Kids care about the community! From left, rear, Brooke Schlegel, age 8, Olivia Villarreal, age 13, Natalie Gonzales, age 7 and front, Lane Schlegal aged 5, and Evie Gonzales, age 4. Photo by Jan Lopthien Gonzales

Portola kids take initiative to clean up community

By Lauren Westmoreland
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A local group of children recently took the initiative to go to work cleaning up the community they love after a hungry local bear woke up from hibernation and dragged household garbage around one Portola neighborhood. “I’m very proud of all of the kids,” said grandmother Jan Lopthien Gonzales, laughing when explaining the chain of events. “Initially, after spring came, Natalie saw that a bear had strewn trash around the neighborhood and told her mom that it should be picked up because it was disgusting!”

A few weeks later, the five kids got together and created a plan, led by Natalie, to get to work. “For those of you that do not understand a trash bear, this is what it looks like after they continually hit a house and the humans do not clean it up,” Gonzales said. “I am very proud of our grand children for wanting to clean it up.” The kids plan on attacking Mayberry Hill in Portola next, with the addition of their cousin Lucas Lopthien. “We cleaned up from Pacific Street to 6th and down Rio Grand, returning home with almost a full 13-gallon bag of trash.” Great work, everyone!