Silver Lake apartment garden brings COVID-19 relief

When Jamie Renee Williams wanted to learn more about soil and permaculture, she volunteered at several urban farms throughout Los Angeles: Cottonwood Urban Farm in Panorama City, Huarache Farms in Sierra Madre and Farm L.A., located in Elysian Valley. When she wanted to implement what she was learning in the community, she began working with a community-led compost pick-up service to expand its reach. And when the coronavirus outbreak forced her to shelter in place, she transformed a tiny stretch of dirt next to her apartment into an edible garden.

“I thought for many years that it would be amazing to work on restoring it in some way,” Williams, 37, said of the garden in Silver Lake that she planted in March. “I had been reading books on permaculture such as “The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming,” and when I started going to a bunch of different farms they were all doing something different. I was afraid of growing food. I have killed plenty of plants. But the pandemic and quarantine pushed me to do it. I figured I have all this time and nothing to lose.”

Before the pandemic, Williams juggled UX design work, volunteering and helping broaden the Compostable pickup service. But with more free time on her hands — and like so many who have struggled with isolation while sheltering in place — the garden offered her an opportunity to navigate her way through the pandemic.

“I felt like I had a partner through this pandemic,” she said. “It’s been really rewarding. I have learned that plants, like people, need to be together in a community.”

For Williams, who will be offering a guided virtual tour of the garden on Thursday as part of this week’s annual LA Design Festival, the garden is “reclaimed space for everyone.”

“Jamie embodies that special something that makes L.A. so interesting,” said festival director Haily Zaki. “She’s a creative multi-hyphenate doing her own unique thing, her way, that kind of cannot be defined in any sort of cut and dry way, kind of like L.A.”

We spoke with Williams about the value of gardening and composting and issues of food waste. She also touches on how gardening, and being outdoors, has helped her to better understand the world in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in May.

 Jamie Williams searches for bush beans in her tiny  garden next to her apartment complex.

Jamie Renee Williams searches for bush beans in the tiny garden next to her apartment complex.

(Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times)

You do a lot of different things. How would you describe yourself?

To be completely honest, I have an aversion to labels. I am curious. I follow things that energize me. I like to try and learn new things. That’s my guiding philosophy. It has brought so many interesting things into my perspective. It’s probably because my childhood was very unusual.

How so?

I was born in the United States but my father was in the military so we traveled a lot. I lived in Japan from the ages of

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Brookshire brings community kitchen to Acadiana to help feed those affected by Hurricane Delta | News

Brookshire Grocery Co., the company that owns Super 1 Foods, is deploying a community kitchen and a team of employee-partners to serve free hot meals to people who have been affected by Hurricane Delta in Acadiana, according to a statement from the company.

Starting Sunday, a team will serve sausage biscuits for breakfast and hamburgers and hotdogs for lunch and dinner in the Super 1 Foods parking lots listed below, while supplies last at each location.


11:30 a.m. — 215 W. Willow St. in Lafayette

5 p.m. — 924 Rees St. in Breaux Bridge


8 a.m. — 939 S. Lewis St. in New Iberia

11:30 a.m. — 939 S. Lewis St. in New Iberia

5 p.m. — 2210 Veterans Memorial Drive in Abbeville


11:30 a.m. — 1800 W. Laurel St. in Eunice

5 p.m. — 2418 S. Union St. in Opelousas


8 a.m. — 2418 S. Union St. in Opelousas

Despite widespread damage and outages, a sigh of relief that Delta wasn’t worse in Acadiana

Hundreds of thousands still without power in Louisiana, more than 20k in East Baton Rouge

Lafayette, Vermilion school districts opt to cancel school early next week after Hurricane Delta damage

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Interior Design brings color to the Parade of Homes | Real Estate

The Housing and Building Association’s Parade of Homes started this weekend and continues today and next weekend, with eight homes that are available for online touring, and seven homes that are available for in-person visits. With the popularity of home remodeling shows from areas across the country, it’s easy to stay on top of home interior styles elsewhere, but the Parade is a great opportunity to see the styles that locals love.

The experts say that the Grand Valley is typically a few years behind the rest of the country when it comes to home interior design choices, but one thing is consistent with local design preferences regardless of whether a home was designed in Tuscan style back in 2006 or in modern farmhouse in 2020: rustic never quite goes away, and it’s not uncommon to see the outside brought inside with textures, colors and materials during the Parade of Homes.

