Great American Cleanup nets over 1,000 bags of trash

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Richard and Elaine Woloszyn of Clovis picked trash out of a drain on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. as part of Saturday’s Great American Clean-Up. The Woloszyns came to the cleanup with a group from Clovis Community College.

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

The Clovis Freshman Campus Spanish Club may not have been winners during Saturday’s Great American Cleanup, but they still have something to celebrate, according to team sponsor Santi Gutierrez.

While picking up trash on the side of the road along Llano Estacado Blvd., Gutierrez said she found a Wal-Mart gift card. A call to the toll-free number on the back of the card revealed it still had nearly $10 in the account, she said.

“We’re going to celebrate at Wal-Mart,” she said.

This is the first time Gutierrez and the four ninth-graders participated in the event, she said.

“We got over 40 bags,” said ninth-grader Ashley Farela. “It was a lot harder than we thought it would be.”

Saturday’s 2008 Clovis Great American Cleanup had a record number of participants, according to event organizers.

About 350 people picked up about 1,189 bags of trash, according to Clovis Parks and Recreation Director Rob Carter. He said nine teams competed to pick up the most trash.

“This is more (people) than we’ve ever had,” said Clovis Pride Chairman and City Commissioner Len Vohs.

Last year, about 120 residents participated in the event, Vohs said. Clovis Pride is a city initiative geared toward beautification of the city.

P.J. Odegaard of the City Parks and Recreation Department said about 200 airmen from the 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon Air Force Base participated in this year’s event by joining different teams or cleaning by themselves.

“They were gung-ho (about helping to clean up the city),” she said.

The purpose of the event is to help instill pride in citizens and encourage them to help clean up the city, Vohs said.

“Maybe people will see other people (cleaning up on the side of the road) and think better about throwing things out of the window and trashing their community,” Vohs said.

The event started at 8 a.m. and ended around noon. Teams and individuals were given routes along the main arteries leading into the city. The teams with the most bags of trash received trophies in the form of gold, silver or bronze trash containers.

In connection with the event, the city landfill will waive dumping fees for Curry County residents until 5 p.m. Monday.

Carter said the landfill received about 78 tons of trash from noon Friday to noon Saturday.

Side bet:

The county lost a trash-picking challenge to the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber of Commerce collected 300 bags of trash, while the county collected 264 bags during Saturday’s Great American Cleanup.
According to terms of the challenge, County Manager Lance Pyle will have to wear a Curry County Detention Center jumpsuit for three hours while working at the Chamber of Commerce reception desk.

Pyle said a date for the challenge has not been set.