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SportsTurf Magazine
Updated: 27 min 35 sec ago

STMA Conference generates $3.9 million economic impact for San Diego

June 28, 2016

Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) – the professional organization for 2,600 men and women who manage sports fields worldwide – estimates it contributed a $3.9 million economic impact for San Diego, Calif. during its annual STMA Conference & Exhibition in January.

A record-setting 600 exhibitors and additional 1,200 leaders from the sports turf industry joined from 13 countries, including Australia, China, Italy, Peru and Scotland, and 48 states. The four-day event provided more than 75 hours of cutting-edge sports turf education, dedicated networking functions and exhibitor demonstrations.

With nine educational tracks, topics included professional development, agronomics, industry developments, facility management, construction/renovation, water, research, sustainability and pest control.

The 28th annual STMA Conference & Exhibition will be held at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. January 24-27, 2017.

“With assistance from the San Diego Convention Center Corporation, the economic impact of our 2016 event confirms the sports turf industry continues to bring unification and financial magnitude across the U.S.,” says Kim Heck, STMA Chief Executive Officer. “Our thoughts and prayers go to the victims and their families of the recent Orlando tragedies and hope our 2017 Conference & Exhibition can bring a tourism boost to this region.”

Hotel registration for the 2017 STMA Conference & Exhibition is open while event registration is available beginning October 1. Receive complimentary entrance with new membership dues. Be sure to book before December 15, 2016 to take advantage of “early bird” rates.

For more info: www.stma.org, www.twitter.com/fieldexperts, 800.323.3875.

About STMA

STMA is the not-for-profit, professional association for men and women who manage sports fields worldwide.  Since 1981, the association and its 34 local chapters have been providing education, information and sharing practical knowledge in the art and science of sports field management.  Its more than 2,600 members oversee sports fields and facilities at schools, colleges and universities, parks and recreational facilities, and professional sports stadiums.

For more information: www.stma.org, 800.323.3875.

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Sports Turf Company to complete $4 million natural grass installation

June 28, 2016

Ole Miss Athletics Director Ross Bjork announced August 2015 that there will be installation of natural grass on the Hollingsworth Field and one of the practice fields.

He said on OleMissSports.com: “That means that Vaught-Hemingway Stadium will return to a natural grass playing surface for the 2016 season. Natural Grass, Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Hollingsworth Field, for the 2016 season. So that does have a ripple effect. That means we will have to close the stadium for the 2016 spring and summer.

Read about the installation here

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Energy savings help finance new HS gym floor

June 28, 2016

Just one month worth of energy savings in the Muskego-Norway (WI) schools were nearly enough to pay for a new floor in the Salentine gym at Muskego High School.

“We had a very good year of energy savings,” said Jeremiah Johnson, supervisor of buildings and grounds.

The project cost about $30,000, he said. Natural gas prices were extremely low and the warm winter was easy on the heating budget, too, officials said. Also, the schools are going to LED lighting to keep electric bills down.

All that added up to be nearly enough for the new floor, with the help of the boys and girls junior warriors athletic program, which each contributed $3,000 toward the project.

Luck and smarts

“Conditions were positive this year for the district to reallocate funds from our energy budget to support this project,” said Superintendent Kelly Thompson. She applauded the heads-up play by the buildings and grounds department that it makes possible to do more with the same dollars.

“We are fortunate to have a fabulous team that works each year to address projects identified in our 10-year capital plan utilizing our current operating budget,” Thompson said.

The LED lighting generated a 33 percent reduction in electrical costs, Johnson said. The LED lights have come significantly down in price and the custodial maintenance team is retrofitting fixtures. For every LED bulb installed, the schools save about 100 watts, he said.

“We have also received Focus on Energy rebates for almost every bulb we put in,” he said. Lakeview Elementary School is first in the district to be 100 percent LED, he said.

Muskego first in state

Muskego High is the first school in the state to have transitional colored sidelines, Johnson said. The sidelines transition from black to red and have “Home of The Warriors” emblazoned on each side, he said. “A team of coaches, our high school supervisor, Tim Gorecki, and our athletic director, Scott Kugi, searched images statewide and nationwide to put together our design,” Johnson said. Another feature of the new court is that it brings back the Muskego High School logo to center court. An extra finishing coat will be applied before basketball season this fall that will give it an extra pop, Johnson said. To protect the new floor, the school has ordered permanent chair footy covers for use during graduations.

The gym floor was three years overdue for replacement and the energy savings made the project more of a slam dunk.

“Conditions were positive this year for the district to reallocate funds from our energy budget to support this project.” Kelly Thompson superintendent of schools.- by Jane Ford-Stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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Enter STMA Innovative Awards Program

June 21, 2016

Commercial companies that are exhibiting at the 2017 conference are eligible to submit for a 2017 Innovative Award. One or more awards may be given to companies that provide a new product, service or piece of equipment that substantially enhances the effectiveness of the sports turf manager and/or make the surfaces safer and more playable for athletes.

