Month: May 2018


Bring your own reusable bag when you go shopping and pass on the plastic bags. Plastic bags have long been a staple of modern convenience living, but the cost of convenience is starting to add up environmentally. Plastic bags ultimately end up in the landfill and even then they can take 10-1000 years to break down. On average Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year, which require 12 million barrels of oil to produce. Switching to reusable bags not only reduces plastic waste but they are also more durable and washable. I have made the switch to reusable shopping bags and it wasn’t that hard after all.  I purchased reusable shopping bags (most were $1) from the local grocery stores in town. Every grocery store in town offers a reusable alternative to the plastic bag.  I store my reusable bags in the trunk of my car so I don’t forget them.  It may sound daunting at first but it has been easy to pass on the plastic. Keep sending me your trash reducing tips.

The Budget Committee Approves the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Budget

On Monday the Budget Committee (BC) approved next year’s budget.  It completed over 15 hours of work on their part.  The following are significant changes made by the BC.

  • Remove the convenience fee for using debit and credit cards to pay on-line.  The City charges an extra $2.25 when you pay your utility bill on-line with a debit and/or credit card.  The City will cease this practice if this change is approved by the City Council.  This change will decrease the City’s revenue by $4,520 per year but we hope more people will pay their bill on-line.

TRASH TIP:  You can reduce the amount of trash you create by switching to electronic billing.  It’s just four east steps to go paperless when you set up an account at Express Bill Pay.

  1. Go to and log in.
  2. Click “View Bill” under the account you would like to be paperless.
  3. Locate the “Paperless (Off)” button
  4. Click the button to turn on “Paperless (On)”

TA-DA!  Just like that you’ve reduced the stuff you throw away.

  •  Donate $50,000 to the Hospital for equipment when the new hospital is built.  Samaritan Hospital is moving forward with the new hospital and are fund raising for equipment needed in the new hospital.  The BC recommended giving $50,000 as part of the City’s economic development incentives.
  • Create a Teen Center within the Community Center.  The BC approved $46,250 for this purpose.
  • Funding for the Cultural Center.  The BC approved $58,000 for window replacement at the Cultural Center, $150,000 for improvements to the grounds and $50,000 for design/engineering for the site plan engineering and design development.
  • The BC approved $500,000 for a new centrifuge.  A centrifuge dries the sewage sludge so it can be taken to the landfill.  The City has one in operation now but needs a second to process the amount of sludge generated and act as a back up.
  • Wi-Fi Hot Spots.  The City Council has been interested in providing greater access to the internet especially for students.  The BC approved $10,000 for installing hot spots in selected areas within Town.
  • Remove the Deed Restriction at Regatta Park.  The deed on the park restricts vendors.  Removing this restriction allows the City to expand activities at the park.
  • Add $1.15 million for sidewalks along Hwy 101.  These funds will be used to extend sidewalk on the east side of Hwy 101 from Taco Bell to Holmes road – approximately 2,000 feet; extend sidewalk on the west side of Hwy 101 from Motel 6 to Mojo’s Coffee – approximately 100 feet; and, extend sidewalk on the east side of Hwy 101 from SE 19th to SE 23rd – approximately 1,200 feet.

The approved budget will be presented to the City Council on June 11th for adoption


Since I began exploring ideas and strategies to help reduce trash, I wanted to share with you something I have been doing for a while now.  If you’re like me you accumulate a lot of white paper, especially one-sided paper.  What a waste to use this paper once and then recycle it or throw it away.  Wouldn’t it be better to find a way to return this paper to mother-nature?  I save one sided paper documents and turn them into notepads.  Recently I accumulated 5” of paper and converted it into 10” of notepads.  I’m always looking for note pads and scrap paper.  I cut them in half and painted “Plasti-dip” on the ends to hold the paper together.  Once the pads are used I will shred them and use them in composting.  Think of it – returning the paper to mother earth through composting.  That’s the ultimate in trash reduction.










Even if you are not able to make notepads out of old papers then try some of these other ideas for reuse:

  • Printing -paper that is blank on one side can be reused in the printer to print documents that do not need to be distributed.
  • Pet Cage Liner- reusing paper and newspaper is perfect for lining small animal cages.
  • Origami- reusing paper as craft projects for kids is perfect. The possibilities are endless when you give children blank paper.  My origami specialty is jumping frogs.  (See Picture – it actually jumps)
  • Fire starters- reuse paper with non-toxic ink by tearing into strips and using it to start BBQ grill fires.
  • Paper-Mache craft products- reuse paper to make paper-Mache piñatas and other craft projects.
  • Gift Wrap- use paper to create your own patterned wrapping paper. Draw your own design and color for a personalized gift.




