Lewis Griswold

Visalia to toss its innovative trash can

Danny Galindo, Visalia solid waste supervisor, shows the city’s split container trash can. Recyclables go on the blue side, household trash on the black side.
Danny Galindo, Visalia solid waste supervisor, shows the city’s split container trash can. Recyclables go on the blue side, household trash on the black side. lgriswold@fresnobee.com

The era of Visalia’s unusual but innovative trash can is coming to a close.

The Visalia City Council last week gave the go-ahead to switch to a traditional three-can system – one for trash, another for recyclables, and one for green waste.

“It’s time to move on,” said public works manager Earl Nielsen.

Visalia now uses a “split container” that has a divider down the middle. Recyclables go on one side, trash on the other. (Yard waste gets its own container.)

Former Visalia employee Mike Ramsey designed the can in an era when Visalia was known as “the most entrepreneurial city in America.” (Ramsey went on to a career in city management.)

An advantage of the system is that the garbage truck makes one pass to pick up two waste streams, saving money on fuel. Several cities in California tried it, but the system never caught on in a big way, and now only Visalia is using it, the city said.

When Visalia launched it starting in the late 1980s, “the concept of recycling was really new, and it served its purpose well” in getting the public to recycle, Nielsen said.

Now the recycling side gets so full the can isn’t big enough.

Modifying the garbage trucks to accept both trash and recyclables is also a hassle.

The new system will launch in three or four years, after the solid waste division completes an in-house project involving a new accounting system.

TEEN IDOL: The annual Visalia Teen Idol sing-off will be held Saturday at the L.J. Williams Theater.

Based on the iconic “American Idol” TV show, the competition – launched in 2001 at the suggestion of the city’s Youth Committee – has been a hit with young people.

It missed a year during the recession.

“The City Council noted this as one of the community’s unique and positive special events, so it’s been back since 2010,” said recreation supervisor Allison Lambert.

This year, 10 teens will compete: Haley Ball, Taylor Clift, Gracie Cummings and Jacquelynn Christine Lopez-Prado of Redwood High, Jason Bionda, Maverick Dakota Rauen and Alyssa Moreno of El Diamante High, Daniel Meyerstein and Aleena Reyes of College of the Sequoias, and Arianna Rubalcaba of Green Acres Middle School.

Additionally, last year’s winner, Casandra Castaneda, a 2015 Redwood High grad, will perform.

Judging the contestants will be Lisa Hamilton and Mike Pesto of Mike and Lisa in the Morning on 106.7 KJUG Country radio, and Chad Stafford of Hitz 104.9 and KJUG.

Tickets are on sale at the Visalia Parks & Recreation business office at the Anthony Community Center, 345 N. Jacob St. They are $7 in advance, $10 at the door.

NATIVE PLANTS: The drought is keeping ecologist Bobby Kamansky of Three Rivers busy as people ask him what to plant in their yards.

His response: “What is it you really like? Look at other places. Create a palette in your mind. Do you like bees, do you like hummingbirds?”

Kamansky will share his ideas with both the Tulare County Audubon Society at 7 p.m. Friday at the Tulare County Office of Education, 2637 W. Burrel Ave., Visalia, and the Alta Peak Chapter of the California Native Plant Society at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Three Rivers Arts Center, 41673 North Fork Drive. The public is welcome.

Replacing lawns with native plants such as California poppy, yarrow, slender sedge and creeping wild rye cuts water use dramatically, he said.

“They’re not just drought-tolerant, they’re drought-adapted,” he said. “They tolerate the crazy, erratic California climate.”

Kamansky grew up in Tulare. He has a master’s degree in biology from California State University, Fresno, and a degree in forestry and biology from a university in Sweden, where he lived for several years.

He teaches part time at College of the Sequoias and owns Kamansky’s Ecological Consulting specializing in large-scale habitat restoration projects.

Lewis Griswold: 559-441-6104, @fb_LewGriswold