Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Lifestyles

June 2, 2014

Teams of volunteers gather 38 bags of trash in Pleasant Hill

CROSSVILLE — The first Adopt A Highway sign was installed along Hwy. 69 in Tyler, TX, on March 9, 1985. The program, or a variation thereof, eventually spread to all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico, and several countries, including Australia, Japan and Spain. Tennessee Adopt A Highway started in 1989, so this is the 25th year of the program in this state. Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) provides volunteers with all necessary supplies, warning signs and safety materials. Filled trash bags are removed from the roadsides by TDOT crews. Adopt A Highway Maintenance Corporation has provided outdoor signage opportunities for groups since 1990. It was in that year that the Uplands Village Assembly voted to care for a section of Hwy. 70 along the southern edge of Pleasant Hill. The first trash pickup took place on June 9, 1990, with 11 Uplanders taking part. There is a beat-up sign, bent and battered on U.S. 70 proclaiming that Uplands Village adopted this stretch of highway.

The Uplands highway trash pickup this year was held on Saturday, April 12, with 19 volunteers. They were encouraged to view the training video on the Adopt A Highway website. Co-chairs Mary Ruth and Margaret Weirich procured the materials from TDOT and set up 16 prioritized assignments on a map. Thirty-eight and a half bags were collected in the Pleasant Hill area (1.6 miles on 70, W Main St. & Browntown Rd.). Twenty members of Boy Scout Troop 170 did a great job cleaning Main St. from Pioneer Hall to the Caney Fork bridge on U.S. 70. That section of U..S 70 is the troop’s adopted designated section of highway.

Len Stark and Rebecca Kilmer made a point of efficiently recycling about half of what they collected along Browntown Rd. Others recycled what they could depending on the condition of the articles. On Sunday Lois Miller helped count the bags, while Margaret Weirich drove up and down the highway sections cleaned. This number was reported to TDOT for pick-up.

Pleasant Hill Mayor Al Dwenger with wife, Jackie, continued later in the week, as they were unable to join the rest on Saturday. Besides the highway workers, Sheral McDermet, Pat Cavanaugh, Dave and Jean Harsh dispensed refreshments and bottled water at the Pleasant Hill Community House. The drivers and pick-up crew volunteers were stationed at the central headquarters in front of the Pleasant Hill Community House to relay messages and oversee the water and other refreshments.

Since the program’s inception in 1989, volunteers have collected more than 12 million pounds of litter from Tennessee’s roadsides. These valuable contributions are helping produce cleaner roadsides, reduce maintenance costs and boost litter prevention awareness in the Volunteer State. Who would think that such a worthwhile program could be controversial? Some groups, including Wiccans and nudists, create minor ripples. Others spark legal battles.

In 2001, Missouri and 28 other states challenged a lower court’s ruling that it was unconstitutional to deny the Ku Klux Klan’s application to participate in the Adopt A Highway program, but the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal. Missouri’s state legislature responded by renaming the stretch of highway that the KKK adopted, Rosa Parks Highway. Missouri state officials responded to another controversial adoption in 2009 when it renamed a stretch of highway adopted by a neo-Nazi group after Abraham Joshua Heschel, a prominent Jewish civil rights advocate.

In 2009 the San Diego Minutemen, an anti-illegal immigration group, adopted a stretch of I-5 in California near the Mexico-United States border. In 2008, local women’s groups in Juneau, Alaska, argued that an Adopt A Highway sign recognizing a social group called the Men’s Crisis Center was offensive. In 2009, a small chain of adult entertainment stores adopted four stretches of highway in Connecticut. In all cases, the courts have upheld the rights of groups who hold unpopular beliefs to participate in the Adopt A Highway program.

This week in Pleasant Hill:

Friday, June 6, 1 to 5 p.m., Saturday, June 7, 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m — AARP Safe Drivers Course  in Adshead Hall of Fletcher House. Call 456-1994 to pre-register.

Saturday, June 7, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Pleasant Hill Community House —  Benefit for Henry, Judy and Michael Parks. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Yard sale, auction and drawings. Call 200-0372, 337-6213, 200-9069, or 267-0171 for information.

Saturday, June 7, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. —  Plant Sale at the intersection of U.S. 70 and Main St. in Pleasant Hill by grounds committee of Wharton Association. Call 277-3541.

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