River City Harvest offers spring gardening and planting advice

GREAT FALLS — If you plan to get out and garden this spring, the folks with River City Harvest (link) in Great Falls are a good source of information.

Treasurer Janel Kresowski is an avid gardener.

“It’s so relaxing. The garden is a happy place. You can just come and kind of lose yourself in the dirt and the plants and it’s such a good feeling when you get to harvest,” Kresowski said when asked why he likes gardening.

River City Harvest is a nonprofit that oversees several gardens in Great Falls, including Park Place Garden where the interview for this story took place.

If you’re wondering what to grow, you’ve got a range of options.

“There’s very few things that I haven’t been able to grow. We’ve had people who have actually grown artichokes here, which I would say could never be but they have beautiful artichokes. It depends on the season,” said Kresowski.

If you want some more specific information, River City Harvest President Janice Driver suggests checking out Montana State University Extension’s guides.

“There’s two of them that I particularly like. One is ‘Can I grow this here?’ and the other is ‘Growing a successful vegetable garden,'” said Driver.

The guides can be found online, at extension offices, and during the growing season at places where you can buy seeds.

At Park Place Garden, garden plots can be rented. To inquire about renting a plot, contact Kresowski at 406-868-1624 or 406-453-1155.

“The plots are all at least 300 square feet and the cost is $70 a season for the plot unless the plot has, or you wish to have, a drip irrigation system and then it’s $60. We buy our own water from Park Place’s owner and it’s less with a drip system,” Driver said.

Garden plots became available April 1.

Crops that do well in cool weather can be planted before the last expected hard frost, which is about May 15. Crops that don’t do well in cool weather should be planted after that.

When asked what her favorite thing to grow is, Kresowski couldn’t pick just one.

“Everything,” Kresowski said with a laugh.

On April 15, River City Harvest will hold a gardening workshop focused on developing gardens for nutrient-dense food. It will be at the Great Falls Salvation Army building at 1000 17th Avenue South from 1-4 pm Admission is $40.

Questions or comments about this article/video? Click here to contact Colter.


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10 interior design trends that will shape our spaces in 2023 |

With a focus on enduring materials, sustainability and design pieces with permanence, the latest interior design trends for 2023 are anything but fashionable fads.

Of course, the very nature of trends is that they are ever-changing and developing, but the overall feeling for interior design in 2023 is curating an adaptable, comfortable, and inspiring space that can both stand the test of time as well as be at one with your identity and style.

Our edit of the 2023 interior design trends focuses on both the fresh ideas brought forward by designers as well as the long-lasting styles and influences that consistently remain at the heart of interior design. 

We cover everything from color to shape, material to styling in our round-up of the top ten biggest interior design trends for 2023 and beyond…

1. The influence of the natural world

Bathroom with dark wood doors and paneling, botanical wallpaper, dried flowers in a vase on windowsill

(Image credit: Jamie Haller)

It’s fair to say, that one of the biggest inspirations for many when it comes to interior design is the beauty of the natural world. From color palettes rooted in nature to the warmth of wood and the durability of natural stone, establishing an indoor-outdoor feel in the home can be both calming and relaxed and uplifting and energizing simultaneously. 

Chris Pask, director at Charlton Brown (opens in new tab) says, ‘our attachment to the great outdoors has increased in the post-pandemic era and we are seeing this translate into the world of interior design. Clients are increasingly looking for a greater connection to the outdoors, whether that is a literal connection via roof terraces, balconies and beautifully landscaped gardens, or more subtle nods to greenery and nature throughout the home. This can take the form of colors, materials and shapes that mimic those found in nature and are known to invoke a sense of calm.’

Beautifully shown in this small bathroom by Jamie Haller (opens in new tab), the House of Hackney (opens in new tab) Zeus wallpaper perfectly complements the original dark wood features and creates an immersive, indoor-outdoor look that feels classic and modern all at once.

