StoneAge Lights Introduces Product Line to the U.S.

July 17, 2004 - StoneAge Lights is a Canadian Landscape Lighting company that creates gorgeous low-voltage landscape lighting from genuine granite and limestone. They manufacture quarried rock into standing bollard lights in four different heights. They also core out naturally found granite and limestone of which they turn into exquisitely beautiful path-lights and spotlights.

In addition to creating lighting from all natural rock, they also make bollard-shaped exterior speakers of the same granite and limestone so as to match the lighting.

Last but not least, they manufacture a poly-resin composite line designed to look exactly like limestone and are designed in the shape of their path-lights and spotlights. These are an affordable alternative that really do look exactly like real rock until they are picked up and it become evident how light they are.

As the company is only five years young, these lights are being introduced into the United States pretty much for the first time and are the kind of products that your clients and customers will most assuredly fall in love with.

If the description of StoneAge Lights sounds potentially interesting to you, I invite you to view my website at: www.stoneagelights.com, after which if you contact me either by phone or email, I will be more than happy to send out our printed brochure as well.

You may email me at: info@stoneagelights.com or you can call toll free at: 800.874.7114

Joshua T. McGowan
StoneAge Lighting Creations Ltd.


Investigation of TruGreen ChemLawn

July 15, 2004 - Girard Gibbs & De Bartolomeo, LLP is investigating a potential class action against TruGreen ChemLawn on behalf of individuals who were charged for or received unauthorized lawn care services.

Among other things, individuals complain that TruGreen ChemLawn applied lawn care services without authorization, continued to do so after cancellation, demanded payment for unauthorized services, and negligently applied fertilizer chemicals, damaging the lawn and contaminating living areas.

For more information see Girard Gibbs & De Bartolomeo


Green Industry Expo Travels to St. Louis in 2003, Nov. 5-8

January 1, 2003 - The Green Industry Expo heads to St. Louis, Mo., Nov. 5-8, 2003. Centrally located, St. Louis can be reached from most U.S. cities by air in less than three hours. Four interstate highways converge in St. Louis, which means it’s less than a day’s drive from many of the country’s major population centers.
The trade show will take place at the Cervantes Convention Center at America’s Center—a state-of-the-art convention center with a world-class sports facility. The Cervantes Convention Center houses 340,000 gross square feet of exhibit space. Attached to the center is The Edward Jones Dome, home to the St. Louis Rams.
GIE will again keep its well-received Thursday through Saturday schedule, which was launched in 2002.
2003 GIE Schedule
Green Industry Conferences
November 5-8
Green Industry Expo
Product Field Day: November 6
Indoor Exhibits: November 7-8

For the past century, St. Louis has been synonymous with music. Blues, jazz, ragtime, rock ’n roll all make their home there. Once St. Louis was the last civilized stop on America’s western frontier, outfitting wagon trains and explorers.

There is much to explore in St. Louis. Come join GIE Nov. 5-8, 2003, to find out why they say, “there’s more than meets the arch.”

The Green Industry Expo is held in conjunction with three conferences for lawn, landscape and grounds professionals sponsored by the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA), the Professional Lawn Care Association of America (PLCAA), and the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS). For more information on exhibiting or attending the show and conferences, contact GIE at (888) 303-3685 or visit www.gieonline.com.


Buyers Look for Homes Where the Grass is Greener
Briggs & Stratton Yard Doctor Offers Advice to Help Sell Your Home

MILWAUKEE (April 15, 2003) - When selling a home, curb appeal is king, but it’s more than just the house that attracts buyers. As the homebuying season kicks into full swing, a recent national survey found that 82 percent of Americans believe that the lawn’s appearance plays an important part in the home purchase decision.

The survey of 1,000 adults, conducted for Briggs & Stratton Corp. by Market Facts, also revealed that prospective home buyers’ top turnoffs include yard trash, bare patches, overgrown grass, weeds and lawn ornaments, like gnomes and pink flamingos.

Proper lawn care techniques can prepare the lawn for the homebuying season, says Briggs & Stratton’s Yard Doctor, Trey Rogers, Ph.D., a turfgrass expert who is a consultant to the engine manufacturer.

