Monday, January 22, 2007
Jay MacDonald of Bankrate.com reported this among his list of the nine oddest write-offs:
"A landscaper who was under audit with the IRS had deducted the expense of their dog because he would pull the wagon on landscaping jobs. They felt he was out there helping. He may have been listed as an independent contractor."
For the complete list of unconventional deductions click here.
Friday, January 19, 2007
It seems, at least according to the former head of the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Biotechnology Henry I. Miller, that a simple gene alteration in a naturally occurring bacterium already in the fruit might limit the damage from a freeze. Because the bacterium contain a protein that promotes frost damage, removing the gene might, thus limiting or prevent frost damage, could result. But scientists were never allowed to test for it. They considered the original bacterium a pest so the altered bacterium became a pesticide.
For more information on the ice-minus issue, please click here.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
The thieves' motive was robbery. They had met Pho Le previously and paid him in advance to show up to do the landscaping. When he showed up, they tried to steal his truck, but dropped the keys as he escaped, according to the story. No arrests have been made.
— Mike Seuffert
Monday, January 15, 2007
Police are looking for whoever it was that ripped off Stone Ferris Lawn Care, Cape Coral, FL, earlier this month. Owner Robert Ferris told authorities somebody hauled off about $42,000 of his lawn maintenance equipment. He figures thieves have stolen $200,000 of his equipment over the years.
He wants the city council to give him a variance to put up a fence. But many landscapers have discovered that even fences can't keep out some thieves. A favorite target these days is compact equipment. Where it goes and who ends up with is anybody's guess. Most of it is never recovered, we're told.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
A landscaper on Oahu (Hawaii), who cased out homes to burglarize while he was on the job, got 10 years in the slammer. Not enough claimed victims. Already charged with three break-ins and out on bail, he struck again. And was caught again, reported television station KHNL.
Friday, January 12, 2007
For more on the story, click here.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Sometimes, and I only mean sometimes - when I'm feeling particularly generous - I feel sorry for the EPA. At least, as sorry as you can feel for a massive government bureaucracy. The EPA is constantly being attacked on all sides — by environmentalists who don't think the agency is doing enough, and by chemical manufacturers who think there is too much government intrusion into their work and products. And I think most of us can relate to the feeling of being pulled in two directions at once. Anyway, here are a couple recent news articles concerning the EPA and the use of pesticides that could impact how lawn care operators do business.
EPA facing new lawsuits over pesticide use
EUGENE, Ore. – The Environmental Protection Agency is facing an onslaught of lawsuits from both the pesticide industry and environmental activists, over a new rule on pesticide use in or near water. Lawsuits have been filed in 11 of the nation's 13 circuit courts, including the 9th Circuit, which serves Oregon. Environmentalists say the EPA has knowingly violated a court decision in an Oregon case that would have meant fewer pesticides flowing into Oregon rivers. Pesticide manufacturers counter the new rule doesn't do enough to protect them from unnecessary and costly government regulation.
Read the complete story from the Seattle Times here.
EPA asked to crack down on natural pesticides
Currently, the EPA does not regulate "minimum-risk" pesticides produced from natural products such as peppermint oil, licorice, garlic, lemon grass and thyme that are "generally recognized as safe." As long as labels do not make a specific health claim or list a specific disease that a targeted bug or other pest may carry, the EPA doesn't require marketers to prove that the substances work. The Consumer Specialty Products Association, whose members include manufacturers of conventional chemical pesticides, sent the EPA a petition in March arguing that a product that claims to kill or repel a pest known to carry a disease is making a health claim, even if its label does not specifically refer to the disease.
Read the complete story from the Palm Beach Post here.
Oregon's pesticide reporting system takes root
In the first week of the state's new program to collect pesticide-use information, almost 20 people filed reports. The Pesticide Use Reporting System, established in 1999 but funded for the first time in 2005, aims to provide information about what pesticides are being used in Oregon, in what quantities, and generally where they are being applied. The state estimated that the system will track about 8 million reports of pesticide applications per year from 123,000 pesticide users across the state. "Having access to information about environmental hazards, in this case where pesticides are applied, we are hoping we might see use patterns to help us inform our health surveillance," said Lori Barck of the environmental and occupational epidemiology program at Oregon's Public Health Division.
Read the complete story from the Statesman Journal here.
— Mike Seuffert
Friday, January 05, 2007
The Associated Press, reporting in the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper, reported on a program at the Southeastern Correctional Institute in Lancaster, OH, that trains inmates for careers in the Green Industry. (When they get out, of course.)
One former student got a job as a golf course superintendent, another was recently promoted to landscape designer and two others started their own contracting businesses, according to the article. It went on to describe how one “graduate”, in prison four times, got two job offers within days of being released.
Our hat is off to retired horticulture instructor Tom Ramsey, who leads the program and says some of his pupils keep in contact with him to let him know how they're doing.