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City of Muscatine Communication Blog

Hello and welcome to our blog. As the Communication Manager for the City of Muscatine, Iowa, I know the importance of communicating with residents and providing them with an understanding of the different functions of the City, why these functions are important to our residents, and what the City is doing for the future of our community.

Many times the story of the various activities, accomplishments, and happenings within the City are not told and we want to make sure that the people behind these activities, accomplishments, and happenings are duly recognized. We also want to explain our vision of the future for the City of Muscatine, something that we take great pride in.

Please check back in periodically to see updates on what's going on here in Muscatine! Please feel free to leave comments on individual postings--the comments will not be displayed here, but they will be emailed to me so that I can collect your thoughts and make adjustments based on the feedback and suggestions. Moderated comments are an option as we progress. Thanks for reading and I hope you find this to be an effective tool!

Jun 15

Practice fireworks safety this holiday season

Posted on June 15, 2020 at 4:55 PM by Kevin Jenison

Residents urged to follow safety guidelines for an injury free holiday season; Fourth of July consumer firework usage allowed only on July 3 and July 4


061520 Fireworks Tent 001 (JPG)MUSCATINE, Iowa
– Fireworks and the Fourth of July have a long standing relationship but this year’s celebration of our nation’s independence will be different and without many of the festivities that were enjoyed by Muscatine visitors and residents a year ago.

The Fourth of July holiday season will, undoubtedly, still be accompanied by the discharging of consumer fireworks from the homes of area residents including the use of sparklers, firecrackers, and other large displays.

Residents are reminded, however, that the legal discharge of consumer fireworks is limited to just two days in July. Muscatine City Code states that consumer fireworks can be legally discharged July 3 and July 4 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. only.

The Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GMCCI) decided to cancel the annual Fourth of July parade and fireworks demonstration out of concern that residents would not be able to practice the social distancing guidelines recommended by the Iowa Department of Public Health in response to the COVID-19 health crisis. The decision was made after consulting with the City of Muscatine and with Trinity Muscatine Public Health officials.

“As disappointing as it is to cancel this long-standing community tradition, we want to take every precaution to keep members of our community safe and healthy,” Erik Reader, GMCCI President & CEO, said. “We are still looking to have a community celebration of sorts, but later in the summer. At this time we are exploring rescheduling the fireworks, adding live music, and trying to find ways to support small businesses that have been impacted by the recent events.”

Muscatine Mayor Diana Broderson echoed Readers’ comment and joined with other City officials in stating the importance of public safety.

“Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our citizens and of the visitors to our community,” Broderson said. “The current health crisis has brought significant challenges to our lives. While it is disappointing that this celebration cannot be held, we will be able to enjoy these types of celebrations in the near future by following the guidelines provided for social distancing and personal hygiene.”

Consumer fireworks will still be, and currently are (although not legally), discharged by residents in the weeks and days leading up to the Fourth of July. Citizens are urged to be responsible regarding the use of fireworks and to remain within the guidelines established in the Muscatine City Code.

Public safety is also the foremost concern for local and state officials in the governance of the sale and use of consumer fireworks.

“Fireworks can have far reaching consequences that are usually not considered when they are ignited,” Kevin Jenison, City of Muscatine Communications Manager, said.

Local government and public safety officials share deep concern for the individuals who discharge the fireworks, those individuals who are in the vicinity when fireworks are discharged, those individuals who may be affected by the noise created by the explosions, for the homes, businesses, or other structures that may be ignited by fireworks, and for household pets.

The Consumer Products Safety Commission states that the Fourth of July, and the month surrounding it, is the most dangerous time for fireworks related injuries. The majority of fireworks-related injuries involve the hands and fingers (41 percent) with the head are second (19 percent).

Trinity Muscatine Emergency Department received six trauma cases from the surrounding area due to severe firework related injuries in July 2019. Muscatine County Public Health also reported additional firework related impacts including a reported dismemberment and one death in the area. Many more firework related injuries went unreported.

While the skies may be dark along the Mississippi River riverfront without the annual fireworks show, expectations are that reaction to the COVID-19 health crisis will create more celebrations at the homes of Muscatine residents.

“The Police Department had about a dozen firework calls over the weekend,” Mike Hartman, Assistant Fire Chief, said.

