Citywide cleanup day was different under COVID-19
Nome’s annual Spring Cleanup took place last week and looked slightly different from past years because of concessions to the COVID-19 virus. The dump trucks were parked at three locations on Saturday only and all week the city’s monofill site was open from noon until 9 p.m. so citizens could deliver their trash directly.
“I think people are liking it once they get the idea,” said Cheryl Thompson, executive assistant to the city manager. “Once they load it in their truck they can just dump it, rather than haul it up to the dump trucks.”
In the past, the amount of litter surrounding the parked dump trucks posed a problem. In order to minimize the size of crowds the Bering Sea Lions Club, which usually hosts a hot dog, soda and chips lunch, handed out from the Lions Club’s remodeled bus did not roll this year. No hot dogs this year, but the raffle for the bicycles of the Clean Up Day tradition was in full force. Five bikes were raffled to kids who picked up at least 12 bags of trash. Additionally, there were five gift cards of $25 each donated by the Talking Circle group, which meets at Norton Sound Hospital.
“We’ve had less activity than other years because we weren’t sure what we were going to do,” said Thompson. “A lot of people did pick up trash. But it’s not as active as past years.”
Silas Wade was the man at the dump truck parked near Nome Public Works. “I’ve been here since 11:30 and have had not too much traffic,” said Wade. People had been coming by and dropping off wood. Wade was salvaging discarded containers for use by Nome’s community garden.
At the Port of Nome, Patty Burchell was not so busy although she’d had one family drop off three loads. They’d been picking up trash around NACTEC and on the roads around town. Burchell had her dog Jasper with his frisbee to keep her company.
As the day wound up, Cheryl Thompson observed that with COVID-19 it was a different Clean Up Day. “I’m thinking the monofill being open and people hauling their trash to the monofill will probably be the new plan,” she said “It seemed to work out really well. There’s a lot less mess than what would end up around the trucks. So that will probably be what’s done in the future.”
The drawing for the bicycles began with City Manager Glenn Steckman assisting. The first bike went to Lallaurauq Ahvakana, the second to the Anvil City Science Academy. School Principal Lisa Leeper and her crew of six young men brought in a lot of trash. She said she’d have a drawing to determine which of the guys would get the bike. Joetta Hubert won a bike. The fourth bike went to Harry Karmun and the fifth to Denali and Dylan Walrath.