ST. JAMES—Ozark Rivers Solid Waste Management District (ORSWMD) recognized outstanding achievements in solid waste management at its annual awards ceremony Dec. 5 at the St. James Senior Center. Individuals, organizations and businesses recognized were Loretta Peterman, Chris Passalacqua with Junkyard Technology, The Rolla Mission, The St. James Caring Center, Zeigenbein Sanitation, Kathryn Hawes and Patrick Stites.
“Ozark Rivers SWMD is proud to recognize people/businesses that take it upon themselves to help protect our resources and environment by recycling, reusing or repurposing,” ORSWMD Chairman Troy Porter said. “By honoring these people they feel their efforts are worthwhile and also encourages others to participate.”
Recognized this year for her accomplishment in the category of citizen and volunteer involvement was Loretta Peterman. Peterman recently retired from 25 years with Brewer Science where she was responsible for coordinating an annual special collection for electronics, appliances and tires in partnership with Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC). Additionally, Peterman worked through Arts Rolla to coordinate a display of artwork from the Ozark Rivers Annual Earth Day Student Art Contest at The Centre in Rolla. Peterman was nominated by Roger Pankey, representing the city of Rolla on the ORSWMD board.
Chris Passalacqua, owner of Technology Junkyard in Salem, was recognized in the category of business for establishing a full-service electronics and technology service center where he refurbishes, repurposes and resells computers and computer components. He works with local scrappers to handle the hazardous materials and properly dispose of those items that cannot be reused. Passalacqua was nominated by Dent County Presiding Commissioner Gary Larson.
Two community organizations were honored for their environmental efforts this year – The Rolla Mission and the St. James Caring Center.
The Rolla Mission was recognized for its efforts to organize community composting. The group is currently collecting food waste from local grocery stores along with the food waste from its kitchen that serves daily meals. Bulk food waste is then composted at the Common Grounds Community Garden in Rolla. The Rolla Mission has also provided the community with composting classes and installed a compost demonstration site with funding through the MRPC Community Assistance and Outreach Fund, which was established by a grant provided by ORSWMD. The Rolla Mission was nominated by Steve Vogt, representing the city of Belle on the ORSWMD board.
The St. James Caring Center received an ORSWMD grant to purchase a small baler in April of 2020. Since then, it has baled unusable textiles from its thrift store and recycled them at Remains, Inc. in St. Louis. These efforts have led to over 12 tons of textiles being baled by The St. James Caring Center and diverted from the landfill. In June 2023, one box trailer full earned the St. James Caring Center approximately $6,000 to provide services to local residents. Jim Fleming, representing Phelps County, nominated the St. James Caring Center for their award.
In the category of facility recycling and solid waste management, Zeigenbein Sanitation, Pulaski County, was recognized for its service to the residents of the area since 1958. Zeigenbein Sanitation has provided service to the Waynesville community and, on many occasions, offered to help families with clean-up after torrential flooding damaged many homes within the city. They also provided recycling services and educated city leaders and the public on the importance and complexities of a recycling program. Waynesville Mayor Sean Wilson nominated Zeigenbein Sanitation for the award and accepted it on their behalf at the banquet since they were unable to attend.
The final category of the night awarded was the Community Spirit Award, which was kept secret until it was awarded. Receiving the Community Spirit Award this year were Kathryn Hawes and Patrick Stites. Hawes, who works for MRPC, and Stites, who previously worked for MRPC, collaborated to create the Trashasaurus marketing campaign to educate the public on the dangers of illegal dumping and other harmful environmental impacts. The two have created numerous skits and educational materials all while adding some fun and humor through the use of an inflatable dinosaur who chases illegal dumpers through the woods and prevents such behaviors from occurring. They were nominated by former ORSWMD Board Chairman Brady Wilson.
The Ozark Rivers District includes Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities with populations of 500 or more. The district’s strategy for solid waste reduction, which has been individually adopted by all member governments and approved by Missouri Department of Natural Resources involves intense education and increased recycling efforts in member counties and cities. MRPC provides administration of the district and assists with a variety of implementation projects.
For more information about ORSWMD or waste reduction and recycling opportunities in the Ozark Rivers area, contact Tammy Snodgrass, MRPC environmental programs manager, at 573-265-2993 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. Mary Heywood of Bourbon, representing the unemployed, serves as chairman of the board. A professional staff of 33 offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.
Pictured left to right: Alicia McKinney (St. James Caring Center), Chris Passalacqua, Dylan Campbell (St. James Caring Center), Waynesville Mayor Sean Wilson on behalf of Ziegenbien Sanitation (back), Nancy Montgomery (director of the St. James Caring Center), Shannon Roark (St. James Caring Center), Loretta Peterman, Patrick Stites (back), Emily Williams (The Rolla Mission) Brody Fulk (The Rolla Mission), Sara Buell (The Rolla Mission), Phoenix Hazell (The Rolla Mission) and Kathryn Hawes (MRPC)