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EPA Forms GreenScapes Alliance

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created the GreenScapes Alliance, a program to encourage “holistic decisions regarding waste generation and disposal and the associated impacts on land, water, air, and energy use.” It preaches the four Rs: reduce; reuse; recycle; rebuy.

GreenScapes Alliance (GSA) identifies its concerns: 1) about four million miles of roadside landscaping; 2) “Brownfields land revitalization” (land projects complicated by hazardous waste materials or pollutants); 3) beautification and maintenance of office complexes, golf courses, and parks.

GSA seeks partners (businesses and agencies that will mitigate or prevent pollution) and allies, industry associations to promote the program to its membership, including “about 73,000 landscape contractors, landscape care and maintenance companies, and landscape installers; around 16,000 golf facilities; approximately 11,000 establishments in the highway and street construction industry that work on four million miles of roads; and 3,066 counties that do highway maintenance in 52 states, territories, and the District of Columbia.”

GSA seeks to educate these groups how to reduce material use and waste, and to promote recycling and the use of biobased products.

It will teach land managers how landscaping techniques can yield water and energy savings, and how to conserve landfills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. GSA will publicize the success stories and award those that achieve environmental excellence.

For more information, go to

Technology Today

1/3 – Fraction of the world’s population that has made a phone call

350,000,000 – Number of computers in use in 2000
Source: Michael Murphy, editor, Technology Investing,

Southern Calif. Coastal Bluff Goes Way of Development

The California Coastal Commission approved development of the Dana Point Headlands Conservation Park, an area developers have long had their sights on.

What’s know as the Dana Point Headlands Conservation Park, a large, table-like bluff 180 feet above the Pacific Ocean between Laguna Beach and Dana Point Harbor in Orange County, has been a contested target of development for about 30 years. No longer. On January 16, 2004, the California Coastal Commission voted 7-5 to develop 121-acres of the site with 122 homes (a new homeowner here will have to mortgage about $2 million), an inn, a hostel, five parks and coastal trails; about half of the land will be open spaces.

It was the inclusion of parks and trails that apparently tipped the verdict of the commission. The original plan called for homes, the commercial development, and a lighthouse and cultural center near the bluff’s edge. The site for the lighthouse and cultural center was judged to violate the Coastal Act, which protects endangered species (pocket mice and gnatcatchers inhabit the bluff) and habitats (coastal sage scrub). The developer, Sanford Edward, agreed to donate $2 million for parks, instead.

The Sierra Club and the Surfrider Foundation were among the groups opposing the development of one of the landmark bluff, asserting the large amount of grading and the rebuilding of a seawall to support the cliff below the site of the housing would cause further erosion of the bluff and endanger the fauna and flora. Some of the commissioners believe the habitat and wildlife will remain largely intact; others are not so concern about that aspect. The same commission allowed the development of a large, luxurious resort on the coast just north of here in 2002, despite similar environmental objections.

Construction is not expected to begin until 2005.

Opposition groups are threatening legal action to contest the commission’s decision; others, including local residents, look forward to having access to the beach area that the development will provide.


Richard Henry Dana Jr., in his seafaring novel, Two Years Before the Mast, published in 1909, called the promontory today know as the Dana Point headlands, “the only romantic spot on the California coast.”

Vegas Just Keeps Growing and Growing

An example of a KB Home, the top builder in Southern Nevada.

Home Builders Research, which dubs itself the “premier housing research firm in the Las Vegas housing market,” reports 25,230 new-home sales in Las Vegas for 2003, a 12 percent gain over 2002, and surpassing its 2001 record of 22,940. Construction could not keep up with the new housing demands in 2003. The resale market of homes was also up nearly 30 percent in 2003.

Dennis Smith, president and founder (1987) of Home Builders Research (HBR), believes 2004 could be another record year, unless mortgage rates rise. According to HBR’s website, the firm maintains a data base of recorded sales activity that is the “most authoritative source of new housing absorption data in the Clark County area.”

Despite all the new homes, the demand and pricing in the Vegas home market is so competitive that home builders employ lotteries, and people camp out at sales offices in hopes of getting one of the new homes before prices inflate further. HBR reports the median price of a new home in December 2003 was $209,611, nearly a $23,000 increase from the previous month.

