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Third World Cancer in Arizona

Gary Chamberlain, Folksville USA Point Man

Cottonwood AZ – With a sweep of his hand, Folksville USA Mayor Gary Chamberlain indicated Arizona SR 260 highway shoulders littered with broken glass and blowing paper. Exasperated he said, “The time has come again to remove trash from our highways. We must keep this “Third World” cancer out of the Verde Valley.”

Chamberlain, the decorated Vietnam veteran, is just the “mayor” to get that job done.

Chamberlain began to prod, pursue, agitate, and aggravate local businesses, organizations, councils and media outlets, unrelenting with requests to donate material, labor, and news coverage for Folksville USA highway clean-up events. He publicly chastised ADOT’s Adopt-A-Highway program as ineffectual, and demanded public accountability from “permittees” not performing the required litter clean-ups while receiving taxpayer funded advertising on Arizona road signs. (Businesses, organizations, individuals must pledge to remove litter from designated sections of roadway three times annually).

ADOT,” said Chamberlain, “considers me a pain in its bureaucratic ass.”

Folksville USA has proven a peoples triumph. During a November 2011 weekend over 300 volunteers answered the Folksville USA “Leap Frog One” clean-up call and collected 248 bags of trash from a fifteen mile section of Highway 260, and another 156 bags from Scenic Highway 89A. The media noticed.


SR 260 Litter

Not one to rest on his laurels, anti-litter crusader Chamberlain began to organize Folksville USA “Leap Frog Two“, the first of several 2012 litter pick-up events to be held rain or shine in honor of the men and women of America’s Armed Forces.

“The primary focus for the February 18, 2012 clean-up will be to collect and remove at least 260 bags of someone else’s trash,” explained Chamberlain. “The Camp Verde City Council has been invited to join Leap Frog Two to provide an example of community leadership in action. We are all, each and every one of us, responsible for the Verde Valley. A special effort must be made to bring Arizona SR 260 between Cottonwood and Camp Verde up to the current cleanliness standards of SR 89A between Cottonwood and Sedona. This goal will not be accomplished by wishing it done. It will mean that  residents and guests of the Verde Valley will need to join one of the fifteen Highway 260 Adopt-A-Highway (AAH) groups to make it a reality.”

The Highway 260 ADOT AAH groups that Chamberlain referred to are as follow: Mickle’s Custom Homes, Verde Valley Property Owners Association, Cottonwood Wal-Mart Associates, Clarkdale Verde Kiwanis, Faith Lutheran Church, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Department, Folksville USA, American Legion Family Post #25, Verde Valley Rotary, MUHS Marauders Wrestling Team, Highlands Resort at Verde Ridge, IAFF L3690 Camp Verde Chapter, American Legion Family Post #93, and Friends of Coy Hughes.

In addition, there are Scenic Highway 89A ADOT AAH Groups: Rio Verde Roverettes Inc., ADOT “Available” section, Immaculate Conception Parish, Knights of Columbus #2493, Cottonwood Ranch Community, Sedona Boy Scout Troop #48, Verde Valley Cyclists, Halau Hula Na-Pua-O-Ka-Lei-‘llima, Sedona Car Club, Sedona Pines LLC, Sedona Pines Resort, Central Masonic #14 Sedona, Sedona Shadows & Sunset Hills, ADOT “Available” section, and the Rotary Club of Sedona.

“I can provide the contact information for all thirty (30) of the ADOT AAH groups if contacted at FolksvilleUSA@gmail.com or (928) 202-1186,” said Chamberlain.

The Camp Verde Starbucks located near the intersection of I-17 (Arizona Veterans Highway) and Highway 260 will provide a free cup of drip coffee for all of those who are in safety vests and part of the February 18, 2012 clean-up.

Phoenix Fox 10, baring unforeseen conflicts in the area, will send a film crew to cover “Leap Frog Two” in recognition that over the past three years the Verde Valley ADOT AAH and Folksville USA groups are doing something unique for Arizona and the nation.

