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GOING GREEN | July 2011

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FROM THE EDITOR

Small changes make difference
While Americans suffer from sticker shock at the gas pumps, many are considering ways to squeeze every possible mile from a gallon of gas. Motorists who don’t have the option of buying a fuel-efficient model or biking or carpooling can find ways to improve fuel economy. Here are a few tips to reduce gasoline consumption: Go easy on the pedal: Speeding, braking and rapid acceleration waste gas. Driving tweaks can lead to an equivalent gas savings of between 16 cents and $1.03 per gallon. Slow down: Gas mileage decreases above 60 miles per hour. According to the website fueleconomy.gov, for every five miles per hour that exceeds 60 mph, drivers pay an equivalent of 24 cents more for each gallon. Don’t load up: An additional 100 pounds in your car can reduce gas mileage by up to 2 percent. Replace spark plugs: Bad spark plugs can decrease fuel economy by up to 30 percent. Fill your tank early in the morning or late at night: If you fill your tank when it is coolest outside, the fuel will be denser so you get more gas for the same amount of money.

Raise your profile
Elevate your company’s profile within the Green Community. Send us a short article or a project outline for consideration in Going Green, explaining what you are doing to “green up” your lifestyle? Include your preferred contact phone number.

Send in your e-mail address
We’ll share information and resources to help readers of Going Green swap money-saving tips and information related to “green” issues and events. Send to keplinger@commercialappeal.com. You can also follow Going Green on Facebook and at twitter.com/GoGreenMemphis .

Editor: Kim Coleman, 529-5243, goinggreen@commercialappeal.com Community Editor: Emily Adams Keplinger, keplinger@commercialappeal.com

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What’s in this issue ...
LOCAL NEWS

20 27 14
High fuel prices driving trends in transportation
Higher sales of fuel efficient cars, biking and changing travel habits are a few ways to deal with rising cost of gas

Conservancy seen as potential cure of Overton Park’s ills Mayor Luttrell revives Sustainable Shelby initiative Downtown garden grows involvement, common ground

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BUSINESS

TRANSPORTATION

FOOD

FedEx alternative vehicle guru tapped as ‘First Mover”. PAGE 38

Businesses are taking root along Greenline. PAGE 42

Creamy, fruity icy pops flavorful antedote to the heat. PAGE48

On the cover: The Ford emblem is displayed on the grill of a 2011 Ford Focus compact car on the lot of a Ford dealership. The Focus compact isselling as fast as Ford Motor Co. can build them. Steven Senne, Associated Press

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GOING GREEN | July 2011

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Micro Greens...

Next step: Packaging-free grocery store
In.gredients, slated to open this fall in Austin, will be the first packaging-free grocery store in the United States. Touting itself as the “next step” in fixing some of the problems in today’s food industry, it promises to be an alternative to supermarket-style shopping by selling only loose and bulk items, including local, organic meats, dairy, baking ingredients, cooking oils, spices, grains and seasonal produce. Customers bring reusable containers from home or use the store’s compostable ones. The package-free, zero-waste retail concept is similar to that of ‘Unpackaged’ in London. The benefits of precycling — avoiding wasteful packaging — are many including reduction in what is sent to the landfill while saving money in the process. “Truth be told, what’s normal in the grocery business isn’t healthy for consumers or the environment,” in.gredients co-founder Christian Lane said. “We’re prioritizing ‘reduce, reuse, then recycle’ and maximizing farmer revenue.” For more information, go to in.gredients.com

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Green Snap...

Photo courtesy of Shelby Farms

Harvest time at Shelby Farms
Campers Veena Long, Jamison Siebert, Katie Hopkins, Madie Grace Liberto and Peyton Avant check out peppers in the Shelby Farms Leadership Garden. Campers from the Woodland Discovery Summer Challenge and teens from Peer Power worked together on the first big garden harvest — learning where their food comes from and how vegetables and herbs grow.
Interested in sharing your green experiences: a bike ride on the Greenline, a successful recycling project or a neighborhood cleanup? Do you have a stunning nature photo? Send your green snapshots to goinggreen@commercialappeal.com with "Green Snaps" in the subject line. E-mail photos as JPEGs that are 1-2 MB in size and include complete caption information, including the full names of everyone featured in the photo. Be sure to include a contact phone number in case we have questions.

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GOING GREEN | July 2011

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The Green Page...
Environmental Art Class
July 12: 6-9 p.m. and July 16, 23 & 30: 9 a.m-12:30 p.m. at Strawberry Plains Audubon Center in Holly Springs, Miss.

Photo courtesy Cooper Young Farmers Market

Events
Cooper-Young’s Thursday Night Out
July 7 at the corner of Cooper Street and Young Avenue, 5 - 9 p.m.

This four session art class — led by Hilary Maslon, local artist and entrepreneur — will explore our relationship to the environment by using materials found in the grasslands, gardens and woodlands surrounding the Audubon Center. The sessions are $120 per person. Please bring your own sketch book, pencils, an eraser, a portable pencil sharpener, pocket knife and garden tools. To register, please call (662) 252-1155.

Celebrate the best holiday of the summer with neighborhood businesses as ArtJAMn hosts a benefit party to support the CY Community Farmer’s Market. Join in the fun and help paint a peach for a minimum donation to the market. Peach painting starts at 6 p.m., but all other outdoor festivities continue until 9 p.m.

Natural Areas of West Tennessee
July 26 at Memphis Botanic Garden, 6:30 p.m.

Humane Society Summer Camp
July 11-14 at Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County., 9 a.m. - noon

Fun activities will teach children about human animal advocacy and pet ownership. Camp is open to children ages 7 through 12 and will feature hands-on animal activities. They will also have the opportunity to interact with kittens and puppies. Sessions are $125 or $35 per day. Parents who wish to register their child for camp or would like more information, call (901) 9373900 or go online at memphishumane.org.

Allen Trently, West Tennessee Stewardship Ecologist from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation will share photographs of West Tennessee State Natural Areas, including those found along the Wolf River. Join him to discuss what makes each area and photograph special and the areas worthy of a visit. Call Memphis Botanic Garden at (901) 576-4100.
Going Green Memphis is now on Facebook. Simply “LIKE” the page to receive regular news and updates about green events.

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Planting seeds for success
I am a student at Southwest Tennessee Community College and am a part of the Southern Energy Training Consortium grant program. I received a certificate in architecture and construction fundamentals from SWCC in 2009. I'm working on another certificate in mechanical and manufacturing CAD. I'm also pursuing an associate's degree in Architectural and Civil Construction. The SETC grant has been helpful to me in paying for my certificate classes and providing me with boot camp sessions from Seedco instructors. These sessions have helped me enhance my interviewing techniques, résumé writing, problem-solving skills and study habits. Seedco also provided me a chance to take a group tour of an employer, Smith & Nephew, as well as attend roundtable discussions with other employers. I've also used the tutoring service Seedco provides to help me when the work was a challenge, and it helped me to achieve good scores. I strongly recommend the Southern Energy Training Consortium and Seedco boot camp sessions to anyone who is seeking training or a degree in the green industry. It makes a difference in what you can accomplish.
Anthony Watkins, Memphis Letters to the editor must include the writer's name, home address and daytime/evening phone numbers. E-mail to letters@commercialappeal.com or go online to the Opinion page at commercialappeal.com and click on the "Submit a Letter" link

FROM THE GOING GREEN BLOG
Lisa Enderle: Laundry is the bane of my existence. It is either piled high and spilling (dirty) from the hampers or screaming at me (clean) from the couch to be folded. While volunteering at the Collierville Farmers Market recently, I found my first ‘green’ treasure of the season — Alpaca Felted Dryer Balls. Cathy Stauffer of Coldwater Alpaca Ranch makes her most popular product from alpaca and llama fibers that are hypo-allergenic, dye-free and guaranteed to never come apart. (She says they could last 100 years or more.) Felted dryer balls can cut down on drying time by 15 percent to 20 percent — great for the budget and the environment. They also reduce wrinkles, help remove lint and are handmade locally — just 40 miles from Memphis in Coldwater, Miss. A set of four dryer balls costs $22.
To read more blog posts from Going Green, go to commercialappeal.com/goinggreen.

Going social
For daily updates related to ‘green’ issues, follow Going Green on Twitter at twitter.com/gogreen memphis and check us out on Facebook by searching “Going Green Memphis.”

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GOING GREEN | July 2011

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In case you missed it...
Eco-anxiety: Stress over doing right thing, not doing enough brings guilt
Published on June 14, 2011
To Cordova resident Megan Cathey, walking out of a grocery store with her hands full of plastic bags is like taking the proverbial walk of shame. “I get so mad at myself when I get out of the car and realize I don’t have a reusable bag with me,” Cathey said. What she’s feeling is green guilt, and she’s not alone. With messages of climate change and new ways to go green bombarding us from all directions, green guilt is just one more worry added to our long list of modern anxieties. But it isn’t easy, especially for those of us who didn’t grow up with a save-the-planet mindset. When Briscoe Ellett moved in with his new wife, Courtney Liebenrood Ellett, and her two kids, one thing he brought to the household was his personal commitment to recycling. “It’s important to me, with our children, that we’re teaching them these things,” said Ellett. Still, going green takes effort, and in the rush

Chris Desmond/Special to The Commercial Appeal

Savannah Liebenrood, 11, and her brother, Jake, 8, sort through the recycle bins at their home.
of modern family life, that effort often seems too taxing to make. In Cathey’s view, though, doing something is better than doing nothing.
Stacey Wiedower, Special to the Commercial Appeal

Full article: commercialappeal.com/ news/2011/jun/14/eco-anxiety/

Making do with less, giving back can be fun
Published on May 31, 2011
Pulling into the parking lot of his sleek East Memphis office building, where crisp suits and hulking BMWs abound, Chris Williams looks like a guppy in a sea of sharks on his mini-motorbike. Driving a cherry-red 1981 Honda C70 Passport,Williams regularly arrives at the Crescent Center with a wrinkled windbreaker and a case of helmet head. Not long ago, the successful 34-year-old financial planner was driving a spacious Lexus 470. But Williams sold his SUV in January, and made a oneyear commitment to leave a smaller footprint on the Earth and donate the cash he saved to charity. Williams will donate the bulk of his saved auto expenses to Memphis Child Advocacy. "It really is just a fun way to live out loud and let people know what we're doing," he said.
Lindsay Melvin, The Commercial Appeal

Mike Maple/The Commercial Appeal

Full article: commercialappeal.com/news/2011/may/ 31/fun-for-good/

Chris Williams has decorated his scooter with stickers and marker doodles that reflect his downsized lifestyle.

