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Cleaning up Chesepeake

CHESAPEAKE — Teachers, students, community service workers along with Operation Tidy-Up Lawrence County members made up the 32 people cleaning up the corridor between Chesapeake and Proctorville on Saturday.

They also had a fundraising drive at McDonald’s in Proctorville and at the Sixth Street Bridge in Chesapeake.

“We’re trying to educate people as we collect money,” said Billie Smith, president of Operation TLC. “We’re asking for change in their car. It’s a way for them to give a little bit to us that will go back into the community. They may not be able to come out and help us pick up litter but this is one way they can help us.”

The group also had flyers to hand out to help people become more aware of what they are trying to accomplish.

“It’s actually an opportunity for us to speak to people to let them know what we are doing and make them aware of the litter problem we have,” she said.

Not only were people picking up along the highway, some were trimming shrubbery and pulling weeds at the Chesapeake Post Office, picking up litter on Irene Road, and cleaning up around Goodwill.

“It’s a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction,” Smith said. “We’re all aware of this problem and we’re just trying to make a dent.”

Operation TLC is responsible for planting flowers at the Chesapeake Fire Department, the Welcome planter, Goodwill Store, Chesapeake Community Center and Marathon planter in Proctorville.

“Be a part of the change, give us your change,” said Pam Hollar, treasurer, of Operation TLC. “We don’t ask for dollars, although some people do give that. We thought that if everybody just gave us their change, you’d be surprised just how much of a change that would make. Just empty out your change from the car.”

One time the organization took 13 hours to roll all the coins they received.

“If everyone would give up just one day out of the year to work in the community, just think how much better the community would be,” Hollar said. “We’re trying to make a difference.”

Mike Conaway, had six community service workers with the Recycling and Litter Prevention program at Community Action Organization picking up litter walking toward Proctorville.

Another group came from Proctorville toward Chesapeake picking up litter.

Volunteer Barb Daniel found an initialed baseball, a nine club and the group she was with walking west on Ohio 7, had one bag with cans for recycling.

“We’re segregating the recycling,” she said.

Taunya Wilson, vice president of Operation TLC, works at Curves Fitness Center in Proctorville, where she met Smith in the spring of 2005.

The two got together to work on the clean-up project. The state of Ohio furnishes the bags for the litter picked up and the group furnishes water for the day.

“E.L. Robinson went with us to the state and requested grant money to beautify this corridor,” Wilson said.

The state gave Operation TLC $10,000 and they had to meet that with another $10,000 they received in donations. Now, with the master plan completed, the group will go back to the state to request grant money for the project.

“The Department of Natural Resources has grants called Nature Works grants and it goes to municipalities to beautify parks in their village and we’ve requested $10,000 for the Chesapeake Village Park and $10,000 for the Proctorville Village Park,” she said.

They also requested a grant through the state called Safe Pathways to Schools to try to improve the sidewalks in Chesapeake.

“The Chesapeake sidewalks are in such bad shape,” Wilson said. “There are so many communities that have applied for that grant, but hopefully we’ll have money for some sidewalks there.”

Another project is cleaning up the Indian-Guyan Boat Ramp. Lawrence-Scioto Solid Waste Management has a program where anyone can adopt a section of highway and they will furnish bags, gloves and loan out litter grabbers. There is no money involved, she said.

“So, we encourage people to adopt sections in the county, keep the roadways clean and come out and support us,” Wilson said. “We hope to have flowers and park benches, pretty street lights and nice signs. It could look like Pullman Square. It could look like the Village of Barboursville. We just all have to work together to make it happen.”

For more information, call (740) 886-7816 or (740) 886-5456.