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 Friday, Aug. 22, the 234th day of 2014. There are 131 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: The ferry boat, Rock Island, having been put in good order at the boat yard is now making her regular trips, much to the gratification of those who have to cross the river. 1889 -- 125 years ago: W.J. Gamble, for many years superintendent of the Moline & Rock Island railway, leased the Fourth Avenue Hotel and renovated and refurnished it throughout. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Pending the building of new public schools or additions to the present ones to provide adequate room for all the children, the board of education decided that pupils younger than 6 years old would not be accepted in Rock Island schools. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The fifth annual New Windsor Fair and Horse show, which has been delayed for two days because of unfavorable weather, got off to a new start last night. The parade was held this morning. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The Rock Island County Fair and Rodeo will celebrate its silver anniversary this year. The fair opens Tuesday and will run through Saturday and offers entertainment and activity for young and old. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Earl Hanson School, Rock Island, joins the Program to Assist Latch Key Student, which aids working parents. PALS is a before and after school program for grades 1-6 in certain Rock Island public and private schools.