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Annual spring cleaning effort scheduled for late March, April

Spring cleaning will never be the same again.

The annual Great American Cleanup gets under way next month,providing Lincoln County residents with a once-a-year chance to getrid of big, bulky garbage like old furniture and defunct appliancesfor free. The young and successful program is sponsored by KeepLincoln County Beautiful, and is well-known locally for collectinghundreds of tons of trash in huge disposal bins that travel thecounty over the event’s five-week course.

“It’s to try to enhance our community, just to make it a nice placeto live,” said Lincoln County Litter Control Coordinator RonnieDurr. “We want to live up to the title of Homeseekers Paradise.We’re all in the same boat, so let’s just get it cleaned up.”

By now, everyone knows the drill.

The first day of the cleanup will be Thursday, April 8, when thefirst bin is rolled into place on Monticello Street, down the roadfrom the County Farm Road intersection, to serve District One. Thebin will remain there in the lot of an abandoned gas station overthe weekend, to be taken up and emptied the following Monday.

The big bin will travel to District Two on April 15, where it willbe parked near the Brignall voting precinct on Brignall Road. Itwill be taken away and dumped the following Monday and be placed atthe intersection of West Lincoln and Jackson-Liberty drives inDistrict Four on April 22.

Bogue Chitto residents will get their chance to fill up thecontainer beginning April 29, when it is placed at the intersectionof Highway 51 and Brister Street in District Three. The bin willfinally make it to James Case’s store near Loyd Star in DistrictFive for its final week of action on May 6.

Whereas taking old appliances, furniture, wood products, tires,shingles and other hard-to-dispose-of junk to the landfill wouldrequire a fee, such items may be brought to the bins of the GreatAmerican Cleanup for free at any location.

There are, however, a few items prohibited at the cleanup. Durrsaid hazardous materials – like paint, insecticides and discardedmotor oil – would not be accepted, and the event is not meant toaccept common, household garbage. Almost anything else is fairgame, he said. Scavengers will not be tolerated.

Although the amount of garbage collected during the cleanup hadbeen trending down prior to last year, the tonnage gathered in 2009spiked upward to 289 tons, double the preceding year. More than3,700 old tires, 50 car batteries and 11.8 tons of white goods -appliances – were collected.

“We’ve been saying for years since we’ve been having these thingsthat eventually it’s going to peak and start going down, but lastyear proved me wrong,” Durr said. “I’m hoping this year we’re ashade under what we had last year.”

No matter how much material is brought in, Durr would rather see itaccumulated during the cleanup than on the roadsides of LincolnCounty. Though illegal dump sites on country back roads were once abig problem, he said the number of such sites has decreasedsignificantly over the past three years, a result of the annualcleanup and his own job as litter control coordinator.

“There are probably some more out there, but the only reasonthey’re there is because I don’t know about them yet,” Durrsaid.

While Durr’s heavy equipment is usually required to clean up anillegal dumpsite in the woods, the average citizen is perfectlycapable of cleaning up roadside litter around his or her property.Such efforts are another major aim of the Great AmericanCleanup.

Keep Lincoln County Beautiful board member Homer Richardson saidthis year’s event would begin with a kickoff cleanup atBrookhaven’s main intersection – Highway 51 and Brookway Boulevard.KLCB members will attack the location on March 30 at 10 a.m. withTroy-Bilt lawn equipment on loan from Keep America Beautiful.

“It’s pretty trashy right now,” Richardson said of theintersection. “This is always the time of year when things lookworst. The grass is dead, and stuff that has accumulated during thewinter shows up easier. What was a Styrofoam cup in the grass thiswinter is now a beacon in the ditch.”

Richardson is getting the word out to churches and civic clubscountywide, encouraging them to adopt a stretch of highway or justhit the areas around their mailbox to eliminate roadside litter.Organizations planning their own cleanup may call the District Twobarn at 601-835-1987 to request a roll of industrial garbage bagsbeing shipped as part of the cleanup.

The cleanup is also a great time pitch in and help neighbors withboth litter pickup and big trash disposal, Richardson said.

“A lot of times older people don’t have a way of getting rid ofthis kind of stuff. If you know an elderly neighbor who has a lotof old trash, this is a good time to volunteer,” he said. “Peoplewith a truck can haul this stuff off and never even think aboutit.”