City briefly

Each week, City Manager Tom Aspell builds a slopestyle course between his house and his office in hopes of making a more Olympic entrance. Without practice, though, he takes a spill and breaks both arms and legs. Thankfully, there’s room on the casts to write out a city memo.

Building bridges

Well, at least one bridge

The city’s fiscal year 2014 Capital Improvement Program includes the replacement of the Sewalls Falls Bridge, Aspell writes. Final design and permitting began in late 2013 and includes the development of a bridge type, size and location study. Our favorite bridge type is “structurally sound.”

The study, developed by McFarland-Johnson, Inc., evaluates several bridge replacement alternatives to replace the existing Sewalls Falls Bridge, including one Lincoln Log variety, and includes factors such as bridge span arrangements, construction duration, constructability, long-term maintenance, utility impacts, visual aesthetics, and costs for four distinct bridge types. The full report is available for review on the project website at

A public hearing has been scheduled to review the report recommendations and to appropriate the funds for construction of the project. According to Webster’s New Insider Dictionary, “appropriate” means “to ask for money.”

The public is invited to attend the City Council meeting March 10 at 7 p.m. in City Council chambers, 37 Green St., to provide comment on the project.

Tonnage of fun

BTUs and you

We were so impressed with the new, record-high monthly tonnage of recyclables collected curbside that we reported last week, we thought we’d dig a little deeper and report what that 352 tons really means for our environment in terms of energy use, Aspell writes. Based on television commercials, we believe it means avoiding that 2:30 feeling.

Running our recyclable tonnage, broken down by the typical percentages of materials found in single stream recycling through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waste Reduction Model, a tool used to compare various waste management alternatives, we found some pretty incredible results. You mean like dinosaur fossils?

Our recycling efforts in December resulted in a net savings of 4,460 million BTU’s! This is equivalent to conserving the annual energy consumption of 40 households, or conserving 768 barrels of oil, or conserving 35,681 gallons of gasoline. Or 450 really athletic hamsters on wheels. And this was in one month. Just think of the effect of our annual efforts! It would require a complicated mathematical equation that would include multiplying this month’s total by 12 and then . . . well, actually that’s it.

Author: Keith Testa

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