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Beautifying Berlin one day (of caring) at a time

Evangeline (left) and Jase (right), children of Chelsea Begin of Berlin, were given certificates of excellence by the police department for picking up trash around Berlin. In the picture with them is Berlin Police Officer Joseph Priest. (Courtesy Photo) (click for larger version)
May 16, 2018
BERLIN Although the annual Day of Caring is being held this Friday, many groups have been dedicated to beautifying the town throughout the year.

The Berlin Police Department has recognized a number of groups and individuals who have gone around town picking up trash along the streets and in the parks. One mother, Chelsea Begin, and her two children make an effort several times during the spring to pick up trash that is revealed after the snow melts. Her children, Jase and Evangeline, were recognized by the police department and were given each an award for excellence. They collected 15 bags worth of trash recently.

"It was such an amazing experience for me and my children," said Begin. "I am one proud mother. I will tell you, my heart is melted. They are always doing good for our earth, and now they are heard and seen."

Unfortunately, picking up around town involves running into not-so-pleasant items. Some items may be hazardous or contain bacteria such as needles, used diapers and used condoms.

While the police public applaud any group or individual for picking up around town, they have posted a public guideline to follow with safety precautions:

Proper Attire:
 We recommend that if you'll be in an area close to the roadside, wear safety vests or bright colors. 
 Wear gloves to protect hands from sharp objects. Leather work gloves are suggested.

Highway Safety:
 Stay in the right of way. Only cross the roadway when necessary.
 Groups should keep 5 feet of distance from the pavement edge.
 Always work facing traffic. Never turn your back to oncoming cars. 
 Do not enter the roadway or its shoulder areas to pick up trash.

Hazardous Materials Very important! While we have not yet this year had reports of anyone finding what is known as the 'one-pot' or 'shake and bake' methods of producing methamphetamines it is common that the hazardous materials from this process to be discarded on roadsides. It is sometimes difficult to tell if these bottles are regular soda bottles or contain hazardous materials. One tell-tale sign is that the liquid has a sludge or discolored liquid in it, rather than a solid colored soda. These materials can be very volatile if handled, moved or disturbed in any way! They are extremely hazardous and can catch fire or explode. Do not touch them! Do not pick up anything that could be hazardous to your health! This includes needles, syringes, jagged glass, animal carcasses, or any other suspected hazardous material. If in doubt, leave it there and call the Police Department if you suspect it to a hazardous material.

The Berlin Main Street Program is once again looking for more volunteers for its annual Day of caring dedicated to cleaning up the downtown area. Work will involve raking, pruning, sweeping, mulching, weeding and planting at designated sites throughout town.

"For the past few years, this has been a very successful day with many volunteers joining in the task of cleaning up after a long winter," said Sylvia Poulin, of the Main Street Program, in a press release. "A few hours of time and some sweat equity is all it takes to make downtown Berlin look its best for the upcoming summer season."

Volunteers can meet with the committee at 9 a.m. at Bickford Place. A barbecue for all volunteers will be held there at noon time.

All participants should bring gardening supplies, if available, including gloves, brooms, rakes, wheelbarrows and other gardening hand tools you may have from home.

"As always, community volunteers are the key to the success of the project," said Poulin. "Individuals, groups, or families can spend just an hour, entire morning or afternoon. We hope you can join us this year. Your help is very much appreciated."

Groups or organizations can sign up to volunteer by emailing berlinmainsrteetprogram@gmail.com or by calling 752-6246 or 381-1520.

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