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Joliet girl, 11, wins America Recycles Day contest
Tammy Reiher
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Joliet girl, 11, wins America Recycles Day contest

JOLIET – Friday the 13th turned out to be a lucky day for Melanie Howard this year.

Melanie, 11, won a refurbished iPad2 in Will County’s America Recycles Day contest when her Mom, Christine Howard, photographed her doing something she normally does.

Christine and her husband, Mel, said three to four times a month they take long walks around their neighborhood with their twins, Melanie and Ryan, taking a large garbage bag with them and filling it with litter as they go along. The couple said they have been doing this since their children could walk.

     Mel said, “We just started doing this to make our walks more interesting.”

They don’t just pick it up; they sort through it for recyclables when they get home, said Christine.

     “When recycling comes, we usually have two full (95-gallon) carts,” Mel said.

The winning photo was taken at Theodore Street and County Line Road where Melanie, clad in her Girl Scout vest, is shown picking up litter. The Minooka Intermediate fifth-grader wore her vest because she is so proud of being in Troop 52 in Joliet, not for a badge.

     “I like helping the environment,” said Melanie.

On Nov. 18, the family met with Will County Executive Larry Walsh, who awarded Melanie her prize and visited with the family, complimenting them on their commitment to the environment.

Lucky twin, too

While Ryan said he had “too much homework” to go out with his mom and sister that cold, blustery Friday, it probably was a lucky day for him, too.

His sister has an iPad she bought a few years ago. She wanted one and, her mother said, it wasn’t in their budget to buy her one – so Melanie earned the money.

The family has friends living near Wrigley Field. On game days, Melanie sold lemonade at 50 cents a cup until she earned enough to buy the coveted item.

Christine said she hoped Melanie would give that one to her brother.

     “I probably will,” Melanie said.

Extended deadline

The deadline for Will County non-profit organizations to apply for recognition and the chance to win a refurbished iPad 2 has been extended to Jan 15. It is the second year agencies have been included in the County’s America Recycles Day contest. Up to three prizes will be awarded.

For additional details, go to WillCountyGreen.com and click on contest in the center of the page.

 The America Recycles Day contests are sponsored by the Will County Land Use Department’s Resource Recovery and Energy Division. The Land Use Department is led by Director Curt Paddock and is under the Will County Executive’s office. 

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