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North Coast Journal CALIFORNIA LANDSCAPE CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION Tuesday November 17th Dinner Meeting @ Rooster Run in Petaluma 6:00 PM FREE FOR ALL NEW MEMBERS & STUDENTS (a new member is anyone who has joined CLCA since November 2008)

As for Existing Members, please come and help greet our new associates…your CLCA knowledge and experience is so valuable! The cost of your dinner will be $35. We hope to see you there! RSVP to Connie @ (707) 829-5487

North Coast Chapter Holiday Party & Casino Night

Friday December 11, 2009 Rooster Run in Petaluma Invitations will be sent in the mail

2009 North

Coast Chapter Calendar of Events

November 4th .....Masters Golf Championship – North Coast – Adobe Creek Golf Club Petaluma November 17th…..Free Dinner Meeting for New Members & Students @ Rooster Run in Petaluma December 11h …..Holiday Party & Casino Night @ Rooster Run Board of Director’s Meetings- First Tuesday of the month @ Petaluma Community Center

North Coast Chapter CALIFORNIA LANDSCAPE CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION

NOVEMBER 2009


NORTH COAST CHAPTER BOARD OF DIRECTORS Chairman of the Board – Past President Jan Gross Heritage Landscape (415) 458-8151 jan@herlandscapes.com President Brigid Flagerman Bertotti Landscaping (415) 897-4097 b.flagerman@verizon.net

CLCA 2009 State Officers

President-Elect/Secretary Charlie Thompson Cagwin & Dorward (415) 892-7710 Charlie.Thompson@cagwin.com

Heath Bedal JPH Group LLC Phone: (916) 457-5925 heath@jphonline.com

Treasurer Lisa Stratton Cagwin & Dorward (415) 892-7710 lisa.stratton@cagwin.com

PRESIDENT-ELECT

Associate Member Chair Russ Clarke Park Ave Turf (707) 217-9669 rmclarke07@yahoo.com Resource Chair David Anderson Monarch Gardens (415) 491-1425 dave@monarchgardens.com CLT State Committee Liaison Dave Iribarne City of Petaluma (707) 778-4591 diribarne@ci.petaluma.ca.us Programs Chair David Gross Heritage Landscapes CLT Training Chair Luis Lua Integrated Design Studio lelua99@yahoo.com

Chapter General Board Members Gary Ronconi Sonoma Landscapes (707) 938-0621grsonomalandscapes@aol.com Henry Buder Henry Buder Landscape Restoration (415) 686-9228 hbuderlandscape@att.net Jose Moreno Gardeners’ Guild jmoreno@gardenersguild.com

Lesther Saquelares Gardeners’ Guild La.saquelares@yahoo.com

Tyler Doherty Cal West Rentals (707) 763-5665 tyler@calwestrentals.com Owen Mitchell Mitchell Landscapes (415) 717-6214 mitchland@sbcglobal.net Dave Phelps, CLT, ASLA Gardens & Gables (415) 499-0331 dave@gardensandgables.com Chris Zaim Akita Landscape (707) 486-2548 akita@aceweb.com

PRESIDENT

William Schnetz, CLP Schnetz Landscape, Inc Phone: (760) 591-3453 bill@schnetzlandscape.com

IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT Peter Dufau, CLT Dufau Landscape Inc. Phone: (805) 985-2421 dufauland@aol.com

SECRETARY/TREASURER Eric Watanabe Majestic Pools & Landscape Phone: (818) 831-1390 ewooc@aol.com DIRECTOR OF CHAPTER SERVICES Andrew Simpson Quillen Enterprises (916) 721-1635 quillent@aol.com

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Sharon McGuire Phone: (800) 448-2522, ext. 13 FAX: (916) 446-7692 sharonmcguire@clca.org

North Coast CLCA Executive Director Journal Editor Connie Salinas P.O. Box 1621 Sebastopol, CA 95473 Phone 707-829-5487 Fax 707-829-5487 heyconniesalinas@hotmail.com