“Maintaining the lawn for open houses and showings is easy when you follow the tips included in my prescription for a beautiful, healthy lawn,” Dr. Rogers says. “One rule of thumb is to never cut more than one-third of the grass blade during a mowing. By following this one-third rule, the remaining two-thirds will develop deep roots and spread out, eventually creating a dense, healthy turf.”

The survey also indicated that yards with gardens and landscaping that are neatly kept, and that boast lush, green grass create the most positive first impressions. And because potential buyers have limited time to look at a home, first impressions are often the basis for a decision to buy or pass.

Lawn Tips to go for the Green

With affordable mortgage interest rates projected through much of this year, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), home sales are expected to approach last year’s record-setting levels.

“While the economy is expected to improve gradually,” says Walter Molony, NAR spokesman, “the silver lining will be a continuation of affordable interest rates, which will help to sustain the strong momentum we currently have in the housing market.”

Throughout the homebuying season, homeowners can take some simple steps to keep their lawns looking their best. One easy, often overlooked technique includes changing the pattern when mowing the lawn.

“Think of a clock. Start at the 12 o’clock position and mow to the 6 o’clock position,” Dr. Rogers says. “The next time you mow, begin at the 9 o’clock position and mow to the 3 o’clock position. This will keep the turf and soil from compacting and prevent wheel patterns from forming in your lawn.”

Other tips from Dr. Rogers include:

  • Leave grass clippings on the lawn for added nutrients
  • Look for a high-quality engine when buying a mower to ensure its starting ability
  • Water early in the day to maintain moist grass
  • Control weeds early - apply herbicide to grassy weeds, such as crabgrass, in the spring, and to broadleaf weeds, like dandelions, in the fall
  • Avoid a fertilizer overdose - even good medicine harms when used improperly

Whether preparing to sell their home or planning to stay, homeowners can take advice from the Yard Doctor online by logging on to The Yard Doctor in ProGardenBiz. The new Yard Doctor Web site, at www.yarddoctor.com, provides tips, articles and frequently asked questions, including the Yard Doctor’s prescription for growing and maintaining a healthy lawn.

Briggs & Stratton Corporation is the world’s largest manufacturer of small, air-cooled engines for outdoor power equipment, including lawn mowers, pressure washers and generators. Aggressive research and innovative technology have enabled Briggs & Stratton to reduce engine emissions by 70 percent since 1990. The engines are backed by an authorized service network of more than 30,000 dealers worldwide. Briggs & Stratton engines can be found powering equipment in more than 90 countries on all seven continents. For more information, visit www.briggsandstratton.com.

* The telephone survey, commissioned by Briggs & Stratton and conducted by Market Facts, polled 1,000 adults nationwide. Respondents were asked to answer questions about their lawn perceptions.


Americans Prepare to Spring Into Action for Annual March is National Mower Tune-Up Month. Recent National Wildlife Federation/Briggs & Stratton survey shows Americans are willing to do more to help the environment

MILWAUKEE - March 1, 2003 — In 2001, National Wildlife Federation and Briggs & Stratton teamed to promote March is National Mower Tune-Up Month, after finding that out of 66 million lawn mower-owning households, 40 million don’t perform any maintenance. The organizations aimed to increase the number of annual mower tune-ups, which can reduce mower emissions by 50 percent and fuel consumption up to 30 percent.

With these 40 million households in mind, National Wildlife Federation and Briggs & Stratton recently conducted a national survey to learn more about Americans’ environmental beliefs and their willingness to take action. The results bode well for Mother Nature:

  • More than 65 percent of Americans are more concerned about the environment today than they were five years ago.
  • More than 63 percent of Americans currently do things to make a positive impact on the environment.
  • Nearly 70 percent of Americans would be willing to do more to help the environment.

“This survey shows that an overwhelming majority of American adults care about the environment and are willing to act to protect it,” says Phil Kavits, National Wildlife Federation’s Vice President of Communications. “Mower Tune-Up Month offers some simple steps they can take to make a difference. Giving people the knowledge and opportunity they need to get involved is what the program is all about.”

