once again this summer, Sheffield Lanes and Lounge in Aliquippa will expand.

    Owners Rick and Jeannie DAgostino and their son, Zach, plan to enlarge Rickey Dees Pizza kitchen. Since it reopened in 2009, the former Crescent Township-based business has become an integral part of Sheffield Lanes.

    During these winter months, live entertainment continues. With the vinyl sides down, the veranda, warmed by a gas fireplace and heaters, is the perfect place to enjoy local musicians, wonderful food and a beverage. The veranda, which opened last May and provides customers with a non-smoking area, is a great place for private parties.

    Sheffield Lanes offers a comfortable smoking lounge and wide selection of bourbon and Scotch, as well as many domestic and craft beers. The lounge also features a humidor stocked with premium cigars. Local musicians play several evenings during the week.

    The state-of-the-art Pro Shop, managed by Matt Mowad, recently completed its third second year of business and is quickly becoming a premier spot for bowlers to upgrade their equipment or buy their first bowling ball. The Pro Shop opens at 1 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Friday, and at 11 a.m. on Wednesday and Saturday.

    The lower-level Fallout Shelter, which will celebrate its 12th anniversary in March, is an intimate venue for live music, special events and private parties. The Shelter is a host to the Beaver County Cigar Club which meets the Thurd Thursday of each month. The cigar club plans to hold its fourth Knob Creek Single Barrel Bourbon release party this summer.

    Sheffield Lanes has been a local landmark since it opened in 1950 as a 12-lane duckpin center. Now, the landmark is a 20-lane, 10-pin center that hosts mens, womens, mixed and youth bowling leagues. During the week, Sheffield Lanes offers open bowling specials including Family Funday on Sunday and Electric Bowl on Friday and Saturday. The facility also hosts birthday parties, corporate events, and family and class reunions.

    Sheffield Lanes is a go-to spot for league and recreational bowlers who enjoy music, good food, and a well-stocked bar. The friendly staff knows many of their patrons on a first-name basis and strives to keep things running smoothly.

    Sheffield Lanes is looking forward to summer with the veranda, open-air deck and bocce courts. Stop by.

    Information: 724-375-5080;


    Oram's Donut Shop

    BEAVER FALLS For more than 80 years, Orams Donut Shop, 1406 Seventh Ave. in Beaver Falls, has delighted customers with its famous cinnamon rolls and donuts. Orams takes pride in making fried pastries the old-fashioned way from scratch with quality ingredients and original family recipes.

    Customers in Beaver County show appreciation to Orams year after year by voting it the Best Doughnut Shop in The Times Best of the Valley contest. Orams appreciates the community support and will continue to produce the best sweet treats for Beaver County.

    Each week, the creative staff at Orams comes up with exciting new flavors. Past specials have included the original cinnamon roll with maple-cream cheese icing and a pumpkin cream cheese-filled doughnut rolled in cinnamon-powdered sugar. To learn about the weekly specials at Orams, follow the shops Facebook, Twitter, Google and Instagram accounts.

    Customers can now order their favorite doughnuts online by visiting the shops website, Online orders require a minimum of a dozen doughnuts and orders must be submitted before 8 p.m. for next day pickup. Orams continues to take orders by phone.

    Hours: 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

    To order: 724-846-1504;,

    Rosalind Candy Castle

    NEW BRIGHTON Rosalind Candy Castle, 1301 Fifth Ave. in New Brighton, is a full-line chocolate candy manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer. Specialties include custom favors for weddings, showers and anniversaries, fund-raising candy and gifts for all occasions.

    Rosalind Candy Castle has been in business for 106 years and employs 30 people. The century-old business offers an extensive line of chocolate confections made from scratch.

    Jim Crudden is the president of Rosalind Candy Castle. His children Michael, vice president of operations and Jennifer, vice president of sales and marketing are carrying on the family tradition of manufacturing chocolates using the original recipes. Crudden believes the business is successful because of the passion and dedication of its employees, who treat each other like family.

    The business continues to expand through new retail outlets and popular fundraising programs, used by many schools and organizations throughout western Pennsylvania. The redesigned company website also has led to growth throughout the United States.

