“I do this one-woman and low key. I’m hoping to get a few more people involved, you know, get the community to kind of stand up and say, hey, this is my home. Let’s take care of it. Not waiting for somebody else to do it.” — Connie Kramer
It was a mountain located right in the Delta, a hidden mountain of trash. Everyone deplored it, but no one – no one – did much about it. They may have added to it, or just driven by assuming others were at fault. Or thinking they couldn’t do anything because it’s not their responsibility.
Fortunately, someone cared. Not just about this mountain, but about others located throughout the Delta. This is the story of one woman who cares about her community.
At 9am on Wednesday, January 29, there was a chain reaction accident of happenstance. First a problem surfaced and then, BAM BAM BAM, three solutions slammed into it explosively.
The sun was well up when Connie Kramer, of Isleton, pulled off the road to a secluded area hidden from the road just outside of town. She saw the afore-mentioned mountain and she made it her mission to conquer it. Wearing her old tennis shoes and donning gloves, she dug into the mess.
“I prayed. Yeah. I was like, I’m only one person, Lord, what can I do? You know, if you sit with idle hands, you will suffer for it later. And put off until tomorrow what you can do today… Yeah. Taking on somebody else’s burden and be a help. This is my community,” said Connie Kramer.
Sifting through the mounds, individual items came into view. A box with a name and address, possibly taken by a porch pirate. A child’s walker. Old shoes, incongruously, a single high-heeled shoe. A bowling ball. A spilled paint can, and so much more.
“Not left by the homeless,” is Connie’s assessment. “This is household garbage. Someone living in the area – most likely Isleton – dumped this.”
Wendy Burton pulled up shortly after Connie, donned gloves and got to work immediately. Bagging and hauling. It’s dirty and difficult work cleaning up someone else’s mess.
Wendy Burton says, “It needs to be done. I’ve just always helped my community whenever there’s a need if I can.”
Mike Comfort owns fifteen acres near this site. He has had run-ins with people dumping on his property too.
“I have combated that problem since day one and actually had several confrontations with people on our property. ‘You can’t dump on this property,’ I tell them.”
“Well, we’ve been doing it for years out here, why can’t we do it now?” they ask.
“Because it’s private property and we’re cleaning it up and we don’t want trash. You need to go to the landfill,” says Mike Comfort.
They tell him, “Oh no – we’re not going to do it.”
Comfort has had to call the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department several times because of confrontations. He has nothing but accolades for Connie and Wendy, and offers to haul the bags of rubbish off and pay dump fees.
His offer may not be needed though.
About thirty minutes after he and the two women left, a Sacramento County vehicle pulled up and a Code Enforcement employee began assessing the situation. According to him someone had called Sacramento 311 (a county helpline). It came to County Supervisor Don Nottoli’s attention and an abatement person was sent to check out the report and the County waste department planned a pick up of the trash.
A short-term solution to a long-term problem.
“This is the road that comes in and out of town…we don’t want trash. It needs to go to the landfill. It’s been this way for several years and it just keeps getting worse and worse and worse,” says Mike Comfort.
With people like Connie Kramer, the problem may eventually lesson or disappear. “I do this one-woman and low key. I’m hoping to get a few more people involved, you know, get the community to kind of stand up and say, hey, this is my home. Let’s take care of it. Not waiting for somebody else to do it.”
ABATEMENT RESOURCES FOR SACRAMENTO SAN JOAQUIN DELTA COMMUNITIES
Your county has a phone number or website or mobile app which you can use to notify them of community problems from abandoned cars and boats to weed abatement and trash. General links below:
Contra Costa – https://seeclickfix.com/contra-costa-county/categories/
San Joaquin – https://www.sjgov.org/gorequest/request
Cyndy Green has been intrigued by news since she got a toy printing press as a six year old. She switched to visual story telling at the age of 12 with her first still camera and moved to broadcasting after an internship in 1974. After 28 years in broadcast news and another 8 teaching broadcasting, she still can’t live without a camera in hand and an editing computer nearby, so in retirement she continues creating visual stories.