2011年8月30日 星期二

Study highlights continuing dangers of soft bedding

Despite an on-going educational campaign by pediatricians to alert parents to the dangers of soft bedding in cribs—meaning pillows, blankets, and crib bumpers—a recent study has found that the message hasn’t quite gotten through to some parents. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that parents avoid placing their babies on soft sleep surfaces, as a way of reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

A recent AAP study found that among a group of 83 African-American mothers with infants under six months of age in the Maryland and Washington, D.C. area, there were serious misperceptions about safe bedding for their babies. Many believed that their babies would be cold without blankets, or would be injured by crib railings if there weren’t bumpers. Some also believed that bedding was safe if a blanket or pillow was placed between the mattress and the crib sheet.

“Decisions of Black Parents About Infant Bedding and Sleep Surfaces: A Qualitative Study”, was published this month in Pediatrics. According to the study, “Infants born to black mothers succumb to SIDS at a rate more than twice that of white, non-Hispanic Infants. Black infants are also disproportionately affected by accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed and undetermined deaths, with rates two to three times those seen for nonblack infants.”

“In general, health care professionals make assumptions about what people know and don’t know,” said Rachel Y. Moon, M.D., a co-author of the study, chair of the AAP task force on SIDS and co-author of “14 Ways to Protect Your Baby from SIDS”. “A lot of parents who use soft bedding think they make their baby safer.”

Dr. Moon said that the results of the study, which interviewed mothers from both lower and higher socioeconomic groups, showed that “there needs to be better communication from health care providers. They can be a little more pro-active in talking with parents. We have to emphasize the fact that we have new information that we didn’t have 20 or 30 years ago. Now we know better.”

2011年8月28日 星期日

Soft not safer for babies

Many parents put soft bedding such as pillows and blankets where babies sleep, despite warnings that the cushioning increases the risk of infant death, a U.S. study said.

That's because many are under the impression that a soft sleeping environment means the baby will be more comfortable or protected from injuries, said Rachel Moon, from Children's National Medical Center in Washington D.C. and one of the study's authors.

"When it comes to babies' sleep environment, soft is not safe, it's actually dangerous," she added.

Parents may misinterpret a pediatrician's recommendations or what constitutes a safe sleeping environment, said Debra Weese-Mayer, a pediatrician at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

According to findings published in Pediatrics, more than half of the mothers reported using soft bedding for their baby, telling researchers they wanted to make sure the children were comfortable and warm. They also said they used pillows as a barricade on beds or sofas, or to prop babies up.

"We were surprised that people use (soft bedding) because they think it's going to make their baby safer," Moon said. "

Some mothers thought doctors' recommendations to use a "firm sleep surface" included a bed where a sheet was tucked tightly over pillows - but that's still a dangerous sleep situation, Moon and her colleagues warned.

The mothers also used bumper pads on cribs. But as with pillows and blankets, bumper pads pose a suffocation risk, Moon said, adding that there really isn't any need for them - especially for very young babies.

All the experts agreed that awareness of the dangers needs to be raised across the board.

2011年8月25日 星期四

One woman's journey into homelessness

What would it be like to be homeless? How would it feel to go from a normal life to a life where the stuffy insides of a car serve as your living quarters? How would you feel about yourself if confronted with such a situation?

For long-time Oakville resident Sharon White, 60, no imagination is necessary.

White is new to the homeless experience as she only started living in her car on July 19, of this year.

It’s a nice car, a Nissan Rogue, which driving down the street does not look out of place in Oakville.

The car, however, is a remnant of White’s very different life, and now houses a sleeping bag, clothes, suitcases, books, water bottles and White herself.

“I never thought this would happen to me. Never in a million years,” said White, during an interview in Coronation Park.

“If you knew my past accomplishments and where I’ve traveled, flying on TD jets, and here I am now…it’s just unbelievable.”

White agreed to tell her story on the condition that her real name be withheld.