Click here for eligibility criteria and a link to the online application. Awards are judged by an Innovative Awards panel made up of practitioner and academic members (no commercial members) and winners will be announced during the first day of the STMA trade show on Thurs., Jan. 26, 2017.

Winners receive recognition, a plaque and the opportunity to use the 2017 Innovative Award logo.

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The Andy & John Show to kick off STMA Orlando Conference

June 21, 2016

As the kick-off event for STMA’s Conference, the General Session will feature two of our most requested speakers – Dr. Andrew McNitt and Dr. John Sorochan.

Dr. McNitt is one of the industry’s foremost researchers on sports turf playing surface characterization. He serves as a Professor of Soil Science/Turfgrass for Penn State University, is the Director of Penn State’s Center for Sports Surface Research, and is the technical advisor to the NFL Groundskeepers Organization.

Dr. Sorochan is a Distinguished Professor of Turfgrass Science and Management in the Plant Sciences Department at the University of Tennessee (UT). Dr. Sorochan is also the Co-Director for the UT Center for Athletic Field Safety where his team investigates athletic field performance and safety as well as athlete to surface interactions.

The General Session takes place from 8-9:30 am on Wed., Jan. 25. You won’t want to miss the insight, humor, and wisdom each individual brings to the stage. Stay tuned for more information about this lively opening event!

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Turfgrass Producers International elects new officers

June 21, 2016

Turfgrass Producers International (TPI) has announced its 2016-17 officers and board of directors, effective July 1. The officers and new board members were elected during TPI’s Annual Business Meeting Feb. 23 at the association’s 2016 International Education Conference & Field Day in Houston, TX.

Linda Pittillo Bradley, co-owner of Turf Mountain Sod in Hendersonville, N.C., was elected President; Jimmy Fox, president of Evergreen Turf in Chandler, Ariz., was elected vice president, and Eric Heuver; president of Eagle Lake Professional Landscape Supply in Strathmore, Alberta, CANADA was elected secretary-treasurer.

Also elected to the TPI’s board were Tim Wollesen, president/owner of Sales Midwest, Inc. in Olathe, KS, and Mark Tribbett of JB Instant Lawn, Inc. in Silverton, OR.

Continuing their service on the TPI board are:

  • John Coombs, Sr. Coombs Sod Farms, LLC – U.S.A.
  • Hugh Dampney, ECO Turf  – ENGLAND
  • Steve Griffen, Saratoga Sod Farm, Inc. – U.S.A.
  • Randy Jasperson, Jasperson Sod Farm – U.S.A.
  • Hank Kerfoot, Modern Turf – U.S.A.
  • Will Nugent, (Past President) Bethel Farms – U.S.A.

TPI has more than 800 members in 40 countries comprised of turfgrass sod and seed producers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers and various individuals involved in education and/or turf-related research.

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Take quiz to see if outdoor career suits you

June 21, 2016

MoneyGeek.com has put together a guide for your readers considering an outdoor career that pulls different resources together to give readers an honest look at the industry, from pest control to park ranger.

This guide includes a quiz to determine if an outdoor career suits you and 10 popular careers to pursue in the industry. Scholarships available

Explore the guide in more detail here: https://www.moneygeek.com/careers/outdoor-careers/

The allure of a career in the outdoors is easy to understand but often, perception and the reality of what these jobs entail can be quite different.

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NebGuide helps demystify soil test reports

June 14, 2016

Soil testing can be useful, but test reports are often unnecessarily complex and hard to understand. It’s important to know what values on a report are important and what values can be ignored. Our most recent NebGuide, “Simplifying Soil Test Interpretations for Turf Professionals,” explains the importance of consistency during sampling and outlines the most important – science-based – values on a soil test report. There is also a quick reference table attached to the end of the publications with very specific interpretations and management recommendations. These recommendations are based on peer-reviewed science and not to drive fertilizer sales. Soil testing and soil test reports aren’t as complicated as they may seem. This newest Turf Fact Sheet will give you confidence when you review your soil tests results in the future. http://turf.unl.edu/turfinfo/5-20_Simplifying_Soil_Testing.pdf

Bill Kreuser, Extension Turfgrass Specialist, wkreuser2@unl.edu

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Using air to print on your turf

June 14, 2016

We ran across an item on the Internet about a company called New Ground Technology, which provides green-tech equipment and creative services that might enable turf managers to create promotional imagery. In an effort to understand better how the technology works, we asked a few questions of the company’s owner and founder, Pete Davis of Pleasanton, CA, www.newgroundtechnology.com:

SportsTurf: How does the technology work (without getting too info tech-y)?

