A plot of land given to Denver Urban Gardens for $1 to house a community garden will be sold to duplex developers for $1.2 million

Alan Olds is more accustomed to nurturing things than fighting them. As a former garden leader and member at El Oasis Community Garden for the last five years, he has helped dozens of Lower Highland residents find and cultivate plots at the roughly 22,000-square-foot green space at 1847 W. 35th Ave.

That changed when he got a surprise call from Violeta Garcia, then-executive director of Denver Urban Gardens, earlier this month.

“She informed us that most of the garden was being sold, and she expressed her regret that it was necessary,” said Olds, who resigned as a garden leader last week after meeting with Garcia in person. “She also had some explanation of DUG’s financial situation — and why the board of directors felt that selling it was essential for their survival.”

Many El Oasis gardeners were shocked by the announcement, which amounted to 30 days’ notice to vacate El Oasis in advance of a sale that won’t be finalized until December. Despite past financial challenges, the nonprofit had always been able — every other year — to pay down the line of credit it used to operate its gardens.

Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

Jacob Peitzer sits on a swing under a large tree with his six month old son Theodore on his plot in the El Oasis Community Garden in Denver on Sept. 21, 2020.

But starting in 2018, weak fundraising totals, expiring national grants (including $100,000 for DUG’s Healthy Seedlings program) and an ever-expanding number of gardens rendered them unable to do that, said Ramonna Robinson, chairwoman of DUG’s board. Once the pandemic arrived, she said, they had no other choice but to raise cash through a property sale.

“Nobody wants to see even part of that garden go away,” she said of El Oasis. “But it became the best option for us.”

Out of the 180 gardens that DUG manages in the metro area — including 120 community gardens and 70 school gardens — only three are owned by the nonprofit, while the rest are owned by schools, churches, private groups and others. Two of them aren’t profitable: DUG’s Shoshone garden is too small to develop, while its Pecos garden is too complicated from a zoning standpoint, Robinson said. That left El Oasis, the sale of which would give DUG cash to pay down its $500,000-plus in debt, as well as provide reserves for an uncertain future.

The problem is that El Oasis, one of the biggest community gardens in Denver, hosts about 40 shared garden plots and has often acted as the flagship for a nonprofit that boasts 17,500 volunteer gardeners. The fact that DUG is under contract with developer Caliber Construction to sell two-thirds of El Oasis for $1.2 million is a desertion of the nonprofit’s mission to secure and support community green spaces, gardeners said.

Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

Gardeners placed caution tape around the main pergola covered with grapevines on Sept. 21, 2020, at the center of the El

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Olive Garden’s parent Darden accused of discrimination over tipping policies

Olive Garden’s parent company, Darden Restaurants, Inc., has been accused of violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with its tipping policies, according to recent reports.

On Tuesday, nonprofit group One Fair Wage filed a federal complaint against Darden, saying that since its tipped workers are paid less than minimum wage, they are subject to sexual harassment, bias and ultimately pay discrimination, The Washington Post reported.

Darden — one of the largest restaurant companies in the country — told FOX Business in a statement that the “allegations are baseless.”

“Darden is a values-based company built on a culture of integrity and fairness, respect and caring, and a longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion,” the statement said.

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Though One Fair Wage filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint against one specific company, the organization hopes to end sub-minimum wage for all tipped workers, not just at Darden restaurants.

One Fair Wage has filed an EEOC complaint against Olive Garden’s parent company Darden Restaurants, Inc. (iStock)

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Currently, the federal government allows tipped employees to be paid less than minimum wage — in some places, tipped workers are paid as little as $2.13 an hour, according to One Fair Wage.

According to the organization, allowing a sub-minimum wage means that women — particularly women of color — end up being paid less because of bias.

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One Fair Wage reportedly decided to file the EEOC complaint against  Darden because it, along with the National Restaurant Association, have “actively lobbied to maintain the sub-minimum wage,” The Post reported.

“I am not saying that Darden is much worse than the rest of the industry,” One Fair Wage President Saru Jayaraman told The Post. “I’m saying they’re emblematic, and they’re a leader in maintaining these standards. I think what we’re filing today is very, frankly, symptomatic of the whole industry. It’s just that Darden is a particularly clear example of what this industry has not just tolerated, but perpetuated for too long.”

