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    ASK TBC: Can people blow greenwaste into the street?

    By The Bakersfield Californian
    Sunday, Oct 19 2014 05:00 PM

    Q: Why are gardeners allowed to just blow clippings and leaves into the street instead of onto the property they are tending?

    This happens daily by private and both city/county landscaping crews. Last week I was driving through my neighborhood with my windows down enjoying the weather and got pelted by clippings and dust from a careless gardener blowing everything into the roadway.

    -- Daniel Cardenas   A: Sometimes it's allowed, sometimes it's not -- if you're talking about inside Bakersfield city limits.

    The city does allow leaves -- but only leaves -- to be placed in piles on city streets at least two feet from the gutter for pickup by street sweeping crews between Oct. 15 and Jan. 31, said Damon Chow, city street cleaning...

  2. When I dumped my trash at the Keene transfer station, they told me recyclables will be sorted out of it. Is that true? And does that happen in Bakersfield, too? --A reader

    Waste from the Keene transfer station ends up at the Tehachapi Recycling Facility, said Aurora Rush, special projects manager with Kern County Waste Management Department. There, the waste stream goes on a conveyer belt, and recyclables...

  3. How do I purchase one of the 2013 calendars online? --Dona Chertok

      Dona is referring to The Californian's Capture Kern County 2013 calendar, which features photos that Kern County photographers submitted for inclusion and local residents voted as the best. You can buy the calendars online at buy...

  4. Why is the new freeway (Westside Parkway) not open, at least to where it ends as far as pavement goes? I think if I were building that new freeway, I would have started it where it is supposed to end, in town, and as it was built, a complete new section at a time, to where the off- and on-ramps are located, I would have opened each new section as it went along so that traffic cannot only get used to using it, but it would also lighten up some of the traffic going into and out of town. Every day it sits empty, it costs the taxpayers tons of money in wasted time and fuel costs. I would have thought that was the main reason for building that new section of connector freeway in the first place, to speed up and ease the flow of traffic and save some of us expensive fuel costs. -- A commenter on The Californian's Facebook page

      Janet Wheeler, spokeswoman for the Thomas Roads Improvement Program answered: The Westside Parkway is a new 8.1-mile freeway facility that will extend from Truxtun Avenue near Highway 99 to Stockdale Highway and Heath Road. The...

  5. What brands of ice cream are made at the Dreyer's ice cream plant in southwest Bakersfield? --Craig Holland

    A Dreyer's spokeswoman, Diane McIntyre, provided this list: * Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream * Dreyer's Slow Churned Ice Cream * Dreyer's Slow Churned Yogurt * Dreyer's Sherbet * Nestle Drumsticks Cones * Skinny Cow Bars, Cones, cups *...

  6. It happens every time there's a big event in downtown Bakersfield. The Veteran's Day Parade, the Christmas Parade and the ever-popular First Friday celebrations draw streams of motorists into the downtown area, each looking for a convenient place to park. Naturally, many steer their cars into the seven-story, city-owned parking garage at 18th and Eye streets. And that's where things get tight. What many of those searching for a parking spot don't know is that only the bottom level of the garage offers free parking for the general public. And that section fills up fast on big-event days. Beyond that level, motorists come to an automated gate arm that opens only for those who pay for a monthly parking pass. The hapless motorist at the front of the line is then faced with executing a U-turn in a tight space. Unfortunately by then, other drivers are usually lined up behind the car at the locked gate -- and gridlock ensues. Don Martin, owner of The Metro Galleries on 19th Street, said he'd like to see the city explore the possibility of temporarily locking open the automated gate during occasional big events, probably not more than once or twice a month. "First Friday has gotten to be a big event, with a couple thousand people showing up," Martin said. "If the upper levels of the garage are available, they should be open for things like that." --The Californian

    Rhonda Smiley, assistant to Bakersfield City Manager Alan Tandy, said on its face the idea sounds quite feasible. But city officials want to make sure that opening the upper floors of the garage on select days won't have a negative effect...

  7. Could there be any local tax adjustment for people who pay for curbside recycling with the blue bins? Having an interest in recycling waste, I am content to pay for this service but it seems unfair that I continue to pay the same for normal waste pickup. Since I began paying for the recycling, the amount of waste going into the regular waste bin has been reduced by at least 75 percent. It seems to me that the expense to pick up this regular trash bins (only 25 percent full) should be lowered and the savings be passed on to the consumers. This adjustment would also encourage more people to recycle. --Lowell Lueck

    Taxes, or in the case of trash, rates, are established to pay for services and the actual cost of the service is the basis for the rate paid. Both the tan (trash) cart rate and blue (recycling) cart rate are set based on cost. While what...

  8. If the city allows people living in areas zoned as R-1 in Bakersfield to have chickens in their yards, will they also be allowed to slaughter their chickens on their property? --A reader

    Right now, Bakersfield residents can't keep chickens in their yards if they live in areas zoned as R-1, a one-family dwelling designation that covers most of the city south of the Kern River. But a city council committee has been discussing...

  9. How many executive orders has President Barack Obama signed? (There's been an email going around saying it's more than 900). --Delores Jones

    When Obama declared Nuestra Senora Reina de la Paz in Keene the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument a couple weeks ago, it was his 140th and most recent executive order, according to the White House. We, of course, wanted to compare that to...

  10. What is being built next to Centennial High School, a normal park or an amusement water park that we heard about years ago? There is also a large canopy space being built. Please explain what is going in and when it will be finished. --Greg Paradis

    That's the North of the River Recreation and Park District's under-construction community center, playground and picnic area. It's a roughly 26,000-square-foot community center with a double-sized gym and activity rooms, a playground, three...

  11. I use the bike path near Lake Ming for walking. First of all, it's great that repairs are finally being made to the cave-in caused by rains a couple years ago. It's my understanding that where the path ends at Enos Lane there is a porta potty for public use. Are there any plans for putting one at this end? It would not only benefit walkers, joggers and bicycle riders, but those using that area as access to the Kern River. --A reader

    At this time there are no plans for a portable or permanent restroom at the end of the bike trail. There is both a permanent and portable toilet on the east end of Lake Ming, which is about a 1/2 mile from the end of the bike trail. Bob...

  12. I was driving on Ming Avenue the other night when I passed the intersection of Ming Avenue and Manning Street. I realize that the street lights had been changed to white LED lights all the way to El Portal Drive. Is the city changing all its street lights to white LED or why is that small section different? --Raul Cano

    The city is in the process of a pilot program for energy-efficient street lighting. It has placed LED street lighting in various areas of town with the goal to eventually convert all street lighting to energy-efficient lighting. The goal is...

  13. This year the Kern County Elections Division shut down our local precinct at St. Jude's Church in Wofford Heights and told us we would need to start using the vote-by-mail system. That precinct was a short walk from my house, and the absentee ballots are terribly inconvenient. What gives? --Jim Mann

    The St. Jude's Church poll site in Wofford Heights is an active poll site for this election. However, those voters who reside in Area 2 of the Kern County Water Agency, and normally would have voted at St. Jude's, will be voting by mail for...

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