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Village needs new waste removal service

Forest Park currently has an unfair and inefficient waste management system. While there is some recycling and yard waste collection going on, people who recycle and compost are subsidizing the waste of their neighbors. The real cost of getting rid of the trash is hidden in taxes and in a flat rate that each family pays. Water bills are not handled this way. People pay for water depending on their amount of usage. You don’t subsidize your neighbor running his lawn sprinkler all day or filling her pond.

The good news is that over the past 60 years, thousands of communities all over the U.S. have shifted to a new system that is fair, economically sound, and environmentally sustainable. They treat waste management as resource management, by adopting the “pay as you throw” program. Seven states already have more than half or their whole population in PAYT programs.

PAYT is also known as unit pricing or variable rate pricing, and treats trash, recycling and composting services just like any other utility bill, while creating a direct economic incentive to generate less waste. According to the EPA, most communities in PAYT plans charge a fee for each bag of waste generated, or charge based on the size of the waste bin. Some even charge based on the weight of the trash. Seniors and residents with special needs could pay a lower rate. All in all, PAYT gives people direct control over their costs.

With landfill costs soaring and the threat of even higher bills in the future, it is time to move forward and create a fair, sustainable system for Forest Park.

Julieta Aguilera
Forest Park

For the record

It has been brought to my attention that a statement I made at the village council meeting on July 23 may have been misinterpreted. I questioned McAdam Landscape Professional’s experience with playground safety because of the designs for North Park that had been presented to the Recreation Board. If anyone gathered from the article that I felt McAdam was not qualified, let me assure them that I simply did not have information about their expertise in playgrounds. We were not given any information about their qualifications in this area, nor had they been invited to attend the Recreation Board meeting to answer any questions we had. I know they do quality landscaping because it can be seen around the village. What I did not know was that they also have experience in playground design and safety.

Jerry Webster, Recreation Board
Forest Park

Foundation tainted

With the level of controversy the District 209 board has now created over establishing a school district foundation (“School board claims fundraising effort,” Aug. 8), what ethical donor would feel comfortable contributing to the district? Thus, a paid secretary and legal representation by Giglio and Del Galdo is a waste of taxpayer money. The district should now either reinstate the former volunteer committee or scrap the whole idea.

Barbara D. Cole
Maywood

Privacy rights

Did you hear about the new law passed by Congress allowing U.S. domestic law enforcement officials to use military satellites to spy on Americans? No? That’s because this significant change, which the Wall Street Journal described as entering “largely uncharted [legal] territory,” is the result of a memo from Michael McConnell, Director of National Intelligence to Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff.

Already three months old, the decision comes to light shortly after Congress caved in and gave President Bush sweeping new powers to wiretap Americans domestically without a warrant. And like the new domestic wiretapping law, the domestic use of military spy satellites will doubtlessly be defended using mendacious fear mongering arguments as necessary to protect us from drug traffickers, illegal immigrants, and of course terrorists.

These military satellites can do more than take pictures like you see on Google maps. According to the Journal article, the technology “uses radar, lasers, infrared, electromagnetic data and other technologies to see through cloud cover, forest canopies and even concrete.” In other words: into your house, without a warrant.

The Journal also notes that some have suggested the use of military spy satellites violates the Posse Comitatus Act which prohibits the military from engaging in law-enforcement activity inside the U.S. Given the satellites’ technical capabilities, their domestic use could also violate a 2001 Supreme Court Kyllo v. United States, which found that the use of infrared imaging to look inside a house without a warrant was unlawful.

At a minimum Congress should hold hearings on whether it is necessary or desirable to have the most advanced U.S. military resources used domestically on U.S. citizens by civilian, possibly local, law enforcement officials, with oversight protocols that are still in the works.

Frank Hansen
Forest Park

Generous neighbors

I would like to extend my special thanks to my wonderful neighbors on the 600 block of Marengo, for all of their donations for my soldiers’ boxes being sent overseas. From the snack treats and toiletries, to the beanie babies donated from the young folks, I can’t tell you how heart warming it truly is to know that so many people care about our country’s armed forces. During a recent block party, I was pleasantly surprised at the crowd that gathered outside my home with their donations and cards for the soldiers. Thank you on behalf of the troops, and I want all to know how very lucky this town is to have such caring and generous residents making up this wonderful community!

God bless our troops and God bless America!

Betty Schultz
Forest Park

Save money, energy

It’s not hard to be an environmental leader. Would you like to save a significant amount of money and lower your carbon footprint, painlessly?

Did you know you can save at least 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bills by simply turning your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours? You don’t have to sacrifice your comfort, only install an automatic setback or programmable thermostat.

For example: My heat bill is about $200 a month on the budget plan. That’s $20 a month savings, or $240 a year. Not small change! What’s more, heating and cooling systems in the United States together emit 150 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, adding to global climate change. They also generate about 12 percent of the nation’s sulfur dioxide and 4 percent of the nitrogen oxides, the chief ingredients in acid rain. (These statistics are from http://hes.lbl.gov/hes/makingithappen/tips.html)

Last but not least, maintain your car properly. Not only will this increase the longevity of your car, it will save up to 61 cents per gallon at the pump and lower your carbon footprint! For example: You can improve your gas mileage by at least 4 or 5 percent (that’s about 15 cents per gallon) by having regularly-scheduled tune ups. Fixing a faulty oxygen sensor can improve your mileage by as much as 40 percent.

Checked your air filter lately? If you replace a clogged air filter on your car, you can improve your car’s gas mileage by as much as 10 percent. Your car’s air filter keeps impurities from damaging the inside of your engine. Not only will replacing a dirty air filter save gas, it will protect your engine. This will save you up to 30 cents per gallon.

What about your tires? Improve gas mileage by at least 3 percent, or about 10 cents per gallon, by keeping your tires inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.4 percent for every 1 PSI drop in pressure of all four tires. Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.

Changed your oil lately? Improve gas mileage by 1 to 2 percent by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil. For example, using 10W-30 motor oil in an engine designed to use 5W-30 can lower your gas mileage by 1 to 2 percent. Also, look for motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.

Adopting all these recommendations can save us 61 cents per gallon. When I go to the pump for a fill-up, that’s about $12 for each tank. Can you afford to throw away $12 a week, or more than $50 a month? I can’t.

Saving the environment at home also means saving money. That’s just common cents!

Kathleen Garness
Forest Park

Effort appreciated

Congratulations again to the Forest Park Police Department for their continuous, effective enforcement of the local noise ordinance against loud car radios (July 24 and Aug. 14 Forest Park Review crime reports).

Although I’m a resident of Oak Park, this problem affects both of our communities. A shared approach will help to create safer, more livable communities for all area residents. I will use this information to encourage Oak Park officials to increase enforcement of our own noise ordinance.

Substantial, empirical research demonstrates that this “broken window” approach to community policing is effective both in decreasing crime and discouraging it. Social psychologists and police officers tend to agree that if a window in a building is broken and is left un-repaired all the rest of the windows will soon be broken. This is as true in nice neighborhoods as in rundown ones. This occurs because one un-repaired broken window is a signal that no one cares, and so breaking more windows costs nothing. Many citizens, of course, are primarily frightened by a sudden, violent attack by a stranger. But we tend to overlook another source of fear-the fear of being bothered by disorderly people. At the community level, disorder and crime are usually inextricably linked, in a developmental sequence: one follows another and is a condition for breeding more violent types of crime.

I extend my gratitude to the officers of the Forest Park Police Department for this work on behalf of all area residents. It is noticed, and it is appreciated.

Todd Martin
Oak Park