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“Leave It On The Lawn, Kingston!” Initiative Marks Its Second Season in 2010

Kingston resident Kate Lawson leads by example.

“Leave It On The Lawn, Kingston!” initiative continues for a second year in the City of Kingston.

The City of Kingston’s Mayor James Sottile, DPW Superintendent Michael Schupp and The Kingston Land Trust hope to save Kingston citizen’s tax dollars for a second year by encouraging residents to mulch their leaf landscape waste.

KINGSTON – With the recent passing of a mandatory leaf bagging law in the city of Kingston, public officials in connection with the Kingston Land Trust are asking residents to “Leave It On The Lawn, Kingston!” for a second fall season. The federal program that was initiated locally hopes to save citizen’s tax dollars by asking them to ‘help Kingston help itself’.

“Mulching leaves takes a serious waste disposal problem and stops it at its source,” says Rebecca Martin, Executive Director of the Kingston Land Trust.  “Additionally, it takes 1/4 of a persons time rather than bagging them, avoids all municipal collection costs and provides valuable plant nutrients stored in leaves throughout the season to fertilize lawns and gardens naturally.”

A helpful brochure will be available at the city of Kingston’s Clerks office, Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Kingston Land Trust offices after October 10th about the program.  To learn more on the initiative online, visit the city of Kingston’s website or contact Rebecca Martin, Executive Director of the Kingston Land Trust at 845/877-LAND (5263) or rebecca@kingstonlandtrust.org

Breaking the Chain, Part II

Kingston's new "Harmacy". Poetic justice, as recalled by Rebecca Martin

CVS. Photo by Nancy Graham.

By Arthur Zaczkiewicz

As we continue to slog through this recession (we’re in a double-dip one, according to some experts), there are a lot of actions citizens like you and me can do to help weather this downturn. As consumers (two thirds of our GDP is driven by consumer spending), we have a lot of power to change the economy – especially on a local level. Continue reading

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How About a Little De-Tagging During the Citywide Clean Sweep on April 24th?

In the spirit of the upcoming citywide clean sweep event on April 24th, KingstonCitizens.org is giving away ten “Team D’Arcy De-Tagging Kits”  that include spray paint remover, rubber gloves and a full roll of paper towels (towels courtesy of Kingston Natural Foods).   The first ten residents to arrive at the citywide Neighborhood Watch Meeting on Tuesday, April 13th at the Kingston Library will be given one.

I’m going to keep a kit in the car to remove tags when I see them. How about you?

For more on the upcoming Citywide Clean-Sweep, visit this LINK

BEFORE: Graffiti on Wall Street

AFTER: Citizen and community leader Michael D'Arcy takes matters into his own hands and removes blight from our Uptown business district. It's easy for us all to do.

Why Residents Must Continue to Recycle

With the abrupt change made this week to the recycling schedule (that is now bi-weekly) we grew deeply concerned. Not because we think weekly pick-ups are ‘the way to go’. But because the change was made without any effort to inform or educate the public. As it is, through the hard work of Julie and Steve Noble and Jeanne Edwards, Kingston was sort of on the up and up on improving it’s recycling numbers. That might be history unless something is done and soon.

Sure, not every municipality offers recycling to their residents. That may even be where we are heading. The fact of the matter is, Kingston has offered it as a service and we have come to expect it. If more people now feel inconvenienced and decide to trash their plastics and all, we are not only heading in the wrong direction but we are also encouraging a whopper of an expense in the long run.

Why? At this time, Kingston pays UCRRA (Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency) $71 a ton to then ship our garbage up the river some 250 miles. That’s what makes it so expensive. Weigh that against the national average, which is around $42.08 per ton.

Landfills are close to capacity. Perhaps not this year or next, but in the very near future our garbage may be shipped even further away. Now does that make any sense?

So please, hold onto your recycling until your new scheduled pick-up day. Give your bottles and cans an extra wash out to prepare them to sit for a week longer. That only takes a few seconds of your time. If you simply can’t wait, delivering your recyclables, yard waste and brush to the transfer station is free.

Encourage your Alderman to help solve this problem through good discussion and solid examples by looking outside of Kingston to see what might be useful to us.

- Rebecca Martin

Here are a couple of helpful links.

City of Kingston: New Recycling/Yard Waste Pick-Up Schedule

KingstonCitizens.org: Why Pay As You Throw?

KingstonCitizens.org: Plastics By Numbers

Leave It On The Lawn, Kingston! Mulching and Composting Brochure

Making Citywide Composting Profitable

In today’s Daily Freeman, Andi Turco-Levin announces her desire to get behind a citywide composting program for the city of Kingston.

There are many components to discuss on the subject such as residents doing more of it themselves (by mulching leaves and composting bigger pieces of yard waste) and mandatory leaf bagging (a source of controversial discussion).

But whether it’s left curbside, bagged, bundled – whatever – the fact remains that the city is scrambling to find a place for yard waste, as we no longer have a place for it as we have in the past. So what to do?

Take a look at the City of Palo Alto, CA’s model. Interesting indeed. (Taken from the KingstonCitizens.org facebook page. Thanks Brad Will)

What can you do in the meantime?

Leave It On The Lawn, Kingston! Leaf Mulching
Leave It On The Lawn, Kingston! Composting Yard Waste

Kingston Uptown Resident Alliance (KURA) Hosts “How To Appeal Your Property Assessment”

Property Taxes

For some time, I have not only been impressed by KURA (Kingston Uptown Residents Association) but am ever so grateful to have smarts like that on the case of some very pressing issues here in the city of Kingston. They have successfully hosted meetings to expose residents to important information while tackling the complications of such topics as Kingston’s Nuisance Abatement law, the city’s budget and the confusion of our citywide reval and tax structure.