Davis: High contrast stripes seen on sports fields are simply organized reflections from blades of turf that are typically generated with striping rollers which continuously tilt the blades of turf in the direction of a mower’s path. New Ground Technology’s Terra Print system uses air to gently enable or interrupt this natural lay into 5 x 5-inch square “pixels,” much like a dot matrix (fax) printer.

SportsTurf: Does it require a special type of machine or computer to attach to a mower or utility vehicle?

Davis: Our machine is based on a commercial Cub Cadet PRO-Z tractor model. It is fitted with a blower that delivers air to the machine’s printing module. Our production models have three printing modules located where a mowing deck usually resides. Each module has four channels that are controlled by an on-board processor. The processor uses an image file to direct each channel while interpreting Topcon GPS information to track the machine’s path and position. All the operator has to do is monitor the display’s position “light bar” and steer to keep it centered whole printing each track.

SportsTurf: How is the technology “sold”? By each separate design? Does it start with a photo or image of what the customer wants the final to look like?

Davis: More about your sold question below but NGT will provide customers access to a library of “standard” images such as baseball, football, soccer, players, kind of like clip art. Other, easily acquired optional graphics including lettering, numbers, symbols will be available for the end user to build a semi-custom image file. Current and future options include custom imagery created through our creative suite. Our target is to have 1 hour, worldwide service.

The customer provides Google Earth location, desired image location and orientation, as well as providing ideal viewing direction for cameras and/or spectators. This data is related to the sun’s position or lighting configuration. Our geo-positioning software app is used to determine the printing (machine) direction. The direction of printing is critical for producing maximum viewing contrast. Today we load geo-positioned image file, set-up our graphic boundaries and print, say, a 120 x 120-foot graphic within about 1 hour.

SportsTurf: Do you or one of your reps need to be on-site to produce the grass graphic?

Davis: No, the simple file upload process is straight forward. Pacing off, or the machine’s on-board GPS system, can be used to lay out the field. Hop on and drive the machine to a corner, headed in the general direction and hit GO. Easy, just like mowing

SportsTurf: Can you provide a typical cost of the service?

Davis: Our current model is to lease the complete system to venues or regional service providers on a yearly basis for less than $6K a month. Venues with limited needs or budget can contract projects through a future network of NGT providers.

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Designs for the world’s first fully air-conditioned and raised-off-the-ground stadium revealed

June 14, 2016

Designs for the world’s first fully air-conditioned and raised-off-the-ground stadium have been revealed. With 60,000 seats, Dubai’s groundbreaking Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid football stadium is set to become the benchmark.

Plans for the 60,000-capacity stadium were revealed by Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Of the 60,000-seats, 23,116 will be in the upper tier and 6,688 in the lower tier, with some 8,941 VIP seats and 1,642 seats in the VIP suites.

The AED 3-billion stadium will be fully air-conditioned, with facilities including exercise pitches and a sports training hall, as well as a 5,000-capacity car park, a sports museum, a multi-purpose hall and conference and exhibition auditoriums. Sheikh Mohammed inspected various models of the stadium, while he was briefed by Matar Al Tayer, Deputy Chairman of Dubai Sport Council, about the project, the world’s first fully air-conditioned and raised off-the-ground stadium, the design of which complies with FIFA’s standards.

Dar Al Handasah has been selected as consultant and Perkins + Will as the main contractor for the stadium project.

Sheikh Mohammed applauded the design and ordered execution of the project according to the scheduled timeline.

See images here

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7th National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security conference coming up

June 14, 2016

The 7th annual NCS4 Conference and Exhibition is set for July 12-14, 2016, at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort in Phoenix. This year’s theme is ‘Achieving the Gold Standard‘. To develop the ‘Gold Standard’ benchmarking, safety and security gaps have been identified as a result of NCS4’s training, research, summits and conferences. The University of Southern Mississippi expect the seventh edition to be even better with the addition of several new highlights this year.

NCS4 Director, Lou Marciani, said, “Nine specific pillars were identified to close the gap to best practice. The pillars will be interwoven throughout the conference and help attendees achieve the Gold Standard within their own organizations.”

The nine Gold Standard Pillars include:

*The Evolving Sport Security Leader

*The Evolving Sport and Entertainment Landscape

*Effective Risk/Threat/Vulnerability Assessment

*The Enhanced Collaborative Planning Process

*The Impact of Crowd Management

*The Emerging Safety and Security Culture

*The Maximisation of Human Talent

*The Emerging Sport Security Technology

*The Impact of Environmental Design

In addition to top-notch speakers, panelists, and an awards ceremony, other conference highlights this year include:

*National Forum – The Changing World: What is the Effect of the Paris Incident on Sports Safety and Security? The forum will include an extensive review of the incident in Paris and how it will affect future emergency preparedness and responses for sporting events and surrounding areas.

*National Table Top Exercise – Assess Your Preparation, Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Recovery Protocols, Plans and Capabilities

*Roundtables – A variety of pertinent topics such as Bag Search Procedures, Drone Regulations, Parking Lot Safety, Selling Alcohol at Your Event, among others, will be addressed.

