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CANGC Legislative Conference Set for June








SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers will hold its legislative conference and annual meeting June 15-17, 2004 at the Embassy Suites in Sacramento. Complete event registration includes four legislative sessions, a special reception for the association’s political action committee, a dinner cruise on the Sacramento River, an awards lunch and two local tours.

The sessions and meeting will get the attendees up to speed on the current legislative issues, activities and concerns of the association. Conference topics will include sudden oak death (Phytophthora ramorum), workers’ comp., state budgetary concerns, the business environment, and this year’s election. “Banking on Tomorrow,” a political activity awareness reception to highlight recent efforts and future strategies of the PAC, is schedule for June 15.

A June 16 silent auction will benefit the association’s endowment for research and scholarship. The auction will take place during the “Party on the Matthew McKinley,” which includes a champagne awards reception, dinner and entertainment while cruising the Sacramento River.

For more information, visit www.cangc.org, or contact the CANGC at 800-748-6214 or chutchings@cangc.org.



Changes Planned for 2005 INLA Annual Convention & Trade Show

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – The Iowa Nursery & Landscape Association is gearing up for the 2005 INLA Annual Convention & Trade Show, scheduled for January 16-18, 2005 in the newly constructed Hy-Vee Hall addition to the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.

The show will have a new format designed to provide exhibitors with increased uninterrupted time with customers during the show. In addition, the new format will give exhibitors the chance to have their products demonstrated and promoted right on the show floor by a nationally known marketing consultant. These changes are being implemented as a result of exhibitor feedback and suggestions.

Booths are selling quickly and discounts apply to INLA members and those companies that purchase a booth prior to August 1st. For more information on exhibiting at or attending the show, visit the Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association website, www.iowanla.com.



Middlebrook Gardens Wins Award
For Sustainable Gardens






Alrie Middlebrook, President, Middlebrook Gardens and Laura Teksler, Chair, Business Environmental Awards/Member, Board of Directors.


Acterra, whose mission it is to protect, promote greenbelts, preserve open space, and protect and restore natural habitats has given its prestigious 2004 Business/Environmental award in the Open Space and Habitat preservation/Restoration Category to Middlebrook Gardens of San Jose. The award is given to companies who work to create greenbelts and protect and restore natural habitats. Middlebrook Gardens was one of thirty companies who were competing for the prestigious award.

Middlebrook designs and builds gardens using California native plants and sustainable practices to save water, lower costs and bring the natural beauty of California into homes and businesses. They have designed and built over sixty gardens throughout the region.

Founded in 1976 by Alrie Middlebrook, firm president, Middlebrook Gardens has become the premiere firm specializing in sustainable landscaping for both commercial and non-commercial properties. The environmental benefits are obvious–they eliminate the need for pesticides, insecticides and extensive irrigation. They attract wildlife and help reconnect people to the natural world, teaching them about basic ecology. After creating a garden, the company establishes a garden management program with the owners. They want to encourage other companies to practice sustainability when designing landscapes, as well as making communities better places to live.

Acterra: Action for a Sustainable Earth is based in San Francisco, and gives awards annually to forward-thinking businesses. In addition they maintain a Library and Resource Center, a Native Plants Nursery with over 1,000 species raised in the watershed for the watershed, and The Arastradero Preserve. They also run Green Teams and a High Schools Group in their ongoing effort to encourage sustainable landscapes through stewardship, education and leadership. Examples of techniques they encourage include replacing concrete with more permeable surfaces, strategic tree planting, installing innovative water capture and infiltration technologies, and other sustainable urban landscaping concepts.

For more information go to www.acterra.com or www.middlebrook-gardens.com.



K-Rain Donates to Field of Dreams Project








K-Rain Manufacturing Corp. has donated its ProPlus and ProSports Turf rotors to a unique youth athletics project in Seaford, Delaware. The “Fields of Dreams” project was spearheaded by irrigation contractors Paul David, chairman of Davis Lawn Care, and Tim Conway, vice president of Barton’s Landscape, both located in Seaford, Delaware. The duo, in addition to recruiting K-Rain’s involvement, enlisted local businesses to donate time, money and products to build football fields appropriate for youth flag football. For the fields, built from the dirt up, all materials from equipment to sod were donated.

Prior to the Field of Dreams project, youth sports fields in Seaford were used predominately for soccer and baseball leagues. The new field, located at Seaford Sports Complex, gives children ages six to 14 a sports alternative by facilitating a peewee football program. The NFL Youth Flag Football Network (NFLYFN) assisted with development and planning of the new program in Seaford. The program is now a recognized member of the NFLYFN, with the organization supplying everything from jerseys to footballs, flags and league structure.

“We’re proud to be part of something that leaves a lasting impact on the children of a community,” commented Dan Finnegan of K-Rain.

K-Rain, founded in 1974, has a diverse workforce of over 200 people. In addition to the company’s Florida manufacturing facility, K-Rain recently added an operations and manufacturing hub in the Dominican Republic.

For more information, visit www.k-rain.com.