“Western Colorado is more nature-oriented,” said Courtney Carrigan, interior designer with Porter Homes. Although the Porter Homes Parade entry has tile flooring throughout the house, wood flooring remains a popular choice for most people, whether it’s hardwood, engineered wood, luxury vinyl tile (LVT) or luxury vinyl plank (LVP).

Sitting on the edge of Colorado National Monument, the Porter Homes house on Broadway features quite a few wood accents, even though none of them are on the floor.

“The biggest feature in the great room is the 16-foot tall ceilings with the timber beams,” Carrigan said, adding that the outdoor kitchen and the front entryway also feature great ceiling detail with wooden beams and tongue-in-groove looks.

“Rustic is more regional,” Carrigan said, “timber beams are a trend everywhere; it goes with the farmhouse look, but it will stick here in western Colorado because of our proximity to the mountains.”

Neutral colors are still popular for permanent features, but greige, tan, charcoal and taupe are being added to the white, black and gray palette to make a home feel warmer and more inviting.

The Maves Construction Parade home is similar to last year’s Parade home, with a warm, contemporary look.

“The walls are light taupe,” said Marge Csikos, with MAC Design Studio, the interior designer for the Maves Parade home. “I’m not a proponent of white walls unless someone is hardcore, super contemporary. A little color on the wall is better.”

The Maves home also has some nice, bright pops of color, which is a trend that’s being embraced by many right now. Look for the teals and blues in the office and bright, happy colors of orange, green a blue in the downstairs bedroom.

The Lopez Construction home also has several punches of color, including an bluesy accent wall in the kitchen and a bed wall that combines color and texture.

“I’ve used accessories and artwork from local artists,” said Kendi Sisak of Design Works Studio. “We have really wonderful artwork by local artists. They’re very kind and generous, and I’m excited to display their artwork.”

Like many of the

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Dallas Agency Brings Coding In-House to Target Covid-19 Aid

The Dallas Housing Authority’s efforts to distribute Covid-19 housing assistance to the city’s renters were bolstered by a sales software system reconfigured with features that enabled officials to grant aid more quickly and equitably.

The governmental agency, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, in August was tasked with distributing $4 million to income-eligible renters before Dec. 31 as part of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

To meet the deadline and ensure the funds would reach the neediest families, DHA staffers customized an existing software program from Zoho Corp. to automate tasks and map the most economically vulnerable neighborhoods in the city. Zoho’s customer relationship-management software is primarily intended for sales teams.

“If we can leverage technology to move faster but also move with intention, that was really the spirit of what I tried to accomplish here,” said Dr. Myriam Igoufe, vice president of policy development and research at DHA.

The Dallas Housing Authority’s system for managing Cares Act funds is based on customer-relationship management software from Zoho Corp.


Dallas Housing Authority

The automated system her team built went live in late August and started approving checks to landlords last week.

Early results are encouraging, she said. Staff now have a better understanding of who is applying and from what sections of the city, an important distinction that enables officials to better sense whether the money allocated to one district may run out and adjust plans if needed.

Approximately 1,525 people applied for rent relief funds through DHA, with 388 approved to have checks sent to their landlords in the coming weeks. Sixty-three percent of those accepted applicants came from neighborhoods above the 80th percentile in terms of being the most vulnerable. Without the system they have created, Dr. Igoufe said, distribution wouldn’t have been as targeted.

“This to me means that we are providing much-needed relief to the most vulnerable people in our city,” she said. “A lot of people are months and months behind on their rent, and it’s not a character flaw. It’s Covid.”

Dallas resident Keia Johnson, 27, is on track to have her $1,065 rent covered for two months through the program. Ms. Johnson said she has been unemployed since March—after losing jobs as a dental coordinator and a beauty salon receptionist—and has been cutting costs and borrowing money just to keep up with her rent.

“Unemployment benefits can only do so much. It’s just been a strain. And then, filling out that [DHA] application and seeing them say ‘Congratulations, we’re paying for it,’ has been a relief off my back,” Ms. Johnson said.

DHA started using Zoho about two years ago to better keep track of families applying for federal housing vouchers. Although Zoho allows for some customization, Dr. Igoufe said her team took things a step further, including writing new code, to make it useful for managing rental assistance.

First, they had to figure out which neighborhoods were likely to be the most vulnerable,

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True Food Kitchen brings healthy menu to Easton

Gary Seman Jr.
 |  For The Columbus Dispatch

The proliferation of upscale healthy food restaurants shows that a good portion of the dining public won’t hold its nose at plant-based dishes and is even willing to pay top dollar for them.

