Sunday, January 15, 2012

Electronics Recycling

Do you have old computer parts, batteries, or other electronics taking up space in your house but aren’t sure how to get rid of them? You’ve already made the right first step—these are not things that should just be put in the regular garbage. The chemicals and plastics used to make products such as televisions or cell phones are harmful to our water supply and soil if they are simply thrown away.

Responsible electronics recycling is an important topic in a world where gadgets become outdated within months of purchase. To make sure you are up to date on the proper means of disposal for electronics contact your local dump or recycling center. The City of Troy and Rensselaer County host free e-waste disposal days; dates have not yet been publicized. There are also private companies that specialize in the proper disposal of electronics.

Troy residents curious about general recycling guidelines should visit

Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

As our world becomes more digitized and computer savvy, new risks arise. Identity theft is a contemporary problem that we all need to be aware of. With the holiday credit card bills rolling in (and hopefully being paid), it is increasingly important that our personal information is kept private.

Here are a few tips to keep your personal information from getting into the wrong hands:
- Only give out your Social Security number when it is really needed. Ask if and why it is necessary when you are asked to provide it.
- Be cautious who you share your personal information with and avoid sending such info in emails or through the mail.
- Shred any papers that have identification or account numbers before discarding them.
- Cut apart old credit cards and don’t carry unnecessary personal documents (birth certificate, Social Security card, passport, etc.) around with you unless you really need them.
- Pay attention to your billing cycles. If a bill is late arriving at your house follow up with your creditors as soon as possible.
- Create unique passwords for all of your accounts.
- Password protect your smartphone.

NYSERDA Energy Audits and Weatherization

As you have undoubtedly noticed, it’s getting cold again. While this year has brought a strangely temperate winter, we can’t forget about the importance of monitoring our energy use and weatherization.

Weatherization is a broad term describing ways of protecting your home from the winter elements. Steps to keep the heat inside and thus lower your bill include: sealing any air leaks in your doors and windows, checking your roof for leaks, and being sure to keep snow and ice from building up on your home. Additionally, with less heat getting out, less oil or natural gas will need to be burned to keep your family warm. Some tips to keep in mind this winter and all year round can be found here:

To find out just how much energy you and your family really use and how to improve, we recommend looking into the free and reduced-cost energy audits provided by the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) at

Another positive program coming out of NYSERDA is EmPower New York and, announced on January 5th, the 2012 funding for the program has increased by $18 million, making for a total of $46 million in funds to aid in the improvement of energy usage in low-income households. To read the full announcement visit:

Community Development and Planning Public Hearing Scheduled

Troy residents, business owners, and organizational leaders are invited to a City of Troy public hearing on Wednesday, January 25th at 6 pm in Conference Room A, City Hall, 1776 6th Avenue.  Attendees will have the opportunity to address what the City’s priorities should be for use of federal funding including the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG), and HOME funds.  Those interested but unable to attend may also submit written comments to City Hall, 1776 6th Avenue, Troy, NY 12180, Attention: Tim Mattice.

TNAC Meeting Scheduled

Keeping the momentum rolling into 2012!  TNAC (Troy Neighborhoods Action Council) has scheduled a meeting for Wednesday, February 1 at 7 PM.  Interested residents and community leaders are invited to gather from 7-8:30 PM at The Hill Street Inn at 202 4th Street.  Neighborhood groups are encouraged to come prepared to tell a story about something that has worked well for them so that we can celebrate our successes and share best practices among neighborhoods.  Other agenda items are welcome; please send to ahead of time.  Hope to see you on February 1st!