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Gear up for the Great American Cleanup
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 If you have ever driven down one of Newton County's many roads and felt angry at the sight of trash strewn in the collection ravines, now's your chance to do something about it.

Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful, along with the Covington chapter of the Kiwanis Club will conduct the Great American Cleanup on April 19. Those who wish to participate can choose to meet at one of four locations: Kroger on U.S. Highway 278 or Salem Road, the Wal-Mart Supercenter or at Mayfield Ace Hardware on the square.

"Everyone is encouraged to participate," said Kiwanis Covington club president Dave Larimer. "It's a great thing to get involved with the community in something like this. Anyone who wants to pick up trash is welcome to join us."

Businesses are also encouraged to participate. The Newton County Chamber of Commerce is handing out large, green bows for local businesses to display as a sign of support for the program.

 In what is dubbed as the "Green is the New Red, White and Blue" campaign, the Chamber is asking for participating businesses to clean around their buildings and help with the surrounding common areas.

 The event kicks off a month-long cleaning initiative throughout the county and falls in conjunction with Kiwanis' One Day. Volunteers receive T-shirts and a hearty meal before they begin work.

"We will provide breakfast to get the day started," said KCNB education program specialist Laurie Riley. "We will have trash bags, provide orange safety vests and may even have a few volunteers to help with larger clean-up areas."

 Kiwanis' One Day is a day annually set aside for club members to actively participate in their communities. This year, Keep Georgia Beautiful and the Georgia District Kiwanis have teamed statewide for One Day, and all surrounding areas will get in on the activities.

 "I called Dave Larimer and when I talked to him, he said was about to call me," said KCNB Director Connie Waller. "We had designated the 19th for our Great American Cleanup day and they designated the same day as One Day. It works out great. We're happy to have their support."

 Not only is Larimer planning to attend, he says he's bringing a contingent that has already found an area in need of a good once over.

 "We've adopted the area around City Pond Road and will be down there," Larimer said. "I've never been so excited about picking up trash."

According to Waller, KCNB board members will also be on hand to educate volunteers on conservation and recycling.

 "We decided to put a little different spin on things this year," she said. "The board members will be at our four locations from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. to give away items such as low-flow showerheads, rain gauges and reusable shopping bags. Our hope is to educate people on conservation efforts."

 Waller says she believes these items will not only help in conservation, but can be useful in determining the results of a large-scale effort. KCNB plans to survey volunteers who accept these items in hopes of measuring their effectiveness.

 In its 25th year, the Great American Cleanup promises to leave a green footprint. Still, Waller knows she needs as much help as she can get.

 "We hope businesses and individuals get onboard," she said. "I'm hoping the Key Club in the three high schools will participate as well as the Circle K club from Oxford College. We appreciate the Chamber of Commerce's involvement and everyone else who plans to participate.

 "We welcome anyone who wants to help keep Newton County beautiful."