Of all the questions I was taught to ask in Journalism 101, I'd have to say the most important one is just one simple three-letter word: Why?
It's never a yes or no answer, for one thing, so the person you ask has some explaining to do. You often get to the core of the issue or story just by asking that one question.
Sometimes, though, it seems the answer you get doesn't add up or maybe it doesn't make sense. That's what has to be the case when it comes to one of my pet peeves: why people just throw things they don't want on the ground.
Whether it's a cigarette butt (one of the worst things to look at), empty bottle or can, all the way up to old appliances and junk cars in the front yard.
The one that got me going recently was that little car that doesn't have a hood. It sat next to Western Rockies Federal Credit Union all winter. I mean it looked like it NEVER moved, and it's ugly to look at a car without a hood, you know? Really, really surprised it still runs.
Anyway, all the stuff people just throw out the window or abandon is all ugly to look at, and there isn't any good reason for it. Too lazy, don't care, no money to have it hauled off. None of them have ever rung true with me. There's always a way to get something done if you put your mind to it or someone offers to help.
That's what we have in Rifle, starting next week. The city of Rifle will pick up a lot of your old junk, for free. All you have to do is put it out by the curb.
I would think everyone in the city would take advantage of the offer; I know an awful lot do, judging by the piles of things you see on the streets at this time every year.
There are rules, of course. Some things are not suitable to be taken to the landfill because they pollute groundwater. For the details, go online to rifleco.org or call 665-6490.
More cleanup activities will happen this Saturday, April 20, with Renew Rifle Day. That's where you can volunteer to help make the downtown area look better, and you get free food and gift certificates afterwards. Sweet deal!
Just show up with work gloves, rakes and brooms at Civic Plaza, between City Hall and the Rifle Branch Library, at 8 a.m. You'll be done by noon.
This is a Rifle Main Street event, so check out their Facebook page for more.
BTW (that's "by the way" for those not familiar with text message shorthand), Earth Day is Monday, April 22, so this all is perfect timing.
It's great to see people get together to clean up the city. Too bad anyone has to, but I guess it's human nature for a lot of people to just toss things on the ground. Not a positive trait, though, and something we all could work to reverse.
You read a lot about how we're polluting the water and air, climate change is going to lead to environmental catastrophe, honeybees are dying off due to the chemicals we use, wildlife is headed toward extermination.
A lot of those issues may seem beyond anything one person can do. But one person can do something to make Rifle a better looking and cleaner city.
Start with yourself and your home. Set a good example and maybe it will catch on.
Show up Saturday morning and lend a hand with friends and neighbors.
A community is only what we make it.
And who knows, maybe someone will help buy a new hood for the little hoodless car.
Mike McKibbin is the editor of The Citizen Telegram.