By Mason W. Canales
The Cove Herald
Copperas Cove residents can join tens of thousands of Texans in cleaning up their hometowns and highways next weekend.
On April 14, volunteers will participate in the Don't Mess With Texas Trash Off, a litter-collection event organized by the Texas Department of Transportation and Keep Texas Beautiful.
"The intent is to get as many of our adopt-a-highway groups and the Keep Texas Beautiful groups out as possible," said Ken Roberts, a spokesman for the state transportation agency. "It is just kind of a camaraderie event to get all the highway groups picking up at one event."
Residents, organized by Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful, will gather in the morning at GC Services. Groups then will go to at least four areas and work until about noon, said Silvia Rhoads, executive director of Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful.
"There is a need for it," said Rhoads. "We never seem to have a shortage of litter."
Plastic bags and bottles are problems at two of the sites at which volunteers will clean up, said Rhoads.
Much of the litter along Texas roadways is caused by uncovered loads for trucks and people not using ashtrays, said Cathie Gail, executive director of Keep Texas Beautiful.
Last year, 75,000 Texans picked up 6 million pounds of trash along more than 6,000 miles of highway, Roberts said.
Cove residents did their part last year. "Last year, we had 68 people come out, and that was the best turnout we ever had, and it was really amazing," Rhoads said. "This year, I really hope that we break that and hopefully break the 100 people record."
Roberts said the event educates people about litter and saves taxpayers about $2 million in cleanup fees.
"It is very encouraging and rewarding to have people rally around this cause," said Gail about local volunteers. "They want to be a part of their community and show they are proud to be Texans and a part of their community."
Contact Mason W. Canales at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7474. Follow him on Twitter at KDHCoveEditor.
If you go
What: Copperas Cove Don't Mess With Texas Trash Off
When: 9 a.m. to noon, April 14
Meeting place: GC Services parking lot (Town Square shopping center on U.S. Highway 190, behind Subway).
Purpose: To clean up litter.
To volunteer: Show up at the meeting place. Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful will provide free coffee, juice, donuts, T-shirts and reusable shopping bags for all volunteers.
Areas where litter pickups will occur:
Avenue D from Wolf Road heading west.
Constitution Drive across from the theater.
U.S. Highway 190 in front of Walmart.
A drainage ditch on Georgetown Road.
Two areas - Creek Street and South Park creek and walkway - will be cleaned up if at least 100 people volunteer.