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More volunteers on board to keep Victoria beautiful

By KBell
April 2, 2011 at 3:05 p.m.
Updated April 1, 2011 at 11:02 p.m.

Volunteers with Keep Victoria Beautiful flock to the streets in the Inwood Terrace neighborhood Saturday morning. About 100 volunteers showed up for the organization's Clean Sweep, where they helped residents in 475 homes remove trash and debris from their yards.

One hundred volunteers, 475 homes and more than 1,000 people impacted.

With their mission accomplished, Keep Victoria Beautiful's Clean Sweep operation packed up an entire two hours before deadline.

"Victoria's becoming more aware and dedicated to keeping Victoria beautiful," said the organization's executive director, Thomas Yantis. "And not just the big Keep Victoria Beautiful, but the principles behind it."

The crew that gathered Saturday at Smith Elementary School to sweep through the Inwood Terrace neighborhood was the largest Yantis said he's seen as director.

"I feel with the steps the city's taking with Waste Management, more people want to get involved," he said.

At its March 22 meeting, the Victoria City Council gave the green light to negotiate curbside recycling and hazardous waste programs with the Waste Management company.

"It's beautifying the neighborhood in ways that are otherwise immeasurable," Yantis said.

School groups, businesses, other organizations and individuals canvassed door-to-door Saturday, helping people get rid of waste and debris in their homes and yards.

Everything from limbs to old furniture sat in neat piles on curbs around the neighborhood.

Several hours after the KVB crew left, 54-year-old Faustino Lopez was still picking up his yard.

The three-year resident of the neighborhood said he'd been meaning to get rid of some limbs and trash in his yard, and he appreciated the assistance.

"It helped a lot. I had a bunch of cardboard and stuff I was trying to get rid of," Lopez said.

While he waited for the large limbs to be collected from his curb, Lopez was gathering some smaller ones.

"It's a good excuse to come out and start working on the yard," he said.

Zuri Tolbert, a 14-year-old at West High School, said the enthusiastic crowd that showed up Saturday proved one thing.

"We love our community, pretty much," he said.

Zuri was with his friends from ROTC, Phillip Guzman, 17, and Ashley Sanchez, 16.

"It's always fun," Phillip said. "You never know what you're going to get out of it."

"Teamwork, fun, friendship, bonding," Phillip and Zuri rattled off.

Ashley got something a bit more tangible out of the experience.

She had folded up some leftover carpet squares, which she planned to take home for her dogs.

Phillip said he was going to relax for the rest of the day and laughed when Ashley said she wasn't so lucky.

"I have to go back home to do the same thing in my yard," she said.



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