It's not a big deal, but it's there and has been for weeks. Maybe you have seen it on your drive home. It's in a weird place, not something you would expect to see on the historic National Road. There, stuck among the trees and bushes near the top of Wheeling Hill is a white toilet seat. It may just be half of the seat but it's clearly an item not usually found at that location.
That's not to say our fair state has not seen and probably still offers plenty of outhouse facilities complete with white toilet seats. I can understand finding a toilet seat on the hillside there some years back when all of Wheeling's trash was hauled to the North Park Landfill. Sometimes things fell off the pick-up trucks. That facility has been closed for years and trash now goes out to the landfill in Short Creek, much of it passing by home on GC&P Road in those large garbage trucks.
Anyone who regularly drives Wheeling Hill also will notice those beautifully landscaped flower beds and the hanging baskets along the road. They are well-tended and the rewards are colorful blooming things throughout the summer months. Hats off to those who keep that area so lovely.
That can't be said for some other places in West Virginia. Many of our roads are filthy, littered with beer cans, diapers and thousands of cigarette butts. Why do some smokers feel the interstate ramps are the best places to empty their car ashtrays? I didn't think the newer cars even had ashtrays.
Look along the interchanges of Interstate 470, the off ramps at the Ohio Valley Mall and just about any highway intersection and you will find the trash of scofflaws. I don't blame our highway workers. They have enough to do to keep our bridges and interstates in working order. They shouldn't have to follow motorists around like a nagging wife to take out the trash.
Other states have pristine roads. Drive through Maryland or Virginia and you will notice much less garbage strewn along the main highways. Perhaps those states have more programs in place to clean up the trash or they are really tough on litter bugs they can catch.
West Virginia's topography presents many challenges for those charged with keeping it clean and safe. Streams and rivers, deep gorges and high cliffs all add to the beauty of the state except when those areas become a trash can for the lazy.
Public officials and police can probably tell you a dozen or more common dumping grounds where some folks think they can unload their unwanted items or garbage. Look toward Rock Point Road from McColloch Street and see where someone has thrown junk over the hill. It is just a matter of catching them in the act in order to end the practice.
And it's up to all of us to keep our trash in check, one toilet seat at a time, and make the Mountain State the showplace that it truly can be.
Heather Ziegler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.