Applications for tents have been received for various locations including the Muscatine Mall, Blain’s, Fareway, Hy-Vee, Wal-Mart, and Menards, and inside sales at planned at Hy-Vee, Hy-Vee Mainstreet, Wal-Mart, and Menards. The Muscatine Fire Department have approved two tents to sell and beginning their safety inspections of the other locations.

The City of Muscatine encourages residents to be good neighbors when discharging fireworks, to be considerate to any neighbors who might have a sensitivity to fireworks noise, to be mindful of pets who may become frightened by the firework explosions, and to be mindful of the property lines of others who may not want fireworks on their real property.

Per state law, a person shall not use, explode, or discharge consumer fireworks on real property other than that person’s real property or on the real property of a person who has consented to the use of consumer fireworks on that property. Sidewalks, the right-of-way between sidewalks and the street, and the City streets are all public property and thus are prohibited. Parks, trails, public parking lots and so on are also off limits.

Using fireworks outside the designated dates and times listed below is considered to be a violation and can result in fines of no less than $250 per violation. Anyone discharging fireworks or allowing the discharge of fireworks on their property assumes responsibility for that discharge and the consequences, if warranted.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) offers these recommendations:

  • Do not allow young children to play with fireworks. Sparklers, a firework often considered by many to be the ideal “safe” device for the young, burn at very high temperatures and should not be handled by young children. Children may not understand the danger involved with fireworks and may not act appropriately while using the devices.
  • Persons under the age of 18 shall not discharge any fireworks without adult supervision.
  • Do not allow any running or horseplay in or around the fireworks firing area or with fireworks.
  • Set off fireworks outdoors in a clear area, away from houses, dry leaves, or grass and other flammable materials.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for pouring on fireworks that fail to ignite or explode.
  • Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
  • Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
  • Never light fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.
  • Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
  • Check instructions for special storage directions.
  • Observe local laws.
  • Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.

Report any fires in buildings, vehicles, or greenspaces by calling 911 immediately!

Enjoy a safe holiday season.

More information can be found on the City of Muscatine Firework Safety page.


May 11

Bulky Waste Collection Program gets a makeover

Posted on May 11, 2020 at 7:25 PM by Kevin Jenison

MUSCATINE, Iowa – Curbside bulky waste collection has been a tremendous success, so much so that the Department of Public Works (DPW) has doubled the number of collections per day and lifted restrictions on scheduling to allow residents to plan for pickups weeks or months in advance.

“Maybe it is because more people are staying home following the Iowa Department of Public Health guidelines, or maybe it is just the season to do spring cleaning,” Brian Stineman, Public Works Director, said. “Whatever the reason we have been receiving a lot of requests and have modified our procedures to meet those needs.”

Following discussions by Public Works staff last winter, the Curbside Bulky Waste Collection Program was launched in February to ease the financial, equipment, and personnel costs associated with was formally called Spring Cleanup Week.

The Solid Waste Division of the Department of Public Works recommended the elimination of the designated Spring Cleanup Week in favor of a program that residents would be able to use throughout the year. Residents were already offered three free pickups per calendar year, which was never fully utilized, and the new program combine and expands on the old programs.

“The financial, equipment, and personnel costs associated with the collection effort associated with Spring Cleanup Week were unnecessary,” Stineman said. “And it took resources away from work on other projects such as street repair.”

Initially the program had residents calling or emailing the Transfer Station to schedule a collection at least two days before and up to a week in advance of their refuse collection day. A maximum of 20 collections would be scheduled each day.

Demand for the city service exceeded expectations and resulted in increasing the number of pickups per day and allowing residents to schedule collections as far in advance as needed.

“Not only have we gone from 20 to 30 and now to 40 collections per day, we are now allowing residents to schedule future pickups as needed.” Stineman said.

Solid Waste Manager David Popp added that another reason for the changes was that the piles that the staff was seeing were exceeding the size limits of the program.

Many of the piles that we are seeing are exceeding the size as listed in the program,” Popp said. “If residents need to, they can schedule more than one week while on the phone.

Remember … the sticker may be in the mail but you have to request one first

Stineman also noted that residents who want to dispose of yard waste at the Compost Facility can do so during regular site hours but a Compost Facility Sticker is needed. If you do not have one yet, contact the Transfer Station and one will be mailed to you after verification of address.

