Clarke County leaders target litter problem
By By William F. West / community editor
QUITMAN Leigh Moore said Clarke County's landscape is so littered that her out-of-state relatives noticed it when they visited her.
She said her relatives told her: "Hey, I don't remember it being this littered before. I wonder what the problem is."
Moore, 44, is an administrative assistant at H.C. Watkins Hospital, a longtime health professional and a native of Clarke County.
She also chairs the Clarke County Chamber of Commerce's environmental committee one of several committees created to help deal with the county's high unemployment and recent plant closings.
Clarke County is being aided by a $100,000 state grant to develop a long-range plan to help overcome the closures.
One of the goals of the plan: clean up the county to enhance the quality of life, keep current employers and attract new ones. The name of the cleanup effort is "Litter free in 03."
Moore said the cleanup is scheduled for Oct. 26 from 9 a.m. to noon.
She said she has spread the word to churches, clubs and schools and has lined up several volunteers. Gloves and trash bags will be provided and county crews will pick up filled bags.
Moore said Highways 145, 511, 512, 513, 514 and 18 need cleaning because bottles, cups and paper are scattered on the shoulders. She said she doesn't recall the county being as littered as it is now.
Buster Thomas, 50, is president of First State Bank and himself a former chamber president. He said a clean Clarke County is important because first impressions last a long time with economic development prospects.
Thomas said that the overall situation is a challenging one in Clarke County but that the people are resilient. He said "we're not taking it lying down. We're trying to bounce back and trying to fight back."
Patty Combest, secretary for the Chamber of Commerce, also emphasized the importance of teamwork in reversing the county's downturn.