Friday, April 15, 2011

Did A Mattress Company Just Dump Their Garbage In My Lane?

A blue chevy half ton truck stopped in front of the dumpster behind my house a few minutes ago.
Two men got out, went to the back of the truck, and unloaded a mattress. Then they put the mattress in the dumpster and got back in the truck. As they drove off, I saw the box spring still in the truck.
My husband and I ran out of the house, camera in one hand, jacket in the other, shoes still untied.
By the time we got into the back lane the truck was down the lane and the box spring was resting in another of the dumpsters. The truck turned left down the next street. I cut through one of the yards hoping to catch the truck if it came back up the street past me. I was wanting to get a picture of the license plate. But alas, the truck turned the other way down the street and was gone.
I returned to the scene of the crime only to find the box spring wrapped in clear plastic. Well, I know what that means. It means the mattress came from a mattress company. Mattress companies offer a service when you purchase a new bed. They offer to take your old mattress away for you when they deliver the new one. And the mattress company uses the plastic wrap from the new mattress to cover the old.
So, this company chose to take the old mattress, wrapped in plastic, and dump it in my back lane. I am not sure that is the correct way of disposing of these old mattresses that the companies remove from the houses. I don't think that is what the owner of the new bed signed on for when they had the company remove the old mattress, and I am not sure that is what the managers and owners of the mattress companies really want to be talked about in this blog.
I also do not think those mattress companies would want the photos of the mattresses displayed in this blog. But what I do know is that those companies would be able to recognize some of the items in my photos. I am sure they would recognize their own bar codes and labelling. I am sure they would recognize their store number and name, and I am sure they would recognize the truck that did the dumping, even if I cannot give a description of the two men, or provide a license plate on the truck.
And I am sure there is something wrong with the dump that I just witnessed.
As far as my dumpster goes, it got emptied yesterday afternoon and today it is full again. It has one big mattress shoved into it and no room for garbage. I know how the week is going to go. Everyone is still going to pile garbage on top of the mattress, the wind is going to pick up, and garbage is going to blow down my lane. As new garbage piles on top of old, the excess will fall to the ground.
Scrappers and scavengers will rummage through the garbage balanced on top of the mattress, and more garbage will fall to the ground. I just cleaned my part of the back lane, and again a few more times this week.
I guess I will be cleaning my lane for another week, once or twice a day, because I do not want garbage blowing around through my neighbourhood.
It looks like garbage dumping season is well under way, with the mattress companies leading the parade.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What To Say When Asked If The North End Is Safe

I received an email a few days ago from a person I do not know. The person asked if I thought the North End was safe enough for him and his wife to move to. They wanted to purchase a house and could only afford the price range available in the North End. The person thought it would be an ok move if it was just him, but was concerned about the safety of his wife.
What am I to say. I do not want to be responsible for someone making an incorrect decision. What if they move in and something bad happens. What if they do not move in and never get to meet the great people who could have been their neighbours.
Well, I thought about it, and made a decision on what to tell this person. I thought about what I would want to know prior to moving here, and what I should be looking for. This is how the conversation went:

