Dear Action Line: When is Walmart going to open the entrance to the north side of its parking lot? It’s been ribboned off for a REALLY looooong time. Or is this a plot by City Market? – Noah Parker
Dear Noah: To answer the unstated but most important part of that question: Is that actually the north side? Or is it the west side? That stretch of highway is puzzling to the geographically precise, because it’s on a joint north/south (U.S. Highway 550) and east/west (U.S. Highway 160) stretch of highway. To some, it may seem to be going more westerly than northerly as it swings toward Durango near Walmart.
A close look at a U.S. Geographical Survey map, Loma Linda quad, shows that indeed the highway is more north/south than east/west there. But only by a couple of degrees. However, Walmart is slightly askew from the highway, tending a bit more toward the east/west axis. So we’re still not certain, and, with no protractor in sight, math skills are required for a final answer.
Action Line flew into full geek mode, printed out a blown-up version of Walmart, made some measurements, relearned trigonometry, found a site called calculator.net that would calculate the “sin” (pronounced “sign”) and plugged in some numbers. Assuming the map being used (from La Plata County GIS) is true north, then Walmart is, by a mere degree, aligned more north/south. On Action Line’s printout, an angle of 45 degrees would be true northwest, and anything over that would be more north. The angle was 46.4 degrees.
Wow. Are you still reading this? You must really want to know what’s up at that NORTH side of the parking area.
Walmart has been dealing with water line breaks at that location, and has been waiting on a contractor to complete the patching of a trench dug to fix the break, said Steve Barkley, code enforcement officer with the city of Durango.
Temporary fill has proved inadequate, and the asphalt plant has not been running because it has been too cold. But it should be open soon, and the trench patched soon after that with permanent asphalt.
Citing a city land-use code that requires keeping off-street parking in good condition, Barkley served Walmart a “Courtesy Notice of Violation” to open traffic within 10 days.
Coincidentally, that’s about the time Action Line will have forgotten all that valuable trig.
Dear Action Line: We in Durango are sensitive to “thinking green.” I’m not referring to the green beer we recently swilled on St. Patrick’s Day, but to the guidelines in disposing containers from our venerable restaurants when we get carry-out food. We want to minimize our landfill. What do we do with cardboard boxes labeled “Please Recycle – may not be recyclable in your area or fully compostable”? Do we put this in the recycling or in our garden? What’s your spin on this? – Dizzy in Durango
Dear Dizzy: What, that trig problem didn’t make you dizzy enough? Here’s an answer a little more down to earth.
“These types of cardboard takeout containers generally end up covered in food and therefore cannot be recycled through the city’s single-stream recycling program,” said Imogen Ainsworth, sustainability coordinator for the city of Durango.
Clean, dry cardboard boxes that have not had direct contact with food can be placed in a single-stream recycling container.
Your recycling motto should be, “If in doubt, throw it out,” Ainsworth said. Leftover food, broken glass and other non-recyclable material can contaminate a whole truckload of recycling and result in it all being sent to a landfill.
It’s like that saying that one bad apple spoils the whole bunch. Or was that just an old Jackson 5 song?
Ainsworth continued: “Unfortunately, most products labeled ‘compostable in commercial facilities only’ or ‘may not be compostable in your area’ and any ‘compostable plastic’ materials only break down under conditions found in large commercial compost facilities. They are therefore likely to be problematic for your backyard compost and would break down very slowly, incompletely, or not at all in your garden.”
Also, beware of the recycling triangles on plastic. Durango recycles by shape rather than number, Ainsworth said, and the triangles can be misleading. For example, plastic film and rigid plastics such as flowerpots and Tupperware are not recyclable, no matter what those helpful triangles might indicate.
Still feeling dizzy? Ainsworth suggested visiting DurangoRecycles.com and using the “What Goes Where” tool to find out how to responsibly dispose of almost anything.
Email questions and suggestions to email@example.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. Trivia: Although George Jackson wrote “One Bad Apple” with the Jackson 5 in mind, who actually made it a No. 1 song?
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