By Judy Garrison

 Lured by handbills circulated by veteran ditch witches Nancy McShane and Ann Roberti [see Andes Gazette June 2009 article] troops mobilized at the Andes Central School on Wednesday, 10 June at 14:30 hours DST for a targeted crusade against roadside litter.  Teacher Ed McGee rounded up fresh recruits from the Outdoor Club and underage 7th graders who signed up to patrol the trenches near the school.  The volunteers went into skirmish armed with trash bags and gloves dispensed by McShane and Roberti, who delivered the promise to all of a reusable bag at the conclusion of operations.  The Catskill Watershed Corporation generously donated all of the aforementioned gear.

Sarah Lewis and I bivouacked on the northern reaches of Andes Town where we engaged in Bovina border patrol, moving southward for an engagement in hand to hand combat with ancient and fresh plastic and glass and other unspeakable items of detritus in the swampy culverts in the vicinity of The Andel Inn.  It was a war of attrition.

Meanwhile intrepid veterans McShane and Roberti stormed Palmer Hill, mounting a particularly fierce campaign as they dodged oncoming trucks. McShane, armed with a military-issue dandelion-weeding tool, speared the jetsam with machine-gun efficiency.  The battle-hardened pair reportedly routed out 11 large bags worth of ambushed garbage.

The three squads did not reconnoiter, but their plunder of 22 bags of garbage (separated when possible for re-cycling) plus one double-hung window, did: in an Andes Highway Department truck authorized for pick-up duty by Commander in Chief Martin Donnelly.

There were no reports of collateral damage and troops are hoping for re-deployment in early spring of 2010.  Operation Control strategizes that conditions of minimal undergrowth around Earth Day in April will allow peak visibility of formerly concealed debris, allowing for easy  capture.  Additionally, the absence of mosquito infestation and extreme heat at this time will allow optimum conditions for a spring scuffle and inducement for increased participation. Other good news from the front: incidents of minor insurgency have decreased as the spraying of “green” rhetoric has kept down the count of beer can grenades tossed into culverts.~