Burton S. Sperber was a “passionate and accomplished” magician, says the California landscape architecture firm he founded and ran for decades. But it was Sperber's vision and tough business skills, not magic, that built Valley Crest Landscape Cos., Calabasas, into the billion-dollar business it became before recession nipped its bottom line. Sperber, 82, died on Sept. 30 in Santa Monica, Calif., of complications from surgery, says the firm.With only a high school education and experience in his father's nursery, Sperber acquired a small landscape business in 1949 for $700 and was busy as post-WWII California boomed. Valley Crest helped its
The 2016 Summer Olympics boating and swimming events have put an international spotlight on what has been a long-running problem in Rio de Janeiro—untreated sewage and trash are clogging up major bays and waterways.