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Garbage tops agenda

Greenwood residents displeased with trash problems

Jodi Summit
Posted 7/11/18

GREENWOOD TWP- Piles and piles of bagged recyclables, household garbage, and scrap metal were left at the recycling canisters at the Greenwood Town Hall grounds over the Fourth of July …

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Garbage tops agenda

Greenwood residents displeased with trash problems


GREENWOOD TWP- Piles and piles of bagged recyclables, household garbage, and scrap metal were left at the recycling canisters at the Greenwood Town Hall grounds over the Fourth of July holiday.

The garbage issue was front and center during the half hour or so of public input at the beginning of the meeting on Tuesday. This is not the first time the issue has been discussed. Earlier this year, the township had to deal with a large amount of scrap metal, including a very heavy piece, left at the site.

While many thanked the volunteers who worked to clean up the canister sites on multiple occasions, others asked the board to get the canisters moved off town hall grounds. They also questioned the idea of placing security cameras at the site to monitor usage, noting the cost and problems with enforcement. Others noted that with the new playground, the issue of broken glass by the canisters, which in the winter gets plowed into the grassy areas, was a safety issue.

“It is just disgusting that people would do that,” said Mary Richard, who witnessed the mess last week.

Steve Rodgers pointed out that having garbage littering the town hall grounds was a major safety hazard in case an air ambulance needed to land on the helipad.

“The canisters are an accident waiting to happen,” he said, noting that flying debris stirred up could damage the helicopter and possibly endanger lives.

The board discussed the issue at length, though they didn’t come to a final decision.

“Security cameras probably aren’t going to solve the problem,” said Chair Mike Ralston. An initial quote for a security camera system was around $4,000, he said. “Cameras are a deterrent but not a solution.”

Treasurer Pam Rodgers noted that monitoring the system would take additional time. Supervisor Byron Beihoffer added that the township would need to pass an ordinance, which would then need to be enforced by the county sheriff.

Supervisor Carmen DeLuca said that Ely had installed a camera system at their recycling site, and after a few violators were prosecuted, problems had decreased.

DeLuca said that most of the bags left at the canister site contained beer cans. He said he suspected that some of them may have come from businesses outside of Greenwood Township, since the Greenwood site is available 24/7. But bags left at the site also included household garbage, scrap metal, and other yard waste, which Greenwood officials and volunteers then had to bring to the Highway 77 Canister Site.

The township can ask St. Louis County to remove the recycling canisters, but whether or not they would get placed at the Highway 77 Canister Site was not certain.

DeLuca said he had been told there might not be enough room at the 77 site to house the canisters, and that they might be relocated to the Soudan site. The limited days and hours that the site is open was also a concern.

Others wondered why St. Louis County couldn’t just make sure they had an empty, or second, unit available over holiday weekends, when most of the problems are occurring.

Board members noted that often if people see a bag of recyclables on the ground by the canister, they assume the canister is full, but most of the time there is room to fit more recyclables in the unit.

The board decided to send a letter to St. Louis County asking what the options would be if the recycling was removed from the town hall, and also to ask that additional capacity be on hand for Labor Day weekend.

Second well?

The request from the Recreation Committee to have a second well drilled to serve the pavilion and skating rink area has also drawn a lot of criticism from residents.

Beihoffer said he met with Dale Olson from Kolstad-Olson who gave an estimate of $7,464 for a well with everything below ground, along with a spigot that could be used year-round and would not freeze in the winter. The well would have connections for a regular garden type hose along with a larger connection for a hose that could be used for flooding the skating rink.

But others questioned the actual cost of the well, wondering if new electrical service would be needed, and what the long-term maintenance costs would be.

Ralston said the idea that the well was a “done deal,” as one resident stated in public input, was simply a rumor.

Others noted there were other ways to improve water delivery at the pavilion area without drilling a separate well.

“Obviously more information is needed,” said Ralston, who then asked to carry the issue over to next month’s agenda.

Election judge appointments

Clerk Sue Drobac’s decision to place long-time election judge Ruth DeLuca as an alternate drew a rebuke from the town board, after Ruth spoke during public input and asked why she was not on the judge list.

Drobac said the township had more interested judges than needed, and said this was also the case last year, and she had put another judge as an alternate.

