October 22, 2007

Homeport Celebration....

Cooper's Clean-up & Flying Carp Canoe & Kayak Races
September 15, 2007
Cooper's Landing, Port of Nashville
River Ladies Auxiliary & Missouri River Relief
text by Steve Schnarr, photos by Melanie Cheney

The River Ladies Auxiliary has been going strong for a couple years now, putting together clean-ups and outrageous riverside events at our homeport of Cooper's Landing on Providence Bend. This mysterious group of river rats always throws the best party of the year down there, raising funds for river events and raising up the community energy.

This year, Heidi Bennett was intent on hosting the coolest paddler race ever on the Missouri River. In typical River Relief fashion, we decided..."well, while we're at it, let's do a clean-up, too."

So on Sept. 15, we started our day with a small, local clean-up and followed it up with a river celebration, RLA style. The clean-up focused on trashy party spots in the area and a massive drift pile chocked full of trash from this spring's flood. Some folks walked our "Adopt-a-road" stretch along the river and the Katy Trail, gleaning several bags of trash and a chest freezer. A road crew headed to the McBaine Bottoms to pluck several appliances recently dumped on the roadside near the big bur oak tree.

We had a couple of boats hit the water. One of our boats was down, so we called Jeremy Kolaks from MDC to come in at the last minute, and he scoured the river road banks with a crew. Another crew went up the Perche Creek, looking for a half-a-paddleboat and a porta-potty a local river rat had reported. Found the paddleboat, still missing the porta-potty....

We kept this clean-up small on purpose...we wanted a more relaxed local effort before the afternoon's races. The energy that came out of it was anything but small, though. The recyclable sorting scene was frantic as always, and there was amazing homebaked goodies from Su Saragnese, Krissy Heitcamp and Jeanie Kuntz.

Brett Allen from Civic Recycling offered to take our plastic, aluminum and glass (he's the only one in the state that we know of that will accept river-ravaged recyclables). Local scrapper Jimmy Rippeto hauled off the scrap and appliances and Veolia donated a rolloff bin for everything else. AutoTech, our steady car mechanics, took our tires (although after looking at the stack of muddy tires with the rims...he may have regretted it).

Special thanks to Mike Cooper and the gang for hosting us again. And thanks to all you river lovers that came to help. One again, we got an amazing amount of trash with just a few handfuls of folks. Next year we'll do a big clean-up in the area!

And this is a photo of veteran clean-up queen Robyn Ricks with her newborn son Harrison. Robyn's husband, Sam Wright, raced in the Flying Carp races in the afternoon with Dave Dittmer (under the name "Lumberjerks") - they placed fourth!

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