President’s Message by Brigid Flagerman – Bertotti Landscaping COME JOIN US ONLINE – clcanorthcoastchapter.org Please mark your calendar for our New Member Dinner in November. It is always a great evening with industry leaders on the panel answering questions from the audience. Past leaders have included: Henry Buder, Dave Penry, Jan Gross, Jim Dibble, Dave Phelps, Tony Bertotti, Susie DowdMarkarian, Charlie Thompson, Eric Rayner, Jay Tripathi, Peter Estournes, Richard Plaxco, Gregg Gill and John Buchholz. Hang on to your cards, poker fans. This year’s Holiday Party will include casino tables. Yep, Blackjack, Roulette and Craps Tables will be there for your gaming pleasures. A special thanks to Mitch Owen & Tyler Doughty for all their work in trying to make this happen in September. Better later than never. We are in the process of planning our 2010 calendar and we need your help. This last year we mainly focused on water issues and sustainability. Now we are trying to get a pulse of what you are needing for next year. Please let me know of any speakers and/or topics you are interested in and email me or Charlie Thompson, our president elect . Our email addresses our on page two of the journal. Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday. May it be filled with the grandeur of gratitude!

Lingering in Happiness After rain after many days without rain, it stays cool, private and cleansed, under the trees, and the dampness there, married now to gravity, falls branch to branch, leaf to leaf, down to the ground where it will disappear –but not, of course, vanish except to our eyes. The roots of the oaks will have their share, and the white threads of the grasses, and the cushion of moss; a few drops, round as pearls, will enter the mole’s tunnel; and soon so many stones, buries for a thousand years, will feel themselves being touched.

-Mary Oliver


Water Measured From the Sky Satellites Track Land's Consumption Water management is serious business in the American West, where precipitation is scarce, irrigated agriculture is a major industry, new housing subdivisions spread across arid landscapes and water rights are allocated in a complicated seniority system. "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it," water officials are fond of saying. But measurement -- trying to determine how much water is diverted from rivers and how much is pumped from hundreds of thousands of wells -- has been an inexact and expensive science. Monitoring Water In Idaho, scientists are using remote imaging to study evapotranspiration, the loss of water to the atmosphere by evaporation from soil and water, and by transpiration from plants. Now a tool developed by the Idaho Department of Water Resources and the University of Idaho is changing the face of water management and conservation by efficiently offering specific measurements of the water consumed across a large region or single field. Using surface temperature readings from government satellites, air temperature and a system of algorithms, the new method lets officials measure how much water is "consumed" on a certain piece of land through evapotranspiration. Evapotranspiration is a combination of the evaporation of water into the atmosphere and the water vapor released by plants through respiration -- basically, a measurement of the water that leaves the land for the atmosphere, not water that is diverted or pumped onto land but then returned quickly to the water table or river for other users. Water resource management agencies in Idaho and other states see this as the best way to measure water consumption, since it is a more exact definition of how much water is being removed from the system by a given individual or entity. The program, called METRIC for Mapping EvapoTranspiration with High Resolution and Internalized Calibration, was launched in 2000 with a NASA/Raytheon Synergy Project grant and is used by 11 states. (Though researchers do measure the evapotranspiration rates of residential developments, the method is mainly relevant to the management of agriculture, fish farms and forest or wetland conservation.) "There's not enough water for all uses, so you use METRIC to see exactly where water is being consumed," said Tony Morse, manager of geospatial technology at the Idaho Department of Water Resources. "How much for agriculture, how much on the Indian reservation, how much by native cottonwoods, how much by saltcedars."


