New Homeless Initiative To Raise Bottle Deposit To 12 Cents

In This Section

Vol 40 Issue 50

Dad's Marine Corps Training Evident During Christmas-Present Opening

CHARLESTON, SC—Retired Cpl. Kent Packard, 58, rarely puts his Marine Corps expertise to use, except during the yearly Christmas gift exchange, family sources reported Monday. "Every year, exactly two hours after cutting the ham, Dad makes us line up by the tree, then he distributes the presents to us in increasing order of age," his 17-year-old son Jerome said. "When he unwraps his own gifts, he lines up the pieces of cardboard and plastic packaging in a neat row, like he's field-stripping a rifle." Although family members say they admire Packard's acumen, they've warned him against waking the house with a Christmas-morning bugle rendition of "Jingle Bells."

Risk Champ Flunks Geography Test

ALBANY, NY—Alfred Wu, the 13-year-old winner of the 2004 East Coast Risk Championship, flunked his 8th-grade world-geography test, social-studies teacher Jane Laurent reported Monday. "His test paper was filled with names like Kamchatka and Yakutsk, and the Ukraine spread over half of Europe," Laurent said. "And, by his account, the U.S. is made up of only three states: Eastern United States, Western United States, and Alaska." Last week, Wu received an "F" on a paper he wrote about Napoleonic military Stratego.

Area Man Too Busy For His Buddy Phil, Eh?

JEFFERSON CITY, MO—College chum Steve Maeske is apparently too busy to give his buddy Phil a quick ring, sources reported Monday. "Phil, honestly, you know I'd love to go out to help you celebrate your birthday," said Maeske, who's been like a ghost ever since he married that Veronica woman. "It's just that, with work and the new baby, I don't have a spare minute. Come on, you can understand, can't you?" Sources close to Maeske don't see why he can't go out for one damn beer.

Sports-Related Murder Provides Perfect Local-News Segue

PHOENIX—The arrest of former Arizona State running back Darius Cantrell in connection with a homicide provided the perfect segue from local news to the sports report on KPHO CBS 5's News At Ten Monday. "Cantrell, who is charged with stabbing his ex-girlfriend 38 times, is being held without bail," anchor Diana Sullivan said. "Speaking of sports, can the Cardinals' coach bail the team out of a third-place finish in the NFC West? Our own Gary Cruz will have the verdict after the break." It was the station's most convenient transition to sports since May 1996, when an anchor moved from a piece on sex toys with the phrase, "and speaking of long double headers..."

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Housewives

We Americans are not strangers to hardship. We have endured economic woes, enmity between the states, and protracted campaigns in foreign lands. We have survived imperialist wars; we have survived unexpected attacks; we have seen countless lives wasted. Since America declared its independence, each successive generation has met a unique and unexpected challenge, but ours is the first to face the worst hardships of many generations in legion. Fellow citizens, we are living in desperate times, and desperate times call for Desperate Housewives.

Iraq Troops Complain

Last week, troops complained to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld about extended deployments and poor equipment. What do you think?
End Of Section
  • More News
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage

Internet

Healthy Eating

New Homeless Initiative To Raise Bottle Deposit To 12 Cents

WASHINGTON, DC—A bipartisan Congressional initiative passed Monday promises that relief, in the form of a national, 12-cent bottle-and-can refund, will soon come to the nation's estimated 600,000 homeless.

Three of the many homeless who will soon benefit from a higher bottle refund rate.

"We can no longer ignore the problem of homelessness in our country," Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) said. "Under the new program, all aluminum and glass beverage containers will be required to carry a minimum refund value of 12 cents, boosting homeless citizens' incomes and endowing them with a sense of pride in their work."

Citing the track records of local deposit plans, the Subcommittee on Human Resources drew up a proposal that would tap into the nation's existing infrastructure to minimize the homeless epidemic without creating budgetary hurdles. Dubbed the Shelter And Recycling Initiative (SARI), it is the first nation-wide, federally mandated bottle-deposit program. It is also the first government program designed to lift the burden of homelessness from the taxpayers' shoulders.

"For homeless can-collectors in my home state of Michigan, the plan represents a 20-percent raise," Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) said. "For those in states like California, New York, and Iowa, it represents a whopping 140 percent wage increase. Everyone wins: The homeless enjoy a higher standard of living, and we taxpayers enjoy cleaner streets, free of cans and bottles!"

Under the plan, an additional 50,000 bottle-and-can redemption machines will be placed in front of the nation's grocery stores to cut down on the amount of time homeless people spend in line.

"This is the best way to help the homeless help themselves," Camp said. "Think of how good they'll feel about themselves when they can march right up to that refund machine, deposit their grocery basket full of bottles and cans, roll on over to the register, and pay for their Dinty Moore stew with money they've earned."

According to Camp, if the homeless can't "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" after the return-rate increase, then "there is no helping them."

"This is a chance to give the homeless a hand up, instead of a handout," Camp said. "With the amount of alcohol they consume, industrious homeless winos will be able to drink themselves to a better life."

The refund bill, though approved by Congress, has caused a public outcry. Makers of boxed beverages argue that the bill will create a windfall for aluminum- and glass-packaged beverage manufacturers. Soda drinkers argue that soda is expensive enough as it is, without the additional expense of a deposit. Activists have suggested that the bill is "insensitive."

"This program is a slap in the face for the poor and unfortunate," homeless advocate Neal Schweiber said. "Does Congress really think they can sweep the problem of homelessness under the rug with a 12-cent rebate? Nothing less than 20 cents per container constitutes an effective policy shift."

Added Schweiber: "Have you ever had to dig through someone's trash to make a living? I haven't either, but I have seen people do it. It looks extremely unpleasant."

Homeless-shelter worker Patricia Wenzel agrees that the initiative is inadequate.

"This bill has no provisions to care for disabled homeless men and women, many of whom do not have the capacity to collect drink containers," Wenzel said. "We need to provide all hopeless and destitute individuals with a ray of hope."

In spite of the warnings and protestations of its detractors, the subcommittee plans to institute SARI by Nov. 12, 2005.

"This isn't a tax, it's a deposit in our future," Camp said. "And taxpayers who opt out of their redemptions can write off discarded cans as a contribution to the poor. As the saying goes, one man's trash is another man's treasure."

Next Story

Onion Video

Watch More