September 2005 Table of Contents

Featured
From concept to reality From concept to reality

Many cities are struggling to find new ways to meet the challenges posed by an enormous infrastructure funding gap. Indianapolis is using the flexibility of a public-private partnership to implement new practices to reduce capital improvement costs and to keep up with the demands of population growth and an aging water infrastructure. Read more

It's not easy being green—or is it? It's not easy being green—or is it?

Kermit the Frog never spoke truer words: It is hard being green. But despite Kermit's difficulties, everyone learned to love him, making him an American icon. Read more

APWA exhibitor products: September 2005

Temporary perimeter systems, Dump body configurations, Manhole lift, Lasting storm drain markers, and other products. Read more

Patching potholes post-haste Patching potholes post-haste

The RA-300 from Rosco Manufacturing, a division of Denver-based Leeboy Co., patches more than just potholes; it also helps patch thin highway department budgets. Anything that can stretch those dollars is of interest to county engineers. Read more

Air quality detected at the speed of light Air quality detected at the speed of light

Mike Casanova of the Lee County Facilities Management Group in Ft. Myers, Fla., responds to about 60 air quality complaints each year. Each usually requires a one-week inspection to pinpoint the problem; some then call for complex investigations and could take several months to fix. Casanova's group, which reports to the County Board of Commissioners, is responsible for the maintenance of more than 150 facilities owned or leased by the county, whose population of 500,000 is on the rise. Read more

Parks & recreation facilities The people’s park

When St. Louis mayor Chauncy F. Schultz dedicated Forest Park on June 24, 1876, he promised his citizens it would exist for the "enjoyment of yourselves, your children, and your children's children, forever... all without stint or hindrance ... and there will be no notice put up, Keep Off the Grass." Read more

Stormwater control Keeping the ‘Red’ out

Most rivers in the continental United States flow south to warmer waters. An exception to that rule is the north-flowing Red River of the North. The Red River empties into Canada's Lake Winnipeg and, eventually, into Hudson Bay. In spring 1997, the river's northern destination played a major role in a devastating flood that nearly brought the sister cities of Grand Forks, N.D., and East Grand Forks, Minn., to their knees. Read more

Tips for selecting a refuse vehicle Solid waste collection & disposal Tips for selecting a refuse vehicle

Because every community is different, the process for specifying refuse collection vehicles should start with an evaluation of your municipality's needs. Information to consider includes street layouts, population density, services provided, distance to disposal site, and number of workers per vehicle. Read more

Fleet management A ship-shape shop

In these days of rising costs for everything from fuel to new vehicles, fleet managers are looking high and low for new ways to meet their budgets. Read more

Fleet management A ship-shape shop

In these days of rising costs for everything from fuel to new vehicles, fleet managers are looking high and low for new ways to meet their budgets. Read more

Roadway design, construction & maintenance The sound of traffic

Highway design was never easy. Increasing scrutiny and critical public opinion only have added to the challenges facing transportation engineers. With each project, there always seems to be someone upset with the proposed location, the number of lanes, and the type of pavement. Read more

Reaching to the Pacific Water treatment Reaching to the Pacific

Seawater desalination is riding a rising tide of interest as many municipalities and utilities in drought-stricken southern California are turning to the ocean as a source of more reliable and drought-proof water. Less than a dozen small seawater desalination plants are operating in California. Read more

Richard D. Goecke: Public works director City of Las Vegas Special report Richard D. Goecke: Public works director City of Las Vegas

Las Vegas is a city that never rests—and neither does Dick Goecke, the city's public works director for two decades. He oversees a workforce of 400 employees and commands an annual operating budget of more than $100 million. The challenge of piloting the public works department of such an active city is made even tougher by the fact that Las Vegas continually is transforming itself—new casinos, resorts, attractions, and residential developments pop up every day. Read more

Special report Jimmy B. Foster, P.E.: Director of public works City of Plano, Texas

When asked to talk about Plano, Jimmy Foster sounds like a proud parent. He lists the numerous quality-of-life awards the city of 245,000 people has received over the years, including recognition as an All-America City in 1994, one of America's best cities for women (by Read more

Leslie P. Bland: Director of public works City of Fenton, Mich. Special report Leslie P. Bland: Director of public works City of Fenton, Mich.

Leslie Bland got into the public works field at the ground level—literally. An experienced backhoe and grader operator, he answered an ad for a skilled laborer position with Fenton, Mich., in 1969 and was hired. He rose through the ranks and has served as director of public works since 1979. Read more

Cheryl F. Creson: Municipal Services Agency administrator Sacramento County, Calif. Special report Cheryl F. Creson: Municipal Services Agency administrator Sacramento County, Calif.

You might be surprised to find a registered nurse in public works, but looking at Cheryl Creson's list of duties and achievements, it's not such a big stretch. As head of Sacramento County's Municipal Services Agency (MSA), one of her primary responsibilities is protecting her community's health. Read more

William P. Baxter, P.E.: Public works director Orange County Public Works, Orlando, Fla. Special report William P. Baxter, P.E.: Public works director Orange County Public Works, Orlando, Fla.

Bill Baxter stands at the helm of one of the biggest public works agencies in Florida, with an operational budget of $70 million and a capital improvement budget of nearly S200 million. In addition to his role as public works director, Baxter serves as county engineer. Understandably, his myriad duties keep him busy, usually away from his office. “For the past couple of weeks, I've hardly seen him for more than 20 seconds at a time,” said Ralyne West-enhofer. Baxter's executive assistant. Read more

Mitch Zamojc, P.E.: Commissioner of public works The Regional Municipality of Peel, Ontario Special report Mitch Zamojc, P.E.: Commissioner of public works The Regional Municipality of Peel, Ontario

Mitch Zamojc gives most of the credit for success to his team. “You can't win the Stanley Cup with one player,” he said. “I will say to anybody that it's the best group of people, the most dedicated, the most passionate, helpful team possible. You can't win [APWA Top 10] without it, you really can't.” Zamojc has been commissioner for the rapidly growing Region of Peel in Ontario for the past 25 years. Read more

Brian Usher: Director of public works and engineering City of Zion, Ill. Special report Brian Usher: Director of public works and engineering City of Zion, Ill.