True Food Kitchen, the latest to join the central Ohio sphere of natural-foods’ restaurants, offers a balance of “healthy and delicious,” said Christine Barone, CEO of the Phoenix-based restaurant chain.

“It has to start with delicious because food is one of life’s greatest pleasures,” Barone said. “It has to be a sense of discovery and a real experience.”

True Food Kitchen, 4052 Worth Ave. in Easton Town Center, has a sleek, modern look, with a verdant color scheme, spacious dining room, light wood paneling stacked up to the towering ceiling, and mix of low- and high-top tables. A retractable wall opens to the year-round patio.

Columbus is the 35th location of True Food Kitchen, whose founder is Dr. Andrew Weil, a diet guru and specialist of “integrative medicine,” the restaurant’s website said.

Founded in 2008, it was serious about sourcing good ingredients, Barone said.

“I think at the beginning it was kind of niche,” she said. “Organic kale was hard to find.”

Although “organic” is not the byword at True Food Kitchen; its menu is influenced by sustainability and the Environmental Working Group – a nonprofit group that publishes reports on more naturally grown food, and those that are cultivated with the use of pesticides – among other initiatives, Barone said.

The menu, while not fully vegetarian or vegan, is veggie-centric with dishes such as jackfruit lettuce wraps, ancient-grains bowl and charred cauliflower.

The menu changes seasonally and the sauces and dressings are made in-house, Barone said.

Of the meat dishes, the kitchen features lasagna Bolognese with fennel chicken sausage, grass-fed beef burger, turkey burger and shrimp tacos.

Most dishes are in the $9 to $13 range.

The “scratch” bar uses freshly squeezed juices in its cocktails.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call 614-269-8910.

Familiar fare

Lorenzo’s Grill, which has emerged from a Dan’s Deli food truck and brick-and-mortar restaurant of the same name, is opening in the next few days at 2550 Corporate Exchange Drive near Westerville.

Owner Lorenzo Germany said the restaurant is open to the general public for breakfast and lunch, with grab-and-go dinners available for those in a hurry.

Germany said he specializes in familiar breakfast-and-lunch items – pancakes, bacon and eggs, burgers, gyros, stir-fry and occasional Italian dishes.

“Everything is familiar,” he said. “As a matter of fact, the dishes I have and specials I have come from random conversations with customers.”

Most items are $5 to $10.

Hatchet job

Paul Sherry, Jess Helllmich and Peter Wittmann are opening their second Dueling Axes sometime in the next month in Hamilton Quarter.

The 5,000-square-foot facility will offer 12 lanes, secured with welded wire fence panels from top to

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Trump avoids tax return questions as he brings yet another truck to the White House

President Trump ignored every pressing topic Monday as he welcomed one of his favorite things to the White House.

The New York Times dropped a bombshell report Sunday evening revealing Trump leveraged business losses to avoid paying taxes for years, as well as used other dubious financial strategies to lower his tax bills. Trump denied the report in a Sunday press conference, and on Monday, avoided questions about his tax returns altogether as he praised an electric pick-up truck.

The White House unexpectedly called reporters to the South Lawn on Monday, where they found Trump inspecting a Lordstown Motors 2021 electric pick-up truck. “We’ve all done a good job,” Trump said after praising the truck’s manufacturers, and then, out of nowhere, said “it’s hotter now than it was before, and that’s something really different.” But before he could get too close to acknowledge fossil fuels’ roles in warming the Earth, he pivoted to call the truck “an incredible piece of science” and implied electrification is sure to “happen with more and more trucks and cars.” He then walked away to reporters shouting “can you say anything about the tax returns?” and “when are you going to release them?”

It’s far from the first time Trump has brought trucks to the White House, though they’re usually a bit bigger than this one. And as The Washington Post has reported, it’s something his advisers will do to cheer the president up when he’s “inconsolable.”

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Netanyahu brings dirty laundry to DC so WH staff can clean it: report

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu often brings his dirty laundry with him on official visits to the US, so that government staff will clean it for free, The Washington Post reported.
  • “The Netanyahus are the only ones who bring actual suitcases of dirty laundry for us to clean,” a US official told The Post. “After multiple trips, it became clear this was intentional.”
  • The US government offers dry cleaning and laundry services free of charge to foreign dignitaries, according to The Post.
  • Netanyahu last visited the White House on September 15. The Israeli embassy in Washington, DC, said there was nothing abnormal about Netanyahu’s washing demands.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu consistently brings bags of dirty laundry when he and his family visit President Donald Trump in Washington, DC, so White House staff can clean it for free, according to The Washington Post.