With so many Americans willing to do more to help the environment, Briggs & Stratton and National Wildlife Federation sought to uncover the obstacles preventing the respondents from increasing their environmental involvement. The most common responses included:

  • It takes too much time to help
  • It costs money to make a difference
  • It involves too much work
  • Don’t know how to help

In response to these survey results, the two organizations created a list of five easy, inexpensive tips that everyone can perform to positively impact the environment.

The March is Mower Tune-Up Month “Strive For Five” tips:

1. Tune up your lawn mower each year. This will not only extend the life of your equipment, it also can cut your lawn mower’s emissions by 50 percent and reduce fuel consumption up to 30 percent. Of the 66 million mower-owning households in America, more than 40 million don’t perform any maintenance, leaving plenty of room for improvement.

2. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save four gallons per minute, which amounts to more than 10,000 gallons of water per year for a family of four.

3. Use a ceiling fan year-round. Ceiling fans can reduce a home’s energy consumption up to 15 percent in the summer and the winter. Depending on the direction its blades rotate, a ceiling fan can help heat or cool a home by more evenly distributing air flow. A ceiling fan uses less energy than a 60-watt light bulb.

4. Recycle aluminum cans. Just one recycled aluminum can saves enough energy to power a television for three hours. Every three months, Americans throw away enough aluminum to build more than 5,000 airplanes.

5. Don’t overfill fuel tanks. Each gallon of spilled or evaporated gas puts as many hydrocarbons in the air as driving 7,500 miles, the equivalent of driving across the United States two-and-a-half times.

“We are pleased to present these five simple environmental tips that, if turned into permanent habits, can go a long way toward protecting the environment,” said Cherie Burns, manager service marketing for Briggs & Stratton. “This program is an effort to demonstrate how actions as seemingly small as tuning up a lawn mower can have a big impact on the planet.”

Milwaukee-based Briggs & Stratton, in cooperation with the National Wildlife Federation, created the March is National Mower Tune-Up Month campaign in 2001 after discovering that out of 66 million mower-owning households, 40 million don’t perform any maintenance. By performing a simple tune-up on their mower, these 40 million households can reduce emission levels up to 50 percent, reduce fuel consumption up to 30 percent, restore horsepower up to 7.5 percent and extend the life of their equipment. Converting even a small percentage of these households would be a positive step toward protecting the environment.

In order to perform a tune-up consumers have two options: do it themselves in about 30 minutes or take it to a service dealer. For the do-it-yourselfer, Briggs & Stratton offers an easy-to-use maintenance kit, complete with oil, air filter, spark plug and fuel stabilizer.

Maintenance kits are available at Briggs & Stratton dealers and select retailers. Those not comfortable performing the maintenance themselves can take their mower to one of the 30,000 Briggs & Stratton dealers worldwide.

For more information on National Mower Tune-Up Month, visit www.tuneupmonth.com. The site provides helpful tips on selecting the right maintenance kit, locating retailers and dealers who sell the kits, and simple how-to instructions for performing a tune-up.

Briggs & Stratton Corporation is the world’s largest manufacturer of small, air-cooled engines for outdoor power equipment, including lawn mowers, pressure washers and generators. Aggressive research and innovative technology have enabled Briggs & Stratton to reduce engine emissions by 70 percent since 1990. The engines are backed by an authorized service network of more than 30,000 dealers worldwide. Briggs & Stratton engines can be found powering equipment in more than 90 countries on all seven continents. For more information, visit www.briggsandstratton.com.

The National Wildlife Federation, the nation’s largest member-supported conservation education and advocacy group, unites people from all walks of life to protect nature, wildlife and the world we all share. The Federation has educated and inspired families to uphold America’s conservation tradition since 1936. For more information, visit www.nwf.org.


PGMS Issues Salary Survey Results
Salaries and Education for Grounds Professionals Increase

(Baltimore, MD) – An annual salary survey for grounds personnel has been completed by the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS). The study, based on 2002 historical data, suggests the continued elevation of the grounds management profession as evidenced by increased reported salaries even as the American economy hits some rough times.

Members of the Society have been sent a detailed statistical compilation report.

