Are you proud of your city?

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By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Editor

Trash. It's everywhere. From once pristine waters and forested lands to rural roads and city streets, it blights what once were beautiful places.
This past weekend, as I made my way back from grandbaby-time in North Georgia, I spied bright yellow objects from miles away along a narrow stretch of road in Putnam County.
As I got closer, I realized what I had seen were 32-gallon trash bags. Since they weren't there when I went up Friday, I surmised there had been a cleanup Saturday and thought, "How nice this community has come together to take care of where they live."
Then I started counting. In just a fraction over a mile on both sides of a two-lane highway, were dozens of these trash bags spaced about three to four feet a part.
Then I thought, "How despicable that there had to be a cleanup day of this caliber. What's wrong with people?"
I'll tell you. They have no pride. Not in their city or county, or even in themselves.
A couple weeks ago a student reporter from WUFT at UF came to walk around with my husband through the rural Williston Highlands.
Since his back surgery in January, Tom must walk three miles each day for therapy and the backroads behind our house are ideal for his recovery.
But what he has seen back there is a nightmare.
From construction debris and dead animals to pounds of used cat litter and even a junked boat, the Highlands have become a veritable unsanctioned dump for our part of the county.
It's more than disgusting. It's infuriating.
People are either too lazy or too cheap to dispose of their refuse responsibly, so they take it to what they believe is uninhabited areas and unload.
What they fail to realize, or just don't care about, is while there may be blocks of vacant land, people still walk, bike and drive those roads to get to their homes.
Williston Highlands is not an isolated scenario. It's happening all over rural Levy County and even in our cities.
Last fall, the city sponsored a cleanup day and a minute section of the town got covered for trash pickup and yet hundreds of pounds of debris was collected on public property.
On April 23, another cleanup day is planned for the city of Williston and dozens of volunteers are needed.
With Earth Day being the day before, it's hoped that the people who live, work or play here will come out en masse to collect what those spineless litterbugs have left behind.
So many of us have complained (or still do) that Williston is not the most attractive little city around due to its neglected properties, derelict buildings and little problem.
The real question we all must ask ourselves is, "What am I doing to change it?"
In addition to the city, other groups have also jumped on the beautification bandwagon: chamber of commerce, woman's club, CRA, police and fire departments. People finally realize that is has to be a group effort if we're going to turn our little hamlet around.
Saying you're proud to be from Williston is one thing, but actually showing your pride speaks volumes.
Put April 23 on your calendar now. Together we can make a difference.