Greenhouses and High Tunnels

first_imgFrom the miracle of December tomatoes to the marvel of fresh salad greens in space, greenhouses and growth chambers may play an increasing role in creating hyperlocal or hyperportable food systems.Students in the University of Georgia Department of Horticulture’s “Protected and Controlled Environment Horticulture” course learn how high tunnels, greenhouses and growth chambers are used around the world to help extend the growing season, make farming a little less risky, provide opportunities to grow crops in extreme conditions and reduce our environmental footprint.Suzanne O’Connell, an assistant professor in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, launched the course this fall after receiving several requests from students.“Protected agriculture is a broad field that refers to modifying the natural environment to boost plant yield and quality,” O’Connell said. “In particular, students are very curious about greenhouse growing and hydroponic systems, and how these concepts can be applied to urban areas where quality agricultural production space is limited and often cost-prohibitive.”For O’Connell, who devotes part of her time to researching high tunnel crop production, the new course is preparing students for a future where more farmers are using greenhouses and high tunnels to help meet year-round demand for local products.“Two students in class this semester have family farms that include high tunnels. They told me they were excited to increase their skills in this area and they made great contributions to our class high tunnel building effort,” O’Connell said. “To my knowledge, there are only a small handful of commercial hydroponic operations in Georgia so far. I have reached out to these companies to let them know that our students are knowledgeable and really excited for opportunities to work for them!”In the course’s first semester, students came from a range of backgrounds. The majority of students were horticulture majors, but biology, landscape architecture, the romance languages and real estate were also represented.“Land and water and food security are a big deal with a growing world,” said Candace Young, a fourth-year landscape architecture student who is minoring in horticulture and took the protected agriculture course this fall. “With landscape architecture, you’re always thinking about how to get the most out of land and how to get people to use their land. Well, food is a great way to get people to engage with their landscape, and protected agriculture is a great way to use that land most efficiently.”This fall, the class spent time discussing Japanese attitudes toward land use. As an island nation with a large population, people there understand that there is a finite amount of land available to them. Young explained that Japan is home to some of the densest cities on the planet, and residents maximize each square meter of open space by setting up gardens wherever they can – trellised beans here or tiny vegetable beds there.Young would like to include that ethos in her design projects. Greenhouses and other protected agriculture techniques are great ways to make that happen in an urban environment.As part of class labs, students managed the daily needs of multiple vegetable crops, including watering, fertilizing, pH testing, pest and disease scouting, pruning and harvesting, all with the mindset of managing the plant and environment interactions. They also studied cutting-edge uses of protected agriculture, such as research greenhouses in Antarctica, gardens on the sides of skyscrapers and experimental growth chambers to supply fresh produce for soldiers on submarines.In addition to managing crops in a heated greenhouse and under a high tunnel, students were required to keep detailed journals noting which varieties, growing media, fertilizer recipes and disease interventions worked best in each environment, and cataloging the high tunnel construction phases.As always, students were able to take their class work home with them, leaving many of them with the enviable problem of having their kitchens filled with too many fresh cucumbers and greens over the course of the semester.For more information about the unique courses offered in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, visit read more


first_imgWolf Multimedia Studio of Jericho, Vermont has recently completed a video DVD entitled Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley, Snowflakes in Motion. With Musical contributions by Vermont musicians The Samples and Stowe musician Bill Bischak, and narrations by Jericho residents Wayne Howe and Dick Squires, this DVD takes the viewer into the life of Wilson Bentley. Wilson Bentley was the first person to photograph snowflakes with a microscope in 1885 and is credited with the discovery that no two snowflakes are alike! Bentley also photographed frost, dew, clouds and his family and neighbors.This DVD tells Bentley’s story of determination, passion and persistence, despite setbacks and ridicule, through the love and fascination with nature, told in Bentley’s own word’s and pictures, in a 20 minute biographical piece. The remaining 40 minutes takes viewers into the amazing world of Bentley’s images, showing intricate detailed nature shots as well as the fabulous designs and shapes of snow crystals. Backed by 8 original compositions and 2 selections from the nationally renowned band, The Samples, the 10 segments are meant to relax the viewer and build upon the thoughts that Bentley puts forth in his writings. Each piece is preceded by a quote of Bentley to set the mood for each segment:”The snow crystals . . . come to us not only to reveal the wondrous beauty of the minute in Nature, but to teach us that all earthly beauty is transient and must soon fade away. But though the beauty of the snow is evanescent, like the beauties of the autumn, as of the evening sky, it fades but to come again”Wolf Multimedia Studio, based in Jericho, Vermont since 1989, also produced the award winning Wilson Bentley Digital Archives interactive CD-ROM in 2000, containing over 1000 of Wilson Bentley’s images. The CD-ROM also contains articles written by and about Bentley, the only film of Bentley at work, games and much more.The Snowflakes in Motion DVD and more information on Bentley & the DVD are available at the Snowflake Bentley website:, and wolf1.comlast_img read more

