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Citizens Against Litter

March 2006 Newslitter

In this Newslitter: One year ago; Watch out litter; Shadyside kudos; Even Oakland picks up; And speaking of Oakland...; Operation Redd Up; The morning after; Personal to Michael L. Johnson; Pretty Park Place; Contagious; Don't leave home without some; "I Litter" awards; Garbagevilles; Lottery loser; Lost a lot; Environmental Fair debuts; Salad recipe from the fair; Ask Mr. Litterman

One year ago

It was April 2005 when Citizens Against Litter, Shadyside surfaced. Since then our band of anti-litter volunteers has grown from one to 60. We pick up litter. Some more, some less than others. But in the end, our community is cleaner. We know we can't get rid of litter completely but we can control its spread. Many throughout the city know what we're doing in Shadyside and give us a little credit for the positive things that are happening with litter. We certainly know anti-litter good deeds didn't start with us. But residents in Shadyside have come together as a group. Our hope has always been that other neighborhoods would replicate our workable program.

Watch out litter

So we're pleased to hear that the folks in Squirrel Hill have also come together and have an organization of 22 volunteers picking up litter. Also, we're pleased to hear that folks in Wilkinsburg feel we've been helpful with suggestions for their program that was started earlier.

Shadyside kudos

At a state-sponsored luncheon, "Protecting Pennsylvania's Resources," on Friday, February 17, Mayor O'Connor acknowledged Citizens Against Litter, Shadyside for its initiative and leadership to make Pittsburgh cleaner. Boris Weinstein has been asked to head up "Operation Redd Up."

A big thank you to all the Shadyside volunteers for making our neighborhood cleaner and setting such a great example. It doesn't happen without you.

Even Oakland picks up

A member of the younger generation of Citizens Against Litter volunteers was out on his morning run. While passing through South Oakland, he saw four groups of students with the full complement of anti-litter equipment: plastic bags, gloves, and even brooms and dustpans. Maybe it was post-Super Bowl pride that inspired the good deed, but the streets never looked better. Wouldn't it be nice if they could be like that all the time?

And speaking of Oakland...

We take you across the country to another Oakland. California, that is. Fed up with burger wrappers, French fry cartons, and pop bottles on streets and sidewalks, the Oakland City Council passed an ordinance that assesses fees on fast-food joints and convenience stores in an effort to make them share the burden of the cost of cleaning up after themselves. We can't argue with that.

Read the entire text of the ordinance online. Adobe Acrobat required.

Operation Redd Up

Is it "redd up" or "red up?" According to the Dictionary of American Slang, 3rd Edition, and a booklet called "How To Speak Pittsburghese," it's "redd up." The Pittsburghese booklet says this about redd up: "Clean or tidy an area as in 'Quick, redd up the house, Mom and Dad are coming.'" In the Mayor O'Connor's case, it should read: "Quick, redd up the neighborhoods, company's coming for the All-Star Game."

The morning after

All is not 100% rosy. Monday following the Steelers' "One for the Thumb Day" and the local celebration, the sidewalk, gutter and street in front of Pittsburgh Deli and Starbucks on Copeland Street were full of litter. This area was turned into a Super Garbageville. Why didn't those two businesses clean up the mess Monday? Why, even on Tuesday morning, was the mess still there? It looks like a case of "one step forward and two steps back" in the community's efforts to showcase Shadyside as a model of a litter-controlled neighborhood.

Personal to Michael L. Johnson

A volunteer came across two dozen of your business cards scattered every which way on Copeland Street. He gathered them up and deposited them in a garbage can. The volunteer thinks that's where they originated in the first place. The cards ended up on the street on garbage collection day. By the way, business cards are extremely hard to pick up... when you don't have fingernails.

Pretty Park Place

Wednesday, Feb. 15 was a pretty day in Pittsburgh. The temperature was in the 50s. Our little park on Walnut Street was getting action. People were sitting and talking and eating lunch. Our park was clean as a whistle. Nice. It's been that way all fall and winter.


From time to time we'll share tales with you from the street... things people say to us about their commitment to picking up litter.

A Walnut Street merchant stopped me. "With the weather turning warmer and the absence of cars, I had a chance to really clean this corner this morning," she offered. When I spoke to her it was high noon and there wasn't a spot of litter anywhere close by.

