Soon, I’ll be Baryshnikov in Swan Lake. I’ll be Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. I’ll be the over-enthusiastic chicken dancer who stays too long at every wedding reception you’ve ever been to. In other words, I’m going to be doing some happy dances because Thursday is the day my kids go back to school.
While that certainly is big news on the dancing front (the costumes alone will be worth the price of admission), a local dance studio also is making news. Dance Gallery, 4940 Legends Drive, has filed plans at Lawrence City Hall for an expansion. And just like the start of school, this expansion should bring a smile to the faces of parents.
The business plans to add about 3,500 square feet for a fitness center. The center will be open to parents who bring their children to the dance studio and then often spend their time waiting for their child’s lesson to be completed.
“There are times I have 40 mothers just sitting here, and this would give them a chance to work out,” said Grant Ryan, a co-owner of the business.
Ryan said he envisions some yoga and cardio classes, and he’s working on a deal where a local personal trainer would located her business in the studio. In addition to offering classes for parents of youth dancers, Ryan said he also plans to allow the dancers to use the fitness center. Ryan said the additional space will allow the studio to provide more fitness and strength training to students. He also said the fitness area may be used to provide fitness training for basketball, soccer or other types of youth sports.
“I’m not going to try to be a Genesis or a Body Boutique,” Ryan said of two of the larger gyms in town. “But we think we can offer something unique.”
The project is awaiting the necessary site plan approvals from City Hall, but Ryan hopes to have the expansion completed by Jan. 1.
Ryan and his wife, Kristen, bought the business from its longtime owner, Karen Fender, earlier this year. The couple did some interior remodeling, brought on a new dance director who has ties with KU’s Rock Chalk Dancers, and now offers classes in a variety of dance styles, including tap, jazz, lyrical, theater, cheer, tumbling and contemporary.
In other news and notes from around town:
• One dance that I occasionally do is a fancy little number where I’m in my boxer shorts costume, and I’m frantically pirouetting in the early morning hours with my trash cart as I try to get it to the curb before the trash crew arrives.
Soon, Lawrence residents will get the chance to do that dance with two carts at once. As we’ve reported many times, the city is set to launch its curbside recycling program on Oct. 21. City officials recently provided an update, and said all systems are go for operation “Curb it with Blue.”
In case you are wondering, City Hall officials unfortunately have not turned into characters from a 1980s Cold War thriller movie who provide cool code names to anything and everything. Instead, Curb it with Blue is the marketing slogan the city is using to promote the roll out of the curbside system. It is meant to remind you that the recycling carts will be the blue ones, not the green ones that currently are used for your garbage. Those carts will start being delivered to homes on Sept. 8, and everybody will have their cart by mid-October. Here are some other tidbits about the upcoming rollout of the system.
— The system will work on an every-other-week collection schedule. Trash service will remain on an every-week schedule. Your trash day and your recycling day will be the same day, except you will have to remember which week you are supposed to set out your recycling. Look below to see a map of the collection dates, or click here to see the city’s site on the subject.
— If you think you’re going to have a hard time remembering whether this week or next week is the date to put out your recycling, the city is offering a service where they will text or e-mail you a reminder. You can sign up for the alerts at notify.lawrenceks.org
— City officials are working to make sure residents know what items can be placed in the recycling cart and which ones still must go in the trash. All the standard stuff will be recyclable, including newspapers, magazines, office paper, junk mail, paperboard, plastic bottles, milk jugs, aluminum cans, and tin cans. Any yes, you will be able to recycle your glass bottles — including colored varieties — and you’ll be able to put your glass in with all your recyclable in the cart. As for items that aren’t allowed to be recycled, the only one that may surprise some people is plastic bags. So, if you choose plastic over paper at the grocery store, those bags will have to continue to go in the trash, or you can continue to stick them under the sink until they create a pile approximately the size of Mt. Everest.
This entire discussion today has brought some clarity to my crystal ball, and I will offer two predictions. Prediction No 1: Plastic bags are on their way out in Lawrence. You are starting to see some cities in other parts of the country ban plastic bags from retail stores. I have heard that idea brought up from time to time in Lawrence, but thus far it hasn’t gained serious momentum. But this recycling program, in the coming years, may provide the momentum.