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Darden spokesperson Rich Jeffers told FOX Business that the company has “one of the lowest turnover rates in the industry” and that its tipped employees earn more than $20 per hour on average.

“We have an industry-leading team member experience,” he said in a statement.

According to The Post, if the EEOC finds that the complaint “has merit,” One Fair Wage will be allowed to sue Darden in state or federal court.

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Ladew Topiary Gardens’ 2020 Garden Glow Going Virtual

This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author’s own.

2020 Garden Glow will go live at www.ladewgardens.com,Saturday, Oct. 24, from 7 to 8 p.m. Adding to the excitement, the festive virtual display will have fun educational content for children including creatures of the night and a look at Irvine Nature Center’s in-house owl.

The community is invited to carve jack-o’-lanterns for the showcase – using their own pumpkins or they can arrange to pick up a complimentary pumpkin from Ladew. Klein’s ShopRite has donated 300 pumpkins, which are available to registered participants at no coston a first come first serve basis. Those interested must complete an application on the Ladew website by Oct. 8 to confirm their participation and request a free Garden Glowpumpkin if interested. All pictures of carved creations must be submitted by Oct. 18 at 10 a.m.

“Garden Glow has become a great community celebration of Fall and Ladew,” said Executive Director Emily Emerick. “Going virtual this year was an easy decision as this format allows many more people to participate, especially those from afar.”

2020 Garden Glowis made possible by sponsors, Visit Harford!, Kinsley Construction, BGEand Harford County Community & Economic Development. Additional support comes from Klein’s ShopRite, Baltimore County Commission on Arts & Sciences and The Citizens of Baltimore County.

For those unable to tune in Oct. 24, the spectacle will remain up on the Ladew website through Nov. 30. It is free for all to enjoy, but viewers are encouraged to make a donation or consider becoming a member of Ladew.

“We are proud to be a much-appreciated resource for the community, especially during these unprecedented times,” Emerick added. “Gardens like Ladew offer tranquility and peace to our guests as well as to those outside of our region who are able to enjoy us virtually.”

About Ladew
Ladew Topiary Gardens has been named “One of the Top 5 Gardens in North America;” deemed “the most outstanding topiary garden in America” by the Garden Club of America; and featured as one of “10 incredible topiary gardens around the world” by Architectural Digest. It is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is “to maintain and promote the gardens, house and facilities in keeping with the creative spirit of Harvey S. Ladew for the public benefit and for educational, scientific and cultural pursuits.” Both House and Gardens are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Ladew is located on Jarrettsville Pike (MD 146), 14 miles north of the Baltimore Beltway (I-695), exit 27B (Dulaney Valley Road North). For more information, call 410.557.9570 or visit www.ladewgardens.com.

The views expressed in this post are the author’s own. Want to post on Patch?

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PMC garden department against re-opening public gardens as residents question decision – pune news

Despite a growing demand to re-open the public gardens across the city, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is firm on keeping it shut as a preventive measure in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

PMC garden department head Ashok Ghorpade said, “Mainly senior citizens and children visit gardens. Both are vulnerable age groups in the current Covid-19 situation. Two months ago, the PMC opened 13 gardens for exercise, but the experience was bad. Considering the present situation, it is not possible to open public gardens.”

According to Ghorpade, the state government’s government resolution (GR) is very clear and it has banned the opening of the public gardens.

“No other municipal corporation in Maharashtra, including Mumbai, has opened public gardens yet,” Ghorpade said.

“If gardens reopen, it could become hotspots as people will begin using the benches, play with toys and also use the exercise equipment in open gyms.

Activities like yoga and laughing clubs are carried out in gardens, where social distance is not followed,” he added.

The PMC opened 13 gardens on a pilot basis in Pune for exercise purposes in June. Residents began using open gym equipment, visiting gardens without masks and did not maintain social distance.

Against this background, there is no preparedness by the garden department to reopen the gardens.

Ravindra Joshi, a resident of Sahakanagar said, “Hundreds of people are visiting Taljai hill and other areas. If citizens are allowed to exercise on the hills, what is the problem in opening the public gardens?”

