The Recorder – ‘There’s no need’ to litter: Wendell women organize trash pickup in memory of former Selectboard member

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Published: 4/19/2022 4:11:52 PM

WENDELL — Rain seemed to keep a lot of potential anti-litterbugs inside on Tuesday, but some braved the sogginess to remove debris from roadsides in the resurrection of the annual cleanup on hiatus for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anne Diemand-Bucci and Maggie Houghton organized the largely decentralized litter pickup. Those willing to participate Tuesday met at the Town Offices at 9 Morse Village Road at 10 a.m. to receive trash bags, but people were encouraged to roll up their sleeves anytime between April 16 and 19 if Tuesday was not convenient.

Diemand-Bucci said she has been involved with the cleanup for roughly 45 years “because I think trash sucks. I think litter is stupid.”

“There’s no need for it,” she added on Lockes Village Road, where she and Houghton picked up debris. “It just bothered me to see it.”

This year’s event was held in memory of former Selectboard member Ted Lewis, who died in June 2021 and had long been a partner in organizing the annual litter pickup. Harry Williston, who married Lewis’ sister about 54 years ago, took over his brother-in-law’s regular responsibility of driving a pickup truck filled with trash bags to the Wendell Recycling and Transfer Station.

“(Lewis) was involved with this right from the beginning,” he said, “because of the mess on the side of the road. It doesn’t take an Einstein to realize that people are slobs.”

Cleanup participants could leave full bags of trash safely off the road and inform organizers of the roads they cleaned. That way the bags could be collected at around noon on Tuesday. People could also bring filled trash bags to the Recycling and Transfer Station at 341 New Salem Road.

Houghton said people had accumulated trash in neat piles near utility poles on the side of Lockes Village Road about 10 days before their cleanup. She mentioned that a man had bought her a candy bar from the Wendell Country Store on Monday after seeing her clear debris on Montague Road over the weekend.

“That was very sweet of him,” she said, adding that cyclists often thank her when they ride past while she’s picking up trash.

The three said the most common items found tossed on roadsides are usually empty beer bottles, nip bottles and lottery tickets. They said that though it is frustrating to always find lots of debris, the problem is likely getting marginally better, except for the presence of nip bottles.

“It’s stuff (motorists) don’t want to get caught with,” Williston said.

As for the strangest thing she’s ever found, Diemand-Bucci said she and Lewis once stumbled across a dead pig triple-bagged off Wendell Depot Road.

“It was disgusting,” she said, recalling she initially thought it might be a human body. “It was the weirdest thing, that was definitely decomposing.”

Separately, 50-year resident Judy Putnam spent time cleaning up trash along Montague Road “because I like this town and I want to see it clean and nice for everybody who comes here.”

She said she started around 10 a.m. and was finding a lot of beer and nip bottles and empty doughnut boxes.

“I need to go get another bag, I guess,” she said at around 10:45 a.m.

Reach Domenic Poli at: or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.

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