She has children who live in the area and said she doesn’t want them to be impacted.

She also said there is a great deal of shame, which comes from being in her situation and she would rather people didn’t know her name.

White said she comes from a pretty normal background.

She was educated at the University of Ottawa where she received a bachelor of commerce, which she used to get various jobs with life insurance companies and banking institutions.

She was married at 34 and adopted two children when it was found she could not have children of her own.

White lived with her family in a large home in southeast Oakville.

In today’s market, she said, that house would probably have been valued at around $1 million.

White’s decent into homelessness did not happen all at once, but slowly over several years.

She said it began with a messy divorce and continued when she lost her job as a day trader and most of her savings and investments to the recent recession.

Leaving her home, White eventually began leasing a townhouse in Glen Abbey, which she now realizes was completely beyond her means.

“It was very expensive,” said White.

“The utilities and all the extras and food. I guess I was in denial. I knew I was running out of money. I started looking for apartments around May, because my lease was up in July, and I couldn’t find anything, they were too expensive and I couldn’t find a job.”

White said she was also hampered by the fact that someone stole her credit cards, maxed them out and destroyed her credit.

This made finding someone who would rent a home to her even more difficult.

When the lease on her townhouse expired, White said she stayed a few days at the residence at Sheridan College until it got to the point where she could no longer afford that.

On July 19, White spent her first night sleeping in her car and it was only at this point the reality of her situation truly began to sink in.

“It’s depressing…depressing,” she said.

“The first night I slept in the public parking lot of the local canoe club. I had a hard time sleeping the first night and I woke up at 9 a.m. and there were cars all around me and nobody saw me.”

White said she was happy no one noticed her.

A couple days after she became homeless, White noticed a vacancy sign at a retirement residence in the area of Lakeshore and Trafalgar Roads.

After being told rooms were $2,600 per month, White said, she lost it and began tearfully explaining her situation to a member of the staff.

Halton police were called to assist White and it was suggested she attend a facility run by the Halton Safe Beds Program.

The program run by the Halton Region provides short-term support to adults, 16 and older, experiencing mental health crisis.

White said she doesn’t believe she has mental health issues, but understands where they could come from, describing the process of becoming homeless as a traumatic one.

“It really hits your self-esteem. You can’t look people in the eye, you walk with your head down,” said White. “That’s not me. It just eats away at you and I can understand now how this can result in mental problems. I don’t think I have any now, but I can see it. With women not as strong as me, I can see suicide, depression. I can see it happen easily.”

While White said the living space at Safe Bedding was nice enough, she took issue with staff members looking through her belongings and confiscating her diabetes medication, a nail clipper and other things.

The staff told her this was being done so she could not hurt herself or others.

Within 45 minutes, White said, she had a panic attack and after collecting her belongings, left the facility, never to return.

The experience has left White afraid of local shelters.

“I felt this place was for people who were in trouble for reasons other than just being poor,” she said.

“I felt like I was being punished, but it’s more than that. I was stripped of my dignity because I didn’t have a place to stay. They said, ‘While you can’t stay in your car,’ and I said, ‘Well, it’s better than being here.’ It was just so degrading.”

Since then White has endured life in her car.

2011年8月24日 星期三

Carousel Designs Teams With Operation Shower To Honor Military Moms

Carousel Designs, a contemporary and trend-setting leader in the baby bedding industry for more than 23 years, is set to sponsor a baby shower honoring expecting military moms. The event will be hosted by Operation Shower in conjunction with The TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, and will be held at historic East Lake Golf Club outside Atlanta on September 21, 2011.

At the baby shower, each mom-to-be will receive a "shower-in-a box," packed with essential baby supplies, clothing, toys, books, blankets and much more courtesy of sponsors like Carousel Designs and other generous donors. Carousel Designs has provided financial support and crib bedding donations for Operation Shower’s Atlanta event, which will be hosted for a group of pregnant women from the Fort Benning and Fort Gordon, GA areas whose husbands are deployed.

