Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 4:19 PM on Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Spring cleaning proves Homer 'a wonderful place to live'

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer

Homer turned out in force Saturday to do some communitywide spring cleaning. A total of 1,336 bags of trash were brought to the parking lot of the Homer Chamber of Commerce, event sponsor, according to Monte Davis, chamber executive director. Recycling materials filled 239 bags.

"It was incredible. We kicked last year's butt and last year was a record," said Davis.

In 2011, volunteers gathered 722 bags of trash, with 86 bags of recycling.

Davis credited a large crowd that helped with the one-day effort. Scout troops. Adults. Adults with children. All combinations could be seen throughout the area filling bright yellow bags with all manner of trash.

"They ran out of bags at Fritz Creek," said Davis. "Next year we'll be delivering more bags out there."

Davis also gave kudos to coordinator Nyla Lightcap for the event being "so well organized, so smooth, so easy for people."

Lightcap was assisted by a long list of businesses supporting the cleanup effort with more than $3,000 in donations. Kachemak Bay Lions had hot dogs on the grill to feed hungry participants. Members of Homer Kachemak Bay Rotary recorded incoming bags of trash and helped vehicles that began lining up at the chamber even before the 11 a.m. start time. Loopy Lupine Distribution organized the recycling effort. Dumpsters and containers for recycling were provided by Alaska Waste, the Kenai Peninsula Borough and Moore & Moore Services.

Kachemak Bay Lions also donated four bicycles that were won by four trash-collecting youngsters:

• Big girl's bike: Mary Hana Bowe

• Big boy's bike: Galen Lyon

• Small girl's bike: Ruby

• Small boy's bike: Victor

"The girl who had initially won the small girl's bike didn't want to sign up because she already had a bike, but her mom said if she won, she could give it to her brother," said Davis.

As it turned out, the girl — Annalynn Brown — did win the bicycle, but didn't want to give a girl's bike to her brother and the chamber decided to draw another name.

"But what unbelievable generosity," said Davis of Annalynn's desire to secure a bicycle for her brother rather than a new one for herself.

During the day, Davis also noticed one of the young trash collectors not signing up for the bicycle drawing.

"I asked if he was going to sign up and he said, 'Oh no, sir, I won it last year.' How cool is that? Doesn't it just make your heart swell with pride?" said Davis, noting the youngster's "generous spirit."

Above all, Davis credited a sense of community pride as the reason for a successful cleanup effort.

"I just get this wonderful feeling people realize we have a wonderful place to live, but it takes a bit of work," said Davis. "It was busy. We weren't supposed to open until 11 a.m., but we had cars lining up to drop off trash, people walking in from about 10:40. I was really impressed."

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.