• Fighting Litter in Sumter County

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    Fighting Litter in Sumter County


    Dec. 18, 2021
    Dec 20 2021 Litter cleanup Dalzell United Methodist Church Group 1
    A team from Dalzell United Methodist Church cleaned up a portion of Black River Road on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, as part of a Community Clean Up Day sponsored by Sumter County Government, the City of Sumter and the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce. Public Works Director Karen Hyatt and Cindy Schumpert, a newly hired Litter Control Officer, were on hand to support the efforts.

    Dec 20 2021 Litter cleanup Dalzell United Methodist Church Group 2

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    Dec. 15, 2021
    Dec 15 2021 Litter Picker Pinewood 1
    Sumter County’s newest piece of equipment used to fight litter was deployed on Dec. 15, 2021, around the Pinewood Road Recycling Center. We appreciate the assistance of the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office with traffic control. If you see litter crews along the roadways, please slow down. Also, please don’t litter.

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    Dec. 2, 2021
    Dec 13 2021 Litter Picker on 521 North 4

    Dec 13 2021 Litter Picker on 521 North 1

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    Dec 13 2021 Litter Picker on 521 North 3
    The new Litter Picker is used to clean up the median of U.S. 521 North near Frierson Road.


    Nov. 15, 2021
    Nov 15 2021 Sumter Litter Advisory Board 2
    Sumter Litter Advisory Board Chairman the Rev. Ernest Frierson speaks during a Nov. 15, 2021, meeting.
    Nov 15 2021 Sumter Litter Advisory Board 1
    Sumter County Public Works Director Karen Hyatt speaks during a Nov. 15, 2021, meeting about new equipment.
    Nov 15 2021 Sumter Litter Advisory Board 3
    City of Sumter Litter Control Officer Glenn Button gives an update during a Nov. 15, 2021, meeting.
    Nov 17 2021 Sumter Litter Control Officer Tim Smith 2
    Sumter County Litter Control Officer Tim Smith and Public Works Director Karen Hyatt.

    The Sumter Litter Advisory Board heard updates from the City of Sumter and Sumter County Government as a major marketing rollout takes shape.

    Comprised of volunteers, the newly formed board elected at its September meeting the Rev. Ernest Frierson as Chairman, Scott Burkett as Vice Chairman and Beverly Davis as Secretary/Treasurer. Also serving on the board are Barbara Richburg, Russell Brannon, Joe Brown, Erika Williams, Chris Hardy, Sandra Riley, Sheriff’s Office Deputy Joey Rogerson and Sumter Police Capt. Robert Singleton.

    Serving as Ex-Officio members who advise but don’t vote are: County Councilman Charles Edens, City Councilman Steve Corley, Sumter County Administrator Gary Mixon and City Manager Deron McCormick.

    Formation of the LAB came about as the pandemic worsened the litter situation throughout the county and both local governments devised new ways to address the problem. For over a year now, the City of Sumter has had Glenn Button serving as the Litter Control Officer while the County is adding similar positions and new equipment.

    At the Nov. 15, 2021, meeting, Glenn Button reported on recent cleanups, grant-funded initiatives, court-directed community service efforts and more. The next Community Clean-up Day is Dec. 18, he noted, as civic groups target specific areas in a concerted effort to improve our community’s aesthetics.

    A Volunteer Appreciation Day is in the works, he said, to show appreciation toward all those working to rid Sumter of litter.

    Sumter County Public Works Director Karen Hyatt told the board she’s still in process of hiring litter-specific staffers as the new Litter Control Officer, Tim Smith, begins his tenure. The county also took out its new Litter Picker on a test run and Hyatt showed a video of the new device, which essentially rakes the ground with moving tines to pick up debris. The new device does pick up organic matter such as grass and she noted there’s a learning curve to the equipment.

    A support crew is needed for the Litter Picker and Mixon explained how it was used along U.S. 378/Broad Street across from Shaw Air Force after the S.C. DOT had recently cut the grass. When driven over taller grass, though, it picked up trash just fine but didn’t capture organic matter.