*Technology – Browse the latest solutions in the Exhibit Hall

*Arizona Excursions – Tour the Grand Canyon or Red Rocks of Sedona

On the Thursday afternoon, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in the Town Hall Meetings (Marathons, Intercollegiate Athletics, Interscholastic Athletics and Professional Sport Facilities), providing an environment to network with their peers, discuss best practices and exchange ideas within their particular industry.

Visit the website at: www.ncs4.com/conference and register.

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STMA Environmental Facility Certification program officially launches

June 7, 2016

STMA is officially launching its Environmental Facility Certification Program, and we invite you to participate. There is no cost to complete the assessment.

It was developed to help document the environmental stewardship of STMA members and is awarded to the facility. The program involves an electronic assessment, which you can take here, from any computer or smart device. Be sure to read the instructions first.

After you have completed the assessment, STMA will score it. If you have achieved 80 percent compliance on each of the 10 sections, you will be notified that you passed. The next step is to engage an attester who can do a walk-through of the facility with you to validate your environmental practices. STMA will provide an electronic assessment form to the attester. If the attester verifies your practices, the facility will be designated an STMA Certified Facility for Environmentally Responsible Management. You can choose recognition for your facility through a plaque or a banner. A $100 fee will be charged once your facility achieves certification, which includes the recognition materials.

If you do not achieve the 80 percent passing score, you have one year to re-assess the sections that you did not pass. Certification is valid for three years; after that the process will need to be repeated. If a sports turf manager leaves a facility, the facility still maintains its certification until the end of the three-year period.

Please call STMA Headquarters with questions, 800-323-3875. Good luck!

Thank you!
Sports Turf Managers Association
www.STMA.org

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Honoring Leo Goertz

June 7, 2016

The Foundation for Safer Athletic Fields for Everyone (SAFE) is recognizing Leo Goertz, a former Trustee of the SAFE Board who died in 2015, through a named grant.

The Leo Goertz Membership Grant will be awarded annually to seven individuals. Each grant recipient will receive a two-year membership in STMA. Recipients will also be eligible to take advantage of STMA’s complimentary conference registration for new members.

The details of how to apply are being developed by the STMA Scholarship Committee with the intent to select the winners this year to receive the grant for the 2017-2018 membership years.

General criteria to apply include:

  • be a Sports turf manager or member of a crew managing sports fields
  • be an active local chapter member or strong contributor within his/her community
  • not have been an STMA national member for five years
  • infrequently or has never attended the national STMA Conference
  • can be self nominated or nominated by a fellow employee or any STMA member

Pioneer Athletics is the exclusive sponsor of these grants through a 10-year funding commitment.

Leo served on the SAFE Board of Trustees from 2006 – 2011. After his board service, he stayed actively involved with SAFE through helping with its fundraising events. He joined STMA in 1988. Leo was awarded one of STMA’s highest honors in 2010, the Harry C. Gill Founders Award. This award was established to honor an individual for their hard work in the sports turf industry and to acknowledge their dedication to STMA. The 2009 winner, Tom Burns, presented the award to Leo at the STMA Annual Awards Banquet. During his presentation, he said that Leo’s legacy lies with those he has mentored and helped along the way during his 30 plus years in this business. Many of his employees have gone on to become very successful sports field managers at other facilities. His biggest contribution to the industry and to the association is in his ability to ‘give back’. Through this grant, Leo continues to ‘give back’.

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Protect yourself while outdoors this summer

June 7, 2016

Enjoying the great outdoors is one of the many things summer offers. Whether it is hiking or camping at a state or national park, going to your community park for a picnic or simply having fun in your own backyard, enjoying green spaces is a summer ritual.

While you are enjoying the feeling of lush grass between your toes or the aromatic smell of a flowering plant, you should be mindful of several threats that can loom in green spaces including mosquitoes, stinging insects, and fleas and ticks.

“When used as directed, insect control products and fertilizers work to keep your lawn and landscape healthy and strong,” says Cindy Code, executive director of Project EverGreen. “A healthy yard can more effectively reduce quantities or populations of mosquitoes, ticks and stinging insects.”

Mosquitoes

There has been significant media coverage this spring regarding the Zika virus. While there have been no confirmed transmissions of the disease in the United States, it does bring to the forefront the threat of mosquito-borne diseases including West Nile virus, chikungunya and dengue fever.

How do you protect your and your family from mosquitoes this summer? Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the following tips to avoid mosquito bites:

  • Use insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin or IR3535. Some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provides long-lasting protection.
  • If you use both sunscreen and insect repellent, apply the sunscreen first and then the repellent.
  • Do not spray insect repellent on the skin under your clothing; treat clothing with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated clothing.
  • When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Take extra care during peak mosquito biting hours and use repellent and protective clothing from dusk to dawn or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.
  • Help reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home by emptying standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires, and birdbaths on a regular basis.

