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Great American Cleanup starts this month
March 11, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis

Cassidy Baum

With a new director on board, Keep Scottsbluff-Gering Beautiful (KSGB) is getting ready for the Great American Cleanup.

The Cleanup starts March 20 when more than 20,000 Keep America Beautiful affiliates spruce up for spring. The event runs through the end of April, Keep America Beautiful Month.

Cassidy Baum, the new executive director of KSGB, spoke at the Gering Business Club on March 2 about the annual program, which included a proclamation signed by Mayors Tony Kaufman of Gering, Kent Greenwalt of Terrytown, and council member Ray Gonzales representing the City of Scottsbluff.

Baum has been a volunteer with KSGB since last summer. In January, she accepted the director position. Since then, she’s been getting the office organized and applying for grants for the various projects the group sponsors.

Graduating from Gering High School in 2001 as Cassidy Housh, she attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She earned her teaching certificate and a master’s degree in childhood development and early childhood education.

“My family has always recycled, and the educational component is what drew me to Keep Scottsbluff-Gering Beautiful,” she said. “My husband is also a Gering graduate and we were working in Lincoln when he was transferred back here about 1½ years ago. It’s good to be back home.”

Last fall, KSGB was awarded three grants from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality for projects that will be going on during the 2016 edition of the Great American Cleanup.

The group’s cleanup program usually has about 10 to 20 service organizations receiving mini cleanup grant for “adopting” a designated public space or roadway and keeping it clean at least four times a year. Typically, the first cleanup is around April and the organizations file reports on how much trash was collected and how much was recycled.

Another grant is for education outreach. During the year, KSGB gives presentations at local schools, service organizations and community events on litter prevention, recycling, and protecting our natural resources.

A third grant will help sponsor the Recycle Your Cycles event on April 9 at the Harms Center at Western Nebraska Community College. KSGB will partner with the Western Nebraska Bicycling Club and the college to accept old bicycles, working or not, to be repaired and donated to those in need of transportation. If the bicycles can’t be repaired, they are recycled.

April 16 is Earth Day and several businesses and other groups will be at Plaza Foods in Scottsbluff to collect recyclable materials. Plus, the Gering landfill will have two free days for residents to dispose of appliances, oil and antifreeze and other materials. The Cities of Gering, Scottsbluff, Terrytown and Mitchell will get the word out when the free days are scheduled.

The Great American Cleanup wraps up locally on April 30 with a Pharmaceutical Take-Back Day at Plaza Foods for people to dispose of expired and leftover prescription drugs.

Also during the year, KSGB will partner with the City of Scottsbluff to replace missing storm drain decals and distribute educational material. Residents are reminded to not dispose of oil or other chemicals into storm drains, as the water goes directly to the river.
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