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June 17, 2013

CLEAN SWEEP: River sweep brings out hundreds in Floyd and Clark Counties

> SOUTHERN INDIANA —

From the formation of the Ohio River in Pittsburgh, Pa. to Cairo, Ill., people took to its banks Saturday to help clean up the waterway.

The Ohio River sweep marks the end of stormwater awareness week in both Clark and Floyd Counties and is a volunteer event designed to clean the banks of the river through six states. A program organized by Cincinnati-based ORSCANO gets people from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois to clean about 3,00 miles of shoreline, said Carol Huff, with Clarksville Storm Water and the Clark County Ohio River sweep coordinator.

She said civic organizations, church groups, scout troops, families and individuals all took to the Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville to participate in the event.

More than 100 volunteers had checked in early Saturday morning just at the Falls of the Ohio, and combined with the other locations operating throughout the county — Ashland Park, Lapping Park and Charlestown State Park — more than 200 volunteers were expected.

“This is a source of clean water for our area and if we don’t keep that clean, it costs more money, the problems we’ll have with pollution,” Huff said. “Anything that’s left on the ground goes through the stormwater drainage system ... and winds up in our rivers and in our streams. We want to keep that clean for the environmental purpose and for the aquatic life, as well.”

Deb Ashack, Jeffersonville stormwater coordinator who was helping in the clean up at the Falls of the Ohio, said the river sweep is a great event to get people out to see how much trash is in the river.

“It’s to raise awareness about the river ... and how much stuff that is not thrown in the river ends up in the river,” she said. “If it’s on the ground, it’s in the water.”

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Judy Lunsford works on a lesson plan for her students with fellow teachers, Ellen Rothstein and Adam Stephens, in her classroom at Northaven Elementary in Jeffersonville Wednesday afternoon. Lunsford, a new addition to Northaven, will be teaching second grade.

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