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Five Things You Need to Know Today: April 4

An essential get-me-going daily morning column from Hamilton-Wenham Patch.

Today is Wednesday, April 4. Here are five things you need to know:

1. Trash: The kickoff of the new trash program moves to Hamilton on Wednesday. For the rest of the week, recycling and organics collection will happen on the regular day in Hamilton but there will be no trash pickup in the new black bins. Instead, only trash placed out in a blue bag will be picked up. Next week trash in the black bins, organics in the green bins and recycling in a labeled container will all be collected in Hamilton. A complete list of pickup days, listed street-by-street, is attached to this story as a PDF.

2. Agawam Hockey: Last summer, Agawam’s Learn to Play Hockey Program moved to Governor’s Academy while the rink at . This summer, the program returns to Hamilton . The program runs 4:30-5:30 p.m. on Monday nights from July 16 to Aug. 20. You can signup online at www.agawamhockey.com by clicking on “Home” and “Register Online.”

3. MBTA Budget: The MBTA Board of Directors is scheduled to meet on Wednesday to vote on the fiscal 2013 budget for the transit agency. The budget on the table staves off earlier cuts to service to and from . But it will hike a one-way trip to Boston .

4. Wenham Candidates: Wednesday is the final day for candidates on the Wenham ballot to withdraw their name before it goes to print. The exact deadline is 5 p.m. The only contested race on the ballot is for a three-year term on the Board of Selectmen, where Kenneth Whittaker will face incumbent John Clemenzi. There are uncontested races for Town Clerk, Moderator, Tree Warden, Board of Health, Cemetery Commission, Housing Authority, Planning Board and Water Commission.

5. Prism Concert: The Instrumental Department at takes the stage in the Ferrini Dramatics Center on Wednesday at 7 p.m. for the Prism Concert. “Just as a prism breaks light into its component parts, the Prism concert breaks our instrumental music department into its varied components,” according to an announcement of the concert from Fine Arts Director Kirsten Losee. The concert will feature individuals and small ensembles connecting their performances for about an hour. A $5 donation at the door will go to the instrumental department at the high school.

To find out what is going on today in Hamilton and Wenham, check out our events listings.

