Friday, April 01, 2005



Can't believe it's Friday and I haven't posted since Sunday! Just been SOOOOO busy!

Tomorrow is our tenth annual river bank cleanup. We expect about 150 people to show up, and I am cooking lunch for them all!.

If you have ever been to South Bend, you know that probably the best thing about our fair city is the St. Joseph River, which flows through the heart of town. Because of it, we have a beautiful river walk, a white water course that attracts kayakers form around the world, and a rapidly revitalizing downtown (which is where, I'm proud to say, I live). Unfortunately, some of us appreciate the river more than others! So every year we have a river clean up, and fill two industrial sized dumpsters with refrigerators, tires, trash, and the fetid, abandoned clothes of the homeless. It is a dirty, cold job, and we try to reward those who participate by providing them with a hot meal afterwards. Nothing fancy, just hot dogs, smoked sausage, chips and pop. but the logistics of getting this stuff cooked where there is no potable water or electricity is still a bit of a challenge.

The way we operate the cleanup is a bit interesting. We station work crews with trash bags all along the river. We have two canoes filled with supplies (extra bags, water, rope, etc.) that spend the entire five hours cruising up and down the river. About three hours later, we launch 4 large rafts. These are constructed by strapping 12' x 16' platforms across 2 canoes. We then float the rafts down river, collecting the bags and tires and refrigerators gathered by the workers. The FRIENDS OF THE ST. JOE RIVER have been sponsoring this clean up for ten years now, and are really getting it down to a science! We get great sponsorship help from the local businesses, especially Martins Supermarkets, The Landing nightclub, and the Oaken Bucket restaurant.

I am really looking forward to this event. Not only do you get to hang out with a bunch of great people, but the results are so gratifying! Hopefully, Mother Nature will cooperate!

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