03/15/13 11:00am

ACTUALLY, SAY CRITICS, ‘ONE BIN FOR ALL’ MAYBE NOT BEST IDEA Mayor Parker’s prize-winning garbage program was questioned yesterday by activists and environmentalists, reports Hair Balls’ Vanessa Piña — especially because the $1 million the city won from Mayor Bloomberg seems awfully puny in light of the expected $100 million the new sorting facility could cost. And, reports Piña, critics are suggesting that “One Bin for All” seems kinda unnecessary: “There is a successful partnership between the city and waste management, and material is daily being handled. Waste Management’s single stream sorting facilities are running at an estimated 50 percent of capacity and can easily handle more if the city will only provide more carts to our citizens,” says Leo Gold. And here’s Dr. Robert Bullard, public affairs dean at Texas Southern: “For someone who has done research and written more than 18 books on this stuff it is rather odd that we would be opting for an unproven, risky idea.” [Hair Balls; previously on Swamplot] Photo of recycling bin in the Heights: Charles Kuffner

03/13/13 2:00pm

GARBAGE PROGRAM STILL ‘ABSOLUTELY DOABLE,’ SAYS MAYOR PARKER So Houston’s “One Bin for All” idea didn’t win the $5 million grand prize in Mayor Bloomberg’s philanthrophic challenge — but it did tie for second. And that means $1 million will be coming Houston’s way, along with $50,000 extra for being so darn lovable and winning the “fan favorite” vote online. And what’s the city going to do with all this dough? The Houston Chronicle’s Carol Christian reports that the consolation prizes might be just enough to get the program off the ground: Though the idea to combine garbage, recycling, and yard waste into one big bin for mechanized sorting later has been around for awhile, Mayor Parker says, “This award will allow us the seed money to begin the process . . . We have thoroughly researched the technology. It’s absolutely doable.” Construction on a new sorting facility could begin as early as 2014, reports Christian. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo of recycling bin in the Heights: Charles Kuffner

01/29/13 12:00pm

IF YOU TYPED ‘POTHOLE,’ PLEASE TYPE ‘YES’ A spurting water main? One of your neighbor’s free-range hens clucking the ever-loving night away? There’s an app for that: today, the city is launching a 311 app that will help smartphone-equipped Houstonians report and track complaints:‘Say you see a pothole on your street. Before you even leave for work you can walk over, launch the app and type in ‘pothole,’ [city spokesperson Chris Newport] said. ‘You have the option of taking a picture, punching in the address and answering two other questions before you hit send.'” [Houston Chronicle] Photo: Chelsea Gomez (Oakes)

01/17/13 4:45pm

YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY Has Midtown become too hip even for the federal government? The Social Security Administration is leaving, having lost its lease at the low-slung building at 3100 Smith (shown at right), reports CultureMap’s Whitney Radley: “Once a sort of wasteland, the surrounding neighborhood teems now with development, restaurants, bars, mixed-use complexes and multifamily units . . . . speculation that the building might be prime space for a restaurant or even torn down to make room for a mid-rise, is rampant.” [CultureMap] Photo: Panoramio user Wolfgang Houston

03/25/10 12:46pm

And now, from Swamplot’s “tips” line, a reader’s brief personal testimonial for the Houston Service Helpline:

Seems like the folks who read your blog are motivated and want the best for the city (whatever that means to them). You can call 3-1-1 or (713) 837-0311 or my preference is the “web intake form” – clunky, but thorough.  They send you e-mail with incident #, so you can call a representative and follow up. There are drop-down menus to request the type of service you want.

I’ve used the Houston 3-1-1 system a couple of dozen times to report:

01/14/10 9:24am

You’ll have to wait until later in the year before you can see the complete movie, but filmmaker Andrew Garrison has just released these excerpts from his new feature, called “Trash Dance.” The film documents the creation of last September’s performance of The Trash Project, organized by choreographer Allison Orr of Forklift Danceworks and performed by the nimble artists of Austin’s Solid Waste Services Department. (For full effect, we recommend viewing the HD version.)

Video: Andrew Garrison