Archive for Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lawrence landscaping company donating services to nearby ‘Extreme Makeover Home Edition’

July 28, 2011



Extreme Makeover Home Edition seeking volunteers in northeast Kansas

A family will be getting a new home next week, and a local landscaping company will be pitching in.

Lawrence Landscape, 600 Lincoln, received a call last week from producers at ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” asking if they’d like to donate their services for a new home to be built in the area.

“Everybody’s kind of excited,” said Glen Westervelt, co-owner.

The television show surprises needy families across the country by repairing or building them a new home within a week.

The site of the home will be announced Sunday, but show representatives said the project site is within 45 minutes of Lawrence.

Westervelt said they have the basic plans for the work they’ll do, which will require about 20 employees working shifts over 26 consecutive hours, starting Thursday. But, true to the surprise element of the show, they don’t have all the details, such as the location of the home.

“We’re going in blind,” he said. “We’ve never done this before. It’ll be a challenge.”

The company is donating labor and supplies for its portion of the project. While the business will get some national exposure, Westervelt said it was a good opportunity to help a local family.

“You’re doing something good for someone in need,” he said.

The show is still looking for volunteers. To find out more, visit


Take_a_letter_Maria 6 years, 8 months ago

That's a big difference from about 9 or 10 years ago. Glen charged the folks at DCABA for materials and labor (for the husband of a board member who happened to work for him) when they built the retaining wall for the big field at the fairgrounds. That was a decent chunk of change that could have been used for player scholarships instead.

hail2oldku 6 years, 8 months ago

UNI you do realize that TALM apparently was just pointing out that Glen had an opportunity to provide a small amount of assistance to a small local 501(c)3 and didn't, but when a big tv show calls he jumped at the opportunity don't you.

Probably not the right forum to do it, but you and some of the others certainly seem ready to just pile on with the same old b!tc#.

hail2oldku 6 years, 8 months ago

I sat on that board uni.

We didn't take bids because Glen told a board member he'd give us a deal on the block.

Boy did he ever, not only did we pay full retail for the block, we also paid for one employee to run the base vibrator and another to "supervise" as the board actually built the wall. The only hand out was a hoped for ability to buy it from him at cost, instead we got a hard earned lesson. I don't know Maria, and she may not be bitter, but I am after getting screwed over by a "friend" of the program.

MISTERTibbs 6 years, 8 months ago

Hard lessons to be learned. Especially when you are working for the betterment of youth.

08Champs 6 years, 8 months ago

We could take a poll as to how many people/businesses work for free I guess. No offense, but I see a bit of a difference between housing a needy family and a retaining wall for baseball fields. And maybe their business is more successful now and can afford the donation.

Take_a_letter_Maria 6 years, 8 months ago

OK, i'll take my lumps on this one, but to set the record straight -

The only bitterness is that he didn't see fit to help a local group that at the time provided an outlet for many kids in town. With the advent of traveling teams, the take over of DCABA by the LPRD, etc. this influence isn't as big now as it would have been then.

My kid did not need a scholarship (didn't you know, I'm a federal prosecutor just ask smitty), but I am aware of many kids that weren't as lucky.

The company was not new 10 years ago and was fairly well established at the time.

I will acknowledge that I don't know the exact financial position of LL then or now, so that certainly is a valid point regarding ability to offer this donation. Of course it could also be a matter of national exposure on television v. a banner of some kind hanging no the fence at Cowser field.

Finally, not so much a counter to 08Champs as an editorial, I believe everyone would agree that providing better housing for a needy family is more important than a retaining wall at a kids baseball field. The problem I have with that particular program is the over-the-top houses they now build for those families. I'd be interested to see if anyone has ever pulled together the stats on how many of these worthy families are still living in these homes built for them v. those that have lost them through foreclosure or to the taxman (either property or income tax). I knew the guy that won the Harley & Classic give away on 98.9 one year and he had to sell the Harley just to be able to pay the taxes on his winnings and collect the prize.

Lisa Rasor 6 years, 8 months ago

I know that the Chapman, KS family who had an Extreme home built after the tornado ended up leaving and putting it up for sale. The family was dismayed at the number of people showing up at their door wanting to walk through their house--and proclaiming their right to do so--months and months after the show aired. They found it impossible to have a normal life. Plus, there was some resentment why they were chosen over other families in Chapman. I don't know if they ever sold the house--last I heard they were having difficulty doing so.

supersonicf111 6 years, 8 months ago

Still not working. It's time to let it go!

supersonicf111 6 years, 8 months ago

I believe the house is in Ottawa, and it's for an injured soldier.