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News you can use...
Greenline safety
As the Shelby Farms Greenline increases in popularity, so does the standard of safety surrounding it. Concerns about pedestrians crossing busy intersections on the Greenline are being met with an answer from the City of Memphis Division of Engineering. A new type of traffic light, known as a pedestrian hybrid beacon, will be installed at areas of the Greenline with heavy traffic. The lights have experienced success in other places like Tempe, Arizona. The pedestrian hybrid beacon operates like a conventional signal and is designed to stop traffic momentarily for pedestrians and cyclists. For questions, comments or suggestions about the new lights, call the City of Memphis Division of Engineering at (901) 576-6710.

In season this month

Tom Busler/The Commercial Appeal files

Greenway dinner is on
The Wolf River Conservancy’s “Dinner on the Greenway” has been rescheduled for September 24. The evening will begin with a strolling reception as you place your Wolf River Conservancy picnic blanket along the greenway for dinner. During the reception there will be hors d'oeuvres and live music from Grassfire. A catered picnic basket will be full of wonderful food from Heart and Soul Catering. You and up to three of your friends will enjoy a wonderful night out and help protect the Wolf River all for a donation of $250. For more information and to save your blanket or table call Lisa Stephens at (901) 452-6500.

Facades at the Lowenstein House are one example of preservation efforts by Memphis Heritage.

Preservation option
Schnucks is offering an easy way to support Memphis Heritage, Inc. By designating Memphis Heritage as your “charity of choice,” Schnucks will contribute up to 3 percent of your purchase to MHI. Here’s how you can give Memphis’ past a future: Request an eScript Customer Card from your Schnucks store. Activate your card by calling (800) 931-6258 and list Memphis Heritage as your charity of choice. Present your Schnucks card each time you check out, and pay for your groceries.

Tomatoes Green beans New potatoes Purple and sweet onions Banana peppers Hot peppers Bell peppers Japanese eggplant Speckled and purple hull peas Corn Cucumbers Zucchini Patty pan squash Yellow summer squash

Peaches Blueberries Blackberries Plums Nectarines Cantaloupe Watermelon
Source: Memphis Farmers Market

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GOING GREEN | July 2011

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Stan Carroll/The Commercial Appeal files

Paulette Hence drops off gently-used clothing items to Goodwill greeter Phil Maness. Donations like these are just one example of how ‘sharing’ is good for community as well as the environment.

Sharing is good for planet, too
BE A GOOD sharer. Remember that from kindergarten? That’s being green in a nutshell. We can think of it in a larger sense, like sharing resources of the planet with one another, not hogging everything for our country or our generation, but that’s not where I’m going. For the past two weeks, I’ve witnessed a great deal of green

DEANNA CASWELL Practically Green

behavior, lots of reusing, reducing, recycling. But it occurred to me that all of this greenness was really just good people sharing with one another. Let me give you some examples: Two giant boxes of maternity clothes left my home this week, bound for the next pregnant mama, who happens to share my relative size. Now, of the massive pile of clothes,

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very few were technically mine. Bunches came from the gal who was picking them up to take them to our friend. The next biggest contributor was my best friend in Charleston. Parts of that wardrobe have traveled across the South for seven babies. The third contributor is a mama from my parish, whom I met only a couple years ago. Like a snowball gathers size rolling downhill, it grows as it goes. Some of those items are seeing their 11th pregnancy. Imagine all those clothes that weren’t bought. Now that’s green! Additionally, a pile of baby clothes left my house this week. Almost none of them was new. Those 0-3-month girl clothes will be picked up by at least three new mamas. Everyone will get to pick what they want and pass it to the next mama before the remains head to Goodwill. Now, are we doing this to be green? Heavens, no! We’re just being good sharers, behavior we learned as toddlers. I got the most refreshing phone call this week from Sarah Calvary. A Tupperware lady for more than 30 years, she called to let me know that adding Tang to my dishwasher would make my plastics come out extra clean. And during our delightful conversation, she also recommended that I come up in a couple of weeks to pick blackberries. She and her dear husband could make jam out of them, but they’d never eat it themselves, and she’d love for me and my children to come make a day of it. Let me come pick my own local berries? That’s not just green: It’s saintly. I’d be more likely to share my children’s college fund than a homegrown crop of blackberries. Two local master gardeners took pity on me and my sad, sad looking yard. I wrote that I have a book photo shoot

coming up, and though I have recovered from the pregnancy, I have lingering sciatic back issues that prevent me from doing much yard work. These guys not only did hours and hours of labor in the heat, but they also pulled a five-loavesand-two-fishes act with the plants in my yard that you wouldn’t believe. One volunteer crop of irises turned into 15 separate plantings. Donated hydrangeas and shrubs appeared in my flower beds alongside borrowed pots of full-grown herbs. Unneeded chunks of Bermuda, morning glory sprouts, and other shoots and trimmings left my yard for new homes as well. Gardeners are great sharers. Building community with sharing folks is my favorite way to go green. There’s no need for us each to have our own supply of new things when we have attics and backyards full of stuff our friends can use. And just because we give it away, doesn’t mean that we won’t have it when we need it. Creating a community of sharers means that even though my own strollers and bassinets died after passing through my nearest three friends, there was someone else in my circle ready to lend me hers. And so what if I have to buy something once in a while, because it died in the hands of another? How many things haven’t I had to buy because so many people have shared with me? Your kindergarten teacher still knows best. Get up to your neck in a great green crowd of good sharing people. You won’t regret it.
Deanna Caswell is a local writer who blogs at littlehouseinthesuburbs.com . Her first book, "First Ballet, " was released this year by Hyperion. Caswell and her husband, Jeff, live in Collierville. She practices eco-friendly living while raising their four children, along with pygmy goats and chickens.

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GOING GREEN | July 2011

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Peaches usher in summer, add flavor twist to meals
WHEN PEACHES ARRIVE in Memphis, it’s a sure sign that summer has officially begun. We enjoy a long peach season. They first appeared a few weeks ago, and we can enjoy them through September. A relative of the rose family, peaches originated in China (where they still grow wild). The Spanish MELISSA PETERSEN are credited with bringing the peach Eating Local, to the Americas. Eating Green Peaches fall into two categories — clingstone (available now) and freestone (look for them in early July). The names tell you everything. Those of us who can’t wait to make peach jam have toiled mightily with the clingstones, trying to get the fruit removed from the pit. But I just don’t have the patience to avoid peaches until the freestones ripen. The fruit on most peach trees ripens all at once. Fortunately, there are plenty of varieties that grow well here, and you can expect

Melissa Petersen/Special to Going Green

Peaches have arrived in Memphis The summer fruit is a great accompaniment to meats, cheeses and desserts.

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to see a new one about every two weeks. Pick your favorite. Taste the difference. Garnet Beauty, White Nectar, Georgia Belle, Indian Cling, White Lightning and Autumn Prince are a few of the many varieties that we’ll see over the coming weeks. Anyone who calls himself a “foodie” should be able to name a favorite local peach. Peaches ripen best on the tree, but a day in a brown paper bag will soften them up. While I prefer them fresh, cooked peaches are an excellent accompaniment to meats, desserts and cheeses. I’ve made “peach” everything at one time or another … jam, vinegar, syrup, salsa, pickles and ketchup. Peaches oxidize (turn brown) quickly once you peel them, so if you are cooking, drop the peeled fruit in some water with a little lemon juice to keep them nicely colored until you’re ready to cook. If you’re new to preserving local food, here’s a great hint: Peaches can better than almost anything else. The flavor and texture are not altered much by the canning process. My own first experience canning was with nine boxes of peaches. Slice for salads. Add to tomato salsa. Grill peach halves and top with fresh goat cheese, honey and some pecans for a quick summer dessert. The few early peaches available at farmers markets were picked clean by chefs and shoppers last week, but there will be more. You’ve been eating local. You’ve been waiting for summer. Go ahead and grab a peach. But do it properly. The juices from that first bite should drip from your chin.
Melissa Petersen is the editor of Edible Memphis, ediblememphis.com.

Grilled Peaches
Peaches, cut in half, stone removed Olive oil Salt Fresh goat cheese Honey Toasted pecans

Brush cut surface of peach with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and grill over medium-high heat until warm (about 5 minutes) and grill-marked. Smear each half with fresh goat cheese and a drizzle of honey. Top with toasted pecans.

Chilled Peach Soup
2 lbs. fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped 1 cup dry white wine, or champagne 1 /4 cup honey juice from one lemon 1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated 1 /2 cup plain yogurt heavy cream to taste toasted, chopped nuts for garnish

Place peaches in a medium saucepan with wine, honey and lemon juice. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes until peaches are soft. Carefully purée mixture in blender. Strain through a sieve and chill. Stir in ginger and yogurt. Add heavy cream to taste. Chill thoroughly and garnish with chopped nuts.
— Adapted from “On Cooking” by Sarah R. Labensky, Alan M Hause,

Peach Sangria
1 bottle of dry white wine 1 /2 cup of brandy, cognac, schnapps or water 1 /2 cup granulated sugar (or to taste) juice from 1-2 lemons 3-4 peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher. Chill.

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GOING GREEN | July 2011

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BEATING THE BEAST

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July 2011 | GOING GREEN

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Story by Jim Coleman

Photo illustration by Jim Weber

I

F YOU ARE FEELING PAIN AT THE PUMP when it comes time to gas up

your car, you are not alone. Across the U.S., prices have made a steady climb – in some places reaching four dollars per gallon. But are the high prices prohibitive enough where motorists will begin to contemplate changes in their daily commuting routine? Recently, a little relief for cash strapped drivers has come with Obama administration’s recent action to release 30 million gallons of oil from the Petroleum Reserve to flood the market. The action was made to glut the market in hopes of easing speculation in oil futures, which is believed by many analysts to be the primary cause of the recent spikes.

Across the U.S., retail prices have steadily dropped, in some cases by more than .10 cents since the release. But, it is little consolation when those prices are still hovering around 80 cents more than last year. With the price spikes, commuters seem to be responding. Dealerships, including those around the Memphis area, have seen the demand for smaller, more efficient vehicles grow along with the price of gasoline. “Every since gas prices have risen we have had a waiting list,” according to Wolfchase Toyota sales manager Fred Williams about the surge in popularity fuel efficient cars are experiencing. “It’s been pretty chaotic. Even the corollas are all selling. We have seen a

Karen Pulfer Focht/The Commercial Appeal files

Local dealerships have seen the demand for smaller, more efficient vehicles grow along with the price of gasoline. “Every since gas prices have risen we have had a waiting list,” said Wolfchase Toyota sales manager Fred Williams.

