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Citizens Against Litter

July 2007 Newslitter

In this Newslitter: Shot and a broom; A clean difference; New CPC chairman; Mr. Litterman's neighborhoods; Doing something about butts; Smells we can do without; Clogged sewers are kissin' cousins; Litter watch; Addictive instant gratification; Weekly Shopper talk; Blitz on Banksville; Fifty-two pick up; On the tear-o-rist's trail; Litter date; Luv Sliberty; Morningside's cleanup; Beechview's cleanup; Greenfield's paint up; "I Litter" awards; Garbagevilles; Ask Mr. Litterman

Shot and a broom

One day last month I got a shot in my suddenly arthritic knee. The next morning I was collecting litter from a few streets in Bloomfield. And I live in Shadyside. The point is there aren't many excuses for people who want to have a clean city to prevent them from picking up litter where they find it. For that day, a section of Bloomfield's main business corridor -- Liberty Avenue -- and side streets Pearl and Cedarville and a few residential alleys were less littered. A few people saw what I was doing and thanked me.

A clean difference

(The following letter to the editor was printed in the Post-Gazette on Sunday, May 27, along with three other letters of support for the Public Works Redd Up effort. It is reprinted here for people to read if they missed it the first time.)

I read the Sunday front-page article about the Redd Up Crew. I know from wearing three hats dealing with litter the outstanding work Guy Costa, Rob Kaczorowski, Kevin Quigley, managers and public works crews do on Redd Up.

Every experience I have had as a member of the Clean Pittsburgh Commission, co-chair of the Squirrel Hill-Homewood-Point Breeze Redd Up Coalition and founder of Citizens Against Litter in Shadyside has been positive.

Because of what Mayor Bob O'Connor started and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has continued, Pittsburgh is a cleaner city. Many citizens are aware and appreciative of these efforts. They see the results. Visitors to the city see the results, too.

Citizens, like me and thousands of others, can deal with everyday litter. It takes Kevin Quigley's special Redd Up Crew with a huge assist from the whole department to tackle the blight at vacant homes, on vacant lots and on hillsides in many of the 90 city neighborhoods.

I'm sure there are other tactics that can be used to get to the blight in all sections of the city and to come closer to pleasing more neighborhood leaders, residents and critics.

From what I have seen in the last three years, "Pittsburgh's Becoming a Cleaner City" initiative has had very strong support from City Council, the mayor's office and Public Works. More support and initiatives from Pittsburgh's corporate community would be welcome, especially in time for the city's 250th birthday next year.

Imagine what Pittsburgh can be ... one of the cleanest cities in America.

Boris Weinstein, Shadyside

New CPC chairman

Boris Weinstein -- you know me as Mr. Litterman -- has been selected Chairman of the city's Clean Pittsburgh Commission, succeeding its first and only chairman, Dave Mazza, Western Regional Director of Pennsylvania Resources Council, Inc. His term begins immediately.

The CPC's purposes are:

Mr. Litterman's neighborhoods

Remember these dates: October 12-13-14. The 5-neighborhood Redd Up Coalition of Squirrel Hill, Homewood, North Point Breeze, South Point Breeze and Park Place has scheduled its fall cleanup on this weekend. The Coalition event itself promises to be big, maybe surpassing the more than 900 volunteers attracted to its spring cleanup.

Redd Ups by the dozens will also take place in many Mr. Litterman's neighborhoods. Here is a list of groups and places in the city, in Allegheny County and in Beaver County that have scheduled clean ups. The list is growing.

Allentown (probably), Banksville, Banksville Rd. Corridor, Beechview, Bloomfield Main Street Business Association, Bluff (Uptown), Brookline, Central North Side, Dormont, Friendship, Homewood, Lawrenceville, Mount Washington, Morningside, Nine Mile Run Watershed Association, North Point Breeze, Oakland, Park Place, Pittsburgh Adopt-A-Block, Regent Square, Schenley Heights, South Point Breeze, South Side Flats, South Side Slopes, Scott Township, Squirrel Hill, Verona, and Wilkinsburg. Also participating in Beaver County will be Ambridge, Beaver, Bridgewater, Freedom, Rochester, Monaca, New Brighton and Vanport.

Don't be shut out. If your community or group wants to be involved in the Redd Up Oct. 12-13-14, please contact or

Doing something about butts

The new owners of Pittsburgh Deli on Copeland Street inherited a cigarette butt problem. Many people who sit on the comfortable bench in front of the Deli and next door to Starbucks, smoke and drop their butts on the sidewalk (even though there's a trash container several feet away). There are fewer butts on the sidewalk since the new owners provided a cigarette butt eater. Nice marriage. The place looks better. We'll see how long this honeymoon lasts.

Smells we can do without

The smells in the alley and public parking lot behind Prantl's Bakery and Pamela's Restaurant are not sweet. I'm not an expert but it could be coming from their garbage. Those are smells we can do without. Are you listening?

By the way, Pamela's and Prantl's can use a cigarette butt eater, too, for their sidewalk problem. Customers to those places smoke and drop butts, especially on weekends, like there's no tomorrow.

Clogged sewers are kissin' cousins

Clogged sewers are kissin' cousins of litter. The buildup of dirt and litter at sewer openings cause litter, flooding and dirt runoff (mud) in the streets. Here is a partial list of the location of clogged sewers on Shadyside residential streets:

Litter watch

Street scene. I'm picking up litter. Minding my own business. A guy sitting on a wall at the bus stop says, "Good idea. I'm watching you." He doesn't say, "You're doing a good job or "That's what I should be doing." Oh well, I'm not into litter for the praise or the money. By the way, the other day I pocketed 10 cents that I found on the street, but I also refused a couple bucks that another guy offered me for picking up in the alley behind his apartment building.

