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Cleaning up county must be high on list

While it may be difficult to imagine as the last few gray days of winter slowly wane, southeast Ohio is a lush, beautiful region.

Its rolling hills offer gorgeous scenery for locals and visitors alike.

Anyone who has driven on Lawrence County's back roads will remember the scenery forever - especially if their travels occurred during the few precious weeks when the changing fall colors seem to set the forest ablaze.

Yes, our area's natural beauty is truly a sight to behold.

Unfortunately, another "sight to behold" often overshadows the beauty.

Drive down one of the back roads and look a bit and you'll see what we mean - trash.

It's everywhere.

The problem is, many of us have looked at the crud so long that we've begun to take it for granted. It's become part of the normal, everyday scenery.

And when that happens, we've lost something precious - our community's pride.

In many parts of the world, country and state, a number of people would find the thought of littering on someone else's property as unconscionable.

But in Lawrence County such awful disregard for other people's property seems commonplace.

All too often, carelessly tossed garbage, discarded furniture and other junk are "thrown away" all across our county at the expense of someone else.

Good, law-abiding property owners must clean up the trail of trash left by these evildoers.

So what's the solution? Well, such illegal behavior obviously begins when people are young. A person isn't born a litterbug. Litterbugs are grown, fostered and developed through years of poor examples and just a downright lack of concern for others.

So what we need is a countywide "mom" who can go around and teach these folks why it's wrong to dump your trash on someone else's property or even to leave your own property full of unsightly trash.

Unfortunately, no mom can change the behavior of an adult without that adult wanting to help. So the only recourse is to use the legal system. Each reported case of illegal dumping needs to be investigated fully and violators prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Our county, our neighbors, deserve at least that much. Protecting the beauty of our community should be among our most important tasks.