A LOOK AT THE REAL COSTS OF RISING FUEL PRICES AND THE IMPACT ON OUR LIVES

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GOING GREEN | July 2011

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Thomas Wells/Associated Press files

James Williams shows some of the basic shells of the Toyota Corolla that Toyota produces at its plant in northeast Mississippi. Compact and more fuelefficient models have been in high demand since the recent spike in gas prices. 35 percent increase in Prius sales. Whenever we have one, we sell it. They are coming through already sold.” Wolfchase Toyota is not alone. Around the tri-state area dealerships that sell high mileage cars are experiencing 20 to 30 percent surges in sales. In fact, fuelefficient vehicles have become so much in demand that several used models have actually gained in value as motorists look to gain more miles per gallon. Although price hikes at the pump have translated to early success for fuel-efficient models, commuters still seem devoted to their vehicles. “We haven’t experienced as much interest as when the first spike happened,” said Larry Smith of Midsouth Clean Air, whose organization offers several rideshare programs to commuters in the area.. Smith stressed that can change. The psychological barrier of four dollar per gallon gasoline seems to be the impetus that inspires change. “If prices stay high, people will say ‘I have to do something.’ I just put 80 bucks in my tank and I don’t want to do that again.”

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Fuel prices force travelers to rethink summer vacation plans
Deidre O’Brien of Olive Branch had to pass up an invitation for a Gulf Shores getaway for her family because she couldn’t afford the gas. It costs $80 to fill the tank of her Chevy Tahoe. Her parents, Robert and Hope Powell, face an even more frustrating problem. They bought a 35-foot RV and a diesel truck to pull it last year, hoping to tour the West when he retires. Now they watch gas pump prices the way a gambler watches a slot machine, hoping for a winning set of numbers. High gas prices have thrown a curve to folks planning vacations. The national average for regular gas for the first week in July was $3.58, up more than 86 cents from a year ago, according to the American Automobile Association’s Daily Fuel Gauge. RV park manager Mark Hoggard has seen an 18 percent to 20 percent drop in RV visitors at Agricenter International’s 300-hookup park, a favorite stop for cross-country travelers. “It hits them pretty hard when you’ve got a rig that takes $700 to fill up and you can go 500 or 600 miles — you can’t just drive endlessly.” Airlines say soaring fuel prices are behind fare increases. Average domestic air fares for 2010 were $337, up 8.4 percent from 2009, not adjusted for inflation, according to the latest figures from the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics. That doesn’t include this year’s increases. It’s enough to discourage Brett Moore, 37, of Downtown Memphis, who used to fly to Las Vegas twice a year to vacation and see family and friends. The cost was $300 to $350 round trip. Now he’s facing $450 minimum, he said. Mark Parsell, 48, has bid goodbye to the unfriendly skies. He flew from Memphis to Hilton Head, S.C., every two months for years to visit his mother, who is 87. Now he makes 10-hour sojourns via Chevy Impala with no side trips. He doesn’t like the price at the pumps, but he sees no choice but to pay it. “It’s like taking medicine,” said Parsell. He installed satellite radio. Barbara Bradley, The Commercial Appeal

Paul Sakuma/Associated Press

Shell gas worker Toke Fusi changes gas prices at a Shell gas station in Menlo Park, Calif. Wary of a new surge, the Obama administration has decided to release 30 million barrels of oil from the country's emergency reserve. Smith went on to say that a few weeks back, when prices were at their highest, interest in ride shares was growing. “We were talking with several area companies until the prices dropped.” Now, interest seems minimal. “We have about 850-900 people registered, but we are hoping to build it up. ” As a owner and operator of a vehicle-dependent business, Madeleine Edwards admits that hikes at the pump have been an influence in decisions. Her company, Get Green

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Fuel costs draining budgets — Gas prices cut deeply for families
NEW YORK — There's less money this summer for hotel rooms, surfboards and bathing suits. It's all going into the gas tank. High prices at the pump are putting a squeeze on the family budget as the summer driving season kicks into gear. For every $10 the typical household earns before taxes, almost a full dollar now goes toward gas, a 40 percent bigger bite than normal. Households spent an average of $369 on gas last month. In April 2009, they spent just $201. Families now spend more filling up than they spend on cars, clothes or recreation. Jeffrey Wayman of Cape Charles, Va., rode his motorcycle to North Carolina's Outer Banks, a day trip with his wife. They decided to eat snacks in a gas station parking lot rather than buy lunch because rising fuel prices have eaten so much into their budget over the past year that they can't ride as frequently as they would like. “We used to do it a lot more, but not as much now, “ he said. “You have to cut back when you have a $480 gas bill a month.” Alex Martinez, a senior at Arcadia High School outside Los Angeles, stopped at a gas station to put $5 of fuel in his car — not much more than a gallon — the high prices are crimping social life for him and his friends. “We definitely can't go out as much, and we can't go as far,” Martinez said. The squeeze is happening at a time when most people aren't getting raisess. “These increases are not something consumers can shrug off, “ says James Hamilton, an economics professor at the University of California, San Diego, who studies gas prices. “It's a key part of the family budget.” They're showing it by limiting spending far beyond the gas station. Wal-Mart recently blamed high gas prices for an eighth straight quarter of lower sales in the U.S Every 50-cent jump in the cost of gasoline takes $70 billion out of the U.S. economy over the course of a year, Hamilton says. Associated Press

Brandon Dill/The Commercial Appeal files

Madeleine Edwards of Get Green Recycling decided a trailer was the better way to expand capacity it’s more fuel efficient with lower maintenance costs than a truck. Recycling, fills a gap in city services by providing recycling services to area businesses. In a few short years her company has grown from a oneperson operation to three. With the increasing business, a truck with larger hauling capacity was recommended. “Margo — with Project Greenfork — suggested we get a truck.” Ultimately, the decision was made to go with a trailer. “We decided our carbon footprint would be smaller if we got a trailer instead. It’s more efficient. We get better mileage than with a truck with a big engine. It also offers more flexibility and lower maintenance costs.” While it’s too soon to say whether gas prices had an effect, biking

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Alan Spearman/The Commercial Appeal files

Tim Flack puts his bike on the MATA bus he rides to work many mornings. Flack has been able to save about 50 per month by commuting to work using his bicycle and the city bus. seems to be on the rise in Memphis. Daniel Duckworth, manager of Midtown Bicycles, says he has experienced increased traffic in his downtown shop recently. “Yeah, there has been an increased interest lately. But it also coincides with the Greenline expansion. I can’t really say which one is responsible,” he quickly pointed out. One person who made the switch is Caley Foreman. He started riding a bicycle to work a couple of years ago. “I know a guy at work who rides a bike in. It got me thinking — I could ride to work, too.” Through his daily commutes, Foreman has noticed many benefits from his cycling. “I think I may have lowered my blood pressure and lost weight. I am definitely in better shape.” He also noted the convenience of a bicycle. “I can use it instead of a second car when I need to go to work. There is also the low upkeep, which makes a difference.”

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LOCAL NEWS

Tarnished gem
Conservancy seen as potential cure of Overton Park’s ills

Photos by Alan Spearman/The Commercial Appeal

A committee of park users, tenants and advocates is beginning an effort to preserve Overton Park and make it more inviting for people like Val Russell, who uses the green space to hold classes with her circus school students.
By Tom Charlier
charlier@commercialappeal.com

In a park famously spared by a U.S. Supreme Court decision blocking a highway project, time and neglect have inflicted the sort of damage that legions of 1960s-era transportation planners and powerbrokers never could. It can be seen in the patchwork

lawns and the boarded-up public restrooms, where graffiti completes the picture of decay. It’s apparent in the weeds peeking through cracked pavement, in the exotic vines extending death-grips on native trees, and in the Depression-era stone work crumbling on a pedestrian bridge. The troubles of Overton Park, in fact, are so big they’re visible from

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space. Current satellite images on Google Earth show the greensward that famed landscape architect George Kessler designed more than a century ago as a meadowy oasis serving instead as an overflow parking lot for Memphis Zoo. The condition of the iconic park in Midtown Memphis sends a bad message, park advocates say. “That’s one of the main things people judge a city by,” says Martha Kelly, president of the group Park Friends. “They think the city can’t take care of itself and the people won’t take care of it, and it’s so unwelcoming.” This summer, a committee made up of park users, tenants and advocates is embarking on what members describe as an effort to preserve Overton and make it more inviting and vibrant. They’re going to the public to solicit ideas for the park and gauge support for having Overton’s management turned over to a non-profit conservancy like the ones overseeing Shelby Farms Park and New York City’s Central Park. About 200 people turned out for the initial public meeting June 25 to gauge interest in having management of Overton Park transferred from the city of Memphis to a non profit conservancy. The two-hour meeting in Rust Hall at the Memphis College of Art marked the beginning of a public communications campaign by "Speak Up! For Our Park" committee members. Attendees were asked to complete surveys, available online at overtonpark.org , examining what the public would like to see happen with the 342 acres in the heart of Midtown. After gathering public input, the group plans to “collate everything” into

Pets would benefit from the committee’s plan for a state-of-theart dog park near Rainbow Lake. a request that would be taken to City Council by around Labor Day, said George Cates, a retired business executive who co-founded the committee. The group is made up of about 15 people, including representatives of such tenant institutions in the park as the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis College of Art and Memphis Zoo, as well as leaders of environmental groups and a organization dealing with drainage issues. Park advocates already attained one goal early in June when the Tennessee General Assembly approved legislation designating 126 acres of Overton’s oldgrowth forest as a state natural area, providing for increased protection against encroachment. Now, committee members say, much of the park should be placed under a conservation easement and managed by a conservancy. That kind of non profit group, they say, would enjoy countless advantages to the city’s perennially strapped Division of Park Services, not least of which is

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the ability to tap into private donations to pay for upkeep and improvements the city can’t afford. “We’re out talking to foundations right now,” said Gary Shorb, committee co-founder and CEO of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare. Cates and Shorb said they favor a management agreement between the city and a conservancy under which Memphis initially would contribute the annual amount it currently spends on Overton. That contribution would decline over the years before reaching a stable amount. “We’re foreseeing a light burden and a shrinking burden for the city,” Cates said. Just how much the city currently spends on Overton — one of 166 parks in the Memphis system — hasn’t been fleshed out yet, committee members say. City Councilman Jim Strickland, whose district includes Overton, said he’s been briefed on the conservancy plan and likes the idea. “The city will get a better product for less cost,” he said. Laura Adams, executive director of the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, also has talked with Cates’ and Shorb’s committee and agrees that a conservancy would work as well for Overton Park as it has for Shelby Farms and other highprofile facilities in other cities. “Overton Park has a great natural constituency, and a conservancy would allow it to tap into that support,” Adams said. If the council approves an agreement turning over management of the park to a conservancy, Cates’ and Shorb’s group has identified some “modest” capital projects they say they’d like to see undertaken almost immediately.

