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Citizens Against Litter

October 2006 Newslitter

In this Newslitter: Trashy Copeland; Dumpster Alley flagged; Sally Kalson's bright idea; Trashapalooza in Fineview; Open letter to Brian O'Neill; 100 bags of litter; Start counting today; From the mail box; Adopt-a-lot; Collecting and connecting, parts 1, 2, 3; Young Judaea's redd up; Wilkinsburg report; Lawrenceville report; Bloomfield report; Morningside report; Friendship & Garfield report; Greenfield report; East Liberty report; Mt. Washington/Duquesne Heights report; Verona report; Litter workshop; "I Litter" awards; Shadyside litterer; Ask Mr. Litterman

Trashy Copeland

If you live long enough, you'll see it all. It happens all the time, but in fancy Shadyside? You gotta' be kiddin'.

Most of the large trashcans on Walnut Street were filled with trash but not overflowing the weekend of September 8, 9 and 10. However, the trashcan on Copeland in front of Pittsburgh Deli and Starbucks and across the street from Girasole's and the new gelato parlor was overflowing. Cups, bottles, etc. were already piled on top and spilling onto the sidewalk, gutter and street. This started happening on Friday. This litter volunteer watched the mess grow. The overflow was getting higher and higher; the mess into the gutter and street was spreading more and more. The aforementioned businesses did nothing. Residents in neighboring houses did nothing. These are the same people who demand litter-free streets and who are infuriated by others who litter.

The businesses and residents had three choices:

  1. Get their own trash bags and redd up the overflow.
  2. Do nothing, complain how inconsiderate people are and blame it all on Public Works.
  3. Wait until Monday when Public Works would empty all the trashcans.

They chose to wait until Monday. This is an example of why we have litter and why Copeland Street is sometimes a "garbageville".

Dumpster Alley flagged

Citizens Against Litter contacted the Public Works Department September 20 about the garbage and litter mess on Comet Way (behind Walnut Street shops). We call it Dumpster Alley. The condition is unsightly and a health hazard. And smells. Walnut Street merchants do a good job on their front side but not their back. It's time shopkeepers get with the program.

Sally Kalson's bright idea

Almost a year ago on November 23, 2005 -- even before Mayor Bob O'Connor's Redd Up call -- Sally Kalson suggested in a column that the Allegheny Conference celebrate Pittsburgh's 250th Birthday by cleaning up the city. Citizens Against Litter thinks Sally has a bright idea. Several weeks ago, we asked Mayor Luke Ravenstahl to support and pursue the idea. Pittsburgh wants to remake itself into one of the cleanest cities in America. We think that magnificent goal is a real-life example of Pittsburgh's new branding theme: "Pittsburgh. Imagine What we can do here". To access Sally's column, visit

Trashapaloosa in Fineview

On September 14, Post-Gazette columnist Brian O'Neill suggested "a dumb idea" for a one-day citywide Trashapaloosa to rid the city of littter, concentrating on recyclables like aluminum, plastic and glass. With support mounting, Brian scheduled a mini-Trashapalooza for the Fineview neighborhood for Saturday, October 21, where he's sure we'll get rich mining the hills before tackling the whole city. Let's support his event. Volunteer by calling Matt Galluzzo at the North Side Leadership Conference at 412-330-2557 or e-mail Supplies will be furnished.

Read Mr. O'Neill's columns on the subject:

Open letter to Brian O'Neill

"Thank you for your September 14th column on 'Pick a Day and Clean Up Pittsburgh.' As a Brookline resident, I, too, have picked up the habit that I learned from Boris Weinstein of Shadyside's Citizens Against Litter of bringing plastic grocery bags with me when I walk my dog or walk for exercise. I've collected over 100 bags of litter in the last year. People often look at me like I'm crazy, but others have thanked me. A few are now picking up in front of their houses.

"We are trying to organize an anti-litter effort in Brookline, so your column and others that have appeared in the Post-Gazette add legitimacy to the unconventional notion that people who don't litter should take it one step further and compensate for those who do, for the greater good of everyone.

