April 2, 2005 About 25 residents dedicated Saturday morning to cleaning up Hull Bay. The event, which left the beach and surrounding areas squeaky clean, was organized by the Northside Civic Organization and Senate President Lorraine L. Berry.
Armed with leather gloves, rakes, trash bags, good intentions and a little much-needed help from the Property and Procurement Department and a company called Beachy Clean, the volunteers managed to clear more than cigarette butts and broken glass.
"There are abandoned vehicles, boats, trailers, all kinds of things back there in the woods," Berry said as she explained that a letter written earlier in the week to St. Thomas/Water Island Administrator James O'bryan, had turned up quick results. "They're towing everything away."
Darryl Lewis, a Property and Procurment program administrator and member of the Government's Task Force on Abandoned Vehicles, arrived at the beach with his crew, several tow trucks and notices of violation. He explained that obviously abandoned vehicles would be removed immediately and the rest would be left for another 48 hours with violation warnings attached.
Lewis said the removal of derelict vehicles across all of St. Thomas started up again two weeks ago. The program was stalled for well over a year, according to Lewis, because of an inability to "detox the vehicles." He explained that it's necessary to safely dispose of the fluids, fuels, batteries and tires on the junked cars. (See "Dumping of Vehicles Concerns EPA").
Lewis said the Bovoni facility can now handle 25 vehicles per day.
John Feola and Tony Brinkley, of Beachy Clean, donated to the cause by cleaning the beach with a specially designed machine. Brinkley, driver of the contraption, explained that the machine rakes through the sand, filters out the garbage, and leaves clean sand in its wake. "I removed about ten loads of broken coral, glass, cans, cigarette butts, you name it," Brinkley said.
Jason Budsan, NCO member and volunteer, called the cleanup a success. He said in past years there had not been the help from Property and Procurement. He also said more people than usual showed up and volunteered this year.
One of those volunteers was 9-year-old Avery Berry. A young resident of Tropaco Point, Avery said she uses the beach all the time and is happy to help clean it up. Asked about what garbage she had picked up so far, she said, "Lots of glass and candy wrappers, and a bottle with dead crabs in it."
Berry, a member of the NCO, said there are trash bins in place at the beach, but that nobody ever comes to empty them. "This is a government beach. It should be kept clean," she said.
Lewis said the negligence of the owners of abandoned vehicles and boat trailers will catch up with them the next time they try to register a vehicle or boat. "Today, we identify the owners and issue tickets for $250. With some new legislation that's coming along, these people will be fined $1,250 in the near future," Lewis said.
The legislation comes from Berry's office and will be introduced soon, according to the senator.
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