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City litter draws ire
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
Residents of Martinsville’s west side are fed up with litter strewn in their neighborhoods.
Martinsville City Council on Monday toured those neighborhoods in a van and noticed large amounts of litter in various places. City officials said they hope to eventually get the garbage removed from roadsides and embankments.
However, Interim City Manager Leon Towarnicki said it might be more prudent for city crews to wait until cold weather arrives again to clean up areas where trash has been illegally dumped, especially overgrown areas.
That is so workers can better see litter after the cold kills the weeds and they do not have to contend with dangerous plants such as poison oak, he said.
Inmates possibly could be used to remove litter, said Councilman Gene Teague.
At a neighborhood council meeting at Albert Harris Elementary School after the tour, Mayor Kim Adkins noted that city officials planned to discuss litter problems during a council meeting tonight, but their presentation has been postponed until the April 24 meeting due to a lengthy agenda tonight.
During Monday’s tour, William Eggleston of Roundabout Road pointed out to council members an embankment along the edge of Baldwin Park on Swanson Street where two old commodes were among trash that had been dumped.
“People go to great lengths to dump (large items) in a hole when all they have to do is call” the city, and sanitation crews will come and pick up the items for them, Towarnicki said. “It makes no sense.”
He said he will get city crews to install “No Dumping” signs near the park.
Another commode — in several pieces — was seen on the side of Yorkshire Road. Nearby were a discarded mattress and carpet.
Various types of household garbage were seen discarded in culverts.
Jean Wilson of Fayette Street mentioned litter she has seen near Glen Street.
Carolyn Drew of Fifth Street said that essentially every morning, she and her neighbors pick up litter such as fast-food wrapping papers and soft drink cans that have been discarded anew near their homes.
It looks like “those of us who are picking up litter, we’re just going to have to keep on doing it” for now, Wilson said.
Sidney Lee of Sellers Street encouraged the city to be aggressive in getting rid of litter.
Councilman Danny Turner mentioned that a man recently was sentenced to eight months in jail for littering in Henry County. He said that if all judges will impose such stiff sentences on litterers, “I think the litter problem will take care of itself.”
Also during Monday’s neighborhood council meeting, city police Officer Coretha Gravely broke up an argument between Councilman Mark Stroud and former local NAACP president Leonard Jones.
Stroud later apologized to those attending the meeting.
The argument began after Jones indicated he thinks the council is not being responsive to the needs of residents in all areas of the city. Noting that three council seats are up for grabs in the Nov. 6 election, Jones said he hopes voters will elect new council members from the west, north and south sides of the city.
Stroud, a southside resident, said, “I work very hard to make sure I answer every call that comes into my home” on any issue, and “it doesn’t matter what neighborhood it’s in.” He said he plans to seek re-election.