Please don't trash our town
This past July as I drove along Lakeshore Drive on my way out of town, I couldn't help but marvel at the wonderful job our Storm Lake Parks Department had done in maintaining our beautiful lakeside parks in anticipation of the next day's Star Spangled Spectacular celebration. I had mixed feelings about leaving, and as I glanced over at the sparkling blue waters, the magnificent diversity of trees, the charming statues of the Paxton girls, the expanses of well-kept green lawns, and the vibrant and exquisite Kolb Gardens, I felt extremely fortunate to be a part of a community with a tradition of providing plenty of natural outdoor space for the pleasure of the public. However, I was registered to run in a competitive U.S.A. Track & Field certified 8K that was an important part of my yearly racing goals, so I motored on with regrets for missing a premier event showcasing Storm Lake at its best.
The following afternoon when I returned, I was stunned when I noticed that a complete and shocking transformation had occurred. Our beautiful town had been trashed! Although numerous trash receptacles and dumpsters were located strategically and conveniently throughout the entire park system, garbage was strewn everywhere. Candy wrappers, food containers, plastic bottles, chewed gum, and other junk littered the roadside and grassways. I was outraged that there must have been hundreds or thousands of people who were incredibly inconsiderate, lazy, and disrespectful lawbreakers. But I was also mystified that so many others would witness such despicable conduct and say nothing.
I realize that some of the trash was generated by children grabbing and gobbling up candy from the parade, however, I would think that parents and caretakers would monitor the behavior of their small charges and not encourage them to become future criminals of America. After all, littering is illegal, and the last time I checked, it is punishable by a $70 fine.
My hope is that the public would be reminded that littering is an intolerable activity and that offenders should be prepared to be prosecuted. Perhaps a notice in the Storm Lake monthly utility bills could caution people about not breaking the law as the upcoming homecoming parade season approaches.
And I was impressed by the tremendous clean-up effort our parks crew had performed by the next day, however, I would think they have enough to do without criminals adding to their workload.