The forest trails in Overton Park provide a dose of nature just minutes from Downtown. Here an artist marks their inspiration.

A project to remove invasive plants from the park is in the plan. They include refurbishment of playgrounds and restrooms, construction of a state-of-the-art dog park near Rainbow Lake and a project to remove invasive plants, such as privet hedge, from the old-growth forest. But in addition to the modest projects, the group also is focused on larger goals. Chief among them is eliminating the use of the greensward for parking on peak visitation days at the zoo. Committee members say they’ll push

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for construction of a 500-space parking garage off North Parkway in the zoo’s current maintenance area. The cost would be about $5 million. “We’ve got everything figured out except for where the money comes from,” Cates said. The zoo also favors the parking garage proposal as a means of ending use of the greensward, said Jim Jalenak, its chief administrative officer. “We don’t want to do it,” Jalenak said of the parking in the greensward. “But we just can’t think of any alternative other than the garage.” The committee also supports the relocation of the city’s General Services facility from the southeastern side of the park — a move suggested by Wharton. Committee members, however, said they are not seeking any immediate changes to the park golf course. Shorb said the group, in discussions with elected officials and others, “has heard nothing but support” for its efforts. The public process this summer will involve “a lot of listening to what people want for the park,” he said. It’s been almost exactly 40 years since the Supreme Court rebuffed a proposal to extend Interstate 40 through Overton Park. But Shorb contends it’s time for a renewed effort to preserve the park. “It needs a lot of improvements.”
- Tom Charlier: (901) 529-2572

A new path for Overton Park
Here’s a local history lesson. Remember how Shelby Farms languished in a rolling tide of unrealized ideas and ill uses? Now, consider how one of the premier urban parks in the nation has flourished under nonprofit, private governance — namely the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy. With that successful model in place, why couldn’t a conservancy work for Overton Park? A cash-strapped city does not have the resources to properly maintain the park. Advocates for the old-growth forest got a boost when the Tennessee General Assembly approved legislation designating 126 acres of the forest as a state natural area. That protection now needs to evolve into a comprehensive vision of what the park can be and what incremental steps are needed to get it there. A proposal to set up a nonprofit conservancy to administer Overton Park offers many potential advantages. In an era in which City Council members jockey for declining Park Services funds to establish new parks and upgrade existing ones in their districts, the conservancy model could help take politics out of Overton Park’s future. Perhaps more important, though, is the potential for a conservancy to attract private funding and grants to maintain and improve Overton Park and its amenities, gradually weaning the park away from its reliance on city taxpayers’ dollars. As the proposal for a conservancy is developed, two big questions are among those that need to be answered. Can Mayor A C Wharton’s administration and City Council members give up control of Overton Park? And can entities like the zoo and the advocacy group Citizens to Preserve Overton Park stop butting heads over the zoo’s master plan? We hope all of the park’s stakeholders can agree on a course that is in its best long-term interests. Without consensus and without a new governance structure similar to the one that has helped Shelby Farms to prosper, Overton Park may continue to suffer from competing interests, inadequate funding and lack of vision.

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Carnival Memphis turns eye toward sustainability

By Suzanne Thompson
Special to Going Green

Most people aren’t so committed to recycling that they’ll go Dumpster diving to keep cans out of a landfill. But Marcy McConnell isn’t most people. McConnell and her husband, Michael, are members of a grand krewe named Ptah. The main purpose of a grand krewe is to support the mission and goals of Carnival Memphis.

Tara Bodansky and Ed Galfsky of Carnival Memphis sort and fold used T-shirts donated by her clients. Bodansky gave one dollar for each donated T-shirt to Carnival Memphis and then recycled them as rags for area businesses.
Kyle Kurlick/Special to The Commercial Appeal

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While the terms are better associated with Mardi Gras, Carnival Memphis is known locally as “The Party with a Purpose.” It raises thousands of dollars a year for children’s charities and goes through a significant amount of supplies at their parties. Ptah is one of three krewes that stock and provide bar service for the parties Carnival Memphis hosts. The McConnells have been in charge of the bar at Ptah’s main parties for the last two years and have made it a point to recycle cans, bottles and plastic cups from their events. Last April at Ptah’s “Black Tie and Tennis Shoes” gala, signs posted at every bar read “Help Ptah Go Green, Reuse your cup.” After the party, McConnell and her family loaded everything onto a trailer to haul off for recycling and went back in the building for the last load. “When we got back, some helpful soul had taken all the black trash bags filled with cans and put them into the Dumpster,” McConnell said. Because the function generated the equivalent of about three 55-gallon barrels of recycled items, there was no way McConnell was going to just drive off and leave it in the Dumpster — thus the Dumpster diving began. “That’s how committed we are,” she said. After Carnival events, McConnell usually tries to take everything to the recycling containers at the Agricenter, but if that’s not possible, it ends up on the street outside her Collierville home. “I just wish everybody felt the same way I do. These parties produce a lot of

Rags for a cause
Leading up to Carnival Week this year, Tara Bodansky, president of AdVisibility Promotions, started a recycling campaign to help Carnival Memphis raise money for its charities while helping the environment. Bodansky’s company produces a number of promotional materials, and this time of year, T-shirts are particularly popular with her customers, she said. In March, she began offering a special deal, in which her customers would receive $1 off any T-shirt purchase when they bring in an old T-shirt to be recycled and a $1 donation would also be made to Carnival Memphis. Originally, Bodansky had planned to offer the program for one month, but the response was so positive, she had to extend it through Carnival Week, which took place the first week in June. Bodansky picks the T-shirts up, and is cutting them into squares to donate to auto repair shops for reuse as rags. “We have a huge box of T-shirts ready to be distributed,” she said.
Suzanne Thompson

trash,” she said. McConnell, 57, is a longtime recycler. She said she began recycling in the 1990s when her children were little. Now she gathers up recycling from several places where her family is involved, such as their church, Faith Lutheran in Collierville. Ed Galfsky, executive director of Carnival Memphis, remembers McConnell removing recycling from the offices whenever she attends meetings. “Whenever she’s here at a meeting,

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she takes all the recycling with her when she leaves,” he said. “Carnival Memphis applauds Marcy and the Grand Krewe of Ptah for their dedication to recycling.” Galfsky said he is interested in trying to promote recycling among the other krewes, but it’s not as simple as it may seem. Many functions are held at corporately owned venues, such as hotels and private clubs. “I don’t think you could make them do anything like that. Certainly at a private club you can’t make them do that and probably a hotel would be the same,” Galfsky said. However, when enough customers tell business owners and managers what they want, change often occurs. “I think the better way to go about that would be to try to educate those venues about that,” he said. “We certainly would want to talk to them about that.” Carnival Memphis has activities year round and as soon as Carnival Week ends in June, planning begins for the next year. Recycling will definitely be a topic they discuss early in the planning stages for next year, Galfsky said. “Maybe we can put together a program, that going forward into the next season, we can say, ‘Look, here’s the recycling program that we have and this is what you’ve got to do,’ he said. “Then if we have to get recycling containers for them, or whatever we have to do to make that work we can do that.” Last year, Carnival Memphis started a program called Carnival Cares, which

After taking stock of the waste produced from one party, Marcy McConnell took it upon herself to start a recycling effort for Carnival Memphis events for the Ptah Krewe. involved more hands-on participation from members than making a financial donation to one of their charities. Galfsky said a recycling program would work well under the umbrella of Carnival Cares. “We care about the environment and we want to contribute in a positive way to the environment,” he said. But Carnival Memphis doesn’t control what goes on at the parties each krewe has for its members, so getting every krewe on board with a recycling program would make a big difference. “If one krewe is already doing it, it’s something that can certainly be replicated,” Galfsky said.

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Sustainable Shelby restarts
Goals include energy efficiency, less sprawl
By Daniel Connolly
connolly@commercialappeal.com

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell says he’s reviving the Sustainable Shelby environmental initiative started by his predecessor, A C Wharton. Luttrell’s pick for new administrator of the office of sustainability was Paul Young, who formerly worked in legislative affairs for the county and has master’s degrees in both business administration and city and regional planning. Young started in the new role on April 1 and aims to work with the city of Memphis and suburban governments. This month, the office hired Christine Donhardt, who has a master’s degree in landscape architecture. Among the office’s first steps will be to create a task force to make suggestions on how to make building codes more environmentally friendly, Young said. “We want to make more efficient use of our existing resources and protect the future generations of Shelby County,” Young said. “When you think about sustainability, all it

Meet Paul Young
New administrator of the Memphis and Shelby County Office of Sustainability Age: 31 Education: The University of Tennessee in Knoxville with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering; University of Memphis with a master’s degree in city and regional planning Paul A. Young, a Memphis native, found his direction in life by listening to his mother. In 2003, he heard his mom, Rev. Diane Young, co-pastor at the Healing Center Full Gospel Baptist Church, talk about finding one’s calling. “One thing for sure,” she said, “is that God’s purpose for you will never be for you. It will always be for someone else.” Young couldn’t find a job in the slow economy so he asked himself, “What could I do that would make a good living but be for someone else, too?” Searching online, he found a city and regional planning degree program and knew that was it. He started his new job in April after being appointed by Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrel. The office is funded by a $422,000 grant from the federal Department of Energy. Christine Donhardt, who has a master’s degree in landscape architecture, works with him.

