OTHELLO — Spearheaded by the Othello Beautification Committee, volunteers started sprucing up the community of Othello last Saturday, just ahead of spring and the annual Sandhill Crane Festival.
According to volunteer Fay Coats, some volunteers represented other organizations. She and Janet Charlston were part of a group from the Pilgrim Lutheran Church. The Boy Scouts took on the parking lots.
Dave Sperl, of the OBC, estimated there were 60 volunteers. On Sunday, the Police Explorer group was out, too, cleaning up lots on South First Avenue.
“I was here and there picking up (trash) bags as they were left and getting the bigger things to the dumpsters,” Sperl said. “We got the bigger job done, but I know of others who still have litter in their pickups and will get that disposed up this week.”
Saturday the volunteers needed to be hardy souls or well bundled up. With temperatures in the low 40s, it was nippy as they worked.
Volunteer Shirley McCullough, who worked First Avenue with partner Anna Short, said the schedule called for picking up trash on half of the streets. She said the other half will be tidied up this Saturday.
The chore presented a bit of danger for the volunteers, McCullough said. She noted that many vehicles drive close to the curb.
Just after McCullough said that, a pickup drove by on the outside lane while the inside lane was unused. The good news was that the driver and passenger waved.
There were other dangers, too. Ann Sperl, Dave’s wife fell while putting trash into a large stock trailer. She broke a bone in her wrist and had to go to emergency and get the wrist X-rayed and splinted.
Jim Nau, who worked 14th Ave. South, came fully prepared. He wore an orange reflector vest. On 14th Avenue North, Fay Coats and Janet Charlston enjoyed a relatively quiet street.
To the casual passer-by, the streets of Othello don’t look all that messy. But people who concern themselves with such matters – like the OBC – readily see the trash.
Most of the litter tossed around in winter collects in street gutters. Some streets are worse than others. Two areas where trash was rather notable was along Main Street in the area of Walmart and along Seventh Avenue in the area of the high school.
“The high school area is to be gone over carefully this week by a school group,” Sperl said.