Wealth of Opportunities: Short on cash? Make your own

story by Paul Glover │illustration by Justin RentzelTwenty years ago I started printing money. Soon after, residents of Ithaca, N.Y., began exchanging colorful cash featuring children, waterfalls, trolleys and bugs. Since then, millions of dollars worth of Ithaca Hours have been traded by thousands of individuals and more than 500 businesses. They’ve purchased everything that dollars can: groceries, fuel, housing, land, healthcare and all the fun stuff.
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John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge: Oh, deer, overpopulation in the Refuge

story by Bernard Brown | photos by Christian Munold. Scenes from an early morning walk through Heinz National Wildlife RefugeIt’s impossible to know what actually happened, but it was easy to imagine an early morning dog walker startling a deer into a terrified sprint. We had paused to examine hoof prints where a deer trail crossed a human trail in the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. Four or five deeper strikes across a few yards seemed to indicate a burst of speed. Photographer Christian Hunold pointed out a dog paw print in the mud. The sun was just rising, overtaking a damp January mist on the morning we visited. As Gary Stolz, Refuge manager, explained when I spoke to him on the phone, “visitors who want to see deer should be there early, early in the morning or in the evening towards closing.”
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Steal this Idea: Chicago street cleans the air!

1. Bike lanes adjacent to parking lane; 2. Bike rack; 3. Bioswale planter (removes silt and pollution from surface runoff; 4. Solar bus shelter; 5. White light lamp (40% more energy efficient); 6. 100% post-consumer recycled content used for sub-pavement levels; 7. Light-colored pavement (39% of hardscape is reflective pavement); 8. Reflective pavement to mitigate urban heat island effect; 9. Pervious parking and bike lanes with detention area made from recycled materialsIn October, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) unveiled the first phase of their “greenest street in America” project. Located on a 1.5-mile stretch of Cermak Road in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, the street is made with air pollution-eating materials and features solar panels, native plants and stormwater-sucking pavement, among other impressive technology. The street’s success has since launched the city into the national limelight for innovative planning. Of course we’re happy for Chicago, but it leaves us wanting to know — who in Philadelphia will steal this idea?

So what makes Cermak Road the greenest street in America?

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Asparagus: Like spears through our hearts

story and photos by Grace DickinsonAsparagus is a hard worker. Plant it in a field, and you’ll see. Once the stalks get growing, they don’t stop. “Keeping up with it is a chore in itself,” says Deborah Rudman, this month’s featured gardener. “Though a good chore.”

Asparagus’s constant growth calls for a relentless (almost daily) picking schedule, with stalks shooting as high as 10 inches in just 24 hours. The crop is only harvested in the spring, though it needs space in the garden all year. As long as you properly take care of the perennial, it will zealously do its job for years to come. Fifteen growing seasons down the road, don’t be surprised to see the same patch of asparagus sprouting just as quickly as during its first year.

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Gaining Currency: From Germantown to Lancaster, people discover the incredible value of Equal Dollars

story by Brian Ademaekers | photo by Albert Yee. Bob Fishman (center), founder, and Deneene Brockington (Right), director, oversee a purchase at the Equal Dollars Consignment Shop.It’s a Monday afternoon in mid-February and a half-dozen Strawberry Mansion residents gather in a building at 30th and Ridge Streets. They stand around tables loaded with vibrant, fresh vegetables, like lettuce, mushrooms and bean sprouts. One resident, Beth Lisby, talks excitedly about her dinner plans: chicken salad over a bed of fresh green lettuce with plump tomatoes and yellow onion.

It’s a simple meal, but it’s one made with high-quality, fresh vegetables in a neighborhood where fresh vegetables can be a challenge to find. Adding to the satisfaction of the meal is how Lisby earns her bounty. During the week, she spends her time caring for elderly neighbors, making sure they are warm, well-fed and have their prescriptions filled. “I’ll even do the ladies’ hair, if they want that,” she says with a grin.

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