Prediction No 2: I will pull my hamstring doing the chicken dance Thursday. I always do.
Lawrence residents, you have about 18 months to come up with an extra $2.81 per month.
Before this Lawrence City Commission gets kicked to the curb with the April 2 election, it wants to make sure it finalizes a plan to create a city-wide, city-run curbside recycling program.
Commissioners are set to do just that at their Tuesday evening meeting. Commissioners will approve an ordinance that officially creates the program, and that ordinance contains the details that many folks have been waiting for. Here’s a look:
• Price: The city has settled on an initial fee of $2.81 per month for the curbside recycling service. As expected, every residential and multi-family resident who currently receives a city trash bill will be required to pay the fee. People won’t be required to actually recycle, but every resident will be required to pay the monthly fee, which will be added onto the city’s standard trash bill.
• Timing: The city will be ready to begin the service on Oct. 15, 2014. That’s also when the $2.81 per month rate increase will take effect. After Oct. 15, 2014, it will be illegal for any other company to collect recycling materials generated by residents "unless authorized by license or other formal agreement with the city." I'm still checking to see what that means for private companies that currently offer the service. (Businesses will still be able to contract with private companies for their recycling needs.)
• Frequency: Curbside collection will happen once every two weeks. The city will create a schedule showing what days each area of town is served. I’ve previously been told that this new service is likely to cause the trash day for many residents across the city to be changed. Your recycling will go out the same day your trash does.
• Carts: The standard cart size delivered to households will be a 95-gallon cart. The standard size trash cart delivered to residents recently is 65 gallons, So, as you’ve probably already determined, the recycling cart will be a bit bigger. I’ll try to get you actual dimensions, so you can start cleaning out your garage. Residents, though, can request a smaller cart. And since residents won’t be required to recycle, they can simply refuse to receive a cart from the city. But those folks still will pay the $2.81 per month fee. In case you haven’t figured it out, the city wants you to recycle. And by requiring everyone to pay the fee, that’s how its created the economy of scale to keep the cost below $3 per month.
• Accepted materials. All recycling will be single stream, which means you just throw it all into your cart. Here’s what will be accepted:
— Glass bottles and jars
— Mixed paper such as magazines, junk mail, chipboard, telephone books and other similar materials
— Office and printer paper
— Shredded paper, as long as it is bagged in a clear, plastic bag
— Cardboard containers, such as a unwaxed cardboard boxes
— Tin, steel, aluminum and bimetal food and beverage containers
— Scrap metal that is less than 30 inches in each direction and less than 50 pounds in weight
— Plastic containers marked with recycling symbols #1 through #7
• Dumpsters: If you live in an area where your trash service is by dumpster, you won’t be getting a cart. Instead, the city will place a recycling dumpster next to your trash dumpster.
• Crews: City crews — the same department that picks up your trash — will pick up your recycling. At the moment, though, it will take two separate crews to do the collection. The city does not have trucks that can haul the recycling and the trash at the same time.
• Recycling facility: The city on Tuesday will sign a seven-year contract — with two three-year renewal options — with Hamm Quarry to operate a new recycling collection facility just outside the Lawrence city limits. The multi-million dollar facility will be built at the junction of Kansas Highway 32 and U.S. Highway 24/40, which is just east of the Lawrence Municipal Airport. Hamm is the Perry-based company that runs the landfill where Lawrence takes its trash.
• Fines: The ordinance does establish a $5.00 fine anytime a resident sets out a recycling cart that contains materials that are trash instead of recycling. The city ordinance specifically states residents aren’t to use the recycling carts for other purposes, such as storing yard waste.
Commissioners will be asked to approve the necessary ordinance and the necessary agreement with Hamm to start the service. A majority of commissioners have indicated strong support for the program. This current commission will change after the April 2 election. Per usual, three of the five seats are up for election. This year, only one incumbent — Mike Amyx — is seeking election. So commissioners want to wrap up the curbside recycling issue before the changing of the guard occurs.
