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Fri, Jan. 24

Youths join public land cleanup effort<BR>

Local youth came to the assistance of the adults in removing tons of trash illegally dumped on the state land adjacent to Cordes Lakes.

Members of both the Boys and Girls club and the Cordes Lakes Youth group turned out in force Saturday June 14 to help out at two 'clean up effort' sites.

The kids sorted and loaded approximately 15 tons of trash into five large roll-off dumpsters in just under four hours.

Cordes Lakes resident Mike Rogers said he was glad to see the youth taking pride in their community.

"It was great to see the kids doing this for their community," he said. "It went fast; the kids really did a great job."

Twenty local kids took part in the all-volunteer effort including Kris King, Donny and Rocky Brown, Justin Lagrave, William and Joe Schacon, Sean Barker, Daniel Vale and Travis Kerschion, Earl Hendricks, Lilly, Rocio and Carla Feuntes, Chester Aaron and Brandon Miller, Micky Brown and Nathan Milsap

The dumpsites consisted of household garbage, appliances, tires, and other hazardous waste.

In April, The Upper Agua Fria Watershed Partnership (UAWP) began an effort to remove several small dumpsites and consolidate the collected material in two areas. The UAWP then left the dumpsters unattended and the illegal dumping multiplied.

After several weeks, Rogers reported the dumping, prompting state land officials to launch an investigation into possible criminal charges against the parties who dumped the trash.

State Land Department officials said the incident is still under investigation.

Rogers said local rancher Willie Kelton really helped the kids' effort by bringing his front loader/tractor to the party and cutting the work down to size.

"When Willie showed up it was like the cavalry coming," he said. "The loader make a lot quicker work of it."

Other adults participating in the Saturday clean up were Marty Thayer, Joe and Kim Richardson, Leslie Edwards, Bill Webester of the state land department, Sharon Kerschion and Sally Sealy.

Rogers said State Land Investigator Brad Geeck arranged for the dumpsters on Saturday.

"I really appreciate the way Brad came through on the project, " he said. "We couldn't have done it without the dumpsters."

Rogers also said local resident Andy Milsap de-certified some 20 to 30 refrigerators left at the sites and recycled the freon in their compressors at a reduced rate.

After the last dumpster was full, Cordes Youth leaders Joe and Kim Richardson took the 17 of the kids to the upper Verde River area as a reward for all their hard work.

Youth advocate and BBN columnist Peggy Swycaffer said the kids went hiking, swimming and had a picnic.

"The kids didn't know there would be a reward when they showed up," she said. "They just came anyway."

Rogers said he will continue to work to prevent illegal dumping on public land.

"Now It's clean lets see if we can keep it that way," he said.

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