"This is a hard sell mind you, but as you suggest perhaps it is an idea whose time may have arrived, as I'm seeing a slow manifestation of this thinking. If applied to other ills, the kernel of this idea could fuel a renaissance of Pittsburgh in and of itself. I think this was Mayor O'Connor's root message, that we should have a practical common pride in our city and hope that our efforts would be contagious to those who don't."

Keith Knecht
Vice President
South Pittsburgh Development Corporation

100 bags of litter

How big is Keith Knecht's collection of 100 bags of litter a year? When 320,000 residents of Pittsburgh -- adults and children -- bag 100 bags, the haul would be 32 million bags! Pittsburgh would become the cleanest place in the world (but we'd need to find a heck of a landfill). Isn't that what we want? So please, let's get busy.

Start counting today

We can all be like Keith Knecht. The Citizens Against Litter website,, has a "Litter Tracker" tool to help you keep track of your efforts. Start your count to 100 today!

From the mail box

"I had the pleasure of shopping in Shadyside the beginning of August and I could not believe the difference you have made. The streets looked wonderful. Thank you again for coming to Beaver County and visiting with us. We will probably invite you again to speak with the River Town Chair people."

"I'm hoping you or someone like you will take a similar interest in Carrick. Things are going down hill fast there. It would be a shame to let a viable neighborhood deteriorate...especially since the city has invested a lot in the high school and especially because it is an area of the city still affordable to blue collar families. Why does help only come once things become hopeless?"

"Thank you for your continuing inspiration. I do enjoy the newsletters."

Mary Anne Peluso

"September 10 is the Stratton Lane block party (Shadyside). Because of the size of the street, we don't get regular street cleaning. Our neighbors are all very good about keeping the area clean on a regular basis, but the morning of the block party we do extra work. Once the cars are all off the street, neighbors go out and sweep, de-weed and scrub every spot on the street and sidewalks. That way the kids can play and all can enjoy the party in a sparkling clean area."

Jeanne K. Clark

"You can add Flair, Cappy's and Girasole for the amount of trash the garbage pick ups leave behind and the grease run off. They need to steam clean Telegraph Way at least twice a month."

Diane J. Abatemarco

"That apartment building on Ivy Street across the alley from Village Pizza is a disaster. This morning (there was) broken glass all over the sidewalk from a third floor window. Always, a ton of cigarette butts. Also, broken windshield glass (is) still on the sidewalk in front of the brick apartment building in the 5400 block of Howe Street The glass is a hazard and no one ever did more than shove the glass around."

Roberta Levine


This volunteer has just adopted a vacant lot to redd up. Here's how it happened. Several weeks ago a fire destroyed an apartment building on Elmer Street between Copeland and Bellefonte in Shadyside. Within one week the remaining structure was razed and debris hauled away. The lot now joins the ranks of the vacant. Grass seed was laid down and the lot is grassy, soon to turn to weeds. Litter is already appearing. This volunteer cleared about 20 pieces the other day. For this lot to be kept redded up, it will need adopting and someone to look after it.

Collecting and connecting, part 1

Homewood. Saturday, September 16. More than 70 volunteers participated from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Homewood-Squirrel Hill Redd Up Coalition Weekend. Braddock Avenue from Tioga to Finance and a number of crossing streets were our targets. Mayor Ravenstahl, Councilman Doug Shields, Councilwoman Twanda Carlisle, Public Works Director Guy Costa, and other Public Works managers were there, not observing, but picking up litter and trash and whacking down weeds. "We left the place glittering," volunteers said. Neighborhood litter groups want to keep the section looking like this going forward.

Collecting and connecting, part 2

Squirrel Hill. Sunday, September 17. More than 200 volunteers, including 40 children from Community Day School, participated in the four-hour redd up. Volunteers focused on cross streets between Shady, Murray and Wightman from Forbes Avenue to Forward Avenue. Other streets were also involved. Councilman Doug Shields was among the picker uppers. Squirrel Hill has never been cleaner.