A motion by Supervisor Larry Tahija to appoint the judges as listed on the agenda did not draw a second. A motion by Ralston to put Ruth back on the list as a judge, and to have the clerk decide which other name to place as an alternate, was approved 4-0 with Supervisor Carmen DeLuca (Ruth’s husband), abstaining.

Ralston noted that Ruth has been an election judge probably longer than anyone else on the list.

Drobac said the decision was based in part so that new judges can get experience.

“They all have to take the training,” said Drobac, “even the alternates.” But Drobac added they are trying to get some new people trained in as election judges, and simply taking the training is not enough to truly learn the job.

Drobac told the board that the clerk does have the authority to select the election judges.

But Ralston told her the judges also need to be approved by the board, and that the board didn’t approve of this list.

Fire numbers

Fire Department Safety Officer Ed Borchardt said the department responded to several fire calls following big storms this past month, and in one case had trouble locating the residence because the fire number was obscured. Many fire numbers are either overgrown by brush or not facing perpendicular to the road. He said it is important that the numbers are visible in both directions.

The township will work to notify residents about the importance of having visible fire number signs, and ask anyone with damaged or worn out signs to ask for replacements. The township does charge a nominal fee for the signs to cover the cost of materials. Borchardt said it was preferable to have the numbers on both sides of the sign, and to have the numbers mounted so they are perpendicular to the roadway.

Other business

In other business the board:

 Heard a statement from Rick Stoehr who is troubled by recent town board actions showing a pattern of acting against the township attorney’s advice. Stoehr also sent his concerns as a letter to the editor which is published in this week’s paper.

Ralston told the board that there was a lot of information going around regarding the Maus grievance. He said the township attorney has told board members not to discuss any information until the litigation is completed.

Heard from Clerk Drobac that a computer glitch that had caused issues with sharing information between office computers, related to a recent update by Microsoft, had been fixed.

Jet Galonski said the new playground set was being used and appreciated.

Heard thank you’s to the volunteers who had help decorate the float and fire truck for the Tower Fourth of July Parade, and also to those who participated during the parade, including Ralston and his grandchildren who rode on the township float. The float won the prize for Most Patriotic.

Ralston refused to answer a question from last month by John Bassing, who was requesting names of fire department members who had done interior firefighting during the Fortune Bay fire. Ralston said Bassing must refer the question to Fire Chief Fazio.

 Awarded the quote for propane for the upcoming season to Ferrellgas for $1.189 per gallon. The township owns its tank. The township sent out four letters requesting quotes and only received the one reply.


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More of the same nonsense! I’ve recently heard that the pavilion has been used only 7 times since it was completed, and 3 more parties have expressed an interest for an event this year. An additional well ( at an obscene estimated expense of $7-11K)! is not needed! There are 2 spigots with potable water at the town hall already.Some, from the unofficial ‘recreational committee’ are insisting it’s needed to water the few hanging baskets, to water the grass, and for flooding the rink. For decades, a fire truck and volunteers have flooded the rink. There are 3 pumper trucks. Truck #2 is rarely used. A board member trying to push the well said’ ‘the truck may not be available in case of fire if its flooding the rink.’ What a lame excuse, 2 other trucks are available!! Taxpayers need to let the Board know to stop asinine spending. Firefighters can get paid to flood the rink, even though volunteers have done it quite well for years. The current board’s agenda is a mystery to many. The fiduciary responsibility they have is being ignored. There is a garden hose that can be used to fill containers and to ‘sprinkle’ new grass. A well is an ill- conceived notion that must not be allowed.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Lee Peterson

Concerning the "recycling" canisters adjacent to the Greenwood Recreation Area:

I appreciate the comments by Mary Richard and Pam & Steve Rodgers. I hadn't thought about what would have happened if the emergency medical helicopter had landed when all of this assorted junk is piled right next to the landing area. We're lucky it hasn't happened. There is a lot of air wash when those copters land and takeoff. It doesn't take much to damage a blade, or "who knows what" gets airborne and sucked into an engine port, etc. I bet they don't land right next to garbage piles elsewhere. Landing in a place with a big pile of loose garbage a few yards away isn't fair to the copter crew, the medics or the patient. There is enough danger already. For Heaven's sake. This is a problem that can and should be solved easily and fairly as soon as possible. The canisters need to be relocated to the Hwy. 77 Waste Canister site. That's just common sense and good all around.

