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Thousand volunteers help with cleanup

Lawrence County’s first-ever county-wide cleanup day was a success, Lawrence-Scioto Solid Waste Management District Director Dan Palmer told the Lawrence County Commission Thursday.

Palmer said 1,005 volunteers participated in last Saturday’s event — a few hundred more than he anticipated.

Palmer said this does not include the volunteer firefighters who also came to help.

Those volunteers collected 955 bags of trash, filled 46 large, roll-off containers with an additional 529 tons of garbage and filled 20 additional trucks with an amount of trash that was not weighed. The volunteers cleaned 65.7 miles of roadway.

“I think this is pretty good for a first year,” Palmer said. “And we will undoubtedly have one again next year.”

Palmer said at one point Dependable Sanitation in Ashland, Ky., ran out of roll-off containers and could not provided any more to volunteers in Rome and Union townships, even though the additional containers were needed and could have been put to good use.

In addition to the volunteers who participated in the cleanup, some public officials pitched in with their services. Coal Grove Police Chief Jason Bloomfield and Coal Grove Fire Chief Gary Sherman provided escorts to some of the Dawson-Bryant Elementary children who cleaned up more than five miles of State Route 243.

Palmer said still others provided donations to offset the cost of the T-shirts for volunteers or donated food and drinks.

The cleanup event drew praise from all three commissioners.

“You are to be commended,” Commissioner Les Boggs said.

Palmer replied the success was a team effort and he couldn’t take all the credit.

Commissioner Jason Stephens pointed out the number of people who volunteered their time last Saturday was roughly 2 percent of the county’s population.

Stephens pointed out that the SWMD programs, such as the cleanup event, is paid for by a $12 fee that was enacted several years ago to specifically to fund solid waste programs to rid Lawrence County of illegal dumps and litter.

“It’s a good example of how a little fee provides a big service throughout the entire county,” Stephens said.

Commissioner Doug Malone said he was pleased that the solid waste office has been aggressive in pursuing criminal charges against people who litter and illegally dump.

“You tell Steve (Hileman, enforcement officer) I think he’s doing a good job,” Malone said. He also praised the county’s judges for their willingness to slap offenders with fines and jail time.