Despite recent rains, Georgia is still in a four-year drought, says state climatologist David Stooksbury. Many areas remain under and odd-even outdoor watering rotation.No one can predict how much rain the summer will bring. But it’s likely that your outdoor water use will be rationed or banned entirely this summer. So to avoid a sudden panic when this happens, start droughtproofing your landscape now.First, check out your current water use patterns to see what parts of your landscape get the most water.Typically, turf areas get the most irrigation. After all, turf is often used as a welcome mat to the home. A lush, green carpet adds to the home’s curb appeal.Drought-tolerant TurfHowever, some turf grasses are more drought-tolerant than others. Bermuda, for instance, ranks high. It will actually go dormant during drought, then bounce back when rain resumes. Fescue, on the other hand, may die if it’s not watered when rainfall is limited.Along coastal Georgia, a new drought-tolerant grass called seashore paspalum is being widely used. Depending on your current grass species, changing over to a more drought-tolerant grass may significantly reduce your landscape’s water demand.Another option would be to replace an irrigated turf area with a drought-tolerant ground cover. Use plants such as liriope or mondo grass in shaded areas. And plant Asiatic jasmine, variegated liriope or a low-growing, horizontal juniper such as Blue Rug or Prince of Wales in full-sun sites.Once established, these plants require little to no irrigation. Check with local nurseries about ordering bare-root or “liner” plants (rooted cuttings in 2-inch pots). This is an economical way to plant a large area. Many groundcover nurseries in Georgia sell bare-root and liner plants.Annual Flowers DemandingMost annual flowers demand lots of water. Consider placing these plants in one or two large containers near the entrance to your home, rather than in big ground beds.Plastic pots may be a better choice than terra cotta, which lose moisture through their sides and dry out faster. Use as large a container as you can for the space. The larger soil volume will allow more root growth and won’t dry out as fast as a small pot.Two to three sheets of newspaper on the surface of the container before planting will help prevent water loss. Then add a layer of pine bark mulch or pine straw after planting as another barrier to moisture loss.Just Say MulchChanging landscapes to save water doesn’t have to cost a lot. For instance, a natural mulch area can replace an irrigated area.Many cities and counties supply wood mulch to local citizens at low cost to keep yard waste out of the landfill. An added layer of mulch around established ornamental plants will help prevent evaporative water loss, too. It will keep the soil moist for a longer time.Still another water saver may be simply to irrigate fewer plants or less often. Maybe you’re watering plants that don’t need as much water as you’re giving them. Most well-established ornamental shrubs and trees can survive weeks without irrigation.’Listen’ to PlantsPlants will tell you when they need water by turning gray-green or wilting. Use a hand-held hose with a water breaker to apply water slowly, targeting plants that need water. Let the water soak in slowly to avoid runoff.If you can’t water at all due to local bans, prune back wilted plants to reduce their foliar demand for water and help them through a dry time.To learn more about water-wise landscaping and water conservation, visit this University of Georgia Web site: http://interests.caes.uga.edu/drought/articles/restrictinfo.htm. Or contact your county UGA Extension Service office for publications and recommendations for your area.
March 15, 2001 Regular News Program makes it easier for lawyers to evaluate judges Program makes it easier for lawyers to evaluate judges The Florida Bar’s Judicial Evaluation Committee has approved a significant expansion of its circuit judge evaluation by allowing attorneys to directly receive and return evaluation forms. “We’ve been calling it the attorney participation initiative,” said JEC Chair Jennifer Coberly. “The impetus is to have the program be effective in its goal and to provide the judiciary with feedback. It’s important for reasons of judicial independence. “People want to feel there’s a meaningful evaluation system in place. We’ve tried to increase the participation as much as possible.” The circuit judge evaluation program began just over three years ago. Under the program, when judges send out a final order in a case to the lawyers, they can include an evaluation form. The lawyers can fill out the form, make comments and return it to The Florida Bar. When a sufficient number of forms for an individual judge have been accumulated, the forms are mailed to the judge for review. The judge, at his or her option, can review the forms with the chief circuit judge, but the contents are otherwise confidential. In the new program, Coberly said, lawyers can get the form on their own, fill it out, and return it to the Bar. “When there’s a final order of any kind, we would like the lawyers to directly access the evaluation form and fill it out,” she said. Coberly said the committee embarked on the new program because it wants to boost participation in the evaluation process. “The judges [who use the evaluation process] are happy with it and the attorneys [who use the process] are happy with it,” she said. “The problem is getting enough participation. “A lot of attorneys don’t know this program is available. We want to give them the opportunity.” To get a form, go to the Bar’s website at www.FLABAR.org, and click on Organization. Under the Committees listing, choose Standing, and then select the Judicial Evaluation Committee. There are links in the text to both the trial and appellate judicial evaluation forms, as well as instructions for filling out the forms. (Use your browser’s print command to print out the form.) Those without Internet access can obtain the forms from Doris Maffei, The Florida Bar, 651 E. Jefferson Street, Tallahassee 32399, or by calling Maffei at 850/561-5670. Completed forms should be placed in an unmarked envelope (Maffei noted that some lawyers have enclosed the forms in envelopes with their firms’ addresses). The envelope should state the judge’s name and his or her circuit or county and be addressed as follows: c/o Judicial Evaluation Committee, P.O. Box 11067, Tallahassee 32302-3067. (See illustration) Coberly said lawyers should also use care in filling out the form so that they do not include anything that identifies them or the case. Forms are held until several are collected and then forwarded to the judge, which further helps guarantee anonymity for participating attorneys. “We really want this to work and be an effective way to let judges know how they’re doing,” Coberly said.
