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Record number turnout for River Sweep event

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By Sharon Graves

A record crowd came out Saturday, June 20 for the annual Ohio River Sweep at Point Park, including a poster contest, a cookout, prizes and a general party atmosphere.

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River Sweep is an event that employs volunteers to clean the riverbank of the Ohio River and its tributaries by picking up trash that has been left or has accumulated because of flooding.  

Mud is always a factor during River Sweep and this year was no different with those returning with their trash bags filled and covered in mud from a few drops to a complete “what color were my socks” coating.  

Carrollton Main Street Program, joined by North American Stainless, Dow Corning, and the Community Advisory Panel, fund the project and supply the prizes for several categories. Carroll County Fiscal Court provides support through staff and equipment needed to load the garbage and haul it off from Point Park.

The crowd was overwhelming with the sign-in numbers showing that more than 200 people participated and was about 40 or more than in 2008, according to Sam Burgess, Main Street director.

The poster contest is part of River Sweep and this year the participation surpassed anyone’s expectations.  

“Whose river is it?” poster contest coordinator Evelyn Welch asked the large crowd Saturday at Point Park as she introduced the poster contest winners.  “Our river,” the crowd chanted back.

Posters were created in many classes in Carroll County schools or at home with Clean Water as the theme, and the shelter house at Point Park had all four walls absolutely covered with them.  Winning posters were entered into a national contest that will then use the national winning poster on the River Sweep t-shirt for next year.  

Local participants were judged in three age categories and each category had first, second, and third place winners and all winners were awarded savings bonds.

Poster contest winners received $300, $200 and $100 for first, second and third place winners in the K through third grade, fourth through seventh grade and eighth through twelfth grade categories.   

Many local residents also volunteered the use of their boats to go out on the river along the banks and collect trash and other refuse and bring it to shore.  

Greg Crowell was one such boater and he and his boat had a little mishap and had to be rescued by the Carroll County Rescue Squad.  Crowell’s 16-foot johnboat was overloaded near the front and it began to sink before he could get the trash off.

Crowell joked that his boat hadn’t taken on water, but merely went into submarine mode when the front end of it got too overloaded with all the trash he had collected.   No one was injured and Crowell re-told the story to listeners in line for  hamburgers and hot-dogs after the sweep ended.