To the point week of 6-30-11

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ONE MAN’S TRASH IS ANOTHER MAN’S treasure – but sometimes another man’s trash is, well, another man’s trash.

The community recently held a communitywide yard sale; and with summer there are a lot of people who are cleaning out their basements or garages or houses. We are blessed to be a society that has lots of “stuff”, so much in fact, that we often have to clean out and rid ourselves of it.

We also live in a community and a society where we generally dislike the idea of simply throwing stuff away. If there’s someone who can use our stuff, then we want them to have it.

But sometimes, even our best intentions go astray.

There are buildings in the county who work to take items and repurpose them then get them to those in need. They gratefully accept donations from around the area.

The problem comes when well meaning people don’t stop to think about what they are doing or what they are leaving when they fill their trucks or trunks and head for a center.

Take for example, the store on Walnut Street in Vevay that is operated by the Southeastern Indiana Solid Waste District. The store, since it opened, has been a godsend to many people in need in our county.

But, recently, things have gotten rather “out of control”.

Officials from SISWD say that well meaning people have been dropping of loads of items, all while the store is closed. Workers show up to find piles and piles of items, sometimes stacked neatly and sometimes scattered everywhere. Many times there is so much stuff left outside that the staff can’t wade through it.

But sometimes it’s worse.

If the area is hit with rain in the time span between drop off and the opening of the store, workers show up to find piles of wet, useless trash. Boxes have been soaked to the point that they fall apart when someone tries to pick it up, so there’s nothing to do except throw everything away.

That in itself causes a problem because what do you do with all of it? Think of the number of trash bags that workers would have to use just to rid themselves of all of that wet, messy stuff.

Not too pleasing a picture, is it?

Sometimes it’s worse.

We don’t like to think about this, but sometimes there are people who associate “free stores” with “free trash”.

They take things they don’t want, and things that no one would want, because – quite frankly – it’s just trash. But instead of taking their trash to the curb, they take it to a free store and dump it in the parking lot.

I guess the feeling is that as long as no one’s around and no one sees you, then it’s okay to just dump a load of trash in the parking lot of a group of people who are simply trying to help people who need it.

The people at the Southeastern Indiana Solid Waste District’s store here in Vevay are very grateful for the community’s generosity; just like the people who volunteer at the pantry in Allensville or Quercus Grove or other places.

But if we want these organizations to continue to help members of our community who need their help, then we need to stop dumping our trash in the parking lots and stuff that we know isn’t useful in front of the door.

Their job isn’t to discard your trash, it’s to help people.

Let’s help them help others.

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Yes, the traffic at Saturday’s Sprint Cup race was horrible, but Bruton Smith or anyone else who thinks things are going to be fixed before next year is fooling themselves.

You can’t build additional lanes on an Interstate highway in 12 months. Heck, they won’t have the engineering study done a year from now, let alone advertising for bids and stuff like that. It just isn’t going to happen in 2012.

With that said, I think a solution is one that could involve Switzerland County.

When my friend Rob Daugherty and I went to the PGA Golf Championship at Valhalla Golf Course in Louisville several years ago, we parked in designated lots that were about 15 miles from the golf course. Once we were parked, along with hundreds of other fans we got on charter buses, which had designated bus routes to the course and then back out. Our parking lot was numbered, and we were told before leaving for the day that we should look for a bus in the evening with a large number coinciding with our parking lot.

Once the round ended, we walked out, found our line of buses with our number, boarded, and rode back to our car.

I know that the PGA is a far cry from a NASCAR race, but in the short term the solution appears to be parking people away from the track (at the Switzerland County Business Park, perhaps?) and then moving them en masse to and from the track. Park a couple of hundred cars here and at some other strategic locations; create specific lanes so that the charter buses and get in and out easily so that they can make several trips, and it may just be enough to ease the parking disaster that everyone saw this past Saturday.

In the grand scheme of things, 12 months is a flash in the passage of time. Now is the time to be proactive and step forward with solutions that could be beneficial to the county both in terms of exposure and also financially.

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The Switzerland County 4-H Fair is about to get underway, and here’s a plug for everyone to come down to the fairgrounds and enjoy the event.

Many people agree that our future is only as bright as the young people who will lead it; and I’m here to tell you that if you’re skeptical about today’s youth, you only need to come to the fairgrounds and see the hardwork and dedication that 4-H members have in preparing their projects.

Come and walk through the Exhibit Hall; head over to the Commercial Building and get some ice cream from the Farm Bureau and place a couple of bids at the silent auction. Then walk through the midway, pause for a moment and watch the children having fun on the rides; and then move on to the show arena, where you’ll find judging and competition and fun.

A night (or two) at the fair is a fun way to spend some quality family time together; so come on down to the fairgrounds and support these tremendous young people.