"Not eating chard. That's what all those weirdos eat at their stupid picnics on the Hungry Ghost lawn." -Nina

September 13, 2007

Recent Developments

Taking a moment to add some new information about issues I have written about here recently.

Regarding Northamptonist's concern about the Rt. 10 on New South St. over the abandoned PCRR rail line, I received a notice in the mail from District Two Highway Director Albert Stegemann. The notice arrived a few days ago here at Northamptonist's gleaming office (my living room) situated in beautiful Ward 3, Northampton, Ma. Albert writes that the District Two Office agrees that the bridge is a potential candidate for a future repainting contract, and has sent a project initiation request to MassHighway's Bridge Project Review Committee. He reiterated what an employee previously told me on the phone, namely,

"the bridge is not a low cost project because repainting this bridge requires de-leading, storage, transportation, and disposal of lead waste...project priorities are continuously revised as additional projects are approved, and therefore, if a project is approved, it could be a significant amount of time before a contract for this work is advertised."
I spoke with District Structures Maintenance Engineer on the phone this morning, and inquired about the status of the request, and what might be a good date to call back in regards to any decisions made. I was informed that a few months would be a good time to call back, as at that time, the project would have been assigned a project initiation number, and he will then be able to check on the status and position of the project in the queue. Interestingly enough, I was also informed that the State currently has two projects they are reviewing for the creation of a bike path under that same bridge. The projects is for two phases, and if/as these projects come to fruition, MassHighway is likely to also repaint that bridge during that time.

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Three weeks ago, Northamptonist reported on Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant, and their very frightening structure collapse. Recently, the Valley Advocate and The Daily Hampshire Gazette felt it prudent to report this also, with the Gaz on Saturday having a front page story from the Greenfield Recorder, below the fold. Though the reporter did not mention the structure collapse until the fifth paragraph, and then noted that "The failure did not pose a safety concern" That is quite an assertive and seemingly factual based statement. I'd like to note that after I saw the photos, I did indeed have safety concerns. The Valley Advocate also expressed safety concerns in an editorial this week.

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Researching and noting the surveillance cameras in town proved to be the second most popular posting at Northamptonist thus far, (after Vermont Yankee), and many people took time to comment on it, providing more information on their use and locations.

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The post noting the lack of effectiveness and lack of oversight with the recycling barrels downtown proved to be most frustrating. Frustrating because currently, their seems to be conflicting accounts about the current status regarding the disposing of contents in the recycling barrels downtown. After speaking with many officials, all involved noted that future arrangements are being made to correct the issue, arrangements which are weeks away. In the meantime, the recycling barrels downtown, which suggest to the public by default that the contents are meant for recycling which will be brought to a recycling facility, is a false impression. According to the facts as I know them, the contents are not being restricted to just recycling, and the contents are being disposed of in the landfill, which runs directly in contrast to their intended effect, and which needs to be corrected immediately. In spite of notifying everyone in City Hall who I felt should know this, and who might be able to correct that, it appears that hasn't happened.

As referenced above, the City's Solid Waste Coordinator is working on a new solution, and a new recycling initiative for Northampton, including the barrels downtown. That is a future development though, and I've learned that the recycling bins that will replace the ones currently on for Main St. have not even been purchased yet. At the risk of being labeled a trouble maker, I feel compelled to again note that the recycling barrels downtown on Main St., -which were placed there with much pomp and circumstance after eleven local students successfully agitated for the initiative- are being contaminated with rubbish not meant for them, and the contents, recycling and all, are being disposed of in the landfill.

That needs to be corrected in the interim, or they barrels need to be removed. You might ask what the big deal is, what's my problem? It is after all only a bit of recycling material. Well...I happen to think even in small amounts, that it is a problem. Though even aside from that, the perception is that they are recycling bins. The local press, Duseau Trucking, and officials from City Hall attended a press conference at City Hall celebrating the existence and placement of recycling barrels on Main St. They either are or are not recycling barrels. If they are, they should be maintained as such, and if not, they should be removed.

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And lastly, not an update but a reminder. The Pulaski Park Redesign Committee is this Tuesday, Sept. 18, 5pm in the Second Floor Hearing Room of City Hall. Please attend and voice your opinions and concerns. Remember, that is our park. Literally and legally. Take your rightful ownership of it. Do you want to see them build a japanese rock garden, or do you want a sprinkler fountain for your children?

LABELS: public policy, ma highway, yankee power, downtown

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