Stickers would normally be available for pickup at the Transfer Station, Public Works, or City Hall but these facilities are currently closed to the public in response to COVID-19 guidelines.

Once the Transfer Station, and other City buildings, reopen to the public, the Compost Facility Stickers will be available at locations. Residents requesting a sticker will be asked for their name, address, phone number, and make and model of the vehicle they will use to bring waste to the Compost Facility.

The site is located at the Muscatine Transfer Station, 1000 S. Houser St., Muscatine. Regular hours are 12-6 p.m. Sunday through Friday and from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturdays.

So what can be left curbside for the city to collect?

Among the items accepted for residential curbside pickup are furniture (couch, chair, recliner, table), mattresses (must be in a bag), carpet (no longer than four feet, rolled, and secured), dismantled swing sets, minimal building materials (not to exceed a pick up load measuring 8’x4’x2’), extra trash bags (smaller items must be bagged), and appliances (two free per year per address).

“We are only accepting small quantities of construction materials,” David Poll, Solid Waste Manager, said. “And these materials should not have nails or screws protruding from them that may injure staff as they are picking them up.

Bags for mattresses are available for free at the Transfer Station. With the Transfer Station closed to the public at the present time, residents need to call the Transfer Station for directions on how to obtain a bag. Residents can also use the bag their new mattress came in.

What is not accepted for curbside pickup?

Among the items that will not be picked up as part of the bulky waste curbside collection are sheds, garages, and excessive building materials, concrete or brick, paint and household hazardous waste, camper refrigerator and camper air conditioners, car bodies, tires, electronics, and fencing.

Concrete or brick can be taken by the resident to the Public Works yard on Washington Street. Paint and household hazardous waste will be accepted at no charge at the Transfer Station once that location has reopened to the public.

Electronics will be accepted at the Transfer Station for a fee once that facility reopens to the public. A Free Electronics Drop Off Week is scheduled for July 13-18. During this week, residents who have City of Muscatine refuse service can bring three (3) electronics to the Transfer Station for disposal at no charge with proof of address (driver’s license or piece of mail).

Tires will be accepted at the Transfer Station for a fee one that facility reopens to the public. A Free Tire Drop Off Week is scheduled for July 20-25. During this week, residents who have City of Muscatine refuse service can bring four (4) tires (off of the rim) to the Transfer Station at no charge with proof of address (driver’s license or piece of mail).

Essential services maintained during COVID-19 outbreak

The stay-at-home guidelines associated with COVID-19 may have helped to increase interest in the collection effort, and the Department of Public Works has responded to meet that increased interest. This service to the citizens of Muscatine and Fruitland, along with the curbside collection of refuse, recycling, and yard waste, has continued during the COVID-19 outbreak.

CALL TO SCHEDULE CURBSIDE BULK PICKUP

Residents can call 563-264-JUNK (563-264-5865) or email bulkywaste@muscatineiowa.gov to schedule a curbside collection on the resident’s regular collection day. Due to the popularity of the program, residents are urged to contact the Transfer Station as soon as possible.

Pickups are completed on the residents’ regular refuse collection day but can be scheduled weeks in advance. The schedule for each collection day fills up fast and a resident may have to postpone their collection to a future date. If you email or leave a phone message with your name and phone number, a staff member will call, review the items to be picked up to ensure they are acceptable, and confirm the day for collection.

Visit Curbside Bulk Collection for more details.

CITY STILL PICKING UP YARD WASTE CURBSIDE

The City of Muscatine continues to offer curbside pickup of grass clippings, leaves, and garden waste placed in City of Muscatine Yard Waste bags on the residents’ regular refuse collection day. These bags are available at Hy-Vee, Hy-Vee Main Street, and Fareway. They will also be available at the Transfer Station when that facility is open to the public.

Tree limbs and other trimmings from trees and shrubs will also be collected curbside as long as they are bundled with string or cord in four-foot lengths. Contact Public Works (563-263-8933) for curbside collection of larger tree limbs.

Bags, tree limbs, and other trimmings should be placed near refuse container on the day of scheduled pickup.

Visit Yard Waste Collection for more details.

