Volunteers spearhead tire cleanup

Ed Palaguto, a volunteer with Friends of the Mahoning River, loads tires into a truck that were collected during a cleanup of the stream. 

About 70 tires were collected from the banks and shallows of the Mahoning River in Lawrence County Saturday during a cleanup by the Friends of the Mahoning River. 

The effort focused on a stream section between the Beyond Corporation LLC boat access area in Hillsville and the Mckinney-Russell Boat Access Area near Covert Road. 

More than 20 volunteers in canoes, kayaks, fishing boats and a white water raft participated in the event, also picking up empty bottles, vinyl lawn chairs, plastic barrels and other trash. 

Two members of the organization, along with restoration and preservation committee chairman Tom Smith and his son Drew, who had paddled the stream section in early August and counted more than 100 tires at the bottom of the river.

Former assistant county planning director Doniele Russell put the club in contact with the people needed to organize the event. They included Megan Gahring, deputy Lawrence-Mercer Recycling/Solid Waste Department director and member of Tri-County CleanWays, who provided a truck to collect the waste tires and trash from multiple points along the river.

County recycling/solid waste Jerry Zona, John Kulnis, Rebecca Shaffer of the county planning department and the Mahoning Township supervisors cleared an access area along the river.

Bridgestone Americas Inc. agreed to collect the tires for recycling. Soils Inc., a company located on the river near Edinburg, granted access to the river, provided equipment and labor and a staging area for the tires to be picked up. 

Friends of the Mahoning River and Tri-County CleanWays are planning future tire and trash collections from the river next year. Anyone who wants to support or volunteer for the efforts may visit the Facebook pages of the two organizations.

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