Cleaning Carmel one hand at a time


By Jeff Worrell

Hazel Dell Parkway on a sunny, warmer than usual winter day is a popular place for pedestrians.  I decided to join the crowd and get some much-needed exercise. Walkers, runners, dog lovers and bikers all mingle along the busy North-South roadway on the East side of Carmel. Way off in the distance, I could see a couple enjoying the day like all of the others. But, unlike the other walkers using the path that day, this couple’s behavior was different. Either they did not believe in the shortest distance between two points is a straight line rule, or they are directionally challenged. As I continued to approach, I could clearly see them stroll together a few feet as couples do. But, unexplainably and at random, suddenly one would dart to the left, the other to the right, bend over, return to the center and resume their leisurely saunter.

What was causing this strange conduct? Who were these out-of-the-ordinary foot travelers? As I got close enough to see the details, it became obvious the couple I had been observing were not innocent walkers, but trash-grabbing, garbage-toting, Good Samaritans.

When I caught up to Joe and Shirley Linne, I think I came on a little strong and almost scared them to death when I incredulously demanded to know, “What are you doing?” Joe was the first to respond with a casual and simple reply, “Keeping our part of Carmel looking nice, of course.”  They had two large, smelly, overstuffed garbage bags to reinforce the talk they walk – roadside debris no longer on the road, but out of site and disposed of properly thanks to this Carmel couple.

Eight years ago, the Linnes moved from Brownsburg and made their home in Carmel. They started to notice the unsightly discarded alcohol and tobacco products spoiling their view as they used the footpath. The fast-food wrappers and soft drink cups are out there, too, but according to Joe, “If the people using alcohol and tobacco could also use a trash can, I wouldn’t have much to pick up.”

Without fanfare or recognition, at least once a week and sometimes twice, the Linnes are walking, bending, walking, bending and personally managing both sides of the street PLUS the median. So, as special thanks to our own Hazel Dell Beautification Team, I declare this week as less bending and more walking week. Do your part and think of Joe and Shirley as you don’t pollute.


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