Curbside recycling committee recommending city sign contract with Hamm Companies for local recycling center; question of whether to accept glass still undecided
So, this is what Lawrence’s more than year long process to add curbside recycling has come to: Would you like to supersize that?
City residents, and more directly city commissioners, are at the point of the ordering process where they have to decide just how much value they want to get out of their value meal. Or in other words, they have to decide how much extra they’re willing to pay for a few extras.
Commissioners will be tackling that subject at their meeting on Tuesday.
Unlike at your favorite fast food establishment, in the world of curbside recycling the choices don’t come down to whether you would like a mega fry or a super mega fry. Based on a new report out of City Hall, it appears commissioners have two decisions to make:
• How much extra are they willing to pay to have glass included in the city’s curbside recycling program.
• How much extra are they willing to pay to do business with a locally based company.
The city committee responsible for making a recommendation to the commission has punted on the idea of whether glass should be included in the city’s programs. City commissioners will have to figure that out sans a recommendation. For much of the last year, staff members have been assuming glass would not be part of the program. But last month the mayor and a few other commissioners expressed interest in adding glass once they saw the first round of bids for the service.
On the second issue, though, the city committee is making a strong recommendation to do business with a local company. The committee is recommending the city sign a contract with Perry-based Hamm Companies to build and operate a new recycling processing center just outside of North Lawrence.
That also would mean city of Lawrence crews would be responsible for collecting the curbside recycling materials. The city is recommending that option over two turnkey proposals from Kansas City’s Deffenbaugh Industries and Topeka’s Waste Management. Both of those companies already have recycling processing facilities, and both were proposing to have their private crews pick up the curbside recycling.
Both also are proposing to do so at a price that is less than the city’s recommended option. It still looks like a safe bet that curbside recycling will add less than $4 per month to the bills of city residents, even if the city includes glass in the program. But the city recommendation for city crews do the collection and to go with the brand new Lawrence-based center will add an extra 48 cents to 58 cents per month onto the bills of Lawrence residential trash customers, compared to the other proposals.
Here’s a quick look at the pricing options for what appears to be the top three options:
• Deffenbaugh Industries: Its crews would collect and its Kansas City center would process materials. Unlike the other companies, Deffenbaugh is not offering direct curbside service for glass, but has said it would work with Ripple Glass on a program. Monthly costs for the program: $2.25 to $2.57.
• Waste Management: Its crews would collect and its Topeka center would process materials. It has an option to either included glass in the curbside program or exclude it. Monthly costs for the program with glass: $2.81 to $3.22. Cost for the program without glass: $2.57 to $2.98 per month.
• Hamm Companies: Its lone proposal is for city of Lawrence crews to collect, while Hamm would process the material at a new facility it would build near the Douglas County-Leavenworth County line at the intersection of U.S. 24-40 Highway and Kansas Highway 32. The property currently is operated by Honey Creek Disposal, a solid waste company that provides service in several smaller towns, but Hamm has an option to buy the site. Hamm officials have said the center would involve a multimillion-dollar construction project and would employ 15 to 20 people once it becomes operational. Monthly costs for the program with glass: $3.39 to $3.78. Monthly costs without glass: $2.69 to $3.08.
At the moment, all recommendations focus on service being an every-other-week system. It appears cost concerns have eliminated the idea of weekly service at this point. All recommendations assume customers would be issued a 96-gallon plastic cart, which is a bit bigger than the city’s standard issue 65-gallon cart it uses for trash.
Like previous proposals, the new city system would be based on a "mandatory pay, voluntary usage system." That means every residential property in the city — single-family and multifamily — would pay for the curbside service, regardless of whether it's used.
Commissioners will sort out all the details at a 6:35 p.m. meeting on Tuesday at City Hall. Here’s hoping there at least will be some fries to help us get through the meeting.
City gets proposals for citywide, curbside recycling; proposed rates come in between $2 and $5 per month
The idea of adding citywide, curbside recycling service in Lawrence may get its biggest boost yet on Tuesday night.
City commissioners will get their first glimpse at proposed rates to run a curbside recycling service, and the potential increase to monthly city utility bills is coming in below the $5 range that city officials had once projected.
