Recycling request denied again

ROMNEY — Hampshire Recycling Cooperative volunteers made another attempt to gain access to the county recycling center and county Health Director Stephanie Shoemaker presented new COVID-19 concerns as the county commission met Tuesday.

Shoemaker noted some big events are coming up in July — graduation, Independence Day celebrations, the resumption of youth sports, and the unofficial prom being planned by parents of students.

She said she was “a little anxious” about the crowds events may draw, and concerned about the resumption of travel, especially to beach destinations, with Myrtle Beach currently accounting for the largest number of new cases around the state.

Shoemaker noted that COVID-19 testing was going on that morning in the Hampshire Memorial Hospital parking lot for anyone who had been traveling outside the state, and said that if local providers begin to report an increase in calls and questions about possible infection, they can do this again.

People are urged to wait for 5-14 days before asking to be tested after possible exposure, and said that there is no out-of-pocket cost to be tested, though they do bill insurance companies.

So far, Shoemaker said, they have found a total of 40 cases in the county, of which 34 have recovered, and 1 patient has died. The 5 active cases they are aware of are quarantining at home, with the health department monitoring them daily.

Hampshire Recycling Cooperative volunteer Scott Gold asked the commissioners to reconsider their decision to bar volunteers from the county recycling center, pointing out the volunteers collecting cans for the cooperative were not in the way, but helping, often assisting people to unload cardboard into the county’s dumpsters, as well as helping people sort their cans.

He offered to have someone film the recycling center’s open hours to show that the volunteers were not in the way, pointing out that the can recycling area and the county’s dumpsters are not located particularly close to each other.

Hott said he had visited the recycling center since the new rules went into effect and thought things were going more smoothly, later saying the recycling center employees had asked to have the volunteers removed from the center and he was not sure why.

Commissioner Brian Eglinger accused the volunteers of “speaking unkindly” of the commissioners when they were there, and said he thought the recycling operation was running more smoothly now.

Hott added some critical comments about the can sorting, saying that people should sort them before bringing them in and not rely on the volunteers to sort them.

He later pointed out he had seen recycling centers require people to sort plastics by number and glass by color, and thought that if the cans had not been sorted, the employees should tell people to take them back, adding, “If they can’t sort them, they shouldn’t be bringing them in.”

A magnet attached to the co-op’s trailer was used to aid people in sorting. Such sorting could be done with a magnet at home.

Recycling volunteer Dorothy Kengla said that when she had worked on sorting the bags of cans, recycling center employees accepted last week, she found they included 2 bags of trash and “somebody’s horrible garbage.” Keeping people from dumping trash that way was one reasons the volunteers had asked to continue to be present in the recycling center.

She added that the volunteers were not to her knowledge saying negative things about the County Commission, though they did tell people to talk to the County Commission about it when people asked about recycling such other items as glass.

She reported that the co-op had taken 640 pounds of steel cans and 384 pounds of aluminum cans to Cumberland for recycling this week.

The discussion ended with no change in the rules that bar recycling volunteers from the recycling center, allowing them only to pick up cans set aside by county employees at the end of open hours.

In other business, Hott made appointments that included reappointing Tim Bennett to the board of appeals; Marcia Kesner to fill the year remaining in the term of Kelly Eglinger, who resigned from the county board of health; William J. Milleson Jr., to the county building commission; reappointing Brenda Hiett to the county historic landmarks commission; reappointing Greg Rinker, Sue Davis and Dale Myers to the Parks and Recreation board, along with Amanda Greene to a vacant seat on the board; reappointing Glenn Delaplain, Sandra Hunt, Duane “Punkin” Oates and Keith Bohrer to the county planning commission; reappointing Julie Fraser to the library board; Keith Bohrer to the farmlands protection board and Duane “Punkin” Oates to the Central Hampshire PSD Board.

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