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Meet Paul Young: Administrator of the Memphis and Shelby County Office of Sustainability
The revival is stirring excitement. John Lawrence, acting program director for Livable Memphis, a grassroots coalition, called Sustainable Shelby, “one of the most important things we could be doing now. It’s a real opportunity to address not only environmental issues, but address important growth and economic issues.” Young called his new post “beyond exciting. Sustainability is one of those things we get on board now or get left behind.” “The strongest case for sustainability is that it’s financially prudent,” he said. “A lot of focus is on the environmental side. But to get folks involved, we stress the benefits of it. It’s a green appeal to the green.” Among the low-hanging fruit he sees is the cost-effectiveness of putting more recycling containers Downtown. They will spur recycling at condos and apartments — which have very little now — as well as serve as silent ambassadors to Downtown tourists. He wants a green building task force to revise building codes, such as requiring more attic insulation in future construction. Too many Memphians pay huge utility bills and waste energy in poorly insulated houses. It would work to make this area a leader for sustainable development and adaptive reuse. He also plans a sustainability advisory committee drawn from the community to stay in touch with public concerns. Young plans to keep residents up to date on initiatives and serve as a resource through a new website, sustainableshelby.com. “We want a real community-based effort to put this plan together,” he said. “We want to partner with community groups when we can.” He practices the approach he saw work in community development. “Government can spearhead,” he said. “But any change comes from the people.” Barbara Bradley, The Commercial Appeal

is is using what you have in a smart way.” Sustainable Shelby dates back to 2008, when then-county mayor Wharton called together dozens of architects, developers, activists and others to recommend ways to achieve goals such as reducing sprawl and boosting energy efficiency. The group produced a long list of recommendations, but progress was slow. “Unfortunately, it was one of those studies that once it was completed, it sat up on the shelf for two or three years,” Luttrell said. He attributes that lack of action to rapid turnover in local government: Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton left office in mid-term in July 2009, and in October of that year, Wharton won a special election to the city mayor’s post. Two short-term leaders served in the county mayor’s office before Luttrell won election in August. The county is using a $422,000 grant from the federal department of energy to restart efforts. Young’s first task was to go through the recommendations and identify those that officials could implement with minimum effort. He picked 27. Among them: Performing a study to measure air quality in the region. This would serve as a baseline for future improvements, Young said. Working with tourism officials to attract conferences on “Green jobs” and clean technologies. Revising government purchasing policies to consider the lifetime cost of a piece of equipment.
— Daniel Connolly: (901) 529-5296

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Green gadgets

Kyle Kurlick/Special to The Commercial Appeal

Mary Eason tries on a pair of magnifying glasses to help with reading during an event hosted by Mid-South Access Center for Technology.

Group provides recycled equipment to disabled

By Victoria Wright / Wright1@commercialappeal.com

Karen Wilson, 53, remembers when she received a fourfoot walking cane from the hospital after brain surgery. It was too heavy for her, and she had trouble keeping her balance. But thanks to the Mid-South Access Center for Technology, she now has a lighter cane with a handle that helps with the balance problem. “I’m not sure if I would’ve had another option if it wasn’t for ACT,” said Wilson, who said she could not have afforded

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Eddie Blackwell shows Corrine Simpson the function of a grabbing arm during the event, which aims to help people with disabilities learn about high- and lowtech solutions to everyday problems.
Kyle Kurlick Special to The Commercial Appeal

a new cane without the ACT’s help. The center provides high- and lowtech equipment to help people with disabilities and works with health care providers and advocacy groups. Besides Wilson, the center has also helped people who are blind and have other disabilities by giving them SARA scanners and other devices it buys new or recycles from people who don’t need them anymore. An event held on June 7 at the Orange Mound Community Center focused on the re-use and recycling of assistive technology devices. Assistive technology includes a myriad of electrical and non-electrical devices. Wheelchairs and walking canes are some of the low-tech devices, while high-tech gizmos include iPads with special apps for people with handicaps; large print keyboards; and SARA scanners, which read printed materials aloud.

Sateesh Madrireddy, 25, a rehabilitation technologist with the MidSouth ACT, explained how a SARA scanner operates. “It has the ability to read scanned papers, which helps people that are completely blind,” said Madrireddy. The scanner can hold up to 40 gigabytes of text, or about 60 Bibles. “I never knew about some of the technology. It’s great that we’re able to loan devices that, otherwise, people would not have access to,” said Wilson, who volunteers for ACT through AmeriCorps Vista as a graphic designer. The organization receives funding from various grants. “If an individual is finished with a device, we ask that they turn it back in so it can be reused,” said Perry Claybon.
— Victoria Wright: (901) 529-2794

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Alan Spearman/The Commercial Appeal

Marva Jones, Samarah Jones, 9, and Marqis Njiru tend the Common Ground Community Garden at Linden and Lauderdale, where produce is being grown organically and used by members of the community.

Common ground
Garden sprouts vegetables and grows unity for a community

By Victoria Wright
Wright1@commercialappeal.com

Nestled in a discrete lot at the corner of Linden and Lauderdale is a meeting ground that is cultivating more than produce. The Common Ground Community Garden near Downtown grew out of an idea by St. Patrick Catholic Church members Anne Stubblefield and Allen Stiles in the fall of 2009, and has continued to develop in the neighborhood. The pair brought the idea to Grow Memphis, a nonprofit organization

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Shelby County Commission touts community gardens
Days after giving 186 parcels of land to various community groups so that they can plant gardens on them, the Shelby County Commission is set to donate 64 more parcels for the same purpose. Commissioners are scheduled to discuss the current round of donations in a committee meeting today. The measure is likely to pass easily and move to the full commission for final approval Monday. Commissioner Henri E. Brooks says she began promoting the community garden concept at local meetings after reading an article about the idea in USA Today. She sees it as a way to reduce blight in innercity neighborhoods and to educate youth. “They’ll learn number one, that you do grow food — that it doesn’t grow from a can or a freezer in the grocery store,” she said. It will also teach young people lessons in running small businesses as they grow and sell vegetables, she said, and will increase the availability of healthy food in inner-city areas where there are few high-quality grocery stores. The land parcels are among those that the county has seized from delinquent taxpayers and they’re located in North Memphis and other neighborhoods. Many of the groups receiving the lots are churches. For instance, Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in South Memphis is receiving several lots. The groups are expected to work with the Tennessee Farm Bureau Community Garden Grant Program, which provides grants for such projects. Several other organizations are involved, including the county agricultural extension service. “I think we’ve formed a great partnership here that is beneficial to the core city community,” Brooks said. Daniel Connolly, connolly@commercialappeal.com

that provides advice and support for developing community gardens. “We coordinated the concept with Grow Memphis. There was so much unhealthy food around, it seemed like a good idea to bring organic vegetables to the neighborhood,” said Stiles, 71. Because of high concentrations of lead in the soil beneath the garden, the produce is grown in raised beds framed by wooden supports. Booker T. Washington High School shop class students and volunteers with Redeemer Presbyterian Church helped build the beds. The St. Patrick Center provided the lumber and screws. Beans, peas, okra and radishes are among the vegetables grown in the beds. All of the produce is organic. “We use a spray mixture of oil soap and water to spray the plants and keep the aphids away,” said Stubblefield, 65. “We’re blessed to have good groundwater, too.” The vegetables grown in the garden are donated to the St. Patrick Center food pantry. Produce is also distributed to residents in the neighborhood who help in the garden. “A lot of students come and visit,” said Stiles. “They’re interested in how to grow the vegetables, and they’re willing to help.” Herbs grown in the garden are given to the Juvenile Intervention and Faith-Based Follow-Up for its food service trainees. About five families in the

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Alan Spearman/The Commercial Appeal

Tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, sweat peas and cayenne peppers are being grown organically at the Common Ground Community Garden. neighborhood regularly tend the garden. They help with watering and assist with planting the vegetables. Carlina Richmond, 10, is a student at St. Patrick Catholic School and enjoys helping in the garden. “I come here every other day. We picked up trash and helped to put the soil down,” said Carlina, reminiscing about the day she first started in the garden with her cousin and sister. Before the garden was built, the lot was covered with overgrown grass, weeds and trash. The area is now a meeting ground for various volunteer groups and curious residents passing by. “The garden acts as a demonstration project. It shows it’s possible to raise fresh vegetables in an urban community,” said Stubblefield. Stiles hopes that more community gardens will sprout up in the area. “Sometimes I pass a vacant lot and I see an example of what it could be,” he said.

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Right off the bush

Photos by Stan Carroll/The Commercial Appeal

Abigail Landon, 7, of Southaven wanted to come to the Nesbit Blueberry Plantation to pick ‘gallons’ of berries which are ripe and ready for harvesting through early July.

Blueberries ready for pickin’ and eatin’

By Chris Van Tuyl / vantuyl@desotoappeal.com

As customers approached their appointed rows Tuesday at the Nesbit Blueberry Plantation, assistant harvest manager Tracey Boeye emerged right on cue. “They are like candy today,” she said, popping a couple of the tiny pieces of fruit into her mouth. Bushes and bushes dominate the 27.6-acre farm, which is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. “The people come and they’re like, ‘Summer doesn’t start

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until we start picking blueberries,’ ” said harvest manager Terri Cooper. “Just like going to the beach, we are on people’s calendars; we are a big part of lots of families’ summers. That’s really special, and we try to make it a very pleasant experience.” Mother Nature cooperated following Monday’s thunderstorms, making it prime weather for Olive Branch resident Betty Ward, who’s been picking blueberries every year since 1984. “I wanted to come while it was cool,” she said. “It gives me a sense of peace to be out here.” Ward says she’ll eat fresh blueberries every morning, and also use some of the fruit to bake one of her specialties. “Everybody loves the blueberry pound cake,” she said. Regulars like Ward keep owner George Traicoff, 77, happy — and hopping. “I should know a lot more folks than I do,” he said, “but it’s satisfying the way they turn out each year.” Boeye and Cooper are both daughters of Traicoff. Boeye and her three children: Maggie, 13; Nick, 11; and Josh, 9, visit from their suburb of Cleveland, Ohio to assist each summer. Cooper, whose three boys are all college-age, comes up from Madison. “My three have rolled into their positions,” Boeye said. “This is their farm. This is their heritage.” Employees take pride in providing clean, white buckets to customers, who can pick gallons for $12 apiece. Prepicked blueberries are $16. “The customers, they’re so funny,” said Cooper. “They’ll say, ‘These are the

Ashley Watt holds her son Jett while sampling blueberries right off the bush. A perk of picking your own is being able to taste test while you gather berries.
BLUEBERRIES GALORE

For information or directions to the Nesbit Blueberry Plantation, call (662) 449-2983 or visit nesbitblueberry.com. Another local alternative is the Hudspeth Blueberry Farm in Senatobia. Located at 400 Pioneer Village Road, owner Peggy Crockett confirmed Tuesday that the eight acres on her property are available for picking from daylight to dark, seven days a week. The cost to pick your gallon is $9; pre-picks are $14. Call (662) 562-4182. best ever,’ but they always say that. Once you’ve had them right off the bush like this ... that’s why people come back, because you can get them in the store, but they’re not the same.” Blueberry jam and maple syrup is also for sale at Nesbit Blueberry Plantation, which is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
— Chris Van Tuyl: (901) 333-2018