"All of us at Carousel Designs feel honored to help provide a special day for military moms-to-be and their families," said Jonathan Hartley, Carousel Designs CEO. "As a veteran-owned company, we understand and greatly appreciate the sacrifices that military families make on a daily basis. We are also excited that Operation Shower is coming to Atlanta for the first time to host one of their showers here in our hometown."

The baby shower will be held on the TOUR Championship's Community Day and is expected to be attended by 40 military moms-to-be. The shower will be held at the Birdies for the Brave Patriots' Outpost presented by Kipper Tool on the 16th green.

"Operation Shower is thrilled to be joining with Carousel Designs to treat military moms-to-be to a joyous day just for them," said Chief Shower Officer LeAnn Morrissey. "The support of Carousel Designs and other sponsors allows us to reach more and more military families and show our appreciation for their sacrifices. Working with a veteran-owned baby bedding company for our upcoming military baby showers is certainly a perfect match. We look forward to hosting a wonderful event."

Carousel Designs is the lead sponsor for the Atlanta event. The company has also contributed to several Operation Shower events throughout 2011, including baby showers at Camp Lejeune, N.C.; Groton, CT; Norfolk, VA and Fort Campbell, KY.

Carousel Designs president Allan Sicat said, "We're committed to doing what we can to support military families because we feel like they are an extension of our family." He continued, "Due to our military background and because our own family members are currently serving and deployed overseas, our involvement with Operation Shower is much more than a business endeavor; it's extremely personal to us."

2011年8月21日 星期日

New Oak Creek Business a Unique Kind of Laundry Service

Oak Creek has many laundry facilities, but only one cleans surgical bedding, scrubs and other medical linen.

Crothall Laundry Services (CLS) opened in June at 9905 S. 13th St. The company specializes in laundry solutions for the health care industry, and takes extra pride in making them environmentally-friendly.

The facility is operated by a staff of 160 people and runs in two shifts.  Within the next year, 18 million pounds of laundry will be cleaned.  Crothall aims to increase output to 50 million pounds per year.

The company had been looking for a new location and chose Oak Creek because of the easy access to the 17 Milwaukee-area hospitals it services, CLS Milwaukee General Manager Dave Sobcinski said.

"Oak Creek was chosen for this facility because it is centrally located to customers," Sobcinski said. "It's close to (the) freeway for our trucks and the community was very supportive of the project."

It was almost a year ago that ARCO/ Murray National Construction Co. broke ground on the $13 million state-of-the-art facility in the Creekside Corporate Park.

"The biggest difficulty was the pace," Sobcinski said. "We had to get the building up before the snow and cold weather set in. Our general contractor and machinery vendors did a great job keeping up the deadline set to make this project successful."

LEEDing the Way

The new Crothall building is the only CLS facility built from the ground up and the first laundry facility in the world to be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified.

To be certified, the new plant was recognized for recycling previously developed land, strides in energy, water and material efficiency and constructing with eco-friendly designs.

For example, CLS Milwaukee uses three PulseFlow Milnor tunnel washers. These transfer soiled materials through wash compartments that drain only the filthy water from the wash. This will save about 8.5 million gallons of water each year. Crothall also uses natural gas-fired dryers that recover heat from waste water.

"It's always exciting to be noted as the first laundry facility whose company saw (it) important to be an environmental leader in this industry," Sobcinski said. "Hopefully, our future customers will see the value in this as much as our current customers already have."

2011年8月19日 星期五

Market report - Bedding Trials

Summer trials are a horticultural institution that serve a range of purposes from assessing the potential of new varieties and ensuring that current lines still perform to engaging with hobby gardeners and polling their views.

Mr Fothergill's puts the emphasis on comparison at the Suffolk trials site it has used for the past six years. "We are trialling around 1,500 lines, looking at the quality of seed from competing suppliers," says technical manager Tracy Collacott.