METRIC uses images from the two Landsat satellites, which orbit Earth every 16 days, meaning an image of a given field is available every eight days unless cloud cover interferes. Until this year users had to pay the U.S. Geological Survey $600 for each 185-by-180-kilometer "scene." Starting in 2009 the government satellite images, which are also used for Google Earth, are free to the public. METRIC developers have published their algorithms for anyone to use, though agencies must write their own computer codes. The data have already been used to help settle a century-long fight between Colorado and Kansas over water in the Arkansas River and a dispute between Idaho irrigation districts. Previously, officials had to look at well-pumping records and electricity use to estimate each irrigation district's usage. Water managers say the data help to settle and avoid litigation. "This tool would allow the state of Wyoming or Colorado to independently verify what's going on in California," said Tony Willardson, executive director of the Western States Water Council. "It probably wouldn't be safe for someone in a Colorado Department of Natural Resources truck to drive around in California to see how much water they're using." In Oregon, METRIC data helped conserve water in Klamath Basin salmon habitats by helping scientists work with ranchers to withhold irrigation from certain cattle pastures. In California, the program eased fears that water transfers to Los Angeles and San Diego would increase the salinity of Imperial Valley farmland. In Texas, METRIC revealed that invasive saltcedar trees were using less water than expected, indicating an expensive eradication of the trees was likely not necessary. Willardson said the system can allow irrigation districts or other entities to conserve water and save the surplus for drier times. For example, if Southern California's Imperial Valley irrigation district can prove that it used less water than it has rights to, it can use more water from the Colorado River the following year. In the past, Imperial Valley farmers would have had little incentive not to use their full water rights. The same principle applies to farmers who can "bank" their rights to consumer water and lease or sell those rights to other users. The data are also crucial to government programs that buy back water rights -- essentially paying farmers to let their land dry -- so the water can flow into streams where steelhead trout and salmon spawn. Recently the program's future has been in jeopardy because NASA was not planning to include the $100 million thermal infrared sensor needed to record surface temperature in the next Landsat satellite, scheduled to launch in 2012. The currently orbiting Landsat 5 and 7 were launched in 1984 and 1999 and were designed to last only three to five years. After much pressure from Western politicians, it appears NASA will include the sensor in Landsat 8. A final decision is expected by the end of the year, according to Jim Irons, a project scientist for the Landsat Data Continuity Mission based at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. "Due to their demonstration of the value of the data, we are doing our utmost to make sure we can include the instrument," Irons said. The project is a finalist for the Harvard Kennedy School's Innovations in American Government Awards, to be announced Monday. James Levitt, director of the Program on Conservation Innovation at the Harvard Forest, Harvard University, and said METRIC is among the most remarkable of hundreds of applications he has reviewed. He thinks it will help Western states adapt to climate change, as more extreme heat and less precipitation are expected. "The water conflicts that are brewing are intense," he said. "If you don't have water you can't farm. Climate change is actually happening now. This will allow government and farmers to adapt. Not every farmer in Idaho subscribes to global warming as a proven theory. But they want to know where their water is." Washington Post – 09-14-09 by Kari Lydersen


Hear Ye Hear Ye Special Announcements from The North Coast Chapter

♣ The New North Coast Website: We are pleased to announce that we unveiled our new chapter website @ the November dinner meeting. HUGE thanks to Michael O’Connell of O’Connell Landscape for all his tireless work in creating this beautiful and functional site!!!! We invite you all to visit it as soon as you have a chance @.........

clcanorthcoastchapter.org ALSO……The North Coast Journal can now be viewed online and any of you who wish to go a little greener, can opt out of the paper version of the Journal.

TO OPT OUT OF THE PAPER VERSION OF THE JOURNAL: Call or e-mail Connie @ (707) 829-5487 or heyconniesalinas@hotmail.com and give her your e-mail address and she will make sure that you start receiving the journal electronically.

♣ Our 2009 Holiday Party is also a Casino Night SAVE THE DATE: Friday December 11, 2009 @ Rooster Run Please plan on joining us for our annual Holiday Party and Dance. This year we will be adding Casino Games to make it an even more festive event.

Look for your invitation in the mail very soon!!!!

♣ Free Dinner for all New Members and Students Our November Dinner Meeting is a chance for all the new members and students to get a chance to interact with our existing members. A new member is anyone who has joined since October of 2008. We will also have a panel of esteemed contractors to answer questions. Please join us! See cover & flier for details!!


Freestone’s Osmosis Day Spa creates Greywater Wetland Will reclaim 1,000 gallons daily; ‘reconnects spa guests … to the natural water cycle’

