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Cleanup nets ‘more of everything’

There was no way to calculate the tonnage of all the garbagethat accumulated at the dump site for the Great American Cleanupover the weekend, but there was one sure-fire method of judging thesize of the pile.

It was a few feet closer to the highway this time.

“This year we’ve done got out a little bit past the light pole,”Lincoln County Litter Control Coordinator Ronnie Durr said Mondaymorning while surveying an overwhelming field of trash onMonticello Street. “This is the worst I’ve ever seen it. It’sprobably the biggest even we’ve had in District One since I’ve beendoing this, right at 10 years.”

Proving once more that Lincoln County residents areunpredictable, the Great American Cleanup’s opening weekend haslikely set the bar for future events. By sunrise Monday morning,the massive field of garbage surrounded all three full trash binsand crept toward the highway, flanked on the east side by a stackof tires likely 1,000 strong.

There were dozens of televisions, couches, mattresses, woodwaste and metal goods. Someone said goodbye to hundreds of oldcassette tapes, and another person decided a dozen empty fireextinguishers were no longer needed. There was even a boat, thoughits seaworthiness was questionable.

Basically, there was more of everything, Durr said.

“I’ve always said sooner or later we’re going to plateau and godown, but it hasn’t happened yet,” he said. “There more you havethese things, the more product people seem to generate.”

Last year, the Great American Cleanup collected approximately290 tons of garbage and more than 3,700 old tires, matching andexceeding the event’s previous bests. Based on the amount of trashdeposited at the District One site east of County Farm Road betweenlast Thursday and early Monday morning, this year’s cleanup islikely headed toward a record haul.

“We found stuff on the ground when we got here Thursdaymorning,” Durr said. “If this is an indication of what’s to come,it’s going to be a good cleanup. As long as the weather is good,it’ll be a dilly.”

Of course, the bigger the mess at the cleanup site, the cleanerLincoln County becomes. County residents are most definitely doingtheir parts in 2010.

Brookhaven’s Mike Green uses the Great American Cleanup to hisadvantage every year, and he added a few loads to the tonnageFriday. He saves up his garbage for the annual event and saves cashby doing so.

“Years ago we used to haul it to the dump, but they startedcharging by the load and it got expensive. Now, I just wait forthis,” he said.

Scott and Katrina Murray are cleaning up construction wastes attheir new house on Dunn-Ratcliff Road, and they quickly learned tolove the Great American Cleanup Friday after first taking theirloads to the landfill.

“We’ve already been to the dump three times, and it was $17, $20and $30,” Katrina said.

For Philadelphia Baptist Church preacher the Rev. Bendon Ginn,the cleanup is something to be passed down.

“I teach my children this is a good way to clean up your mess,”he said. “Our homes and our properties look a lot better if we havean outlet to haul this stuff off.”

Money isn’t the only motivating factor, however. For EastLincoln’s Chris DeLaghter, opportunity was enough to get him toclean out his late father’s barn.

“I’ve been waiting to do it, but this here kind of motivated meto go ahead and do it,” he said. “I started getting ready lastweekend.”

Brookhaven’s Frankie Sykes helped his father-in-law by tearingdown an old shed and hauling off the junk to the cleanup. He hadanother cleanup project in mind, but that was all he could do.

“My wife won’t let me clean my shed out without her being there.That’s why I’m not working on mine today,” he said Friday.

In the coming weeks, cleanup events will be held in DistrictsTwo, Three, Four and Five.