Collecting and connecting, part 3

Mayor Ravenstahl, Councilmen Bill Peduto and Doug Shields, and Public Works Director Guy Costa were among 100 to 150 volunteers who attended the Homewood-Squirrel Hill Redd Up Coalition picnic Sunday afternoon at the Mellon Park shelter. The event capped off a very successful weekend of redding up in two neighborhoods.

Young Judaea's redd up

On Sunday, September 10, about 20 young people, ranging in age from about 6 to early teens, redded up some 14 city-size blocks in Squirrel Hill. They are members of Young Judaea, a youth organization affiliated with Pittsburgh Hadassah. This was the community project the group wanted to do. The young people, with six adult chaperones, redded up parts of Beechwood Boulevard, Douglas, Phillips, Hobart, Shady and Murray. They collected about 50 shopping bags of litter that were picked up by Public Works the following morning. These young people started their afternoon with a picnic in Frick Park and wrapped up the day by performing an act as good as any magician making litter disappear. What this city needs are hundreds of Young Judaea-type groups to show adults how to walk the walk instead of talking the talk.

Wilkinsburg report

"We are making progress but it's slow due to a number of other projects. We have a great committee, but everyone is involved in so many other projects it's hard to move quickly. So far we have about 15 people on the adopt-a-block program, but we are planning a large community cleanup of Franklin Avenue from Ardmore Boulevard to Wood Street for Saturday, October 14 from 9:30 a.m. to noon. We are providing refreshments, gloves, bags and safety vests. We hope we can sign up a number of volunteers to adopt-a-block at the event. Wilkinsburg now has a community newsletter, which we hope will also help us recruit people."

Jason Cohn

Lawrenceville report

"We currently hold a clean-up day on the last Saturday of every month. We select areas in all three wards in the community so that no one part of our community goes without a place cleaned during the event. Our problem is that we find ourselves coming back to the same places because there are no ordinances for trash accumulation in front of houses or businesses of habitual offenders.

"We could use more volunteers also. We serve a light breakfast provided by the Lawrenceville Giant Eagle at our office and pass out cleaning supplies and work assignments. We return at noon for a lunch provided by the Church Brew Works.

"The Lawrenceville Corporation has made up posters with Main Street dollars and have placed them in windows throughout the community. Lawrenceville is doing its part."

Tony Ceoffe

Bloomfield report

The Bloomfield Business Association has a very strong Main Street program. Its current mission is to champion the business district and its economic development opportunities while preserving the heritage and character of Bloomfield. The association supports the idea of working with neighborhood residents to redd up Liberty Avenue from Baum Boulevard to 40th Street on a regular basis. During the fifth annual Bloomfield Little Italy Days (September 29 - October 1), for example, businesses were keeping Liberty Avenue redd up every morning.

Morningside report

"I would like to ask for your help with starting a group for Heth's Field and Playground in Morningside. The area is located between St. Raphael's RC Church on Chislett Street and King Avenue. I walk my dog around Heth's Field and am always unhappy that there is litter around even though there are trashcans within yards of the litter! I was thinking we need signs there and they could be 'In memory of Mayor O'Connor.' Anything you could do to help would be great. St. Raphael's Church and school might be interested in helping. We can't seem to do anything about wars and many other big problems. But, we can help to improve our daily quality of life."

Jennifer Johnson

Friendship & Garfield report

"Please add Friendship and Garfield to your list of neighborhoods that share our late Mayor's commitment to redd up Pittsburgh.

"Friendship Development Associates, Friendship Preservation Group, and the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation have been working cooperatively on regular litter pickups on Penn Avenue, around Fort Pitt School and in Friendship.

"We strongly believe that making our neighborhoods cleaner makes them safer, as well as more attractive to residents and visitors.

"We have two community litter pickups scheduled. On Saturday, September 23 volunteers will redd up Friendship from Penn Avenue to Baum Blvd in preparation for the Friendship House tour the following day. This is only one of a number of Redd Ups in Friendship each year.

