By Ross Markman
There's the typical: bottles, cans, and food wrappers. And there's the not-so-typical: typewriters, Christmas trees and toilet seats.
Either way, these items all share one common thread. All are examples of trash found during the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce's annual Pride spring cleanup.
"It's amazing what people will chuck out in a ditch," said Kim Cripps, a local business owner who heads up the Chamber's Pride committee.
Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon is your chance to pitch in and help spruce up Havre. Garbage will be collected throughout town, from parking lots to ballparks to the Hill County Fairgrounds.
"It's everybody's problem. Litter keeps people from saying this is a nice place to live," Cripps said. "You wouldn't want me throwing trash in your front yard. Why not keep the whole town cleaned up so everybody can feel good about where they live, work and play."
Besides, it's also the law. The city's ordinance on littering says: "It shall be unlawful for any person to throw or deposit wastepaper, bottles, beverage containers, hay, waste, clothing, hats, boxes or other coarse or inflammable material or rubbish in any of the streets or alleys, or upon any sidewalk or any public grounds in the city."
The cleanup is one of two the Chamber spearheads. The other is in September prior to Havre Festival Days. This is the 10th year of Havre Pride, the last seven of which Cripps has coordinated.
"It started with the downtown business people and just kind of grew," she said. "Somehow I ended up in charge."
The Chamber provides five dump sites throughout the city and in North Havre. Trash can be taken to the North Havre Community Food Bank, Stromberg's Sinclair, the Sixth Avenue Ballpark lot, the VFW parking lot, and the Noon's in Highland Park.
People who want to supervise youths who are performing community service as part of a sentence can come to the Sixth Avenue Ballpark at 8:30 a.m. About eight volunteers are needed.
During last year's spring cleanup, about 1,000 20-gallon bags five Dumpsters worth of trash were collected. More than 100 people participated.
Prizes from various Havre merchants will be awarded to people who turn in the largest piece of trash and the most unusual. Each 20-gallon bag of trash earns the collector a 50-cent coupon redeemable at places like McDonald's, Taco John's, Pizza Hut and Yummy Yogurt.
Following the cleanup, at 12:30 p.m., participants will be treated to a free barbecue at the Havre Fire Department. Tickets for the barbecue will be distributed at the cleanup sites.
In addition to Pride Day, the Chamber also is accepting donations to purchase more of the $260 cedar trash containers for downtown Havre. The receptacles are maintained by the Havre Day Activity Center and dumped weekly by the city.
"The whole city and community of Havre are affected by the trash," Cripps said. "The cleanup is usually very successful. It's just community service, and picks up spring and gets us started."