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Clean up under way

DEMOPOLIS – A clean-up effort is under way after the county health department’s environmentalist surveyed the site of a house on Chickasaw Street Wednesday with city officials.

Neighbors near Robert M. Owens, 1505 Chickasaw St., presented a petition last week to the city council asking something be done to require Owens to clean up his property.

City Attorney Rick Manley told the small contingent at the council’s meeting that he had requested the county health department look into the conditions at the house.

On Wednesday, public health environmental supervisor Parish Pugh, Manley and a city police officer went to Owen’s house.

“He’s beginning to take some action at cleaning up,” Manley said.

Pugh said his involvement was from a vector control standpoint.

“It’s a good area for breeding rats, mice, mosquitoes and other things that carry disease,” he said.

Pugh said Owens told the group he was planning a cleanup.

“I’ll be issuing a letter … basically restating our conversation with him,” he said.

Pugh said tall grass, heavy bushes and shade, plus areas of standing water contribute to a mosquito breeding, in addition to snakes and other rodents.

If Owens does not clean up his property within eight days, the matter could be referred to circuit court, Manley said.

“Mr. Pugh gave him eight days to clean up,” Manley said.

Manley, under orders from the city council to tackle dilapidated and deteriorating properties in the city, said Owens stated he had four people coming to help him clean on Saturday.

The action should make some neighbors feel better about the state of affairs.

Bob Cook lives near the house and was one of several residents who signed the petition presented to the council.

“The whole neighborhood doesn’t have anything against him, but he needs to get it cleaned up,” he said.

Owens did not return phone calls for this story.