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By KEVIN KOELLING
TELL CITY – “Anybody who wants to should show up” Saturday at Tell City’s Sunset or Cannelton’s Hafele Park for the annual River Sweep, according to Ken Smith, the executive director for the Perry County Recycling Management District.
The event sends thousands of volunteers to the banks of the Ohio River and its tributaries to clean up trash and other debris in what has become the largest environmental event of its kind, encompassing six states.
The district sponsors the local efforts, and Smith said they’ll run from 9 a.m. until noon.
Minor setbacks had delayed the establishment of a recyclable-material collection site at Derby, Smith reported at a regular meeting of the Perry County Recycling Management District May 23.
The district’s executive director said a trailer that was to be sited there still needed to be painted. Representatives of a company delivering a carport to cover it got lost and had to reschedule its installation, he added.
“They called at 8 o’clock at night,” Smith explained. “They were using a GPS to find the Derby site, and I told them to all me when they got to (Indiana) 37 and I-64. Well, they used their GPS and didn’t come that way. The next thing I know, I got a call at 8:30 saying they were on Highway 10 in Cannelton.”
Cannelton has no such highway.
“I had no clue where they were; they had no clue where they were and there was no way I was going to meet them,” Smith continued. The installers said they’d return home, and Smith told them he thought rescheduling the work was a good idea. He said Tuesday the site at the intersection of Indiana 70 and Gerald Road opened earlier in the day.
“Cardboard dropped a little this month and the mills are starting to set quotas,” Smith said, turning to his regular report on activity regarding the sale of recyclable materials. That’s “not a good sign; it means the mills are already full,” he added. “If you’ll look at the commodities report, there’s not a lot of activity on it because we haven’t really done anything this month.”
Revenues for the recyclable commodities were approximately $26,000 behind last year at the same time, Smith told the board. Late notices were to go out the following week to the approximately 500 people who hadn’t yet paid the district’s annual fee. The commodities report notes the district collected $2,383.95 for metal, $2,724.40 for newspapers, $2,252.25 for office paper and $4,113.20 for plastic since the beginning of the year. Another $1,217.45 for magazines bumped the revenue to $21,751.60 for the year. More than 201 tons of materials had been diverted from landfills as of May.
Marlow Smethurst, who chairs the district’s advisory board, reported approximately 200 pounds of prescription drugs were collected in the latest Drug Takeback Day April 27. Conducted in partnership with local and federal law-enforcement agencies, the event is intended to prevent outdated or otherwise unneeded medications from falling into the wrong hands or being dumped down drains and possibly into public water systems.
The county’s health department requested and the advisory board supported a $1,000 grant from the district to fund the disposal of medical “sharps.”
“About five years ago, they had received a $1,000 grant for the same purpose,” Smethurst reported. Syringes and other items intended to puncture skin are included in the category, and “you have to pay somebody to haul this stuff off,” Smith explained. “Now they’re needing another $1,000 after five years.”
The board voted to approve the request.
Smethurst’s report included discussion about an old cardboard baler the district owns. Since approximately 2008, it has been installed in a garage used by Tell City street and sewer departments, and “the city wasn’t using it, so the advisory board wants to sell (it),” he wrote. “However, Tell City wants to keep the baler in place.”
Board member and Tell City Mayor Barbara Ewing said she knew some informal discussion had occurred, but the issue needed to go before the city’s board of public works and safety before any decisions were made.
Issues such as any investments by the city, such as for electrical installation, needed to be addressed, she said.
“We can certainly look into it,” she added. Other board members indicated they’d like the city officials to do that.