Depending on how you structure the service, the city has bids that would increase the monthly trash rate of residents by about $2 per month for every-other-week service to a little less than $5 per month for weekly service.
As we previously reported, the city received bids from four entities, but if the issue is based just on rates, it looks like two providers will get the most attention: Deffenbaugh Industries out of Kansas City, and a proposal from the city’s Public Works Department for city crews to provide the service.
Here’s a look at some of the proposed pricing for residential customers:
• Deffenbaugh Industries: $2.15 to $2.80 per month to run bi-weekly service; $3.51 to $4.45 to run weekly service. Under this proposal Deffenbaugh would do all collection and processing of recycled materials.
• City of Lawrence: $2.19 to $2.64 per month to run bi-weekly service; $3.50 to $3.94 per month to run weekly service. Under this proposal, city crews would do all collection, but Deffenbaugh Industries would process the recycled materials at its facility in Kansas City. The city also received proposals from Waste Management and Hamm Companies to process the materials, but those bids generally were higher than Deffenbaugh’s proposal.
• Waste Management: $2.68 to $4.01 per month for bi-weekly service; $4.94 to $5.97 per month for weekly service. Under this proposal crews from Waste Management would handle both collection and processing of the materials. Waste Management recently opened a recycling processing center in Topeka.
City officials will have a lot of information to wade through in evaluating the proposals. In addition to the current bids, the city asked each company to provide an estimate of how large of an annual increase in rates each provider would expect. In that category, Waste Management provided the best option. It estimates annual increases at 3 percent per year. Deffenbaugh estimates 3.58 percent per year, and the city estimates 4.15 percent per year.
The city also will have to determine whether there is value in having a recycling processing center close to Lawrence. If that is the case, Hamm Companies has the best proposal. Hamm is proposing to build a new recycling collection center near the intersection of U.S.. Highway 24-40 and Kansas Highway 32 on property northeast of Lawrence.
Another issue city commissioners will have to grapple with is whether the service ought to be weekly or every two weeks. Somewhat surprisingly, the city’s Public Works Department leaders are recommending every-other-week service. Most of the discussion during the city’s Solid Waste Task Force deliberations focused on weekly service. But the Public Works Department notes the every-other-week service would produce a lower cost to the customer, would require fewer miles to be driven by trash trucks and would have less impact on the environment because it would produce fewer vehicle emissions.
Concerns, however, have been expressed that people may not remember which week is recycling week, if the city goes with every-other-week service. The city also is estimating that every-other-week service would require households to have a 95-gallon cart to handle recyclables. That’s a larger cart than the city’s standard 65-gallon cart.
But make no mistake, with whatever curbside recycling option is chosen, residents are going to have another city-issued cart to care for. All the proposals are based on the use of semi-automated or fully automated trucks, which means carts would be mandatory.
All of the proposals also are based on the idea that every household in the city would have the recycling fee added to their monthly bills, regardless of whether they use the service.
And here’s another big consideration for commissioners: Glass, as in glass beer bottles and such. As I read the proposals, Waste Management and its new processing center is the only one of the proposals that is ready to handle glass. Deffenbaugh’s center does not process glass. Hamm Companies did not include glass processing in its proposal to the city, but it said it could provide an alternate proposal if the city wishes to include glass as part of the service.
It will be interesting to see whether Lawrence residents come out strongly one way or the other on whether glass should be part of the city’s curbside recycling program. Currently, there are several glass drop-off stations in the city.
Commissioners will review the proposals at their 6:35 p.m. meeting on Tuesday. How quickly commissioners act on the curbside recycling idea also will be interesting to watch. An odd state law requires the city to wait until at least June 2014 to begin the service. But the city would need to make the commitment to create the service well before then. It seems very possible that the current group of city commissioners will want to make the decision before the City Commission general election in April.
City receives four proposals for citywide, curbside recycling program; officials hope to keep monthly costs below $5
Lawrence city officials haven’t forgotten about the idea of a curbside recycling program. A state law still is in place that stops the city from starting a new program prior to June 2014, but city officials have been spending a lot of time on the idea recently.