Another citizen, Ratnamala Shah said, “Due to the Covid situation, citizens are sitting at home and are bored. If they would go in the open air and do some exercise it would help. It is true that citizens did not follow the rules, but garden employees can warn them to use masks all the time while they are present in the garden. In any case, citizens are walking on busy roads, instead, they would use the garden.”

Avinash Kute, a resident said, “I used to go to the garden every morning. Now I am missing it. As everything is opening up, the garden should also open for the public but it should be strictly kept open for exercise and walking purposes.”

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Olive Garden’s Times Square restaurant is losing $300,000 every week

  • Olive Garden’s Times Square location is losing $300,000 every week. 
  • Olive Garden same-store sales fell by 28.2% in the most recent quarter, parent company Darden reported on Thursday. Fifty basis points — or 0.5% — can be linked to the Times Square location. 
  • New York City has been slower to reopen restaurants than the rest of the US, and has not yet allowed indoor dining rooms to reopen. 
  • “I went up to a rooftop deck and it was two deep at the bar,” Darden CEO Gene Lee told investors. “It’s just a different life in Georgia. I know it’s hard for you guys in New York to even imagine that.” 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Olive Garden’s Times Square restaurant is burning through $300,000 every week, as New York City restaurants struggle to survive. 

Pre-pandemic, Olive Garden’s Times Square restaurant was the chain’s best-preforming location in the US, bringing in $15 million a year. Now the location is losing $300,000 every single week, according to Olive Garden parent company Darden’s CEO Gene Lee. 

“We start every single week $300,000 in the hole from a comp store basis … just from that one restaurant,” Lee said on a call with investors on Thursday. 

Olive Garden same-store sales fell by 28.2% in the most recent quarter, Darden reported on Thursday. According to Lee, 50 basis points can be linked to the Times Square location’s losses. 

While Olive Garden has higher costs as a massive, three-story restaurant in the heart of Times Square, most New York restaurants are struggling to turn a profit. According to a recent survey by the New York City Hospitality Alliance, 87% of the city’s restaurants, bars, and nightlife establishments could not pay full rent in August. 

New York City has been slower to reopen indoor dining than the rest of the country. Restaurants will not be allowed to reopen dining rooms at 25% capacity until September 30. 

Lee told Wall Street analysts that outside of cities “life is normal,” with people happy to return to restaurants inside. The majority of Olive Garden restaurants are now profitable, with sales being dragged down by restaurants in areas with greater restrictions, according to Lee.

“I landed at an airport the other day and not one person had a mask on. I was in a hotel, I went up to a rooftop deck and it was two deep at the bar,” Lee said. “It’s just a different life in Georgia. I know it’s hard for you guys in New York to even imagine that.” 

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Pandemic slashes sales at Olive Garden’s Times Square location by 94%

An Olive Garden restaurant located in Times Square, New York.

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

During a typical year, Olive Garden’s Times Square restaurant rakes in $15 million in sales.

But the coronavirus pandemic and local restrictions on dining have wiped out the business of the chain’s best location, cutting its average weekly sales from $300,000 to less than $18,000.

Darden Restaurants CEO Gene Lee told analysts on the company’s fiscal first-quarter call that sales have slowed down to just $2,500 a day for the takeout-only location. Olive Garden accounts for roughly half of Darden’s overall revenue.

And the Olive Garden isn’t the only Darden restaurant that has seen its New York business falter. Lee also said that the three New York locations of the Capital Grille, a fine-dining chain owned by Darden, are losing millions of dollars every week in sales. 

Dining rooms, which are set to reopen at 25% capacity on Sept. 30, have been closed in the city since March. As of Monday, New York is the U.S. city with the hardest hit restaurant industry. According to Toast, the city’s restaurant revenue is down 65% compared with the same time a year ago.

The loss of tourism is among the factors hurting the New York restaurant industry, including the Olive Garden in Times Square. Pedestrian traffic in the New York City tourist hotspot has plunged to about 73% from the same time last year, according to the Times Square Alliance. Less than half of Times Square’s restaurants are open for outdoor dining.

Shares of Darden rose nearly 5% in morning trading after the company topped analyst estimates for its quarterly earnings. Darden’s overall sales fell 28% during its most recent quarter but it expects sales declines of only 18% next quarter.