"We try to select the best we can in terms of uniformity, quality and colour range. Unlike the Dutch trials, it's a working comparison trial - there are no fancy mown paths around the site. But we are also showcasing this year's introductions and the coming additions to our mail-order range as well as potential introductions for the future."

This is important to give the Mr Fothergill's brand - and its Johnsons Seeds range - credibility in the market. "We can't replicate, for example, the Scottish climate in East Anglia but it's still more representative for the British market as a whole than trials in, say, California," says Collacott.

Indeed, this year's weather has been a challenge for less hardy plants, she adds. "The cool night-time temperatures are almost unheard of here and the result is the trials are a bit dwarfed. Our sweetcorn plants are three feet (1m) high rather the usual five to six feet and Cosmos are no taller."

Gathering evidence

The 60:40 split between flowers and vegetables at the trials is "reflective of the state of the market", she explains. "We try to find unusual varieties of vegetables such as coloured carrots. We are also looking at smaller squashes from the USA, which is not a crop that most people think will grow here but has been fruiting prolifically. On that basis, we can sell the seeds with confidence. We have even been trialling watermelons that produce superb fruits and we will put those in the catalogue too."
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Having polytunnels at the trials site enables comparisons between indoor and outdoor growing, she adds. "We are trialling some tomato varieties both inside and out and if they fruit well outdoors we can then say that on the packets."

Another ongoing area of investigation at Mr Fothergill's is late sowing of flowers. These trials, begun four years ago, have shown that Alyssum and some hybrid sunflowers can be sown in late July and will still flower in September-October. "It means that they can fill in odd spaces in the garden," says Collacott. "We can add that as a tip for customers."

Thompson & Morgan in nearby Ipswich takes a different approach, eschewing a trade event for a press day and an open weekend for consumer gardeners in late July, which this year attracted more than 5,000 visitors.

"We have display gardens across the site, including such things as growing in pouches as well as key products and customer favourites," says company representative Helen Johns. "Concepts such as vertical gardening can inspire people even if they only have a small space in which to grow."

The event also includes demonstrations of horticultural techniques and question-and-answer sessions with gardening experts. "We hear from them what they like and don't - they even vote for their favourite flower," says Johns. "It can also alert us to problems such as impatiens downy mildew this year."

The company also has a trial ground where new and existing varieties are field tested. For trade visitors, she adds: "We showcase what's coming up in 2012 so they will recognise what's in the spring catalogue. We have a big window when things are looking good and we can show people round."

The combination of consumer gardening with breeding of novel varieties "sets us apart", she says, and the two are connected. "Customers like to know that we are pushing the boundaries by trying new things. And dealing with people's problems and demands informs our breeding."

A good example of this is the company's award-winning Buddleja 'Buzz' series, she says. "Gardeners tell us that buddleja get too big and unruly and set seed everywhere. A plant like 'Buzz' can meet those concerns. It's a two-way thing."

Customer feedback

Flower and home-grown vegetable breeding is the sole concern of Norfolk's Floranova. "Our UK summer trials give us the opportunity to show our full product range to our home market," says supply chain director Kate Monaghan.

"The California Spring Trials and the Flower Trails in Holland are important too but they are effectively exhibition stands for us. And we also get visitors here from Europe and even the USA."

Floranova's event also serves as a testing ground for experimental varieties, she adds. "Our customers can see things pre-launch and we can get their feedback on what they do and don't like and what they are looking for in their market. While distributors are the main audience for the trials, they will also bring their grower customers."

Positive feedback has already been generated by the company's Pansy Freefall range and the Vegetalis range is proving "extremely popular", Monaghan continues. "People are doing their own small-scale trials, testing the water, and are finding that they are profitable, low-volume, high-margin crops that can be fitted in after the main bedding plant season. They also fit nicely into the trend for easy gardening, where you plonk a few plants in a container or even buy one ready-planted."

