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Eastern residents show some TLC

LAWRENCE COUNTY - Billie Smith wants to make the county a more beautiful place to live by showing a little TLC.

Smith is one of the founders of Operation TLC (Tidy-up Lawrence County), a civic organization dedicated to cleaning up the eastern part of the county

It all began while she was driving in her car one afternoon.

"I was driving down Rockwood and I realized how desperate the litter situation was," Smith said.

Smith was raised in eastern Lawrence County, but had moved away before returning to the area two years ago.

Smith and her friend, Taunya Wilson, were concerned about the litter problem in the area and wanted to do something to help.

So the duo got a group of other concerned citizens together to meet with county official Dale Mootz of the County Planning Commission and with Chuck Yaniko of the Solid Waste District. It was then Smith and Wilson decided to plan a litter cleanup campaign.

The first cleanup, on May 14, was successful, Smith said. The group took away more than 150 bags of litter

and went to nine locations.

"We have many people who volunteer, volunteers that are interested in bettering our community and making it more attractive," Smith said.

The group is planning another cleanup on Oct. 1. Smith said that they plan to do the same thing with 10 groups going 10 places throughout Chesapeake and Proctorville.

On Aug. 4, the group is planning a picnic barbeque for local businesses to fellowship with each other and to get ideas. They will also discuss tree planting, signage and ways to reduce clutter among other items.

The whole purpose of the picnic is to "promote a community of awareness," she said.

Smith said that things are happening in the area and they want to be ready. Chesapeake will be celebrating its centennial in two years, and she said that is a goal for the group to

work towards.

"(Our goals are) helping our community to beautify, create litter awareness and to take pride in where we live, one little bit at a time," Smith said. "This is the tip of the iceberg."

Operation TLC meets the third Tuesday of every month at 6:45 p.m. alternating between the Chesapeake and Proctorville Branches of the Briggs Lawrence County Public Library.