COMPOST FACILITY OPEN BUT ONLY WITH A STICKER

The Compost Facility at the Muscatine Transfer Station remains open for residents of Muscatine and Fruitland to deposit yard waste but only to those who have the Compost Facility Sticker. The Compost sticker identifies residents of Muscatine and Fruitland who can take yard waste to the Compost Facility for free.

Due to COVID-19 guidelines, the Compost Facility attendants will not accept cash or checks at this time, thus limiting access to the facility to those who can prove there are residents of Muscatine with a sticker.

For more information, visit Compost Facility on the City of Muscatine website.


Feb 26

Recycled asphalt "cooked" into "new" hot mix for repairs

Posted on February 26, 2020 at 3:04 PM by Kevin Jenison

MUSCATINE, Iowa – The Roadway Maintenance Division of the Department of Public Works (DPW) has a new tool in their arsenal to combat the numerous small street repair issues (pot holes, etc.) that are exposed every winter, a tool that that creates new hot asphalt mix using recycled asphalt.

Hot asphalt is usually not available during the winter months when the ground is not warm and dry enough. Hot asphalt is mixed at 300 degrees Fahrenheit but cool temperatures can cause the mix to cool too quickly and make it unusable as permanent asphalt. Manufacturing plants that create the hot asphalt mix normally shut down mid-November through March because of the cooler air and ground temperatures.

Muscatine, like most entities charged with roadway maintenance, uses a cold mix during the winter months. Cold mix does not require heat to become flexible and, with additives, stays soft when stockpiled for six months. However, this is a temporary patch that takes time to cure and not the best choice for high traffic areas.

While cold mix will still be used, the purchase of a KM International T2 Asphalt Recycler and KM 8000TEDD Hotbox/Reclaimer by the City of Muscatine means that hot mix would be available for more permanent repairs in small pot holes.

“We do not have the capability to repair large areas with the hot mix but we will be able to do repairs to smaller pot holes in high traffic areas,” Brian Stineman, DPW Director said.

The process to create a limited supply of hot mix asphalt begins with asphalt millings (recycled asphalt). For the past several years the City of Muscatine has required contractors on street projects to separate the asphalt, concrete, bricks, and dirt as they remove old pavement. Each of these items are recycled in various ways by the City of Muscatine.

Reclaimed asphalt is crushed, or ground up, to create millings that are environmentally friendly (lower carbon footprint than fresh asphalt or other paving materials) with characteristics similar to fresh asphalt or gravel. They have been used as a subbase in certain parts of road projects and as a temporary road surface when needed.

Now, this recycled asphalt takes on a fourth life and one that is saving taxpayers money.

Chunks of recycled asphalt and/or millings are delivered by a front-end loader into the loading chute of the KM T2 Asphalt Recycler. The material falls into a rotating drum with seven steel agitators that breaks down the material while it is being heated by a 700,000 BTU burner pointed into the drum. The burner not only heats the material but also dries the material as it is being broken down.

Two bags of asphalt cement are added to act as a binding agent as the drum continues to rotate. Heat is once again added as the material mixes (up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit) allowing the asphalt cement to evenly encapsulate the aggregate. The mix is heated a third time before the material is offloaded into the front-end loader and transported to the KM 8000TEDD Hotbox/Reclaimer where it is kept at a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Hotbox is then transported to the work site where the area to be repaired is cleaned and dried before the reclaimed asphalt hot mix is added. The Hotbox will keep the mix at temperature for most of the work day.

The Asphalt Recycler and Hotbox/Reclaimer were in use Wednesday (Feb. 26, 2020) for repairs on a section of Park Avenue West. One City crew prepared the area for repair while a second crew manned the Asphalt Recycler to “cook” new hot mix. The first application was moved into the Hotbox which was then transported to the work site.

The Hotbox keeps the hot mix at 350 degrees Fahrenheit as it is transported and then emptied into the repair area. Larger areas, such as the one being repaired Wednesday, take a second “cooking” of hot mix and transportation to the work site. Once completed, the “new” asphalt is compressed and allowed to cool and harden before opening the section to traffic.

Asphalt Recycler “cooking” hot mix demonstration is available on YouTube at https://youtu.be/NNfjzdlHQcw.

Recycled asphalt transported in Hot Box to work site and applied video is available on YouTube at https://youtu.be/PC4bEE1zFp0.

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