Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, July 9, 2001

Summer classes means community service for area teens

By Patrice Waldron

In a program which helps at-risk youth catch up in school, the students are also learning about giving something back to the community.

The program is known as the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Job Training and Services, and is sponsored by a grant from Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services.

There are nine students involved in the program, which runs from June 11 to July 19.

Classes are given in math, reading, and writing, which are part of the Minnesota graduation standards.

Students meet Mondays through Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Wednesdays are spent at Camp Friendship in Annandale, where the students work on team building skills.

They participate in activities such as the ropes course, which require increased communication and team work in order to make it through the course.

Participation at Camp Friendship is sponsored by the Wright County Cooperative.

When it was time to choose the required large summer project, the students chose to clean up the Waverly beach.

The project has to meet certain criteria, and is evaluated as part of their grant process.

The service being performed in Winsted is that of stenciling a warning against pollution on the city's storm drains.

The students stenciled, in bright yellow lettering, "Dump No Waste, Drains to Lake" on the city's drains. A yellow fish emblem was also part of the sign.

Pamphlets outlining the dangers caused by pollution were also handed out.

A few of the tips from the brochure include:

· Compost yard waste, to keep clippings from making it to the lake, which promote algae growth;

· Properly dispose of household chemicals through collection programs. If dumped down storm drains, the chemicals can pollute the lake;

· Use weed and insect killers sparingly, they may kill water plants and fish;

· Avoid spreading chemicals across sidewalks or driveways; sweet up spills instead of washing them into the gutter;

· For winter conditions, use de-icing salts sparingly, because it can also find its way into the drain, and down to the lake.

The Winsted Lake Watershed Association has been trying for the past few years to educate residents about the effects of pollutants on the lake. These warnings will also help their efforts in helping promote cleaning up Winsted Lake.

The yellow warnings on the drains may help remind everyone to be more careful with what is put on the yard.

When it rains, or when a car is washed in the driveway, everything that makes it to the street will eventually make it to the lake, via the storm drain.

Friday, the youth who are involved in the project, had already stenciled nearly 40 drains with at least 20 more to go.

Those involved in the project are: Amanda Elke of Winsted, Steven Hoiland of Waverly, and John Knoebel, Nate Drusch, Jory McDowell, and Josh Silbernagel of Howard Lake.

The supervisor of the group is Kim Jones. There are also three more students and another supervisor involved.

The storm drain stenciling project is also sponsored by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

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