Reserve Saturday morning, Jan. 31 to join us for the all-volunteer community beach cleanup at 9:30 a.m. Every major beach approach will have a cleanup coordinator just waiting to greet and direct walk-on volunteers. Adopt-a-beach groups will head for their assigned section and work wonders within a few hours. This is the yearly cleanup that produces the most 'off shore' garbage that washes in with our winter storms. Make sure you have good gloves and dress for the weather, which is pretty darn unpredictable at the end of January. Some cleaners even carry small shovels with them as we also see so much semi-buried debris from our winter winds. This is also the only cleanup each year when we can get up to Leadbetter Wildlife Reserve to clean. Since it is a once-a-year effort, extra volunteers are needed to tackle the year's accumulation in the sands there.

Linda Bierma will now be our truck/trash coordinator to better manage the garbage pickup process. We even hope to have HAM radio operators working with her to better identify any areas along our long 28-mile stretch that is not being cleaned. With such good and instant communication, we hope to send volunteers from the beach approaches to these 'missed' areas in need of cleaning.

It will help if anyone who plans to drive for bag pickup on Jan. 31 will notify Shelly at (shelly@ourbeach.org) or 665-5388. Tell her which approach you will start from, your name, phone number, type of vehicle and about how long you will be available. We couldn't get the job done without our terrific "truck force" so we want to eliminate going over areas that have been done and make it as easy for you as possible.

Friday night, Jan. 30, we have a special treat for our potluck dinner guests. Dinner will start at 5 p.m. followed by a special presentation at 5:45 p.m. by Joanne Rideout from The Columbia River Ship Report. She will discuss what cargo passes through these waters and the Columbia River and the volume of the various cargo types. She has some very interesting statistics to share as well as some good stories of cargo gone astray. Hope to see you there!

Get warmed up after the cold cleanup adventure on that Saturday with some hot soup at the Peninsula Senior Center. Soup and accompaniments will be served from 11:30 a.m. to around 1 p.m. We will draw the winner of the raffle that is part of the Grass Roots Garbage Gang Month at the 42nd Street Café during the soup feed.

A note to parents of teenagers looking for 'community service' credit at their high school. This beach cleanup is a good way for these high school students to get some community service credit at school. If they bring the community service note with them, beach approach coordinators will be happy to sign the note after the student has participated in the beach cleanup. They may be even surprised at how much garbage sits on our beach - a first-hand way to learn about littering impacts.

January is Grass Roots Garbage Gang Month at 42nd Street Cafe

For the entire month, every Tuesday night the 42nd Street Café will set aside 10 percent of their sales to donate to the Grass Roots Garbage Gang, the local non-profit that the cafe is supporting this month. This is a perfect opportunity to dine on great food while benefiting the volunteer beach cleanup organization. As part of that effort, a wine gift basket will also be raffled to raise extra funds for our group. Other wonderful prizes may be raffled as well; be sure to check them out at the cafe! The winner will be picked at the soup feed on Saturday, Jan. 31.

The restaurant started their month-long focus on local non-profit community groups on Jan. 1. This replaces the Community Night they hosted once a month. They picked the Grass Roots Garbage Gang as their first community group. We can't thank Blaine and Cheri Walker and the "Fools for Flavor" at 42nd Street Café enough for their generosity.

Dumpsters and dump fees sponsorship neededWith our government budgets tightening, we are unsure of our dumpster and dump fees being covered for the upcoming 2009 cleanups. We are hopeful, but still feel it is prudent to have a backup plan. Call it Plan B. Do you know of an organization that would sponsor a dumpster or two each year (cost is approximately $400 per dumpster per cleanup) or buy garbage bags? If so, please contact Shelly Pollock at shelly@ourbeach.org. Remember, the gang can find helping hands and community organizations and businesses provide many supplies and facilities, but dump fee provision is THE critical lifeline to sustaining this great volunteer effort in our coastal community! Thank you for any effort you can contribute to our backup plan.

Adopt-a-Beach Groups Needed

We always seem to have some 'empty' sections of beach that have not been adopted by a group. Maybe a section is calling your name. If you and your family, or neighborhood or business organization, community group, church group or social group have an interest in committing to cleaning a short section (generally 1/2 mile) during three beach cleanups per year, please contact Shelly at shelly@ourbeach.org to discuss it. It is fun to work together in community service and great exercise.

Thank you everyone and we'll see you on the beach!

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