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Commissioners talk trash at meeting

Commissioners were ‘˜talking trash’ with Concord Garden Club president Anna Evans at their Tuesday, Feb. 24 meeting. Several commissioners said they recently fielded complaints about the amount of trash along roads in Pike and noted it is time for some action to be taken. Evans asked that April be designated as Pick Up Pike Month and commissioners approved the resolution unanimously. Pick Up Pike organizers are asking citizen volunteers to pick up trash along the 100-mile Tour de Pike route before the March 21 event. Maps are available at the Pick Up Pike Facebook page and the commissioners office. Areas will be marked when trash has been picked up. ’We’ve got to do something about the trash as a county and as citizens,’ said commissioner Tim Guy. ‘We need to do whatever we can as far as increasing the price of fines and getting up signs in our community. I appreciate all the citizen volunteers who pick up trash but we need to do something as commissioners. Maybe raising fines a little higher will get the trash stopped.’ County manager John Hanson said he is working with probationers to start picking up trash along roads and plans to set up an entire week of work starting April 6. ’We’re trying to set it up so they can work the entire week,’ he said. ‘I’ve also talked to Todd about additional signs that specify littering is punishable by a fine. Our ordinance says the fine shall not exceed $250 but I think we should add some language to provide for some community service for violations. It’s only fitting that the people throwing out the trash should be out picking it up.’ Evans also asked commissioners to reactivate Keep Pike County Beautiful since it is a national organization and offers resources Pike could use. She said members from Pick Up Pike may be willing to apply to become board members. Citizens may join the Pick Up Pike group on Facebook. Evans said a map will be placed in the commission office so citizens can claim a section or road and clean those areas. They will be color coded so people can see what areas have been and what areas still need to be picked up. ’There is a group right now called Pick Up Pike and it’s doing everything it can to combat the litter problem,’ she said. ‘You have a huge support group for this. All you really need to do is mobilize them.’ Commissioner James Jenkins said he and his family walk along the road they live on picking up trash, adding, ‘We’ve got to set the example.’ Chairman Briar Johnson said as a Pike deputy, when he would see bags of garbage, he would put on gloves and search for mail or other items identifying the owner and serve them with a summons so they would have to explain to the judge how their trash ended up on the side of the road. He suggested asking the sheriff’s office to take the same approach now. ’I think we as a county could help campaign this and get the word out. We want people to have respect for their own county,’ said Hanson. ‘We need to change the culture and we’ve got to make people realize they’re not going to litter here.’ Evans also told commissioners about the Concord Garden Club’s 19th annual community lecture series known as Lunch and Learn which will be held at the Concord Building from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, April 16. The free public event will showcase ways to reduce, reuse, recycle and repurpose for the home, garden and community. Commissioners and citizens were asked to join in an effort for a county-wide clean up weekend April 11 and 12 before he grass really starts to grow and litter becomes an even bigger problem. She also informed commissioners about the group’s plan to encourage the public to stop littering through the use of a ‘˜Burma Shave’ type sign campaign during the month of April. She asked the public to donate campaign ads, realty ads, sales or promotional signs that may be left at A Novel Experience to be repurposed for the campaign. Evans also noted that an anti-litter poster contest is being held for public, private and homeschool students in third, fourth and fifth grades with $50 for first and $25 for second and third place winners. The posters will be displayed at the April 16 Lunch and Learn and possibly other places around Pike.

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