• Citizens Rally After Litter Volunteer is Injured

    Bruce Cowan, one-time Volunteer of the Year for his efforts at litter control and weed abatement, was injured while “on duty” on the day after Christmas, 2015. He was picking up litter at Rip Van Winkle park (also known as The Dog Park because dogs are allowed to be off-leash there.) and walked into a fallen tree.

    Bruce Cowan grooming city Hall

    Bruce Cowan grooming city Hall

    As he put it in a letter to us, “I emptied my can [of litter] into the garbage container near the parking lot, and was getting ready to walk up to my car parked at the school on David Ave. about two blocks uphill. The route looked clear from my perspective. But there was a dead oak bent way over, with a 25-ft. trunk arching about 6 feet above the ground. Kids and dogs could run and play around it easily, but not tall people! I didn’t see it because the bill on my cap hid it from my eyes, and suddenly Wham!!”
    Cowan hit his head and was knocked onto his back. Luckily, a man named Al Saxe saw the incident and took Cowan to the hospital, where it was learned that he had broken a fibula. Now he is wearing a bootlike cast on his lower leg and foot and it appears he will be laid up for a couple of months.
    The tree, which was “bone dead” as Public Works Director Dan Gho put it, had never been reported and was well off the beaten path, deep in the woods. Gho and the City Arborist, Al Weissfuss, had the tree removed immediately.
    But what about the litter? After Cedar Street Times made a posting on Jan. 2 on social media, hundreds of people responded. Many said they would help pick up the litter right away and described the routes they would take.
    Dan Gho pointed out that Bruce Cowan voluntarily picked up litter and dog messes on other pieces of City property: the Museum, the Library, City Hall the Police Station, and more. He expressed hope that more citizens would rally to make up for the hundreds of hours Cowan used to volunteer. Otherwise, Public Works staff will be doing litter patrol, which not only costs the citizens money but takes staff away from other duties.
    Cowan is expected to recover. It is also hope that those who leave the litter behind in Rip Van Winkle Park and other public areas will recognize the ramifications of their actions and stop littering. Litter in other areas is known to blow downhill into the Monterey Bay Sanctuary.
    One woman expressed concern that her neighbor blows dead leaves into the sewer and she wondered if that was advisable. It is not.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on January 4, 2016

    Topics: Front PG News

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