America

Snow in California; Garbage in New York

New Yorkers walk  through a snowy street  in Chinatown as trash piles up. i i

hide captionNew Yorkers walk through a snowy street in Chinatown as trash piles up.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
New Yorkers walk  through a snowy street  in Chinatown as trash piles up.

New Yorkers walk through a snowy street in Chinatown as trash piles up.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Red taillights of slow and stopped traffic glow on northbound Interstate 5 near Castaic, Calif., after heavy snow closed the major north-south several miles north of this point Sunday, Jan. 2 2011. i i

hide captionRed taillights of slow and stopped traffic glow on northbound Interstate 5 near Castaic, Calif., after heavy snow closed the major north-south several miles north of this point Sunday, Jan. 2 2011.

Mike Meadows/AP
Red taillights of slow and stopped traffic glow on northbound Interstate 5 near Castaic, Calif., after heavy snow closed the major north-south several miles north of this point Sunday, Jan. 2 2011.

Red taillights of slow and stopped traffic glow on northbound Interstate 5 near Castaic, Calif., after heavy snow closed the major north-south several miles north of this point Sunday, Jan. 2 2011.

Mike Meadows/AP
Australian flooding disaster estimates i i

hide captionAustralian flooding disaster estimates

Australia HeraldSun
Australian flooding disaster estimates

Australian flooding disaster estimates

Australia HeraldSun

Here's a classic first line from the New York Times: "Garbage is the new snow in New York."  After digging out from more than two feet of snow last week, New Yorkers may have another reason for fury. Half of the city's sanitation workers who haven't been laid off are still clearing snow. The other remaining half will collect refuse.

“It could mean too much garbage will end up being on our streets for too long, and the likelihood of rat and health issues arising will increase with each passing day,” City Councilman James Vacca, a Bronx Democrat, said in an e-mail. “If these problems occur, those who thought snow removal was problematic will have seen nothing yet.”

Most city residences have not had trash collected since Christmas Eve.

Sheepshead Bites blogger Ned Berke predicts one of NYC's top local stories of 2011 will be Sanitation: "...continued budget cuts to New York’s Strongest will see a pared down workforce and many supervisors demoted."

PART OF I-5 CLOSED 'INDEFINITELY' IN CALIFORNIA

The California Highway Patrol closed the mountainous section of interstate freeway that's dubbed the Grapevine; it links the central California basin with the greater Los Angeles area. Snow, ice and powerful wind gusts all make it impossible to travel safely. (I find it an intense drive in the summertime!) The LA Times reports 100 vehicles were stranded and the CHP may open the road today - or tomorrow.

AUSTRALIAN FLOODING

Eastern Australia is getting its wettest spring ever. Reuters says officials have measured 30-foot flood waters after six rivers swelled over their banks, filling 22 towns and cities, and forcing 200,000 people to find shelter. The city of Rockland is cut off; the Australian military is ferrying supplies in and taking victims out. The BBC describes the disaster as "Biblical".


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