About Those Paper Yard Waste Bags & How Many You Can Put Out in Lenexa

When Kasey and I walk we often stop to talk to neighbors when we see them working in their yards. Usually the conversation revolves around the weather, dogs, or how badly the Chiefs are doing. However since the beginning of 2012 when the new waste management contracts went into place for Lenexa the most common complaint is about having to use paper bags for leaves and yard waste. Since we are at the last weekly pickups before the reduced or zero pickup Winter season, I thought I’d better share some information.

So I dug into the reasons why they are needed, and here’s the best explanation in a video:

As you can see this is a far better way to compost than any home composting operation, and it ultimately saves space and extends the life of the Johnson County Landfill. You can also get some of the great compost for free if you need it for your yard or garden.

I think one of the reasons people complain about the paper bags is the cost of them compared to plastic. I expect that those costs will drop over time as more outlets make the bags “loss leaders” to bring in customers and to advertise. After tons more of them are sold in bulk the initial capital investments for the bag manufacturing gear will get fully paid for and depreciated, and the price wars on them will really start; but until we get there I recommend that you just wait for sales of the 25 packs and buy 2-3 bundles then.

Another reason is that they are a bit harder to manage & fill  than plastic but if you don’t overfill them, and use a collapsible hoop funnel then things get much easier. I highly recommend using one of these:

 

 

 

There is some seasonality to how much they will pick up, and it also varies between services.

 

Below are the schedules:
Spring through early Fall, March through September:

Late Fall, October and November:

  • Deffenbaugh: 10 bags or bundles per week
  • Superior: 8 bags or bundles per week

Winter: December, January, February:

  • Deffenbaugh: 6 bags or bundles on the third full week of the month only
  • Superior: no yard waste pick ups, or no bags.

The amount of bags and the Winter 3rd full week pickups are reasons why you see folks who have large trees and lots of yard waste using Deffenbaugh instead of Superior; just to be clear it only applies within the City of Lenexa, most other places Deffenbaugh does not pick up at all during Winter months.

One last word on leaves: I’ve seen some neighbors try to cheat by dumping leaves into the creek, and that’s totally wrong — it causes high potassium and low Oxygen, which can kill the fingerling fish and small fry in these creeks. Rotting piles of leaves are also sources for molds, slimes, germs, fungi, and other allergens that neighborhood kids and pets will end up playing in, and it’s also against city regulations. Putting your leaves in culverts and creeks and can clog storm drains downstream which can in turn flood houses. (This I know well because I helped clean out the flooded basement of a friend at the bottom of Noland road a few years back, I left with a broken thumb after slipping on the muddy stairs but we got the job done.) So please have a thought for your neighbors and don’t put those leaves in the street drains or creeks.

*bundles of sticks and branches must be shorter than 4′ and weigh less than 50 lbs. Bundles count as one bag.

Why I’m Voting for President Obama

I’m voting for President Obama because I trust him to do the right thing, and even on the issues where we don’t agree I know that he will make his choices based on principles and what he sees as best for our country as a whole rather than based on political expediency or the dictates of narrow interests. I have confidence in him as President and I know that he’s principled because I’ve watched him in action first as a candidate and then as our president for five years now.

When this started out I was not a Barack Obama fan – instead I was one of the many here at this site writing posts against him and campaigning for his opponents (that included Clinton, Guiliani, Romney, and McCain at various points as the long primary season wound into the national election). I was against him as president and was pretty firmly seated in the “anyone but Obama” camp because I still believed all the far right bumper stickers about him, and even took part in some of the attempts to slime him with Reverend Wright and other things.

Even after he was elected I was still heavily criticizing him regarding jobs and the economy all the way into 2010, but over time he slowly turned all of those negatives around. He demonstrated his leadership time and again, and took a lot of heat not only from the right, but also from many of the progressives in his own party to work through issues with a highly recalcitrant Congress. Under his guidance I watched as multiple branches of our Federal Government became more open, more effective, and more efficient.

At the same time I watched the right become bitter and hardened, witch hunting not only our new president but also anyone in their own party who didn’t kow-tow to their hard right litany at every other step. The cracked pots were let in the back door, and I ran out the front, at first to become an independent, and then a year later a registered Democrat.

Meanwhile, President Obama took the fight directly to the specific terrorist organizations who were attacking us and destabilizing the subcontinent of Asia and the Middle East. He quickly got results, using a combination of drone warfare, sanctions, agreements and diplomacy to further US interests and missions.

He didn’t care if the terrorists were hiding in Yemen and Pakistan and being sheltered by factions of those country’s military. He went after them anyway, just as he had promised in his campaign; he took out leader after leader until we got Osama Bin Laden hiding in Abottobad, Pakistan. Both Romney and McCain had roundly criticized him for saying he would go into Pakistan during the campaign, but he persisted until justice was done.