JOHNSON CITY (WBNG) — The Johnson City Fire Marshall says the fire at 67 Albert St. was accidental in nature. No injuries were reported. The Fire Marshall says the fire was caused by “improperly discarded smoking materials” on the second floor front porch. Five adults were displaced from the fire but are able to stay with friends and family.
European investors were also positive on real estate, with 48.9% expecting to increase allocations, compared with 26.9% of North American investors.INREV, the real estate fund association for Europe, has been carrying out its Investment Intentions survey since 2007, but has teamed up with ANREV and PREA – its counterparts in Asia and the US, respectively – to provide a more global perspective.The results were revealed at the INREV Winter Seminar in London on Wednesday evening, where delegates heard that Germany was the top target market in Europe when including domestic investors, and the UK was the most popular market for international investors.UK offices was the most popular country-sector combination, preferred by 45% of investors, followed by French offices (44%) and German offices (43%).It was also revealed that ‘investment style’ preferences in European real estate funds remained consistent with 12 months ago, with approximately half of investors preferring core investments, around 42% preferring value-added strategies and roughly 7% preferring opportunistic investments.But Hesp revealed that the numbers for value-added and opportunistic would be lower if not for North American investors, which typically look for higher returns when investing outside their domestic market.The majority (70%) of Americans prefer value-add and the remaining 30% prefer opportunistic, while 66.7% of Asian investors prefer core and the remaining 33.3% are split evenly between value-add and opportunistic.Most European investors prefer core, especially Dutch (76.5%) and Swiss (75%) investors, although the majority of German investors (66.7%) also showed a preference for value-add strategies.Matthias Thomas, chief executive at INREV, said: “The global ‘Investment Intentions Survey’ reflects a generally positive sentiment across the industry as we enter 2014.“And while we see some familiar anticipated behaviours – such as European investors adopting a mostly defensive strategy and their US and Asian counterparts being more opportunistic – in Europe, there are also interesting shifts in attitude with a growing appetite for risk.” Institutional investors across the globe are increasing their allocations to real estate and intend to plough €35bn into the asset class in 2014, according to research by INREV, ANREV and PREA.The Investment Intentions Survey, a joint project between the three associations, surveyed 142 investors and found that, on average, they intend to increase their allocations from 9.5% to 10.3%.According to Casper Hesp, director of research and market information at INREV, greater confidence among investors, a more stable economic picture and perceived diversification benefits were the main factors behind the trend.Investors from Asia-Pacific were responsible for much of the growth, with 53.8% of those surveyed expecting to increase their allocations over the next two years.
Britain’s Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to Tunisia and is asking all its citizens to leave the North African country.This follows warnings that further terrorist attacks were highly likely there.A total of 38 people among them 30 Britons were killed when a lone gunman, identified as Saif Rezgui, opened fire on holidaymakers at a sea front resort in the town of Sousse two weeks ago.In March, two gunmen killed 24 people dead, 21 of them foreign tourists, in an attack at the Bardo museum in the Tunisian capital Tunis.British authorities say they don’t believe that the security measures put in place in Tunisia were sufficient to keep holidaymakers safe.UK secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs Philip Hammond said in a video statement that while the office doesn’t have any information about a specific or imminent threat, its intelligence suggests another terrorist attack is “highly likely.”According to Hammond, there are approximately 3,000 British tourists currently in the country, and a few hundred British residents. The overwhelming majority of them are on organized tours, which have agreed to work with the British government to bring them back on short notice.Thomas Cook, a UK-based tourist agency, said that it will bring all of its customers currently in Tunisia back to the UK as soon as possible, via 10 flights booked over the weekend with third-party carriers.The agency tweeted that it will be canceling bookings to Tunisia through Oct. 31: People join hands as they observe a minute’s silence in memory of those killed in a recent attack by an Islamist gunman, at a beach in Sousse