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Citizens Against Litter

March 2007 Newslitter

In this Newslitter: Coalition gets top national award; Boris Weinstein's acceptance remarks; Comcast Newsmakers; April 27-29 Redd Up volunteers needed; Slim litter pickings; One man's opinion; East Liberty and Highland Park are hot to trot; Lincoln-Lemington checks in; Carrick calling; Citizens Against Litter volunteers; Anti-Litterman's Top Ten; Ask Mr. Litterman

Coalition gets top national award

The neighborhood Redd Up Coalition between Homewood and Squirrel Hill last fall has received national recognition. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs' top community relations award was accepted by local representatives at a dinner in Washington D.C. Sunday, February 25. A workshop was conducted the following day.

The Greater Pittsburgh United Jewish Federation's Community and Public Affairs Council award-winning entry read in part, "(The communities) turned a run-of-the-mill litter cleanup event into an innovative, ongoing program that furthers the causes of environmentalism, Black-Jewish relations, interfaith relations and neighborhood revitalization." The program is "an exemplary achievement in collecting litter and connecting neighborhoods," wrote Jeffrey Cohan of the UJF.

A second Redd Up weekend will be held April 27-29. Homewood and Squirrel Hill will be joined by North Point Breeze, South Point Breeze and Park Place neighborhoods. The Coalition's goal is to involve more than 500 volunteers and more public, private and parochial schools. Students will redd up their campuses Friday. Adults, young adults and children will take to the streets Saturday and Sunday morning. A picnic will be held Sunday afternoon at Mellon Park.

The JCPA praised the Pittsburgh program as "an easily replicable model."

Boris Weinstein's acceptance remarks

I've learned that "One Person Can Make A Difference."

But even after a college degree and graduate school and a successful marketing career, I'm here to tell you what I learned about litter I learned on the street.

At Citizens Against Litter, our focus is, "People who care must pick up for people who don't care."

United Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh believes people who care must reach out to other people.

Last year, the UJF Community and Public Affairs Environmental Subcommittee asked me to chair a run-of-the-mill litter pickup in Squirrel Hill, a high-profile Jewish neighborhood, and to pick a second neighborhood to partner with. Well, we picked good. A whole neighborhood of great people who live up the street. We became a Jewish and black two-neighborhood Coalition collecting litter and connecting as neighbors.

In April our Coalition grows to five neighborhoods. In the fall, I'm hoping the coalition will OK a recommendation to become an eight-neighborhood Coalition.

Tonight is a special night in America. It's the Academy Awards. Hollywood. Tonight's special for us, too. It's our Oscar night. Recognition in relations building. But instead of Hollywood, It's Homewood. Homewood and Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Comcast Newsmakers

Aliya Durham, Executive Director of Operation Better Block Inc., and co-chair of the Homewood/Squirrel Hill/Point Breezes/Park Place Redd Up Coalition, was interviewed by Tonia Caruso of Comcast Newsmakers. Aliya's community service interview, seeking volunteers for the April 27-29 five neighborhood Redd Up, will be seen on CNN Headline News throughout the month of March.

April 27-29 Redd Up volunteers needed

We're recruiting volunteers for the Coalition cleanup in Squirrel Hill, Homewood, the Point Breezes and Park Place. Call UJF at 412-992-5214 or Operation Better Block at 412-731-1908 for information about registration. Registration sites for each neighborhood on the day of the cleanups are:

Homewood: Saturday, April 28. Two locations. North Homewood Avenue & Bennett Street (Rite Aide lot) and North Homewood Avenue & Monticello Street.

South Point Breeze: Saturday, April 28. Mellon Park parking lot at Fifth Avenue & Beechwood Boulevard.

North Point Breeze: Saturday, April 28. Westinghouse Park.

Park Place: Saturday, April 28. Forbes & South Braddock Aves.

Squirrel Hill: Sunday, April 29. Two locations. Forbes & Murray Avenue and a second registration site to be announced.

