Just as the mounds of salt- and soot-blackened snow had all but melted away, laying bare the awful mess they had hidden throughout a frigid winter, a well-timed plea arrived in our mailbag.
It was from Rock Island volunteer and cheerleader Bobby O. Jackson. In his letter, which appears in Viewpoints today, he issues a welcome call to action: Clean up this mess! He's trying to organize Rock Island volunteers to join him in picking up the trash, especially in the city's west end.
It got us thinking that Rock Island isn't the only city in need of serious spring cleaning thanks to our slovenly winter ways. Also in Viewpoints today, local columnist Frank Mullen III, for example, laments what winter, litter and, well, doggy deposits, have done to his yard.
Like him, we don't at all like what we see, whether it is in his hometown of Aledo, Mr. Jackson's Rock Island, Moline, East Moline, Silvis or the surrounding area.
Fortunately there IS something we all can do about it and all it requires is a little time. If you own a messy property, please clean it up. Help a neighbor clean up theirs. Spread the good will by joining a citywide effort. Here are a few:
-- In Moline, Doug House, general manager of municipal services, told us that members of the city's 13 local Neighborhood Partnership Committees are busy scheduling neighborhood cleanups and the city has been contacting volunteers to participate in Moline's annual Earth Day cleanup.
Their target is common areas such as roadway right of ways, ravines and parks. Please consider joining volunteers from Keep Moline Beautiful-affiliated groups including Adopt A Park, Adopt A Street, Garden Guardians, Blue Can Group. Those who take part in the cleanup will be feted at a volunteer appreciation picnic at Prospect Park. If you're interested in joining the April 26 Earth Day event, call Rodd Schick (524-2410) for more information
In the meantime, a third-shift crew has been blowing and sweeping medians and downtown areas to start the clean-up process, Mr. House said. A city street sweeper is at work, though the leaf vacuuming trucks are not, as was earlier and incorrectly reported.
-- In East Moline, the annual spring cleanup is April 14-18.
According to the city website, residents should put collection items at the curb by 7 a.m. on their regular garbage collection day. Do not include big appliances, tires, hazardous waste, construction material, TVs or yard waste. For questions, call the East Moline Maintenance Department at 309-752-1573.
East Moline also will have a free yard waste pickup every Wednesday through April 30. The city isn't providing the paper yard waste bags you must use, but you do not have to put stickers on the bags on those dates.
-- In Rock Island, the city is once again providing free leaf collection for its residential refuse customers beginning Monday and running through Friday, April 25. (You don't have to be participants in the Yard Waste Subscription Service to use the service and you don't have to put a sticker on the yard waste bags.)
The city also is furnishing bags, while supplies last, at no cost. You can get them Monday through Friday at locations including the Public Works Department, Rock Island City Hall, Martin Luther King Center, South Rock Island Township Office, Rock Island Township Assessor's Office, Sunset Marina Office and the Community Caring Conference. You must provide proof of Rock Island residence through a photo ID or official mail to get free bags, and they are limited to 20.
Keep Rock Island Beautiful and the Downtown Rock Island Arts & Entertainment District also are planning the Annual Downtown Clean Up on Saturday, May 5. Contact Keep Rock Island Beautiful at 786-1334 to volunteer.
-- In Silvis spring cleanup began Monday and includes bulk pickup.
To find out about cleanups and services in your community, call your local government offices or visit their websites.
Or just roll up your sleeves and get started on your own or recruit family and friends. However you can, help our communities shake off the last bit of nastiness of this long winter and set the stage for another glorious spring!
Today is Thursday, July 31, the 212th day of 2014. There are 153 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: A corps of surgeons now occupies the new hospital quarters at the Garrison Hospital on the Rock Island Arsenal. A fence has been installed to enclose the prison hospital. 1889 -- 125 years ago: B. Winter has let a contract to Christ Schreiner for a two story brick building with a double store front on the south side of 3rd Avenue just west of 17th Street. The estimated cost was $4,500. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Germany sent simultaneous ultimatums to Russia and France, demanding that Russia suspend mobilization within 12 hours and demanding that France inform Germany within 18 hours. In the case of war between Germany and Russia, France would remain neutral. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Civil service offices at the post office and the Rock Island Arsenal were swamped as more than 700 youths sought 15 machinist apprenticeships at the Arsenal. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Last night, American Legion Post 246 in Moline figuratively handed over the trousers to a female ex-Marine and petticoat rule began. Olga Swanson, of Moline, was installed as the first woman commander of the post . 1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illinois Quad City Civic Center captured the excitement and interest of a convention of auditorium managers this weekend in Reno, Nev. Bill Adams, civic center authority chairman, said the 10,000-seat arena planned for downtown Moline has caught the eye of construction firms, suppliers, management teams and concession groups.