First in a series
The Culdesac Gem Community organization believes that if youre
going to invite company in for a party, youve got to
dress in clean clothes.
The Culdesac civic organization has been sponsoring She-bang
Days for the past six years as a way to generate money
for community projects. Wanting to put the best face possible
on Culdesac, the group joined the Idaho Transportation Departments
Adopt-A-Highway (AAH) program in 2003.
Members committed to clean a three-mile stretch of U.S. 95
near their community, about 20 miles southeast of Lewiston.
Although rookies by most standards, the Culdesac Gem Community
out-performed veteran groups in its cleanup efforts and this
week will be named District 2 AAH group of the year.
Board member Bruce Sweeney will present a framed certificate
and a wall clock made from an Idaho license plate. Cherie
Pentzer, a driver for the civic group, will accept the awards
on behalf of her colleagues.
Culdesac observes Shebang Days on the second Saturday in
June. The community organization uses proceeds to plant trees
and shrubs and to make improvements to the city park and cemetery.
Their goal is to beautify their city and instill some
pride in the community, explains Shane Niemela, coordinator
of the volunteer highway clean-up program at ITDs Lewiston
They originally got involved in the Adopt-A-Highway
program to clean up their section of highway before the two
main city events(including the annual Parent-Teacher Association
annual sausage feed in March).
Eager to make a lasting impression on visitors, the group
cleaned its section of highway six times, collecting a combined
2,450 pounds of litter. Even members of the organization who
are limited by age or physical constraints participate by
As busy as they are, they dont have any rituals,
Niemela said. They simply hit the road running and do
the best job that they can with the time they are together.
From what I can tell, this is just the first of many outstanding
years of AAH service to come.
The Adopt-A-Highway program organizes the cleaning of Idaho
roadsides by volunteer groups. Those groups adopt
a specific stretch of highway usually two miles long
and take responsibility for keeping it clean through
regular litter patrols.
More than 1,200 groups spent approximately 114,000 person
hours removing litter in 2003. About 55 percent of state highways
have been adopted, leaving ample opportunities for other groups
and individuals to become involved.
The volume of material collected from the shoulders of Idaho
highways more than doubled the past year, thanks largely to
better monitoring and reporting, said statewide AAH coordinator
Volunteers collected more than 2.3 million pounds of litter,
resulting in a savings to the state of nearly a quarter-million
dollars that can be applied to other projects that improve
safety and driving conditions.
For information about adopting a stretch of highway, contact
Sweaney at 334-8465 or (800) 443-2878.