A cleaner Bibb County wins four awards

mstucka@macon.comDecember 12, 2013 

Trash talking has gotten some awards.

Stephen Lawson heard about a cleanup program in Columbus and went to work in January to take community service workers from Macon’s Municipal Court to litter-ridden roadsides.

“On the rights of way, we picked up 83,000 pounds of trash since January,” said Lawson, Macon’s assistant grounds director. For his work, Lawson was named the state’s top public works employee at the Keep Georgia Beautiful conference. The workers also cleared about 32,000 tons of trash in community cleanups in areas such as Village Green and Fort Hill.

Other people and groups with ties to Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful also won top awards.

The Wesleyan Woods Garden Club drew the top award for community improvement and greening after replenishing one-third of the cherry trees at Wesleyan Woods and all of the gates, said club president Carole Grant.

Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful itself also won the affiliate award for its population size, and it also was the first affiliate to get The Governor’s Circle Award from Gov. Nathan Deal, said Pamela Carswell, president and chief executive officer.

“It shows that we are making great gains with our community,” said Carswell, who said the group is focused on litter prevention, recycling and beautification. Last year, Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful taught a 45-minute recycling program to every second-grade classroom in the Bibb County public school system. Carswell said the organization is teaching this year’s second-grade students again, and the former Weaver Middle School principal herself has already taught the classes at five private schools.

“We’ve got to educate the community. We own this trash,” she said.

Lawson said the community service workers may spend the next several Saturdays cleaning up an area near Carling and Railroad avenues. The Telegraph counted 11 mattresses, 10 sofas, five televisions, a countless jumble of paint cans, a pile of mail and an ancient barber’s license dumped along the side of an overgrown alley.

Gregory Solomon, a passerby with a friendly demeanor and no socks who lives under a nearby bridge, said the area doesn’t make the neighborhood look good. It should be cleaned up, said Solomon, who became homeless several months ago when a family member died.

Lawson said through the cleanup efforts, community service workers came to see just how much trash there was as they did their Saturday shifts. Now they better recognize the extent of the trash and want a cleaner community.

“They’ve asked us to go to their neighborhoods,” he said.

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.

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