    Councilman Corley talked about how he saw smaller litter crews picking up litter with the use of all-terrain Gator-type vehicles on a trip to Florida.

    Barbara Richburg reported on a late October Marketing Subcommittee meeting in which the board’s online presence was discussed, along with using a logo and slogan – Love Where You Live -- created by the City of Sumter. A Facebook page for the Sumter Litter Alliance created by Burkett about five years ago will transition to become the Sumter Litter Advisory Board’s page, she said.

    Also discussed by the Marketing Subcommittee were purchasing cloth bags to hand out at public events, and Burkett also proposed having bags available at convenience stores to prevent littering.

    Both Mixon and McCormick underscored how the LAB will have support from the City of Sumter and Sumter County Government even as it becomes an independent entity, possibly with 501©3 non-profit status.

    Frierson noted that there will be continued work on the public outreach aspect as he advocated for collaboration.

    Riley said the S.C. DOT held two fall pickups recently and collected 210 bags of garbage. The next pickup will be in the Spring, and she noted mowing season has ended for the DOT.

    Joe Brown passed out a map and advocated for splitting the county into quadrants with rotating cleanups.

    Mixon and Councilman Edens spoke briefly about a program in Pickens that uses grants to pay civic or church groups to clean up targeted areas for $250 a mile.

    The next meeting of the Sumter Litter Advisory Board will be held on Jan. 24, 2022. Frierson told the group he wants everyone to be “on the same mindset.”

    “That we have one common goal, here for Sumter -- the City and County,” he said. Frierson paraphrased an earlier comment from McCormick, that the focus is Sumter, “and I’m not talking about the City or County, but Sumter. That we come together and give it all we got.”

    Nov. 12, 2021
    Nov 12 2021 Sumter Litter Picker 1
    Sumter County's newest equipment to fight litter is a Litter Picker that's pulled by a tractor.
    Nov 12 2021 Sumter Litter Picker 9

    Sept. 20, 2021
    Sept 21 2021 Litter Advisory Board at Patriot Park Pavilion 1
    The Rev. Ernest Frierson speaks during a Sept. 20, 2021, board meeting after being elected as Chairman of the Sumter Litter Advisory Board.


    The Sumter Litter Advisory Board elected the Rev. Ernest Frierson to serve as Chairman and Scott Burkett to serve as Vice Chairman.

    At the outset of the board’s Sept. 20, 2021, meeting at Patriot Park Pavilion, Frierson and Burkett were chosen by their fellow board members to lead the group of volunteers in the fight against litter in Sumter County.

    “Let me first of all say – this really was unexpected,” Frierson said, noting he was humbled by the election.

    Chosen to serve as Secretary/Treasurer was Beverly Davis.

    Also serving on the board are: Barbara Richburg, Russell Brannon, Joe Brown, Erika Williams, Chris Hardy, Sandra Riley, Deputy Joey Rogerson and Capt. Robert Singleton.

    Serving as Ex-Officio members who advise but don’t vote are: County Councilman Charles Edens, City Councilman Steve Corley, Sumter County Administrator Gary Mixon and City Manager Deron McCormick.

    Corley noted he hears “lots of energy in the community” regarding positive steps toward combating litter in Sumter.

    “We all have to be on this together,” he said.

    McCormick told the group the City of Sumter’s new vacuum truck will soon be deployed to clean well-traveled corridors.

    John Macloskie, Codes Director for the City of Sumter, reported that since Litter Control Officer Glenn Button started about a year ago, 83,000 pounds of trash have been picked up off the roadsides.

    The next Community Clean-Up Day is slated for Oct. 16, he said, and encouraged everyone to spread the word about it. A grant from Palmetto Pride will be used to purchase cameras to monitor high litter areas, he said.

    A program with the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office will see deputies writing warning tickets for people bringing trailered trash to the landfills without a proper tarp cover. Tarps will be given out for free, he said.

    “We think that’s a high percentage of the volume of litter, which is blown out the back of trucks,” he said.