Slim litter pickings

It's not so much that snow covers up litter, making picking up litter slim pickings this time of year. It's the extreme cold weather that keeps anti-litter volunteers off the streets. With a break in the weather, litter pickup will pick up. We hope.

One man's opinion

Responsibility for redding up Pittsburgh of litter and blight is a shared one. Public Works has the resources -- budget (not enough), manpower and equipment -- to clean up blight from neighborhoods. Public Works' job is the really tough one. Citizens -- like you and me -- have responsibility, too, to keep our neighborhoods redded up. We have the easier job and it is to keep litter off our streets, gutters, sidewalks and grassy places. Citizens deal with everyday litter. You have to make the commitment of time. Use gloves, plastic bags and picker uppers if you have them.

Here are some statistics on what the special Public Works Redd Up Crew has achieved from March to December 2006 in neighborhoods with blight:

East Liberty and Highland Park are hot to trot

Mikhail Pappas and his volunteer network of teens are anxious to join with other neighborhood groups and focus attention on East Liberty and Highland Park. Mikhail's group is serious about redding up. A neighborhood cleanup Saturday, February 24, meeting at Negley and Stanton Avenues, was postponed because of snow and cold weather. March's cleanup has been rescheduled for Saturday, March 31. This group is the real thing. Leave the talk, talk, talk to others. They are action-oriented.

Lincoln/Lemington checks in

Donald Hetzler, a resident of Lincoln Avenue, has contacted Citizens Against Litter and wants help to organize a neighborhood redd up group in the Lincoln/Lemington neighborhood. We expect to hear from Mr. Hetzler again and when we do he'll have names of at least six to ten neighbors ready and anxious to get something going. We told Mr. Hetzler that we'd visit him with Public Works managers to review the neighborhood's extensive blight problems and discuss how his small band of volunteers can get started cleaning up everyday litter.

How 'bout your neighborhood? Are you catching the Redd Up fever? Or are you satisfied cheering us along and just telling us, "We're doing a good job?"

Carrick calling

Nicholas Fitz of Carrick writes: "Are there efforts to start a group in the Carrick section of Pittsburgh? I have been cleaning litter on a few blocks around my house and would like to be involved in a more organized campaign. If you could give me any information it would be greatly appreciated".

Here is what I wrote back to Nicholas. The suggestion applies to frustrated people all over the city. "Nicholas, I will be back in touch with you. In the meantime, please get the names of passionate people like you -- 6 to 10 of them. Get their names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses and when we next talk let's make plans to meet. I will tell you what I did in Shadyside. Picking up litter is not rocket science but it only works with people willing to commit their time and pick up litter on a regular basis in their neighborhood."

Citizens Against Litter volunteers

Stand up and be counted. We, too, need more volunteers in Shadyside. Contact us and we'll assign you an area. It'll be like rolling out of bed into the street. E-mail or call or 412-688-9120 or e-mail .

An Anti-Litterman's Top Ten

People who...

  1. Want to be part of a group doing important smaller things.
  2. Are not embarrassed 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, gutters 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.

Ask Mr. Litterman

Q: What are you hoping to accomplish with Citizens Against Litter?

A: Our goals are changing and evolving. When we started a couple years ago in Shadyside, just getting a group of volunteers was a goal. We now have 70 plus and many more who pick up but are not joiners. Now, I think there are three more ambitious goals (challenges):

  1. Help start Citizens Against Litter groups in all 89 city neighborhoods and beyond.
  2. Help neighborhoods match up with adjacent neighborhoods for collective cleanups (collecting and connecting). The Homewood-Squirrel Hill Coalition is now a five-neighborhood Coalition and a good example.
  3. Talk with "Main Street" business groups in neighborhoods all over the city to start modestly and clean up their heavily used main street and side streets. This is what Bloomfield "Main Street" businesses are doing.

Recent Litter-ature

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

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