Michelle Bailey April 04, 2012 at 10:30 PM
The good news is the April Vacation week is a 'blue bag' week. But agree that the communication is faulty. Wed. used to be compost day in Wenham. I saw a number of green cans out today, because it was not clearly communicated that composting moved to 'trash' day.
Steph April 04, 2012 at 10:43 PM
So, seriously, next week they get the black bins, right?!? It seems like even the trash guy doesn't know what to pick up!
Michelle Bailey April 04, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Mr. Gates...Good Luck! Compost conflicting information - The book says...cooking oils yes...on-line guide says no. Book says no clam shells...on-line guide says yes clam shells. Book says cat litter , yes...Gretel Clark responded on patch that only organic kitty litter...not clay clumping is a yes (and it's still unclear if cat feces are allowed. On-line says Chinese food containers - yes, but aren't they plastic coated and therefore not compostable? There's the questions just for the green bin.
Hamiltonone April 05, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Is there a law that prohibits people from digging through your recyclables? This one individual goes up and down our street and always leaves a big mess once he's done collecting his cans and bottles?
Robert Gates (Editor) April 05, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Littering is against the law, under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 270, Section 16. Punishment is "a fine of not more than $5,500 for the first offense and a fine not to exceed $15,000 for each subsequent offense."
Robert Gates (Editor) April 05, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Trash is considered as part of a home's curtilage and there has been litigation to determine whether someone has the right to go through it. Off the top of my head, I do not know what the courts have said in that regard.
Hamiltonone April 05, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Thanks so much for the follow up
Robert Gates (Editor) April 05, 2012 at 04:21 PM
In 1995, the state SJC ruled that someone who threw out there trash in a Dumpster that was in a fenced alley and was not visible to passersby was not public and required a search warrant from the government. But in the same ruling, the SJC refers to a California case that ruled that trash bags on the curb were essentially public "because it is left in a place 'particularly suited for public inspection." The decision does not appear to talk about the issue specifically in Mass., although there may have been a more recent decision in this regard. http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/421/421mass37.html
Robert Gates (Editor) April 05, 2012 at 04:25 PM
You are welcome. That may not be all the answers but hopefully it gets you headed in the right direction.
Steph April 05, 2012 at 05:27 PM
So, really, next week... bins?
Ron Powell April 05, 2012 at 05:38 PM
The way that this was mishandled reminds me a lot of the way that the Iowa City Farmers' Market fiasco was handled. In both cases, the municipal manager pushed ahead with an unpopular, bold plan with a tin ear to residents, and failed to communicate clearly during its implementation. Is this Hamilton's version of the Iowa City Farmers' Market? You decide. http://theinformedhamilton.blogspot.com/2010/03/lombardo-chosen-as-towns-first-town.html
Hamiltonone April 05, 2012 at 06:54 PM
The other thing that upsets me besides the individual making a mess of our street, is that the money made from recycling bottles and cans isn't going back into our towns government (schools etc) but it's going into this guy's pocket.
Ron Powell April 06, 2012 at 03:27 PM
I just wanted to give a shout out to Robert Gates and the excellent work that he does here at the Hamilton-Wenham Patch. When you are a Patch editor, you are basically tasked with everything -- writing features, reporting news stories, copy editing, marketing, and publishing. He's doing the work of about five different people, really, and he's doing it quite well. And, no, I am not a friend nor family member.
Robert Gates (Editor) April 06, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Ron, you put the "Good" in Good Friday for me. Thanks for your kind words.
Ron Powell April 06, 2012 at 03:33 PM
According to this DPW flyer, yes, you may place black bins out for pickup next week. http://www.hamiltonma.gov/Pages/HamiltonMA_PublicWorks/TrashInfo/SolidwasteFlyer
Steph April 06, 2012 at 05:44 PM
I just called Town Hall, and they say next week is a bin week. They also seem to think that the new schedule is VERY clear and can't understand why we seem to be confused. Even though they picked up bins yesterday because they knew people would be confused. Whatever.
Hamlet April 06, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Bravo to the town and to Gretel Clark for this new composting /recycle program, but I agree, the calendar that the town supplied confusing. I think the calendar should have highlighted the bi-weekly pickup of the official black barrel but instead it highlighed the blue bag pick up, which is a moot point because technically the blue bags will be picked up every week anyhow! I am a graphic designer from Hamilton and will gladly redesign the calendar for the town for free.
Ron Powell April 06, 2012 at 07:15 PM