    Talks are ongoing with Contintental Tire to institute a buy-back program, he said. Palmetto Pride and the Columbia Marionette Theater have a program to combat litter and they’re trying to get that in the schools, he said. Radio ads have been airing during football games to remind people to pick up litter and litter awareness booths have been set up at community events.

    Signs on Codes Enforcement vehicles are being used to get people in the habit of reporting litter, he said.

    Burkett raised the idea of switching over a Sumter Litter Alliance Facebook page he established five years ago to represent the newly formed board.

    After discussion about social media and publicizing events such as the Community Clean Up Day slated for Oct. 16, Rev. Frierson that topic should be on the agenda for the next meeting.

    He said he hopes the northeast corridor of the county isn’t overlooked in general terms.

    “One of things I’m concerned about it is – we show a unified front,” he said.

    Councilman Edens offered the view that the formation of subcommittees would be a key step moving forward.

    Mixon, the county administrator, lauded the City’s litter program and said the County is working to implement its program. Both entities will work together, he said, to take on litter issues.

    Sumter County Director of Public Works Karen Hyatt said a Litter Officer and Litter Operator have been hired and a few more positions have yet to be filled, but should be staffed by the end of October.

    The Litter Rake and a tractor are in and a dump truck and trailer have been ordered.

    “Hopefully by October-November we’ll be up and rolling,” she said.

    Hyatt raised the idea of creating a Sumter Litter logo or emblem for equipment dedicated to that task.

    The next Community Clean Up Day is slated for Oct. 16, 2021.

    Sept 21 2021 Litter Advisory Board at Patriot Park Pavilion 3

    Sept 21 2021 Litter Advisory Board at Patriot Park Pavilion 2The Sumter Litter Advisory Board elected Scott Burkett to serve as Vice Chairman.


    July 26, 2021
    July 30 2021 City and County Litter Advisory Board Patriot Park Pavilion 2

    The fight against litter in Sumter County took on a new life as the City-County Litter Advisory Board held its inaugural meeting on July 26 at Patriot Park Pavilion.

    Presiding over the meeting was County Council Chairman Jim McCain, who noted at the outset of the meeting that himself and others have been working on the litter issue in Sumter for some time.

    County Councilman Charles Edens and City Councilman Steve Corley also spoke briefly to the appointed members of the board. Edens urged them not to stretch meetings out but keep it under an hour to accomplish goals.

    “Don’t take it lightly – we’re going to ask you to do some work,” he said. “We want your thoughts, we want your ideas.”

    Edens noted County Council added 1 mill to the tax rolls specifically to fund a new litter program. He also told the group that he and Councilman Corley are ex-officio board members along with County Administrator Gary Mixon and City Manager Deron McCormick. (Ex-officio members have no vote.)

    Edens urged board members to help spread the word about litter prevention and to try and get civic organizations and volunteers involved in clean-up efforts.

    Councilman Corley thanked the group for volunteering their time. He said it’s important to get “the message out,” and to get the news out that the group is active in the community, but it’s crucial that coordination among like-minded groups takes place.

    The City hired Glen Button as its Litter Control Officer, he said, and the County is working towards hiring some litter staffers as well. There’s a lot that can be accomplished, Corley said.

    “We make a difference,” he said. “How we act.”

    Board members are: Sandra Riley, the S.C. Department of Transportation Maintenance Engineer for Sumter; Erika Williams with the Sumter Development Board; Barbara Richburg of the Turkey Creek Neighborhood Association; Russell Brannon of SAFE Federal Credit Union; Chris Hardy, President of the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce; the Rev. Ernest Frierson, who represents the northeast corridor of Sumter County; Beverly Davis of the Crosswell Neighborhood Association; Joe Brown of Joe Brown Bail Bond; Scott Burkett, a Realtor who founded the Sumter Litter Alliance with others; Joey Rogerson, a Codes Enforcement Deputy with the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office; and Capt. Robert Singleton of the Sumter Police Department.