Wetland habitat at Osmosis Day Spa FREESTONE - Long-time champion of “green before it was green,” Osmosis Day Spa recently unveiled the culmination of more than a year’s worth of work to create a unique, on-site wetlands and water recycling habitat. Late last month, the spa and sanctuary announced the creation of a constructed marsh project on the eastern edge of the five-acre property that will recycle about 1,000 gallons daily. The habitat that was planned and constructed in about 14 months will provide a home for local insects and animals but also process wastewater. “Reusing our greywater for irrigation reconnects spa guests and staff and the gardens to the natural water cycle,” said owner Michael Stusser, who opened the spa about 20 years ago. The plot takes water from the spa’s sinks, showers and washing machines and naturally filters heavy metals and organic matter through its ecosystem of plants and microorganisms. The recycled water can then be used for hydrating the spa’s soon-to-be-completed gardens. The landscape will eventually include lavender, fruit trees and other herbs that will be used in the spa. In order to complete the system, plumbing had to be reconfigured to separate greywater from other waste water from toilets and the kitchen. The water is stored in a tank then piped to the wetlands where it is processed for about four to seven days. The space has the capacity to release up to 1,500 gallons a day, which is pumped into the spa’s subsurface irrigation system. Inside the spa, Osmosis has long implemented other sustainability-minded measures, including energy saving systems, composting and organic therapies. Mr. Stusser is recognized nationally for his leadership in efforts to green spas. He helped launch the Green Spa Network with six other businesses in 2007. The nonprofit now includes about 51 members nationwide and provides a toolkit for other providers interested in greening their operations. North Coast Business Journal - 08-09-09 by D. Ashley Furness


Morton Arboretum Installs Crushed-Glass Porous Paving The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois is testing a new porous pavement as part of a decades-long environmental commitment. "We are constantly looking for more sustainable techniques and products. This FilterPave porous pavement may be the way of the future," said Kris Bachtell, director of collections and facilities at the Morton. About 90 percent of the FilterPave surface is recycled colored glass mixed with a an elastomeric binder, which the spec sheet says gives the pavement “characteristics of a flexible pavement.” Crushed granite is also mixed in. All glass and aggregate is 1/4 inch or less in size. The glass, of course, is processed to round its edges.

According to the manufacturer-Presto Geosystems of Appleton, Wis.-the glass pavement is as safe as any traditional surface we walk or drive on and is appropriate for parking lots, trails/walkways, sidewalks, pedestrian patios and driveways. The manufacturer asserts the surface is “twice as porous as other hard-surfaced porous pavements, resulting in a greater reduction of stormwater runoff.” Only a handful of Chicago-area locations have installed this colorful paving material. Emerald Site Services of Frankfort, Ill. donated the material and installation.

To view an installation of the paving: www.reynoldspkg.com/alcoa-geo/en/solutions/filterpave.asp Images: Morton Arboretum

FilterPave is about 90-percent recycled colored glass mixed with an elastomeric binder. The glass is crushed, tumbled and rounded to a consistent 1/4-inch diameter. The base layer for the specialty paving is aggregate, crusher run limestone or equivalent with less than five percent fines. The wearing course aggregate is 1/4inch to 1/8-inch angular crushed granite. The angular aggregate performs better than smooth rock aggregates.

Quotable Quotes Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we've been ignorant of their value. ~ R. Buckminster Fuller


California passes bill to encourage stormwater reuse During the wet season, the city of L.A. sends 100 million gallons of stormwater into the Pacific each day. That water had, for many years, been handled as pollution, since the water produced in rainstorms picks up various effluents that then flush into the ocean. But a new California bill seeks to expand the role of stormwater management to incorporate strategies that will use it as a resource. The Stormwater Resource Planning Act, SB 790, allows municipalities to tap funds from two of the state’s existing bond funds and use the money for projects that reduce or reuse stormwater, recharge the groundwater supply, create green spaces and enhance wildlife habitats. SB 790 was signed into law Sunday and takes effect Jan. 1, 2010. "I was proud to carry 790," said Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), who wrote the bill. "It uses existing funds to create new water supplies out of water that in the past was simply treated and dumped. This bill helps create a significant new source of water for our always water-short state." With California in the throes of a budget crisis and a water crisis – the state is currently enduring a third year of drought – the competition will likely be fierce among the many government agencies that manage the state’s stormwater. SB 790 allows agencies to apply for and, if approved, draw on remaining funds from Prop. 50, the $3.44-billion water security bond passed by California voters in 2002, and Prop. 84, the $5.4-billion safe drinking water bond passed in 2006. Exactly how much money is left over from those bonds is unclear.

