It’s refreshing to know serious efforts are underway in Paris and Lamar County to clean up the environment and hopefully encourage people to take an active role in making our community an attractive place to live and work.

On Saturday, a successful tire clean-up event sponsored by Keep Paris Beautiful/Make Lamar County Shine and the Lamar County Commissioners’ Court went a long way in removing unsightly and unhealthy old tires from the county. It was the participation by Keep Paris Beautiful/Make Lamar County Shine that made the event even more special as it gave an indication of the group’s renewed efforts to be a force in beautification efforts.

In making a $5,000 funding request from the county in the coming year’s budget, organization chairman Julia Trigg Crawford talked about plans for an expanded recycling program to include county residents and regular community-wide cleanup events, tree giveaways and educational workshops. The group plans to make a similar funding request from the city.

Equally exciting is the work underway by Weald Workers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to maintaining pollution-free environments in and around Paris. Through volunteer work, its mission is to “improve the quality of life and health of our community by preserving the natural beauty of Lamar County.”

Founded by Don Yarborough in 2006, the group has grown to about a dozen volunteers who meet four times a week and spend an hour picking up trash. Yarborough is correct when he says that not only does removing trash make the community more sightly, but as an indirect result joy and mental wellness is inspired in volunteers who want to take pride in their community and give back in this simple way.

Weald Workers meets at 10 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for an hour for trash pick-up. Contact Yarborough at to get involved or show up to the weekly locations designated on the group’s social media page at

Appropriately so, Paris City Council plans to recognize Yarborough and his Weald Workers during a regular council meeting Monday night at City Hall, 107 E. Kaufman St.

Add to the mix of new beautification efforts, Paris Mayor Paula Portugal’s first round of beautification awards will be presented at Monday night’s meeting as well. Yard of the Month presentations will be made for each quadrant of the city, and are to include one for a residence, another for a commercial or industrial site and still another for what the mayor terms “a rehab award” for either a restored residential home or commercial/industrial facility.

In announcing the Yard of the Month program, Portugal talked about the importance of beautification efforts when she said, “I believe beautification is economic development. When people come here to do business, if they see a clean, prideful environment, they’re more apt to want to move here.”

Portugal is correct in her assessment. Which should be all the more reason residents should help efforts to Keep Paris Beautiful and to Make Lamar County Shine.

Mary Madewell is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6976 or at

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