Agriculture Secretary Funds $15.5
Million to Sudden Oak Death Battle

Washington, D.C. – Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman announced the transfer of $15.5 million to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to help halt the spread of sudden oak death (Phytophthora ramorum) to noninfested areas of the United States. Sources close to APHIS indicated the internal allocation of another $3 million in funding toward their P. ramorum containment and control efforts.

“We applaud Secretary Veneman for taking this critical first step toward funding a comprehensive response to this plant disease threat,” said Craig Regelbrugge, senior director of government relations for the American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA). “USDA must implement a response plan that includes a comprehensive national survey of Phytophthora ramorum in the U.S. We expect further funding will be needed for prevention, compensation and research,” Regelbrugge added.

ANLA has worked with USDA and state officials to ensure a prompt and adequately funded response. Past survey and quarantine efforts have been limited in their success by inadequate funding, something that ANLA hopes will be remedied by the funding Veneman announced on May 18. ANLA is also seeking expanded research funding for P. ramorum, through the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative, and other possible channels.

Veneman’s announcement suggests that APHIS will allocate $6.9 million of the funding to California for quarantine activities and identification of infected nurseries and to fund their current federal order to prevent the further spread of the disease to other nurseries in the United States. The remaining $8.6 million will be used for surveys, other quarantine and regulatory enforcement, public outreach and laboratory diagnostics and testing.



Health Care Assistance Plan
Available for Seasonal Workers

Washington, D.C. – The American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA) has announced it is endorsing the Seasonal Worker Healthcare Assistance Plan provided by American Plantsman. The plan offers seasonal workers employed by the green industry affordable health care insurance assistance. There are three tiers of health care assistance offered: Level 1, $3.95 per week; Level 2, $6.45 per week; Level 3, $10.45 per week. The level, of course, determines the coverage and benefits. There are options for doctor/emergency room visits; preventive care visits; accidental medical; hospitalization; term life/accidental death coverage; discount prescription/physician networks; and dental/vision programs. Availability of options is dependent upon the level of coverage selected by the employee. Level two coverage, for instance ($6.45 per week or $25.80 per month), provides the following coverage:

  1. Pays 80% of emergency room expenses for accidental injury up to $5,000 per year.
  2. Reimburses $50 per doctor visit up to five times a year.
  3. Reimburses $1,200 for hospitalization.
  4. Discounts prescriptions and vision care.
  5. Provides an accidental death benefit of $25,000.

The Seasonal Worker Healthcare Assistance Plan is a low-cost, limited benefit medical plan endorsed by the ANLA for the landscape and nursery workforce. Employees of ANLA member firms cannot be turned down for coverage, and have the freedom to select their own physicians. This program is a supplemental medical plan and should not be offered in place of or as a major medical plan.

For more information, contact ANLA headquarters at (202) 789-2900, or American Plantsman at 888-842-0405.

Note: This program is currently not available in Minnesota or Vermont.



Highway Administration Opposes Contractor Reimbursement








Washington, D.C. – King Gee, the Federal Highway Administration’s Associate Administrator for Infrastructure, has updated the Associated General Contractors of America on the use of federal funds to reimburse contractors for cost increases on highway projects, according to AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson.

Gee to AGC officials that FHWA has decided it cannot allow federal funds to be used to reimburse contractors for cost increases on existing federal-aid highway contracts, where such adjustment clauses were not in the original contract. According to Simonson, Gee said states are free to use 100 percent state money for reimbursement on such contract adjustments. Gee noted that a recent survey conducted by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) showed that more than 20 states have provisions prohibiting such retroactive adjustments.

Simonson said states that want to reimburse contractors with state funds will have to submit contract changes to their FHWA division office but the office is not expected to review the mechanism used for reimbursement.

FHWA is scheduled to meet with AASHTO’s Construction Committee to explore other forms of relief that may be feasible and appropriate and then will meet with other interest groups, including AGC.



NAHB Announces
Pillars of the Industry Award Winners








Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) recently announced the winners of its 2004 Pillars of the Industry Awards. These awards, considered the most prestigious national awards in the industry, honor excellence in multifamily and are looked to by both the industry and the media as a showcase of innovation and future trends.

“The quality represented by this year’s Pillars Awards winners cannot be overstated,” said J. Ronald Terwilliger, CEO of Trammell Crow Residential and Chairman of NAHB’s Multifamily Leadership Board. “The days of the ‘boring box’ apartment building are over-they are history. Today’s apartment and condo communities are extraordinarily beautiful and innovative and these award winners, in particular, are setting a new standard for apartment living.”

Winners were named in 29 categories, recognizing “the best of the best” in multifamily design, development, marketing, and management.

Southern California Housing Development Corporation won top honors as Freddie Mac’s Multifamily Development Firm of the Year. Gables Residential was named Property Management Company of the Year, and the Epicenter, an eclectic apartment development in the center of an artist’s neighborhood in Seattle, won Best Multifamily Community of the Year, an award selected from among all the winning entries in the builder award categories. Developed by SP Multifamily, LLC, The Epicenter also won Best Mixed-Use Community of the Year.

The complete list of winners can be seen at www.pillarsconference.com.



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