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Citizens Against Litter

June 2008 Newslitter

In this newsletter: Our mission; Tireless Project; Dates to remember; Numbers to remember; More numbers; Picture is worth 1,000 words; Duquesne University report card; South Fayette open letter; Walkers, not talkers; Block-by-block; Jail Trail rocked; Breaking news; Brookline Blitz; When under a graffiti attack; Graffiti prevention grants; "I Litter" awards; Garbagevilles; Neighborhood improvements; Important phone numbers; We need you; 3-1-1 to the rescue; From the Green Book

Our mission

To inspire people throughout the city and region to collect litter and connect neighborhoods.

Tireless Project

The Tireless Project is a collaborative endeavor of several organizations with a common interest in the waterways of Pittsburgh. It was launched in 2002 by the Three Rivers Rowing Association in partnership with Nat Stone, a free-lance writer and rower who was horrified by the enormous volume of tires along the city's riverbanks when he rowed through on his adventure from New York City to New Orleans. Since its beginnings over 1150 volunteers from throughout the area have extracted over 1230 tires and 90 tons of debris and 230 bags of recyclables from the rivers' shores.

This summer, several clean up events will be held on Friday evenings, with dinner and music to follow. See the flyer for complete information:

Dates to remember

The Fall Redd Up is Friday-Sunday, October 10-12. Don't worry -- it's a Steelers bye week.

Numbers to remember

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl told 180 community leaders last month that they must take a citywide approach to revitalizing neighborhoods. He threw out these numbers:

Other numbers of note from January through March:

More numbers

Redd Ups around the Earth Day Weekend (April 18-20) brought more than 12,000 volunteers onto streets, highways and gathering places in Pittsburgh, Allegheny and Beaver Counties. They collected a whopping 100 tons of litter and recyclables.

Results and projections are based on completed questionnaires and phone calls to Citizens Against Litter from 30 per cent of the 183 participating communities. Redd Ups were held as early as April 12 and continued through May.

Another 162 community cleanups were listed on the Great PA Cleanup web site for other Southwestern PA counties -- Washington, Westmoreland, Greene, Fayette, Somerset, Bedford, Cambria, Indiana, Mercer, Lawrence, Armstrong and Butler.

Unreported Redd Ups probably brought the total to over 400 participating communities and swelled totals to 20,000 volunteers.

Picture is worth a 1,000 words

Check out our website for a lot of great pictures of adults and kids redding up their neighborhoods. As we receive photos we'll put them on our site.

Duquesne University report card

Neighborhoods: South Side Flats, Uptown, Crawford Roberts and Middle Hill

Volunteers: More than 500 (400 Duquesne University volunteers, 35 Uptown/Hill District Residents, 70 South Side residents)

Trash Bags: Approximately 1,200

Tasks performed: Mostly litter picked up, also tires, and some large items picked up in the Hill District. We also had biohazard containers to pick up used needles and returned quite a few to Mercy Hospital for proper disposal.

Notes: "We were very pleased with our numbers and the amount of trash picked up. This is the first year we have had numbers higher than 5 for Uptown/Hill District residents so we were thrilled to have over 30 from that neighborhood this year! Both neighborhood lunches went very well and gave a great opportunity for the DU students to hang out with the community residents."

Luci-Jo DiMaggio

South Fayette open letter

"As you are aware, for the past few weeks there has been a large-scale cleanup effort to rid our township of trash and other debris. This year marked the third consecutive time it has been held in South Fayette," wrote David Gardiner.

"What truly separated this event from past years is that 2008 marked the first time the Township received monetary sponsors to assist in the costs such as dumpster rentals, material purchases, etc. 2008 also marked the first that the South Fayette School District played a significant role in the cleanup effort. When the Township first approached Dr. Linda Hippert a few months ago with the idea of using the cleanup effort as a method for teaching school children about community awareness, I never thought the immediate response would so positive. As a measuring stick to what impact the school district had on this year's efforts, one only has to reference the total number of participants from the past events. 2006 -- 130 participants; 2007 -- 210; 2008 -- 690!

