The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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May 4, 2014

Sharon's Spring Fling

Shoppers, cleaning crews hit downtown

SHARON — When 10-year-old Emma Barborak found shiny knee-high boots in her Easter basket this year, she couldn’t wait to jump into the Shenango River with them.

Volunteering in various area events has taken the shine off Emma’s boots already. She shared stories of bugs and snakes from adventures she’s had while tagging along behind her mom and dad, Rick and Jennifer Barborak.

The Sharon couple has spearheaded many efforts to spruce up their city as founders of Shenango River Watchers and WaterFire Sharon.

Their latest efforts had Emma up early on Saturday to volunteer in a citywide cleanup sponsored by the Sharon Beautification Commission.

The cleanup was part of what organizers called a Spring Fling.

Downtown was crawling with people Saturday afternoon in spite of the rain and drizzle that held off until close to suppertime. Merchants held spring sales and raffled off hanging flower baskets to draw in customers.

The Spring Fling concluded at the Apollo Maennerchor Club on South Dock Street with maypole dancers signaling the start of spring.

“There’s a lot going on in downtown,” Tony Delgros, cleanup volunteer, said. “Almost every weekend there’s something going on.”

Emma showed off a snake she found during cleanup to a group that had just filled dozens of garbage bags with litter from Jennyburg Hill.

Brian Kepple, president of the Sharon Beautification Commission, set out at 9 a.m. with about 50 volunteers who collected litter from about three-quarters of the city’s streets, he estimated.

Some people who couldn’t make it to Saturday’s cleanup went out during the week and cleaned up in their own neighborhoods.

Jennifer Barborak said people can spruce up the streets any time, not just between 9 and noon on a cleanup day.

“Take ownership over your neighborhood,” she said. “Be a part of the solution.”

She estimated that 60 volunteers picked up about 10 tons of litter and close to 500 abandoned tires along the railroad tracks on the west side of Sharon last week in the cleanup with Shenango River Watchers.

After cleaning the streets all morning, Emma followed her mom to the Maennerchor Club around noon.

Emma bebopped around the kitchen, took orders and served people – all the while with a smile on her face.

“She’s already done more community service than most of the older kids,” her mother said. She noted that Emma’s even persuaded her friends and their families to volunteer alongside her in Buhl Farm park, around the streets of Sharon and at the Shenango River.

“She’s with us for everything,” Jennifer Barborak said. “She’s spent a lot of time on boats.”

The next workout Emma will give her new boots is when she dives into cleaning up the Shenango River with the rest of the WaterFire crew in a couple weeks.

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