citydesk (5/6/09) 

Recycling and Twitter

Reuse, recycle your old cans

As the city switches nearly 70,000 households to a new garbage and recycling regime later this summer, folks are going to have to deal with their old trash cans.

Public Works community relations super Vince Trimboli tells citydesk that residents should remember the three R's—reduce, reuse and recycle—when considering what to do with their old cans.

While the new program calls for some 140,000 new plastic trash and non-sort recycling carts—kind of blowing the reduce part—people should consider reusing their old cans to store stuff or for overflow garbage.

If the old cans are, well, trash or just not needed anymore, then they can be recycled by either labeling them for recycling or actually sticking them inside the new large recycling container.

"I'd like to make sure people make sure they don't need 'em first," Trimboli said.

Garbage customers will get five overflow stickers for weeks when they have extra garbage—trash from a party or spring cleaning yard waste.

Trimboli said people could also use their old trash cans to store garbage for an extra week.

Residents have until May 22 to customize their trash and recycling can options. A pair of 95- gallon carts will arrive starting June 22 unless you call and order smaller sizes (and save a $1 a month) or log on to

Butch gets his twavatar back

As he looked into the options for getting the governor on, the state's applications manager, Bill Farnsworth, recently discovered that there was already a "ButchOtter" using the popular instant message sharing service.

According to Teresa Luna, chief of staff at the Idaho Department of Administration, Farnsworth alerted Twitter through an online form that the ButchOtter user may have been violating the site's prohibition on impersonation.

Twitter Support clarified that impersonation is against that policy, but parody is not: "Impersonation is against our terms of service unless it's parody. The standard for defining parody is, 'Would a reasonable person be aware that it's a joke.'"

But Twitter went ahead and canceled ButchOtter's account, as Albion City Councilor L. Shane Carlson, a Republican, realized one morning when he tried to log on and send out another snarky message. His Otter persona on Twitter had been shut down and replaced with a feed from the actual Governor's Office.

"@ButchOtter has been terminated, and been replaced in a coup d'etat by the actual Butch Otter. WTF?" Carlson sent over another Twitter feed.

Carlson tells citydesk that he was just trying to create some dialogue and that his posts were clearly in the spirit of parody, including the icon—or Twavatar, in the nascent dialect of the Twittersphere—of an upright AK-47 that he used.

"Satire and parody are commonly the last recourse," Carlson said. "It's kind of a punk move on [Twitter's] part to just hand it over to him without any discourse with me."

Now Carlson is campaigning on Twitter for people not to "follow" Otter. But ButchOtter has been quiet for a few days, perhaps tweeting to his other gubernatorial responsibilities.

—Nathaniel Hoffman

war in Iraq

U.S. CASUALTIES: As of Tuesday, May 5, 2009, 4,286 U.S. service members (including 31 Idahoans) have died since the war in Iraq began in March 2003: 3,440 in combat and 846 from non-combat-related incidents and accidents. Injured service members total 31,245. In the last week, five U.S. soldiers died.

Since President Barack Obama was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 57 soldiers have died.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Defense

IRAQI CIVILIAN DEATHS: Estimated between 91,716 and 100,124.


COST OF IRAQ WAR: $666,170,269,965


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