Stinging Insects

While some stinging insects are beneficial to our environment, others pose a threat to people as they are enjoying the great outdoors. According to research from the National Pest Management Association, stinging insects send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room each year due to allergic reactions.

Stinging insects call a variety of locations in and around a structure home. They can live in trees, bushes, the ground, attics, crawlspaces, gutters, building overhangs, and decks.

  • Remove food and water sources from your yard; trim bushes and trees where stinging insects like to nest.
  • Inspect the exterior of your home or office, looking closely at the eaves, and seal cracks and crevices to keep stinging insects out.
  • Properly seal all garbage cans – stinging insects are attracted to the sugars and residues in leftover food.
  • Keep food covered when you are putting out your summer spread.
  • When gardening, wear neutral earth tones, nothing bright or floral, and avoid wearing scented creams or perfume.
  • At that backyard cookout, keep an eye on your drink.  Stinging insects are attracted to sugary contents soft drinks and beer, and drinking a mouthful of bee or wasp is not pleasant.

If you come across a nest, proceed with caution and do not attempt to remove the nest yourself. Stinging insects are not to be taken lightly and can be very aggressive, the Africanized honey bee in particular, when disturbed. Call your local pest management professional to safely remove the nest.

Fleas & Ticks

With the return of warm weather, everyone wants to spend more time outdoors—including household pets such as dogs and cats. Like people, pets are also at risk for the serious health complications that can arise from tick and flea bites.

Good landscape management practices by homeowners including clearing leaf litter, keeping grass cut or creating woodchip/stone barriers between lawns and adjacent woodlands that are inhabited by wildlife will be helpful in keeping ticks in check.

Fleas can become a problem and huge nuisance when humans or pets bring them inside the home since once inside, they can easily reproduce in bedding, carpets or furniture. Here are several tips to protect your pets and family from ticks and fleas this summer:

  • Check pets frequently for ticks and fleas – be aware of excessive scratching and licking.
  • Avoid walking dogs in tall grass, where fleas and ticks often hide.
  • Bathe pets after walks or playtime with other animals.
  • Frequently wash pet bedding, collars and plush toys.
  • Wash bed linens and vacuum carpets, floors and furniture frequently.
  • For on-animal prevention and treatment options, please consult with your veterinarian. We love cats and dogs, but we don’t treat them.

About Project EverGreen

Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Project EverGreen (www.ProjectEverGreen.org) is a national non-profit organization committed to promoting the positive effects managed green spaces, including lawns and landscapes, athletic and recreational turf, and trees and parks have on the physical, mental and economic well-being of communities across the United States. Project EverGreen’s initiatives include GreenCare for Troops,TM  SnowCare for TroopsTM and “Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids. ™

Categories: test feeds

Pesticide resources

June 7, 2016

Hot, humid summer days contribute to turfgrass stress and can increase the probability of insect and weed invasion, as well as disease susceptibility. Make sure you are in compliance when it comes to controlling pests with the various resources provided by the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC).

The NPIC provides objective, science-based information about pesticides and pesticide-related topics to enable people to make informed decisions about pesticides and their use. One of NPIC’s goals is to serve as a factual source of information for diverse professional and public audiences on pesticide-related issues.

Federal Pesticide Regulation – In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates pesticides at the national level. Congress gives the EPA this authority through several federal laws, including the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). By regulating pesticides, the EPA works to protect human health and the environment.

State Pesticide Regulation – In the United States, state governments play an important role in regulating pesticides. They may develop their own regulations that are stricter than the EPA’s federal pesticide regulations. This is done by each state’s pesticide regulatory office. They are often part of the State Department of Agriculture, but may be part of other state offices such as the Department of Environmental Protection.

NPIC also features an Herbicide Property Tool. This website has compiled each active ingredient’s water solubility, vapor pressure, sorption properties, and half-lives in water/soil. The relative groundwater risk for each chemical in different soil types (groundwater ubiquity scores) has also been calculated. Animations are provided to show the user what these values mean.

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Chicago Bears practice field subject of lawsuit

May 31, 2016

The Chicago Bears’ synthetic turf practice field in Lake Forest was installed by UBU Sports, and now a competitor, FieldTurf USA, has sued, saying UBU Sports violated its patent on the turf technology.

FieldTurf has won a similar suit previously, as reported by the Atlanta Business Chronicle in 2015. In that case, FieldTurf prevailed over AstroTurf on claims involving specific measurements of the plastic fibers making up the artificial turf. The Bears have not been sued, the Chicago Tribune said in its report.

The Soldier Field playing surface may routinely resemble a muddy bog come December, but the pristine artificial turf at the Chicago BearsLake Forest practice facility uses stolen technology, a federal lawsuit alleges.

