Toni Kief and her cat, Poppy, 5, smiles as she is handed a bird feather that she collects while she picks up trash on Tuesday, April 18, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Toni Kief and her cat, Poppy, 5, smiles as she is handed a bird feather that she collects while she picks up trash on Tuesday, April 18, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

‘Call to action’: Marysville volunteers aim for 2,000 bags of litter

Toni Kief, the city’s volunteer of the month, has picked up over 1,300 bags herself — a stat that leads the Litter League.

MARYSVILLE — Toni Kief loves stories. A prolific writer, she normally has plenty to spare. But when she found herself dealing with a case of writer’s block during the pandemic, she had to do something to find inspiration.

So she started taking walks. Long drawn to the storytelling possibilities of cemeteries, Kief began in St. Mary’s Cemetery on State Avenue. Because she couldn’t stand to see the trash littering the street, she started picking it up. She has since filled up over 1,300 bags with garbage.

Litter League volunteers walk along State Street and pick up trash on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Litter League volunteers walk along State Street and pick up trash on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

On Tuesday, Kief led about a dozen volunteers from the newly formed Marysville Litter League on a litter pickup walk. She’s also the city’s April Volunteer of the Month. City spokesperson Bridgette Larsen dubbed Kief the “unofficial team captain” for the Litter League and “a huge inspiration” for anyone else wanting to pick up litter.

The city is challenging volunteers to pick up 2,000 bags of litter total this year. Larsen described the group as a “call to action” to encourage people to help clean up their neighborhoods. Volunteers will count their own bags of litter, taking pictures if possible, and send that information either to city social media accounts or over email to socialnetworking@marysvillewa.gov.

A volunteer dumps out a can during Litter League pick up on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A volunteer dumps out a can during Litter League pick up on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

The litter walk led by Kief, held in honor of Earth Day on Saturday, started in the parking lot of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and continued down 88th Street and eventually into the cemetery. Mayor Jon Nehring attended the walk, where city staff handed out “litter pickup kits” containing litter pickers, latex gloves, garbage bags, reflector vests, stickers and information sheets.

Good Samaritans who missed the event can still get kits during business hours at the Marysville Community Center, 1015 State Ave., or the Marysville Civic Center, 501 Delta Ave.

Volunteers who accumulate large quantities of trash can look out for the Marysville Clean Sweep set for May 13 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., where people people can drop off trash or recycling for free. The event will be held at Marysville Public Works, 80 Columbia Ave.

Kief brought her cat, Poppy, to the litter walk in a stroller. Her three cats often go with her on walks.

Volunteers walk through the Marysville Cemetery and pick up trash on Tuesday, April 18, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Volunteers walk through the Marysville Cemetery and pick up trash on Tuesday, April 18, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

She also brought her bottomless cache of stories, like the time she made a date stop in the cemetery where Edgar Lee Masters was buried or the time she listened to the first Beatles record and vowed never to see them in concert so Paul McCartney wouldn’t fall in love with her and quit music.

“I speak to everybody” on walks, Kief said. “I also believe everybody wants to be seen.”

Juanita and Pete Pias, who joined on the walk, have been picking up litter since the start of the year. Like Kief, they started noticing garbage on the streets during walks they took during the pandemic.

Helping to clean it up, Juanita Pias said, “makes us feel good.”

Sophia Gates: 425-339-3035; sophia.gates@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @SophiaSGates.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A big decision for Boeing’s next CEO: Is it time for a new plane?

As Boeing faces increased competition from Airbus, the company is expected to appoint a new CEO by the end of the year.

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road in Mukilteo. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Mukilteo Speedway name change is off to a bumpy start

The city’s initial crack at renaming the main drag got over 1,500 responses. Most want to keep the name.

Two workers walk past a train following a press event at the Lynnwood City Center Link Station on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Trains up and running on Lynnwood Link — but no passengers quite yet

Officials held an event at the Lynnwood station announcing the start of “pre-revenue” service. Passengers still have to wait till August.

Nedra Vranish, left, and Karen Thordarson, right browse colorful glass flowers at Fuse4U during Sorticulture on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A promenade through Everett’s popular Sorticulture garden festival

Check out a gallery of the festival’s first day.

Left to right, Everett Pride board members Ashley Turner, Bryce Laake, and Kevin Daniels pose for a photo at South Fork Bakery in Everett, Washington on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Second Everett Pride aims for even bigger rainbow of festivities

Organizers estimated about 3,000 people attended the first block party in Everett. This year, they’re aiming for 10,000.

School board members listen to public comment during a Marysville School Board meeting on Monday, June 3, 2024 in Marysville, Washington. Rinehardt is seated third from left. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Marysville school board president resigns amid turmoil

Wade Rinehardt’s resignation, announced at Monday’s school board meeting, continues a string of tumultuous news in the district.

A BNSF train crosses Grove St/72nd St, NE in Marysville, Washington on March 17, 2022. Marysville recently got funding for design work for an overcrossing at the intersection. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
BNSF owes nearly $400M to Washington tribe, judge rules

A federal judge ruled last year that the railroad trespassed as it sent trains carrying crude oil through the Swinomish Reservation.

The I-5, Highway 529 and the BNSF railroad bridges cross over Union Slough as the main roadways for north and southbound traffic between Everett and Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 529 squeeze starts now between Everett, Marysville

Following a full closure for a night, starting late Sunday, Highway 529 will slim down to two lanes for months near the Snohomish River Bridge.

Everett Housing Authority is asking for city approval for its proposed development of 16 acres of land currently occupied by the vacant Baker Heights public housing development on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett inches closer to Park District affordable housing plan

Building heights — originally proposed at 15 stories tall — could be locked in with council approval in July.

The intersection of Larch Way, Logan Road and Locust Way on Wednesday, March 27, 2024 in Alderwood Manor, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Roundabout project to shut down major Bothell intersection for months

The $4.5 million project will rebuild the four-way stop at Larch and Locust ways. The detour will stretch for miles.

State Sen. Mark Mullet, left, and Attorney General Bob Ferguson, right, are both running as Democrats for governor in 2024. (Photos courtesy of Mullet and Ferguson campaigns)
Rival Democrats spar over fundraising in Washington governor’s race

Mark Mullet is questioning Bob Ferguson’s campaign finance connections with the state party. Ferguson says the claims are baseless.

A log truck rolled over into power lines on Monday, June 17, in Darrington. (Photo provided by Alexis Monical)
Log truck rolls into utility lines in Darrington, knocking out power

The truck rolled over Monday morning at the intersection of Highway 530 and Fullerton Avenue. About 750 addresses were without power.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.