HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith put the city department’s new utility task vehicle (UTV) to good use May 21 by joining in the efforts to keep Hiawassee pristine. The litter shown in the feature image was collected by Chief Smith along a one-mile stretch on South Main Street on Tuesday. Smith, a humble, community-minded public servant, can often be found bettering the city in ways beyond law enforcement.
“We need your help to keep our town beautiful and trash free,” the police chief asked citizens. “Don’t leave loose trash in the bed of trucks that can fly out. Keep a grocery bag in your vehicle as a trash can that you can easily throw out at home when it is full.”
Hiawassee Police Department’s UTV was purchased with funds from the agency’s calendar sales, Smith told FYN. Businesses purchase advertising space, creating additional revenue for the five officer division. The task vehicle will be utilized for patrol duties during events.
Employees of the City of Hiawassee regularly engage in litter pick-up around the town, per request of Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales, although Smith said his department’s clean-up effort was self-initiated.
Chief Smith explained the illegality of littering:
“During the process of cleaning our streets, if we locate trash that has a name on it, we can charge the owner for the litter,” Chief Smith said. “OCGA § 16-7-44(b) states: ‘…whenever any litter which is dumped, deposited, thrown, or left on public or private property in violation of Code Section 16-7-43 is discovered to contain any article or articles, including but not limited to letters, bills, publications, or other writings which display the name of a person thereon in such a manner as to indicate that the article belongs or belonged to such person, the trier of fact may in its discretion and in consideration of the totality of the circumstances infer that such person has violated this part.’ Most people do not throw trash out the window when there’s a patrol car behind them, so it is often difficult for a law enforcement officer to catch someone in the act of littering. When we do charge someone with littering, the judge has the ability to sentence the person to clean one mile of the roadway on which they littered (§ 16-7-43(b)(2)(A)). By serving our community and voluntarily picking up trash, the police department is able to charge the offenders who then have to clean up after themselves and others.”
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Liza Strub and her husband, Chuck Coxe, spoke to a full house of Mountain Movers and Shakers at Sundance Grill on Friday, Jan. 25, continuing to advocate for a litter-free county. Strub, a Towns County resident who publicly jumped onboard the clean-up effort last summer, speaking out at a county meeting, is quickly proving grit and determination in advancing the cause.
In past weeks, Strub has made several speaking appearances, including a presentation before the Towns County Civic Association, and a second visit to the county commission.
Prior to Strub and Coxe’s introduction, Grace Howard of Hamilton Gardens provided the history of litter control endeavors in the area in which she has been an active, appreciated participant.
It was noted during the meeting that the annual Clean Sweep Week event will be held for two consecutive weeks, rather than one, each spring. Strub informed that she will be working with students enrolled in the local C.H.A.M.P.S. program, encouraging investment in litter control from civic-minded youths, as well as motivating other area organizations through education.
Strub offered the following tips on how citizens can make a difference:
- Set an example for children, family, friends, neighbors, visitors, and community.
- Secure your load and sweep out your truck bed.
- Use a litter bag and ashtray in your car and clean out your vehicle when you stop for gas.
- Keep gloves and bags in your car and pick up trash when you see it.
- When you take a walk and see trash, pick it up.
- Adopt a road, spot, or beach in your neighborhood. Just an hour a week of picking up trash sets an example.
- Pick up after your dog.
- Before lighting up, identify where to dispose of cigarette butts when finished smoking.
- Spit containers for chew belong in the trash, not on the roadways.
- Recycle and compost.
- Make sure that trash cans have securely fastened lids or use bungee cords to hold them in place.
- Keep a litter bag in your boat and use it.
- Keep the appearance of your home or business clean and neat.
- Business owners should provide trash receptacles in convenient locations.
- Get involved and volunteer in events such as Clean Sweep Week, Lake Chatuge Clean-up, Adopt-a-Road, or educational programs.
- Start a litter awareness program at your church, civic, or volunteer organization.
Feature Photo: Liza Strub and Chuck Coxe at Sundance Grill in Hiawassee
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HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Liza Strub, a concerned citizen of Towns County, petitioned Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw to re-address the issue of roadway litter during last year’s July county meeting. In the months that followed, Bradshaw met with Stroub on several occassions to form a heightened approach, with the commissioner following through by adding Strub to the Jan. 15, 2019 session agenda.