Vegetalis is among the ranges being trialled in Devon at Suttons Seeds, where consumer-friendly home growing is still moving forward, according to the company's technical manager Tom Sharples. "We tend to work in trends and our new varieties link with those. We are conscious of people coming into gardening, especially into vegetable growing. That is slowing from the 40 per cent-plus growth of previous years, but is still five-to-10 per cent."

Such newcomers to growing are unsure where to start, which is where Suttons' For Your Space initiative in garden centres comes in, he says. "It's aimed at different scales of grow your own, from windowsills and window boxes through to patios and what we're calling 'square-metre gardening'. That feeds into the new selections."

This means new livery and point of sale for the range, which includes "a lot of new varieties as well as good existing ones", he adds. "It's also supported by videos on our website. So far, it's gone down a storm in garden centres."

2011年8月15日 星期一

Fuanna Bedding H1 Earnings Up 79%

Shenzhen Fuanna Bedding and Furnishing (002327) reported that its net profit grew 79.28 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2011 to 85.67 million yuan, reports National Business Daily, citing a company filing.

Fuanna Bedding used funds raised in its IPO to invest in five programs. Specifically, it spent 143 million yuan on the third phase of facilities in Changshu city, Jiangsu province in the first half of 2011. It invested 40.72 million yuan in the program in the same period last year, accounting for 28.4 percent of the planned investment. The third phase of the Changshu facilities will be operational on June 30, 2011.

In addition, Fuanna Bedding plans to complete the construction of the second phase of Longhua Bedding on August 31, 2011. The program is 42 percent complete.

According to an announcement made in January, Fuanna Bedding planned to invest additional 92 million yuan to the Changshu program. As of the end of 2011, the Changshu program accomplished 20.83 percent.

According to an unnamed source, the Changshu program will include 910 digital sewing machines and work benches after the investment, with bedding capacity increasing by 1.3 million units to 3.8 million units, which would generate revenue and net profit of 480 million yuan and 54.9 million yuan per year, respectively.

2011年8月14日 星期日

Dorm living: On the plus side

The average dorm room at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is just over 200 square feet. It comes with extra-long twin beds (which can be bunked or lofted), two desks, two desk chairs and two chests of drawers. The closets are built-in and compact.

The secret is figuring out how to fit all of the "stuff" a new student brings into one neat and tidy space that is color coordinated and not too dorky.

In addition to that, there is the $$ factor. According to the National Retail Federation, parents will be spending about 3 percent less this year on clothes, electronics, dorm gear and food to prepare for college, compared to 2010.

Here are some ideas on how to establish a home sweet home for college students for the next nine months.

* Storage Plus

Hanging closet organizer + Rolling colored drawer + Under-the-bed storage bags = Tidy

Organizing dorm rooms has become a fine science and many specialty products exist for just this purpose. Figure out your needs, then head out to find storage boxes, tubs, hanging bags and more to accommodate them. New this year: Bright colors have been applied even to the most boring storage items.

* Bedding Plus

Cool comforter or duvet cover + XL Featherbed + Throw pillows = Cozy Bunks

Remember that the extra-long length is a must for dorm bedding. Call your roommate to check on his/her colors so you don't look too matchy-matchy. Individual touches, such as throw pillows or small end-of-the-bed coverlets, can be practical and make a statement.

* Desk Plus

Bed laptop desk + Bendable neon-colored light + bunk pocket = Tech heaven

Bring the basics -- powers strips, surge protectors and extension cords. But this year get a docking system that combines great speakers with a bed-side clock. Don't forget a cooling pad for your laptop. Organize your tech items with a bunk pocket, which slides under the mattress and holds remote controls, ear buds and your cellphone.

* Miscellaneous Plus

Funky message board + Wall decals + Beanbag peace signs chair = Cool room

Forget the usual whiteboard. Get a personalized version that reflects your personality. Although there may be restrictions on hanging pictures, wall decals will go up and come down without a scratch. If you can't buy a new futon, just buy new slipcovers to cover the one you  have already.