The well-presented 2-page report provides PGMS members with such data as the high, low, and average dollar (salary) per hour paid to superintendents/managers, supervisors/chiefs, foremen, equipment operators, mechanics, and permanent, temporary and part-time laborers.

In each of these categories, the report provides the average dollar level at which new hires are being made as well as the number of reports received and the range reported for the “per hour” figures. It also gives information relative to the number in each category receiving a bonus, life insurance, health insurance and/or a retirement plan.

For instance, the PGMS Salary Survey reports the average salary for superintendents/managers in 2002 was $27.87 with reported salaries ranging between $22.76 and $32.35. The average hire rate was $21.95.

These figures all represented increases from the data reported in 2001, in which the average salary reported for superintendents/managers was $21.34 and the average hire rate was $17.21.

In addition to providing the average salary figures, the PGMS report also breaks down its management respondents by position title, age, years in the profession, years in present position, highest education level, education background, type of grounds managed, total acres managed, annual base salary and benefit programs.

The report reflects, for instance, that the average management respondent had 21.69 years in the profession and has been in his or her present position for 11.2 years. Over 78 percent of the respondents had a horticulture or agriculture education background and an increasing number (16.4 percent) reported post-graduate education. They oversee an average staff of 15.06.

The average base salary for the survey respondent was $58,145 with 70 of 81 respondents indicating that they receive some form of a life insurance benefit and 77 of 81 stating they receive employer-provided health insurance.

Annual leave indicated the average vacation was 17.73 days (range 10-28 days), holidays were averaged at 9.83 (4-19 range), and sick days averaged 10.08 (3-21 range).

Copies of the PGMS report are available to professionals outside of the PGMS membership. The cost is only $15. A complimentary copy is provided to new members. For further information, contact PGMS at PGMS@assnhqtrs.com.

For information on the PGMS visit http://www.PGMS.org/


California, September 1, 2002 — The California Landscape Contractors Association will hold an annual meeting of the membership during the association’s annual convention in Hawaii. The meeting will be held on Friday, November 22, from 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Royal Hawaiian, O’ahu, Hawaii, during CLCA’s annual convention. For more information see www.clca.org

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LANDSCAPE TECHNICIAN CERTIFICATION TO BE OFFERED IN PENNSYLVANIA

Herndon, VA, August 30, 2002 — The Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) is pleased to announce that the Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association (PLNA) has become a licensee of the Certified Landscape Technician-Exterior (CLT-E) program. PLNA joins 22 other U.S. state associations offering the test in 23 states and four Canadian associations giving the exam in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and the Atlantic Provinces.

“ALCA is proud that PLNA is offering this certification,” said Debra Holder, ALCA’s executive vice president. “This is a member benefit that gives landscape contractors a standard by which they can be judged, and the client has a tool for assessing value.”

The CLT-Exterior exam is a daylong, “hands-on” process that requires the candidate to use his mental and physical abilities under time constraints. All candidates must pass the Common Core problems as well as the challenges in his selected specialty area of Installation, Maintenance, or Irrigation. After completing one of the Exterior Modules, the technician may pursue an Advanced Endorsement in Carpentry, Concrete, Advanced Horticultural Management, and/or Low Voltage Lighting.

John Luznicky, CLP, a member of ALCA’s Certification Board of Governors states, “It is great that another association has recognized the benefit that certification offers to their members and to the green profession. PLNA is joining an elite group of associations that choose to be proactive in advancing the professionalism of industry members. Customers can have confidence in work done by a CLT because the training involved in preparing for the exam validates the skill level of employees out on the job sites.”

For more information about certification, please contact the ALCA office, 150 Elden Street, Suite 270, Herndon, VA 20170; phone: (703) 736-9666 or (800) 395-2522; fax: (703) 736-9668; or visit the ALCA Web site, www.alca.org. ALCA represents approximately 2,500 professional exterior and interior landscape maintenance, installation, and design/build contracting firms and suppliers nationwide.

For more information about PLNA and certification testing in Pennsylvania, please contact Margaret I. O’Neal, PCH, director of education and special events, Pennsylvania Landscape & Nursery Association, 1707 S. Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA 17104-3148; (717) 238-1673 or (800) 898-3411; fax: (717) 238-1675; or email: moneal@plna.com.