KB Home, the top builder in Southern Nevada, doesn’t see a slowdown in sight. The firm is currently involved in constructing over 40 new home developments.

Equipment Manufacturers Support DOC Report

MILWAUKEE – The Association of Equipment Manufacturers welcomed the new recommendations of the U.S. Department of Commerce to foster U.S. competitiveness in manufacturing.

Those recommendations were made in the report “Manufacturing in America: A Comprehensive Strategy to Address the Success of U.S. Manufacturers” issued Jan. 16 by Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans.

AEM helped organize a DOC roundtable discussion in 2003 to gather input for the report and encouraged its members to participate in similar roundtables nationwide.

“We’re grateful for the Administration’s focus on the importance of manufacturing to the U.S. economy and for the chance to provide input into the development of the DOC agenda to address the long-term health of the manufacturing sector,” said AEM Chair Ronald M. DeFeo.

Enhancing transportation infrastructure was an AEM priority that was included in the report. According to DeFeo, every $1 billion in federal highway funds creates 47,500 jobs and provides nearly $2 billion a year in family income.

“Passing a well-funded, six-year transportation bill would stimulate the equipment manufacturing sector and the overall economy,” he said.

“Robust Construction Unlikely Until 2005”

The Portland Cement Association (PCA), based in Skolie, Ill., predicts the U.S. economy will move in high gear in 2004, based on recent improvements in the U.S. labor markets. However, the PCA does not expect “robust construction activity” until 2005.

Edward Sullivan, chief economist for the PCA, explains: “The seemingly contradictory outlook is based on the prospects of cooling single-family construction under the weight of rising interest rates, a delayed and muted improvement in commercial construction activity, and a public construction sector still coping with state-level fiscal crises.”

PCA believes the emerging economic recovery will create jobs, escalate wage gains, and lead to stronger capital gains. These factors will strengthen the tax base of states and ease fiscal stress. PCA projects 2.7 to 3 percent growth in cement consumption for 2005 through 2008.

Landscape Artist Works to Preserve Civil War Battlefields

Fioravanti’s painting “Not a Single Man Flinched, The Wilbur McLean Farm” and “Silent Guardian, Battery L, 1st Ohio Light Artillery At Little Round Top,” both inspired from the Gettysburg National Military Park.

Nationally recognized, award winning historical landscape / preservation artist Jeff Fioravanti, has created a new program to preserve our nation’s endangered civil war battlefields and historic landscapes.

Beginning in 2004, Fioravanti will donate a portion of annual sales, from his “Historical Landscape” series of artwork, including originals, prints and note cards, toward the preservation of our nation’s pristine and historic open spaces.

In 2003, Fioravanti worked closely with several preservation groups including the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association, (Gettysburg, PA), the Land Conservancy of Adams County, (Gettysburg, PA), North Shore Civil War Roundtable, (Lynn, MA) and the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, (Frederick, MD). Successful joint ventures involving the sale, raffle, or auction of Fioravanti’s original artwork have resulted in the generation of significant income for each of the organizations involved.

“It just feels right to all of us involved with Fioravanti Fine Art to make this commitment,” said Fioravanti. “So many sacrificed so much to make us a nation, that we believe that the least we can do, to say ‘thank you,’ is to do as much as we possibly can to make certain the fields and vistas, which often serve as the only testament and monument to their sacrifice, will live on forever,” concluded the artist.

For further information about the preservation efforts and artwork of historical landscape / preservation artist Jeff Fioravanti, you may write, Fioravanti Fine Art, 49 Pennybrook Road, Lynn, MA. 01905, call (781) 595-5961, or visit him on the web at

Human Potting Soil?

Dust to dust, ash to fertilizer? Yes, if Susanne Wiigh-Masak, a Swedish environmental biologist, gets her way. Carrying recycling or “green” to the next step, the Swedish scientist believes that humans should be returned to the soil in the form of organic fertilizer.