2011年8月11日 星期四

Tattoo-like patch may be future of health monitoring

Engineers at the University of Illinois today unveiled novel, skin-mounted electronics this week whose circuitry bends, wrinkles, and even stretches with skin.

The device platform includes electronic components, medical diagnostics, communications, and human-machine interfacing on a patch so thin and durable it can be mounted to skin much like a temporary tattoo.

What's more, the team was able to demonstrate its invention across a wide range of components, including LEDs, transistors, wireless antennas, sensors, and conductive coils and solar cells for power.

"We threw everything in our bag of tricks onto that platform, and then added a few other new ideas on top of those to show that we could make it work," said engineering professor John A. Rogers in a news release.

New Orleans Police are investigating the death of a woman in Armstrong Park. A passer-by alerted authorities to the body, found behind the Mahalia Jackson Theater.

NOPD Commander Gary Marchese said the body is badly decomposed.

"Based on the decomposition, we really can't tell" what killed her, he said. "We're going to process the scene as if it was a murder, so we don't lose any evidence, if it in fact is. We're treating it as an unclassified death until the autopsy can tell us why she died."

Authorities say there was makeshift bedding in the area, and are considering the possibility that the woman was homeless.

2011年8月10日 星期三

Retail: Harvey Norman Joins The Restructuring Push

Electrical retailer Harvey Norman yesterday joined rival JB Hi-Fi, Colorado, Borders/Angus and Robertson and the Premier Retail group of chains in restructuring operations to meet the challenge of weak sales, cautious consumers who are saving madly and the strong Australian dollar.

The company said in its long delayed 2011 sales update, that it was closing the Clive Peeters and Rick Hart chains due to falling sales and losses.

Some of the stores would be shut, others would be rebranded.

JB Hi-Fi is in the process of closing its underperforming Clive Anthonys chain of outlets: some will be rebranded, others will be closed.

Premier revealed that around 50 stores across its various chains face closure, especially if rents aren't cut by landlords. Other stores will open in the next couple of years in two of its chains and Premier Retail will be playing hardball with landlords to cut costs.

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And 140 stores are being closed in the Colorado group, with losses concentrated in the Colorado chain (100 stores). 40 others in allied chains in the collapsed retailer in Australia and New Zealand are closing and Red Group, owners of Borders and Angus and Robertson, closed all Borders outlets and sold or closed the A&R outlets.

Harvey Norman's decision came 13 months after the company paid $55 million to the receiver managers of Clive Peeters in July of last year, for most of the stores in the failed chain, a move chairman Gerry Harvey said yesterday was a "mistake".

While Harvey Norman lifted global sales by 1.7% in the year to June to $6.18 billion, like-for-like (same store or comparable store sales) fell 3.6% over the year.

"Global sales were negatively affected by currency depreciation, including a 3.8 per cent fall in the New Zealand dollar, a 12.3 per cent slump in the euro and a 10.0 per cent deterioration in the UK pound," the company said.

Despite the news of the cutbacks and the weak sales figures, Harvey Norman shares jumped 16c yesterday, or 8.9%, to $1.95, after hitting multi-year low of $1.765 on Tuesday.

Harvey Norman said in the statement:

"The Clive Peeters and Rick Hart brand formats have not achieved the requirement for ongoing investment by the Company.

  "Given this, 16 of the 25 Clive Peeters and Rick Hart stores will be converted to Harvey Norman complexes, 2 will be converted to Joyce Mayne complexes, 4 Clive Peeters stores will be closed and 3 Rick Hart stores will be closed.

"The closure of the 4 Clive Peeters and 3 Rick Hart stores will result in a charge against the pre-tax profit of the consolidated entity of an amount presently estimated to be approximately $10M in respect of the financial year ending 30 June 2012."

Total sales in Australia, the company's biggest market, rose by 3.3%, but like for like sales in Australia fell by 2.8%.