Yesterday I cancelled my paper magazine subscriptions and now receive them electronically. The switch was easy to make, just a few phone calls is all it took.  The print magazines are subscriptions I receive for City business and the combined weight is one pound.  That’s twelve pounds per year.  Twelve pounds doesn’t seem like much but, if every household in Lincoln City reduced this type of recyclable paper by one pound per month, the City would save over 400,000 pounds of paper going to recycling centers over the next ten years.  The savings would be over $40,000.  Remember, right now we’re paying to recycle.  Reducing and reusing are the best ways to save on trash costs and improve our environment.  This journey has helped me see that there are lots of small, easy changes that we all can make which add up to big savings for our community.  Keep reducing and send me your tips.


Yesterday I asked the community to share with me their trash reducing ideas and experiences.  The first tip came from our very own Finance Department employees, Sheri and Michelle. At this point we are no stranger to cloth bags instead of plastic, but what about produce bags.  Fruits and vegetables are usually placed in a plastic bag before you even get to the check out counter.  Sheri has a great reusable alternative to this.  She purchased reusable produce bags online. They come in different shapes and sizes and best of all they are washable. Thanks, Sheri for the excellent idea.  I appreciate the support and effort to help Lincoln City reduce its overall trash production.  Keep the ideas coming!


Last night during the regular Monday City Council meeting, the Council approved a 9% rate increase for North Lincoln Sanitary Service for curb side trash/recycling collection.  Many factors caused the rate increase including the increased cost of recycling.

In the early 1970s America began a trash reduction campaign symbolized by a triangle.  Each point represented a way to reduce trash – reduce, reuse and recycling.

Over the years it seems greater and greater emphasis has been placed on recycling while diminishing the importance of reducing and reusing.  I began my first city recycling program around 1991 in Centreville, Maryland.  It began with a trailer separated into compartments that we pulled behind a truck and loaded with recyclables left by our businesses in green bins.  Everything was recyclable at that time – glass, all plastics, paper, cardboard, etc.

Over the years the number of items we can recycle has decreased.  The cost to recycle has also increased.  Up until September of 2017 North Lincoln Sanitary was paid by recycling processing centers when they dropped of the recyclable loads.  This helped keep the cost to you down.  They now pay the processing centers to drop off recyclables. In April of 2018 North Lincoln Sanitary paid $191.70 per ton for mixed recyclables; in May the cost increased to $203.70 per ton; and, the cost is expected to increase to $215.70 per ton in June. This is not an issue our community is facing alone, it’s a global crisis that hit the recycling industry hard and is impacting all councils and businesses worldwide.

In a recent City Council meeting I emphasized that it’s time to emphasize reducing and reusing our solid waste.  Over the weekend I asked my wife Elizabeth if we could reduce both the amount of trash and the amount of recyclables we generate in a month.  Our answer was “we don’t know but we’re going to give it our best.”  I invite you to join us in this journey.

I will be sharing my personal trash reducing experiences and I ask that you email your own personal experiences and encounters with reducing your trash production and ask you to help me by sending your ideas to the email listed on this page.  Remember, the less trash we produce means less tonnage dropped off and the landfill and recycling centers.  With the Volatility of the recycling market it is now imperative that we take on individual responsibility to reduce our trash production.


On May 20, 2018 at 3PM, Driftwood Public Library presents, “Wild Things: Why YOU Should Read Children’s Literature,” a lecture and discussion with Jennifer “Library Girl” LaGarde.  The discussion is the start of the celebration of Lincoln City Reads pick, A Wrinkle in Time. The talk concentrates on the benefits and enjoyment of children’s literature as an adult and sharing such literature with the children in our lives.

Jennifer LaGarde has over twenty years of experience in education, having served as a classroom teacher, a teacher librarian, a digital teaching and learning specialist, a district level support staff and a state-wide leader as a consultant for both the NC Dept of Public Instruction and the Friday Institute for Instructional Innovation. 

For more information on this event and the Lincoln City Reads please visit:

Why did episodes 4, 5 and 6 come before 1, 2 and 3 in the Star Wars series?

Because in charge of planning Yoda was.

Happy Star Wars Day!

May the Fourth be with you.