Clean Sweep Week, once an annual event, will become a twice-yearly initiative, with education focused on litter prevention, introduced to the public over a period of time. Strub explained that it often takes repeated attempts before messages sink in, and the course of action will include litter education through various sources such as print, social media, public service announcements, radio, in person, and what Strub deems most important, through positive example.
During Tuesday’s public meeting, Commissioner Bradshaw affirmed that the “Secure Your Load” project enacted last October is proving to be effective. Following the distribution of information, the Towns County Transfer Station tallied 497 unsecured loads delivered in November of 2018. In December, the total decreased to 189. Thus far in January, 73 were listed as uncovered, suggesting an additional month of sharp decline in illicit transport.
Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales attended the county meeting, revealing that city employees are making a weekly effort to remove litter from area roads. Citizens in attendance expressed appreciation for the mayor’s approach in combating the problem.
Strub plans to promote an Adopt-a-Spot program, working with a host of organizations including the civic association, area groups, and local schools to advance the goal of keeping the area litter-free.
Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet, attracting more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Towns, Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, and Murray counties, as well as Clay and Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week, reaching between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw held his regularly monthly meeting on the evening of July 17, 2018, and concluded the session by receiving public questions and comments.
Liza Stroub, a Towns County resident who moved from the Atlanta area six years prior, publicly voiced three separate concerns to Commissioner Bradshaw.
“This is my first time here at a commissioner’s meeting, and there’s three things that I have on my mind, and I don’t know exactly how to bring them up to the commission or how to get them on the formal agenda so that people can talk about them” Stroub said, “One is getting liquor in Towns County, being able to have package stores. How do we go about that? Is it something we can get a referendum for? Is it something we can vote on? Because I’ve heard that there’s, like, Hayesville, the package store there makes over $500,000 a year in taxes.”
In keeping with his campaign promise, Commissioner Bradshaw intends to include liquor-by-the-drink on November’s ballot, which would allow establishments to serve spirits. However, the commissioner has no plans to initiate a vote for a full liquor store.
“That’s a lot of money. It is. I agree with that,” Bradshaw said, referring to Hayesville’s tax revenue, “I had a group in here the other day that was asking about package stores, and I heard some of them sitting out there talking. I could overhear them talking about where they buy their wine, and they go to Walmart instead of Ingles because it’s cheaper. So I’m just saying that we would love to have a Walmart. There’s a lot of things we’d like over here that would bring more money in. I’m not sure that a package store is a route the county wants to go.”
Bradshaw informed Shroub that the city of Hiawassee is presently attempting to gather enough signatures to add a package store referendum on November’s ballot. “They may get enough (signatures) in the city. I don’t know. I know they’re working very hard over there,” Bradshaw said.
Commissioner Bradshaw went on to say that nearby White County does not have package stores, although the town of Helen does, due to the county finding liquor stores to be a hassle. In addition, Bradshaw stated that Towns County is financially secure, and does not require the revenue that a package store would provide, adding, “This county, as a whole, just doesn’t have an appetite for it.”
Liza Stroub inquired whether a petition could be circulated to force a vote onto the ballot. Bradshaw replied that it could, and stated that he would contact Towns County Attorney Robb Kiker in order to learn the specifics involved.
In the case of Hiawassee, 35 percent of registered city voters must sign a petition in order for the referendum to appear on the ballot. The deadline to submit the petition to the Towns County Board of Elections is August 8.
Additional concerns raised by Shroub consisted of a perceived lack of animal control in Towns County, followed by a complaint of abandoned vehicles on property, along with litter on roadways, with Shroub stating there is trash “all over the county.” A citizen who attended the meeting with Shroub agreed, citing Tallulah River Road as heavily littered.
“We don’t have trash all over the county. I beg to differ on that. There is trash, but to say it’s all over the county is an overstatement,” Bradshaw rebutted, later stating to FetchYourNews that the Department of Transportation and detainee crews are deployed to contain litter on state and county roadways.
Of note, Town County participates in Clean Sweep Week annually in April. The most recent event yielded 240 bags of litter.
The civil discourse concluded with Bradshaw promising to include the issues of discussion on a future agenda, and Shroub vowing to return with a crowd in tow.
Commissioner Bradshaw will hold his next monthly meeting on August 21, at 5:30 p.m. at the Towns County Courthouse.