How to compost your twiggy bits (no couches allowed)

This week I went out to the city’s composting center, Garden City Compost. Aside from a new sign and front gate, it’s largely the same as EKO Compost for now, but Wastewater Superintendent Starr Sullivan’s plans are pretty drastic.

He wants to lay down concrete pads in neat rows to sort waste and mulch at different stages of the process, eventually storing finished compost in a warehouse and using conveyor belts to transfer waste from pile to pile.

Curb side pickup, although the hot topic on the city government’s listserv this week, isn’t yet in the works, but you can go out there and buy as much or as little compost as you like for $26/yard.

My favorite part of the story: About 5-6 years ago, EKO’s grinder stopped working consistently and their pile of unground green waste (tree branches, grass, logs, etc.) piled up on 17ish acres of land. Sullivan estimated it would take them three years to get through it all.

Plus, the pile is full of random trash including couches, beer cases and a car transmission

Read it!

Then go check out the Big Lebowski back at the Wilma Friday night. I’m excited to not hear one line of dialogue over the crowd yelling it out over the movie.


University of Montana budget isn’t straightforward

alley pic

This sunrise is from yesterday when I was walking the dog through alleys in our Northside neighborhood.

Spring is here and you can feel it. It’s lovely. This morning, we passed a couple neighbors smoking cigarettes, one on her stoop, one on the sidewalk, and you can sense people easing into the season.

In July, the seeds that we plant now will be growing like crazy, and I’m thinking about that despite my dislike for gardening. But I’m also thinking about July because that’s when I hope we’ll have better financial numbers, or more clear information, from the University of Montana about where it’s spending – and not spending – this tight fiscal year, 2017. It ends June 30, 2017.

As UM has cut its budget, professors and others have decried cuts to certain programs, and I had hoped to get a crystal clear picture of where the money has really gone over the past few years and more. Unfortunately, it’s hard to do, and there are reasons for it that I’m not going to get into much right now.

I appreciate UM offering this data, though: Expenditures by Program for Red Tape. At the very least, it shows that since the 2008 fiscal year, a couple colleges have grown like mad. Dean Roberta Evans heads the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences, and she didn’t return my requests for comment in time for the story, but I receive an email from her today about the significant growth in her area. But she’s had to cut as well, and Evans said this in the email:

Doing more with less is incredibly difficult; I can’t begin to tell you how inspiring it is to see brilliance, creativity and enduring commitment in outstanding colleagues who devote their careers to fulfilling students’ academic dreams, despite the sacrifices involved.

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