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Community cleanup brigade

Ken Robison far left in the red shirt with Leslie Nelson to his right in orange along with the rest of the community cleanup brigade pause for a photo in early February.

There are people who see something wrong and complain about it. There are other, thankfully, who see that same wrong and resolve to rectify it.

Leslie Nelson is in that second group.

The longtime Selma resident is the ringleader of a community cleanup brigade, organizing weekend litter pickups that help make our city neater and tidier.

I joined the small band of litter-getters a couple Saturdays ago, and it is amazing how much junk a half-dozen people can gather in an hour.

Our route that day was the sidewalk and canal bank along Orange Avenue from Floral to Lincoln Middle School. It’s a common walking path, and trash abounds. After about an hour, it was litter-free and we had filled up several large bags with trash.

The genesis of this litter-extracting program came a couple months ago when Nelson noticed a lot of trash had piled up along Rose Avenue downtown.

It was a sight that would anger and/or irritate anyone who cares about their city. So Nelson, a member of the Selma Beautification Committee, took matters into her own hands and began organizing cleanup days.

It was an idea that came from her old-school attitudes about the pride of ownership.

"If you take pride in things, take care of them,” Nelson believes. And to her, that includes your hometown.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this column, there are those who complain and complain and complain. You hear them at parties and family gatherings. You read their posts on social media.

There are things we can do to make our city better, and things we can’t. I can’t repair a pothole. I can’t chase down a criminal. I can’t install a sewer system.

But I can pick up litter.

Picking up trash is not sexy or glamorous. It won’t get you on the cover of Time magazine. It pays squat. Instead, your reward is an hour of walking exercise and positive vibes from doing something good for your town.

Many of us in Selma volunteer for causes we believe in. Arts and theater. Animal care. Youth sports. Meals, food and clothing giveaways. We are active in our churches and our schools because we believe that helps make our community stronger.

Myself, I am active in the Pickleball gang at Brentlinger Park and frequently take my grandson to the playground at Shafer Park.

And because I care about city parks, I joined the Parks and Community Services Commission. In doing that, I join many of my fellow Selma residents who volunteer their time on commissions, committees, and boards that help to make Selma a better city in which to live.

So consider this column an appeal to all of you to do your part. You can start by finding Leslie Nelson on Facebook. Then you’ll know about the next cleanup day. Or call City Hall and ask them to have Nelson contact you.

Then you can join us with a trash bag and a long-handled grabber. Give us an hour and see how clean we can make Selma.

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Ken Robison, a longtime resident of Selma, is a retired newspaper reporter, editor, photographer and columnist. Selma Stories runs most Wednesdays in The Enterprise Recorder. He can be reached at

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