Letter to the Editor: Community pride

I am writing today about a few issues that have bothered me for years but have just recently found myself overwhelmed by. I know these are sensitive subjects and it is not my intention to offend, but rather to open the eyes of this community to some things that are easily taken for granted. Discuss these issues with your friends and neighbors and if you find yourself in disagreement with my opinions I encourage you to respond, with the use of this forum, for I too like to keep informed on arguments for both sides of every issue.
I will begin with the messiest issue first, and in reference for those in this community that continue to use our public open spaces as a dumping ground. What do you think of as you casually turn your head and pretend not to see your pet defecating? Next time, take a moment to think about the father of the barefoot child playing at the river who carelessly takes a big misguided stomp right in the middle of your recently delivered pile of waste. Times have changed, please understand, people do not want their children playing in your excrement anymore. If at first you have feelings of awkwardness or discomfort when using one of the waste baggies that are provided (free to you) at all open spaces, rest assured that, like the rest of us, you will grow accustomed to it, for it is far better than the consequences of irresponsibility.
Meeker could become like any other town that prohibits sharing open spaces with pet or impose fines for those who do not abide. And while designated dog parks may be needed in a bigger city, I would like to believe that Meeker citizens are responsible enough to actively maintain spaces where people and pets can peacefully coincide. This can only be accomplished though if everyone does their part to pick up waste.
On the subject of waste, it seems to me that there is more and more trash in our town streets daily. There was a time when all members of a community were responsible to teach such characters as respect and pride to the younger generation. If you drive by the high school parking lots, you will see that we have neglected an entire group of our youth. They do and will learn from us. The example we extend, is the example they will follow. We can no longer expect others to care if you yourself do not.
I know there are exceptions to everything, so I would be a fool to categorize all high schoolers, or even a majority of them as uncaring and disrespectful, but in this case it is easy to see that the minority is taking a much stronger and more visible stand on their position.
As a parent, I ask the adults of this community take a more prominent role in teaching the youth of this town. Let us teach with words, but more importantly with our actions, that it takes respect to keep an object of beauty beautiful. We do not need to live in a place where garbage litters our streets. This is a call to action to ensure that another cohort of our youth is not brought up with the expectation that others are responsible to clean up after them.
And yes, I do include cigarette butts in my definition of litter. I challenge you to find one area in this town where you cannot find someone else’s cigarette butt disposed on the ground, even when trash receptacles are nearby. As is the case for dog parks, how long do we sit content and let the few, abuse? Until the intolerant and irritable become louder than the inconsiderate, forcing the authorities to enforce stricter litter laws or even ban us all from enjoying a smoke in our public places altogether?
You will find that the small amount of effort it takes to properly dispose of your waste will greatly affect the cleanliness and livability of this town. As a community we can all work for what we all want. A town with clean streets and healthy open spaces we can all be proud of, and where visitors will feel welcomed and want to return.
We all love this valley and brag of its beauty. Respect it. Become active. Demonstrate and teach that respect to others. Or do we sit patiently by until this area becomes an infected third world cesspool of feces, rubbish and butts?
Thanks for your attention,
Obediah Deming