FieldTurf USA says it owns the patent to the plastic and rubber-based turf developed by its founder, French Canadian tennis pro Jean Prevost, which is used by a number of NFL teams including the Seattle Seahawks.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Chicago on Wednesday, it accuses Downers Grove-based UBU Sports of violating its patent when it installed an almost identical product at the Bears’ practice facility.

UBU Sports is “willfully” ripping off the patent and engaging in “me too” competition by copying Prevost’s technology, according to FieldTurf, which previously was awarded $30 million by a federal jury in a similar case it brought in Michigan against another rival, AstroTurf. It is seeking unspecified damages and an injunction stopping UBU Sports from selling products which violate its patent. The Bears are not a party to the suit.

Dennis Van Milligen, a spokesman for UBU Sports, declined to comment on the lawsuit, but acknowledged that the company had supplied the Bears’ practice field and also had laid stadium turf for the Cincinnati Bengals, the New York Jets and Giants, the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings.

The Bears — who as recently as 2014 were reportedly considering switching to an artificial playing surface at Soldier Field — are not in current discussions to resurface the playing surface at their stadium “as far as I know,” Van Milligen added.

Preferred by many schools and local governments for playing fields thanks to its low maintenance costs and improved drainage over grass, synthetic turf has become big business. More than 11,000 fields across the nation are covered in artificial grass, according to the Synthetic Turf Council.

Concerns over potential health risks to athletes from using “crumb rubber” made from ground used car tires to build the artificial fields have in recent years led to manufacturers experimenting with cork and ground up sneaker soles.

The FieldTurf lawsuit filed this week may turn on precise technical details of the fields built by UBU Sports. FieldTurf’s patent describes the ratio of plastic fake grass blades to rubber “infill” sprinkled between the blades.

 

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New OPEI survey shows education lacking on higher ethanol fuel blends

May 31, 2016

Awareness and knowledge of how to use high ethanol fuel blends remains relatively unchanged among consumers over the last few years, according to a recent national poll conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). According to poll results, price continues to drive decisions at the pump and consumers do not pay much attention to pump warning labels. OPEI conducted similar research in 2013 and 2015.

The 2016 poll results show that almost two-thirds (64 percent) of American adults age 18+ who own outdoor power equipment say they either are not sure (42 percent) or do not pay any attention (22 percent) to what type of fuel they are using. In 2015, almost half (45%) were not sure what type of fuel they used and one in five (20%) did not pay any attention to the type of fuel used.

Gasoline containing greater than ten percent ethanol (E10) can damage or destroy outdoor power equipment, including lawn mowers, chain saws, generators, utility vehicles and other small engine equipment such as motorcycle, snowmobile and boat engines, according to most engine manufacturers. Yet, the poll, conducted in March of this year, shows 66 percent of Americans will use the least expensive grade of gasoline whenever possible, versus 63 percent in 2015 and 71 percent in 2013. In addition, 60 percent of Americans assume that any gas that is sold at a gas station must be safe for all of their vehicles or power equipment versus 57 percent in 2015 and 64 percent in 2013.  By Federal law, it is illegal to use those higher ethanol fuel blends in outdoor power equipment.

“The research continues to prove that Americans are still unaware of the damage that can occur to their outdoor power equipment as a result of mis-fueling,” says Kris Kiser, President and CEO of OPEI. “There are 100 million legacy outdoor power equipment products in homeowners’ garages, maintenance sheds and facilities across America. The scope of this issue is massive and shows that much more education is needed.”

Attention at the Pump
According to the poll, while 85 percent of Americans understand gasoline contains ethanol, price is the overriding priority for the gasoline-consuming public. Among those who drive and buy from a filling station, the vast majority (92 percent) notice the price, but far fewer look at anything else, including ethanol content (24 percent), octane rating (56 percent), and even warning labels (50 percent).  Nearly 57 percent, an increase of six percentage points over last year, confess that they typically only pay attention to labels on fuel pumps if they read “Warning” or “Do Not Use In…” And 51 percent demonstrate that they don’t give it much thought as they tend to fill up their portable gas tank with the same fuel used to fill their vehicle. This is a three percent increase over last year’s poll findings (48%).

“We hope the Environmental Protection Agency will engage in more education as additional blended fuels are introduced in the marketplace Otherwise, we could continue to see confusion among consumers,” said Kiser. “The outdoor power equipment industry has supported consumer education through our “Look Before You Pump” campaign since 2013. But it’s clear our government needs to do more.”

Methodology
The March survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll via its Quick Query omnibus product on behalf of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute from March 11-15, 2016 among 2,023 adults ages 18 and older. The 2015 survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Outdoor Power Equipment Institute from April 23-27, 2015 among 2,015 U.S. adults age 18 or older. The 2013 survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Outdoor Power Equipment Institute from July 31-August 2, 2013 among 2,040 U.S. adults age 18 or older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact ami@fourleafpr.com

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English Football Association announces its Pitch Improvement Program

May 31, 2016

The underlying message of ‘having more people, playing on better pitches, more of the time’ was loud and clear as The Football Association (The FA) announced its Pitch Improvement Programme (PIP).