I kind of agree about the over the topness of the homes, but most of the familes are deserving!

KansasBard 6 years, 8 months ago

Instead of complaining about the generosity of others, why don't we consider volunteering our time to help out? Wouldn't that be the right thing to do?

otto 6 years, 8 months ago

I would agree that all the families are deserving. It does seem that some of the houses they build are over the top. These families still need to maintain the properties and pay the taxes and insurance in the future. (I assume) If they are too extravagant I can see some of these families being forced to sell. I would like to see simpler homes, that just wouldn't make good TV.

lawslady 6 years, 8 months ago

I happen to peripherally know the Hall family in Wichita who received one of these homes after Dad was tragically injured in a car accident (his daughter was driving at the time) (I went to high-school with his sister). The show and those donating to the cause made sure the house was paid off, funding full scholarships for the kids, and in general made sure they could stay in a home built for someone with special needs. Was it over-the-top? Perhaps (there was a ball field built so this former BB star and coach could teach his own children to play). But when someone does something nice for someone else, even if it is for a TV show and/or publicity, we should not be so eager to criticize. The lack of civility and pleasant good manners is so rampant that instead of being grateful or appreciative, many people are resentful and critical right out of the box. And so we have comments (most that are posted anonymously) by those who would find fault with anyone and anything (including Mother Teresa) that is mentioned or reported. Whatever ever happened to the power of being positive? Is it uncool to be happy? Is it passé to praise others? Are all "good news" stories subject to second guessing and cynicism? If all you have are hammers, everything looks like a nail.

DeltaWhiskey 6 years, 8 months ago

I'm happy! We're volunteering and I couldn't be more excited. Very well said...

jsbreith 6 years, 8 months ago

Very well said!!!!!! Please stop the bickering and hateful comments! Lawslady, you couldn't have said it any better! Thank you Glen Westervelt and your employees for giving of your time!

08Champs 6 years, 8 months ago

Maria - way to roll with the punches!

Yes, several of the homes have been foreclosed or sold, but I put the blame that on the show's producers, not the volunteers or those making a donation.

I guess the guy that won the Harley could have refrained from callling in if he couldn't afford it. And I have known a few rec parents that requested a scholarship but pulled up to games in a new SUV with it's own zip code and spent more at Sonic for their game watching treats than the league fees.

Oh well - right?

DeltaWhiskey 6 years, 8 months ago

Will LJWorld announce the house & cause? I will take some time off work to help, but I'd need details before taking it to the boss-man.

Jonathan Kealing 6 years, 8 months ago

We believe it's in Ottawa, but nothing will be announced until Sunday. We'll let you know when we know for sure.

shadowlady 6 years, 8 months ago

It doesn't take 45 minutes to get to Ottawa, and I heard it is in Olathe.

jsbreith 6 years, 8 months ago

I did see the Extreme Makeover bus heading South on 59 this morning around 9:45. I heard it was in Ottawa as well. It was being escorted by law enforcement!

jsbreith 6 years, 8 months ago

I did see the Extreme Makeover bus heading South on 59 this morning around 9:45. I heard it was in Ottawa as well. It was being escorted by law enforcement!

jackpot 6 years, 8 months ago

Found this part of story on Ottawa Herald website. "At least one Franklin County family is in the running for the build, and sources say the potential build site is one at Wheatland Farms, a relatively new housing subdivision off Old 50 Highway between Ottawa and Homewood." This is just part of the story.

Scott Morgan 6 years, 8 months ago

Sounds like the Pomona area, indeed a poor section of the state. Of course if the Corps of Engineers would open the dam lake (pardon the pun) to private ownership the small area could boom.

*Pamona Lake a controlled state park camping only, and perhaps a couple of restaurants around the highway area. Good fishing if you can put a boat in, for some of us with disabilities this is impossible.

Drove through the large camping area in early Dec. a few years ago and found it completely empty, and not a boat on the lake. Oh, I did see state workers driving around. Early Dec. is outstanding fishing times in our climate.

verity 6 years, 8 months ago

I'm glad they're using a local landscaper. I hope this means they do as much local business as they can.