In the ever-expanding Chicago region, Zion, Ill., is the last open space on Lake Michigan's north shore before reaching Wisconsin, but the town is expanding rapidly. Brian Usher has spent the past five years as Zion's public works director striving to control and accommodate the rapid growth. Read more

Doug Wesselschmidt: City engineer: City of Shawnee, Kan. Special report Doug Wesselschmidt: City engineer: City of Shawnee, Kan.

The only time Doug Wesselschmidt thought about going into a field other than engineering was during a college calculus test. “I was thinking, ‘What kind of a profession can I go into that does not involve calculus?' Fortunately, I made it through that test and many others after that,” he said. Read more

J. Michael Sullivan, P.E.: Regional Vice President Gresham, Smith & Partners Nashville, Tenn. Special report J. Michael Sullivan, P.E.: Regional Vice President Gresham, Smith & Partners Nashville, Tenn.

In a world where “Ready, aim, fire” has become “Ready, fire, aim,” Mickey Sullivan directs his career in terms of aiming before firing. “Some people start firing before they get their aim down,” he said. “We try to make sure our aim is down before we squeeze the trigger. Make sure to have all the facts before you try to solve the problem and always start with the end in mind. Know where you're going before you get started.” Read more

Rick Merson: Director of public works Town of Needham, Mass. Special report Rick Merson: Director of public works Town of Needham, Mass.

Needham, Mass., is redesigning the town business district to make it more pedestrian-friendly and safe. The roads will be narrowed to accommodate crosswalks and sidewalks and the town itself will be beautified. Ironically, when Rick Merson started 35 years ago, the town was expanding the roads to make it mote car-friendly. “Now it's reversing,” he said. Read more

Special report Building legacies

It takes determination, originality, and professionalism to be a true leader. It also takes patience and humility. The American Public Works Association (APWA) acknowledges these qualities with its annual Top Ten Public Works Leaders program. This year's leaders measure up. Read more

Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to waste Ideas & Opinions Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to waste

A Chinese proverb advises, “When you drink the water, remember the spring.” With an exploding global population placing ever-greater demands on a precious, finite resource, that maxim takes on a new urgency. Read more

Front-seat traffic engineers Ideas & Opinions Front-seat traffic engineers

While workers in the public sector easily can be the targets of criticism when something goes wrong, my greatest empathy goes to traffic engineers. I can't think of a profession more second-guessed by the public, because everyone who possesses a driver's license believes they are de facto traffic engineers. Read more

California agency to receive federal water funding News & Views: Community California agency to receive federal water funding

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that will authorize $15 million in federal funding for water reclamation and distribution by California's Big Bear Area Regional Wastewater Agency (BBARWA). Read more

Roundabout success yields plans for more News & Views: Community Roundabout success yields plans for more

Based on the success of the Muirfield Drive/Brand Road roundabout in Dublin, Ohio, plans are underway to build three more of the innovative intersections. Since the opening of the roundabout nearly a year ago, only two traffic accidents have been reported—a significant decrease compared to the previous intersection, which averaged two to three accidents a month. Read more

Engineering students win design competition News & Views: People Engineering students win design competition

A team of engineering students from Iowa State University won the 2004-2005 Metcalf & Eddy (M&E) Academic Design Competition. The students presented the winning solution to M&E's environmental design challenge, which was to develop a biological treatment process for cost-effectively achieving low-nitrogen effluents from domestic wastewater treatment anaerobic sludge digestion centrate/filtrate. Read more

Water infrastructure bill calls for $38 billion News & Views: Rules & Regulations Water infrastructure bill calls for $38 billion

A bipartisan group of senators has introduced a water infrastructure bill seeking $38 billion over five years in provisional funding for the nation's cities and municipalities. The bill aims to address the aging water infrastructure and provide clean, healthy, safe, and secure water nationwide. Read more

News & Views: Community Baltimore/Washington announce Clean Water Act

Two major Clean Water Act settlements recently announced by Baltimore County and the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission are anticipated to lead to more than $1 billion in sewer system improvements. Read more

News & Views: Community Plant provides ‘green’ energy

DeKalb County, Ga., is developing a new landfill gas generation plant and has approved a 10-year contract to sell energy from the landfill to Georgia Power. Read more

Bush signs transportation act News & Views: Rules & Regulations Bush signs transportation act

The “Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A Legacy for Users” (SAFETEA-LU) was passed by Congress and signed by President Bush on Aug. 10. SAFETEA-LU will provide $286.5 billion in guaranteed funding for highway, public transportation, and safety programs. Read more

PUBLIC WORKS BRIEFS: September 2005 News & Views PUBLIC WORKS BRIEFS: September 2005

Test predicts WWTP upsets, Book offers practical information, Work truck show announced, APWA call for presentations, and other news. Read more

Join us Editorial Join us

As the oldest in a family of four kids, I had to become self-sufficient pretty early. By the time I was in first grade there were babies everywhere, so when I wanted something, the most likely way to get it was on my own. As a result, I was never much of a joiner. In high school I wasn't a member of any clubs or the student council or anything. I wasn't even a Boy Scout. Read more

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