L.A.’s Bureau of Sanitation, which has already received $22 million in bond funds from the state for various stormwater projects, is likely to apply for even more funds through SB 790. According to Wing Tam, assistant division manager for the bureau’s watershed protection division, the money will fund an expansion of the city's rainwater harvesting projects and green infrastructure, including large cisterns, stream restoration, biofiltration and downspout disconnections. "It's important for us to capture stormwater and use it as a resource," said Tam, who noted that the city's paradigm shift from viewing stormwater as pollution to stormwater as a resource has been a gradual process born through 10 years of pilot projects. "Not only does that help us with water quality but quality of life. A wetland park deals with water quality, but it also creates a park for people to use. It's multi-use. That's our future."# Los Angeles Times-10-14-09 by Susan Carpenter

HAPPY THANKSGIVING


Lampson Tractor & Equipment is pleased to announce the opening of their New Headquarters and Master Facility located in Cloverdale Cal. Lampson Tractor & Equipment have been in business for over 95 years and is looking forward to servicing the CLCA, members equipment needs . Please look for the Lampson tractor & equipment's Fall service specials at a location near you. Steve Watts Sales Manager Lampson Tractor - cell 843-209-6366

Lampson locations CLOVERDALE

ST. HELENA

UKIAH

ROHNERT PARK

27000 Asti Road (707) 857-3443

1151 Vintage Ave (707) 967-3550

285 Talmadge Rd. (707) 463-1210

5100 Commerce Blvd (707) 584-7290

Lampson is also located in San Jose @ 701-39B Kings Row – (408) 292-4041 Many Thanks to Lampson Tractor The North Coast Chapter has been so fortunate to have had the help of Lampson Tractor at numerous educational events over the past few years. Will Jenkel from Lampson has been a great friend to our chapter and a helpful coordinator of the Heavy Equipment Training this past July as well as supplying equipment for the CLT trainings and tests. We are very grateful for all of the opportunities the use of this equipment has afforded our members and we so appreciate Lampson Tractor for its generosity towards our education goals! Thank You from the Board of Directors of North Coast Chapter of CLCA!!


Hybrid Remote Control Mowers Slope mowing capabilities up to 70 degrees is where these remote control lawn mowers really become practical. Lawn care professionals are benefiting from increased productivity, while the environment is benefiting from reduced air pollution. According to the EPA, lawn mowers are responsible for nearly 5 percent of our nation's air pollution. Electric mowers and push reel mowers are the most environmentally friendly choice for keeping grass trimmed, but are only practical on small lawns. With all of the auto makers pushing the limits of hybrid technology, it is no surprise to see the lawn mower industry finally following suit. Hybrid lawn mowers can reduce the amount of damage we do to the environment until someone comes up with an engine that runs off of seawater, or some other alternative fuel source. Independent studies have shown that mowing the lawn does the same amount of damage to the environment as driving a car about 100 miles, according to environmentalleader.com. That does not include those who use 2-stroke weed eaters as lawn mowers on slopes and ditches. Electric mowers have been around for a while, and are very environmentally friendly. Electric mowers are only practical on small lawns without slopes. Remote control lawn mowers from Southern RobotX utilize a patented hybrid power system that reduces fuel consumption by 40 percent (compared to other mowers), while remaining practical on any lawn. A lawn care professional generally resorts to six or eight men, equipped with ozone-eating weed eaters, for slopes over 40 degrees. Now they can use one man, equipped with a remote control lawn mower, to take on the slopes and ditches. The others are out focusing on productivity. It is a win-win situation for the environment as well as lawn care professionals. With all of the auto makers pushing the limits of hybrid technology, it is no surprise to see the lawn mower industry finally following suit. Southern RobotX is leading the way with the introduction of hybrid remote control lawn mowers. While hybrid lawn mowers will not end our planet's pollution problems, they will reduce the amount of damage we do to the environment until someone comes up with an engine that runs off of seawater, or some other alternative fuel source. "Independent studies have shown that mowing the lawn does the same amount of damage to the environment as driving a car about 100 miles." environmentalleader.com. That does not include those who use 2-stroke weed eaters as lawn mowers on slopes and ditches. Slope mowing capabilities up to 70 degrees is where these remote control lawn mowers really become practical, and not just fun. Lawn care professionals are benefiting from increased productivity, while the environment is benefiting from reduced air pollution. A lawn care professional generally resorts to 6 or 8 men, equipped with ozone-eating weed eaters, for slopes over 40 degrees. Now they use one man, equipped with a remote control lawn mower, to take on the slopes and ditches. The others are out focusing on productivity. It is a win-win situation for the environment as well as lawn care professionals. To learn more about hybrid remote control lawn mowers visit RemoteMower.com