"On Saturday, September 30, volunteers will redd up Penn Avenue as part of our monthly 'Pick Up on Penn', which cleans the avenue for the following Friday's Unblurred art event. 'Pick Up on Penn' runs from April through September. In August we were joined by CMU student volunteers who have targeted the East End for their community efforts. The students also pick up litter around Fort Pitt School.

"Thank you for your clarion call to make Pittsburgh a cleaner, safer city, and for your work in establishing Citizens Against Litter."

Angele Ellis

Greenfield report

"Thirty-five resident volunteers participated in a neighborhood Redd Up in Greenfield on Saturday, September 30. Connect Greenfield organized the event. The focus of the cleanup was Greenfield Avenue and sections of Murray Avenue and Beechwood Boulevard. Connect Greenfield is in the process of organizing a Citizens Against Litter-style volunteer group."

Joe Delucia

East Liberty report

TV stations showed film on their newscasts Saturday, September 23 of volunteers participating in an annual one-day redd up of East Liberty. The report said 300 residents participated. Next step is to urge and assist the neighborhood in organizing a group to zone East Liberty (and Highland Park) and redd up throughout the year.

Mt. Washington/Duquesne Heights report

"Fantastic news," Kim Barthelmas excitedly reports in a phone conversation. "The MWCDC is organizing a Citizens Against Litter-style volunteer group in Mt. Washington and Duquesne Heights." Kim and many of her neighbors are also involved in the revitalization and on-going maintenance of Grandview Park on the Mount. The MWCDC's first goal is to recruit 30 volunteers to redd up weekly all streets including parks and business districts. The group will use the zone concept, assigning residents areas close to where they live. Residents are dedicating their efforts to the memory of Mayor O'Connor. T-shirts will carry that message. Kim says one 80-year old resident wants in on the excitement. She'll pick up on the block where her apartment is. October 11 is set for the next planning meeting.

Verona report

Boris Weinstein spoke September 27 to the Verona Community Action Group at the Verona Fire Hall about the anti-litter program in Shadyside and the spread of anti-litter volunteer groups throughout the city and outside. Twenty-six citizens attended. A Citizens Against Litter-style group may be on the streets in Verona by the end of the year. LeaAnn Grill is founder of VCAG. Obie Morford is meeting facilitator.

Litter workshop

Boris Weinstein was one of the presenters at a litter workshop arranged by Whole Foods Market and Pennsylvania Resources Council on Thursday, September 28. Boris spoke about the origination and success of Citizens Against Litter, Shadyside and its application to other city neighborhoods. Ginette Walker Vinski (PRC) and Tiffani Johnson of Councilman Bill Peduto's Office were other presenters.

"I Litter" awards

"I Litter" award section in this Newslitter is in trouble. That's good. We've been noticing for the past few months that advertising flyers from businesses promoting their goods and services are not part of the litter scene. Flyers are disappearing because Bill Peduto's Office has appealed directly to many of these businesses to discontinue the practice. And they are.

Shadyside litterer

John Patterson of Transworld Systems litters. His business cards were all over Aiken Avenue on the sidewalk, gutter and street. How do we know? A volunteer spent a great deal of time picking up his business cards that turned into litter.

Ask Mr. Litterman

Q: Wouldn't it have been great if Dave Letterman would have ask Mayor Ravenstahl about Redd Up in Pittsburgh when he was a guest on his show? A: The Mayor could have recited "The Anti-Litterman's Top Ten". Citizens Against Litter are people who...

  1. Want to be part of a group doing important smaller things.
  2. Are not ashamed to pick up litter and trash from streets.
  3. Want to be an example for their neighbors.
  4. Accept cleaning up other people's messes.
  5. Want clean sidewalks, streets and grassy places.
  6. Can't stand looking at litter.
  7. Know litterers are less likely to litter clean places.
  8. Accept keeping streets and sidewalks clean is a day-in-and-day-out job.
  9. Are passionate about eliminating litter.
  10. Accept that the city doesn't have money to keep neighborhoods litter free.

Recent Litter-ature

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

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