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Miami Gardens brothers charged with abducting, beating man

The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office say Miami Garden twin brothers Devon Cooke and Donavan Cook, abducted and assaulted a man in an attempt to collect ransom money.

The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office say Miami Garden twin brothers Devon Cooke and Donavan Cook, abducted and assaulted a man in an attempt to collect ransom money.

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Twin brothers under house arrest on murder charges duct-taped a man and cut his face and toes demanding a ransom payment, authorities said.

On Friday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida announced 23-year-old twin brothers Devon Cooke and Donavan Cooke, of Miami Gardens, were charged with carjacking and kidnapping after they allegedly abducted and assaulted a man in an attempt to collect ransom money.

The brothers were under house house arrest on murder and attempted murder charges when the incident happened.

Authorities say on Tuesday the victim, who was not identified, drove to the twins’ home in Miami Gardens to collect money. When he arrived, the brothers assaulted him, snatched his car key and dragged him out of the car and into their house.

The brothers then bound him to a chair using duct tape and began beating him, authorities said. They used a knife to cut his face and toes and wrapped a dog leash around his neck, chocking him unconscious.

A witness told authorities they heard the man pleading for his life. The brothers threatened to kill him if he didn’t come up with the ransom money, the press release read.

With a gun to the man’s head, he was forced to make a call to an unknown person and told them to put cash, a Rolex and other jewelry into a bag and drive to a spot the twins designated.

An accomplice to the brothers then arrived at the home and stuffed the man into a car and took him to the exchange spot. Once there, the man ran away and the accomplice drove off with the ransom.

Authorities say investigation led by police officers led to the Cooke twins. FBI agents found some of the items used in the abduction and beating.

The twins are in federal custody and made their first appearance in Miami federal court Friday. Each brother faces up to 15 years in federal prison on the carjacking charge and life in prison on the kidnapping charge.

Miami Herald Real Time Reporter Devoun Cetoute covers breaking news, Florida theme parks and general assignment. He attends the University of Florida and grew up in Miami. Theme parks are on his mind in and out of the office.

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Denver Urban Gardens Doubles Size of Aurora Community Garden

“I tell everybody about the garden,” says Donna Moody, co-leader of Sanctuary Community Garden. “I told somebody today and somebody yesterday, and people just smile and just love to hear about it.”

The five-year-old Denver Urban Gardens project in north Aurora provides a space for families and individuals to grow food for themselves and their community. The spot currently comprises fifty garden plots, but it’s set to double in size on Saturday, September 19, thanks to financial support from Tito’s Handmade Vodka and the Colorado Garden Foundation.

The gardens allow families to supplement their groceries with freshly grown produce.

The gardens allow families to supplement their groceries with freshly grown produce.

Courtesy of Denver Urban Gardens

Moody became a leader at Sanctuary Community Garden three years ago, but she grew up on a farm between Eaton and Greeley and has always loved digging in the dirt. “That’s how I got into gardening, because it’s kind of my second nature — my first nature, actually,” she explains. And her farming background is something she has in common with many DUG members.

Sanctuary’s members are predominantly Nepali and Burmese immigrants and refugees. Moody says that many families are from the countryside and like to grow what they like to eat: vegetables such as water lettuce, ugli fruit, chin baung and kin poon (two herbs used in Burmese cooking) — produce that’s expensive or hard to find in Denver.

The garden is also located in a part of Aurora that’s considered a food desert, though there were once supermarkets like King Soopers and Safeway in the neighborhood. But those are now closed, so the garden helps families fill a need for fresh, healthy food.

Sanctuary Community Gardens will build fifty new garden beds this weekend.

Sanctuary Community Gardens will build fifty new garden beds this weekend.

Courtesy of Denver Urban Gardens

Nessa Mogharreban, manager of construction volunteers for Denver Urban Gardens, says that food access is key to the organization’s mission to make safe, sustainable gardens. “We work really closely [with community members] to make sure the space is going to be sustainable for years,” she notes, by teaching and emphasizing the importance of planting organic, conserving water and using compost.