H.R. ALERT November 2009 from Larry Levy

Workers’ Compensation The Basics Many of you have contacted me over the past several years with questions about Workers’ Compensation. Incidentally, I am blessed with two excellent Workers’ Comp. attorneys in Novato. I thought I would devote the November H.R. Alert to discussing the insurance program’s main ingredients and your obligations as an employer with Workers’ Comp. What is Workers’ Comp.? Workers’ Comp is a legally mandated insurance program that provides treatment and some compensation for employees injured on the job. Workers’ Comp. does not apply to employees who have non-occupational (“injured away from work”) injuries. Workers’ Comp. covers medical and rehabilitation expenses for employees who are injured or become injured on the job. It also replaces a portion of the employee’s wages while the employee cannot work or if the employee dies or is permanently disabled. A complex state formula determines how much compensation an employee receives. If an employee breaks his leg on the ski slope during the weekend she/he is ineligible for W.C. She or he may be eligible for state disability or your own long or short term disability plan but not W.C. Of note, an injured employee cannot receive both Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment Insurance at the same time. Do you have to have a Workers’ Comp. policy? Absolutely. Any California employer with any employees (regardless of number) must have this policy. If you don’t, you are looking at severe financial penalties and subject to having your business closed by a state agency. Do you have to cover Independent Contractors? Since Independent Contractors are not employees you do not have to have them covered unless you have incorrectly classified employees as I.C.’s. This is a subject for a latter discussion. When does Workers’ Comp. Apply? An employee is covered when she or he works, during breaks, at meal periods, work related activities, calling on a client, attending a training session or going to a conference or seminar. Employees are also covered when they telecommute and work at their homes. Workers’ Comp. also covers illnesses over a long period of time such as those related to hazardous substances and repetitive injuries. Can Employees Sue their Employer if they are Retaliated Against while on Workers’ Compensation? Yes they can. California Labor Code Section 132a prohibits employers from discharging, threatening to discharge or discriminating against an employee who intends to file or already has filed for W.C. This is very dangerous territory because your relationship and conversation with the injured worker may be considered retaliatory even if you did not mean to do so. For example, not allowing an injured worker to accrue paid vacation while allowing others to do so, firing an employee on Workers’ Comp., etc. Employers that violate section 132a can be charged with a misdemeanor plus the employee’s Workers’ Comp. benefits can be increased by 50% to a maximum of $10,000.00. What are an Employer’s Obligations? • To ensure that employees are aware of the Company’s policies which should be documented in the employee handbook • To address Workers’ Comp. fraud through the employee handbook or memorandums to employees

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To provide immediate first aid to an injured worker at the time of the accident and call an ambulance when an injury or accident occurs To provide a Workers’ Comp. claim form to any worker injured on the jobsite or during the course of work requiring time off to see a physician or go to the hospital To investigate any accident or event leading to a Workers’ Comp. injury or illness Inform the Company’s Workers’ Comp carrier when an injury occurs Contact Cal/OSHA within 48 hours when an occupational injury occurs Develop a relationship of trust and communication with your W.C. carrier Prioritize and highlight the necessity of performing all aspects of the job safely Provide safety equipment when required: back-support belts, goggles, gloves, hearing protection, respirators and steeled-toed safety boots Direct all your employees to report any occupational injuries to workers immediately to the supervisor, manager or owner. Prepare the required Injury and Illness Prevention Plan (if you need help, call me). These are required by all employers with more than 10 employees especially if workers are physically active as part of his or her job.

What Mistakes do Employers Make with Workers’ Compensation? • Terminating an employee on Workers’ Compensation • Paying an employee’s medical bills rather than provide him/her with a W.C. claim form (two clients in August) • Alienating or refusing to have contact with an employee on W.C. • Failing to enforce the use of safety equipment • Misclassifying employees as Independent Contractors to avoid paying W.C. • Refusing to be proactive with an existing claim form • Refusing to pay the employee’s medical premiums during W.C. leave when your policy dictates otherwise When Can You Terminate an Injured Employee’s Health Benefits? A recent Workers’ Comp. case has ruled an employer may terminate health benefits for an employee who is out on Workers’ Comp. leave as long as the termination follows the terms of the employer’s health plan. The case came from an agricultural worker whose employer had a policy that stated the employer would continue making health insurance premiums for up to 90-days on behalf of a disabled worker who became unable to work regardless of whether the disability was job related. At the end of the 90-day period the employer stopped paying the health premiums. The employee filed a 132a claim claiming his employer had retaliated against him for filing a Workers’ Comp. claim. He also claimed his employer was obliged to continue paying his health premiums during the W.C. leave. There was a lot of rankling with the net result that the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board stated the federal Employee Retirement and Security Act (“ERISA”) which regulated employee benefit plans supersedes state law claims regarding the wrongful denial of employee benefits. The bottom line is if your health plan qualifies as a “welfare benefit plan” under ERISA you can terminate coverage according to your plan’s terms without being liable for Workers’ Compensation discrimination. Be cautious before you do this! As always, if you have questions please call me at (415) 892-1497. Larry Levy - Employee Relations Management P (415) 892-1497 F (415) 892-6596 E llevy@employeerelationsmanagement.com