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Stock up freezer, enjoy blueberries all year round

Justin Shaw/The Commercial Appeal files

By Melissa Petersen
Special to The Commercial Appeal

Throughout the year, my freezer is home to some meat, bags of pecans, grits, corn, two ice cube trays and a whole lot of blueberries. I didn’t grow up learning to preserve the sweetness of summer in jars, but when trying to eat local, you’re going to miss summer fruit when winter rolls around. If you don’t can, freezing will help you eat local throughout the entire upcoming basketball season. And blueberries were made for

freezing. Blueberries are perennials that grow on bushes — high and low varieties. Distantly related to the cranberry, the sweet, tart berries are cultivated and available in the “wild.” Here in the South, we have our own special variety — the rabbiteye. The folks who grow blueberries here swear by them. These perfect little fruits have a burst of flavor, more nutritional value than I can list here and no waste. No seed, no stem, no peeling required. Last year I froze two gallons of fresh blueberries. Preserving just

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doesn’t get any simpler. Wash. Dry well. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze. Bag and store in the freezer. You get all of the flavor, yet little change in texture. Several days a week, I reach in the freezer and grab a handful of frozen berries to make a breakfast smoothie. In the winter I toss them into my oatmeal. Once or twice a year, I make blueberry pancakes. I also like to have them handy to cook down for a meat glaze or compote. Aside from eating out of hand, blueberries work best as a sidekick. Around Memphis, you’ll find blueberries in cocktails, on salads, with fruit trays, or in desserts. Mother Nature has a great palate and knows how to pair foods. Inseason ingredients complement one another nicely. Try steamed purple-hull peas (also almost in season) with barely sautéed blueberries (just warm, not popped), cherry tomatoes, onion and some lemon zest (I wish I had dreamed this up, but the credit goes to Tayst Restaurant in Nashville). Put frozen berries in your iced tea or lemonade. Combine with peaches in a pie. Use them to top a lemon tart. Just throw a handful of blueberries into anything you make. Local blueberries will continue through early July.
Melissa Petersen is the editor of Edible Memphis, a magazine that celebrates the abundance of local food, season by season. It is available at various locations around town. Contact her at ediblememphis.com.

RESOURCES

Local blueberries are available from vendors at area farmers markets. Harris Farms (7521 Sledge Road, Millington) and Pontotoc Ridge Blueberry Farm (240 Carter Lane, Pontotoc, Miss.) are two vendors who offer U-Pick at their farms. For additional U-Pick farms, go to pickyourown.org.

Daily Blueberry Smoothie
½ cup frozen blueberries ½ cup plain, vanilla or Greek yogurt 2 tbsp. local honey 1 scoop protein powder 1 tbsp. flaxseed, wheat germ, or toasted almonds ½ cup milk

Combine all ingredients in blender and purée until smooth.

Blueberry Glaze for Beef
2 tbsp. unsalted butter 1 shallot, minced 2 cups fresh berries 2-3 tbsp. granulated sugar 1 /2 cup port or balsamic vinegar

In a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, melt butter and sauté shallot until soft, stirring frequently. Add blueberries, sugar and port (or balsamic vinegar). Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium. Cook until berries are very soft and syrupy, 30-40 minutes. Cool and refrigerate until ready to use. Warm to serve on grilled or roasted beef.

Blueberry-Peach Salsa
3 peaches, peeled, stoned and chopped 1 cup whole blueberries 1 /4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 3 tbsp. fresh mint, chopped 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced 1 small onion or shallot, minced Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate for up to two days. Serve with grilled meats.

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THE BIZ PAGE

‘First Mover’ for FedEx
Electric vehicle guru receives Aspen Institute fellowship

Photo courtesy of FedEx

Keshav Sondhi says he fell in love with mathematical modeling after he earned a mechanical engineering degree and interned in an auto manufacturing plant.
By Wayne Risher
risher@commercialappeal.com

With crude oil hovering around $100 a barrel, it doesn’t take a math whiz to figure out a company with 40,000 trucks on the road will live and die by the efficiency of its fleet. But determining the best mix of vehicles, when to deploy hybrid and

electric trucks versus sticking with diesel burners, that’s where Memphis resident Keshav Sondhi comes in. As chief engineer of global vehicles at FedEx Express, Sondhi is the No. 1 organizer of a push to electrify short-haul transit. His expertise is in demand at events like Fortune Brainstorming Green 2010 conference, and Sondhi

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has attracted the attention of prestigious think-tank the Aspen Institute. Sondhi, 39, has been named to a First Mover Fellow by the institute’s Business and Society program. The 19 fellows, from companies such as Google, Cisco and Green Mountain Coffee, will gather in late July to network and hone leadership skills. EMBARQ, the World Resources Institute Center for Sustainable Transport, supported Sondhi’s nomination for the fellowship because of his work with public transit officials in smog-plagued Mexico City. “Keshav is one of the experts FedEx has lent to us on several occasions,” said EMBARQ spokesman Ethan Arpi. “He knows every type of vehicle technology there is and what type of vehicle is most effective in reducing pollution.” A native of Nepal, Sondhi has lived in Memphis since 2005. He is responsible for strategic fleet plans and program manager for electric vehicles. Part of his job is to determine when and where the company should replace a traditional truck with a considerably more expensive alternatively powered vehicle. FedEx Express has 364 hybrid-electric vehicles, including at least three in Memphis, and 19 all-electric vehicles stationed around the world. Sondhi said, “We have our eye on what type of holistic approach we can take: How can we have a fleet today with an eye on the future? What do we have in inventory today, and looking out a fairly significant window of a decade or so, how will we power the millions of miles we have to put on our fleet?” Sondhi said he believed the First Mover fellowship reflected FedEx’s status as a pioneer and early adopter of

hybrid electric and electric vehicles. “I’m privileged to be part of a great corporation that provides a lot of opportunities and does a lot of motivational things,” he said. Nancy McGaw, director of First Movers, said, “This remarkable and diverse group of innovators shares a commitment and ability to deliver business and social value.” Sondhi became enamored with mathematical modeling after he earned a mechanical engineering degree and interned in an auto manufacturing plant. “What I do today is almost like a dream job,” he said. “I love vehicles, and I get to add mathematics into it.” While electrified vehicles make sense on relatively short routes with frequent stops, a diesel-powered truck will be the most efficient vehicle for longer routes well into the future. “We don’t like to operate the same truck on each and every route. We have inner-city routes, New York City, that are very different routes from say, Sheridan, Wyoming,” Sondhi said. However, prices of alternative vehicles are gradually coming down as production volume increases. As the cost of diesel increases, savings add up from lower operating costs of alternative vehicles. “We can displace a major portion of our fleet with that if the economics really work,” Sondhi said. “The capital premium (on hybrids and electric) is significantly larger, and that’s why we’re trying to work with a lot of manufacturers. We are moving into that segment before anyone else. We’re working with practically every manufacturer of electric vehicles in the United States.”
— Wayne Risher: (901) 529-2874

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MY GREEN JOB

Dream job at Shelby Farms aligns with life values, goals

By Susan Snapp
Special to The Commercial Appeal

Tonya Meeks found her dream job. As development manager for Shelby Farms Park since February, she goes to work each day at her favorite spot in Memphis. “It is such a jewel in the middle of the city, “ Meeks said. “I cannot even tell you how many years I’ve wanted to work at Shelby Farms Park. This job is where my values, professional aspirations and goals are aligned.”

“I adore this town,” says Tonya Meeks, development manager for Shelby Farms Park. “I embrace it wholly and properly as my home now.”
Mark Weber The Commercial Appeal

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Tonya M. Meeks
Job: Development manager, Shelby Farms Park First job: Dishwasher in the dining hall of my boarding school at a work-study rate of $4.25 an hour. Favorite girls’ night out in Memphis: Olives, pasta, bread, chocolate cake and lots of red wine at Bari in Midtown. Afterward, any film starring Idris Elba. Most exciting life event: Toss-up between stepping off the train for the first time in Paris, or meeting Barack Obama when he was then a freshman senator from Illinois. Meeks is a member of the Shelby County Conservation board and the Greening Greater Memphis board, and serves as adviser to the Green Jobs Memphis Planning Initiative. “I try to bring a little of the balance and equanimity — the peace — into my work and other areas of life, “ she said. A writer who earned a degree in English from Northwestern University in 1995, Meeks, a native Memphian, attended Miss Porter’s School (a college preparatory for girls) in Farmington, Conn., on a full academic scholarship. “While I grew up in South Memphis in a poor-to-working class neighborhood, mine is no Horatio Alger story, “ she explained. “I was basically loved, nurtured and supported by my community and encouraged to do my best. ” Following her education at Northwestern, Meeks moved to Atlanta and received certification at the National Center for Paralegal Training. She has worked as a senior paralegal for the

international department of Thomas & Betts Corp., traveling throughout Europe and Asia in that capacity. She has served as special assistant to the congressional office of Harold E. Ford Jr., and most recently was Mayor AC Wharton’s communications specialist. She was also interim director of MPACT Memphis for almost a year. But Meeks is quick to point out that her heart is in the nonprofit world . “I had pretty much plateaued-out as a paralegal, and flaked on going to law school. So a career change was imminent. At the time, I was a volunteer who delivered hot chocolate to patients and families at St. Jude on Tuesday nights. Despite being very sick and sometimes in heartbreaking pain, the kids would just light up when they saw my cart. I found more joy in that than any shoe-shopping trip to New York.” What is the most important lesson you learned during your travels? Learning to say “please” and “thank you” in the local language(s) will take you a long way. How unusual is it for a city to have a green space as large as Shelby Farms? Several places like Minneapolis and Louisville have great park systems. But at 4,500 acres, Shelby Farms Park is the largest urban park in America. There’s no other place like it. Its size alone allows it to serve as an asset to both economic and community development. Why do you think this city has so much soul? We’re not afraid to show ourselves from the inside out; the truth and funk of all that makes us wholly who we are. We don’t try to hide the flaws and imperfections .

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TRANSPORTATION

Greenline effect

Kyle Kurlick/Special to The Commercial Appeal

Jordan Emerson assembles bikes to get ready for the opening of his new business, Greenline Rentals, a bike rental store on the Shelby Farms Greenline.

