Pawlenty Announces Fifth Annual “Operation Clean-Up”
Saint Paul – Spring cleaning of Minnesota roadways is again getting a boost from offender work crews and Adopt-a-Highway volunteers. Governor Tim Pawlenty today announced the fifth annual “Operation Clean-Up” to pick up litter along the state’s highways from now through September.
“Minnesota is one of the most beautiful places in the world,” Governor Pawlenty said. “But it’s time for some spring cleaning along our highways. As part of Operation Clean-Up, non-violent offenders have been assigned to work crews picking up trash along Minnesota roadways. We are also grateful to the many volunteers who help beautify our state.”
Since 2005, at Governor Pawlenty’s direction, the Minnesota Departments of Corrections (DOC) and Transportation (MnDOT) have worked together on Operation Clean-Up. The DOC provides both state work crews and coordination of county Sentencing to Service crews, who are utilized along the state’s most highly-traveled highways.
More than 140,000 offender hours have been dedicated to cleaning roadways across the state since Operation Clean-Up began. This year, offenders will work an estimated 40,000 hours.
Two offender work service programs will assist with Operation Clean-Up:
· Sentencing to Service (STS): Carefully selected, non-violent offenders sentenced by the court to work on community improvement projects in combination with jail time, or as a probation sanction. Started in 1986, about 30,000 offenders participate in STS annually across the state, working over one million hours.
· Institution/Community Work Crews (ICWC): Minimum-security, adult male state prison inmates from Faribault, Lino Lakes, Red Wing, and Stillwater. An average of 80 ICWC offenders perform work service daily. An additional 40 ICWC offenders construct affordable housing in greater Minnesota.
STS and ICWC offenders work on a variety of community improvement projects including litter pick-up, river clean-up, trail development, and graffiti removal. Crews also prepare for and clean up after floods and severe storms.
In addition to offender crews, volunteers can participate in Operation Clean-Up through the Adopt-a-Highway Program. The Adopt-a-Highway Program enables the state’s environmentally-conscious citizens to make a personal contribution to a cleaner environment.
“Adopt-a-Highway is an excellent way for the public to help us keep our road ways clear of trash,” Transportation Commissioner Tom Sorel said. “The volunteer work allows Mn/DOT to use its maintenance staff on other projects that improve our infrastructure and can only be done by our staff.”
MnDOT also encourages additional volunteers to join a county or local Adopt-a-Road program, as most state highways are already adopted. Information about the Adopt-a-Highway program can be found at: www.dot.state.mn.us/adopt/ .