Saying goodbye to a beloved family pet

IMG_0374“Puppy, puppy, puppy.” That’s the call we heard from the Jack Russell Terrier breeder in Belleville, Michigan as we were first introduced to her litter of puppies in the fall of 1996. In response to the call, out from the barn came bounding a delightful litter of darling Jack Russell Terrier puppies who had been born back on August 21st. You could have sworn it was a scene out of 101 Dalmatians.

Among these tumbling, bumbling, rolling, polling bundle of energy, was a sweet, four-spotted (on her back) female that all of us fell in love with instantly. A few days later, Kellie was ours and we begin and nearly 18 year love affair with this fun-loving, hilarious, and goofy dog.

As a Jack Russell Terrier, she was full of endless energy, which worked well for a household with three boys. Most memorable were her welcomes home, as she would tear through the entire house in excitement, up and down the stairs, from one room to another, around and around like a wound-up toy gone wild. It was simply hilarious to watch. Even in her senior years, she still showed snippets of such enthusiasm, though more running around the first floor and kitchen than the entire house.

DSC00580

Other joyous memories include Kellie:

  • Chasing a soccer ball as a puppy with the boys in the back yard – it was much larger than her;
  • Sitting up on her bum and begging for food by moving her front paws up and down (see first photo at top of the post);
  • Barking at the waves on the lake;
  • Occasionally taking a dip in the lake;
  • Lying in sunbeams where ever they were around the house – I used to call her “beamer dog;”
  • Snuggling up next to you or on your chest while taking a nap;
  • Chasing flickers of light on the kitchen floor;
  • Licking the hardwood floors – I have no idea why;
  • Always insisting on riding in the front seat of the car;
  • Nearly catching a squirrel who was raiding our bird feeder;
  • Actually knowing which birds we didn’t like at the feeder (house sparrows, starlings, and crows) and barking at only them;
  • De-fuzzing tennis balls bit by bit;
  • Chasing balls across the house and then trying to slide to a stop on the wood floor; and
  • Many, many more.

I will always treasure each and every moment that Kellie was a part of our lives. She was the sweetest pet anyone could ever hope for and personified goodness. Rest in peace, dear Kellie – I love you!

A to Z – Cities starting and ending with the same letter (UPDATE)

Source: 2020site.org

Source: 2020site.org

Below is my list of cities whose name, in English, starts and ends with the same letter of the alphabet. Based on the list below, cities stating and ending with the letter “A” seems to be the most common by a large margin.

As this is an incomplete list, any additions are most welcome. Cheers!

UPDATE – additions to the original post are shown in bold.