Path for bicyclists, runners and walkers is leading to businesses

By Toby Sells
sells@commercialappeal.com

They built it. They came. Now they want stuff. Bikers, walkers, runners, strollers and the just plain curious from all over Memphis have found their way to the Shelby Farms Greenline since it opened last year. And where there are people, there are people looking for goods and services. Many businesses have already seized the market opportunity to set up shop close to the greenline.

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Jordan Emerson is working hard to get his bike rental shop open. Greenline Rentals sits under a tent just 50 yards from its namesake path, close to the corner of Farm Road and Mullins Station where Emerson will rent street, mountain and hybrid bikes. “It suddenly dawned on me — they have a boat rental out here, so what would it take to get a bike rental business together?” Emerson said. Basic bikes will rent for $12 for two hours with a two-hour minimum, or all day for $24. The greenline has perked up sales around the High Point Shopping Center. Kelly Jones, the general manager of Cheffie’s restaurant, said the path has “definitely” brought more people through the door. “We have a lot of bikers and a lot of bike racks for them,” Jones said. Pat Brown, the business manager for Broad Avenue’s T. Clifton Art gallery, said business there has seen a “tremendous uptick” since the district painted “temporary” bike path lanes on the street last year. “Bikers will tell us that they never realized that we were here until we got bike lanes,” Brown said. Sarah Newstok, program manager for Livable Memphis, called bike paths of all kinds economic development tools, and ones that don’t just work for “businesses about bikes.” “It’s the people who ride their bikes going 10 miles an hour that can really absorb all that neighborhoods have to offer,” Newstok said.

Federal aid worth $5.5M sought for greenline, bike projects
The Shelby Farms Greenline and the network of bicycle lanes in Memphis could expand substantially if local transportation officials get the federal funds they're seeking. The Memphis Metropolitan Planning Organization is applying for $5.5 million in grants for bike projects under the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program for fiscal 2012. The application will be submitted to the Tennessee Department of Transportation. The federal program supports transportation projects that improve air quality or relieve traffic congestion, which aggravates smog. More than half the request involves $3.3 million for the eastward extension of the greenline, the paved trail that now extends 6.5 miles along the old CSX Railroad from Shelby Farms Park to Tillman in Binghamton. The extension would carry the greenline from Shelby Farms to at least the old train depot in Cordova. The money would cover 75 percent of the costs of the project, including purchasing the right-of-way from CSX, as well as engineering and construction, said Tom Needham, Shelby County public works director. Needham said the eastward extension of the greenline is crucial to making Shelby Farms Park accessible to Cordova residents. "The challenge will be getting (the greenline) across Germantown Parkway, " he added. In addition to the money for the greenline, MPO officials requested $1.4 million in CMAQ funds for 50 miles of bike lanes and facilities on Memphis streets. The new lanes would connect gaps in the 55-mile network already under development, said Kyle Wagenschutz, the city's bicycle-pedestrian coordinator. The MPO request also seeks $814,000 for bike facilities along Tillman and Broad and across East Parkway to Overton Park. All the planned lanes would be a major addition to the city's bicycle network, Wagenschutz said. Tom Charlier, charlier@commercialappeal.com

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ENERGY

Green power
Sharp doubles its solar generation at Memphis plant

Dave Darnell/The Commercial Appeal

Louis Smith (left) and Jeromey Miller, both of S&T Control Wiring, check solar panels that were turned on at Sharp’s Memphis plant.
By Toby Sells
sells@commercialappeal.com

Sharp Manufacturing Co. of America switched on a 1,174-panel solar array June 21 that doubled the company’s on-campus solar-power production, enough to run 53 homes. The ground-mounted array is

lined neatly under Sharp’s large sign at the corner of Raines and Mendenhall. But most of the new array — 910 panels — is mounted on the facility’s roof. “We’re basically practicing what we preach as far as the use of renewable energy,” said T.C. Jones, Sharp Manufacturing’s vice

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president of human resources. “We’re producing the electricity ourselves.” Sharp has been building its solarpower production capacity at the Memphis facility since 2006 and can now produce about 460 kilowatts, the carbon equivalent of taking 80 cars off the road. That production makes Sharp the largest generator of solar power in Shelby County, according to Becky Williams, strategic marketing coordinator for Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division. Sharp sells its solar power back to the electricity grid through a Tennessee Valley Authority and MLGW program called Green Power Switch. Currently, only 19 customers in Shelby County sell energy back to the grid; four of them are residences. Williams said she hopes the program grows and “it’s a great example of using a product made right here in Shelby County.” Memphis and Shelby County mayors A C Wharton and Mark Luttrell flipped the switch that powered the array during a public event June 21. “What we’re building here are not merely solar panels or solar assemblies but we’re building the economy of the future,” Wharton said. Luttrell said environmentally conscious, or “green,” initiatives across Shelby County are central to the county’s growth. “Progressive communities do progressive things and think progressively,” Luttrell said, citing recent economic development examples. “When it comes to solar energy, Sharp has been progressive in so many ways. You all are, indeed a partner in our community.”

Google invests in home solar
NEW YORK — Google is investing $280 million to help private homeowners put solar panels on their rooftops. It’s Google’s latest — and largest — investment in clean energy. The money will allow installer SolarCity to offer solar systems to homeowners for no money up front. In exchange, customers agree to pay a set price for the power produced by the panels. Google earns a return on its investment by charging SolarCity interest to use its money and reaping the benefits of federal and local renewable energy tax credits. “It allows us to put our capital to work in a way that is very important to the founders and to Google, and we found a good business model to support,” said Joel Conkling of Google’s Green Business Operations. Google co-founder and chief executive Larry Page wants operations to eventually produce no net greenhouse gas emissions. The money goes into a fund that SolarCity will use to pay for solar systems for residents. This type of fund is common in the residential solar industry, but this is the largest such fund ever created. A typical rooftop solar system costs $25,000 to $30,000, too much for many homeowners to lay out. Instead, solar providers can pay for the system with money borrowed from a bank or a specially designed fund. The resident then pays a set rate for the power generated. The rate is lower than or roughly the same as the local electricity price. A typical 5-kilowatt system will generate about 7,000 kilowatt-hours of power in a year, or about 60 percent of the typical household’s annual use. The homeowner buys whatever remaining electric power he needs from the local utility. The homeowner typically enjoys lower overall power bills and is protected somewhat against potentially higher traditional electricity prices in the future. Associated Press

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SCHOOLS

Learning curve
St. Ann School students gain insight into recycling

Students (from left) Jessica Dress and Madeline Kinsella, really got into street painting, creating Tennessee animals and symbols and rare species.
Special to My Life

In the 2011 St. Ann School Environmental Arts Fare students and teachers had opportunities to learn everything from new vocabulary words, such as habitat for pre-kindergarten students, to the study of the rocks of Tennessee.

Included in the activities was this year’s celebrated Memphis in May country, Belgium. Other social studies topics covered through science and art were Brazil, Peru and the events that Lewis and Clark experienced. Through the performance of the musical “The Green Machine”

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Students practiced some of what they learned about recycling during the the 2011 St. Ann School Environmental Arts Fare, by making music shakers using recycled materials. students learned the importance of recycling. To add to that, the Bartlett Department of Public Works explained what happens to things that are recycled, and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation demonstrated ways to “shop green.” To put some of what they learned into practice, the children made musical instruments from recycled materials. Other guests taught the children about the national flower of Belgium, the red poppies, and then the seeds were added to our International Garden so that they can watch the flowers grow. The Reelfoot Research and Teaching Center involved students with stories about animals using the animal skins and pelts. Through the Outdoor Classroom, students were taught safety and survival skills. This activity is always supported by the Bartlett Fire Department who was on hand for the day to reinforce what is taught. “The number of classes that the firemen have to take and the training that they have continuously made a strong impression on me,” stated Alex Buckner. St. Ann teachers added to the excitement, education and energy of the day with “street painting” of Tennessee animals and symbols and endangered or rare species. And St. Ann was pleased to welcome Ken Tucker the producer of the PBS show “Tennessee Wildside,” who interviewed and filmed teachers, students and guests for a segment of an episode of the show.

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FOOD

Photos by Nikki Boertman/The Commercial Appeal

Brenda Bonilla, 4, tastes a Strawberry paleta at La Michoacana in the French Village strip center on Summer Avenue. Long popular in Mexico, paletas — ice pops made with natural ingredients — are catching on in Memphis.

A taste of cool

By Stacey Greenberg
Special to The Commercial Appeal

This time of year, Memphians are in search of ways to cool off. Thanks to some local artisans, ice pops are the newest, coolest treat in town. Frequent travelers of Summer Avenue have recently added a new word to their vocabulary: paleta, Spanish for “ice pop.” The cool treats are made daily at La

No standard pops, Mexican paletas tempt with natural flavors

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Michoacana, which is nestled in the French Village strip mall near Graham. Rafael Gonzalez, who can be found most days at the Summer location, runs the chain of four stores with two of his brothers. Making paletas is the family business. Gonzalez’s father, who hails from Michoacan, Mexico, has been in the paleta business for 35 years. Gonzalez started working in his father’s stores when he was just 7 years old. “My brothers and I have no recipes, but we all make them the same,” says Gonzalez. Gonzalez uses just fruit and cream — no artificial flavors. “Everything is 100 percent natural,” he says. The creamy base is made from milk and other ingredients that he imports from Mexico. There are about 60 paleta flavors in rotation, and because they change frequently, Gonzalez doesn’t like to list the flavors on the menu. He says the most popular of the paletas de leche, or cream pops, are Rice and Cinnamon (a.k.a. Horchata), Rum Raisin, Butter Pecan and Chocolate. Of the paletas de agua, or icy pops, Kiwi Strawberry, Mango with Chile, and Lime reign supreme. La Michoacana is open 365 days a year from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Two of the other stores are in the Hickory Hill area, and the third — the original — is in Southaven. Paletas sell for about $2 and can be dipped in chocolate and rolled in chopped nuts, shredded coconut or sprinkles for an extra dollar. Paletas can also be found in Germantown at Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana. Owner Jonathan Magallanes, whose father hails from Mexico City, didn’t grow up making paletas, but he ate his fair share. “A true paleta is made in house, sometimes right in front of you,” he says, adding that in Mexico paletas aren’t just sweet — avocado and corn are popular flavors. He says paletas should be refreshing, not