Energy Saving Pioneer Resumes Operations in Brattleboro

first_imgEnergy Saving Pioneer Resumes OperationsBrattleboro, Vermont – November 10, 2008 – Window Quilt, the company that developed movable window insulation 30 years ago, is now shipping high performance insulated shades from their new Brattleboro factory. The company, whose products dramatically reduce energy losses through windows, was founded in Brattleboro. A local entrepreneur recently acquired the business, which had been moved to Seattle, Washington several years ago by its last corporate ownership, and returned it to Brattleboro under the direction of experienced management.The company reports tremendous response from users, energy auditors and dealers, all of whom had been very disappointed by the previous owner’s decision to close the operation. “I have never seen interest this high in my 15 years’ on and off experience with Window Quilt,” says Bryan Wittler, the company’s General Manager. “Thanks to excellent support from Brattleboro Development Credit Corp and enthusiastic pro bono assistance from several former managers, we have made great progress in preparing to meet the strong demand we anticipate in coming years. And our location in Brattleboro Development’s Book Press building is ideal, because there is almost unlimited room for future expansion.”Over a half million Window Quilts have been installed in residences, schools, national parks, and public buildings of all kinds. Window Quilt’s seasonal peak employment reached over 120 individuals during the energy conscious early 1980’s. “The need for energy saving products is greater than ever today and Window Quilts are still the most cost effective and easily deployed solution bar none,” says Larry Digney, the new owner. “The marketing possibilities for this product are immense. Our job is to make the newcomers to the field aware that 30% or more of the energy required to heat a building can be saved with our well-designed movable window insulation. Window Quilt ought to be a growing business for years to come.”Window Quilts, though simple in appearance, are highly engineered to address all the mechanisms that contribute to heat loss from the building envelope and discomfort in the interior space. The product incorporates a full perimeter seal and five-layer fabric with vapor barrier to provide insulation, block convection currents, and eliminate outside air infiltration. The company reports that in addition to the potential 30% reduction in energy consumption, rooms are more comfortable at lower thermostat settings because the shades block the radiation of body heat to the window and eliminate drafts caused by convection currents and infiltration of outside air.Window Quilts are available through specialty dealers who perform measurement and installation services, and are also available for direct purchase on the web to accommodate areas that don’t yet have a local dealer. Complete information is found at the company’s web site,.last_img read more

Mexico cartel leader given 10 life sentences in U.S.

first_img WASHINGTON, D.C. – A U.S. court on April 5 sentenced a top leader of Mexico’s Juárez cartel, who allegedly admitted a role in over 1,500 murders, to life in prison on drug trafficking and racketeering charges. José Antonio Acosta-Hernández, 34 — alias “Diego,” “Dientón,” “Diez” and “Bablazo” — was extradited to the United States from Mexico on March 16. U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone sentenced Acosta-Hernández to seven concurrent life terms, three additional consecutive life terms and 20 years in federal prison. He pleaded guilty in an El Paso, Texas court to four counts of racketeering, narcotics trafficking and money laundering, the Justice Department said. Acosta-Hernández also pleaded guilty to seven counts of murder and weapons charges related to the March 13, 2010 triple homicide in Juárez of U.S. consulate employee Lesley Enriquez, her husband Arthur Redelfs and Jorge Salcido Ceniceros, the husband of another consulate employee. U.S. officials said Acosta-Hernández admitted that he directed or participated in more than 1,500 murders since 2008 as the head of the armed wing of La Línea, part of the Juárez cartel. “As the leader of La Linea’s enforcement wing, Mr. Acosta-Hernández directed a reign of terror,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer. “Today’s guilty plea and sentence are a significant step in our effort to bring to justice those responsible for the consulate murders, and it would not have been possible without the extraordinary assistance of our law enforcement partners in Mexico.” U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration chief Michele Leonhart called Acosta-Hernández “a cold-blooded murderer with no respect for human life or the rule of law.” “His violent and deadly actions were put to a stop due to the combined efforts of U.S. law enforcement, and the will of the Mexican government,” she added. Acosta-Hernández admitted ordering a hit on Jan. 30, 2010 on rivals sighted at a daytime birthday party at a Juárez home in which 16 people were killed. He also acknowledged many other killings, the Justice Department said. He said the violence was aimed at protecting millions of dollars in drug trafficking profits each year, officials said. [AFP, 06/04/2012;, 05/04/2012] By Dialogo April 09, 2012last_img read more