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  1. Don M. Baker, LA says:

    There are nice things about this story. Lots.

    A good Arizona story is not read in papers any more. Reporters write about Brewer and Obama finger pointing. Cheap efforts by incompetents with no ambition or talent writing TV text. This reporter did a nice job for you. Give him a raise. More stories like this sir.

  2. Gary Chamberlain says:

    Forgot to mention several “Key” players in our success, the media.

    Those who have told our story on a regular basis are the Verde Independent, Camp Verde Bugle, SedonaEye.com, The Sedona Times Publishing, The Prescott Daily Courier, The Prescott Valley Tribune and Pop Rocket.

    They post our event notices and report on our progress. Without their contribution, our effort would not have been as well known. Prescott, Prescott Valley, Dewey and Chino Valley are now part of our effort.

  3. Gary says:

    Dear Mr. Baker,

    Thanks for you comments.

    My opinion is that Adopt-A-Highway Programs will never keep up with the current activity of those who trash our country and the only way to highway litter cancer is to educate those who either OOP’S or intentionally trash our highways. Those who litter our highways and recreational areas only kill tourism, home values, home sales and new businesses in any community.

    In Sedona and the Verde Valley, the largest contributors to our highway litter problem are the construction contractors. Trash transfer companies have improved their bad habits considerably.

    Based on the alcohol containers and drug related items we find, one can only ask, “Is it safe to drive our highways?” Containers by the thousands! Those responsible for cleaning up after auto accidents need to do a better job **** leave no trace. Just visit a accident site and form your own opinion.

    If Arizona had a deposit on beverage containers our litter issues would decrease considerably. Why don’t we have a beverage and container deposit and one to include taxing the fast-food industry who have some customers who give pigs a bad name? Residents of all communities need to ask the question, “What would we do without those men and women who actually honor their commitment to the Adopt-A-Highway Program and who clean our highways?

    As you drive the Arizona highways, ask this question, “Based on what my eyes see along the highway and the amount of time it remains there, is our ADOT Adopt-A-Highway Program being properly managed by the Arizona employee’s in charge of the program and …… are those folks who have their names on the ADOT Adopt-A-Highway signs cleaning their sections 3 time per year or more for scenic highways?”

    If you wish to let the ADOT Adopt-A-Highway Arizona Coordinator know your opinion then call Stephanie Brown ADOT AAH Coordinator (602) 712-7114.

    The 15 miles between Cottonwood and Sedona (Scenic Highway 89A) and 15 miles between Cottonwood and Camp Verde (Highway 260) are a PERFECT example of how people working together have done a super job of cleaning this 30 mile section of highway.

    Questions, comments or concerns to..Gary Chamberlain “Point Man” FVUSA. We are a ARMY of one, consisting of many
    Restoring the beauty to America and Arizona. FolksvilleUSA@gmail.com

  4. ADOT statistics says:

    In 2009, only 25% of these (30) groups honored their obligation to the ADOT Adopt-A-Highway Program.

    In 2011, over 90% of these (30) groups have complied and we have now become a well coordinated group of folks who could possibly be the role models for a highly functioning Adopt-A-Highway Program in any state.

  5. Gary Chamberlain says:

    Dear Editor,

    Forgive all of my own responses to this story….just one of those things, what can I say, I’m old! (65 going on 2 as my wife says.) I didn’t do a good job of providing a “Title” to attract folks to our February 18, 2012 “Leap Frog 2” event.

    Hope your readers will come experience good folks of ALL backgrounds during this peoples action event to include a 94 year-young WWII veteran from Cornville! Meeting time is 7:00 AM at Starbucks (Camp Verde/I-17 location) or call me at (928) 202-1186 or email folksvilleusa@gmail.com for other options.

    Gary Chamberlain
    “Point Man” FVUSA

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