As far as cameras are concerned, I agree with Ralston, Rodgers and Beihoffer. They are a deterrent and not a solution. Cameras are costly, need maintenance and it would be tiresome for someone to sit and watch through the re runs every time there's a transgression. And, what do you do if the transgressor is already back home in Texas or Florida? Extradite him? Do you really think the Sherriff's Dept. is going to be thrilled about taking time out for this?? And then what do you do if we have to go to court and the film is deemed inconclusive etc.? I think our Township has been to court enough already. It sickens me to think that our Township attorney should be consulted about cameras, new ordinances, cop jurisdictions and court challenges, but, I guess it wouldn't hurt. I think I know what some of the answers will be.

Today I dropped off some recyclables at the Township right after I had been to the County 77 site to drop off garbage. I noticed that even though there is plenty of room in all of the canisters, there was freshly broken glass on the ground at the farthest canister from the glass canister....That's reality

The County has plenty of land available, up above, on flat ground at the current Hwy. 77 site for all of the canisters. I just checked it out on the County Land Explorer site. In fact, the existing setup is too cramped and needs to be made larger, and without a steep hill to climb for exiting.

Again, with the taxes Greenwood property owners pay toward the county, we shouldn't have a problem expecting that there is a first class canister site at Hwy. 77 that is open reasonable hours, including holidays. This is a responsibility for our Town Board to use their influence to work it out with the County and make the move. I would sure appreciate a motion, second, discussion and vote on moving forward with it at the next Town Board meeting. Plenty of other people feel the same about it.

Saturday, July 14, 2018
Lee Peterson

The article says:

"The township can ask St. Louis County to remove the recycling canisters, but whether or not they would get placed at the Highway 77 Canister Site was not certain."

"The township can ask St. Louis County to remove the recycling canisters, but whether or not they would get placed at the Highway 77 Canister Site was not certain."

I guess that I have always been under the impression that a goal of St. Louis County Environmental Services is to promote recycling for several good reasons, not the least of which is to "recycle" items and thereby lessen space taken up in the garbage and construction landfills. If this policy is still the case, it shouldn't be difficult for the Greenwood Town Board to work with Environmental Services to build a first class canister site at the Hwy. 77 location that is accommodating to the peoples' needs. Two things are certain: Greenwood taxpayers have already contributed to such a facility. And no one can say that there isn't recycling volume generated at Greenwood.

If the recycling goal of goal of Environmental Services has changed, then we need to get our County Commissioner to take up the issue. It's a good point to question the candidates for our 4th District County Commissioner candidates on before voting in the August 14 primary.

Sunday, July 15, 2018
Lee Peterson

The view from the highway yesterday afternoon (Sunday the 15th) was of "stuff" piled outside of the canisters again.... Reality needs to set in.

Monday, July 16, 2018

I heard from a good source that the board hasn’t bothered to contact the county for more containers or for more frequent pick-ups. That would be a good first step.

Monday, July 16, 2018
Lee Peterson

"Deplorable"?: Additional canisters? Yesterday I drove in there to check out and take pictures of the latest mess. There was space left in all of the existing canisters. Regardless, there was "stuff" lying all around, including additional broken glass spread around in two areas. White bead board (not recyclable), cardboard strewn around, and the usual bags of guck. Cleverly hidden in the trees 15 ft. from the first canister are six large bags of who knows what. Maybe, "Deplorable", if you folks are so bent on perpetuating this mess, we should just have the parking lot circled with open top dumpsters and let everyone have at it. Possibly even put all of the dumpsters up by where the American flag is now, at least they would be away from the Recreation Area.

Of all the problems that the Township has on the table, this canister problem can be permanently and cleanly resolved. Moving them to the County Hwy. 77 site is the answer.

I'll pass the latest pictures link along to the Town Board members, hoping.....

Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Lee Peterson

Another week has passed, and another "fresh" mess of bags are piled around the canisters on Monday, July 30. The smell of garbage and stale beer wafted over the recreation area. The mess wasn't cleaned up until the next day. Healthy?

The Greenwood Town Board needs to get these canisters over to an upgraded, first class waste and recycling area at the Hwy. 77 site.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018