By Krystle S. Morey, Keith Harrington, Matthew Saari
Clean up. Clean up. Everybody do your share. Area communities will take advantage of the warm weather and get out to do some spring cleaning.
Granville (April 22 at 9 a.m., Veterans Memorial Park)
This Saturday, Earth Day, community members and organizations will come together to help spruce up parks, cemeteries and roadsides in the town and village of Granville.
Volunteers will pick up litter, rake and do other tasks.
Several local groups including the FFA, Washington County Youth Bureau, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts turn out at the annual clean-up.
“They come down and help out every year,” Granville Mayor Brian LaRose said with a smile.
LaRose said some of the target areas this year include Main and Church Streets and the Quaker Street cemeteries. And he’d like to see new mulch spread in the beds at Veterans Memorial Park.
The village works in unison with the town to supply garbage bags, gloves and other equipment.
Those interested in helping should meet at Veterans Memorial Park in the village at 9 a.m. The endeavor usually lasts until noon.
“At that point we’ll issue out responsibilities for different folks,” LaRose said. “Hopefully the weather will cooperate with us so we can get that done.”
“I hope people come out and meet in the park that day to help clean things up,” said Matt Hicks, town supervisor.
“We’re hoping to see a lot of people there,” LaRose said. “It’s really a fun event. I enjoy doing it every year.”
Added LaRose: “With the whole climate right now, with this side being against this side … the way the government is working right now … I think it’s a good day to just put it all aside. It doesn’t matter if you are a republican or democrat, if you’re a Catholic, whatever you are … you are part of the community, so come out and support it.”
Hartford (April 29 at 9 a.m., Hartford Town Barn)
The Town of Hartford website bills the community as being “located among the beautiful rolling hill in the center of Washington County.” To maintain that beauty, the town will hold its Roadside Litter Cleanup Day on Saturday, April 29, from 9 a.m. to noon.
The cleanup day relies on volunteers interested in helping Hartford to stay beautiful by canvassing the town’s streets and roads and picking up garbage.
“We need as many volunteers and pickup trucks as we can get,” said town highway superintendent Greg Brown.
Volunteers are asked to meet at the Hartford Town Barn on Main Street, formerly County Route 23, to get trash bags and be assigned roads to clean. Helpers are asked to bring a pair of gloves and should dress appropriately for the weather. All children should be accompanied by an adult.
When the work is completed, volunteers will be compensated with a free lunch beginning at noon at the highway barn. Hot dogs, chips, soda and ice cream will be served.
Town supervisor Dana Haff is hoping to once again be the official “Hot Dog Chef.”
“I was the chef last year and would like to be again,” Haff said.
For more information on the event, call Brown at 632-5255.
Whitehall (April 21 at noon, Skenesborough Park)
Juniors and seniors of Whitehall high school rolled up their collective sleeves, slapped on latex gloves and unfurled trash bags prior to hitting the streets of the village on April 11 in a coordinated effort by the school, Parks and Trails New York and the village to tidy up their hometown.
Every year the student body scours village streets for debris and refuse, giving back to the village that has given them so much.
“The kids and teachers are always willing to go,” said high school principal Jeff Keller. “It’s been tradition for a long time.”
“It teaches the kids some humility,” added Ashley Bakemeier, one of the faculty overseers of the effort.
However not just any student can hop on the bus and partake in the day’s activities. Leaving the confines of the school for an afternoon of clean-sweeping is seen as a privilege and only students in good academic standing can take part in the venture.
For some students, participation is mandatory.
“It’s good for the kids to volunteer and it a requirement for National Honor Society members and our government students,” Keller said.
This year saw more than 50 students participate; so many that two buses were needed to transport the volunteers to their drop-off locations.
Marge Mohn coordinated with Keller and the village Department of Public Works to establish drop-off locations, street sweeps and a rally point. The village also provided several trucks to follow the sweeper teams, taking the loaded bags of garbage from the students.
The students were broken into six teams, each headed by a faculty proctor, and dropped off at six locations throughout the village. The sweeper teams then scoured the streets, proceeding along planned routes, filling trash bags as they went. The routes ultimately all converged on Skenesborough Park, where Mohn was awaiting their arrival.
Mohn, the area coordinator for Parks and Trails New York, provided each student with a T-shirt commemorating this year’s event as well as presenting a Certificate of Appreciation to the students for their efforts.
Cleanup efforts do not stop there. Everyone in the community, young and old, is welcome to join in this year’s Canal Clean Sweep, which will be held this Friday beginning at noon. Volunteers will meet at the gazebo in Skenesborough Park where they will receive the necessary tools: gloves and trash bags.