Friday, November 30, 2012

A Moment with the Manager - Holiday Home Safety

by Natalie M. Zeigler, City Manager

Following the Holiday Downtown Open House and Black Friday, the Christmas season has truly arrived. Storefronts are decorated, and the city’s Christmas tree is in place and ready to be lit.

December can be a season of celebration and joy, but unfortunately, crime reports show us that it also comes as a time of increased criminal activity, when newly bought gifts can be stolen and purses snatched. Some simple precautions, however, can substantially reduce these dangers.

For example, homeowners can increase their security against break-ins and thefts of valuable, easy-to-carry purchases like televisions, computers or video game systems by eliminating indications that tempting targets can be found in their home. This can be done by keeping the Christmas tree and gifts where they cannot be seen from the front window. After Christmas, don’t pile up the empty boxes and packaging for such gifts outside. Instead, cut down the boxes and ensure they fit inside your recycling rollcart or lie flat in your bin.

Many people travel during the holidays, and a vacant house provides another benefit to any would-be burglar. Pay attention to the same occupancy clues which criminals observe. Use light timers instead of leaving lights burning at all times. Rather than allow newspapers and mail to pile up, ask someone who will be in town to collect them periodically. For shorter absences, like going out in the evening, consider leaving the television on.

Shopping can present another potential holiday danger, but safety measures can be easily performed for this as well. When you can, shop before dark and go with other people. Be aware of your surroundings in the parking lot and have your keys ready. When returning to your vehicle, don’t carry too many packages. A lack of free hands makes stealing a purse easier, as does the distraction of talking on a cell phone. Small purses with shorter straps are harder to steal, and so are wallets placed in a front pocket or jacket pocket. As with your home, keep purchases out of sight, concealed in the trunk and covered up in SUVs and vans where the trunk is visible.

Always remember, of course, to call 911 in any emergency. The City of Hartsville has an excellent Police Department serving its residents all year long.

Don’t forget our city Christmas events this weekend, beginning with a free showing of “The Polar Express” tonight at 6:30 pm. in the Coach T.B. Thomas Sports Center. The Hartsville Christmas Parade begins Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m., followed by free carriage rides leaving from Centennial Park and beginning at noon. Finally, the Annual Mayor’s Tree Lighting starts in Burry Park on Sunday at 6:30 p.m., moved back from Saturday to make way for Hartsville High’s state championship game.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Recycler of the Month - Hazel Sox

Hazel Sox is the City of Hartsville’s Recycler of the Month for November.
She has been recycling since service began, and said working to keep material out of a landfill and to help protect natural resources has come naturally. Her recycling bin, she said, now frequently fills up more than her trash roll cart.
“It’s amazing to see, by recycling, how much smaller your trash bag is every week, how much it has gone down,” Sox said.
The Recycler of the Month award provided Sox with a $25 gift card to Ruth’s Drive In, 659 W. Carolina Ave., as well as a real-estate-style sign announcing the award.
The award program is part of an effort to promote the recycling partnership of Sonoco and the City of Hartsville. Next month, the City will choose another winner. To learn more about City of Hartsville pick-up schedules and what recyclable materials are accepted, or to request a recycling roll cart, call Environmental Services at 843.383.3019.

Monday, November 26, 2012

City of Hartsville hosts weekend of Christmas events

Events schedule

  • “The Polar Express” movie showing, Friday, Nov. 30, 6:30 p.m. at Coach T.B. Thomas Sports Center
  • Hartsville Christmas Parade: Miracle on Carolina Avenue, Saturday, Dec. 1, 10:30 a.m.
  • Free wagon rides, Saturday, Dec. 1, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., Centennial Park
  • Annual Mayor’s Tree Lighting, Sunday, Dec. 2, 6:30 p.m. at Burry Park
The City of Hartsville will begin the Christmas season with a flurry of holiday events this weekend, including the Hartsville Christmas Parade, a showing of the movie “The Polar Express” at Byerly Park and the lighting of the city Christmas tree.

Festivities begin this Friday, Nov. 30 at 6:30 p.m. at Byerly Park’s Coach T.B. Thomas Sports Center, with “The Polar Express” shown on a 14-foot screen. The free event includes a hot dog supper and hot chocolate, and children are encouraged to wear their pajamas and bring a blanket for an evening of fun and excitement aboard the Polar Express.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thanksgiving cooking safety

The City of Hartsville Fire Department would like to remind everyone who will be cooking a Thanksgiving dinner this year to be careful and never leave the stove unattended while in use.