A walker, going full steam on St. James, spots a volunteer bending and picking up litter. "Hi," she says, "I do the same thing on Walnut Street. Keep up the good work," she says, zipping around the block.

A smartly dressed woman on her way to work spots a frustrated volunteer unable to pick up a stubborn piece of litter that's practically glued to the wet street. "Need help?" she says. "I'll get that up for you." That was it and she was off.

Don't leave home without some

A word of advice for those of us who are into picking up litter. Plastic bags. Don't leave home without some. I did one day. I was on my way to Carnegie Library. The closer I got to Neville Avenue (and Clyde Street) along Ellsworth, the more litter I saw... and no bags to pick it up. Mind you, it was not my intention to pick up litter on this walk. But how can a "clean-nik" not pick up? So my advice is: stuff bags in your pockets. "Always be prepared boy/girl scouts." As it turned out, there were two bags skipping along the sidewalk near the library. I picked them up and used them on my return trip. I filled them and could have filled 4 or 5 more. Usually, that section of Ellsworth Avenue is "pretty clean." Hmmm.

"I Litter" awards

These businesses and organizations litter our streets big time with their advertising fliers:


Lottery loser

We're happy a certain lottery loser lost because he's a real loser. Old lottery tickets were all over Bellefonte Street for days because this loser dumped them loose in a trashcan. Guess what happened? Garbage men emptied the trashcan and lottery tickets flew all over the place, leaving the cleanup for a Citizens Against Litter volunteer. That's OK -- we have a strong back. Fortunately, these kinds of litterers are few and far between in Shadyside. Most of our litterers are more considerate.

Lost a lot

Shadyside lost a lot and gained a bright spot. Construction of the new Metropolitan condo building on Neville has eliminated a soon-to-be-a-problem vacant lot. Litter and trash dumping were on the increase at the site.

Environmental Fair debuts

Pittsburgh's first Environmental Fair was held Thursday, February 9, at Community Day in Squirrel Hill. The fair is a new initiative, promoting environmental awareness in Jewish Pittsburgh. Several hundred adults and children attended the event.

Community and Public Affairs Council of United Jewish Federation sponsored "Jews & The Environment: Exploring Our Relationship." About 20 environmentally sensitive organizations, such as Pennsylvania Resources Council, Nine Mile Watershed Association, Sierra Club, and GASP had tables. Representatives talked with attendees, distributed literature, and recruited support. Topics ranged from basic recycling to programs aimed at achieving green synagogues.

Dr. Eilon Schwartz, Executive Director of the Tel Aviv-based Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership, spoke. His remarks were followed by a discussion led by a panel of Jewish environmental professionals, mostly Pittsburghers.

Boris Weinstein of Citizens Against Litter, Clean Pittsburgh Commission, and "Operation Redd Up" is a member of the Environmental Planning Group subcommittee.

Salad recipe from the fair

Lynne Frank, an artist who believes in environmental nutrition, shared this recipe for "Wheat Berries with Green Chilies and Roasted Seeds" with our readers. Serves 8.

1 1/2 cups wheat berries
3/4 cup brown rice
1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds
2 whole jalapeno peppers
1 (16 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoon salt

Cover the wheat berries with water and soak at room temperature overnight. After soaking, place the wheat berries in a large saucepan with 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes, until tender. Drain and chill in the refrigerator completely.

Place the rice into a small saucepan with 1 3/4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes, until the rice is cooked and all the liquid has been absorbed. Chill in the refrigerator completely.

Place the pumpkin seeds and jalapenos on a sheet pan in a 400 degree over for 10 minutes, until the pumpkin seeds are brown and crisp and the jalapenos are browned. Cool at room temperature. Remove the seeds from the chilies, and chop the peppers.

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Combine well and serve.

From "The Whole Foods Market Cookbook"

Ask Mr. Litterman

Q: Which comes first, educating people about "don't litter" or picking up litter other people create?
A: It's not one or the other. Both have to happen at the same time. Are you willing to "wait" until people change their ways while streets, sidewalks and gutters remain clogged with litter? I don't think so.

Q: How can we get children at a very young age developing "don't litter" civic responsibility behavior?
A: Develop lesson plans. Teach and preach. But more immediate. Several times a day, when the children are outside for breaks, teachers should walk with the children around the school campus and pick up the litter that they have created. School papers, juice containers, dropped pencils, clothing items.

Recent Litter-ature

A complete list of past Litterature is available in our archives.

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