I have had a question for a long time and maybe somebody here will be able to give some information. I've always wondered about the quality of workmanship on these homes that are built so quickly, both on this show and the renovations done on HGTV.

jackpot 6 years, 8 months ago

I have heard that the City/County code people take shifts and are around almost 24/7.

alicechunt 6 years, 8 months ago

In case anyone wants to help, the Lawrence Chamber has been asked to collect gift cards from local businesses to be donated to the family. Gift cards can be for any number of things--building materials, appliances, electronics, home goods, etc. We'll take the cards until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3, in our offices, 646 Vermont St. We'll deliver them to the build site for you.

--Alice C. Hunt Communications Assistant Lawrence Chamber of Commerce

MISTERTibbs 6 years, 8 months ago

To those wanting to really make a difference and help out those in need I would suggest contacting the local Habitat for Humanity or maybe even Americorps and taking your labor down to Joplin.

Just think how many modest homes you could build with the money spent/donated on this one property. I'd be much more apt to watch and/or volunteer for an Extreme Makeover Neighborhood Edition than a single home regardless of how "deserving" a recipient might be.

Amy Heeter 6 years, 8 months ago

Glen Westerly is one of the finest people I have known in this area. So is frank Male. Anyone eho would talk trash on either of them isn't worth listening to.

roadwarrior 6 years, 8 months ago

WAY TO GO GLENN ! It will be exciting to see your artistic lanscape design. I'm sure your suffering over the details but don't fret, you just can't go wrong.

hawkrgrl03 6 years, 8 months ago

Congratulations to Lawrence Landscape...what a wonderful event to be involved with. Also, a local excavating company, Elite Excavating, has been selected to do the excavation and dig the pool....and sounds to be a very deserving family!

birdsandflowers 6 years, 8 months ago

Elite Excavating of Lawrence is also donating time to this project!

birdsandflowers 6 years, 8 months ago

Kodoos to Kevin Grob, Elite Excavating owner!!!!

jsbreith 6 years, 8 months ago

Thank you Mr. Kevin Grob for donating your time as well!

jesse499 6 years, 8 months ago

Let me see he had to pay 2 empolyees and ins. up keep on equipment and so on and I would guess no one b%$&hing out there even knows what full retail would be for this job.But it wasn't free so lets call him a A-----e get over it 9 or 10 years ago he was a small company just getting started and maybe couldn't afford to give these things a way but small things like that people with there handout don't think about do they.

MISTERTibbs 6 years, 8 months ago

Maybe I'm reading too much into it. Or maybe it is just that I read their entire posting.

Lawrence Landscaping has been in business 24 years according to their website. That would make the business 14/15 years old at the time and in the middle of the Lawrence building boom.

Maria indicated that one of the employees was married to one of the board members. H2OKU indicated that the board members provided the labor, and Glen promised a deal on materials. Since the board members volunteered their labor, it would be a fairly safe assumption that the spouse of a board member was probably expected to be volunteering as well.

You then get dinged regular price everything that's pretty much being a AH.

Of course I'm taking their word at face value, and taking Lawrence Landscaping's history from their website so I certainly could be way off base.

Let's do this though. What's one of your favorite charities? You tell them that you'll get them a great deal on something they need done. I'll do the work, plenty of time now that I'm retired, but I'll charge them (or you) full price even though you do most of the labor. How would you feel about that, even 10 years later?

jesse499 6 years, 8 months ago

Well I know Frank and Glenn and I would take there word over anyone on this blog and thats just the way it is.

armywife 6 years, 8 months ago

After a lot of issues in the past with families not being able to make the property tax payments (the mortgages were paid off on the homes but you still have property taxes) some of the families I read couldn't afford them so they had to sell their homes etc.... ABC though ( this is what I read so it may not be 100%) are now making sure they build within the means or make sure that the homeowner will be able to pay the taxes and so forth. As for the side issue from 10 yrs ago that was 10 yrs ago let it go......

MIke Mallory 6 years, 8 months ago

the house is definitely in Ottawa,, It will be built southwest of Ottawa. Topeka Sod Farm will be providing and installing the sod for the house. We will have between 10-12 employees volunteering. They need about 2500 volunteers and are still looking for people to do anything from framing to cleaning and handing out water.

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