Elsewhere total sales and like for like sales rose at Harvey Norman stores in Slovenia and Northern Ireland, but fell in Ireland and New Zealand.

The company said that in 2010-11 "Furniture and bedding franchisees continue to grow revenue and market share despite continued slowdown in the industry".

"We expect that our brands will again outperform the market in FY12.

"Electrical franchisees are operating in an extremely challenging environment accentuated by the strength of the Australian dollar.

"Price deflation in the television category has continued and has resulted in reduced revenues, however transactions continue to grow.

"The franchisees' continued focus on white goods, cooking, home appliances and floor care has resulted in growth in these categories.

"Deflation will continue to dampen revenue growth in the coming year.

"Computer franchisee sales continue to be affected by a cautious consumer and intense competition, however "Tablets", "Smart Phones", "Ultrabooks", "All in One Computers" and new generation DSLR cameras will offer positive opportunities for growth in the year ahead.

"Harvey Norman franchisees are well positioned to continue to lead and maximise the opportunities in this market," Harvey Norman said.

2011年8月9日 星期二

How Butchart Garden is maintained

Butchart Gardens employs a core staff of 50 gardeners to maintain the beautiful borders and beds. This number swells to about 70 with the addition of part-time workers in summer.

The bulk of the tens of thousands of bedding plants used to create the colourful displays each summer are grown in Butchart’s own private 26 greenhouses, which are run by a team of 16.

The garden has two full-time arborists and four people who run the shrub and tree nursery.

Gardeners are given a specific area to look after, with the areas carefully identified by number so they know precisely where work needs to be done.

Key summer bedding plants include pelargoniums, petunias, heliotrope, snapdragons and begonias. The garden uses more than 900 cultivars of bedding plants in beds as well as hanging baskets and containers.

Flowers are deadheaded precisely so no cut stem is left showing and all faded or decaying foliage is removed quickly to keep displays looking pristine.

Supervisors start work at 5:45 a.m. and quickly tour their section of the garden to see what needs to be done before dispatching gardeners at 6 o’clock.

No city tap water is used to water plants. All water comes from a reservoir at the smaller former lime quarry nearby as well as water in Ross Fountain and a few other natural water sources.

An integrated pest management program has been in place for years to control pests in greenhouses; herbicides are no longer used in the garden where more and more organic products are being tested and compost teas used to promote healthy growth.

However, fungicide is still used in the rose garden. Rick Los, the horticultural manger, says this is necessary: "You can’t grow show-quality roses in our climate without using fungicide."

An idea to introduce audio-tours, allowing visitors to wear a headset to tour the garden, was rejected because it was felt that people would be missing an important aspect of the garden by being "disconnected’ from the garden through wearing headphones.

The garden covers 22 hectares (55 acres), which is part of 54.6-hectare (135-acre) parcel of land owned by the company.

2011年8月8日 星期一

Moranbah North miners protest over ‘dangerous’ hot bedding

Miners at Anglo American’s Moranbah North coal mine are protesting over the practice of hot bedding.

They say the ‘dangerous practice’ of sharing camp rooms would require miners to drive home after 12 hours shifts, the Daily Mercury reports.

According to CFMEU spokesperson Dean Smith, Anglo American’s plan to hot bed accommodation means miners have to hand in their room key and drive home after working their last 12-hour shift on their roster.

He went on to say that miners are also protesting over the lack of accommodation provided by the company, stating that more than 60 workers wanted to bring their families to the town, but that there was no housing available.

Protests against hot bedding plans and accommodation will last until the end of the week.

Anglo dismissed the hot bedding claims, stating that it has a strict fatigue management policy and keeps rooms available at Grosvenor Village for workers finishing their shifts.

“The safety of our employees is our number one priority and as part of this we have a fatigue management policy in place to support our employees who choose to commute to and from Moranbah,” an Anglo American spokeswoman said.

“We also provide buses that depart at the end of roster cycles to transport our workforce to Mackay.”

