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Legislator: Keep Those Butts Off Our Roads, Lots

By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO — May 8, 2007 — Sullivan County Legislator Jodi Goodman expressed her displeasure with butts Thursday.
Cigarette butts, to be specific.
“We have butts everywhere,” she lamented during the Legislature’s Public Works Committee meeting in Monticello. “People don’t think cigarette butts are litter… Not only are they [litter], they are hazardous.”
She wasn’t just talking about the dangers of indiscriminately throwing a still-burning cigarette onto dry grass along area roadways. There’s an environmental impact even with the extinguished variety.
“People don’t realize each butt has a fiberglass filter,” explained Sullivan County Recycling Coordinator Bill Cutler.
And that filter lasts around 200 years, he said.
“It’s just horrific,” continued Goodman. “People are even emptying their ashtrays in parking lots!”
What can be done? Awareness, for one, said those at the meeting.
But, added a proud Cutler, this is where the annual Litterpluck can make a difference – and it now will arrive twice a year.
Volunteer Litterpluckers spent a recent weekend cleaning up their streets in preparation for a busy summer. Come September 29, they’ll be doing it again for a more pristine fall and winter.
Such a fall Litterpluck will be a first for the county, said Cutler, who hopes to see similar results this spring: 786 bags of trash collected.
In other legislative news
Speaking of trash, the Sullivan County Landfill has less than three years of life at current capacity, explained Director of Solid Waste Management John Kehlenbeck during Thursday’s Public Works Committee meeting.
The county is constructing a new cell that has been the focus of controversy and legal action, but Kehlenbeck warned that any further delays would likely leave the landfill with a complete lack of space.
“You’re going to be right at the wire,” he told legislators, speaking of how soon the new cell will be able to take in garbage. “It’s going to be extremely tight.”
During the General Services Committee meeting, Sullivan County Community College President Mamie Howard Golladay reassured legislators that the college does have a safety plan, and that it is reviewed regularly.
Concerns had been raised by Goodman at last month’s meeting in light of the Virginia Tech shootings.
Golladay said 9/11 and a mailing of white powder to SCCC had demonstrated its security system works well, although she added that the college will be replacing its fire alarm system “to bring it up to code.”
She’s also seeking a “backup counselor” to assist the college’s sole responder to mental health issues, but she cautioned that any more aggressive procedures could be problematic.
“Privacy is a huge issue,” Golladay related, explaining that even calling an over-18 student’s parents about a troublesome situation could legally endanger the college.
Then again, Golladay said common sense should be the rule – referencing just such a recent situation.
“I told someone, ‘They can sue me. I’m calling the parents,’” she recalled.

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