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Opinion

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December 21, 2013 - January 3, 2014

43

Community Commentary

Stay vigilant this December as crime increases BY COUNCILMEMBER KEVIN HARTKE

The holiday season provides special opportunities for expressing values of kindness and generosity. Unfortunately, it is Kevin Hartke. also a time when Submitted photo crime is on the rise. People tend to let their guard down and become vulnerable to crimes of opportunity. The Chandler Police Department is aware of this issue and reminds residents to stay vigilant. Following simple safety measures can ensure that everyone enjoys safe and happy holidays. First and foremost, be aware of your surroundings by limiting distractions such as talking on a cell phone or texting, especially when out shopping. Also, avoid putting yourselves in situations that are enticing to criminals. It is recommended to shop during daylight hours, whenever possible. If shopping at night is unavoidable, do so with a family member or friend. Another tip is to park as close to a destination as possible and be sure to always lock all doors and windows. Packages or valuables should never be left on the seat of a parked vehicle. Also, it is advisable to have car keys in hand before heading to the vehicle. Be particularly aware of holding wallets and purses securely and to not put them down or on top of the car in order to open a door. If something doesn’t feel right, ask the store security for an escort before leaving. And if an emergency situation occurs, don’t hesitate to call 911. Thieves also prey on homes vacated by holiday travelers because they are easy to

stake out and invade. If traveling out of town, make sure to notify newspaper agencies and the post office to hold deliveries. This helps prevent items and newspapers from stacking up in your driveway or by your doorstep, which indicates that you may not be home. You may ask neighbors to pick up any packages that are delivered to your house during your absence. Outgoing mail can be an issue as well. Insure packages for an amount equal to the replacement cost of the item and never send cash or gift cards in the mail. In addition, do not leave door keys in obvious locations outside the home, such as under a doormat or flower pot, instead give a spare key to a trusted neighbor. Installing home security systems and/or motion detector lights around the outside of the house can be effective at deterring criminals. It is recommended to install the lights in the darkest and most secluded areas of the lot. If you will be away from home during the evening, also purchase timers and install them throughout the home. Some timers contain a day cycle that can be used to set different lights or televisions to turn on during different days. The Chandler Police Department maintains additional crime prevention tips and resources on its website at www. chandlerpd.com. Among other things, you can request frequent patrols in your neighborhood, learn how to organize a Block Watch, and apply for an alarm user permit. You may also call the nonemergency phone number with any questions at 480-782-4130. This holiday season, let us remind each other to stay vigilant so we can truly appreciate our blessings and be generous with our loved ones and those in need. I wish you all happy and safe celebrations. Kevin Hartke has lived in Chandler since 1985.

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‘Tis the season for recycling Dreaming of a green holiday season BY LARRY WILLIAMS

Let’s face it, the holidays are a time when we create a lot of trash, and most of it destined for a landfill where it can take hundreds of years to decompose. It’s a costly option to our communities and the environment. How much of our holiday trash actually has to be thrown away? Most of the gifts we give and receive during the holiday season come in elaborate packaging that includes cardboard, paper, plastic and other materials. Then (as if all that is not enough) we wrap them—all over again—in tons of pretty wrapping paper, ribbons and bows! In the end it makes for lots of extra trash each year. What can we do to curtail the excess trash that finds its way into our homes over the holidays? No one here would dare suggest you should give up the gift giving traditions of our holidays. We love the holidays, traditions are important to our families, but we can minimize the impact we make on our Mother Earth by following these three guidelines: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Total Circulation 27,250+ Driveways Fifty square mile coverage area from Price/101 to Greenfield and from Frye to Hunt Highway.

Reduce, reuse, recycle gift wrap Have you bought your gift wrap yet this year? If you haven’t already, then it’s going to be easy for you to be ecofriendly this year. When you go out to buy your wrapping paper for all your holiday presents, buy wrapping paper made with recyclable content, look for 100% recyclable if you can. Stay away from foil paper or paper with glitter. It might cost a few cents more; a small fee for keeping our planet clean. It’s also acceptable in curbside recycling programs. Don’t forget to look for the highest post-consumer content you can find whenever buying goods made from recycled materials. This means that the fewest trees had to be directly cut down for the gift wrap to be made and, according to the EPA, recycled paper generates 74% less air pollution and uses

Start the recycling process with your shopping Bring your own bags. For small items, let cashiers know you don’t need a bag. If you do want a bag, don’t be afraid to ask for paper, as paper is 100% recyclable. If you have no other choice than to take a plastic bag make sure you reuse it at home or recycle it at local grocers when you’re through, not in your curbside recycling bin. Placing plastic bags in your curbside recycling bin can cause costly breakdowns in sorting equipment, posing safety issues to workers. Remember plastic bags are

SEE RECYCLE PAGE 44

Letters to the editor

Quick lesson on San Marcos Justice Court BY KEITH FRANKEL

Chandler’s San Marcos Justice Court at 201 E. Chicago St. is one of 26 “People’s Courts” in Maricopa County dedicated to bringing timely and economical justice to their communities. I encourage residents to learn more about the court’s services that can save

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petroleum-based products and are the leading culprit in our waste stream. So do your part and bring your own bag.