The miner also hit back against the accommodation claims, saying the majority of its Moranbah North workforce is residential.

A spokesperson claimed Anglo owns 240 houses and units in Moranbah and has an additional 414 rooms as the Grosvenor Village.

Anglo American is currently focused on developing two new coal mines – Grosvenor and Moranbah South.

Anglo CEO Cynthia Carroll recently visited Moranbah, and announced the plan which will provide $20 million in infrastructure for Moranbah as well as 2000 jobs.

Anglo is aiming to build more than 50 houses and units as an effort to increase miner numbers in Moranbah.

“We are committed to providing our employees with a choice of accommodation options that best suit their personal circumstances, including permanent housing in the Moranbah community,” she said.

2011年8月7日 星期日

Agreement reached for accused dog breeder

A judgement was reached in the case of a woman accused of violating the Animal Care Facilities Act by operating her breeding facility without a license and failure to provide care of her animals.

Attorney General Chris Koster announced Friday that the Lawrence County Circuit Court had entered a consent agreement against Shirley Gilbert after Department of Agriculture inspections revealed numerous violations including failure to provide adequate veterinary care to animals who were in obvious medical distress; failure to provide adequate ventilation and odor control; failure to provide clean, dry bedding and wind and rain breaks to protect the dogs from the elements; failure to collect and remove animal waste; failure to clean and sanitize the facility or to provide adequate space for the dogs; and failure to provide housing that protected the animals from injury.

Gilbert owned and operated Wolfgang’s Puppies and Gee Gee’s Yorkies, a commercial breeder facility located in Aurora.

In order to comply with the terms of the agreement, Gilbert was required to  transfer all of the dogs at the facility to the Humane Society of Missouri for veterinary evaluation and rehabilitation prior to adoption. 

Gilbert also agreed to shut down her business for six years and pay a $500 civil penalty, $1,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs and $200 in restitution to consumers who were harmed by misrepresentations Gilbert made regarding her status as a licensed breeder.

2011年8月3日 星期三

Mattress Company Could Bring 100 Jobs to City

The Finance Committee on Wednesday eagerly endorsed a request by Mayor Richard Alcombright to designate the nearly 100,000 square-foot building and property in the industrial park an economic opportunity area and the accompanying five-year special property tax assessment. A resolution and tax incentive will go before the City Council on Aug. 23.

The incentive is part of a package to sweeten the deal over a competing site in Manchester, Vt.

"[Owner] John Wilkinson really likes North Adams, he's made that very clear," said Alcombright, who was knowledgeable about what Vermont was offering. "I looked at the numbers that he had ... we certainly seemed to be very, very competitive; in fact, I think we're more competitive."

The mayor said the condition and size of the building, the city's lower property prices and taxes, significantly lower state workers compensation rates and state tax credits, and McCann Technical School and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts were all attractors. It also hasn't hurt that Housing and Economic Development Secretary Gregory Bialecki has spoken to the Wilkinsons on the city's behalf.

In a letter of intent to the mayor, WCW President Jeffrey Wilkinson wrote, "this project would involve the purchase of an existing building suitable to allow the relocation of our entire operation and staff. This would involved relocation of approximately 100 jobs with an annual payroll in excess of $4 million."

Local and state officials have been working with the company to bring the deal to fruition over the past six weeks.

"This is by far he most exciting, encouraging thing since ... Mass MoCA," said Councilor Keith Bona.

Michael L. Vedovelli, regional director for the state Office of Business Development, said the City Council's approval will be necessary to wrap up a package including state tax credits by a September deadline for the Economic Assistance Coordinating Council.

"It's viewed as a three-way partnership with all parties coming together," he said, describing the state's package as "aggressive."

Where a TIF, or tax increment financing, agreement allows reductions on capital investments, the STA provides for property tax discounts over the entire value. That's important, said Alcombright, because investment into the building is expected to be small while the assessment on the property is $2.2 million.