2. Layered lighting

Small modern living room with modern chandelier, cream sofa with decorative colorful cushions, two matching table lamps, square artwork behind sofa, coffee table with plant

(Image credit: Albion Nord)

Piero de Marchis, director at Detail Lighting (opens in new tab) says, ‘homeowners are paying far more attention to the way spaces in the home make us feel, as well as their function. Our homes are having to work harder for us than ever before, with an increase in spaces having multiple functions. From open-plan living areas to kitchen-dining zones, the trend for installing multifunctional lighting that can be adapted to suit the room as it’s being used is set to continue to rise.’

Gone are the days of simply turning on the ‘big light’, 2023 lighting trends prioritize using a combination of various light sources in a space. From welcoming pools of light created through cozy table lamps and floor lamps to practical task lighting in a kitchen or study, the right use of layered lighting can

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Real-Estate Agents Face a Reckoning As Housing Market, Home Sales Slow

When Chrystina Arnold closed her first sale as a real-estate agent in December, she hoped it would provide a springboard to more deals and the start of a promising career. But almost four months later, Arnold is still trying to close a second sale.

Arnold, who lives in Port Huron, Michigan, paid $89 in October 2021 for a self-paced online course to become a real-estate agent. But by the time she got her license, in June, the typical mortgage rate had nearly doubled, leading to a dramatic slowdown in buying activity.

That drop-off has made the past year a struggle, Arnold told me. The first service she enlisted to help her find clients scammed her out of $600, and that December deal didn’t provide the financial windfall she needed. Even though Arnold represented both the buyer and the seller, the $57,000 sale netted her only a $2,300 commission — hardly enough to cover the various fees she pays to her brokerage, the National Association of Realtors, the company that sends her leads, and the multiple-listing service, a database where she can see homes for sale in her area. She’s occasionally worked at a bar or delivered pizzas to supplement her fiancé’s income and support her 6-year-old son. Despite the setbacks, she’s not giving up hope yet.

“I love my job. I love the flexibility of it,” Arnold told me. “The only thing I don’t like is the financial insecurity that comes with it.” 

Though she remains optimistic, Arnold knows the odds are not in her favor — agents with less than two years of experience earned a median gross income of just $8,800 in 2021, research from the National Association of Realtors found. But daunting statistics like that didn’t stop a wave of hopeful dealmakers from testing the waters earlier in the pandemic, when booming home prices promised hefty commission checks. The number of Realtors grew by more than 156,000 in the combined years of 2020 and 2021, according to the NAR, and peaked at a record high of 1.6 million in October. 

As the pandemic’s homebuying craze now seems like a distant memory, the slowdown in sales has forced a reckoning among real-estate agents who must decide whether the shrinking returns are worth the thousands of dollars and countless hours they’re pouring into their businesses. The challenges are most pronounced for newer agents who are still building up their networks, face fierce competition from their veteran counterparts, and haven’t yet weathered a downturn such as this one.

The spring homebuying season, when sales typically pick up and continue rising through the peak summer months, will be a crucial test for agents of all experience levels. A rising tide is no longer lifting all boats, and the industry is bracing to find out who’s in it for the long haul.

‘A low barrier to entry but a high barrier to success’

Jessica Reinhardt has seen this before. 

A second-generation Realtor, she’s watched plenty of people come and go from the

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Hobbs vetoes limits on local oversight of home-based businesses

PHOENIX — Gov. Katie Hobbs killed legislation that proponents said was designed to make it easier for people to operate home-based businesses.

Current law allows such operations as long as they meet certain conditions and also allows temporary commercial signs and the offering of items for sale.

SB1162 would have gone a step beyond, declaring that home businesses are “allowed as a use by right” as long as they didn’t run afoul of deed restrictions. It would have eliminated any requirement for licensing that would have allowed city officials to be aware a business was operating in the area.

“You should be able to operate a home-based business,” said Sen. Steve Kaiser, R-Phoenix, sponsor of the legislation. He noted that many people started such businesses during COVID. “We don’t need heavy regulation,” Kaiser said.

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Hobbs, however, sided with local officials who opposed, effectively removing all their power to regulate.