Along with partners, Redexim Charterhouse Turf Machinery and Rigby Taylor, the Association has officially launched its GBP£8m scheme to help improve more than 2,000 natural turf football pitches from the National Conference League down.

Part of The FA’s Strategy for Participation and Development, the four-year PIP scheme will enable grassroots clubs to access discounted products from two of the industry’s leading suppliers – Redexim Charterhouse for machinery and equipment, and Rigby Taylor for grass seed, fertilisers, line marking paints and machines, as well as other consumable products.

The programme will be supported by a range of partners including the network of Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) regional pitch advisors, professional and semi-professional groundstaff, and coordinated by the respective county FA. It will also include a range of measures to help develop the skills and knowledge of the volunteers and groundsmen including seminars and workshops. Interested clubs need first to contact their county FA to find out how to start the ‘ball’ rolling.

Launching the programme, The FA’s Director of Participation and Development Kelly Simmons, and Mark Pover, The FA’s National Facilities and Investment Manager, both emphasised how the scheme is designed to enable thousands of groundsmen – predominantly volunteers – to make the most of their time and their budgets. By being aware of and using the latest maintenance techniques and turf care technologies, they said, not only will the standard of pitches improve but also more games will be able to be played.

Alan Ferguson, The FA’s Head Groundsman, added how PIP offers volunteer groundsmen unprecedented access to the products and expertise of leading suppliers:

Helping them on their way to achieving playing surfaces that facilities like St George’s Park and Wembley Stadium have consistently enjoyed.

He went on to say that www.groundsmanship.co.uk, developed in conjunction with other governing bodies and Sport England, was also available to offer complementary help.

Commenting at the launch, Rigby Taylor’s Executive Chairman, Chris Clark, said:

Our Official Supplier status to the Pitch Improvement Programme provides a fantastic opportunity for grassroots football clubs to benefit from of our market-leading products that are the result of years of research and development. PIP gives these organisations a unique opportunity to make considerable gains at relatively low cost.

Redexim Charterhouse’s Business Development Manager, Curtis Allen, added:

Since being involved in the programme it has become very clear that there is no shortage of dedication and desire to improve at grassroots level. There is however a lack of equipment available for those tasked with producing a playable surface year round. With this initiative they get to bring their machinery requirements in line with their never-ending quest for improved playing surfaces. The programme enables grassroots organisations to take ownership of the maintenance programme which is such an important part of the game that often gets forgotten.

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Update your volunteer profile for troops truck window sticker

May 31, 2016

Summer is on its way and now is the time to promote your company’s commitment to serve families of deployed military personnel and wounded or veterans with a service-related disability with a GreenCare for Troops vehicle sticker.

Celebrate the program’s 10th anniversary and receive two (2) free vehicle stickers (shown at right) current volunteers need to update their online profile at http://bit.ly/1KCGsoS. Volunteers need to log on as a “New User” and select a password to match the email address on file.

If you have any questions on updating your profile please contact Project EverGreen’s Ki Matsko at 888/611-2955 or kimatsko@projectevergreen.com

 

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Passionate public turns out on both sides of proposed synthetic field

May 26, 2016

Controversy raged Thu May 19 over a proposal to install a synthetic turf field at Aldrich Lane in the Mattituck (NY) Park District.

The matter, which brought a crowd to the Mattituck Park District meeting Thursday night at the Veterans Park office on Peconic Bay Boulevard in Mattituck, has ignited heated controversy, with many residents opposed to the plan or requesting additional information.

“This is becoming quite controversial, due to the cost, as well as environmental and health hazards,” Mattituck resident and Southold Democratic Committee chair Art Tillman has said in recent weeks. The synthetic turf, he said, is not ecologically friendly to local waters and could potentially cause “various health problems. Youngsters throughout Southold play on these fields.”

Mattituck Park District Commissioner Nick Deegan is also opposed to the plan. “It’s not fair to the taxpayers, to be saddled with this. We’re a small district,” he said. “It’s much better economically to restore what’s there and move forward.”

Mattituck Park District Commissioner Mike Ryan, who has done research into the plan and led Thursday night’s presentation, has said he’s a proponent of the synthetic turf for a number of reasons.

First, he told Patch recently, the park district has a “surplus of money” that needs to be spent, and the park district has a “responsibility” to give residents the best possible field.

Recently, some property was sold, leading to the influx of funding, and the park district has exhausted other improvements, with $1 million spent on Veterans Park upgrades. In addition, plans are in place for a new pavilion at Breakwater Beach, hopefully to be built this summer, he said.

