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Ceres Chamber stages first clean-up of 99
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Ceres Chamber of Commerce volunteers who picked up trash along Highway 99 on Saturday morning included Dave Pratt, Ramon Mendez, Sam and Linda Ryno, Michelle Norleen, Dovie Wilson, Don Cool and Renee Ledbetter. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

The Ceres Chamber of Commerce has been concerned about how Ceres looks and its bearing on economic development. So on Saturday morning members showed how serious they were during a clean-up of Highway 99.

Nine members who turned out included Renee and Steve Ledbetter, Sam and Linda Ryno, Don Cool, Dovie Wilson, Ramon Mendez, Dave Pratt and Michelle Norleen.

The group spent four hours and rounded up nearly 40 bags of trash that was scattered along the west shoulder of Highway 99 north of the Faith Home Road overpass and the Pine Street overpass. The area is the one Caltrans has assigned to the Chamber.

"Some of the things we've been hearing over the last couple of years that I've been on the board is that the entrances to Ceres are ugly, they're trashy, they're dirty, said Renee Ledbetter, president of the Ceres Chamber of Commerce. "So when I took over I said, ‘Okay, everybody's complaining about the trash so let's do something about it. So I contacted Caltrans and found out how their Adopt-A-Highway program works."

The group picked up pieces of tire rubber, cigarette containers, soda cups, plastic car parts, aluminum cans and paper trash.

"We're going to plan another one because the group agreed that we wanted to try and get from where we left off to Pine Street and get that cleared up," said Ledbetter.

The group also was unable to get to clean up the eastern, or northbound, shoulder. Caltrans said it wants to cut down the grass along that stretch to make trash clean up easier.

The volunteers also cleaned the area of the northbound Mitchell Road offramp.

"There was a lot of trash in that little triangle piece," she said.

Another clean-up will depend on the availability and desire of volunteers. Ledbetter said she would like to see if Honor Farm workers could be used for some of the maintenance clean-up.

Caltrans only recommends 10-12 volunteers working a section at a time to keep driver distraction to a minimum, she Ledbetter.