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time, money and legal hassles. These lower courts are empowering for residents who might otherwise feel overwhelmed by the complexities of laws. They are the only jurisdictions to hear small claims cases—simplified civil

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December 21, 2013 - January 3, 2014

RECYCLE FROM PAGE 43

50% less water compared to new paper, during the production process. And while you’re at it, make sure that it can be recycled. It’s a good idea to check with the city of Chandler or residing municipality—by viewing their website—to see if they will accept wrapping paper and if so how they want it handled (chandleraz.gov/recycle). One great way to avoid this concern is to purchase reusable and recyclable gift bags made out of recycled materials. The bags will be used repeatedly until they are ready to be recycled.

Cardboard and shipping materials As pointed out above, the holiday season creates an amazing amount of cardboard waste, when buying and sending gifts and when receiving them. Using shipping materials made of recycled materials will have a significant impact. If you’re packing boxes, old newspapers make good filler materials compared to Styrofoam peanuts, which are not recyclable. When you want to recycle those boxes you’ve received, check with your local recycling authority first to see if they accept cardboard and how it should be prepared. Usually removing Styrofoam, plastic wrap and other materials, then breaking the box down should do the trick.

Holiday Card Recycling Buy cards made of recycled paper and stay away from those with foil and glitter. Make sure you recycle cards whenever possible. You can reduce the use of envelopes by sending postcards instead of cards. If you really want to be serious, clip holiday cards to make gift tags or other holiday decorations.

Green holiday decorations Save your holiday decorations for reuse. Whenever possible, use natural ornaments such as

Opinion CITY OF CHANDLER CURBSIDE SCHEDULE Christmas Day – Wed., Dec. 25 – No collection Wednesday homes collected on Thursday Thursday homes are collected on Friday Friday homes are collected on Sat., Dec. 28 New Year’s Day – Wed., Jan. 1 Wednesday homes collected on Thursday Thursday homes are collected on Friday Friday homes are collected on Sat., Jan. 4

pine cones, shells, dried flowers or berries. If you are tired of older decorations, donate them to local schools, churches, town offices or nonprofit organizations, or at least sell them in a garage sale.

Recycle Christmas trees Many communities, including the city of Chandler, recycle Christmas trees after the holiday. Trees are chipped and reused in park landscaping projects. Live potted trees can be donated then replanted. Chandler residents can place their tree at the curb on their recycle day from Dec. 26 to Jan. 17, or take it to a Christmas tree drop-off location at several locations around the city. Visit www.chandleraz.gov/recycle or call 480-782-3510 for more information. So, it isn’t that hard to enjoy this wonderful season while respecting our community and environment. Try your best to separate what can be recycled or reused for another purpose from what must absolutely be thrown away! Start a new tradition of reduce, reuse and recycle. It can make this holiday season the best for you and yours, and with a little effort “Joy to the World” can be achieved! Happy Holidays! Larry Williams is the marketing director for United Fibers, which is located at 390 E. Ray Rd., Chandler. For more information, call 480-726-0001.

www.SanTanSun.com LETTERS TO THE EDITOR FROM PAGE 43

suits that do not exceed $2,500 ($3,500 beginning Jan. 1) and do not allow parties to be represented by attorneys. They give residents the authority to collect debts, receive payment for personal injury or property damage and enforce payment for contracts without the expense of hiring a lawyer or the prospect of lengthy appeals. Most cases are heard within a short time after they are filed and decisions are final. The fee to file a small claims case is $52, which is usually awarded to plaintiffs who win their cases. There is no filing fee, however, for victims of domestic violence or harassment who seek orders of protection through the justice court, which also hears civil cases with claims up to $10,000, traffic citations and evictions. And the forms to file most cases or answer complaints are on the justice court website www. justicecourts.maricopa.gov. Drivers who receive civil traffic citations also can pay fines or sign up for defensive driving school on the site. Drivers may want to do a little research on that justice court website before they make decisions on how to proceed with their traffic case and whether to take advantage of a defensive driving school option. For example, someone cited for going less than 10 mph above the speed limit on a public highway can only be found responsible for “wasting a finite resource,” a civil infraction that is not considered a moving traffic

violation and carries no penalties against a drivers license. Defensive driving school is available to drivers who have not received a citation during the past 24 months and allows the court to dismiss the violation upon completion of the course. Don’t ignore traffic citations, court dates or debt collection suits. These are legal actions that can carry serious consequences for those who don’t respond. Failure to respond to a criminal traffic citation could bring a license suspension and arrest warrant. Not showing up for a civil or small claims court date often results in a default judgment for the opposing party. Even if you believe a lawsuit over a debt is unwarranted, ignoring it could be costly. For example, a car dealership may have repossessed a vehicle more than a year ago, but the buyer had signed a contract promising payment. The dealership may file a lawsuit to collect that payment—with interest—even if the defendant no longer owns the vehicle. The Justice Court website offers extensive information about traffic laws, landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities, and “statutes of limitations”—how long someone has to file a lawsuit after an incident, contract or debt default. A former behavioral health consultant, Keith Frankel has held the elected San Marcos Justice of the Peace post since 2006.


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