Many hands keep Kamiah, highways more presentable

Students from elementary grades through high school reached out – and down – last week to leave their community a better place.

A community-wide cleanup and litter patrol along three Idaho highways originally was planned to coincide with Earth Day and Arbor Day. Nature dictated otherwise as cloudy skies created a one-week rain delay. Determined to do their part, children, teachers, school staff members, parents and community volunteers spread out across Kamiah on May 10.

Shane Niemela, Adopt-A-Highway coordinator for District 2, worked closely with Kamiah Superintendent Fred Mercer to integrate the school’s community service project with the cleanup of U.S. 12 and state highways 64 and 162. ITD provided garbage bags for the campaign.

Two hours, 500 enthusiastic children, 1,000 pairs of willing hands left the highways, school grounds, athletic facility and city parks much cleaner and more attractive. Niemela said 128 children and 26 adults participated in the highway cleanups and generated about 70 garbage bags of refuse.

ITD and Simmons Sanitation disposed of the day's collection.

Mercer, who retired from the school district after more than 30 years of service, recently returned as superintendent. He suggested the cleanup to give children an opportunity to improve their community, develop a sense of responsibility and commitment, build character and work together in teams.

Kamiah schools participated in ITD’s Adopt-A-Highway program in the past, and through this reintroduction, Mercer hopes to participate again by “adopting” a two-mile segment of state highway near the school.

Published 5-20-2011