STILLWATER, Okla. — Make it count
Recently we had a simple recycling question that could not be answered by city of Stillwater or Allied Waste:
Is the recycled materials citizens take to recycling centers going to landfill because of contamination?
There are two people operating recycling centers in Stillwater: The city runs the manned Convenience Collection Centers, and Allied Waste - aka HEW - operates the unmanned centers.
The city of Stillwater assures me that any recycling taken to the manned CCC is being properly sorted. Sorting involves employees removing improperly submitted materials. Cans, glass and plastic with labels or lids on or the wrong types of plastic are removed from the properly submitted recycleables. Anything that still has a label or lid, wrong code, etc., will contamintate the batch and has to be removed and taken to landfill.
The unmanned sites, operated by Allied Waste, have signs stating what types of recycleables are allowed. Since the sites are unmanned, there is no one to make sure only properly sorted materials are being put into the bins. Thus the bins are always full of trash, bags of mixed materials, materials with labels on, etc. I have never been to any of the HEW sites and found them to be uncontaminated. The signs at these centers state that this will be taken to landfill.
Is anything dropped off at Allied Waste getting recycled? It sounds as if it’s all going to landfill because other people aren't aware or taking the time to sort and remove labels, resulting in the entire container being contaminated and going to landfill.
I tried to contact Allied Waste, aka HEW, at the number on the signs, 405-377-3880 and got an answering center in Indiana where no one can answer, much less even tell me who to ask in Stillwater.
The city of Stillwater also does not know who to contact at the unmanned sites to get clarification, although one woman in the Waste Management Department did think that any collection containers containing contaminated materials were going to landfill.
I just wanted to let the people of Stillwater know that when you take the time to properly recycle and drop off at the Allied Waste sites it’s likely going to end up in landfill. Take it to the CCC center instead.
If you read the front page of Wednesday's paper, 11-10-10, you might wonder about the direction of our great city. One article was about a group of parents who attended a recent school board meeting to talk about the very real and dangerous issue of bullying.
Another article was about the possibility of the police department being forced to pull police officers out of our local schools and reassigning them to street duty because of a mandate to cut the force by four officers in the wake of an arbitration suit that did not go in the city's favor.
If bullying is a real problem in our schools, which I believe it is, then why would we remove police officers from those very buildings? The safety of our children and our community is being threatened over a reduction in force at the police department while the city is advertising to hire three new employees at the golf course.
According to the employment section of the city's website, they are hiring an “assistant golf superintendent,” an “assistant golf course manager” and a “2nd assistant golf course manager.” Each position will pay anywhere between $31,000 and $43,000 each.
The city council and city management must realign their priorities. Public safety is paramount. Whether we like it or not, recreation is not paramount. I am sure the golf course will not close if they only have one assistant rather than three. I am also quite sure the $60,000 to $80,000 saved could be put to much better use.
I keep hearing of serious controversy among the citizens of Stillwater and their elected representatives at city hall.
Recall votes that cost money and proved nothing. Unwilling to allow citizens at least 3 minutes to voice their problems or concerns at public meetings, which results in not so public meetings.
From there, firing newly trained police officers, which is money wasted. The need to balance the budget is the apparent justification. At the same time, more than $6 million of city money is going for new, remote reading water meters.
Could perhaps the newest 5 percent of the existing water meters be replaced next year, saving enough money to keep the trained officers on board. After all, city fathers determined not so long ago these new officers were needed. Has self-reading water meters become a higher priority than security and citizens’ safety?
The planned closing of two recycling centers will save the city $18,000 monthly, according to published information. That’s $216,000 a year. Surely that’s close enough to keep the policemen on board.
Solutions to simple management problems can become very complicated when outside factors or personalities are forced into the equation. I’ve been there, but I’ve never enjoyed the trip.
I am very proud today to be a citizen of Stillwater.
The City Council meeting last Monday was filled with opportunity to celebrate our town. Expressed with much passion, lifting the levels of compassion, in the kind of adult communication that has far too long been suppressed.
I am very pleased with our council members and citizens for their meaningful participation. If you missed it, I encourage you to listen to the rebroadcast.
I am angry with the FOP for not allowing us to communicate directly with our much valued police officers. What do our employees really want? Do they really want to be the 15 percent outliers, requiring special attention?
It appears the only way the FOP will allow this communication is if it results in a binding agreement. No talk of the give and take of truly meaningful, adult communication. This is shutting down the doors of communication not engendering it. This makes me angry.
One very cogent, well spoken young businessman spoke of the problem of vagrancy and Dumpster divers and its impact on attracting new business to Stillwater. Yet he honestly believes it is a police function to handle this issue when in truth it is a community function, which we can become better at.
My point is this: if you see a homeless person or someone in need, please stand up and do something to help. Don’t just sit on your hands and judge them. Don’t just look at what’s wrong. Look for what is right, good and true.
Go volunteer, for there are plenty of local organizations working the problem. Offer your elevated kindness, compassion and caring - perhaps a coat for the winter; perhaps a benevolent embrace.
You will become better for the effort and our community will be better off with your active and conscious participation.
This is not a police function but one of community caring; taking care of one another not because it gets us something but because it is something we can give. I hope everyone has a wonder filled Thanksgiving.
On behalf of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, I want to thank the NewsPress for covering our meetings and for sharing our information and decisions with the citizens of Stillwater. We welcome the public to attend our meetings and we look forward to sharing our vision for the future.
I want to clarify our recommendation of eliminating two recycling drop-off sites. Residents should understand that this is not an issue with recycling, but an issue with use of park land.
Recycling in Stillwater needs attention, but is not under the jurisdiction of Parks and Recreation. Facts were presented and discussed regarding the recycling process only to add justification to our decision.
I do not want any resident to think that the city of Stillwater wants to eliminate recycling. I think Stillwater is committed to recycling. As with any operation, it must be done efficiently, effectively and focused on long-term sustainability.
The drop-off sites we addressed are at Babcock Park and North Boomer Lake Park. We did not address the drop-off site at Skyline Elementary school, as this is not park property, thus not under our jurisdiction.
We are dealing with a contradiction in purpose. We simply want to eliminate an improper use of our parks. These dump sites are an eyesore and liability to our park property and operations.
I believe the reasons cited for eliminating these drop-off sites are valid and in the best interest of Stillwater Parks and Recreation and Stillwater residents.