  • Aba, Nigeria
  • Ada. OK, USA
  • Abuja, Nigeria
  • Accra, Ghana
  • Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Ajdouscina, Slovenia (Thank you, Kreso)
  • Alafaya, FL, USA
  • Alma, MI and CO (Thank you, Deborah)
  • Alameda, CA, USA
  • Alamosa, CO, USA (Thank you, Deborah)
  • Alexandria, Egypt, VA, and LA, USA
  • Alpharetta, GA, USA (Thank you, Lynn)
  • Altavista, VA
  • Altona, MB, Canada
  • Altoona, PA and IA, USA
  • Ankara, Turkey
  • Annaba, Algeria
  • Apopka, FL, USA
  • Aqaba, Jordan
  • Arborga, Sweden ( Thank you, Silvia)
  • Arcata, CA, USA
  • Arriba, CO, USA (Thank you, Deborah)
  • Arvada, CO, USA
  • Arvika, Sweden (Thank you, Silvia)
  • Asrhara, Eritrea
  • Assiniboia, SK, Canada
  • Atlanta, GA, USA
  • Augusta, GA and ME, USA
  • Aurora, CO, IL, etc., USA and ON, Canada
  • Aventura, FL, USA
  • Avesta, Sweden (Thank you, Silvia)
  • Azuza, CA, USA (Thank you, Robert)
  • Cadillac, MI, USA
  • Dalesford, PA, USA (Thank you, Jonathan)
  • Deland, FL, USA
  • Dortmund, Germany (Thank you, Kreso)
  • Eagle, CO, USA (Thank you, Deborah)
  • Edwardsville, IL, USA
  • Elk Grove, CA, USA
  • Elk Grove Village, IL, USA
  • Empire, CO, USA (Thank you, Deborah)
  • Enschede, Netherlands (Thank you, Kreso)
  • Erie, PA and CO, USA
  • Esperance, Australia
  • Eugene, OR, USA
  • Evansville, IN, USA
  • Gatlinburg, TN, USA
  • Geelong, Australia
  • Gothenburg, Sweden and NE, USA
  • Greensburg, PA, USA
  • Gulyang, China
  • Hialeah, FL, USA
  • Keokuk, IA, USA
  • Keswick, ON, Canada
  • Kortrijk, Belgium (Thank you, Daniel)
  • Krasnoyansk, Russia
  • Laval, QC, Canada
  • Liverpool, UK and NS, Canada
  • Longueuil, QC, Canada
  • Lowell, MA and MI, USA
  • Mannheim, Germany and Manheim, PA, USA (Thank you, Kreso and Jonahtan)
  • Markham, ON, Canada
  • Nelson, New Zealand
  • New Britain, CT, USA (Thank you, Jonathan)
  • New Haven, CT and IN, USA
  • New London, CT, USA
  • Newman, Australia and CA, USA
  • Newnan, GA, USA (Thank you, Robert)
  • Newton, MA and IA, USA
  • New Wilmington, PA (Thank you, Jonathan)
  • Nijmengen, Netherlands (Thank you, Jacques)
  • Nipawin, SK, Canada
  • Norristown, PA, USA (Thank you, Jonathan)
  • Northglenn, CO, USA (Thank you, Deborah)
  • North Warren, PA, USA (Thank you, Jonathan)
  • Nunn, CO, USA (Thank you, Deborah)
  • Nynashamn, Sweden (Thank you, Silvia)
  • Omro, WI, USA
  • Ontario, CA, USA
  • Orlando, FL, USA
  • Orebro, Sweden (Thank you, Silvia)
  • Orono, ME, USA
  • Oslo, Norway
  • Otranto, Italy (Thank you, Kreso)
  • Oviedo, FL, USA
  • Owensboro, KY, USA
  • Prilep, Macedonia (Thank you, Kreso)
  • Puyallup, WA, USA
  • Radnor, PA, USA (Thank you, Jonathan)
  • Raymer, CO, USA (Thank you, Deborah)
  • Red Deer, AB, Canada
  • Rio Cuarto, Argentina
  • Rochester, NY, MN, IN, etc. USA and UK
  • St. Catharines, ON, Canada
  • Saint-Gilles, Belgium (Thank you, Daniel)
  • St. John’s, NF, Canada
  • St. Louis, MO and MI, USA
  • Salinas, CA, USA
  • San Luis, CO, USA (Thank you, Deborah)
  • Santa Claus, IN, USA
  • Santos, Brazil
  • Saratoga Springs, NY, USA
  • Sicamous, BC, Canada
  • Sint Niklaas, Belgium (Thank you, Daniel)
  • Sioux Falls, SD, USA
  • Snowmass, CO, USA (Thank you, Deborah)
  • Steamboat Springs, CO, USA (thank you, Deborah)
  • Sterling Heights, MI, USA
  • Strangnas, Sweden (Thank you, Silvia)
  • Tashkent, Uzbekistan
  • Tivat, Montenegro (Thank you, Kreso)
  • Warsaw, Poland and IN, USA
  • Yazoo City, MS, USA
  • Yuba City, CA, USA

If every city looks alike, then we are failing as a profession

Source: andysinger.com

Source: andysinger.com

In response to a cartoon I posted yesterday on panethos.wordpress.com, (see above) a comment was made that planners are one of the reasons why so many cities look-alike. That was a very thought-provoking and rather disconcerting response.

With reflection, I would have to partially agree with the respondent. In too many instances, we as planners fail to fight the good fight and stand up for sound planning practices. Sure, we can be overruled by boards and commissions, but when one scans multitudes of master plans, long-range plans, comprehensive plans, and zoning codes from across the land, there are numerous similarities. What happened to context? What happened to most appropriate? What happened to all the criteria we should be (and were taught to be) using in our daily responsibilities as planners?