The six biggest credit union patching challenges

first_imgPatching Laptops This is the issue that we run into the most here at Ongoing Operations. Here’s why:Company laptops are supposed to be closed or off when they’re not in use. Yet, laptops can’t be patched when they’re off or not connected to the internet. Laptops that aren’t kept on (and online) during patching windows miss out on important updates.Solution: ensure all employee laptops are on during patching windows. This is a relatively simple user training issue that credit unions (and any managed patching vendors) can work out. continue reading » These are the six most common patching challenges we run into at Ongoing Operations. And certainly, your experience may reflect a different set of challenges. Still, we’d be surprised if your credit union hasn’t experienced at least one of these issues. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Flower shops getting prepared ahead of Valentine’s Day

first_img“We’re expecting a ton of people to walk in today and tomorrow to get arrangements for the ones they love,” said Barbara Waters, a customer service representative for the store. “This is going to be one of the busiest days of the year tomorrow,” said Cheryl Fritsch, owner and manager of Dillenbeck’s. Waters and Woodfern emphasized the importance of keeping flowers in warmer temperatures, adding anything below 32 degrees can damage or kill plants. Fritsch is going a doorstep further than most stores to ensure a quality flower. “The last couple weeks we’ve been getting boxes and boxes of roses, and all sorts of different flowers in.” Dillenbeck’s Flowers and Woodfern Plant and Florist Shop are just two of the many places in the community selling flowers for the day of love. The goal of the stores is to keep the flowers as fresh as possible for deliver or pick-up time. But in order to do that, employees need to work a little quicker. “We make sure our flowers are protected, they’re not just left on your doorstep and we try to take care of them for you,” Fritsch said. Woodfern is also anticipating a good turnout from local lovers.center_img “Everything is fresh, [so] you got to get everything as late as you can, but early enough to get everything processed and set up and arranged and ready to go,” Fritsch said. Fritsch told 12 News Dillenbeck’s has over 200 orders for today and Valentine’s Day. Aside form the weather, Waters loves the ability to interact with their customers. “Tomorrow is going to be a cold day so we’re going to be very careful so that they don’t get damaged by the weather,” Waters said. “People need to be aware that they need to bring these flowers in really quickly. If you’re taking them from work to home they got to get into your car quickly, and get into the warm home.” (WBNG) – The countdown to Valentine’s Day is on and flower shops in our area are putting the petal to the metal make sure every Southern Tier Romeo and Juliet have the floral arrangements they want. This speed includes the cold weather, which could see the Southern Tier in low temperatures on Valentine’s. “We like seeing our regular customers coming in and telling us about who they’re giving their gifts to and we just have a good time,” Waters said. “Sometimes they’re really happy, and sometimes the guys are really embarrassed to have to tell us their romantic messages, so we have fun with them on that.”last_img read more

Lostintranslation primed to defend Betfair Chase crown | Racing News

first_imgHe added: “Robbie Power rode him in his gallop, and he schooled him last Wednesday and he will probably school him again tomorrow morning.“Robbie can’t stop smiling when he gets off him, so that tells you plenty. He is very excited and he can’t wait to get back on board him.“He is really pleased with where he is, and he is ticking all the right boxes.”With Lostintranslation finding only Al Boum Photo and Santini too strong in last season’s Gold Cup, Tizzard believes a repeat of that display can see him mount another serious challenge in March.Tizzard added: “He travelled well in the Gold Cup last year and jumped the last upsides them, before just getting beat.“He will be much better for another year on his back, and if he runs like that again he will not be too far away.” Connections of Lostintranslation expect him to be firing on all cylinders as he tries to defend his Betfair Chase crown on his seasonal return at Haydock.The eight-year-old will have his first start since finishing third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup as he bids to give trainer Colin Tizzard a fifth victory in the Grade One prize on November 21.- Advertisement – “This year we knew all the way through the Betfair would be his first run, so we have him fit enough to go there and do himself justice at Haydock, because it is a big pot.“We know he operates well around there, so it was always going to be the obvious starting point for him.”Tizzard reports jockey Robbie Power to be equally as happy with Lostintranslation going into his first assignment of the season, having partnered him in both his racecourse gallop and a recent schooling session.- Advertisement – Lostintranslation had the benefit of a prep run before his Betfair Chase win last year, but the Tizzard team are confident he can still achieve the same result without a warm-up spin.Joe Tizzard, son and assistant, said: “Lostintranslation is exactly where we want him to be. He has had little away day and a racecourse gallop, and we are happy going there first time out.“Because he could run in an intermediate chase last year at Carlisle, we thought that was the perfect stepping stone for him.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

