Kiwanis Club Of Omaha Westside

Supporting The Children Of Omaha With Commitment For 50+ Years

GRDA, STIR Kiwanis make a difference - Tahlequah Daily Press

Last weekend, the Tahlequah Kiwanis Club and Grand River Dam Authority joined forces to produce two important events in one: the Illinois River Cleanup, and the Kiwanis Race for the Kids.

Cherokee Countians could find few issues more important than the ones touted by these two groups. The Kiwanis Club has long focused on children's issues, and since children are our future, they are also our most precious resource. And for longtime area residents, the river follows not too far behind.

Thanks to Save The Illinois River and past elected officials, Cherokee County managed to partially reverse the damage done to the scenic stream by the dumping of effluent by agriculture operations. Some were in Oklahoma, but others were in Arkansas - and long-time area residents will recall the cavalier attitude displayed by then-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in regard to the condition of our river. Nevertheless, persistence paid off, and while the river can never be returned to the pristine condition of the 1960s that many of us remember, it's still far better than it was before activists began their work.

The work will never be completed - not for STIR or the Grand River Dam Authority, which now is charged with overseeing river operations, and certainly not for the Kiwanis Club in the case of children. These two entities need all the help and support they can get. And the Kiwanis Club is always looking for new members to welcome into the fold. Local residents can help. Though donations are welcomed by groups with charitable arms, we can take a few simple steps to make their jobs easier.

Pick up your trash. Don't leave dirty diapers, cans and uneaten food along the riverbanks or on shoulders of Highway 10. Don't throw those items in the driveways of folks who live there year-around. Put out your campfires, and don't get too rowdy. Respect the river and its banks, and also respect the private property of others; not every inch of shoreline is considered public access. And don't drive and drive!

When it comes to the welfare of children, respect our public school teachers. If you have children in school, be active and involved in the education and their lives. Stand as a good example for young people. Volunteer in classes or for booster organizations. Show up for teacher conferences. Help the kids with their homework. And if you see another child being abused, report the incident to the proper authorities.

Trite as it may sound, it really does take a village to make the world a better place for everyone. And that includes our own little neck of the woods in Cherokee County.

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