    Read more from the original source:
    PROGRESS 2020: Business briefs - The Times

    How a little bird’s big flight gave me a new reason for living – The Sydney Morning Herald - February 23, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Sib Ir, the sleeping land, as the Tatar people called it, holds in the taiga a rolling blanket of pine, spruce and fir and on a scale only matched on these birds flights by the stretches of Australian deserts. Each expanse is nearly desolate of towns and highways. They are natural landscapes, but hostile to shorebirds. Replenished on the rim of the industrialised world, the plover leave that imprint behind and fly into the wild. As they travel, daylight grows longer. Through whatever darkness they encounter, Polaris, the North Star, stands ever higher above them, as do the Earths magnetic field lines. Each is a navigation tool they recognise.

    CYA turns north-east over the taiga near the Sea of Okhotsk. Flying on for several days, she crosses CYBs path as their flocks thread the 3000-metre Verkhoyansk and Chersky mountain ranges, ramparts of the Russian Far East. The birds of a hot Australian summer coast now overfly unmelted snow cover on these mountains for hundreds of kilometres. They traverse deciduous larch forests, greening with the spring as the altitude lowers, and then fading away further north before the polar winds onslaught into treeless tundra. Dicing now with the thaw, the two birds halt near the coast of the Arctic Sea. Their flight lines, begun in far distant southern Australia, now sing of home.

    At Thompson Beach, SA, a shorebird-marking team member holds the Grey Plover leg-flagged CYB. Credit:Eric Miller

    CYA alights on a mosaic of spongy sphagnum bogs and pools divided by low ridges, inland and south of the Arctic Seas New Siberian Islands. The closest human habitation is the small village of Yukagir, 100 kilometres to the north-east on the frozen shore of the Laptev Sea.

    The Yukaghir people, ancient Indigenous hunters and reindeer herders of the Kolyma River region, are animists. In their world, "persons" can take a variety of different animal forms, of which a human being is only one.

    Now much reduced, the Yukaghir once lived across lowland tundra and into the forests across thousands of kilometres from the Lena River to the Pacific coast. Those still living traditionally hunt birds like the hen-sized ptarmigan, ducks, geese and swans. Probably the greater danger to the shorebirds lies in Yukaghir reindeer herds. Browsing the tundra moss, these may step on nests and will relish a snack of an egg or unfledged chick.

    CYB, having taken a more easterly bearing after crossing the mountains, first comes to ground inland and south of CYA. After a pause, CYB flies off to low-shrub moss tundra near the mouth of the Kolyma River, which drains most of eastern Siberia.

    Across Kolyma Gulf at Ambarchik stands a ghostly relic of the 20th century. In the aeons of migratory bird history it is a mere wing flick, a transient curiosity. Its the decaying remains of a Soviet Gulag-era forced labour transit camp, a coastal port for prisoners before they were transported inland up the Kolyma. Today theres an automatic meteorological station at Ambarchik and its records show that a day or two after CYB lands, warm air from the south brings a sunny 22 degrees Celsius day, doubling the temperatures of the previous week.

    The two Greys, depleted though they must be, do not stay to nest on this coast. A westerly wind blows up and as the enthralled Australian researchers watch the satellite tracks, first CYA and then, about a day later, CYB take flight again. They head out over hundreds of kilometres of Arctic Ocean ice to the unpeopled last home of the extinct Woolly Mammoth. Wrangel Island is their final destination.

    So these two Grey Plover are birds of extreme shores. Their paths have been parallel, and each stretches from exactly the same place in the far south of Australia to its counterpart far north in the Arctic. Just as there is the Southern Ocean below South Australia, there is no land between Wrangel and the North Pole. In this way does the web of ultra-marathon shorebird travel bind us.

    For CYA, the long jump from the Yellow Sea across Russia has been a sapping 6140 kilometres. CYB hints that she is more efficient, with a more conservative 4835-kilometre flight. Satellite fixes of these dates are inexact, but probably each landed around June 5 to 6. After flying separately all that way from the weedy shores of Thompson Beach, which they left months before, the two birds likely fold their wings at Wrangel within a day of each other.

    Flocks of shorebirds take wing in the early morning on the Yellow Sea, China.Credit:Andrew Darby

    To my greater amazement, only a few days earlier the island is released from the grip of snow. NASA Worldview satellite records show the land turning brown. What knowledge can these birds have that their unseen breeding ground, still surrounded by sea ice, will be ready for them?

