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Village targeting weeds, junk cars

Council members agreed at Thursday’s regular meeting to send out letters asking area residents who have extremely high weeds and junk cars in their yards to clean it up or face fines.

Friday, September 03, 1999

Council members agreed at Thursday’s regular meeting to send out letters asking area residents who have extremely high weeds and junk cars in their yards to clean it up or face fines.

"We’ll issue another letter," Mayor Glenn Markins said. "We’ll give them so many days to clean up their property, and then we’ll go in if we can legally do it."

According to village ordinances, those who do not comply within 10 days of receiving the letter are subject to a $200 a day fine, with no limit to how many days they can be fined, said Mark McCown, village solicitor.

Junked properties make the village look bad and are a health hazard, said Tim Sexton, a Coal Grove resident who attended Thursday’s meeting.

Sexton brought pictures of more than 10 properties throughout the village that are in violation of the area’s ordinances to the council meeting, and he asked council to do something about them.

"We’ve had rodent and snake problems in the area," he said. "And with winter coming, the rodents are going to look for a place to come inside. I don’t want them coming into my house. I see no reason why we can’t enforce the unsightly weeds and grasses ordinance."

Village officials have tried to clean up the area in the past, but did not have the resources to take residents to court if they failed to comply, Markins said.

"We’ve discussed this several times in the past nine years," he said. "And every time we’ve run into some kind of a snag. Nothing would suit me any better, though, than to make them all clean up their properties."

But getting people to comply with the village ordinances is sometimes difficult, especially if the property is a rental property, or if the owner lives out of town, Markins added.

"We have tried to enforce it, but people just don’t want to cooperate," he said.

The village will strengthen their efforts to enforce the codes, however. Markins instructed the village solicitor to go over the ordinances, and said council would do all it could legally to see that the village gets cleaned up.

In other business Thursday, council members:

– Reappointed John Goldcamp as Coal Grove Police Department chief.

Goldcamp retired from his duties as police chief in May when he retired from his positions as high school science teacher and transportation director in the Dawson-Bryant School District.

After 30 years of public service, though, Goldcamp found it difficult to stay at home.

"Yeah, I missed it," he said. "But I never left the department. I stayed on as an auxiliary officer."

Goldcamp joined the police department 32 years ago and has been police chief since 1981.

Steve Easterling assumed the responsibilities of the job during Goldcamp’s retirement, but is not sorry his predecessor reaccepted his former position.

"I’m just starting out at the high school and they keep me fairly busy working this job," said Easterling. "Becoming the high school principal, I feel that’s going to take a lot of my time, and I want to devote my time to the school system."

Easterling said he would stay on in his original position, though.

"I have 26 years experience as a jailer, patrolman, sergeant, and before taking the chief’s position, I was lieutenant," he said. "I also handled the warrants and clerical work for the department."

– Authorized the mayor to purchase two new police cars for the village.

The village will purchase one 1996 and one 1997 Ford vehicle for $10,800 each to replace two cruisers, Markins said.

"We’re in bad shape for police cruisers," he said. "One of the cruisers, we can’t keep it running three days a week."

The village will keep one of its cruisers and accept sealed bids on the other two in the near future, Markins added.