ALCC news center
Final H2B Wage Rules Email
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 04:58 PM

 

The H-2B rules promised by end of month are available at the following links. They become effective today.

Comprehensive IFR: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/04/29/2015-09694/temporary-non-agricultural-employment-of-h-2b-aliens-in-the-united-states

Wage Final Rule: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/04/29/2015-09692/wage-methodology-for-the-temporary-non-agricultural-employment-h-2b-program

So far, Senator Bennet has asked for comments on how these rules will affect member businesses. If you respond to him, please also email that response to your House Representative and to Senator Gardner. They need to continue to hear from us.

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What is a WOTUS? Email
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 04:58 PM

 

Waters of the USWhat's a WOTUS?
In June 2014, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in partnership with the US Army Corps of Engineers, released a proposed rule (known as Waters of the United States, or WOTUS) in order to, in their words, "clarify protection under the Clean Water Act for streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation’s water resources." The rule describe which waters can be federally regulated under the Clean Water Act.

Why should the landscape industry care about the WOTUS rule?

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STARS Act Email
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 04:58 PM

The STARS Act, to be reintroduced this year, defines and simplifies ‘seasonal worker’ for the purposes of complying with the Affordable Care Act. ALCC, National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), and other seasonal industries all support this act. But what does this act mean? Here is a quick overview of the act:

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California’s drought: dead lawns and denial Email
News
Thursday, May 14, 2015 12:11 PM

California droughtLast week, California’s State Water Resources Control Board approved rules forcing cities to limit watering on public property and encouraging homeowners to let their lawns die.  Figures released only 2 days earlier revealed that water use statewide had only decreased 4% in March compared to the same month in 2013.  This is far short of Governor Jerry Brown’s desired savings of 25% statewide.

At a time when dead lawns are encouraged, some say many Californians, especially in the southern areas of the state, are in denial about the drought.  High end neighborhoods and estates in prestigious zip codes still have green lawns.  Yet, what these property owners don’t yet know could catch them off guard.  

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Drought watch: Is landscape industry poised for pain or profit? Email
News
Thursday, May 14, 2015 11:48 AM

CA drought pic

In its coverage of the California drought last month, separate Fortune magazine articles listed the 6 industries hurt most by the drought – and the 9 industries that stand to profit most from the drought. 

With government encouraging homeowners to let lawns die, in which camp do you think the landscape industry landed?

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Affordable Care Act and defining seasonal workers Email
News
Thursday, May 14, 2015 02:00 AM

 

CourthouseALCC members have questions about the Affordable Care Act and how it interacts with the H-2B visa program. That response is simple: there is no difference. H-2B visa employees are treated the same as an American worker in terms of the law and the state exchanges.

More challenging, however, is the determination of who qualifies as a seasonal workers. Employers are obligated to determine who is a seasonal employee and calculate who is eligible for health coverage.

The STARS Act, to be reintroduced this year, defines and simplifies ‘seasonal worker’ and would help with this issue. ALCC, National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), and other seasonal industries all support this act. (View or download a brief from NALP's 2014 legislative conference for more info about this.) But until it is passed, the calculation of this status is left to the employer—with some guidelines.

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Early season strategies to keep your team upbeat and focused Email
News
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 06:05 PM

BBQThe rush is on.  Time to plant annuals – catch up on the mowing schedule – get rain-accelerated weeds under control – make deliveries and keep clients happy.  Everyone’s pushing the envelope and that leads to burn out, grumpiness and the collapse of team morale.

Whether you’re the big boss, a supervisor or fly at your desk pretty much solo, there are still things you can do to help yourself and others stay productive and focused without burning out.  Here are 4 strategies from green industry consultant Jeffrey Scott to keep your mind and morale going strong.

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Turf wars underway over robotic lawn mower Email
News
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 05:49 PM

lawn mowerIn a plot line full of intrigue and passive-aggressive argument, the maker of the Roomba finds itself forced to defend its request to use a restricted wireless range to operate a robotic lawn mower. The problem? Astronomers claim the range as their turf.

Satellites and robots are locked in a fight over the wireless airwaves—and knowledge about the future of the universe is at stake. It has all the makings of a great science fiction film, but the truth is a bit more mundane than that.  Not that it still isn’t interesting.

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Today is National Day of Service for Front Range volunteers Email
News
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 12:04 PM

 

National Day of ServiceBy the time you open this article, three community service projects will already be underway by ALCC’s Northern, Southern and Denver Chapters. It’s a day when the ALCC team joins with landscape pros across the country to help neighbors in local communities by installing and restoring landscapes in need.

This year’s projects include two school projects – one at a high school in Windsor and another at a K-8 school in Denver’s Stapleton neighborhood. The third project involves a joint effort with Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity to install landscapes in Colorado Springs.

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Planning a more sustainable urban forest Email
News
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 11:18 AM

 

tree diversity in urban forestsPlant trees to replace ash, increase diversity

Many Coloradans plant trees in the spring because it’s the best time of year to get new trees established. With the exotic, tree-killing emerald ash borer (EAB) establishing its presence in the state, there’s one more reason for planting in Colorado communities this year.

“Now is a good time to consider planting new trees to ultimately replace ash trees that may later succumb to emerald ash borer,” said Keith Wood, community forestry program manager for the Colorado State Forest Service.

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Financial sustainability: Improve loan chances with a bulletproof P&L Email
News
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 10:31 AM

 

Financial stabilityMore than 40 percent of U.S. small businesses consider themselves financially illiterate, according to findings of a 2014 Intuit study and the SBA. Yet, 81 percent of them handle their business’s finances.

With April being National Financial Capability Month, now is a great time to brush up on financial literacy skills and the P&L statement (profit and loss statement - also known as the income statement) should be at the top of the list.

It is inevitable that you will at some point have to deal with securing the capital to fund and/or expand your business venture. Your profit and loss (P&L) statement is not only useful for analytical purposes, but it can also tell any possible investors whether you have a strong, viable operation. Small businesses are inherently a high-risk investment for lenders, so the more you can do to prove the integrity of your business and your data, the greater your chances of securing a loan.

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Is your office wasting money? Email
News
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 09:46 AM

 

Money down the drainReducing miles driven via routing, fuel and scheduling choices are always high on the efficiency list for most landscape companies because they represent high costs and conversely huge savings through efficient choices. But what about the office?

Earth Day is a good time to remember that the home base for operations – including the office and shop - also requires energy and is one more place to cut operating costs. Whether you own or lease your building, you typically need lighting, heating, air conditioning, power for office equipment and other services. Following are tips to help maximize energy efficiency and save money while helping the environment.

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Earth Day reminder: Green Strategies for Colorado Landscapes Email
News
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 08:08 AM

 

Earth DayOn Earth Day it’s timely to remind ourselves in the Green Industry that as creators and stewards of the built landscape, we have the utmost responsibility to give our personal and collective best to the environments we create and maintain within our communities. And it’s also appropriate for us to remind those within our circle of influence – the clients and customers whom we serve – that we promote and practice environmental stewardship.

What we do every day keeps outdoor spaces healthy, thriving and beautiful so that those landscapes, in turn, can clean our air, cool our buildings, provide recreational areas and generally, keep us healthy.

Do you need a tool to get this message out to those you serve?

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