“The Netanyahus are the only ones who bring actual suitcases of dirty laundry for us to clean,” an anonymous US official told The Post. “After multiple trips, it became clear this was intentional.”

Since former President Barack Obama’s administration, the US government has offered laundry services to all foreign leaders for free, The Post reported. The trend has continued into Trump’s administration, US officials told the newspaper.

Netanyahu lasted visited the White House on September 15, 2020, when Trump presided over the signing of the Abraham Accords, a diplomatic-normalization agreement between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.

The Post did not specify where Netanyahu and his wife stayed the night, but the venue was likely Blair House, one of a clutch of buildings opposite the White House that together make up the President’s Guest House.

Netanyahu also stayed at Blair House in January 2020 and March 2018.

The Embassy of Israel in Washington, DC outright denied there was anything unusual about Netanyahu’s laundry habits.

“These groundless and absurd allegations are aimed at belittling Prime Minister Netanyahu’s monumental achievement in Tuesday’s historic peace summit brokered by President Trump at the White House,” an embassy spokesperson told The Post.

“On this visit, for example, there was no dry cleaning, only a couple shirts were laundered for the public meeting, and the Prime Minister’s suit and Mrs. Netanyahu’s dress were ironed also for the public meeting.”

“Oh yes, a pair of pajamas that the Prime Minister wore on the 12 hour flight from Israel to Washington was also laundered,” the spokesperson said.

Reports detailing Netanyahu’s abnormal laundry habits first emerged in the Israeli press in 2011 and in 2018, when Nir Hefetz, a former top aide to Netanyahu, said that “on every trip suitcases come filled with laundry for dry cleaning, and I’m telling you that journalists have asked me about it and I’ve checked the bills. Nothing appears in the bills, they somehow hide it.”

Netanyahu’s office told The Times of Israel the Post story was “recycled anonymous slander from the archives of the Israeli

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Garden House brings nature back to the city

As urban areas grow around the world, housing seems to get farther and farther from nature, turning cities into concrete jungles lacking in greenery. This is not only less than ideal for humans, but it is hard on the planet as well. The team at Christos Pavlou Architecture addressed this issue with the Garden House, a nearly 2,000-square-foot home complete with nature elements inside and out. Built in Nicosia, Cyprus, the home “brings nature back to the city” with inviting outdoor areas for gathering with friends and neighbors as well as balconies and rooftops for more indoor/outdoor living opportunities.

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plants covering ground floor and upper balcony of a white home

The designers put the focus on nature after realizing the development of Nicosia lacked greenery and public communal areas as part of its urban development. With this in mind, the team incorporated an abundance of potential for microclimates within the space. To achieve this goal, 60% of the ground floor incorporates garden space, which includes lush plants and wildflowers. Additionally, a green terrace on the first floor continues the garden theme. All areas within the home open up to the outdoors; the ground floor is connected via a centralized courtyard.

Related: Instagram data uncovers the world’s top #urbanjungles

white interior with wood floors and central indoor garden
person on white lounge chair near indoor garden

While creating all this green space is great for the residents of Garden House, it’s also beneficial to pollinators. The bee-friendly landscape includes 40 kinds of native wildflowers and encourages the return of local bird species that have mostly been driven out of the city. In addition to improving the air and visual appeal for humans and supporting wildlife, the design is a thoughtful gift to the planet with elements that work to slow global warming.

wood dining table near wall of bookshelves
long kitchen counter facing a central garden

Christos Pavlou Architecture is a small design studio that opened in 2003. With a focus on indoor/outdoor spaces and attention to solving problems related to customer needs and climate conditions, the firm has earned several recognitions, including a first-place Cyprus state architecture award in 2019 in the Outstanding Architecture category. Christos Pavlou Architecture is currently a nominee for the European Union Mies Van Der Rohe Award 2021, Barcelona. 

+ Christos Pavlou Architecture

Photography by Charis Solomou via v2com

person lounging on plant-covered balcony

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Momentum brings dance to the Alaska Botanical Garden

Dancers with Momentum Dance Collective performed at the Alaska Botanical Garden on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 20-21. The pathway performance “Sugar & Salt” was held in collaboration with The Forest That Never Sleeps, a project of Anchorage musician Kat Moore, whose music was broadcast on 106.1 KONR radio during each of shows. People could also watch the performances online.