People buried in the earth do eventually return to nature, if they’re entombed in wood. However, embalming bodies, some think, is not the ideal way to become one with the earth, as these fluids can get into the water table, and who wants to drink that! The push in some quarters is burial (without embalming) in unvarnished wood coffins or even cardboard containers, an increasingly popular resting place procedure in England.

People who choose to be cremeated can have their ashes spread o’er the land, sea or air. There’s even a firm that puts human ashes into firework rockets, for those who want to go out in a blaze of glory, a kind of final, final hurrah.

But cremating bodies burns fossil fuels, so, if you want to be really environmentally friendly, Ms. Wiigh-Masak has a variation on the theme: Freeze dry bodies via liquid nitrogen, crumble into fine powder (various way, including sound waves), place into ground in a biodegradable container, and you are compost.

Ms. Wiigh-Masak believes this is giving back to nature. She has only done the procedure on pigs and cows, but has received provisional approval from the Church of Sweden to proceed, perhaps next year, on humans.

Jensen Corp. Receives
Two California Landscape
Contractors Association Awards

CUPERTINO, Calif. – Jensen Corp., a leading landscape construction and maintenance company, received two first place awards from the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA) for large commercial installations and unlimited commercial maintenance for its project at the Pacific Shores Center in Redwood City.

The Pacific Shores Center is a Jay Paul Company office building development with over two million square feet of landscape, water features, and sport amenities.

“We are extremely proud of this project given its complexity and limited time constraint. Jensen completed the project in 10 months,” said Scott McGilvray, president and CEO.

Jensen also received six regional awards from the CLCA for excellence on other projects.

Jensen provides its landscape construction and services throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, with branch operations in Novato and Monterey. Its flagship projects include the Pacific Shores Center, Stanford Art Museum, Sun Microsystems, and Oracle Headquarters.

API Is Now Aquarius Brands

ONTARIO, Calif. – Agricultural Products, Inc., announced Jan. 20, 2004 that it has formally changed its name to Aquarius Brands, Inc. The name change follows an acquisition of substantially all of the assets of the Wade Rain Micro Irrigation division of R.M. Wade. A new division of API will continue to market the Pepco and Wade Rain trade names.

“It is part of our growth strategy to acquire companies with strong brand recognition, and we need an appropriate vehicle to retain and grow those brands,” explained Dave Abrams, president of Aquarius Brands.

Aquarius is a leader in micro irrigation products for agriculture and landscaping, with operations in Ontario, Fresno and Visalia, California and Winter Haven, Florida. Aquarius Brands is a subsidiary of Summa Industries, Torrance, California.

Rain Bird Wins Tournament of Roses Parade Trophy

Rain Birds winning float depicts a glimmering winter snow thaw on the Grand Canyon's dense floral forest floor.

PASADENA, Calif. – Rain Bird Corporation was awarded the prestigious Grand Marshal Trophy in recognition of their 2004 Tournament of Roses Parade entry, “Springtime Symphony.”

The Grand Marshal Trophy is traditionally awarded to the float that displays excellence in creative concept and design, as determined by a panel of judges. The win marks Rain Bird’s eighth consecutive Tournament of Roses trophy and their first Grand Marshal trophy win in the company’s eight-year parade history.

This year’s winning float depicted a glistening winter snow thaw in the Grand Canyon’s dense floral forest floor and featured a family of magnificent spotted owls with newly hatched chicks, nestled between a red-crested pileated woodpecker, a fuzzy chipmunk and a curious ocelot cub, With eight cascading waterfalls and 24 high-pressure misting nozzles, that used over 1,500 gallons of recycled water, the 55-foot long, 30-foot high float continued Rain Bird’s Rose Parade tradition of saluting the Earth’s most precious resource & water.

Rain Bird’s other Rose Parade awards include: Sweepstakes Trophy in ’98, ’99, ’01, ’02 and ’03, President’s Trophy in ’00, Director’s Trophy in ’97 and the Grand Marshal Trophy in 2004.

“This award is a testament to the dedication of our employees and families, who worked so hard and devoted many hours to making this dream a reality,” said Stacy Sharkey, Rain Bird corporate marketing brand manager. “We are proud of the important message of environmental conservation that our float communicates.”

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December 7, 2019, 3:35 am PDT

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