By Janet Bresenham
The streets, alleys, parks and public areas in Portales received a spring cleaning Saturday, as children and adults fanned out across the city to pick up trash.
“This is our community, so we need to keep it clean,” said Portales City Council Member Dianne Parker, who co-chairs the annual clean-up event. “We had all ages, but we had a lot of kids show up, which is great. It helps them start noticing all the trash around them and being more aware of the need to keep our city looking good.”
More than 200 bags of garbage were collected by about 100 people during the Great American Cleanup Trash Bash for Portales, organized by Parker and co-chair Veda Urioste, an administrative assistant for the city of Portales.
Portales resident Bill Rice, who helped a Cub Scout pack collect trash Saturday on Spruce Street, said the boys had fun and learned a lot at the same time.
“I always tell them not to throw trash out, but now I think they can see why,” Rice said. “They were having a ball. They learn about how much trash is out there and they had fun with their friends hunting for treasures during the scavenger hunt.”
The “treasures” Saturday were pieces of garbage listed as scavenger hunt items that earned each team points toward a grand prize.
“The Cub Scouts were more excited about finding four road kill animals than anything else,” Rice said. “They found things like dead horned toads, along with all the rest of the trash.”
Road kill was one of the items on the scavenger hunt, along with trash such as milk cartons, gum wrappers, fast-food containers, beer bottles, cowboy boots, lighters, hairbrushes, watches, toys and cigarette packages.
“We designated different areas of the community that needed to be cleaned up,” Parker said. “Then, part of the fun was that the winner of the scavenger hunt with the most items gets $50.”
Boy Scout Troop 18 took home the grand prize.
Organizers said they were pleased that so many boys and girls took part in this year’s city clean-up effort.
“It teaches the younger kids that if we don’t throw so much trash out, it wouldn’t be there to have to pick up,” Urioste said. “Plus, an event like this just brings everybody together to have fun and have a relaxing day in the sun, while they’re helping clean up the city.”
The grand prize for having the most people on one team went to the Cub Scouts, who brought 30.
The team representing the Baptist Children’s Home captured the $50 grand prize for collecting the most bags of trash per team, coming in with 33 bags.
The morning concluded with a hot dog cookout in City Park outside the Memorial Building.
Valencia Elementary was voted as the cleanest campus.