QLD beach house sold for $7.6m

first_imgWell kept greenery. The home has a glass floor between the living space upstairs and the chill-out space below. Looking to the water … More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus21 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market21 hours agoWhat a spot to work out in.The four bedroom, five bathroom, five car garage home changed hands on February 2, according to CoreLogic. The garage is unlike most others, with its own turntable, keyless entry and lots of off-street parking leading up to it.Part of the prestigious Beaches gated estate, agents Milan Markanovic and Tom Offermann of Tom Offermann Real Estate marketed it as a beachfront masterpiece.The top level was all about entertaining and living with a designer kitchen, floor to ceiling glass doors and panels, with views to the endless ocean on one side and entertaining space including a built-in barbecue and manicured lawn to the other. All this and also a waterslide! What kind of heaven is this? Looking to land …center_img 1/56 David Low Way, Sunrise Beach, sold for $7.6m.A BEACH HOME described as a “glamorous hideaway” has sold for $7.6m, complete with peepholes to the pool and a glass floor.Said to be “one of the largest land parcels on the Sunshine Coast to boast absolute beach frontage” the home at 1/56 David Low Way, Sunshine Beach, has one of the most stunning pool settings in the country. Peepholes, or peep-windows even, to the pool. How amazing is this?Everywhere, the home tries to create links between rooms and features. It “has the feel of a boutique hotel with its resort-size pool featuring a 25m lap lane and the ultimate slide”. All up the property has over 1,729sq m of extended communal grass areas and beach access. FOLLOW SOPHIE FOSTER ON FACEBOOK The turntable in the garage.last_img read more

High speed is high on CR’s development agenda

first_imgHANDOVER of Hong Kong to China on July 1 is of huge significance to Chinese Railways. The former colony’s role as a gateway city to the CR network is reflected in plans to develop Hong Kong’s already heavily used railways (p461), while completion of the Jing-Jiu line (p455) could hardly be a more potent symbol of the ties that bind the Special Administrative Region to the mainland.CR ran its first through passenger trains from Beijing and Shanghai to Kowloon in May. The trip from the capital on May 18 took 29h 40min, and passengers on the Shanghai train which departed on the following day were on board for 29h 6min. Both trains were formed of 16 Type 25k coaches, reduced to 12 cars for the final leg from Guangzhou, on which the Beijing train reached 160 km/h.It is of no small significance that the Guangzhou – Shenzhen main line was chosen for the launch of quasi-high speed services in 1994 (RG 2.95 p97). CR has meanwhile announced a project to develop a train able to run at 220 km/h which will be tested between Guangzhou and Shenzhen in the second half of 1999 at up to 200 km/h. It will be a fixed formation set comprising a power car at each end enclosing eight single-deck and two double-deck cars. The unit should be complete by the end of 1998, and trial running will begin early in 1999. Design is currently in the hands of the Changchun Car Co, and the works in Zhuzhou, Puzhen, Sifang and Tangshan.When this set is complete, CR will be able to compare its performance with that of a train already well proven at 200 km/h – a Swedish X2000 unit is due to arrive in China in December. The Adtranz-owned train will be leased to the Ministry of Railways for two years, and initial trials will take place between Guangzhou and Kowloon.This will depend on completion of electrification work over the 158 km between Guangzhou and the Hong Kong frontier at Lo Wu. A contract for the French company Spie Batignolles to supply overhead line equipment was announced during President Chirac’s visit to Beijing in May – it had been signed just before the president’s trip. By the end of August Spie will design and supply TGV-based catenary equipment that will allow operation at up to 250 km/h. The Chinese will take responsibility for installation, and the aim is to have it ready for operation by the end of the year.Meanwhile, other routes are not being neglected. In April Chinese Railways lifted the maximum speed of passenger services on seven key routes radiating from Beijing to 140 km/h. One objective is to provide overnight service between major cities, requiring faster running over long distances. This will challenge rolling stock and civil engineers, as well as operators who must path the trains past slower services.Air-conditioned stock is being introduced on a number of premium services, and on specially designated tourist trains in southern China. Development of an advanced design of passenger coach is one of the objectives in China’s ninth five-year plan (1996-2001).One of CR’s most ambitious research projects is development of a test car able to run at 300 km/h. Given that CR’s ability to operate trains in commercial service at this speed is still a distant prospect, it is not clear precisely why the vehicle is being built.Perhaps the greatest challenge lies in achieving the new line construction objectives. To meet the ever growing demand for bulk freight movement, thousands of kilometres of new line are being built, and more new routes including a passenger-only high speed route from Qinhuangdao to Shenyang are being added to the list. The go-ahead for a line from Guangzhou to the Zhuhai special economic zone was announced in May. According to Minister of Railways Han Zhubin, the target is to reach 70000 route-km by 2000 – this total includes local railways and joint ventures. Yet even this will not suffice to meet demand as China’s economy continues to boom.Other ways of raising capacity include double-tracking and electrification, and CR has a huge programme of work in hand. So far around 10 000 route-km have been wired at 25 kV 50 Hz. Last year CR carried 1 616 million tonnes of freight, around 1.4% more than in 1995. In contrast, passenger journeys fell by 12%, perhaps reflecting the capacity bottlenecks that dog CR’s ambitions.Rolling stock producers are striving to keep pace with the growing network, with huge numbers of electric and diesel locomotives under construction. In the five years to 1995 average annual production of electric locomotives was 183, of diesel units 660, passenger coaches 1 950 and freight wagons 26 600. Higher figures are expected in the current five-year plan. Production of metro cars includes 174 vehicles for Beijing at Changchun; the power cars will be equipped with three-phase traction equipment under an agreement with suppliers Toyo Denki Seizo KK and Nichimen of Japan.Chinese factories at Dalian and Sifang are also building rolling stock for export. This includes 50 diesel locos for Nigerian Railway Corp, plus 70 coaches and wagons. Changchun is also supplying metro stock to Tehran (p465). While further development of heavy haul freight remains at the top of CR’s agenda because of the need to move huge tonnages of coal, minerals and fuel, CR is also conscious of the requirement to provide faster shipment of merchandise freight. One avenue being explored is to run multiple-unit freight trains based on the German CargoSprinter design. First route likely to receive them could be the 300 km between Shanghai and Nanjing. A fleet of 20 to 30 so-called ’Rail Runners’ probably costing around DM2m each could be built by Windhoff of Rheine; discussions were still under way in mid-June. oCAPTION: The first through train from Beijing reached the Kowloon-Canton Railway’s Hung Hom terminus on May 19. It is seen here at Kowloon Tong behind a Class DF11 diesel locomotiveCAPTION: Forming a key element in the landbridge corridor to Central Asia, CR’s 502 km Baoji – Zhongwei line completed last year was opened 7 months earlylast_img read more

