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Even At Low Levels, The Mississippi River Is Magnificent, Powerful

December 8, 2012 Downtown, Environment, Featured 1 Comment

Never forget that St. Louis has alway been a river city. A few times a year I like to go down to the riverfront, to remind myself and marvel at the power of the current. Recently I had to go a little further to get near the edge of the water.

ABOVE: The water level in the Mississippi River at a low level, exposing the old cobblestones.


ST. LOUIS — A top Army Corps of Engineers official says she believes the low Mississippi River will remain open to shipping, partly justifying the agency’s decision to not release more water from the Missouri River into the Mississippi. (Washington Post)

Hopefully the Army Corps is correct and barges will have enough water to navigate the river.

— Steve Patterson


Poll: Do You Think Climate Change (Global Warming) Is Affecting The Weather In The United States?

November temperatures in St. Louis were all over the charts, with some highs in the 70s and lows below freezing (source). Hurricane Sandy did massive destruction in the Northeast at the end of October. A few months earlier Hurricane Isaac hit the northern Gulf Coast.   This weekend California is getting pounded by heavy rains (NYT).

ABOVE: A May 22, 2011 tornado devastated much of Joplin MO. Photo date November 8, 2011

Normal conditions or changing conditions based on man?

A new study published Thursday in the journal Science provides the most definitive — and accurate — evidence yet that polar ice caps on Greenland and Antarctica are melting.

Shrinking ice is not the only telltale sign that climate change is real. From rising air and ocean temperatures to stronger storms to record droughts, evidence of a changing global climate is all around us. (Business Insider)

The poll question this week asks if you think climate change (global warming) is affecting the weather. The poll is in the right sidebar, mobile users will need to switch to the desktop layout to vote in the poll.

— Steve Patterson


Food Delivery By Bicycle In Tower Grove South And Now Downtown

I never paid much attention to Griffin Delivery because they only delivered in the South Grand area, which I’ve never lived in. But recently I was attending a Public Safety committee meeting at the Board of Aldermen and Griffin Delivery owner Andy Heaslet was there to speak on another bill, mentioning they’d just started food delivery by bike in downtown. My ears perked up and I passed him my card when he sat back down.

ABOVE: Griffin Delivery’s initial downtown cyclist Micah Goulet on 6th St. outside Tortilla Grill.

Eager to try out their delivery service I ordered lunch through their website griffindelivery.com. At that time, last month, they only offered lunch from Pickles Deli  (701 Olive) but they’ve since added Tortilla Grille (200 N. 6th) and Lola (500 N. 14th). Heaslet & Goulet told me more restaurants will be added as the service ramps up.

ABOVE: Pickles Deli at 701 Olive was the first downtown restaurant to sign on with Griffin Delivery.

Ordering is done through griffindelivery.com, the menu for each restaurant is part of website. I was able to select the type of bread and cheese for my grilled cheese. You can select to receive email and/or text messages to be notified when the courier arrives at the restaurant and when your food is on the way. My food was still warm when it arrived!

ABOVE: Griffin Delivery’s website is easy to use but they offer a step by step guide, this from step 5. Click image to view instructions.

I personally hate talking on the phone but Griffin Delivery offers a high-tech way to get food delivered from localy-owned restaurants in a low-carbon way — by bike.

ABOVE: Griffin Delivery’s original service area
ABOVE: Griffin Delivery’s new downtown delivery area

Right now downtown delivery is weekday lunch and  dinner down south, but they are looking to expand hours in both.

On Wednesday morning I ordered lunch 90+ minutes before I wanted to eat, allowing me to concentrate on some work. I can already tell that I’ll be having food delivered more often now, time to set a monthly limit for myself.

— Steve Patterson


St. Louis Should Follow Seattle’s Recycling Efforts

October 26, 2012 Environment, Featured 17 Comments

St. Louis needs to look at taking recycling to the next level, the way Seattle has done. Starting earlier this year restaurants in Seattle had to recycle — no more single-use packaging. This means use of items that can be composted.

The City hopes participation of the new ordinance will help prevent 6,000 tons of food service-ware and leftover food from entering landfills.

The compost process at Cedar Grove takes about eight weeks, depending on the time of year. From there, it sits a few weeks to darken before it can be sold as compost for use in gardens and landscaping. (source)

Seattle is the first to do this.

ABOVE: Compost bins replaced trash bins at a Seattle area Taco Time. The tiny black container on top is for hot sauce & ketchup packets which are on the approved discard list.
Photo by Richard Kenney, AIA

Some of you are now upset and having your right to produce waste infringed. As an equal member of society I shouldn’t be burdened by all the waste you produce.  Just look at the amount of stuff you discard at a fast food place that goes into land fills.

From Seattle’s website:

Composting and recycling items that used to be considered waste starts July 1 at Seattle restaurants, coffee shops, food courts, cafeterias and other food service businesses in a major change driven by a new Seattle ordinance.

Customers can now put napkins, paper bags, wooden coffee stir sticks and many types of take-away containers into new in-store compost collection bins. Hot and cold beverage cups and lids will now go into recycling containers instead the trash.

Seattle’s ordinance, which requires all food service businesses to stop throwing away single-use food service ware and packaging, takes effect July 1.

“With our requirement that food service packaging must be compostable or recyclable, Seattle has taken a big step toward a zero waste future,” said City Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “You have to ask yourself why we should make stuff just to throw it away. With compostable and recyclable food containers, we’re closing the loop.”

“For the past year-and-a-half Seattle restaurant businesses and the City of Seattle have collaborated to make the new food packaging requirements work well for the industry, restaurant patrons and the environment,” said Timothy Croll, solid waste director for Seattle Public Utilities. “We hope that customers in coffee shops and quick-serve restaurants will take a moment at the end of their meals to learn the new system. After a few months, we expect it will be routine for everyone.”

“By offering their customers recycling and composting choices, Seattle restaurants will help prevent up to 6,000 tons of food service ware and leftover food from being sent to the landfill every year,” said Croll. “That’s the equivalent of a garbage train more than 100 cars long that will just disappear.”

Taco Time, a northwest chain of 70+ locations, has started implementing these guidelines at locations outside the City of Seattle. National chains that operate in St. Louis & Seattle, like Taco Bell & McDonald’s, must comply.

— Steve Patterson








Missing Planter Reveals Paver Sidewalk Discoloration

September 15, 2012 Downtown, Environment, Featured 4 Comments

Various planters exist along Washington Ave. A rectangular one is common since it doesn’t reduce the sidewalk width the way a round planter would.

ABOVE: Rectangular planter on Washington Ave.

But recently I noticed a number of spots around 13th Street where these planters used to exist.

ABOVE: Space where planter once existed

Amazing how much darker the brick pavers are now some 10 years later. I’ve not (yet) counted how many planters are missing. It’s possible these were moved to other locations.

— Steve Patterson




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