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Keep Rutherford County Beautiful Earth Month hits new heights

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Young people helped with the historic clean sweep. Photo provided.

Keep Rutherford County Beautiful Earth Month and Litter Sweep numbers spell success in community awareness and involvement in 2021.

"As a unified community, Rutherford County citizens stepped up big this spring showing their love of where we live by taking action and spreading awareness of how to take care of our environment," said Keep RC Beautiful Committee Chair Don Cason.

Over 8 tons (16,000+ lbs) of debris were collected in Rutherford County during our annual Spring Litter Sweep this past April and May. This total includes 77 miles of paid pickups funded by Keep Rutherford County Beautiful with a total of 307 bags removed from our roadsides. We also had 35 individuals set up as Team Leaders. They are responsible for organizing 215 community volunteers and collecting 370 bags of trash from our public spaces.

The Spring Litter Sweeps success rests solely in the hands of our funders and our Team Leaders (in alphabetical order and pick-up locations):

• Jenna Bailey, Rutherford Women's League- Roper Loop Road, Laurel Hill Drive, Industrial Drive, Bob Hardin Drive

• Doug Barrick, Town of Rutherfordton- Elm Street, Cleghorn Road, Tanner Road, Hardin Road;

• Stacey Bogart- Jack Moore Mountain Road, Mt. Olive Church Road

• Dana Bradley, Town of Lake Lure- Boys Camp Road

• Amanda Byers- Clark Road

• Don Cason, RC Tourism Development Authority- Coxe Road, Union Road

• Mia Chapman, American Zinc Products Chase High Road

• Angie Cullen, Nest Realty- Memorial Highway

• Chad Dillard, 2nd Baptist Church- 2nd Baptist Church Parking Lot, corner of Cedar Road, Green Street

• Doug Hegeman, Rutherfordton Kiwanis- Kiwanis Park and adjacent streets

• Mary Jaeger-Gale, Chimney Rock State Park- Chimney Rock Village

• Sara Jane, A Way of Life Farm- Brooks and Depriest Roads

• Jess Kerr, Rutherford Outdoor Coalition- Riverside Drive, Thermal Belt Rail Trail, Gilboa Church Road, Oak Street, Vance Street; Jessie Marlowe, Trelleborg - Sparks Crossings Drive, Hillside Plaza; Phillip Miner - Boss Moore Road; Mark Montague, Carolina Home Care - Broyhill Road; George & Marian Moyer - Walmart Plaza

• Seth Nolan- Thermal Belt Rail Trail;

•David Price, Chimney Rock State Park- Chimney Rock River Walk

• Alma Resendiz, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church- White Oaks Plaza

• Susan Roussopoulos- Cub Creek Road

• Doug Sheets- John Smiths Road

• Karen Teagan- Andy Drive

• Hayden Walker- South Street, Tanner Street

• Scott Webber, Town of Spindale- Whitesides Road, Spindale Street

• Patsy Wilson - Carpenter Road

The RecycleBot Challenge resurfaced this Spring to educate Rutherford County third-graders about recycling, upcycling, and using their imagination. Over 75 entries from both public and private county-wide school systems were created, and donated prizes were awarded from Chimney Rock State Park, McDonalds, and Scoop in six categories. Student and teacher involvement far exceeded expectations, especially in an all virtual learning environment.

For the first time, Keep RC Beautiful launched a month-long awareness campaign with three large THINK awareness sculptures, erected and filled with roadside litter in the towns of Forest City, Spindale, and Rutherfordton. The sculptures initiated important conversations and received a lot of interest. Viewers accessed them by car or by foot from either the Purple Martin Greenway or the Thermal Belt Rail Trail.

The Green Scholarship was founded this year and awarded to an RS Central High Senior, Emma Roberts. This $1,200 scholarship was privately funded by Andrew Tisdale, Edward Jones Financial Advisor, and Dr. Brock Hefflin, and was awarded based on stewardship of our community and environmentalism.

"We are looking forward to building on this momentum as we look towards the future. We encourage everyone to THINK about their impact year-round, there are plenty of ways for businesses and individuals to stay involved with our mission following the Spring Sweep," says Jess Kerr, Litter Subcommittee Chair.

One opportunity to watch out for is a new Green Standard Business initiative. This initiative will recognize area businesses who are stewards in the community through leading litter sweeps and supporting green initiatives in their place of business. Broad River Water Authority, Nest Property Management of Asheville, and American Zinc Products have already signed on as some of our first Green Standard Businesses. If your business is interested in joining, email KeepRCNCBeautiful@RutherfordCountyNC.gov today.

Community involvement and investing in the future is vital as we grow. Started as an Earth Day litter pickup in 2016, Keep RC Beautiful is now a transformative movement throughout Rutherford County, North Carolina. Neighbors, industry leaders, business owners, school systems and municipalities have joined forces to change the way we define community- leading programs and initiatives to propel Rutherford County's beautification forward by tackling the problems arising from our disposable economy. This is only made possible by our 2020-2021 funders- Rutherford County Tourism Development Authority, the Town of Rutherfordton, the Town of Spindale, Brock Hefflin, Laura Powell, Kristi Grishaw, and Broad River Water Authority. Together, we are taking action to love where we live, work and play.

Visit www.KeepRCNCBeautiful.org to donate to the 2021-2022 budget, learn more on the Facebook page @KeepRCNCBeautiful or email questions to KeepRCNCBeautiful@RutherfordCountyNC.gov.

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