FCA unveils draft rules to clarify deal costs for pension funds

first_imgAs things stand, the UK financial regulator said IGCs and trustees were required to request and report on transactions costs as far as they could, but that asset managers were not required to disclose these costs fully in a standardised form.The FCA said it was now proposing to place a duty on asset managers to reveal aggregate transaction costs to pension schemes investing directly or indirectly in their funds. In the proposals – which are now out for consultation until 4 January 2017 – the FCA also says asset managers should give the breakdown of transaction costs on request, with the total broken down into categories of identifiable costs.These could include specific costs such as taxes and securities lending costs, it said.“The proposed new rules,” the FCA said, “will deliver a high degree of consistency in how transaction costs are reported and give governance bodies confidence the information presented to them contains a comprehensive assessment of costs.”To make sure there is consistency across the market, the regulator said it was proposing that the calculation use a methodology for evaluating transaction costs, called the slippage cost. This, it said, compares the price at which a deal is actually executed with the price when the order to transact entered the market. The time an order enters the market should be recorded by an order management system, the FCA said, so it could be used to identify the price of the asset. “Firms that are unable to provide transaction cost information for all of the assets in a scheme will have to disclose this clearly to the governance body with an explanation of why it has not been possible to provide the information,” the FCA said.In August, the founding chairman of the Transparency Task Force, Andy Agathangelou, described the opacity of fees in the asset management industry as a “festering sore on the face of financial services”.Jonathan Lipkin, director of public policy at the IA (Investment Association), said the FCA’s announcement provided “clarity” over its thinking regarding the workplace pensions market.“Our goal here is consistent and complete reporting for all client groups, implementing both UK and EU regulatory change,” he said.“We will therefore continue the work being undertaken with the IA Independent Advisory Board to ensure we can deliver meaningful disclosure in tandem with new FCA rules.” The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK has unveiled a set of draft rules and guidance aimed at standardising the way the transaction costs pension investors have to pay are disclosed.Fee transparency has recently been the subject of hot debate in the country’s pensions and investment sphere.Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA said: “IGCs (independent governance committees) are already seeking to make pension schemes work better for their members. “The proposals we are announcing today will allow IGCs to see fully the transaction costs that their funds pay and enable them to make better decisions about how they get value for money for their members.”last_img read more