That long-term relationship between DUG and the Aurora garden’s members is what drew Tito’s to contribute to Sanctuary Community Garden’s expansion project. Lisa Huddleson, director of strategic philanthropy for the Texas-based distillery, says that through the company’s Block to Block program, Tito’s often “works closely with nonprofits and charity organizations that exhibit active engagement in their neighborhoods…by growing or expanding community gardens and farms.”

Ultimately, it’s all driven by neighborhood gardeners, and by volunteers such as Moody. “It is my passion,” Moody says. “I’m really supposed to be working for a living, but sometimes I just get into this volunteer stuff and forget to go to work.”

But she knows it’s also an equal exchange. She’s found Sanctuary to be a place that’s meant for sharing knowledge, food and culture. “We’re all there for the same purpose,” she says. “Most gardeners truly do love each other, because they have that same good purpose in mind.”

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Gardeners and their gardens: No two alike | Home & Garden

1. Why do you do share your garden with other people?

So many gardeners answered that once they’ve created a garden it must be seen. As Craig Coyne of Snyder put it: “There isn’t any point in creating something beautiful if you are going to hide it.”

A friend motivated Pat Gurney, a skilled Orchard Park gardener, by saying: “Don’t be selfish. Let other people enjoy your efforts!” She did and it’s wonderful.



Beth and Brian Kreutzer's garden

The Kreutzers’ garden.




Kitty and Gary Bannerman of Orchard Park said they open their garden because they love meeting visitors from near and far who have similar interests. This season, their sea of coral-pink poppies, floating among the daylilies and conifers, evoked many visitors’ memories of Monet’s garden at Giverny – leading to great garden travel conversations.

Other gardeners care about sharing values.

Donna and Chet Banach of Hamburg said they wanted to share their pesticide-free landscape and the species diversity.

Laurie Ousley, a teacher and native plants advocate who describes her garden in the video by News staff photographer John Hickey below, said: “My garden shows how home gardeners can re-create a native plants habitat, help essential pollinators and maintain a beautiful space.”

Stephen Bellus said he finds joy in hearing visitors’ surprise at the garden artistry even in a small and shady city yard, and then hearing them say, “I didn’t have any idea that Buffalo was like this!” The gardeners want their gardens to excite, inspire, motivate, give joy and encourage others to make gardens.

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Online Friendly Communication Between Experts of Chinese Classical Lion Forest Garden and Italian Boboli Gardens

On September 11, 2020, at 09:30am CEST, the online friendly communication between experts of Chinese classical Lion Forest Garden and Italian Boboli Gardens was successfully held. Suzhou Municipal Bureau of Landscape and Forestry, leaders of Lion Forest Garden and Italian experts of Boboli Gardens gathered on the Internet to exchange views on the cultural characteristics, heritage protection, tourism services and youth education of Lion Forest Garden and Italian Boboli Gardens.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200913005059/en/

Sino-Italy Delegates Video Conference (Photo: Business Wire)

At the beginning of the meeting, Chinese and Italian experts first introduced Lion Forest Garden and Italian Boboli Gardens respectively. The Lion Forest Garden has been built in the Yuan Dynasty and has a history of more than 670 years. It is one of the representatives of Chinese classical gardens, which is located in Suzhou, a famous cultural city with a history of 2500 years. Besides, Lion Forest Garden covers an area of 14 mu (almost 9333 square meters). Its elaborate design reflects the profound artistic conception of Chinese culture. At the 24th UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting in 2000, Lion Forest Garden was formally inscribed in the World Heritage List.

During the meeting, both Lion Forest Garden and Boboli Gardens demonstrated their unique charms as representatives of classical gardens in China and Italy. The communication was pragmatic and efficient with fruitful results. Zhang Jie, the director of Lion Forest Garden Management Office, said: “We have established a friendly garden partnership with Italian Boboli Gardens, we have discussed and exchanged management experiences on heritage protection, strengthen publicity and try to hold exhibitions in each gardens, for introducing the precious historical and cultural heritage shared by mankind.” At the meeting, both sides have enhanced mutual understanding and deepened friendship by issuing mutual visit invitations and exchanging gifts with local characteristics.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200913005059/en/

Contacts

CRI Jiangsu Channel
Fu Chenglei
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +86 18012978201
Website: www.js.cri.cn

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