Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Paper or plastic? Don't bother asking

The question "paper or plastic?" could be sacked in Hollister stores if rumblings from City Hall come to pass. According to minutes of the Oct. 5 City Council meeting, at least two councilmen mentioned what could become a hot-button issue locally; whether to ban the use of plastic bags at stores. District 4 Councilman Doug Emerson "requested information on what other jurisdictions are doing to ban plastic bags," according to the minutes posted on the city's Web site, and Councilman Victor Gomez "suggested talking to Mandy (Rose) at (the) San Benito County Integrated Waste Management Department regarding Styrofoam and plastic bags..." So, does that mean that the city is considering a ban on the bags, much like our neighbor to the north, San Francisco? It's too early to say, but this journalist and local shopper will look into the matter and offer an update within the next week. As reported today in the San Francisco Chronicle, the City by the Bay, which already bans plastic bags at large grocery stores and pharmacies, is now turning its attention to paper bags. Legislation introduced this week "would require those stores to offer a 10-cent rebate as an incentive for people to bring their own bags." The ordinance would include fines up to $500 for stores that don't offer the rebate. It'll be interesting to see if such a rule will fly or get bagged in Hollister. Stay tuned. (photo courtesy of evelynishere's photostream on Flickr)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Shooting for the moon

I never intentionally wake up at 4:15 in the morning. A barking dog or earthquake or the necessity of a trip to the bathroom are all will stir me at that hour. Until this week, that is. Before I went to bed, I heard on the 11 o'clock news that NASA's planned lunar mission, in which it was going to crash a rocket into a crater on the moon, was going to be televised at 4:30 the next morning. I figured I didn't need to see that live, so I went to be thinking that I would catch the highlights on the "Today" show at 7 a.m. Then, for some odd reason, I was stirred awake at 4:15. Normally when this happens, I readjust my pillow, pull up the blankets, and let out a sigh of contentment knowing that I have a couple of hours left before I have to wake up. On Friday morning, however, my inquisitive side took over and I got out of bed and went to the family room to watch the lunar show on TV. As soon as the tube flickered on, I saw the camera feed from NASA, as the spaceship beamed back images as it neared the moon's surface. I made the right choice, I thought, even though it was dark outside and I was sacrificing valuable sleep time. Within a couple of minutes, scientists were shown celebrating the mission's success, as TV anchors on various networks wondered what had happened. There was no big explosion to see. The people back on Earth who stayed up all night to watch the expected explosion though telescopes saw nothing, except the moon looking the same as it always has. The 14 minutes I devoted to watching this historic mission wasn't the fascinating, spectacular show that was billed to be. And it took me more than 45 minutes to fall back asleep as I argued with myself about why my head was in the stars on this night/morning. The thing is, I'd do it again because I don't want to miss history -- or a chance at it. It was a gamble I took and one that didn't pay off. But sometimes you shoot for the moon and miss. (photo courtesy of Kevin Collins' Photostream at