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JCB Brings Christmas to Savannah’s Lady Bamford Center
JCB hosted the annual Lady Bamford Center Christmas Extravaganza on Wednesday, December 14 in Savannah, Georgia. To kick off the Extravaganza, Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived in a special JCB sleigh powered by a JCB 3CX backhoe loader. Santa, Mrs. Claus and a number of elves (portrayed by JCB executives and staff) presented each child with a gift provided by the company. The event also included story-time with Santa, Mrs. Claus and their elves, and Christmas carols sung by the Lady Bamford Center children.

NRHA Honors STIHL Inc. with Channel Partnership Award
The North American Retail Hardware Association recently honored STIHL Inc. as one of its 2016 Channel Partnership Award winners. This is the second straight year STIHL has been chosen for the award. The Channel Partnership Awards were presented to four home improvement industry manufacturers that were selected by independent home improvement retailers as representing “best-in-class partners in supporting their success.”

Greenworks Opens New New American Headquarters
Greenworks Tools celebrated the opening of its new North American headquarters December 19. The 40,000 square-foot office space is part of the revitalization of the 1.1 million-square-foot historic Mooresville Cotton Mill. The company distributes Greenworks branded and private label products, as well as products for an extensive network of OEMs. The Greenworks product family includes 24-volt, 40-volt, 60-volt, 80-volt and commercial grade 82-volt battery-powered outdoor power equipment – blowers, mowers, trimmers, hedgers, chainsaws, pressure washers, and more.

Newspaper Honors TruGreen and CEO David Alexander
The Commercial Appeal recently named TruGreen one of Memphis’ Top Workplaces for the third year in a row.The Top Workplaces are determined solely from associate feedback in a survey conducted by Workplace Dynamics. In their surveys, associates said they felt appreciated at work and called TruGreen a positive work environment and culture. To add to the accolades, TruGreen President and CEO David Alexander was named the recipient of the Top Leadership Award for the 100-349 associate respondent category.

Citi Retail Services Signs Credit Card Agreement with Toro
Citi Retail Services announced a long-term agreement with The Toro Company for a revolving private label credit card program in the United States. Under the new agreement, Citi will offer and service Toro and Exmark OEM-branded cards available throughout Toro’s broad dealer network. Citi Retail Services delivers consumer and commercial credit card products, both private label and co-brand, to retailers and their clients across North America. The business serves nearly 90 million accounts for a number of brands, including Best Buy, ExxonMobil, Macy’s, Sears, Shell and The Home Depot.

St. Louis EDA Honors Wright Manufacturing with Dealers Choice Award
The St. Louis based Equipment Dealers Association recognized Wright Manufacturing with its 2016 Dealers Choice Award for the high score it achieved in its annual manufacturer-dealer survey. The survey asked the association’s 4,600 member dealers to rate manufacturers in 12 categories ranging from product quality to customer service. Gold level service awards are presented to manufacturers that receive exemplary ratings from their dealers.

NALP National Collegiate Competition Planned for BYU in March
From March 15-18 almost a thousand students will compete at the National Collegiate Landscape Competition at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. This is the second time the event, formerly known as Student Career Days, is being held at BYU. Students from approximately 60 schools will test their skills in 28, real-world, competitive events, and interview with landscape, lawn care, tree care, irrigation and other companies at the Career Fair, which will be held on Thursday, March 16. Sponsors for the event include STIHL, Inc.; John Deere; Caterpillar Inc., Gravely, Husqvarna, and Anchor, Belgard, BrightView, Ewing, Hunter, Kawasaki, One Grounds Management, Proven Winners, SiteOne Landscape Supply and the Toro Company.

Mainscape Owner Agrees to Plead Guilty in Massive Overbilling Scheme
The Indianapolis Business Journal reported December 17 that Dave Mazanowski, the owner of Mainscape Inc., one of the nation’s largest landscaping companies, has agreed to plead guilty to participating in a $16 million overbilling scheme that federal prosecutors allege was carried out by top executives of the state’s largest nursing home company, American Senior Communities. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Indianapolis filed its case against Mazanowski on Oct. 12, hours after a judge unsealed a 32-count indictment alleging James Burkhart, Joshua Burkhart, Benson and Ganote used shell companies and inflated invoices to fraudulently enrich themselves from 2009 through the fall of 2015. The victims of the fraud were ASC, which is owned by the Jackson family of Indianapolis; the Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County, which hired ASC to operate its nearly 70 nursing homes; and federal health care programs, the indictment alleges. Trials are set for next June for ASC CEO James Burkhart, former ASC Chief Operating Officer Dan Benson, Burkhart’s brother Joshua and Burkhart’s friend Steven Ganote.
 None of them has admitted wrongdoing.

Couple Fights Missouri City’s 50 Percent Turfgrass Law
Carl and Jan Dufner on December 19 filed a federal lawsuit against the City of St. Peters, specifically an eight-year-old city ordinance, that requires homeowners to plant at least percent turfgrass on their property. Jan Duffner, who suffers from asthma, says turfgrass makes it difficult for her to breath, the reason why she and her husband Carl landscaped their property with groundcover, hostas and other landscape plants. The Dufners have been battling the ordinance for the past two years, but to no avail. “I’m willing to go all the way to the Supreme Court,” said Jan Duffner, “because I don’t think anybody should be able to tell you what you can and cannot grow in your yard, especially if it’s harmful to you,” she is quoted as telling KSDK in St. Louis.

Read last week’s industry news: Shareholders Approve Monsanto/Bayer Merger