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•“Mitigating Moisture Problems for Historic Buildings”: While investigating damage in a church spire, preservation techies found 130 years of animal waste piled 5 feet deep. “Spelunking through guano in a pitch-black spire is an adventure to remember,” a presenter acknowledged, but when searching for sources of water leaks, “you have to keep fighting your way through until you address all possibilities.”
•Buzz Buzz Birdie: Bell Bird Control’s patented BellStrip Track preserves aesthetics by chasing winged trespassers from would-be roosts. The device sends an annoying electrical pulse along tracks that can be custom-colored to blend in with façades.
•Curb Appall: Revered preservation expert Pratt Cassity noted some homeowners’ clumsy attempts to reconcile traditional design with a lust for space. Among the resulting affronts to authenticity: a computer magnate’s quaint bungalow with a McMansion ballooning from its rear. Volunteer groups alone can’t stop the bad architecture, he said: “If you had a brain tumor, would you want a great surgeon, or a group of really committed schoolteachers?”—Rob Tierney