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Leaf blowers noisy dirty and unhealthy

Leaf blowers noisy, dirty and unhealthy

​Watch video here.

Our immediate neighbors' leaf blower landscape man is our bane. I know when he and his crew has visited: our front side and back walk areas are much covered in grit and leaves. We live in very modest size twin houses on an urban street graced with large sycamore maple trees. We have very little land area and about 15 feet between non-adjoined houses. The landscaper makes heavy use of a gas powered leaf blower

At times we are unfortunate enough to be at home when he comes. The blower creates a roar from which he is protected by large ear muffs- but not us. On his last visit, I left the house and he was blasting away plant and soil specks more than an hour later when I returned. In addition to being gratingly loud, the blower stirs up a large amount of particulate dust which may contain mold, bird feces and what not, a definite health hazard, which is why some communities have banned them. See https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/17/realestate/on-banning-on-leaf-blowers.html?_r=0 I wrote about the issue for WHYY Newsworks back in 2010 http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/mt-airychestnut-hill/6727-why-do-leaf-blowers-have-to-be-so-loud

We appreciate that our neighbors want to keep their garden areas looking attractive. One a lawyer, the other a doctor, keep their windows closed with the heat or air conditioning usually running so are not personally disturbed by the noise, leaf and dust storms created by their landscaper. The lawyer, who complains about breathing problems and asthma is not going to start doing her own modest yard work any time soon. The doctor appears not to have the time or inclination to do her own likewise modest yard work.
 
Sadly, their indifference to our distress prompted me to call our City Councilwoman's office. I described the noise and pollution problem to an aide and asked, "Is there anything I can do?" She answered "Not as long as they are doing their job." I then asked "Is there a noise ordinance" and she answered, "No." I believe the aide is wrong on both counts.
 
I've begun a little campaign by posting signs to encourage our neighbors on the block to refrain from garden power equipment use on their small yards and, instead borrow our rakes and push mower!
 
To be continued...

No to leaf blowers

Leaf blower grime


Geese chasing dog

Geese chasing dog

​Each day, Lisa Backe, "Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator" of the Goose Squad, LLC travels 100 miles and opens the door to her car at 28 different sites to allow her dog to chase away unwanted Canada geese. Your correspondent ran into Lisa and her small, friendly, rescue dog, Rita, on their second trip that day to the Morris Arboretum in Northwest Philadelphia, zipping around in a small car to the geese hotspots. It's a matter of harnessing the dog's natural instincts to chase the birds, Backe says. Goose Squad owner Joe Rocco estimates that seventy percent of the geese in our area reside here year round. Grazing on plentiful open grassy, areas each bird can leave a pound and a half or more of droppings a day. "We get the flock out of here" is the company's motto. Alas for your correspondent on this particular afternoon, the flock had already gotten out of there so there are no action shots in the video. Watch video interview here.

Goose Squad


Mail Carrier wears tank top to beat heat

Mail carrier beats heat in tank top

Kalam Shaheen a new United States Postal Service mail carrier hasn't yet received an official uniform allowance so when a guy came around the Post Office [in the hot weather] offering workers tank tops emblazoned with the Postal Service logo, she bought one out of pocket. Now she believes she is starting a style trend among "the girls."  Your correspondent recalled seeing her making deliveries Sunday, the day before. Shaheen says that substitutes are required to work Sundays, delivering Amazon packages. She knows she has a lot of hard work ahead of her the next couple years but as someone who hasn't attended college. she is hoping to turn this job into a career as it offers benefits and a pension. Watch video here.


Meet these local soapmakers

They make soap and more

Watch video here.

Tim Minor and Theresa Peoples who originally were in IT fields started a bath and body business 14 years ago because they wanted soap where good ingredients like shea butter, coconut and olive oils were the primary constituents. Theresa concocts the soaps and Tim builds the molds to hold them. They experiment with new products: pureed cucumbers work just fine for their "cool cucumber" but not all fruits are amenable to the hot, lye using process. The couple also runs a mobile spa, giving massages and applying their fragrant essences. They were outside of Weavers Way Coop, one location where they market their locally produced products, as part of "meet the makers day."


She helps people find work

Helps people find work

Sandy Ellis-Johnson, an interviewer at the Pa Career Link in Germantown (Philadelphia) office for helping people get jobs is the first staffer a person meets.  According to Ellis-Johnson, employees laid off from jobs may find they do not have up to date skills necessary for re-entering the job market. Like the now unemployed baker who has been doing the same job for 30 years. The busy center holds workshops throughout the week on topics such as how to use the job gateway website to find jobs, resume writing and do's and dont's of interviewing. Clients may also be assigned a workforce advisor for one-on-one help in landing a job. From a list, Ellis-Johnson reads off the "hot" jobs these days - merchandisers, auto mechanics, CNAs, registered nurses, forklift drivers, administrative assistants, cooks. She enjoys meeting people from all walks of life, she relates. "We're all basically the same. We all have to find a means of income and we're all looking to just do better." Watch video interview here.

Bethlehem and Sad Patrick play music for public

Bethlehem and Sad Patrick

If you've ever had a butterfly collection, "Sad Patrick" says, you know the butterflies didn't die naturally- they were either stuffed in a jar and suffocated or stabbed with a pin. The realization gave Patrick the idea to title a love song, "Jar and Pin." He accompanies vocalist partner Bethlehem on the guitar at an impromptu concert on Germantown Avenue, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, one recent summer Saturday afternoon. Watch music video here. The duo cover "You are So Beautiful" here.

Bethlehem and Sad Patrick


Uber Pool confuses riders

Úber Pool confuses riders

I was the first of three riders and we were all a little confused about how many potential riders there could be, how far out of our way we'd be going, who would be dropped off first and how the fare would be split if we're all starting and ending at different locations. We did conclude that we saved some money, lost some time and our driver had to work harder with all the intermediate pickups and drop offs. Watch video interview here.


Felling a diseased tree

Park service fells diseased tree

Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation project coordinator Curt Helm oversaw the felling and removal of three large diseased trees at the Allens Lane Art Center. The trees were in danger of falling onto the playing fields or the other way over power lines and onto McCallum Street which bears significant vehicular traffic. Helm, with direct experience in the field, complimented the adroitness of the park's subcontractors. As the final chainsaw cuts were made to the diseased oak tree, it began to tumble. A truck with a rope attached to the tree began to pull it forward in the direction the contractors wanted the tree to fall. A couple seconds later the top branches hit the ground with a resounding crash.  The two other trees to be taken down that day were ashes. Sadly, Helm reports, all the park's ash trees will eventually succumb to the emerald ash borer and, for safety reasons, will be taken down within the next five to ten years. Watch video here


Striking Verizon workers picket

Verizon workers picket

Unionized Verizon telephone company workers (Communication Workers of America - CWA) conducting an informational picket outside the Chestnut Hill Philadelphia central station, which houses thirty to forty thousand landline connections, explain why they are on strike. They object to high executive pay and unwillingness to sign a contract without concessions from workers giving the company the right to reassign them to locations 50 or even a couple hundred miles away, freeze their pensions at 30 years of service and outsource their jobs to workers in the Philippines or Mexico. Watch video interview here.