Volunteers sought for annual Clean Up Day

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published April 8, 2015

 Shelby Township residents Jillian Morisette, 16, and her brother, Mitchell Morisette, 14, pick up trash along 23 Mile Road, between Van Dyke Avenue and Mound Road, at last year’s Clean Up Day.

Shelby Township residents Jillian Morisette, 16, and her brother, Mitchell Morisette, 14, pick up trash along 23 Mile Road, between Van Dyke Avenue and Mound Road, at last year’s Clean Up Day.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — It is time again for volunteers wearing orange vests to fan out along Shelby Township roadways and pick up the trash that has hidden beneath the snow for the last several months.

Clean Up Day will kick off with registration at the Shelby Township Community Center at 8:30 a.m. April 25. It will wrap up with pizza, pop and a “weirdest things found” contest at the Community Center from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

This year, the Beautification Committee is looking for groups to adopt 14 mile-long sections of Shelby roads. Several longtime groups decided to drop out due to members increasing in age and other factors, Clean Up Day Coordinator Carol McLaughlin said.

“It’s always a fun event,” McLaughlin said. Clean Up Day has been going on for close to 30 years. “We are looking for new groups and new volunteers to pick up trash.”

Last year, more than 800 volunteers collected about 1,200 bags of trash, McLaughlin said..

At press time, 53 community groups, including churches, Scouts, businesses and civic organizations had adopted portions of Shelby roads. Walk-ins will be welcome the morning of the event.

The Macomb County Department of Roads will erect a road sign to recognize each new group’s commitment. The department donates the orange safety vests and trash bags used for the event.

For the “weirdest things found” contest, McLaughlin said that the Beautification Committee requests groups convey their findings verbally to ward off unwanted entries, such as dead animals or hazardous materials.

Last year, some of the weirdest items found included nine hubcaps, two bathroom sinks with faucets, a crane hook, a full set of keys and a shopping cart. One Boy Scout found a $10 bill.

Each group will receive a certificate of recognition and each participant will receive a packet of cosmos flower seeds.

Organizers encourage those interested in participating in Clean Up Day to wear boots and gloves, and organizers urge motorists driving in Shelby Township April 25 to be courteous and exercise caution around volunteers.

“It’s just once a year and takes just one morning,” McLaughlin said. “We want to be proud of where we live. It’s just ugly to see trash along the roadways. (The Beautification Committee’s) motto is ‘Cleaner and greener,’ and we hope after Clean Up Day that that’s what the township looks like and stays looking like.”

Shelby Township resident Pat Cotsman has participated in Clean Up Day for more than 20 years. She cleans up a section of West Utica Road, from Ryan to Dequindre roads, in memory of her husband.

“(Clean Up Day) is wonderful,” Cotsman said. “I am a person who does not like litter. I’m hoping we can do this more than once a year. It’s getting worse. You’d think people would learn (not to litter).”

She said she fills at least six bags “chock full” of trash every year with the help of her grandson. Among her strange finds, she once found a cellphone, a Rolex watch, turtle shells, an entertainment center with a raccoon living in it, and an unusual weapon that looked like a cross between a knife, a gun and a saber.

For more information about Clean Up Day or to register a group, call the Clerk’s Office at (586) 731-5102. The rain day is scheduled for May 2. The Shelby Community Center is located at 51670 Van Dyke Ave., north of 23 Mile Road.

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