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Main Street: The bad, good and great news about litter

by Kerri Thoreson
| April 13, 2022 1:00 AM

The bad news ... the litter on I-90 between Coeur d’Alene and the Washington state line is as much of an eyesore as ever. The good news is good people have been volunteering to make a difference with picking it up.

The really great news is the Idaho Transportation Department’s announcement last month that they’re sending in reinforcements. They’ll be using a new machine in the very near future on that stretch of I-90.

“Now that the snow has melted, everyone can see the ugly truth about how much garbage has been piling up all winter,” Operations Engineer Jerry Wilson said in March. “This year, we have already started our cleanup efforts and will use a new machine, once conditions allow, to do it more efficiently.”

According to the press release, the department invested in the machine to speed up the collection process. It only takes two operators: one to drive the machine, which uses metal teeth to comb through the grass, and another to haul the trash away in a dump truck.

“To do one mile by hand, it takes five operators working together for eight hours,” Wilson said. “With the machine, we can cut that down to two people working five hours and still cover the same distance.”

The machine works well in the flat areas in the median, which Adopt-A-Highway volunteers are typically encouraged to avoid for their own safety.

“We will continue to rely on volunteers through the Adopt-A-Highway program to help get this mess cleaned up,” Wilson said. “They are just as valuable to us as this new machine, and we are inspired by the effort they make every year to keep Idaho beautiful.”

In 2021, volunteers in North Idaho picked up 4,171 bags of litter or about 72.8 tons — enough to fill 18 garbage trucks!

• • •

Looking back at Easter photographs from my childhood in the 1950s, my sisters and I were always decked out in fancy outfits, including frilly dresses, white gloves, patent leather shoes, purses and of course bonnets or wide lacy caplettes. As somewhat of a tomboy who preferred bare feet, I endured looking like a girl on special occasions. I don’t recall how long the white gloves stayed white but I do recall being very competitive in the search for colored eggs in the yard.

My own daughters in the '70s always had new dresses but without the gloves, patent leather and bonnets. One year, thanks to their talented Aunt Janna, the girls wore matching pastel gingham dresses she sewed for them.

Alas, as the grandmother of grandsons and no granddaughters, I wasn’t able to do the frilly Easter outfits for the boys. I think they may be rather relieved.

• • •

Happy Main Street birthdays today to Chloe Hudson, Angelina Pischner, Evalyn Adams, Kathy Behm and Corbin Messina. Tomorrow Phil Damiano, Mark Robitaille, Stacey Mann, Dana Shapland, Ron Washburn and Bill Gough blow out the candles. On Friday Betsy Hawkins, Brian Walker, Denise Edmonds, Ian Waltz, Doug Harms, Dave Holmes, Clay Ownbey, Caroline Crollard, Tori Gray, Randy Teall, Kara Hicks and Judy Donner celebrate. Saturday birthday wishes to JD Dickinson, Leslie Gourley, Kevin Johnson, Kay Riplinger, Chris LaVoie and Tom Fisher. On Easter Sunday Pat Krug, Betty Stone, Andre Ney, Blythe Templin, Jonna Harris-Bowman, Sheila McDaniel, Curtis Ormesher and Peggy Fairfield will put on their birthday bonnets. Jason Allred, Anna Goodwin, Brad Dugdale, Chris Mueller, Pat Stroud, Rebecca Priano, Glenn Gatherer, Ryan Edmonds, John Cross, Branson McAlister and Lisa Johnson enjoy Monday birthdays. On April 19 Gerlinde Hamilton, Rich Piazza, Angie Hannon, Rick Seymour, Petrina Spellman, Carolyn Beard, Rick Gonzalez, Steve Adams, Charlie Staples, BreAnna Brunton and Joe Bodman will take another trip around the sun.

• • •

Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email mainstreet@cdapress.com. Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson.

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