I have been taking recyclable construction debris to the Palo Alto Recycling Center for decades. Now that the City of Palo Alto Building Department requires recycling on construction projects, I am told this facility is not on the city-provided list of acceptable facilities.
This makes no sense. Aside from the obvious hypocrisy of driving to Milpitas in the name of lessening our environmental impact, it additionally creates an economic disincentive to recycle.
It's much easier and cheaper to continue throwing debris into a dumpster. Maybe make the absolute minimum or utilize means that circumvent the requirements. Believe me, they exist.
Outcome — continued dumping in the landfill.
Why is our local facility not an approved recycling center?
Praise for the Prez
I was encouraged to read that President Obama vows to make the Senate's ratification of the new START treaty a top priority.
This is a rare chance to reduce the limit of strategic warheads for the U.S. and Russia to 1,550. Currently, the limit for each country is 2,200. This may seem like a small step but it is a critical one if we are going to make our world a safer place to live.
The more nuclear weapons in the world, the more dangerous and unstable it becomes. Other nations want what we have and the new START treaty sends a message that the two nations with almost all of the nuclear weapons are willing to cut the numbers.
Let's support our president with an outpouring of letters and calls to our Senators asking them to ratify this important treaty.
Some local children and teenagers deserve our thanks for taking the time on Veterans Day to give their thanks to hospitalized veterans at the VA Hospital's Spinal Cord Injury Center in Palo Alto.
With hospital recreational therapist Tom McCarthy providing thoughtful help and guidance, youthful volunteers from El Carmelo Elementary, Ohlone Elementary, JLS Middle School and Gunn High School went from room to room to deliver donated personalized presents to the veterans. (The students had Veteran's Day off as a holiday; the gift-giving tradition began one year ago, as part of a JLS Middle School PTA Family Service day.)
This year, the veterans' wishes were once again simple: Three vets said they'd love a strawberry milkshake, another requested fresh tulips for his wife, another said he'd appreciate cord and sea shells for making jewelry, another said he'd be grateful for stationary and Christmas cards.
Snickers Bars and pecan pie were two popular requests, as well as books on a variety of subjects, from genealogy to classical music and more. Two veterans had a taste for deep-fried scallops and one vet said, with a laugh, "Steak and lobster, of course!" He meant it as a joke, but when pressed, admitted that yes, steak (medium-rare) and lobster on Veterans Day would be wonderful.
You won't always find steak and lobster on the Fish Market menu, but that didn't stop the general manager, Toby Fisher, from jumping at the chance to provide. Other businesses were equally generous and enthusiastic in helping, including Nature's Alley floral shop in Midtown, the Peninsula Creamery, Palo Alto Sport Shop and Toy World, Congdon and Crome, and Bell's Books.
All of us here in Palo Alto are lucky to live so close to the VA Hospital, where even the smallest gestures bring the biggest smiles.
In fact, you can see for yourself at the hospital's upcoming "35th Annual Christmas Crafts Making and Decorations Program for Veterans" on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 5:30-9 p.m.
At this event, community volunteers of all ages help VA patients make their own ornaments, decorations and gifts. It's really fun, you don't have to be Martha Stewart at making arts and crafts, and volunteering is easy: just call Tom McCarthy at 650-493-5000, ext. 64353, or e-mail him at Thomas.McCarthy@va.org
We owe our thanks to every veteran, and also to dedicated public servants, such as Mr. McCarthy, for whom every day is Veterans Day.
Mix and munch
On Wednesday, Nov.10, I had the opportunity to attend an event at Addison Elementary School titled "Mix it up at Lunch Day." A national event, Mix it up Day is an effort by students to break out of their comfort zones and meet new people. Numerous community leaders were present, from the Police Chief to City Council People to dedicated parents.
I commend the student council leaders at Addison for their support of this event, and I applaud the school's adult leadership team for holding this event.
This activity is a wonderful example of developmental assets in action, and it is an effective way to demonstrate that young people are indeed important and that every interaction makes a difference.
Congratulations, Addison Elementary!
Director, Youth Ministry
St. Thomas Aquinas Parish