New Leaf donates seed, plant food, coverings to school

A James Island company's gift to students at Murray-LaSaine Elementary School should last throughout the year or longer.

New Leaf Builders donated seeds, potting soil and terracotta pots for every student and contributed mini greenhouses for each grade on Earth Day in late April.

The children can plant seeds of their choice in the classroom greenhouse and then students can water their seeds and wait for them to sprout, according to New Leaf.

Once the plants spring up, the students will transplant their seedlings into the pots that they decorated on Earth Day, the builder says.

"We wanted to get involved in the community where we build," says Jennifer Zinkon, office manager at New Leaf Builders. "Building green neighborhoods is important to us, and we wanted to share this message with our local schools," she says.

At the Earth Day event, New Leaf Builders staff spoke to the children about the importance of taking care of the planet and being conscious of the environment when building homes and neighborhoods. According to the builder, students "eagerly shouted out" ways to care for the environment such as planting trees and new plant life, recycling and minimizing air pollution.

New Leaf crafted a neighborhood, Fox Hollow, that's close to Murray-LaSaine school. The low impact development works with, not against, the existing property, the company says.

"Our primary goal in designing Fox Hollow was to modify the land as little as possible, so that a natural, healthy ecosystem remains intact," says Joshua Robinson of Robinson Design Engineers, civil engineer for the community. At Fox Hollow, the land has been left as natural as possible, clearing only enough for the houses and roadway.

According to the builder, Fox Hollow earned certification as a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat. In particular, the neighborhood features a natural garden to attract wildlife, which aids in the restoration of the eco-system by providing water, food sources and shelter for wildlife.

"One of the core values at New Leaf Builders is to maintain the natural integrity of any area where we build," says Adam Baslow, an owner, builder and developer for New Leaf Builders.

"The children (at Murray-LaSaine) enjoyed planting their gardens, and we are excited to see the growth progress of the seedlings in a few weeks," Zinkon says.

New Leaf Builders started up in 2011 as a partnership of Baslow and Grant Zinkon. Combined, they have close to 20 years of experience in real estate, developing and building in the Charleston area. Company communities are in James Island, Johns Island and West Ashley. For more, visit

Top salesperson honor goes to Southern Palms rep

Joanne Polston has amassed vast marketing knowledge and experience in more than 20 years dealing professionally with manufactured housing owners.

That's made her an expert at securing factory-built properties for buyers, her peers agree.

Earlier this spring, the S.C. Manufactured Housing Institute honored Polston as "2014 Salesperson of the Year" for the state. The institute says it "works to educate consumers and promote high standards in construction and business practices."

She heads up sales at Jensen Communities' Ladson-based Southern Palms community, a leisure retirement village offering affordable single-family homes for persons 55 and above.

In balloting, business owners and executives cited Polston's "extensive" background in manufactured-home sales and in creating quality developments that utilize factory-built housing.

Fellow institute members, who represent more than 600 business locations, chose Polston based on her talents in progressive marketing, ethical business practices and community involvement. She has tallied more than two decades' background working with manufactured home builders to find the house with the best customer value, says Joe Esposito, vice president of Jensen Communities.

Along with winning the top salesperson award, Polston on April 3 was named to the institute's board of directors, "a key leadership position in the industry," says Mark Dillard, the trade group's executive director.

Jensen Communities, founded in 1927, considers itself one of the pioneers in the manufactured housing community business. Today, Jensen owns and manages 31 villages in eight states from New Hampshire to Georgia. For more information, contact Shirley Shamblin, manager of Southern Palms, or Polston toll free at 877- 854-6532 or email

Builders organization hosts golf outing to support Leukemia Society

Contractors and friends took part in a Charleston Home Builders Association golf tourney held in remembrance of an association president who died of cancer.

The Paul Stein "Drive Out" Leukemia Golf Tournament elicited significant pledges on behalf of the participants. The HBA made $100 donations to the Leukemia Society for each team and hole sponsor.

The tournament was held May 8 at Oak Point Golf Course on Johns Island. Prices to participate in the event were $115 per player, $450 per foursome and $300 for hole sponsors. The rate included greens fees, cart, range balls, lunch and beverages. The tourney was a captain's choice format with shotgun start. SCE&G sponsored the event while Berkeley Electric Cooperative provided lunch.

Paul Stein was a veteran homebuilder with Atlantic Builders Inc. and past president of the local home builders association in 2002. His wife, Tori, was president and chief executive of Atlantic Builders and is now vice president of Gamble-Atlantic, a division of Gamble Home Services.

For more on the homebuilders, visit or call 843-572-1414.