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Recently Rick Taylor from Elder Creek Landscapes was interviewed by KQED for an article on Spare the Air

Spare the Air Employer Case Study Company Overview Elder Creek Landscapes (Elder Creek) is a full-service landscape company based in Sebastopol with services including design, installation, maintenance and project management. When Rick Taylor founded Elder Creek in 2000, he committed to providing services using an ecologically minded approach. Today Rick works with a team of five landscapers to implement this vision. They serve more than 30 customers a month. Challenge When Elder Creek started, the company served customers in and around Sebastopol. Word of their great work spread quickly and the company began to receive requests from clients outside their main path of travel. This greatly expanded the team’s work route. Elder Creek landscapers were soon driving longer hours to and from project sites through areas with heavy traffic congestion; thus generating a greater carbon footprint. The long hours on the road also led to frustration and diminished morale among employees. Solution To be true to the company’s commitment to the environment and improve employee morale, Taylor decided only to accept and maintain projects within a certain radius of their headquarters. By eliminating projects outside this area, Elder Creek projected an annual profit loss of $8,000 to $9,000 but determined the sacrifice worthwhile in exchange for reducing carbon emissions and employee stress. Results Elder Creek filled the vacant spots with local projects, and recovered lost revenue by the second month following the decision. By eliminating far-away projects, the company ended up saving money. Elder Creek reduced its carbon emissions by 9,600 lbs. a year; saved $1,440 in gas per year; lowered commute times, decreasing automotive liability; and improved overall employee moral. These results translated into greater quality work for clients and to building a stronger business. Quote “Slightly amending your practices can be a profitable way for small businesses to be sustainable – even if the change seems counterintuitive at first.”– Rick Taylor, Founder & Owner of Elder Creek Landscapes Above & Beyond the Call of Duty (Side Bar) Elder Creek employs multiple strategies in their ecological approach to landscape design, construction, and maintenance. Here are some examples: •

Mobile Solar Generator - Elder Creek outfitted their onsite trailer with solar panels to produce clean energy for the installation team. The system produces more energy than is necessary to power all of their tools, including their heater, microwave and coffee pot.

Biodiesel Carpool - Employees carpool to work sites in Elder Creek’s biodiesel-fueled truck.

All Natural - The company does not use toxic herbicides, pesticides, or synthetic fertilizers. Instead Elder Creek uses composts, mulches and soil organisms to reduce energy inputs, build soil, sequester carbon, and protect groundwater.

Mobile Solar Generator • Simple Green Construction - Elder Creek workers “wet cut” stones and concrete to prevent particulates from polluting the air. The team also uses manual push mowers, when possible, and the lowest emission 2 cycle engines available on the market.


CLCA H20 Management Program Qualifies For PLANET CEU’s "We are pleased that PLANET has recognized the quality of our program and approved us for continuing education units," said Sharon McGuire, Executive Director of the California Landscape Contractors Association. (far right). The California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA) is pleased to announce its Water Management Certification Program training has been approved for Continuing Education Units through the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET). PLANET offers a series of certification and training programs for the landscape industry to raise the standards of the profession while improving professional development. A few of these programs include the Certified Landscape Technician, Certified Ornamental Landscape Professional and the Certified Turfgrass Professional. As of January 2009, PLANET transitioned to a new two-year recertification cycle for all landscape industry certifications. The continuing education required to maintain the active status of any PLANET certification is now measured in continuing education units (CEUs) rather than points. To maintain the active status of any PLANET certification, industry professionals will now be required to report 24 CEUs during a two-year cycle. Recertification and continuing education are considered best practices across the certification industry. CLCA's Water Management Training will be worth 3 CEUs, and anyone who signed up beginning January 2009 will be given continuing education units. CLCA's Water Management Certification Program was started in 2007 and helps meet the need to reduce landscape water usage by learning to work with advanced irrigation technology and a water budget. In some cases it also saves money, especially for those with tiered water pricing. An important part of any community, landscape positively alters the environment, reduces carbon emissions, improves air quality, protects the land, provides food, creates oxygen and sustains life.

