Volunteers who met at Riverhead Town Hall early Saturday morning for the town-wide fall cleanup. A group of 25 NJROTC cadets met at Stotzky Park and are not represented here. Photo: Denise Civiletti

More than 50 volunteers turned out to help pick up litter around Riverhead this morning.

“This was our best turnout ever,” said Councilman James Wooten, who has served as coordinator of the town wide cleanup for each of his 12 years on the town board. Wooten credited anti-litter committee chairperson Deborah Wetzel with the volunteer bump. She reached out to school groups and did a great job getting the word out in the community, Wooten said.

High school students, including the Riverhead High School NJROTC, members of Boy Scout Troop 94 in Wading River, community residents and a group of employees from Timberland in Tanger Outlets were among the volunteers. Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith, Councilwoman Jodi Giglio and Councilwoman Catherine Kent also joined in the effort.

Eastport-South Manor High School students Deven Agnihotri, Harrison Heintz and Dylan Gaber came to Riverhead to pitch in. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Among the volunteers were three boys from Eastport Manor High School, who don’t even live in the Town of Riverhead. Harrison Heintz, Dylan Gaber and Deven Agnihotri said they heard about the cleanup and thought they’d pitch in. “Out of good will,” Dylan said.

The town provided each volunteer with a bright yellow T-shirt, trash pickers, gloves and plastic bags. Wooten and former councilwoman Barbara Blass brought snacks and drinks to fortify the contingent before they hit the streets at about 9 a.m. Riverhead Highway Department Crews will pick up the plastic bags filled with trash.

Scouts cleaning up Harrison Avenue between Route 58 and Middle Road filled four large plastic bags to capacity. They had fun doing it, they said.

Anti-litter committee chairperson Deborah Wetzel, right, speaks to the volunteers this morning as council members James Wooten, left, and Catherine Kent look on. Photo: Denise Civiletti

“The most important thing is to build awareness in the community against littering,” Wetzel said. “We have to try to get people not to litter in the first place. That’s what we really need to focus on year-round,” she said.

The town will hold another town-wide cleanup in the spring.

Anti-litter committee chairperson Deborah Wetzel, seated, with Mary Maki of Calverton, Police Officer Ray Brogan and Wading River businessman George Eldi. Photo: Denise Civiletti
Scouts from Troop 94 pitched in for a cleaner town, picking up litter on Harrison Avenue north of Route 58. Photo: Denise Civiletti
Troop 94 Scouts filled up four large bags of litter they picked up on Harrison Avenue north of Route 58. Photo: Denise Civiletti

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.