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Volume XVII, Issue 13 - March 26 - April 1, 2009
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Letter From the Editor

Let Us Praise
Neighbors with Dirty Hands

Local action from the ground up

We just may have to do it ourselves, I wrote last week.

This week, it’s time to praise Chesapeake neighbors who did just that. Not because of anything I said or did. Their plans were long made, and some of the work done, by the time I typed those words. These are people who make the news by shaping the world we live in, from the ground up.

Which means they get their hands dirty.

Of course most Fairhaveners wore gloves to bully, heave and drag four or five tons of trash from the woods and marshes surrounding Fairhaven Road (Route 423), Friendship Road (Route 261) and Genoa Road on spring’s first weekend.

What they found is amazing enough to make these activists discoverers as well as recoverers, for written in trash is the story of the way we live. A future generation of archeologists will weep at reading what’s been lost to them.

Everything but the kitchen sink won’t work as catchphrase for the litter of our disposable society. For some ambitious litterer has disposed of one in the woods beyond Bay Weekly’s office. As well as a mattress, a door, a lawnmower and a playpen — enough to set up a decrepit style of housekeeping.

Fairhaven’s signal find was a blue toilet — plus, writes cleanup organizer Kathy Gramp, “hot tubs, truck parts, boats, tires and megabags of beer cans and other icky stuff.”

The Fairhaven crew had to pull their finds no farther than the road. Anne Arundel County partnered with the community to haul it away.

Gloves and long pants and shirtsleeves are requisite attire at Alice Ferguson Foundation’s 21st Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup upcoming on Saturday, April 4. Organizers also bring notebooks, to tally the trash.

Since 1989, more than 40,000 volunteers and 300 partner organizations have tugged over three million tons of trash from the watershed’s streams, rivers and bays, the foundation reports. Last year’s haul of over 285 tons included more than 27 tons of recyclables, 13,596 plastic bags, 1,309 tires, 25 bicycles, 26 shopping carts, 23 metal and plastic barrels, six TVs and two bathtubs. See more of the haul at

You’ve still time to join the 21st Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup. Find out how at

And there’s always time to follow the Fairhaven example and get into local action from the ground up in our own community.

       Sandra Olivetti Martin
     editor and publisher


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