Landscape water management helps save water and maximize our resources. According to the United Nations, nearly two thirds of the world's population is expected to have limited access to water by 2025. "We are pleased that PLANET has recognized the quality of our program and approved us for continuing education units," said Sharon McGuire, Executive Director of the California Landscape Contractors Association. "Water availability is an important issue that impacts us all and we believe the landscape industry is an important place to emphasize efficient water management because many people over water their landscapes by over 50%." CLCA's Water Management Certification Program is also available through the Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System, which establishes and maintains standards for professional development and continuing education programs for landscape architects. CLCA's Water Management Certification Program was made possible by the strong support of Ewing Irrigation Products, Toro Company, Hunter Industries, and Horizon Distributors Inc. who share a strong commitment to water conservation. CLCA's Water Management Certification Program trainings and tests are given throughout California and schedules are updated regularly. A test is also scheduled for Feb. 3, at CLCA's Landscape Industry Show in Los Angeles. For more information, contact David Silva at 916-830-2780 or email at davidsilva@clca.org. For additional test dates and times, visit http://www.clca.org.


NOVEMBER 2009

Page 23

LANDSCAPES UNLIMITED NURSERY 4330 Bodega Avenue, Petaluma, CA 94952 Phone: (800) 371-3300 Fax: (707) 778-0633

Steven Wright I was once walking through the forest alone. A tree fell right in front of me--and I didn't hear it. I wrote a song, but I can't read music so I don't know what it is. Every once in a while I'll be listening to the radio and I say, "I think I might have written that." He asked me if I knew what time it was. I said, "Yes, but not right now." I've been doing a lot of abstract painting lately, extremely abstract. No brush, no paint, no canvas, I just think about it. My watch is three hours fast, and I can't fix it. So I'm going to move to New York. I like to reminisce with people I don't know. I like to skate on the other side of the ice. If you can't hear me, it's because I'm in parentheses. Every so often, I like to stick my head out the window, look up, and smile for a satellite picture. It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to have to paint it. Cross country skiing is great if you live in a small country. Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time. You can't have everything. Where would you put it? I have the world's largest collection of seashells. I keep it on all the beaches of the world . . . Perhaps you've seen it. When I die, I'm leaving my body to science fiction. I went to the bank and asked to borrow a cup of money. They said, "What for?" I said, "I'm going to buy some sugar." I saw a bank that said "24 Hour Banking", but I don't have that much time. One time I went to a museum where all the work in the museum had been done by children. They had all the paintings up on refrigerators. Last time I went to the movies I was thrown out for bringing my own food. My argument was that the concession stand prices are outrageous. Besides, I haven't had a Bar-B-Que in a long time. I went to a 7-11 and asked for a 2x4 and a box of 3x5's. The clerk said, "ten-four."


PRSRT STD U.S. Postage PAID Sebastopol. CA Permit NO. 170

November 2009 In this Issue PAGE 3 ……………President’s Message by Brigid Flagerman PAGE 4……………..Water Measured from Sky Satellites Track Land’s Consumption PAGE 7….................Freestone’s Osmosis Spa Creates Greywater Wetland PAGE 9……………..CA Bill Passes to Encourage Stormwater Reuse PAGE 16……………HR Alert – Workers Compensation- The Basics by Larry Levy PAGE 18……………Spare the Air Employer Case Study PAGE 19……………CLCA’s H2O Mgmt. Program Qualifies for PLANET’s CEU’s PAGE 21…………....Hybrid Remote Control Mowers This Publication’s Masthead is Printed on Recycled Paper North Coast Chapter of the California Landscape Contractors Association

Profile for Michael OConnell

CLCA North Coast Journal November 2009  

CLCA North Coast Journal November 2009

CLCA North Coast Journal November 2009  

CLCA North Coast Journal November 2009

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