Certainly, some similarities between cities are to be expected. But if Boston looks like Birmingham, if you think you are in Scranton when you are really in Peoria, or if Tucson overly resembles Boise, then that is not a good thing. Variety is the spice of life and our communities should be as diverse, unique, and vibrant as each of us. Otherwise, what’s the point of having individually tailored plans and codes? We might as well have a national set of regulations that are applied uniformly across the nation to every village, town, township, city, or county.

Perhaps this is all simple case of, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” or of, “if the ordinance survived a challenge elsewhere, it should be good to use here.” Needless to say, these are both somewhat lackadaisical approaches, but they could go a long way towards explaining the conundrum of sameness.

As professional planners, it is our job, no, it is our duty, to develop plans and codes that are best suited to the locality. Planners are not supposed to become one-size fits all land-use fashion designers. Some of you may recall the humorous (and perhaps a tad politically incorrect) Wendy’s commercial from the 1980s mocking a Soviet fashion show. In the advertisement, a model wears the exact same outfit for every purpose. Hopefully, as planners we are not mimicking that commercial in the application of our profession. To do so would be a great disservice to ourselves, our communities, and our profession.

 

 

 

Whose sidewalk is it anyway?

Source: heartlandluxuryhomes.com

Source: heartlandluxuryhomes.com

Recently, I have noticed two things about public sidewalks that seem to be amiss. The first is, why do property owners or businesses and their private landscapers insist on installing their sprinkler systems within the public right-of-way to water the green strip between the sidewalk and the curb? Walkers, joggers, and young cyclists are occasionally treated to unexpected or unappreciated showers when these things activate at their appointed times. Furthermore, far too often, this precious resource is wasted by watering the concrete sidewalk or asphalt driveway/street as the spray nozzles often seem to be aimed in the wrong direction.

Source: waterprogram@tamu.edu

Source: waterprogram.tamu.edu

Secondly, why are invisible fences allowed to be installed right up to the edge of the sidewalk? This allows aggressive dogs to run right up to those walking/jogging/pedaling by and scare the living daylights out of them. Except possibly during “doggy-in-training” periods, most people have no idea whether there is an invisible fence in place, whether it will even stop the dog, or whether the dog can reach you anyhow.

I love dogs just as much as the next person, but a minimum five foot setback from the edge of the sidewalk seems like a reasonable compromise versus being frightened for your personal safety when you pass the home of an angry dog. If anyone knows of a community or communities that has such an ordinance, please feel free to pass the information along. It would be most appreciated.

Rolling stock signage

Source: signsourcesolution.com

Source: signsourcesolution.com

Has anyone else in the planning and zoning realm noticed how certain retail and dining establishments are now strategically placing a fully decaled truck, car, or van in their parking lot to further advertise their business to those passing by? It appears to be the latest effort to circumvent local sign regulations. These vehicles wrapped in vinyl or covered in lettering are not (or rarely) used for anything but advertising purposes and mostly sit in the parking lot to draw more attention and customers.

Aside from the obvious regulatory issues pertaining to another sign being added to the premises, parking a vehicle covered in signage in the parking lot occupies at least one, if not more spaces that were intended (and approved) for employees or customers. In cases where a site barely meets the minimum number off-street spaces, this new tactic can result in their being a deficient number of available spaces, thus leading to additional enforcement or can result in potential impacts on neighboring businesses and/or streets from the spillover of customers.

If anyone has developed sign regulations addressing rolling stock signage, please feel free to share your experiences. Given the portability of these vehicle signs, enforcement can be a tricky issue and how to define/regulate their usage would need to be finely nuanced. Look forward to hearing any feedback.

Manchester United vs. Real Madrid in Ann Arbor

Source: espn.com

Source: espn.com

We had a grand old time Saturday afternoon with more than 109,300 of our closest friends watching the friendly match between Manchester United and Real Madrid in the Big House (Michigan Stadium) in Ann Arbor.

Source: freep.com

Source: freep.com

It was the largest crowd for a soccer match in United States history and the teams did not disappoint – a picture perfect bicycle kick shot on goal by Real Madrid, superb crosses and passes by Man U, dazzling footwork by Renaldo, and a halftime performance by The Fray. In the end, it was Man U who stole the show with a 3-1 victory, as their fans happily sang Glory, Glory Man United.

Source: freep.com

Source: freep.com

Cheers and thank you to both teams for bringing the beauty and excitement of Champions League soccer to Michigan!

Source: freep.com

Source: freep.com