Random Person Question: 
Hi there, random question from a random person!
I was wondering how you like living in the North End? It's the only area we can really afford to buy a house, and I'd be fine living there if it were just me - but I worry about my wife's safety. Do you feel un-safe?
My Response:
That is a loaded question. First, if you are not a gang member, and are not involved in illegal activities, the likelihood of bad things happening to you, yours, your property, is greatly reduced. Second, summer is always more active than winter for noise and activity. Third, each block should be looked at seperately for good / bad houses. If the houses on the block you are wanting to purchase on are all in good repair and have clean yards, it is a good block. Check the houses you share a back lane with as well, as they affect you as well. Fourth, it depends what part of the North End you are looking at. There is a difference between Magnus and Main and, say, McGregor and Atlantic. Drive down the front of the street and the back lane. Get a look at the immediate neighbourhood. Do the neighbours care enough to pick up the garbage that is just showing up from under the snow? Are they starting to rake their yards? Or are there stacks of mattresses and overfilled dumpsters, with garbage spread under and around the dumpsters? If the neighbours care about the area, it is a fairly good area. If the neighbours have broken windows, unpainted houses, abandoned cars and couches in their yards, and garbage everywhere, they don't care about the neighbourhood or the neighbours.
If you base your safety decisions on news releases, they seem to miss reporting that the "female mother of a young child visiting the gang house at 4am" had to be involved in some way with the gang members. The news played up the fact that she was not a gang member, and was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. Think about what is not being said in those news reports before you jump to the conclusions that these incidents are happening to absolutely innocent people like you and me. I personally don't party at gang houses at 4am.
I hope I have answered your question.
And I hope I have answered your questions on whether you should give the North End a chance when looking for a new home, deciding if you should stay, or wondering if you will visit your friends who live in the North End. It is not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. You won't get shot from just dropping in on a friend or walking down a street. The North End is a neighbourhood, like many of the other older neighbourhoods in the City. It is just in need of a little tender loving care.
My day to day concerns are with garbage in and around my yard, and rowdy neighbours in the middle of the night.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Police Scanners And The North End

I was out in the back lane this afternoon raking garbage up and scooping it into the dumpster. While I was in the lane, one of the neighbours called to me from his window. He said he called the City about the garbage around the dumpsters and under them. He asked if they could maybe clean the garbage up. He had already cleaned a lot of the garbage in the lane prior to some scrapper pulling a bunch of trash out of the dumpster in hopes of finding treasures, and leaving the mess strewn across the lane. Anyway, the City told him that they had already received a few complaints about the mess under and around the dumpsters and will be down the lane in the next few days, moving the dumpsters and cleaning the mess.
That conversation was good for two reasons. One, because it looks like the City will be out cleaning the mess under the dumpsters. The second reason is that this neighbour was actively working at making the lane a cleaner place. Then I saw him in the lane later in the day with a few other people. They were cleaning up more of the garbage that had been thrown out of the dumpster. The scales are tipping a bit further on the side of 'caring' in my back lane.
I was also told about the streaming internet site that has the Winnipeg Police Scanner on it. I thought tonight would be a good night to have a listen. Today was the first really nice day, where it was still nice outside after the sun went down. And I was out on the road just as the sun was going down tonight noticing all the youth on the streets. My thoughts were that tonight was going to be a crazy one, and there were likely going to be sirens all night long. Well, I had a listen to the Police Scanner, and I noticed that there were calls from all over the City. There were ambulance calls for people having heart issues, three suicide attempts, a few people on the ground with blood, one car side swiping a Police Cruiser, and some domestic issues. But the thing I noticed the most was that the calls were not all coming from the North End. In fact, there were only three calls having to do with the North End when I was listening. That really makes me wonder how bad the other parts of the City really are. Maybe I am safer here on my one block in the North End. There was nothin' happenin' here tonight. At least not on my street in the North End.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Grow Op Smokes Another House

I saw a brief write-up in the Free Press today regarding a fire in the 300 block of Redwood Ave. So, I decided to take a walk and see what was up. I found the house, it was 395 Redwood. Nice enough house, too. Except for the obvious fire damage and new coverings on the house to close up the holes, the house looks well taken care of.
It's painted a nice bright blue, with decorative brick along the front. The roof looks like it is in good shape. The front steps look good. The back of the house has a nice looking deck. No broken windows. Everything looks good. If I was looking for By-Law infractions, I would pass this house by in a heart-beat. It looks well taken care of.
But the truth is, it was likely a grow-up. At least that is what the Police currently suspect.
I noticed yesterday there were a group of Police cars down that lane. It was in the afternoon. I remember, because I was talking to someone who had been down that way, and said there were some pot plants in the back lane. Who puts pot plants in the back lane? And it looks like there are some empty plant pots sitting in the back yard of this burned out house. So, the growers must have gotten scared and burned the evidence before anything was found. Except the fire seemed to draw a bit more attention to the situation, it seems.
Who puts their pot plants in the back lane? Or are criminals just getting stupider?

By-Law report of the day:
Issues with the back of this house need to be tended to by the landlord.