Monday, October 12, 2009

City Receives Stimulus Grant for Energy Conservation Projects

News Release
October 12, 2009

The City of Greeley was recently awarded an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant from the US Department of Energy as part of the federal government’s ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) stimulus program. The amount of the grant, $869,100, was based on the population of the community.

The application submitted by the City and accepted by the Department of Energy includes several projects. Funds will be used for projects to improve energy efficiency and reduce utility costs in several City facilities that include window replacement at City Hall, window refurbishment at City Hall Annex and upgrades to the air handling system at the Island Grove Events Center. These projects are estimated to reduce energy costs by at least 20%. Other funds in the grant will be used to provide energy audits and energy efficiency upgrades for commercial buildings within the city. Details of the audit and revolving fund programs will be announced later.

In 2007, the City adopted a resolution calling for greater energy efficiency in City facilities to reduce operational costs and provide environmental benefits. According to Karen Scopel, Greeley Natural Resources Planner, “In addition to the goals of energy efficiency and conservation, these projects are also expected to create or retain jobs in both the public and private sectors through the building rehabilitation and retrofit activity.”

For more information, contact Karen Scopel, Natural Resources Planner, in the Greeley Community Development Department at 970-350-9783 or by e-mail at Information on these projects and programs will also be posted on the City’s web page in the coming weeks.

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Attack of the Killer Pine Beetle!

Sounds like a '50s science fiction flick, but it's not. Unfortunately, what is occurring at epidemic levels from New Mexico into Canada, is now happening in Greeley with over 60 confirmed Mountain Pine Beetle attacks.

In Greeley, the beetle has attacked mostly Scotch Pine, but infestations have also been found in Pinyon, Ponderosa and Bristlecone Pines. Wellington, Windsor, Fort Collins, Loveland, Longmont, Boulder and Berthoud have all documented attacks too.

Diagnosis - If you see "pitch-tubes" (see photo above) on any of your pines, you have been attacked. On trees already losing the battle, you may also see needles change from green to a kind of "fading" brown-tinged green. Increased woodpecker and sapsucker feeding activity is another sign.

Treatment Options - Insecticides will not cure trees that are already under attack, but they will help protect trees from being hit. For a list of licensed pesticide applicators visit and use the left column link "Choosing a Tree Service."

Dead Trees - Some trees will be lost. To stem the spread of the beetle, infested trees must be removed. The wood cannot be kept for firewood, woodworking or other uses unless the bark has been removed and disposed of properly.

Summary - Keep your trees healthy with good year-round watering practices and have your trees sprayed with insecticide as a preventative measure. If an attack is successful, you must have the trees removed and disposed of properly by June 1, 2010. Let your neighbors know that bringing infested firewood to Greeley endangers everyone's trees. For information or assistance contact the City's Forestry Division at 339-2405.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Gardening: A Way of Life
By Deb DeBoutez & Chris Kennedy
(Orginally printed June 2009)

The May 4, 2009 Denver Post describes community gardening as a “hot trend.” But in Greeley, gardening is more than that; it’s our heritage. Community-based agriculture was a way of life for early settlers scratching out a living on these dusty plains. And today, we keep the tradition alive by helping each other reap the benefits of organic gardening.

There’s something for everybody, from becoming more self-reliant and improving your diet to making friends and stretching your budget. A $2 packet of lettuce seeds can produce 100 heads; at a market price of $2 a head, that’s $200!

For a decade Houston Gardens has been renting about a dozen plots (10 ft. by 60 ft.) where gardeners irrigate with ditch water, like the settlers did. Plumb Farm made its fertile, rock-free soil available to the public in 2008, and now seven gardeners grow goodies such as tomatoes and sunflowers on 15 by 20 foot beds.

Greeley’s flagship program is at the UNC Xeric Demonstration Gardens, where 24 summer plots (15 by 15 ft.) overflow with everything from potatoes and peppers to dahlias and dill. The garden was created in 2007 through a collaboration of the University, City of Greeley, Weld County, CSU Extension and non-profit for the developmentally disabled, Envision.

Gardeners follow cutting-edge rules of environmental sustainability, using drip irrigation, producing compost and fighting pests with an organic process called “integrated pest management.” But don’t worry if you’re a beginner, the City can arrange training to help get your feet wet.

If none of the community gardens profiled above work for you, call the number below for info on how to try one of the smaller gardens at: Cameron and Madison elementary schools, West Greeley Baptist and Christ Community Churches, and the non-profits Elder-Garden and Greeley Transitional House.

Come tour a garden and get inspired. Gardening might be the “latest thing” in some places, but it’s been around in Greeley since the 1800s. It’s that tradition that makes our gardens “Great. From the Ground Up.”