The district, he said, has three athletic parks, on Bay Avenue, Peconic Bay Avenue, and Aldrich Lane, with the highest demand at the Aldrich Lane facility, mainly due to the explosion in growth in the soccer and lacrosse programs. That’s why the Aldrich Lane park is the natural fit for the turf field, he said.

Mattituck, he said, is the “central base for all lacrosse” on the North Fork; there are six youth school teams, three boys’ and three girls’; there are also seven school soccer teams, as well as 13 youth lacrosse clubs in Mattituck and the same number of youth soccer clubs, “all playing out of Mattituck,” he said. “There’s a huge demand for field space.”

Ryan feels strongly that there’s an obligation to ease some of the burden on the school district, which recently just installed a new track.

A similar synthetic field has been proposed for the bond improvement project at the Southold school district, he added.

In addition, Ryan said, the field is already illuminated, which helps a great deal to extend programs through the winter. “To me, it’s logical for this type of surface to be installed, and we have the money,” Ryan said.

But, he added, “I will insist that this go to public referendum so the voters get a chance to decide the state of our park.”

As for health concerns, Ryan said he’s done research and said there is no “scientific basis” for concerns related to crumb-rubber fill in turf.”That’s unproven,” he said.

Natural grass, Deegan counters, “is a much better environment for the kids to be playing on.”

A synthetic field, Deegan added, would require yearly maintenance costs, as well.

Thursday night’s meeting draws crowd

A passionate crowd packed the room Thursday night as Ryan led his presentation. He asked those in attendance to be respectful. “This is an informational meeting, not a public debate.”

Ryan said much money has been invested in Veterans Park, including in the building where the meeting was held. Aldrich Lane, he said, has just one field. That field is in a fenced in area with lights, which lends itself to a facility that can be used year round, and not just six months per field, as the natural grass field is now.

The field could also be used from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m., he said.

“We have an obligation to invest proceeds” from public-supported referendums on property sales, he said, such as the recent sale of the Pike Street parking lot to Southold Town.

Of the district’s three fields, Aldrich Lane is the “most used,” with more than 250 kids playing there, he said.

“In this instance, turf makes sense,” he said.

A grass field, Ryan said, is a lateral move and “not worth the investment.”

Grass fields, he added, need multiple areas to rotate, “a luxury we do not have.” To invest in grass and sod would mean potentially fewer hours of use. “It’s the equivalent of adding on a formal dining room, with china, that you would use only for Sunday dinner.”

The field is currently closed for two months in the summer and three and a half in the winter, he said; there is also a loss of two to three weeks due to rain each year. If the move was made to turf, the potential would be expanded to 12 months per year.

With more youth activities and training year round, “it’s all about training, giving kids the competitive edge,” he said.

Safety

Ryan said the turf field would also be “consistently safe,” with a level playing surface and better shock absorption.

Currently, there are areas on the grass field, such as where the goalie plays, where the grass is worn away, and where the ground is hard and dangerous to a child in a fall, he said.

Cost analysis

A majority of the Mattituck Park District’s board of commissioners, Ryan said, has voted to move forward with the referendum. The investment of approximately $800,000 would mean money upfront, but would reduce maintenance costs yearly and would result in a revenue stream and an increase in payable hours, so the field would ultimately pay for itself, he said.

A natural field, he said, would cost, at a reasonable estimate, between $250,000 and $500,000, depending on site work and soil samples. In the case of Aldrich Lane, Ryan said, the site work costs would be considerable, including new irrigation and drainage.

The proposed synthetic field has a warranty of eight years but would likely last 10 to 15 years, he said.

Advantages would include less labor for maintenance, no irrigation, pesticides or mowing; a turf field would not be closed down for maintenance or rainy weather, he said.

Also, Ryan said, a favorable G-Max rating would mean that the fillable synthetic field would reduce the risk of concussions.

A brand new sod field’s projected annual maintenance cost would be $33,000 per year, but a turf field would cost $6,700 annually.

Those numbers, Deegan interjected, were “erroneous”.

Rental feels, Ryan said, at $100 per hour, would mean an annual income of $30,000, or $450,000 in 15 years.

The field, he said, could be used not only for soccer and lacrosse, but also for camps, NJROTC, and T-ball. “It’s a clean, level, multi-purpose surface,” he said.

The cost to replace the field after it ages out would be $600,000, with monies set aside annually, he said.

To proceed with the project, park district residents would vote on a referendum to bond for $350,000, with $450,000 used from reserves. He’d like to see the vote in August, Ryan said.

The approximate bond cost for 3,081 households would be $12 annually or $1 per month, he said.

One resident asked if Ryan had gotten written opinion for bond counsel that the district could bond for something that exceeded the probable usefulness or life of the project.

Cutchogue resident Abigail Field, who said she does not live in Mattituck but who has young children who would play on the field, said bonding costs, including cost of bonds and interest, should be included in projected costs.

 

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