Addictive instant gratification

A note from Eileen Papale of Brookline on picking up litter:

"Thank you for sending your informative newsletter. I am a long termer; picking up litter for years, starting originally with just my own block and expanding to cover several streets. It really is addictive instant gratification! You get to meet your neighbors, keep an eye on things and get a workout all at the same time.

"Our local school crossing guard, Francine Fontana, the State Senator's wife, has adopted the intersection of Brookline Boulevard where she is stationed. She has the kids put their litter in a bag as they get off the bus, rather than throwing it on the ground, and keeps that busy block looking great.

"You are a true inspiration. Keep up the good work."

Weekly Shopper talk

Unhappy Dormont people contacted the Post-Gazette to use an alternate way to carrier-delivery for Weekly Shoppers that often wind up on front lawns and steps as litter. The PG said they would look into the situation.

Blitz on Banksville

Did you know that many of the people responsible for the plantings, clean up and beautification on Banksville Road over the past seven years are residents of Mt. Lebanon?

I attended a morning meeting of the Blitzers at My Brick Oven several weeks ago and related my experiences on Pittsburgh streets. I think I extend myself when I talk in other neighborhoods. How 'bout these people who do more than talk. They've been beautifying an entire vibrant business strip and now are taking steps to make sure its maintenance is provided and funded. That's "connecting neighborhoods."

Fifty-two pick up

I'm dating myself with this one, but do you remember the dumb card game we played as kids? It was called "Fifty-two pick up". Not much to it. It didn't require any smarts. You just threw the cards around and shouted, "Fifty-two pickup", and the other person had to pick up the mess you made.

Last month, one of those not-to-smart people at 5420 Ellsworth Avenue -- an adult, probably -- threw away dozens of Magic, the Gathering, cards on Copeland Street with his/her garbage. The cards ended up all over the street. Another person -- not a kid, but a litter picker upper -- was seen bending and cleaning up this mess.

This person is like those tear-o-rists that tear up one piece of litter, turning that into lots of litter on our streets.

On the tear-o-rist's trail

Speaking of which, I think I'm on the trail of the tear-o-rist.

Something happened during a Saturday neighborhood adventure on the weekend of the first Squirrel Hill tunnel closing and the Three Rivers Festival. I chose to avoid both scenes. Instead I went to Shadyside's seldom seen street, lower Amberson below Bayard. This could be the quietest spot in Shadyside.

I'm picking up litter during my walk. The street is very clean. But I do come upon a lot of little pieces of litter. Is this the work of our tear-o-rist? It strikes me that this may be the hiding place? Certainly not in the very nice Shadyside Commons residence building. But somewhere around there. On the hillside or among the waste containers at apartment buildings or along the fence at the bottom of the street.

It also strikes me that the pieces of litter didn't resemble the usual MO of our tear-o-rist. Those pieces of litter are usually clearly torn. The Amberson Street litter was stringy, like it had been chewed and spit out. Like it was through a war.

This got me thinking. I wondered if that black dog I heard barking on the hillside had anything to do with this act of tear-o-rism? I know my dogs and this one was a terrier.

Now I'm not saying the terrier is our tear-o-rist. I'm only saying our tear-o-rist may be either a tear-rier or a human dirty dog. Before passing judgment I'll need more fresh evidence. I'm asking Citizens Against Litter volunteers to unite and join me on the trail of the tear-o-rist or tear-rier.

Litter date

John and Judy Maggio of Dormont are community activists. I know of at least two projects they are committed to. One is saving the Dormont swimming pool. The other is Citizens Against Litter.

John dropped me a note last month. "My wife and I still go on our 'litter date' every week. We even went out on Mothers Day and Fathers Day."

Luv Sliberty

Mikhail Pappas, a community activist in East Liberty, writes, "The Luv Ur Block program has been an amazing success. Thank you to everyone who has come out over the past six months to help TASK clean our little corner of East Liberty.

"To celebrate moving forward with a strong model for initiating youth community involvement, TASK was one of a host of sponsors for an East Liberty business district cleanup on June 23."

Morningside's cleanup

Dates for neighborhood cleanups in Morningside have already been set: June 30, September 8, October 13, and November 11.

Beechview's cleanup

Volunteers were out early on Father's Day with a neighborhood cleanup on Beechview streets. Residents do it on a regular basis. I was at a restaurant on Broadway the night before and litter was hard to find. "That's the way we like it," said our waitress.

Greenfield's paint up

Connect Greenfield volunteers will turn painters July 2-7 and freshen up the sign walls at the Magee Field bleachers. Community Drug and Greenfield Hardware will provide supplies.

"I Litter Awards"

Some businesses and some non-profits are as irresponsible as some residents and passersby for the litter on Shadyside streets. Here are some whose litter in the form of fliers we can identify. All get "I Litter Awards" this month.


For those who need reminding, Garbagevilles are houses, buildings, streets, alleys and places that look awful because of litter, garbage, caked on leaves, and other stuff. As we walk the neighborhood picking up litter we also finger Garbagevilles. You can't miss them. Here are some this month:

Ask Mr. Litterman

Q: What do people you know do about litter?

A: Many people I know wouldn't walk two feet anymore for a Camel. Many people I know certainly wouldn't walk a mile to pick up someone else's litter. It would be nice, though, if many people I know would at least bend and pick up a little litter at their feet.

Recent Litter-ature

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

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