Sources tell me that a committee of city officials and a couple of members of the city’s Solid Waste Task Force spent seven hours last week listening to proposals from four companies or entities wanting to be involved in a proposed curbside recycling program in Lawrence.
City Manager David Corliss told me he was “cautiously optimistic” the proposals would produce a workable program for the city.
Corliss didn’t get into details, but another source told me that — at first glance — it appears the companies are putting together proposals that would offer weekly curbside recycling services at or below the $5 per month price point that some city officials have indicated would be acceptable.
But the details on this one will be important. For example, I haven’t heard whether the proposals included fuel escalator clauses, which would allow the monthly price to vary, depending on the price of diesel fuel.
“We want to make sure we completely understand all of the proposals before we make any recommendations,” Corliss said. “Each proposal has some interesting aspects.”
According to my source, the four entities that have submitted proposals are: Deffenbaugh Industries out of Kansas City; Waste Management, which is a major player in the Topeka market; Hamm Companies, which is the city’s current landfill provider; and a proposal put together by Lawrence’s own sanitation division.
Deffenbaugh and Waste Management are prepared to both collect and process the recycled materials. Hamm has proposed that the city would collect materials, but Hamm would build a new processing facility to handle the Lawrence materials. The city proposal calls for city crews to collect the materials, which then would be processed at a privately owned facility. Corliss confirmed the city is not proposing to build its own processing facility, which easily can be a multimillion-dollar project.
Under all of the proposals, the city would be responsible for handling the billing for the new service. The monthly amount would be added onto trash bills of city residents and businesses. As it is currently structured, every household would be required to pay for the service, whether they want it or not. City officials previously have said that is the way to ensure the service is delivered in the most efficient manner, and it helps the city boost its recycling rate, which has been a goal of all this.
City commissioners at their meeting on Tuesday will be taking a procedural step that keeps this process moving along. Commissioners are being asked to formally adopt a curbside recycling plan. But the plan is written in a pretty general way that doesn’t tie the city’s hands too much. Importantly, it also allows the city to back out of the idea, if it finds the project will cost too much.
Among details the plan does spell out are:
• Residents will be provided a special cart to set out recyclable materials. Residents won’t be required to do any sorting of materials. The plan doesn’t specify whether haulers have to accept glass. In the past, the city has said working glass into the program may be difficult.
• Where it is not feasible to provide a cart to a resident, such as people who live in apartment complexes, those residents will have access to “recycling stations,” which are cluster of recycling carts or Dumpsters.
• The city will consider plans that provide either weekly collection of recycling or every-other-week collection.
• A program should be designed with the goal of increasing the citywide recycling rate to 50 percent by 2020. The city has been changing how it figures its recycling rate, but previously the rate has been in the 30 percent range.
• A plan should be developed to minimize “displacement and economic impact to current recycling collectors.” There are about a half-dozen small, private companies that provide the service in Lawrence. The plan says the city will evaluate proposals, in part, on how well the city’s chosen provider works with those existing companies.
This is where the plan may get trickier than that pyramid of beer cans you have built in your garage waiting for the city to start a curbside program.
Jim Tuchscherer, owner of Home Recycling, said neither Deffenbaugh or Waste Management has contacted him about how his 13-year-old business might be incorporated into a citywide system.
The city of Lawrence has contacted Tuchscherer about its idea, but Tuchscherer hasn’t liked what he’s heard. Tuchscherer said the city is proposing that the recycling companies be allowed to keep their current customers but not be allowed to add new ones.
“I’ve told the city that I’m not opposed to increasing recycling, but I am opposed to the city voting to put me out of business,” Tuchscherer said.
Tuchscherer said he thinks the fair thing for the city to do would be to buy out his business and the other small recycling companies that operate in the city. I haven’t heard any serious talk of that happening, however, at City Hall.
Tuchscherer said he doesn't think the city will find a way to successfully incorporate the small companies into a citywide plan.
“I don’t think there is a workable option,” Tuchscherer said. “I’m sure Waste Management and Deffenbaugh have figured that out too.”
Assuming commissioners pass the plan at Tuesday’s meeting, the next big action step is expected in January, when commissioners will be presented summaries of the proposals presented by the four entities.
Commissioners meet at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.