Proper disposal

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va., April 26—The Town of Christiansburg hosted its annual “Spring Cleanup” for fourteen days beginning on April 14. Photo: Alexis L. Walsh

by Ellie Matthews, Alexis Leianna Walsh —

Appropriate waste disposal is important for the overall health of the environment, people and animals.  The Montgomery Regional Solid Waste Authority, MRSWA, continues to work towards educating the New River Valley community on proper waste disposal.

According to, “The EPA estimates that 75 percent of the American waste stream is recyclable, but we only recycle about 30 percent of it.” DoSomething explains that it is time for individuals to take actions against careless and improper waste disposal.

Teresa Sweeney, MRSWA Education and Training Coordinator, stated, “Plastic bags are still a problem; People put things in the plastic bags that can end up in the trees and waterways because they easily blow away when trash vehicles are emptied.”

Sweeney works to educate businesses, schools, industries, the general public, etc., on how to recycle, setup recycling programs and develop proper waste disposal habits that are necessary for a healthy atmosphere. She explained that people often do not realize the effects their actions can have on the environment. She said that even the smallest changes—such as eliminating the use of plastic bags—could make the environment substantially healthier.

According to Healthfully, “properly disposing of waste is not just a personal responsibility; some kinds of waste, usually hazardous, must be properly disposed of according to law set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency.” Healthfully explains, “toxic waste can seep into the ground and contaminate water supplies, and sometimes cause widespread disease.”

Sophia Lee, an Undergraduate Research Assistant at Virginia Tech, works with Dr. Marc Edwards and his team on mitigating the Flint Michigan Water Crisis. Her lab explores chemical and microbial contaminants in water due to corrosion. Lee stated, “The longterm pollution of the Flint River, through runoff and treated/untreated waste dumping, made the water incredibly toxic.”

Lee explained that due to the high corrosion potential, caused by the harsh disinfectants and waste dumping, the water exposed the old lead pipes of the Michigan town, and contaminated the water with lead—poisoning Flint’s residents. She stated, “If this river had been cleaner to begin with, a large part of this problem could have been avoided.”

Lee also works as an intern for the Office of Sustainability at Virginia Tech. Through her internship she explained that she learned about the importance of carefully sorting what one puts into a recycling bin in order to avoid the whole batch ending up in a landfill.

She stated, “Recycling facilities are actually fairly selective, and if there is a certain level of food, moisture, or other materials that can’t be recycled, it makes the bin too difficult for the facility to sort.” She added, “Try your best to remove caps from bottles, dump and rinse anything filled with liquid or food, and check labels to make sure you sort your waste correctly.”

Blacksburg improves its “Hill”

BLACKSBURG, Va., Feb. 15 – Construction to the course began as a result of requests from local residents through an online forum. Photo: Alexis Walsh

by Alexis L. Walsh—

As Spring approaches, Blacksburg Parks and Recreation continues to work towards the grand re-opening of “The Hill”, the town’s municipal golf course. Construction to the course began in August 2017 and is set to be completed within the next couple of months. What can Blacksburg residents expect?

According to Blacksburg Parks and Recreation’s website, Aspen Golf performed the construction that included the re-grassing of greens and fairways. Additionally, in order to accommodate different player levels, all the tee complexes were rebuilt to provide multiple tee decks. Bunkers on the course were also either removed, replaced or renovated.

Jeff Kleppin, The Hill Golf Shop Supervisor, stated, “The updated course should bring in more experienced golfers who might not necessarily think to use a municipal golf course as an elite course.” He added, “We are excited to welcome new and old members after the grand opening in a few short months.”

A two hole, short game practice area was constructed to provide a practice and teaching facility near the professional shop. Kleppin hopes to offer more children’s programs as a result of the new practice area. He explained that in the past children’s classes were not as prevalent due to lack of course variety; however, he hopes the new course will eliminate the prior issue.

Blacksburg Parks and Recreation aims to provide residents with a variety of amenities that encourage community relations through a healthy lifestyle. Upon completion of the course, residents will be able to purchase memberships that range from children’s passes to adult memberships.

Dean Crane, Director of Blacksburg Parks and Recreation Department, stated, “The town bought the course in 1971 and has made very little changes since.” He added, “The grand opening will show years of hard work and planning paying off. We hope our residents will appreciate the efforts we have made for them.”

Crane has been the Director of Blacksburg Parks and Recreation Department for over ten years. He explained that the new course has the potential to bring a lot of revenue into the town. He looks at the updated golf course as a major investment for Blacksburg and expressed major excitement for the future of the town.

According to Blacksburg’s Municipal Golf Course website, residents are asked to remain patient through the construction process. The website stresses the importance of the public’s ability to avoid temptations as far as walking on restricted areas and/or sledding.

The course will remain closed to pedestrian traffic in effort to protect the new grass; Residents are asked to use the adjacent walking trails. For more details regarding daily golf rates, passes, and the announcement of the re-opening, residents can visit “The Hill” facebook page.