AT the end of another long week of COVID doom and gloom - rising case numbers across the state, rising hospitalisations, businesses struggling - we were all probably in need of a good news story.
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And Jim Schaerf provided it.
Mr Schaerf's story - as described on our front page on Saturday - was reasonably straightforward: man retires, man decides to go for a daily walk for his health and wellbeing, man notices lots of rubbish around as he goes for that daily walk.
For a lot of people, that's where the story would end. They'd tut-tut, they might even be inclined to pick up an item or two, but it would go no further than that.
Mr Schaerf, though, is obviously not like most people.
As he explained to the Western Advocate, he has spent years now collecting the rubbish that he sees on his daily walks, bagging it up and playing a part in making the city a little cleaner.
He estimates he's collected almost 1500 big bags of rubbish in that time - and he's environmentally minded enough that he puts the recyclables aside for someone else to collect from him.
It was appropriate that Mr Schaerf was at pains to emphasise the importance of personal responsibility when it comes to rubbish -"Don't blame McDonald's, don't blame the people who provide these containers; it's an individual's responsibility to get rid of their own rubbish," he said - because his story is an example of the power of the individual.
It was within his power to do something about the rubbish he saw on his daily walks and he exercised that power.
There must surely have been times over the years when he has wondered, as the rubbish has kept appearing, why he has bothered or whether his small act does, in the end, make any difference.
But of course it does.
Every item picked up by the side of the road or from one of our parks or from a nature strip is one less item befouling our city. Every item picked up is an act of affection for the city in which we live.
Mr Schaerf's story was not just well-timed amid all the COVID unpleasantness, it was also well-timed considering it's still the early days of a new year.
Amid all the resolutions about losing weight or eating better, imagine if hundreds of us around the city resolved to pick up a few items of rubbish a day.
That would be another story worth celebrating.
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