“While there is no doubt that more can be done to support small businesses in Arizona, this approach is far too broad,” the Democratic governor said Tuesday in her 25th veto of the legislative session. “This bill would create challenges for public safety and code enforcement in neighborhoods.”

That mirrors the comments of Tom Savage, a lobbyist for the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, who was tested against the measure when it was heard by the Senate Commerce Committee. He said the bill would have made it more difficult for communities to meet the needs of adjacent property owners.

“The bill seems to tip the scale in favor of the property rights of those who want to operate a home-based business over the property rights of those who bought their home expecting their neighborhood to be quiet and free from commercial activity,” Savage said.

He said the fact there are home-based businesses now, under existing local regulations, proves there is no need to further restrict the ability of communities to have some oversight.

But Jenna Bentley, a lobbyist for the Goldwater Institute, which says it advocates against government overreach, said the measure was justified.

“Sometimes this is a primary source of income,” he tested. “Sometimes this is a side job they do to help pay for groceries.”

Bentley said SB1162 was structured to apply only to operations with “no impact” on neighborhoods.

Hobbs, in her veto message, was unconvinced.

“I believe that there is a common-sense approach that balances the needs of neighborhoods and small businesses,” she wrote. “This bill fails to strike that balance, and I look forward to working with the Legislature and local leaders to support entrepreneurs and small businesses.”

Get your morning recap of today’s local news and read the full stories here: tucne.ws/morning

Howard Fischer is a veteran journalist who has been reporting since 1970 and covering state politics and the Legislature since 1982. Follow him on Twitter at @azcapmedia or email azcapmedia@gmail.com.

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Is a frozen market worse than a house price crash?

What’s worse than house prices crashing 20 per cent? How about them not crashing 20 per cent? With higher borrowing costs and inflation — and decades of tighter mortgage lending — the UK property market faces the prospect of not falling, but of freezing stiff.

And that might be the “worst of all worlds”, according to a new report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. In this scenario, low unemployment leads to relatively few forced sales, meaning prices hardly budget but transactions stall, housebuilding stops and cash-rich investors swoop in to outbid those on lower incomes.

The result is like what we have today but worse: home ownership remains inaccessible to all but the wealthiest and rents spiral ever upwards — it could last for years and no one gets to benefit from reduced prices as the cycle resets.

But is that worse than a full-on crash? I remember talking to a woman who, 30 years ago, worked for Citizens Advice. She still choked up at the thought of people caught in the downturn of the early 1990s, when house prices in the south-east fell 36 per cent — 20 per cent nationally. Worst were those who tried to hide how bad things were from their families, turning up to see her with sacks of unopened bills.

“We have a kind of folk memory of the house price crash of the early 90s,” says Toby Lloyd, co-author of the report. “But we haven’t realized how much things have changed since then.”

Compared to the early 1990s, or even 2008, today’s homeowners are far less exposed to price falls. For the past decade, most homeowners in England don’t have a mortgage, according to the English House Survey.

Line chart of Annual change in house prices, nominal and real ({b5e4caabb46945dac267f6fa1789e0b2b1831cce91f79b27f72a0de22e4bb018}) showing We are now entering the fifth housing downturn of the past 50 years

The report puts forward policy ideas to stop big housebuilders mothballing sites until market conditions improve; and to prevent investors and corporate landlords hoovering up properties — the most eye-catching involves allowing councils special powers to limit who can buy in their area.

Were UK house prices to fall 20 per cent from their peak last year, it would only take the average price back to where it was at the start of the pandemic. “There will be people who suffer [from negative equity] but they will be, thankfully, relatively few in number and help can be provided,” said Neal Hudson, another co-author of the report. “Stagnation is the big worry.”

So, how likely is such a market freeze? At the moment, things are looking chilly. Sales in January were down 11 per cent year on year, according to HM Revenue & Customs data released this week — and many of those deals were agreed before mortgage rates went bananas. According to Rics’ monthly market survey, buyer inquiries, agreed sales and new instructions are all falling.

So far, house prices have fallen about 3.2 per cent since their peak, according to Nationwide — but there may be a long way to go yet. When we listed our flat in north London last spring, it went

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