01 April 2010

snow and garbage removal, etc.

Since it is snowing today, I thought this would be an appropriate post. The shots which follow were taken at a variety of times during the past two years.

We raised our family in Holland, Michigan where the downtown streets and sidewalks are heated so that snow removal is not an issue. It comes in handy when there is over nine feet of snow in one winter, as was the case before we came to Thermopolis.

Instead of heating the pavement, Thermopolis has a creative alternative. They send a tanker truck to the Hot Springs State Park to suck out some of their hot mineral water, and then they use it on Broadway, downtown.

Hot Springs State Park, snow removal in Thermopolis, Wyoming
Hot Springs State Park, snow removal in Thermopolis, Wyoming
Broadway Street, snow removal in Thermopolis, Wyoming
Broadway Street, snow removal in Thermopolis, Wyoming Warren Street, between 8th and 10th Street, is the sledding hill for the winter. There are less than a handful of driveways at the bottom of the hill, so there is limited access to cars. I took the next three shots on February 21 of this year.

snow sledding hill in Thermopolis, Wyoming
snow sledding hill in Thermopolis, WyomingThis is one of the homes at the bottom of the hill. They do one of the best jobs in decorating for Christmas and beyond.

snow sledding hill in Thermopolis, WyomingAnother interesting bit of trivia about living here is how snow is removed from the streets. I assumed that snow plows would push it off to the sides, but here it is piled into the center of the streets. Since there isn't that much snow here (if we compare this to Michigan), and since the snow doesn't stay for that long, it is generally not a big deal.

snow removal in Thermopolis, Wyoming
snow removal in Thermopolis, Wyoming
Part of the reason snow is not plowed off to the side of the streets is because the sidewalk is, in most cases, next to the curb. In other words, there is no parkway between the curb and the sidewalk. By eliminating the parkway, the streets are very wide. In fact, the street in front of my mother-in-law's house is 46 feet wide, and the street is only two blocks long—not a main artery.

sidewalks in Thermopolis, Wyoming
With streets this wide, it allows residents the freedom to park their vehicles on the street, night and day, year around. Consequently, sometimes weeds start growing around them.

street parking in Thermopolis, Wyoming
For those residents who don't want to park overnight on the street, most neighborhoods have alleys. Here is where the garbage dumpsters are kept.

alley, garbage dumpster, Thermopolis, Wyoming
Unfortunately, some neighborhoods don't have alleys. In those cases, the dumpsters are placed next to the street on the sidewalk. A few houses share a dumpster, but if yours gets full, you just walk a bit further to the next one.

garbage dumpster, Thermopolis, WyomingMy children called Hollanders (where they grew up in Michigan) "anal" for their standards of perfection. Thermopolites aren't anal; most people don't even notice that they have a dumpster sitting permanently in front of their house obstructing the sidewalk.

garbage dumpster, Thermopolis, WyomingThe shot below I took just one block from the middle school. Fortunately, the opposite side of the street does not have dumpsters on the sidewalk, so that is where the children walk.

garbage dumpster, Thermopolis, WyomingThis is the sign found on all dumpsters, but Thermopolis and many other communities in this state don't have a recycling program, so there is no alternative. Everything is disposed of in these containers. Maybe it's the wide open spaces, maybe its the laissez-faire attitude, but long-time residents have informed me that everything is disposed of in this way.

garbage dumpster, Thermopolis, WyomingBy following the signs on West Sunnyside Lane (just north of Thermop off of US-20), you eventually get to the town landfill.

garbage landfill, Thermopolis, Wyoming
garbage landfill, Thermopolis, WyomingSpeaking of dumpsters, here is where they come to in order to get rejuvenated:

garbage dumpsters, Thermopolis, WyomingAnd here is where the new ones are kept—just after 8th Street turns into Sorensen Street on the south side of town.

garbage dumpsters, Thermopolis, WyomingI'm used to seeing a man in an automated sidewalk sweeper surrounded by a cloud of dust. But here in Thermop three men are sent out to do a far more thorough job.

sidewalk cleaning in Thermopolis, WyomingSince I have been speaking of the cultural differences between here and other parts of the country, I thought I would present one more example of this difference.

I mentioned earlier that my children were sometimes annoyed by the standards of perfection, the anxiety about appearances, in Holland, Michigan, where they grew up. Here are two photographs that illustrate how Thermopolites are not afflicted by this need to have everything just right.

fire hydrants in Thermopolis, WyomingThe above shot is of the Post Office, and the one below is of the Hot Springs County Public Library, across the street from the County Court House and the Police and Sheriff's offices.

Of course, if you grew up here in Thermopolis, maybe you don't see what I'm talking about. It's the fire hydrants that caught my eye when I moved here.

fire hydrants in Thermopolis, WyomingPost Script: My comments about Holland, Michigan need to be balanced. I was informed that it was judged as the second happiest place in the United States.

No comments: