Area resident concerned with littering of beer cans

CALCUTTA — Constant littering of beer cans along Bell School and Birch roads has one St. Clair Township resident concerned with the possibility of motorists’ drinking and driving.

Birch Road resident Clark Birch brought the matter forward to Trustees James Hall and Robert Swickard — chairman James Sabatini was absent — at Tuesday’s meeting and reported that since February, he has gathered 16 bags of garbage along his property and also Weber Road, close to the school light near the Beaver Local K-12 building.

Birch noted about 90 percent of the garbage collected was empty beer cans. He expressed worries about who is doing this, why they are doing it, and where they are getting the beer.

“My concern is how many impaired drivers are there on Bell School and Birch Road at any given time?” Birch asked. “I’m talking 40 ounce bottles of beer. They’re buying them out, I assume, out on (state Route) 7, and by the time they drive a mile-and-a-half, they’ve consumed a 40-ounce bottle of beer and they throw it out the window. The person almost throws it in the same place every time.”

Birch recalled a traffic accident when a supposed drunk driver crashed his or her vehicle into a tree not too far from Birch’s home, but then drove away.

“I don’t know how to stop drunken driving, and I don’t know when they’re doing it,” Birch said. “I go past that drive place at 3 o’clock in the afternoon and I see them carrying beer out. Whether they’re consuming it from 3 o’clock until that place closes, I don’t know.”

Road supervisor Scott Barrett attested to Birch’s concern, and noted that while out mowing along township roadways, crews find empty beer cans, especially in certain areas of the community.

“There’s about five places in the township that’s like a dumping ground,” Barrett said. “I don’t know if they do it as a game … They do it on Fredericktown, they do it with water bottles at that one drain. There would be 62 water bottles every three weeks there. They pick a spot and I don’t know if it becomes a game or something, but the place he’s talking about, there’s about 300 cans of Miller Lite.”

Police Chief Donald Hyatt said based on what he’s experienced during his 34-year career, he sums it up to “typical teenage activity.”

“They think that they’re out in the country, so to speak. They’re riding around drinking those 40s and the cans. That’s typical teenage activity, and, yeah, they’re just pitching them out the window,” Hyatt said.

Township police has reported five DUI citations in 2017, a number on the rise this year, which Hyatt couldn’t explain.

“It is seemingly on the rise,” Hyatt said. “I don’t know why. We would love to catch them doing this, of course, but that’s more than a hit-and-miss.”

Hyatt said that now that he knows where the dumping grounds are, he and his department would look more into the situation.

Meanwhile, the chief presented the monthly activity report for March, which indicated a total of 237 reports, an increase of 51 reports from February’s count of 186.

The breakdown consisted of 92 total incident reports, 63 arrests, 46 traffic citations, 36 crash reports, 23 incidents/documentation, 12 traffic stops and 10 thefts.

Also reported were five harassments, four frauds, four investigating disturbances, three drug activities, three warrant checks, two domestic disputes, two drug overdoses, two juvenile problems, two parking problems, two cases of suspicious activity, and one report each of accident, assault, casualty, child abuse, criminal mischief, disabled vehicle, DUI, fight, officer assistant, removal, other emergency, neighborhood dispute, public assistance, towed vehicle, vandalism and welfare check.

Birch also questioned a sale sign that’s been sitting on Ware Road for at least six weeks after the sale has taken place, and questioned whether or not that sign could stay there.

“I, personally on my property, if it’s from the ditch to the road, I leave it there,” Birch said. “But if it’s from the ditch to me, I pick it up.”

Although Swickard commended Birch on his continuing clean-up efforts, he advised him that there are no zoning laws in St. Clair Township, and the trustees would not be able to do much on that matter.

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