    Sumter County Public Works Director Karen Hyatt gave a short presentation to the group, explaining the tenets of clean-up, enforcement and education.

    “So where are we at in the county? We are in the beginning stages of hiring personnel for our litter control division,” she said. “And in the process of buying equipment.”

    There will be two Litter Control Officers, she said, who will go through the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy and will hold a Class 3 designation, which allows them to write tickets. They will be responsible for identifying litter hotspots and telling the litter control operators where they need to go.

    Those officers will also work with the City of Sumter and Palmetto Pride, for example, to help with the education and public outreach aspect of litter control, she said.

    There will be two Litter Control Operators, she said, with one holding a Commercial Driver’s License. A litter rake is on order, and will be used alongside a tractor, trailer, a dump truck and pickup trucks.

    Mixon, the county administrator, noted that “we looked at a number of different applications and different types of equipment and I think what you’re going to hear from Mr. McCormick with the City is that they have a little bit different application and probably a different piece of equipment.”

    There will need to be a prioritization of cleaning up some of the worst areas, he said, and for the county, the roads leading into the Recycling Centers are often heavily littered.

    Mixon said there needs to be a culture shift in our community that essentially accepts litter as the norm. Burkett asked about how clean-ups would work in areas that are shared by the City and County and around the line delineating the two entities.

    “We recognize this as not a city or county issue – it’s a community issue,” Mixon said, and it will take combined efforts to address the problem.

    Mixon also noted that public equipment won’t be used to clean up private property.

    McCormick, the City Manager, thanked Corley, Edens and McCain for bringing litter issues to the fore and for their respective councils to fund litter clean-up solutions. He also noted there will be areas of overlap in terms of city and county efforts.

    Part of the education component, he said, is to “hopefully work ourselves out of a job,” as anti-litter mindsets take hold.

    There have been neighborhood cleanups in the City for years and years, he said, and Assistant City Manager Al Harris keeps up with construction and demolition litter as well as “stuff put on the side of the road.”

    McCormick mused where all the discarded tires come from and said one neighborhood clean-up yielded 218 tires. In one neighborhood.

    Inmates were being used to pick up trash, he said, but Covid-19 protocols sidelined those efforts.

    While he sees the value of a rake system used to pick up trash, the City will fare better with a vacuum truck, he said, but a concerted effort is required for the long run.

    “We need every arrow in the quiver to attack this,” he said.

    John Macloskie, the city’s Codes Enforcement Director, said he found out “we are all going to have be willing to pick up other people’s trash,” which he admitted was a little disheartening.

    There’s a difference between litter and illegal dumping, he said, and when illegal dumps are discovered, they work to find the person responsible and issue tickets. The real issue is roadside litter, as you generally “might not see someone throw that out,” he said.

    One of the goals is to have Glenn Button, the City’s Litter Control Officer, making his presence known to deter flagrant littering. He also gave a shout-out to the Chamber of Commerce for providing help and support for the Community Clean-Up Days.

    “We’re picking up trash from years ago,” Macloskie said, as the aim is to get the old trash removed and then maintain the roadsides regularly to prevent build-up.

    To date, the removal of about 75,000 pounds of trash can be attributed to Button and the City’s efforts as well as those of volunteer groups, he said.

    Magistrate judges are assigning non-violent offender to community service work, he said, to clean up litter hotspots.

    “We’ve made a good start, I think, but y’all can see there’s a lot more,” he said.

    McCormick deemed clean-up efforts “a team sport,” that combines the work of the City, the County and the S.C. Department of Transportation. Corridors coming into town have been planted with trees and are being regularly cleaned, he said, to beautify our entrance ways.

    “It will take all of us working together, and it’s noticeable, too,” he said.