“We’ve done a lot of work in unusual spaces and nontraditional theatre spaces. We really like bringing dance into the community,” said executive artistic director and dancer Becky Kendall. “This year was a little different because we had to think very differently not about where we were dancing, but about how people were watching.”

Momentum Dance Collective, now in its 13th year, had scheduled a piece for a stage performance in April.

“When that didn’t happen we had to rethink what a show meant, and we had to rethink what the content would be because the world changed,” Kendall said.

Audience wore masks as the watched Irenerose Castillo danced during Sugar & Salt at the Alaska Botanical Garden on Sunday. (Bill Roth / ADN)

“It’s a version of what we were thinking of doing in April,” added Irenerose Casillo. “With the pandemic and people having to be careful with where they are and how they experience things, I thought, maybe we dance on a path. We feel safe at home, we feel safe outside, so why don’t we bring those elements together on this pathway.”

Dancers with Momentum Dance Collective performed live and virtually at the Alaska Botanical Garden on Sunday. (Bill Roth / ADN)

Dancers from left, Beth Daly Gamble, Stephanie Stepp, and Amy Kofoid with Momentum Dance Collective performed live and virtually at the Alaska Botanical Garden on Sunday. (Bill Roth / ADN)

Kir Moore and Huey Worrell watched the dance performance on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. (Bill Roth / ADN)

Dancer Courtney Meneses performs with Momentum Dance Collective at the Alaska Botanical Garden on Sunday. (Bill Roth / ADN)

Irenerose Casillo and Becky Kendall of Momentum Dance Collective dance during the pathway performance of Sugar & Salt at the Alaska Botanical Garden on Sunday. (Bill Roth / ADN)

[Because of a high volume of comments requiring moderation, we are temporarily disabling comments on many of our articles so editors can focus on the coronavirus crisis and other coverage. We invite you to write a letter to the editor or reach out directly if you’d like to communicate with us about a particular article. Thanks.]

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Savant Brings Circadian Lighting to Robern Luxury Bathroom Furnishings

There may be no better place for human-centric lighting solutions than in the bathroom to help consumers face the day. So it makes sense that Savant has partnered with Robern, a division of Kohler that manufactures luxury furnishings for bathrooms, to bring a circadian rhythm wellness lighting solution to its products.

Savant’s circadian lighting functionality will pair with the tunable white LED lighting available in Robern’s elegant cabinetry, vanities and mirrors, with the goal of making a healthier lifestyle available in more places throughout the home.  

Founded in 1968, all Robern products are designed and manufactured in the company’s Bristol, Pa., facility. Robern, which became part of Kohler in 1995, has been a resource for designers, architects and consumers seeking modern, highly personalized cabinetry, vanities and mirrors for over 50 years. Select Robern solutions are available with tunable white LED lighting along with the convenience of night lights, mirror defoggers, USB chargers and concealed electrical outlets.

Robern furnishings with tunable white LED lighting integrate with Savant Daylight Mode, the 24-hour circadian cycle that is configurable inside of the Savant Pro App. Daylight Mode allows for time-of-day settings of kelvin temperature as well as lighting intensity shifts that all happen seamlessly throughout the progression of each day.

Daylight Mode can be personalized for the individual home, providing homeowners with the ability to adjust their lights dynamically in a way that promotes wellness throughout the home.

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Robern’s tunable white solutions combined with Savant lighting scenes ensure accurate illumination to accommodate every skin tone. Clients will prep and look their best for every occasion with precise vanity lighting that effectively mimics any environment—from a virtual board meeting to a romantic evening for two.     

“Savant’s partnership with Robern presents integrators an opportunity to offer their clients a highly personalized lighting experience for bathrooms and bedrooms while creating new specifier relationships within the National Kitchen + Bath Association,” explains Nick Meloni, business development, environmental products at Savant. “Savant integrators will be able to purchase lighted medicine cabinets and mirrors in hundreds of style options directly from the Savant Store in early October, 2020.”

In the future, Savant will be working to install and showcase the TrueImage lighting control app at key brick and mortar retailers for Robern products in the U.S., enabling them to properly demonstrate the tunable white lighting concept to consumers. Savant will also support this initiative by teaching select Robern retailers how to sell lighting as part of overall wellness.

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