Lake Cumberland is a cleaner place, thanks to dedicated members of the community -- people who take "pride" in their surroundings.
The successful 2019 Eastern Kentucky PRIDE Spring Clean Sweep campaign helped get the area in shape for tourism season after a rough and rainy February which led to flooding and widespread debris. Local entities who pitched in the most were recognized Tuesday at the Pulaski County Fiscal Court meeting.
The Clean Sweep spanned the month of April, drawing in volunteers -- both individuals and organizations -- to help collect items littering the natural beauty of the area. Eastern Kentucky PRIDE (Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment) is an environmental organization spearheaded by U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers of Somerset that serves a 42-county area in the eastern part of the state.
Since the first Spring Clean-up in 1998, 440,408 volunteers have donated nearly 1.5 million hours to PRIDE cleanups, collecting 183,531 tons of trash plus 869,251 bags and 971,926 tires.
Danny Masten, solid waste coordinator for the county, said that this year, there were 1,261 volunteers for a total of 2,407 hours and 1,928 bags of trash cleaned up in April.
Most Clean Sweep volunteers picked up litter on April 18, but several groups volunteered on other days during the month. On April 18, all volunteer were invited to The Center for Rural Development for a free cook-out and drawing for door prizes.
The region-wide PRIDE Spring Clean-Up campaign is sponsored by Wal-Mart and Outdoor Venture Corp.
Tammie Nazario, president and CEO of Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, stopped by the Fiscal Court meeting to share information about how the April campaign went, and give plaques to local organizations with the highest participation rates.
"My favorite part of my job is, I get to recognize the volunteers who give so much of themselves to make (the clean-up successful)," said Nazario. "PRIDE has been very fortunate. We recruit between 25,000 and 30,000 volunteers a year."
She added, "This is by far our largest clean-up in all 42 counties, so that really says a lot about pride in this county."
Nazario also noted that the local effort continues to grow every year and this year was the biggest yet, thanks in large part to Pulaski's solid waste officials.
"We definitely could not do it without (Masten)," she said.
Participation awards given out included:
Community Volunteer Group
Runner-Up: Cub Scout Pack 184
Winner: Garland Bend Homeowners Association
Runner-Up: Meece Middle
Winner: Southern Middle
Runner-Up: New Life Industries
Winner: Kentucky Department of Transportation District 8
Pulaski County Judge-Executive Steve Kelley thanked Nazario and the volunteers for all they'd done to make the region a more attractive place.
"With all the rain and mud that we'd had early on in January and February, I've gotten so many compliments on how good the area looks, how clean the lake is," he said. "We've all come together and done a wonderful job ... I'm proud of the way we pulled together as a community to do that."
In other Fiscal Court business:
• The court approved permission to advertise for bids for rubber playground surfacing, oil, rubberized asphalt surfacing for Thurman Road. The court also gave permission to purchase new vehicles for the coroner's office and Pulaski County Fifth District Constable Mike Wallace (the latter to be paid for with drug forfeiture money).
• The court also approved changing the scheduled July 9 meeting to July 10 due to a bond hearing in Frankfort on the former date.
• The Pulaski County Animal Shelter got approval to apply for a matching grant from the Kentucky Cattleman's Association, which could be up to $3,000, and Pulaski County Sheriff Greg Speck asked permission to submit for a Department of Homeland Security 75-25 percent matching grant to help update the department's communication base for the goal of going digital in the future, for over $91,000.