    Perhaps the summer air signal back on the Siberian shore was decisive. Maybe the birds have the confidence of evolution, of countless failures before success, implying an ingrained genetic judgement. Or are they programmed to dice with survival? In any case, this tracked journey is the first direct evidence of any bird from Australia ever flying to Wrangel, and powerfully shows the breakthrough that satellite telemetry gives to migratory bird science.

    "This was one of the most memorable days in 40 years of wader migration studies in Australia," said Clive Minton, the inspiring leader of the Victorian Wader Studies Group for decades before his death late last year.

    "Those Grey Plovers in South Australia, they were almost an accident," Minton reflected. "It was a second-choice bird. But science is like that. You ask a question, you get an answer to it. So you ask another question. If you are flexible and pragmatic, you can read the signs, you know which way to follow.

    "And they gave us a wonderful ride. They kept going and stopping, going and stopping, and finally at the northern Siberian coast you think, Right, this is just where many others went. Then two or three days later, they tootle off to Wrangel Island! That, of course, is what lit this whole thing up."

    It also lit me up. A journey to a place as distant and as hard to reach as Wrangel spoke for itself. I resolved to try to see it.

    I found a small tour company that runs a few voyages to Wrangel late each summer in an icebreaker out of the Chukotkan port of Anadyr. The tour company agreed to give me a berth in return for newspaper travel stories if I could reach Anadyr. I booked to fly via Moscow, where the Russian shorebird science patriarch, Pavel Tomkovich, would see me. The reading of runes from satellite plots and weather data might be overtaken: this way I could have a ground truth at the nest.

    About the same time of year that the Grey Plover began their flight from the Yellow Sea to Wrangel, just after I came back from China, I went to my city hospitals emergency department. The back pain I had put down to travelling on uncomfortable bus seats had intensified to take hold of my chest on the left side. I was cleared of heart attack and began taking antibiotics. Perhaps I might have a respiratory disease picked up in China.

    A Black-bellied Plover nest at Woolley Lagoon, Alaska.Credit:Andrew Darby

    A series of follow-up tests ruled out respiratory problems, and a blood clot, but led to the discovery of a small primary cancer at the top of my right lung. Then a truly terrifying positron emission tomography (PET) scan showed many secondaries. The largest was eating its way into my spine, sending nerve pain around my chest. They collectively shone inside my torso from groin to collarbone like baubles on a spectral Christmas tree. I was at stage four of lung cancer.

    "Andrew, you have an incurable disease," the respiratory physician told me, as he showed the scan to me and my wife, Sally. "Statistically, you have 12 to 18 months," he said. "But no one is a statistic. Andrew, can you hear me? Can you hear me?"

    I descended into a dark winter, falling for months into a haze of mortal pain and painkillers. If there was any time that I needed science to work for me, for hard-won life-giving data to be joined together, this was it.

    I kept my sanity, thanks to Sallys love and the close kindness of many, while science began to answer my call. I thanked my luck to be living in a country of freely available first-class health care; near a city just big enough to have the best, but not so big as to have lost the collegial eye of personal medical networks. I was encouraged by medical friends to break a taboo and went straight to palliative care. Here my pain was managed with scientific diligence, finely balancing my needs with drugs. I anxiously waited for treatment against the cancer.

    "Think about your birds," Sally said. And so for solace I sought them out. Through wakeful, fearful nights, I lay remembering the mesmerising flocks in the Yellow Sea. I reconstructed the flights I had seen; their living freedom. I rewound the ritual of their excited departures from Australia, calling to each other to gain shared strength, as they took off on 7000-kilometre flights north. Further back I went, to recall details of the catches at Thompson Beach, to the stillness in the human hand of the Grey Plover, those most wild, faraway birds.

    Flight Lines by Andrew Darby.Credit:Allen & Unwin

    I held onto my first sight of a Grey Plover, of a Peter Pan bird standing off from others in water near a sand bar at Thompson Beach, South Australia. There was always something in that moment of J.M. Barries story that resonated for me. Peter is a careless, mischievous boy. His power of flight is lost to injury and he stands on Marooners Rock as it submerges on a rising tide. With the water lapping around him, he is defiant, ambivalent; but decides: "To die will be an awfully big adventure." Then he is rescued by the Never Bird.

    I looked to the profound migratory power of my bird, the Grey Plover, to inspire my survival.

    Read this article:
    How a little bird's big flight gave me a new reason for living - The Sydney Morning Herald

    « old entrys

    Page 11234..10..»