I had the great pleasure to meet and listen to Gerald and Victoria at Ward 1’s community meeting this past February (by the way, if you haven’t yet seen Ward 1 Alderman Andi Turco-Levin’s blog yet, you must.  She is doing an exceptional job at City Hall and in reaching out and listening to her constituents. I highly recommend you bookmark her BLOG ).

On Tuesday, April 20th KURA will host another public information meeting at the Old Dutch Church in Kingston (272 Wall Street) on “How To Appeal Your Property Assessment”. Guest speakers will be Ken Brett, member of the City of Kingston Board of Assessment Review and Mark Grunblatt, Real Estate Attorney in Kingston.

Of course, it must be noted that KingstonCitizens.org learned of  Karen Vetere during the now defunct homeowners tax relief group meeting back a year or more ago. Before and since then, Karen has been extremely helpful in working with residents through the maze of making sure their house values and tax increases were correct. There are many who experienced a doubling in their taxes over the course of a year, almost taxing them right out of their homes in one fell swoop.  In fact, it’s still a real possibility as things currently are.

Sometimes, the city of Kingston officials seem to work against its citizens with a lack of good planning. That’s not to say there aren’t good people working in city government. What I’m trying to get at here, is that in order for this all to work as it was intended, the citizens need to take an ongoing active role in it all. You mustn’t grumble over it either.  Part of the problem is due to a lack of involvement and oversight by the people.

We need to be paying close attention now and we need to stay the course on whatever issue calls us. Constructive changes don’t occur overnight.

Thanks to those mentioned in this post, and to all of the citizen groups new and old who are working to make the city a cool place to live while trying to incorporate every single one of it’s residents so to nurture it into the rich and diverse community that it is meant to be.

“Leave It On The Lawn, Kingston!” Program Launched

It’s no secret that the federal “Leave It On The Lawn” program has done great things in many municipalities nationwide. It has arrived here at home with the support of the City of Kingston in collaboration with the Kingston Land Trust’s garden committee to “help Kingston help itself”  by asking Kingston citizens to consider managing their landscape waste this fall.   The first scheduled leaf  pick-up is October 15th which is only ten days from now.   Come on Kingston Citizens!  Click on the links below to help to get you started. Don’t believe this initiative can save you big bucks in tax dollars and make a major difference in the (and your) environment? Read on….

- Rebecca Martin and Wilbur Girl of KingstonCitizens.org’s  blogspot

Leave It On The Lawn, Kingston!


The City of Kingston with the support of the garden committee through the Kingston Land Trust asks the citizens of Kingston to re-think bagging their leaves this season.

During the year, at least 20 percent of the solid waste generated by Kingstonians comes from grass clippings, tree leaves and other landscape wastes. Bagging these materials or placing them into the curbside collection system wastes an important natural amendment leading to poor soil quality and costs the people of Kingston more in increased taxes and service fees by the use of additional trucks, labor and fuel.

Approximately half of landscape waste is composed of tree leaves.  The “Leave It On The Lawn, Kingston!” Leaf Management Plan is an environmentally sound program designed to significantly reduce the volume of leaves saving citizens tax dollars while improving their soil quality, naturally.

Options for Managing and Using Leaves
Leaves are truly a valuable natural resource. They contain 50 to 80 percent of the nutrients a plant extracts from the soil and air during the season. Therefore, leaves should be managed and used rather than bagged and placed at curbside for collection.

Here’s what you can do to make some simple and important changes:

Mulching by Mowing  (click on this link to learn detailed how to’s)
Leaf mowing is the most efficient way to manage your leaves and takes 1/4 of the time than traditional raking and bagging. For larger lawns, though not entirely necessary, this can be more effective when a mulching mower is used. To get started:

1.    Mow over your dry leaves in the same manner you would if you were mowing the grass.  If you have a great deal of leaves and a small parcel, rake the leaves out evenly before mowing.
2.    Repeat if necessary.
3.    Leave your shredded leaves on the lawn for a chemical-free fertilizer that will give beautiful results.
4.    You can also rake and transport your shredded leaves to your gardens, shrubs, trees or composter.

Composting Landscape Waste (click on this link to learn detailed how to’s)
Kingston’s urban environment allows for many different methods of composting.  There are a variety of composter styles and sizes to choose from, or, simply make your own.

1.    TO COMPOST YOUR LEAVES: take the shredded leaves alone or with other yard waste materials and place in a wire bin or any type of composter of your choosing.  Remember  that the smaller the pieces, the faster they will break down into reusable organic matter.  For a quicker result, turn your materials with a pitch fork or similar tool occasionally.  In time, underneath your compost pile, you will have rich, dark soil for all of your gardening needs.
2.    TO COMPOST SHREDDED LEAVES WITH KITCHEN WASTE:  in an appropriate bin, add equal parts brown and green materials.  “Brown” materials include leaves, straw, non-glossy paper, wood, bark chips, paper napkins and coffee grounds. “Green” materials include fruit and vegetable peelings, rinds, and eggshells.
3.     NEVER add any animal products, oils or hazardous materials.  Turn the pile occasionally to aerate it and make sure it’s moist but not soggy.  The decomposition process can take anywhere from three months to a year.
 

By composting you’ll have RICH soil for FREE!  It will save time, money and our city’s precious resources.

Get started today and lend a hand to help Kingston help itself!

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