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Litter punishment to fit crime in Athens
Residents found guilty of littering will join inmates in cleaning up city's trash

By Holly Hollman 340-2445

ATHENS — More than spring flowers will color Athens roadsides in coming weeks.

State and local inmates and those found guilty of littering will don orange or yellow safety vests and clean up the city.

The City Council on Monday approved a 2007 Litter Prevention Program, initiated by Councilmen Jimmy Gill and Ronnie Marks.

As part of the program, Marks said, the city may look at buying a $53,000 street sweeper/vacuum in fiscal 2008.

As for immediate action, the council voted to give the Police Department $7,000 to hire a retired officer to supervise a litter crew for about 20 hours a week. This crew would include inmates, those sentenced from Municipal Court who want to avoid fines or jail time, and those found guilty of littering who must do community service hours.

Marks said Limestone Correctional Facility Warden Billy Mitchem told him that in three to four weeks, he also would start providing an inmate litter crew of up to eight men to pick up litter in the city for three to four days a week.

In addition, the council approved allocating $8,000 to Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful.

KALB Director Lynne Hart said her organization has created Adopt-A-Spot to address 15 trouble areas, such as at U.S. 72 and Interstate 65 and at U.S. 72 and U.S. 31.

Hart said civic groups such as Boy Scouts and Big Brothers/Big Sisters are adopting these spots for a $300 donation from KALB. The city's allocation to KALB will go toward buying vests, gloves and bags for the civic groups and litter crews.

KALB plans to hold a litter prevention kickoff March 31 to educate the public about the program.

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