Creamy Pops
2 cups yogurt (nonfat, lowfat or Greek, plain or vanilla) 1 cup pureéd fruit 1 /2 cup chopped fruit 1 /2 cup cane sugar 1 tbsp. honey Pinch sea salt 1 tsp. lemon or lime juice Spice of choice (optional)

Whisk yogurt with the puréed fruit and chopped fruit. Stir in sugar, honey, salt, citrus juice and any spice. Mix until well combined. Pour into mold. Freeze for 8 hours. To easily remove ice pops, run the outside of the mold under warm water for 10 seconds. Makes 5 ice pops.
Source: Amy Lawrence

Icy Pops
2 cups pureéd fruit 1 /2 cup cane sugar Pinch sea salt 1 tsp. lemon or lime juice 1 /4 cup yogurt (nonfat, lowfat or Greek, plain or vanilla) Spice of choice (optional)

Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and strain out any pulp from the puréed fruit; press pulp repeatedly with a silicone spatula to release all of the juice. Discard pulp. Add sugar, salt, citrus juice. Next, add yogurt and any spice. Pour into mold. Freeze for 8 hours. To easily remove ice pops, run the outside of the mold under warm water for 10 seconds. Makes 5 ice pops.
Source: Amy Lawrence

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syrupy. Using fruit that is exactly right is the key. To guarantee that all of the fruit for the agua frescas, and now paletas, is at its peak, Magallanes buys everything green and lets it ripen in the store. “Every day I bring in something green, and every day something is reaching its peak,” he explains. Magallanes says they juice fruit all day long, and the trick to the perfect paleta is to strain the fruit after juicing, so only the sweetest part remains. Americans are getting on the freezer pop making bandwagon. Dee Moore, the owner of Mama D’s Italian Ice, recently added “Cool Pops” to her menu. “I get a lot of requests for sugar-free Italian ice, but you need sugar for the texture,” she says. About a year ago, she decided to add a line of all-natural pops, but she had a difficult time tracking down recipes and equipment. “Making pops can be tricky. You have to have the right texture, and there are a lot of kinks to work out,” she says. Currently, Moore takes a batch of pops with her to the Urban Farms Market from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, the Botanic Garden’s Farmers Market from 2 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, and the Collierville Farmers Market from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays. Once she gets her labels made, she will also stock them at the Trolley Stop Market. Moore likes trying a mix of funky flavors, like Grapefruit Mint and Pineapple Basil in addition to the popular flavors like Strawberry Limeade and Key Lime Pie. “I made a Blackberry Honey Yogurt that was fabulous,” she says. Moore doesn’t have a storefront, but can be found at the markets mentioned above and online, on Facebook and on

La Michoacana has a rotating selection of about 60 flavors, including (from left) Strawberries and Cream, Kiwi Strawberry and Strawberry. The pops sell for $2 each, and the shop is open 365 days a year. Twitter. Mama D’s Cool Pops sell for $3. Once you’ve gotten a taste of the local paletas and pops, try making them at home. Amy Lawrence, a teacher, writer and co-author of the Chubby Vegetarian blog, says she’s obsessed with paletas. After trying Chile Chocolate and Hibiscus about five years ago at Las Paletas in Nashville, she started tinkering at home. She started with what flavors she liked. “I wanted to do crazy flavors — not just fruit. Flavors like Cucumber Ancho Chile, Olive Oil Honeycomb, Cherries and Balsamic Vinegar.” To make a great paleta, Lawrence says you have to keep tasting the mix. Lawrence also advises against buying the ice pop makers with the plastic holders. She recommends the molds that use real sticks, like the Norpro version. (Available on Amazon.com for about $16.) Her final tip: Wet the sticks first so that they come out more easily.

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Summer’s first zucchini star in tasty tart

Carol Borchardt/Special to The Commercial Appeal

Instead of pastry, a brown rice crust adds a nice chewy texture and some additional nutrition to these zucchini-and-feta tarts.
By Carol Borchardt
Special to The Commercial Appeal

My mother could work magic with pie crust dough; the flaky layers of pastry shattered like glass when you dug into one of her delicious pies. Apparently this trait skips a generation, because I don’t care to

mess with pastry if possible. Yes, I feel a little guilty relying on readymade pie crust, but it works well for the pastry-challenged. While I was paging through an old rice cookbook I found at a used book sale, a quiche with brown rice crust piqued my interest. I already had leftover brown rice in the refrigerator.

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Although not quite like pastry, the brown rice crust adds a delightful chewy texture and is certainly more nutritious. To do a full-size quiche, use three cups cooked brown rice, one egg and 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese. The cheese, which helps to bind the crust, can be varied to complement any filling. The first tender young zucchini of the season are beginning to appear in gardens and farmers markets. If you don’t have ricotta on hand, pureed cottage cheese may be substituted. If you don’t have or can’t find the small tart pans with removable bottom for this recipe, use mini aluminum pie pans that are available in the baking section of the grocery store. Large muffin tins may also be used. These tarts are perfect for a light dinner for two on a steamy, summer night with a chilled soup or atop a mixed salad of baby greens. They would also make a great first course for your next dinner party.
Carol Borchardt is a personal chef who owns A Thought For Food personal chef service. You can find out more at athoughtforfood.com.

Zucchini Tarts with Brown Rice Crust
Crust: 2 /3 cup cooked brown rice 1 egg yolk ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste Nonstick cooking spray Filling: 1 tbsp. olive oil 1 small zucchini, approximately 5 to 6 inches in length, thinly sliced 2 scallions 2 cloves garlic, minced ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese 1 /3 cup ricotta cheese 2 egg whites and 1 egg yolk 1 tsp. chopped fresh dill Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine brown rice, egg yolk, cheese and salt and pepper in a bowl. Spray two 4½-inch tart pans with removable bottoms with cooking spray. Place equal amounts of the brown rice mixture in each tart pan, and distribute the filling evenly over the bottom and up the sides as much as possible. Set on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and cook for approximately 5 minutes or until tender but not too soft. Add the scallion and garlic and cook 1 to 2 more minutes. Let cool. Place even amounts of the feta cheese on the bottom of each tart shell. Combine the ricotta cheese, eggs, dill and salt and pepper; whisk until smooth. Pour a small amount of the filling over the cheese. Starting in the center, arrange the zucchini slices in a decorative circular pattern, with the slices overlapping each other. Pour remaining egg mixture over the top of the zucchini. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until lightly browned and set. Let cool slightly, then place the tart over an inverted drinking glass to remove the rim of the tart pan. Slice the tart off the removable bottom before serving.

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HOME & GARDEN

Residential rescue

Mike Maple/The Commercial Appeal

Bob Fleming and Judge Karen Williams were looking for a historic fixer-upper. The home in Central Gardens needed both cosmetic and structural renovation.

Couple renovate neglected home into ideal space to entertain

By Stacey Wiedower
Special to The Commercial Appeal

When they found it, Circuit Court Judge Karen Williams and her husband, Bob Fleming, knew the Central Gardens house was in a state of neglect. With its white brick exterior, high ceilings and sprawling rooms, the century-old home was just what they’d been looking for: a big, historic fixer-upper. What they didn’t know, though, was that 100 years of wear, tear and ill-advised additions threatened to crush the structure from within.

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“The work on that property was a rescue,” said Fred Winn, owner of RCW Designs and a specialist in historic preservation. “The house was collapsing because it wasn’t built right and because weight that had been added upstairs on the third floor was pressing on it.” That meant the house needed not just a cosmetic renovation, but a structural one. With Winn’s guidance and expertise and Fleming’s own hands-on attitude, the couple worked for more than a year to bring the 7,000-square-foot house back to its early 20th century glory. They replaced floors, restored millwork, refinished surfaces throughout the house and basically reframed the entire structure. “Thirty-seven beams were replaced or restored, “ Fleming said. Before beginning the project, Winn analyzed the house to determine problems with weight distribution, pressure and the structure’s foundation. Once he knew what he was facing, he removed ceilings, lifted walls and eliminated a series of choppy third-floor rooms that weren’t part of the home’s original design. A temporary support structure that employed 30-ton hydraulic jacks kept the house from collapsing in on itself while work was completed on its upper floors. “We worked on five levels, “ Winn said, referring to the home’s basement and attic, which also received an overhaul. “We did a lot of work underneath the building.” Winn, who has an engineering background and whose family owned the house-moving firm Winn Brothers Engineering Co., said he is specially suited to renovation. Winn also developed a product called Fabric Finish that’s used to restore

Mike Maple/The Commercial Appeal

Fred Winn, a contractor who specializes in historic homes, points out areas in the homes basement where reinforcement was needed. The house had been in danger of collapsing. crumbling plaster. He used the ecofriendly, heavy-duty plastic netting on walls and ceilings throughout the house. Williams and Fleming might not have realized the scope of the project they were undertaking when they purchased the house in 2006, but now that it’s complete, they’re ecstatic to have played a role in saving the historic property . “I think a lot of people don’t love old homes because they don’t have the skill

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set to (do work themselves), and that can be aggravating, “ Fleming said. Although the couple had a lot of help with the restoration project, Fleming also completed a great deal of work himself, installing floors, reworking old cabinetry and replacing fixtures. The result is a home that completely reflects them. “We have a lot of antique furniture, and we knew it would look better in an old house, “ Williams said. The couple’s collections, which have histories as rich and varied as the property itself, are spread throughout the home . Williams said the terra cotta on the living room walls was chosen to reflect the period of the home and also to visually reduce the room’s enormous footprint. Furnishings in the space include two antique sofas that face one another before a fireplace, as well as a sofa table that dates from the 1790s. Besides providing a showcase for their belongings, Williams said, the couple worked to create a home that’s welcoming for friends and family. “We entertain a lot, “ she said. “And this house works so beautifully.” The home’s massive, deep green dining room contains more items that Williams and Fleming have collected over the years, including a large Oriental rug and a dining table that can seat up to 14. The 1810 butler’s secretary was “made when Davy Crockett was in Congress, “ Fleming said. The spacious kitchen retains its early charm, with a large center island, hanging pot rack and cheery green-andcream color scheme. Behind it, a cozy den has paneled

Mike Maple/The Commercial Appeal

Supports had to be added in the basement to keep the house standing while the renovation was in progress. walls and two sets of built-in bookcases — one original, one custom-built to match the original — that house more of the couple’s historical memorabilia. A sweeping central staircase leads to the second floor, where a series of bedrooms feature more period paint colors and antique furnishings. Above them, the now-open third story provides a practice space for Fleming’s band. Fleming said despite its magnitude, the massive renovation cost significantly less than what it would have cost to build a house of that that size and style.