"It is understandable that in order to properly and safely coordinate this number of school participants requires the work of dedicated people. Accordingly, in addition to the teachers, nurses, parents and other volunteers that assisted in policing their particular cleanup squad(s), special recognition must be given to the following individuals for their significant roles in planning and organizing: Mrs. Ann Bisignani, High School Principal, Peter Abdulovic, Middle School Assistant Principal, and Mrs. Pam Lambert, Assistant Director of Transportation.

"Regarding the final "numbers", over the course of two weeks, approximately 1,100 trash bags were filled, over 180 tires were collected and six large-scale dumpsters were filled with trash and debris gathered from over 47 MILES of roads within the township.

"There is, however, one other important number that cannot be measured. And that is the number of children and young adults that were educated first-hand of the unearthliness in littering. Hopefully, as a result of this year's cleanup - as well future cleanup events - the following philosophy will remain with them for many years to come:

Tell them, they'll forget. Show them, they'll remember, Involve them, they'll understand.

"Thank you for your sponsorship, your time and your efforts. Each of you should be very proud of what you have given; both of yourself, as well as back to your community."

David Gardner, Director of Engineering & Planning

Walkers, not talkers

Janet Gunter, Perry Hilltop: "I was happy to join my neighbors in this important anti-litter campaign. We were able to make a difference in our community. We look forward to making these efforts much more often. Thank you Citizens Against Litter."

Sister Carol Ann Papp, Oakmont: "We had tons of leaves which we picked up on large tarps and rather than bag them put them in a wooden area of our property. The students had a wonderful day of cleaning up."

Ken Hale, Marshall-Shadeland: "We had 42 volunteers and collected 76 bags of litter, covering nearly 20 blocks of our neighborhood."

Bob Staresinic, Highland Park: "The neighbors had fun and the streets look cleaner in the area we were able to pick up (50 bags of litter and 14 bags of recyclables). Have to try and get more neighbors (17) involved in the fall."

James Heinrich, Stanton Heights: "We made a huge difference." (Three volunteers can do a lot)

Block-by-block

"We are on our way! "writes Michele Balcer of Arlington. "I am walking and picking up litter every morning at 7 a.m. Right now it is only 2 bags a day but it is a start. One of our volunteers stepped forward and has been working on the zone project. It is exciting! Thanks for all your help motivating the troops.

"P.S. We are buying the grabbers for our board and volunteers! Every year we buy a token gift for our board members for our annual Appreciation Dinner."

Jail Trail rocked

Eliza Furnace Trail -- also known as Jail Trail -- rocked for three hours Friday, May 2. Forty-six volunteers swarmed over the trail and hillside. Meanwhile, bikers, walkers and joggers did their thing and tipped their hats to the clean-niks.

The cleanup was organized by Friends of the Riverfront who has done this before. Thomas Baxter is the Executive Director. Citizens Against Litter assisted "Friends".

The real Friends were volunteers from Pittsburgh Job Corps, CBS and Pittsburgh Cares who collected 80 bags of litter -- about a ton.

Some litter was from the trail which is pretty much litter free. Walkers, bikers and joggers don't usually litter and don't smoke. We were hard pressed to spot cigarette butts.

Most of the litter was on the steep hillside and hard to get to. Litter gets there because passengers in cars on the Parkway heave their trash out windows.

Public Works trucks trailed the volunteers, collecting bags of litter and recyclables. It was a well coordinated event. Most agreed, "The Jail Trail's in good shape for a good six months."

Breaking news

Friends of the Riverfront and Pittsburgh Job Corps will connect again. Both groups will clean up the Eliza Furnace Trail Friday, October 10. Others who want to volunteer should contact info@citizensagainstlitter.org or thomas@friendsoftheriverfront.org.

Also committing to the October 10 Redd Up is the Friends of P.J. Shepherd. These volunteers redd up on Route 28 four times a year. Their next dates are June 7, July 26 and October 10. In April, 15 volunteers collected 57 bags of litter, car parts, a computer monitor, 15-20 tires and two boxes of broken glass.

Another early October 10 cleanup commitment is from the Blitz on Banksville Beautification (BBB) group. They've been doing their thing on Banksville Road for many years.

Brookline Blitz

Keith Knecht of Brookline writes, "We had a great turn out for our one hour litter blitz to clean up Brookline Boulevard for the Memorial Day Parade. It was a beautiful day and the Boulevard looked so clean afterwards!"

