Motorists may not be able to tell the difference between volunteers and those performing court-mandated community service, but the effect will be the same: Litter will be removed - at least temporarily - from Columbia County roadsides.
Saturday is the 50th anniversary of the Great American Cleanup, and Columbia County Clean and Beautiful is sponsoring the local roadside effort. The event is from 9-1, with volunteers starting at the Government Complex in Evans.
In case you havent noticed, some of our roadsides are a mess. Maybe some of the litter is from people just passing through, but most of it is from us - everything from fast-food wrappers to cigarettes tossed out the windows of our cars.
These cleanup days are nice, but what we really need is for people to stop being such slobs.
And if they dont, maybe we can rely on some of the ladies from our local garden clubs. Empowered by a new Georgia law, local sheriffs have deputized garden club members to act as litter-law enforcers. This doesnt mean a bunch of grannies with badges; instead, garden club members - many of whom are responsible for public landscapes and wildflower plantings - will be able to report the tag numbers of litterbugs to police, wholl handle the rest.
Book "em, grandma.
Harlem library opens
The cleanup isnt the only thing happening Saturday. The long-awaited grand opening of the renovated Harlem Library is then, too.
Harlem historian and News-Times columnist Bette Sargent tells us in a column this coming Sunday that the library was established in 1980 by the Harlem Womens Club.
Working with the Womens Club, The Columbia News helped bring in donations toward the opening of what was to become Columbia Countys first library.
Its hard to believe that, with a new $8 million-$12 million library on the drawing boards, Columbia Coun-ty got its first public library less than 23 years ago. Then, a few years later, the Gibbs family donated land on Belair Road for what was to become the Gibbs Memorial Library.
Since then Euchee Creek Library has been added to the mix, and Grovetown has been working to upgrade its small lending-library. But nowhere has there been more work and community spirit than in Harlem, where county and city funds have augmented private do-nations to upgrade and rebuild the historic facility.
I think weve worked harder on that Harlem library than we have on the new Columbia County library that is costing millions, laughs Jeff Hardin, the chairman of the countys library board.
Support troops today
Before anyone heads to Harlem or hits the roadside Saturday, stop by The News-Times new offices today (March 26, 2003). Weve got a nice place on Washington Road in the Publix shopping center. Open house is from 10-2.
In keeping with our tradition of community involvement in charitable fundraisers, well have a giant card on hand for Operation Comfort, the Fort Gordon program that provides assistance to deployed service members and their families. Anyone who makes a contribution of at least $1 can sign the card, which will be published in Sundays News-Times. That issue will also be sent to our troops in the Mideast so our soldiers can see our words of support - and Operation Comfort will get financial assistance.
You can send a contribution to Operation Comfort, Army Community Services, Building 33720, Darling Hall, Fort Gordon, Ga., 30905-5020.
Meanwhile, be sure to tie a yellow ribbon and fly a flag for our soldiers.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 863-6165, extension 106.)
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