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Lawrence prosecutor puts emphasis on littering laws

Mar. 14, 2013 @ 11:18 PM

IRONTON -- At a time when Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney Brigham Anderson is asking local law enforcement to strictly enforce littering laws, some efforts are under way to clean up along U.S. 52.

Anderson sent a letter to all law enforcement agencies in the county this week requesting their help in controlling the litter problem. He wants anyone caught littering to be cited in court where the prosecutor's office will seek maximum fines and community service cleaning up along county roads.

"As a lifelong resident of Lawrence County, I believe it is important that we make our county presentable not only for the citizens who live here, but for any businesses who may wish to locate here," Anderson said. "I am hoping to make our county a cleaner and safer place to live and work."

According to Ohio law, littering is punishable by fines of up to $500 and a maximum 60-day jail sentence. While Anderson may not seek jail time at the overcrowded Lawrence County Jail, prosecutors could ask for violators to be sentenced to community service.

One of the worst spots he's seen is along U.S. 52, Anderson said. "It's full of trash," he said. "I want to do something. We'll prosecute them to the fullest. This needs to be done."

County Commissioner Freddie Hayes Jr. echoed those sentiments Thursday during a Lawrence County Board of Commissioners meeting in Ironton. "Litter is terrible along the highway," he said. "I can't stand it. We want the county cleaned up."

Crews from the Lawrence Scioto Solid Waste District and those working community service out of Ironton Municipal Court collected nearly 100 bags of trash Thursday along U.S. 52, said Dan Palmer, solid waste director.

"We had about 15 people working," Palmer said. "We started at the Lawrence/Scioto line and went five miles into Lawrence County. We plan to work the 12-mile section between the county line and the Ashland bridges."

He contacted Ohio Department of Transportation officials, who agreed to pick up the bags of trash. Some local judges also have complained about the litter problem. Once the western part of the county is cleaned up, a similar project is planned for eastern Lawrence County.

"A number of people are working on this," Palmer said. "It's a group effort. It's everyone working together. The current conditions along U.S. 52 are totally unacceptable."

Operation TLC (Tidy up Lawrence County) has its first cleanup scheduled for Saturday in the Chesapeake, Proctorville and Rome Township areas. Volunteers are invited to participate in the cleanup for several hours on Saturday. Free coffee and doughnuts as well as free T-shirts for first-time participants will be available at 8:45 a.m. at the Chesapeake Community Center.

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