"We had the Boulevard sparking clean from Whithead Street to the CVS in one hour and fifteen minutes. We collected two large 45 gallon bags of litter and one 33 gallon bag of recyclables. South Pittsburgh Development Corporation treated everyone to pizza and soda pop at Antonio's Pizza afterward. It was fun to get everyone together and enjoy lunch after the hard work."

When under a graffiti attack

Call 3-1-1 or 9-1-1.

Call 9-1-1 if a resident is being "tagged" by a graffiti vandal at that moment.

9-1-1 is also to be called by the resident if that person's own immediate personal property has been vandalized with graffiti.

A resident, who notices graffiti on another's property, commercial property, or public property, should call 3-1-1.

Department of Public Works is working with the Graffiti Task Force (GTF) to streamline the reporting and removal process.

DPW has been trained by GTF in taking accurate pictures and measurements of the "Tagging". DPW will respond to 3-1-1 complaints immediately. Take pictures and measurements.

DPW will send these to GTF. The report will get a CCR number and be investigated.

DPW will alert 311 when the graffiti has been removed.

For those calls that reach GTF first, GTF will notify DPW of the crime. DPW will respond. Take pictures/ measurements and remove graffiti. This does not involve 3-1-1.

Graffiti Removal Policy Changes

DPW will remove graffiti they can reach. The 10 ft. barrier policy has been removed.

DPW will continue to forward permission slips collected during the removal to BBI.

DPW will allocate more staff in summer months when vandalism reaches its peak.

Graffiti Busters will work evenings and weekends to remove graffiti in a timely manner.

Graffiti prevention grants

The Graffiti Hurts National Grant Program aims to help communities kick-start or add to local graffiti prevention programs. Grant funds may be used for one-time projects with the potential to reduce graffiti in the community. Maximum award: $2,000. Eligibility: 501(c)3 organizations, including neighborhood groups, crime prevention associations, civic clubs or organizations, and other nonprofit groups; youth groups/schools; police departments or other law enforcement agencies; city, county, state and federal government agencies, or subdivisions within these agencies. Deadline: June 6, 2008.

"I Litter" awards

The list for Shadyside grows as the weather heats up. Advertising flyers become litter. These places are responsible and put their business on our streets.

Garbagevilles

Garbagevilles are houses, buildings, streets, alleys and places that look awful because of litter, garbage, upswept leaves and other stuff. Here are some.

Neighborhood improvements

The property at 722 Copeland looks great. Owners added a deck and plantings to the front, changing the appearance of the property and eliminating a litter-collecting spot.

Owners of the apartments at the northeast corner of Ellsworth and Summerlea have been doing a lot to turn a neglected eyesore into something to be proud of. New windows, repaired balconies, new awnings, a new Dumpster storage nook, removal of overgrown shrubs and the planting of new trees and other greenery have all contributed to the improvement of this busy corner.

Important phone numbers

Need to contact the city about something that has been bothering you, like potholes and graffiti? Call the 311 Response line (alternate number is 412-255-2621). Your request will be logged and sent to the proper department. Want to contact someone directly? The following list may help.

We need you

Volunteers are wanted. The work is light. Hours are your own. No meetings. No dues. No money. Payoff: clean streets and community pride. Please contact boris.weinstein@verizon.net or call 412-688-9120.

3-1-1 to the rescue

Rita Zulka of Carrick had a problem. She was getting desperate for help. She had brick and concrete block on her property. No place legally to get rid of it. No one to haul it away at a reasonable cost and where they would dump it (legally or illegally) was a "don't ask" subject. 3-1-1 Response Line and Wendy Urbanic to the rescue. Wendy suggested Collier Stone in Carnegie as a legal place to dump (for $5.35 a truck load) when she could get it there. As Rita said afterwards, "Problem solved."

From the Green Book

The New York Time bestseller, The Green Book, has interesting "simple steps" we can take to reduce and/or eliminate litter. Like this one. Don't take an ATM receipt. ATM receipts are one of the top sources of litter on the planet. If everyone in the U.S. left their receipt in the machine, it would save a roll of paper more than two billion feet long, or enough to circle the equator 15 times.

Recent Litter-ature

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


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