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W.Va. commissioner dumps on road trash

March 27, 1997

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - When Jefferson County Commissioner James K. Ruland drives home from Washington, D.C., one of the first things he sees as he crosses the state line is litter on the side of W.Va. 9.

"It's a holy mess," Ruland said at Thursday's County Commissioners meeting.

"You are assaulted visually by the trash on the road," Ruland said. "It's like we're living up to the stereotype we all hate."

Ruland said he would like to hear the community come up with suggestions for solving the problem at the next County Commissioners' meeting next Thursday night.

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Ruland said he would like to see business leaders and service organizations get involved with the state's adopt-a-highway program.

Signs are put up designating a two-mile stretch of road that is cleaned by various organizations or individuals.

With winter gone, trash that had been hidden under snow is now clearly visible, he said.

He said he'd also like to see nonviolent offenders sentenced to community service where they would be required to pick up trash off the highway.

"The idea is we have to do something rather than nothing," Ruland said.

Carl Schultz, of Charles Town, who attended Thursday's meeting, said he has "adopted" a scenic overlook where people often litter.

He said signs can be put up warning of fines for those who litter, but the police have more important business than going after litterers.

Schultz said cleaning up the trash is important in attracting investors to Jefferson County.

"If I was a Japanese investor, I'd say I wouldn't want to invest in a place that can't keep its own trash in order," he said.

Ruland said the county also has to start going after those who turn abandoned buildings into illegal trash dumps.

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