Trash-can storage areas, such as this one at an Eisenhower Street complex, will not accommodate a multitude of wheeled carts. (Photo courtesy of the city of Bloomington)
By Ryan Denham
Five Things You Should Know for Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012:
The city's new automated recycling and trash pickup program could lead to some changes for apartment-dwellers. The city's new automated pickups -- using bigger recycling carts and a truck with a mechanical arm -- are problematic for larger apartment buildings, because of storage and parking issues. Top city leaders now want to stop collecting trash and recycling for apartments or condos of five units or more, and instead ask the building owners to hire a private hauler. This would affect about 805 households, or 3 percent of residences currently using city collection. It's an interesting issue for a number of reasons, and I feel the city is doing a reasonably good job of laying them all out there for public consumption. One nugget: Because city coffers subsidize solid-waste services by about $50 per household -- that shortage is the real reason the city is studying these issues -- officials say apartments are now subsidized to the tune of $40,250. The implication being that, unless the free market and private haulers produce savings, trash bills for apartment dwellers would go up. "Whatever City leaders decide to do, decisions must come soon, before the City starts distributing recycling carts to residents in November," city leaders were told.
You know that Unit 5 labor law case against its bus drivers and monitors union? Yes, it's still ongoing. Testimony finally wrapped up Monday. The AFSCME union, which represents drivers and monitors, filed a complaint against the school district, alleging it broke state labor law by trying to outsource its busing system. That's a charge Unit 5 denies. Now, after days and days of testimony, an administrative law judge will make a recommendation to a state labor board that will make a final decision. (A local judge has already issued an injunction putting the temporary brakes on the full outsourcing.) This is an issue that Unit 5 taxpayers, parents and anyone with a stake in labor issues should care about deeply, since there are some pretty big implications either way this thing turns out. Final written briefs are due in the case Oct. 31. "It's obviously going to take some time. The record is very large and there were a number of witnesses introduced for each side, so (a decision) is probably going to take awhile, I would imagine," said Unit 5 attorney Curt Richardson.
The small village of Mackinaw has ended its ban on alcohol sales, WMBD 31 reports. The village board unanimously approved an ordinance that will allow establishments to sell alcohol. Village leaders say repeal of the ban, in effect for 80-plus years, was long overdue and could help the economy. "We'll be able to provide more services, more city parks, more equipment for the children. So we're going to try to take care of everybody with this not just put it back into the bars and restaurants," said Board President Craig Friend. As you recall, voters in the village of McLean back in March supported the end to their alcohol ban, leaving it up to their village to develop regulations for sales. I guess this polarized electorate can agree on at least one thing.
WMBD's Jacob Long picked up on a quirky problem created by the new iPhone 5, one that's surely popping up around the country. As any traveler can attest, more and more hotels have invested in iPod/iPhone docking stations as a perk for guests looking to charge their devices or just listen to music in their rooms. But the new iPhone doesn't fit in the iHome dock used by hotels like the Holiday Inn on Illinois 9 in Bloomington. "I think it's great we're moving forward, but it would be nice if they included those little adapters if they knew they were coming in the future," said General Manager Michelle Irvin. Apple sells adapters for the docks for about $30.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall is upset that former NFL great Warren Sapp called him a "retard" during a recent radio interview. In addition to the "R word" being generally stigmatized, Marshall says Sapp's comment crossed a line because Marshall has publicly disclosed that he's received treatment for borderline personality disorder, an illness characterized by impulsive behavior and uncontrolled emotions, the Chicago Tribune reports. "It's one thing to give constructive criticism, but when you talk down to someone, you're rude to someone, you think you're better than someone, that says a lot about who you are — not as far as outwardly, but deep in your soul," Marshall says. Sapp, now an NFL Network analyst, has since apologized.
Ryan Denham can be reached at email@example.com.