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New Richmond City Administrator Mike Darrow (left) and Mayor Fred Horne have begun a morning ritual in the downtown. Each Thursday, they meet at Jet's Bistro for coffee and then pick up trash. Anyone is welcome to join them in their quest.

New Richmond officials rally to pick up litter

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Call them the Java & Trash Squad.

New Richmond Mayor Fred Horne and City Administrator Mike Darrow gathered at 6:45 a.m. Thursday at Jet's Coffee Bistro downtown to begin a new weekly effort in the city.

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The city officials begin with a cup of coffee and a breakfast snack, then they gather up trash bags and gloves and head to the sidewalks and streets. They spend about a half an hour picking up garbage, cigarette butts and more.

Darrow said the Thursday morning activity is an outgrowth of the recently completed Small Area Study commissioned by the city. The study included a survey of residents, who shared what they like about the community and what they'd like to see accomplished in the future.

"One of the things people like about the downtown is that we keep it nice and beautiful," Darrow said.

By helping pick up trash, Darrow and Horne said they are showing their support for downtown businesses and emphasizing the importance of having an attractive business district.

"It's showing that we care about the businesses," Horne said. "They've said that sometimes they feel left out."

Darrow and Horne have pledged to stick with their efforts for the summer. Their hope is that others will join them every week, or every once in awhile.

"We start with some coffee, we get some exercise and we start our day," Darrow said.

"It's our early morning workout," Horne added.

Horne said the job isn't too tough, as the city employees already do a good job of street sweeping and garbage pickup throughout town. But some of the trash on sidewalks and streets falls through the cracks.

Apart from beautifying the downtown area, Darrow said another goal of the gathering is to get to know residents and business owners better.

For more information about the Java & Trash Squad, contact Darrow at 715-246-3628.

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