A change of this magnitude required more than a flyer and a link on the Town's website. It probably required a notice taped to your black bins last week informing you not to put the bins out this week, a couple of public forums hosted by your Town Manager where he explained exactly what was going to happen and when (and answer questions from residents), and a full press media campaign (Mike Lombardo or someone from the Town should be commenting on the Hamilton-Wenham Patch and other news sites). Comments have gone unanswered here for days, and it's really Mike Lombardo's job (not Robert Gates) to make sure that residents have these answers. There really was not nearly enough of a full court press made here by the Town Manager, and it appears that even the hauler was confused. Blaming it on the residents dovetails nicely into my comparison with the Iowa City Farmers' Market fiasco, when he blamed a town employee for the miscommunication, confusion, and delay. In short, this plan can be saved, but your Town Manager needs to step up here. Get out in public, be very visible, be extremely accessible to residents, get on Hamwen cam -- clearly communicate, and don't take for granted that a change this significant will be easily grasped by residents.
Rich April 06, 2012 at 09:02 PM
wow Hamiltonite, have a heart.. "the money made from recycling bottles and cans isn't going back into our towns government (schools etc) but it's going into this guy's pocket.". - It will be a snowy day in July the day I see local kids or teachers out there sifting through my trash for 5 cent deposits to be used for the schools, sifting through my pockets, yes ...but not my trash. cut the poor guy some slack...just leave a note telling him to clean up after..
Tracy April 06, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Hey, Rich, I agree with what you say -- in Beverly we used to leave our returnables out separately for the trash-pickers, worked out great and everyone benefitted, especially those that needed the money -- but you are way off base dragging the school kids, or their teachers, into this ugly discussion. Just ask the folks at ACORD or any of the churches how much HW students volunteer and donate, year in, year out.
Ron Powell April 06, 2012 at 10:29 PM
I thought that Rich meant that he would sooner pay more out of his pocket than force local kids or teachers to sift through trash. As in, "Have a heart, Hamiltonite, let the poor guy do what he needs to get by, and perish the thought about forcing local kids and teachers to sift through trash to support our schools." At any rate, I agree, I have no problem letting the truly needy sift through my recyclables -- God bless them. If I am throwing out anything of value, I'll usually leave it out with a sign to please help yourself. Leviticus 19:10 and such.
Michelle Bailey April 06, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Hamiltonite, if you don't leave deposit bottles and cans in your recycling, they quickly learn to pass by your driveway. A truck stopped at our house only once, but now passes us by. If you're looking for somewhere to donate deposit bottles and cans that will benefit local kids, the Wenham Boy Scouts collect, sort, and return the bottles regularly. They can be dropped off in the box behind the Iron Rail. When the cans are left curbside, the towns do not collect the 5 cent deposit. The state keeps it in the kitty for their budget. The amount that might come back to Hamilton or Wenham is minimal at best.
Irv Levy April 07, 2012 at 01:31 AM
Funny seeing three different trucks with three drivers heading through the town to pick up our trash/recycling/composting. How about developing a future system where one truck and two drivers can handle all three streams? Reduces carbon footprint of the process and improves efficiency.
Robert Gates (Editor) April 07, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Did you see three different trucks? The plan was to have organics and recycling in the same truck plus the "trash truck."
Craig April 07, 2012 at 11:00 AM
There were definitely 3 seperate trucks... at least on my street. In driving through town yesterday, I would conservatively say at least 75% of households had the black bins out and the automated truck was dumping them. Great communication.... I called Town Hall and asked about it and they couldnt understand why there was so much confusion???? The entire attitude of the people forcing this down our throats is "They're right, the world must be wrong".
Ron Powell April 07, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Perhaps the single-stream automated truck, a truck for the separate blue bags, and the recycling/organic truck? Town Hall can blame it on whomever it likes, but this was a communication failure on several levels, and ultimately the Town Manager has to step up here and fix it.
MJ Brown April 09, 2012 at 03:10 PM
The 3 trucks that picked up here were the usual organics truck, the old trash truck (not the new automated one), and a recycling truck with 2 bays in the back, only one of which was used (perhaps the other will eventually be used for organics).
Allison Jenkins April 10, 2012 at 08:41 PM
For those of you who would prefer the calendar outlining the official trash barrel weeks, a new calendar can be found on the Town Website: http://www.hamiltonma.gov/Pages/HamiltonMA_PublicWorks/trashinfo/barrelweeks
Allison Jenkins April 10, 2012 at 08:45 PM
If any of the bloggers have a specific question, please email me at a.jenkins@hamiltonma.gov. Let me know what media you would like the answer posted to and I will try to accomodate you.
Allison Jenkins April 10, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Michelle, notification that compost would now be picked up on your regular trash day was in local newspapers, the flyer that came with the compost container, the Hamilton Wenham Trash directory, the 2012 trash, recycling and organics calendar delivered to your home, announced at Board of Selectman meetings, explained at the Q&A sessions on trash held at the library and posting were sent to our local public access channels. What other means of media did we miss?

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