Each year, nearly 4,300 fires in the United States occur on Thanksgiving Day, causing 15 fatalities, about 50 injuries and nearly $27 million in property damage. Of these fires, 1,450 are in residential structures, claiming 15 lives, injuring 41 and causing an estimated $21 million in damage.  Cooking serves as the leading cause of residential structure fires during Thanksgiving, and leaving food unattended is the leading factor in igniting these fires.

If you are among the many that will be deep frying a turkey, you should be aware of the hazards involved. These include:
  • Units can easily tip over and spill the hot oil from the cooking pot.
  • If the cooking pot is overfilled with oil, the oil may spill out of the unit when the turkey is placed inside. Oil may hit the burner or flames, causing a fire to engulf the entire unit.
  • Partially frozen turkeys placed into the fryer can also cause a spillover effect which may result in an extensive fire.
  • Most fryers do not have thermostat controls. Without them, the units have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion.
  • The lid and handles on the sides of the cooking pot get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

City announces coat drive

Bins are now in place at City Hall as well as the Police and Fire departments to receive donated coats. The drive will run through Dec. 13, when coats will be collected and provided to the Department of Social Services for distribution. Come give a gift of warmth this holiday season!

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Moment with the Manager -- City of Hartsville Christmas events

by Natalie M. Zeigler, City Manager

Halloween has just passed, and nearly two months remain until Christmas, but the City of Hartsville's Public Service Department has already begun the preparations for our holiday events.

Already, the 50 steel-frame snowflakes which will adorn 5th Street power poles have been pulled from storage for maintenance and repair. Workers have been checking the wiring and all 3,900 bulbs to ensure every part of every snowflake will be lit. The display goes into place in a little over a week, just in time to provide some Christmas spirit for downtown businesses during the Holiday Downtown Open House, Thursday Nov. 15, beginning at 6 p.m.

Beyond that, banners remain to be hung along 5th Street, garland placed on the cross streets and smaller snowflakes and a metal-frame tree installed in Centennial Park.

The real showpiece, however, is always the city Christmas tree. We are now making the final tree selection from those property owners who have graciously offered us one from their land. Once chosen, the tree must be cut down, shipped into Burry Park, set upright and secured in the ground with concrete and guy wires. Finally, it is decorated with oversized ornaments and 1,800 feet of lights, all done with a bucket truck.

Keeping grease out of city sewers

Citing an increasingly evident amount of grease entering the City of Hartsville's sanitary sewer system, Hartsville's Public Service Department would like to remind residents of the importance of not pouring grease or oil into their kitchen sink drains.

Grease and oil, which can enter a sewer system after the preparation of meat or the use of cooking oil, will solidify. When enough solid material is present, it can potentially stop the sewer flow and cause sewage to overflow through manholes.
City Council recently passed Ordinance 4073, which requires food preparation or processing establishments such as restaurants, schools and churches to use grease traps to prevent grease from entering the sewers. Homeowners can also take simple actions to help keep the grease present in pots and pans from collecting in the sewer.
When grease has cooled, use a funnel to pour it in a sealable container, such as a plastic jug or coffee can. Once the container is filled and the grease has solidified, it may be placed in the trash.
Grease mixed with water may be filtered out by placing paper towels or coffee filters across the drain, pouring the water through the filter, and throwing the filter away after it has caught the grease.
Wipe out greasy pots and pans with a paper towel before washing them.
Residents with questions about city sewers and grease may call the City of Hartsville Public Service Department at 383-3006.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Red Fox Hunt art contest

Red fox sculptures will soon come to locations around downtown Hartsville, and all Hartsville-area students of public and private schools, as well as homeschooled students, will have a chance to create the artwork deciding their appearance.

The City of Hartsville, Black Creek Arts Council and Hartsville Downtown Development Association are partnering for the Red Fox Hunt, an art installation of 14 sculptures of a red fox, the mascot of Hartsville High School. Once completed, the project will allow for a scavenger hunt in which a list of clues leads participants to the downtown parks, historic sites and local businesses, such as Burry Bookstore or Midnight Rooster Coffee Shop, Courtyard & Eatery, where the foxes will be located.
Organizers are inviting Hartsville students to participate in the project’s development by submitting concept art for the small fox statues. Once a winning entry is selected by a panel of contest judges, it will serve as the basis for a professionally created sculpture to be copied for each location. The winning student will be recognized in promotional material and during the unveiling ceremony. An additional professional sculptor will create another fox statue, larger than the 14 other pieces, to be installed in Burry Park on Cargill Way.