I’ve watched our President in action, turning the country around, doing what was required to save the auto industry, putting the country back to work with construction projects across the nation when we needed it most, and I’ve seen him persevere while the rabid right did everything in their power to cause him and our country to fail. I’ve seen him smile and still try to deal with Republican congressmen even as one of them called him a liar during an address to a joint session of Congress.

That joint session was for his landmark health care initiative, and I’m glad it passed. Now all of my nieces and nephews have a chance to stay on their parents health insurance as they go into those starter jobs. Now my pacemaker isn’t a pre-existing condition hurdle to changing insurance if I want to.

It’s now five years later, and I’m a big supporterIt was that kind of bile and the over the top charges like “Death panels” at that joint session and Barack’s persistent work against our real foes overseas that made me reconsider the propaganda I’d been fed, and made me dig deeper into the issues. At most junctures I found myself deciding that our president was right, and his opponents were absolutely crazed, as I dug into the facts of each issue.

I found that we agree on most issues regarding climate, social issues like gay marriage, and women’s rights. I fully support the regulations on Wall Street — we can’t afford vulture and wild West capitalism of the sort his opponent wants.

It’s now five years later, and I’m a big supporter. I honestly don’t think there is anyone out there who can do a better job as President for the next four years. Instead, I firmly believe that putting anyone else into office would seriously jeopardize the slow but steady recovery that we are in.

That’s why our President, Barack Obama, not only has my complete confidence and trust as president, but also my vote for the next four years.

Why I’m Voting Against Mitt Romney

There are many reasons I’m voting Democrat this election but prime among them is that Mitt Romney has no core, no soul, no integrity. There are many words that you would never apply to him after his several years of unsuccessful campaigning, but chief among them are the words “courageous,” “consistent,” “principled,” “honest,” and least of all “caring.”

Instead you can see him lie every day, blandly smiling and glad-handing the crowds as he puts another baldfaced whopper across. You have to wonder if he’s chuckling inside and thinking, “I wonder how many of these hapless rubes bought that one.”

There’s nothing worse than frat boy weasels who lie to your face knowing that they are lying, knowing full well that you see through their lie. It doesn’t matter if they are trying to sell a junker off a used car lot or running for president, most people can smell them coming — but others seem defenseless against their toothsome grins. Anytime that Mitt has seemed to say something solid on the campaign trail, the next day he sends his staff out to walk it back, since he seems not to have the spine required to retract it in person, or to stand for something specific himself.

Maybe you’ve been willing to accept the lies because Romney’s a “member of the GOP team,” or because you hate our current President — but politics is not a sport, and you need to be bigger than just a rooter for your team. The US can’t afford another second generation elitist sliming their way into office, not here, not now, as the economy is just recovering from the worst recession since the great depression. We don’t need more of the same deregulation, the same laissez faire, “who cares about all those bad loans” attitudes at the helm. We certainly don’t need a president who has so little faith in our country that he off-shores most of his money made after years of off-shoring our jobs and dumping insolvent and Bain debt-saddled companies into bankruptcy.

Almost worse than Romney are the people who would come into power with himWe don’t need a president who thinks 47 percent of us don’t matter, because the president is elected to serve everyone, not just the people who financed their campaign or who voted for them.

Romney would also create market instability — he’s already threatened to fire Bernanke, and to kill Obamacare, and his election will empower a fiscal cliff-diving congressional faction. His tax and fiscal policy is both misguided and murky – all of the above would sow uncertainty and create great instability to a slowly recovering economy.

Almost worse than Romney are the people who would come into power with him, as the reactionary fundamentalist wing of the party is in full control of the GOP right now. With Mitt, we would get people from the clash of civilizations crowd (like John Bolton), who won’t rest until they get us into another world economy-wrecking war. Anti-science blustering blowhards for the oil companies and religious right, like Joe Barton and Todd Akin, are clinging tightly to his coat tails, and we sure don’t need “strict Bible constructionists” on the Supreme Court either.

We really can’t afford another anti-science administration — the world is changing much too fast and our children’s futures are entirely dependent our ability to adapt and foster new technologies. Mitt would bring a whole crowd of reactionary Luddites with him.

I can’t vote for Mitt as well because of his stance on gay marriage, I can’t vote for him because of his stance against women’s rights, I can’t vote for him because of all the misogynist cavemen that he would bring with him were he to win. And I can’t vote for him because there’s a chance that the Senate could flip this year, and I think we need checks and balances. The GOP in full control of all branches of government is the prime ingredient in a recipe for future disasters.

Most of all, I can’t vote for Mitt because there’s nothing behind the bluster and puff: he’s just a spoiled pile of meringue whipped together from bile and the last century’s GOP bumper stickers.