SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Don't Be a Tosser In 2007
By Mary Kauffman


January 06, 2007
Saturday PM

Ketchikan, Alaska - During 2006, as in years past, community members and organizations have generously pitched in to clean up the highways of our community. Many of these volunteers were thanked for their efforts during 2006. Added to those deserving thanks are the Society of American Foresters and the First City Rotary who helped clean along the highways in November.

Ketchikan Gateway Borough Code Enforcement Officer Jerry Cegelske said, "We owe a "Thank you" to the members of the Society of American Foresters for cleaning up their Mile 6 of North Tongass, and to the members of First City Rotary who helped clean up South Tongass in November." Cegelske said, "Their efforts are appreciated by a large majority of the community."

jpg Michael Earnest and Todd Adams

Michael Earnest and Todd Adams, Alaska Dept. of Transportation, Division of Highways cleaning up the insulation blown from a truck and scattered along Stedman Street.
Photo courtesy Jerry Cegelske

Cegelske said while talking with one of the First City Rotary clean-up volunteers the member mentioned visiting relatives in Missouri. Regarding the volunteer's visit Cegelske said, "They lived along a divided highway which had large amounts of trash scattered along it. He [the Rotary member] was amazed at the amount of trash people threw out of their vehicles. His relatives couldn't believe that he would go out and pick it up as he did. Guess they liked the prior view! He hates litter, and those that dump it."

"The sad thing," said Cegelske, " is that many of the people in Ketchikan are like the litter bugs in Missouri, and would have Ketchikan look like Missouri if it weren't for people like the First City Rotary member."

Cegelske said, "It is amazing that people work overtime to destroy the thing that attracted them to an area in the first place, but not take a few minutes to prevent it from happening." He said, "We have natural beauty here which keeps many of us here. It brings tourists by boat and plane that pay to visit and see the beauty, providing many of us with the jobs that allow us to stay and continue to enjoy it." Unfortunately said Cegelske, "Others really couldn't care less as they toss their trash and litter from their cars and boats, and allow it to blow from their trucks."


Insulation scattered along Stedman Street.
Photo courtesy Jerry Cegelske

On a drive south of Ketchikan recently, Cegelske said he was greeted by the sight of insulation scattered on Stedman Street for over half a mile. "It was supposed to be taken to the landfill but someone was just too lazy to cover their load to prevent the insulation from being scattered along Stedman," said Cegelske.

Cegelske said Mike Earnest and Todd Adams of the State Department of Transportation, Division of Highways, cleaned up the mess. These Department of Transportation workers could have been doing something more beneficial for the community, such as continuing their work on patching potholes on South Point Higgins said Cegelske. "If they are picking up the trash you allowed to blow out of your vehicle, or worse, threw out, you can't really complain about the lack of State funding for plowing roads and fixing them- some of that money was spent picking up your trash!", said Cegelske.

Cegelske said, "State law requires that loads on vehicles be secured to prevent them from being scattered on the roadway. " He said, "If you see someone hauling material, mention to them that it needs to be covered. It will help them in several ways and help to keep Ketchikan a cleaner place to live."

To everyone who does their part, "Thanks for your work in keeping Ketchikan clean," said Cegelske.

Unfortunately Ketchikan's litter bugs - or to be politically correct, Ketchikan's environmentally challenged likely will keep community volunteers busy again in 2007. Don't be a tosser. Make a difference. Pick up a piece of litter everyday.


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