    July 30 2021 City and County Litter Advisory Board Patriot Park Pavilion 3

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    June 19, 2021
    June 19 2021 Sumter Community Litter Pick Up Day 3


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    June 19 2021 Sumter Community Litter Pick Up Day 23

    Early this morning right across from Shaw Air Force Base, a group of young Air Force officers spent part of their Saturday cleaning up litter.
    They were one group of many in Sumter, South Carolina, who took part in the Community Clean Up Day on June 19, 2021. It’s an effort that brings together local government, the Sumter Chamber of Commerce and various civic groups and volunteers looking to bag litter and clean the roadways.
    “Litter is one of my pet peeves,” said 2nd Lt. Tatiana Pushkarewicz of the 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron, a Pennsylvania native who brought along the squadron’s unofficial mascot, a well-loved Golden Retriever named Nala.
    “She goes with me everywhere,” Pushkarewicz said, laughing. “Moral support.”
    Helping clean up alongside the duo were 2nd Lt. Alicia Byrne from New Hampshire and 1st Lt. Spencer McIntosh of Texas.
    Byrne and McIntosh both serve in the 20th Component Maintenance Squadron and Byrne said they belong to a group of officers who volunteer and get involved with different events in the community.
    “It’s networking but it’s about making a positive difference,” she said. “People with kind hearts.”
    Just up Broad Street were Ohio native 2nd Lt. Kevin Sheedy of the 20th Contracting Squadron and Lewis Zannou of New York City who serves as a second lieutenant with the 20th Medical Group.
    “Just wanted to make the environment a little bit cleaner,” Zannou said.
    Closer to the main gate of Shaw AFB were Floridians Lt. Dustin Pennington and 2nd Lt. Kayla Davis.
    “Just trying to be helpful,” said Davis.
    Near the intersection of Patriot Parkway and Broad Street/U.S. 378 was Sr. Airman Alec Edwards, who joked that he would do “anything to get out of the office.”
    A member of the 727th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron, the Connecticut native said he was enjoying the breezy summer weather in the south.
    “This is not the worst day to be doing this,” he said. “Very nice outside.”
    Maj. Joe Steiner, a Michigander and Mission Commander, said the group taking part in the clean-up comprised active duty military alongside National Guard personnel.
    “It’s nice to help out,” he said before the group posed for a photo with several bags of trash taken off Patriot Parkway.
    Also with the EACS was Daniel Moreno, a senior airman who works the night shift and jokes that he misses the sun.
    “It’s my workout for the day, and I’m getting a tan,” he joked. “But the road looks much better doesn’t it?”
    By lunchtime, the Sumter P-15s had already cleaned up a big portion of McCrays Mill Road – another area of Sumter that is now in better shape thanks to their hard work.
    We appreciate the efforts of everyone who got involved today in cleaning up Sumter.

    May 19, 2021



    April 26, 2021
    Narrow Paved Road is seen after litter cleanup crews scoured the roadsides for trash.
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    Image of Narrow Paved Road

    April 26, 2021
    Litter cleanup crews target Eagle Road.
    Image of people picking up litter

    Image of people picking up litter

    April 20, 2021
    The road leading into the Rainier Blvd Recycling Site was cleaned up.
    Image of Rainier Boulevard

    April 13, 2021
    Litter cleanup crews target Berry Street.
    Image of people picking up litter

    The drainage ditch on Berry Street after the cleanup.
    Image of Berry Street



    April 7, 2021
    Public Works employees and litter cleanup crews target the area leading into the Cane Savannah Recycling Site.
    Image of people picking up litter

    Image of people picking up litter

    Image of people picking up litter

    The road and area leading into Stamey Livestock's Recycling site are also targeted for cleanup.
    Image of people picking up litter

    Image of people picking up litter

    Image of large bags filled with trash in the back of a truck

    April 6, 2021 
    A ditch running alongside Berry Street is choked with trash. Several pieces of equipment are used to clean it up.
    Image of a ditch filled with litter

    Image of a ditch filled with litter

    Image of a ditch filled with litter

    Image of a vacuum truck picking up litter
    April 1, 2021
    City and County officials watch a demonstration of a vacuum truck in consideration of adding new equipment to fight litter.
    Image of a man next to a vacuum truck

    Image of a vacuum truck picking up litter