Get junk out of Minturn, ofﬁcials say
MINTURN Jan Aiello swung a sledgehammer on a wooden board that was stuck into ice as her daughter, Nella Aiello, looked on Sunday afternoon outside their home. Blue 50-gallon drums, wood and copper sat in their driveway. Buckets, boards, a shovel, a weed-whacker, a cooler, a baseball bat and other belongings all piled a few feet high spilled out of their garage. Jan Aiellos husband, Anthony, always said, I can use that somewhere along the line, she said about stuff he has picked up in junkyards and dumps throughout the years. Now the Aiellos are loading up as much of that junk as possible into a rusty dumptruck before Minturns cleanup day May 17.The Aiellos and more than a dozen Minturn residents and businesses have been asked to get rid of larger junk on their properties. Anyone with washing machines, dryers, refrigerators or unregistered, broken-down cars and boats lying outside could get a ticket, said Gary Suiter, Minturns interim town manager. The people, most of whom Suiter declined to name, have been sent letters, and the tentative deadline for cleanup is June 1. In general, were looking at June 1, Suiter said. A lot of its case by case, Suiter said. We have to look at it and make a judgment call.The fine for violating Minturns nuisance ordinance is as much as $1,000 a day, as many as 180 days in jail or both, Suiter said. The town may clean properties and send the bill to the property owner in some cases where people refuse to comply, Suiter said. The town may take a harder line if people refuse to clean up, Mayor Gordon Hawkeye Flaherty said. If that means giving them a ticket, that means giving them a ticket, he said. If anyone is ticketed, it could be for the first time in the nuisance ordinances history.I don’t think weve ticketed anyone before, Town Councilwoman Shelley Bellm said.Enforcement after electionEvery year after an election, Minturn town councilors say theyre going to get tough on the ordinance, said Floyd Duran, a lifelong Minturn resident. “They don’t do anything before an election,” he said. Duran has a large, blue M&M character in his front yard; a few old cars; a washer and dryer; an old, unused Coca-Cola machine outside his door and a tire sitting in his driveway. A 1952 Chevrolet sits with its hood half-buried in the snow and a broken passenger-side window. All of Durans cars run and are registered, but he cant drive them all at once. He has three $150 eagle claw bathtubs, covered in snow, that town staffers have called a nuisance, he said. A lot of it is not useless material, Duran said. Duran, who plans to toss a table, tire and other belongings, isnt the only one who has some junk lying around. Almost everybody in Minturn has some sort of a nuisance in their yards, Duran said.Durans belongings are covered by snow half the year, but he should clean up, said Sonja Anderson, Durans neighbor. A lot of people in town have that kind of stuff in their yards, she said. Its not like its a rarity.Does Anderson mind the M&M character? You could have worse things, Anderson said. Its lazinessAlex Gentry, of Minturn, keeps his belongings inside his garage, but he said he grew up in small towns where people leave their junk outside. Its Minturn, Gentry said. I expect to see that kind of stuff, so it doesnt bother me.Bill Grossart, of Minturn, said a man often leaves his motorhome parked on Main Street for three days and then moves it to the other side of the street before he gets ticketed. Thats a nuisance to me, he said. Some residents have their treasures, but that doesnt mean others treasure those possessions, said Heidi Telles, of Minturn.I think its laziness, she said. Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 970-748-2931 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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