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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Commissioners pass littering ordinance

Monday, August 3, 2009

There will be a heavy price to pay for those caught littering in Clay County.

During Monday's meeting of the Clay County Commissioners, an ordinance was passed on the first reading, with suspended rules, prohibiting littering.

"Unfortunately, there are some people who do not care," Commissioner Paul Sinders said. "We needed to come up with something which would encourage them to take responsibility and help deter littering throughout the county."

The ordinance sets a $500 fine for the first offense and $750 for the second and all subsequent offenses should the matter be settled "without the necessity of court action." Should the matter not be resolved and court action is required, a conviction for littering would carry maximum fines of $2,500 for the first offense and $7,500 for the second or subsequent offense. The collection of any and all funds from fines will go into the county's General Fund.

Commissioners' Attorney Eric Somheil said there is also a state statute prohibiting littering, which carries its own punishments.

"Should someone be cited for violating the county's ordinance, they would go through me in an attempt to come to a resolution, but if that doesn't work, the matter would have to go through the court," Somheil said. "However, if they are cited for violating the state statute, it would go to the Prosecutor's Office and they would determine what action to take."

Commissioners' President Charlie Brown said the Clay-Owen-Vigo Solid Waste District plans to purchase anti-littering signs, with grant money, which will be placed along county roadways.

Meanwhile, the commissioners also discussed the potential of working with the City of Brazil to sell as many as eight parcels of property which was not sold in the county-wide tax sale or the commissioners certificate sale.

SRI, Inc., Indianapolis Vice President Joe Edwards said both the county and city would have to pass a joint resolution approving the purchase of the properties.

Brazil City Planning Administrator Stacy Gibbens said the city has been interested in purchasing the parcels, most of which are vacant lots, and improve them through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant funding.

Sinders said the commissioners will have to meet at another time to determine the price for each of the parcels and the matter will be discussed further during the September meeting.

"We want to work with the city because what they want to do is good and justifiable," he said.

Edwards also explained once the resolutions are passed, the city will have to go through the normal process of sending out notices and conducting a title search within 120 days before a deed for the parcels would be granted.

In other business during Monday's meeting, the commissioners:

* Received a petition with 35 signatures from residents on County Road 750 North, between State Road 59 and Harmony Road, requesting speed limit signs be set up in the area for either 35 or 40 miles per hour. Brown said the commissioners would look into the matter and make a decision during the September meeting, but wanted to remind residents that residential areas without a posted speed limit are 35 mph in residential areas and 55 mph in rural areas, according to state statutes,

* Heard a request from resident Vicki Rainbolt for a fireworks ordinance to be drawn up, which stipulates maintaining a specific distance away from livestock in which they can be shot off. Rainbolt said neighbors were shooting off fireworks in close proximity to her residence July 4, which frightened the horses she owns.

"I don't want to tell people they can't shoot them off because everyone loves fireworks," she said. "I would like to see this done so there aren't problems with people having to chase down livestock that get frightened by them going off so close."

The commissioners agreed to consider the matter and plan to speak with county farmers and livestock owners for additional perspectives before deciding a plan of action to take, and

* Decided to request an additional appropriation from the Clay County Council in September to pay for the potential cost of renovating and repairing the columns inside the Clay County Courthouse. Michael Conly, AIA Principal for Architura Corp., Indianapolis, said he has been in discussions with Garland Guild, Indianapolis, about the repairs and received an estimate of $17,500 for the work. The repair work would have to come from a specialized company like Garland Guild because of the scagliola technique in the columns.

Due to the Labor Day holiday, the next meeting of the Clay County Commissioners will be 9 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 8, in the Commissioners' Courtroom at the Clay County Courthouse.

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Bravo on the littering ordnance. Please now address the air pollution caused by open burning in Clay County. The citizens of Clay County deserve clean air to breathe. Open burning is simply throwing trash into the air.

-- Posted by localgal on Mon, Aug 3, 2009, at 4:51 PM

Ok first of all i dont like that idea of not allowing some in the outskirts of the counties to not burn trash and what about the ones who dont have neighbors or people that complain about it. I can see banning burning trash in the city limits but through out the whole county is crazy and even if they passed it not many that live outside brazil would follow it.

-- Posted by mom of3 on Mon, Aug 3, 2009, at 6:07 PM


I want you to consider this question. Are your kids immune to the carcinogens in the toxic soup of burning plastic? I would guess almost everyone in clay county can get trash pickup. The cost of disposing of our waste correctly is simply a part of life. As you burn your trash you are poisoning your family.

I live in Harmony and people burn all around me. It affects our quality of life and my childrens' health. It comes down to this, what is more important to you - clean lungs, or $15 a month?

Please look at your 3 kids and seriously consider your answer.

Respectfully, Localgal

-- Posted by localgal on Mon, Aug 3, 2009, at 8:30 PM

Oh and one more comment. If a law is passed for all of Clay County, I believe you are required to obey it no matter where in the county you live.

-- Posted by localgal on Mon, Aug 3, 2009, at 8:33 PM

I, personally would like to see something done about people shooting off fireworks. We live in the city and they were being shot off all around us during the 4th of July. It was after midnight and they were still setting them off.

-- Posted by th1953 on Tue, Aug 4, 2009, at 12:04 AM

This is great. Paul Sinders is such a great asset to the commissioners, I'm sure he has thought up many ideas and ways to bring funding in for the county and make it a cleaner environment. Making this county more attractive to businesses and residents is what I like to see. I would like to see this county move forward. We need to get with the times and stop lagging so far behind. Our Sheriff's department is doing a great job at moving forward and bring new technology to the county.

The next thing I would like to see is a county-wide smoking ban.

-- Posted by Criminology08 on Tue, Aug 4, 2009, at 1:24 AM

I hope the littering ordinance also includes those who throw out cigarette butts while driving down the road.

-- Posted by Jed on Tue, Aug 4, 2009, at 6:28 AM

I dont even know how to respond to this topic of no burning. I live in the county and yes I burn. I burn paper and wood. Are you going to try and stop fireplaces, wood burners, grills, firepits, etc...? Get real. And trust me, if you stop ALL burning it is going to cost you a lot more that $15.00 to dispose of it. I agree with the no littering law, even though I think it will be hard to enforce, but a no burn law is going over the top.

-- Posted by Icareaboutbrazil on Tue, Aug 4, 2009, at 7:12 AM


WOW ! are u for real? i know let the county deside where and what we eat also. what happened to Rights? just have some Consideration for our neighbor.

if the county needs money lets make the lawnmowers, golfcarts, scooters and and other moving vehicles get a license plates. that will make money.

-- Posted by Sand mann on Tue, Aug 4, 2009, at 8:01 AM

I to agree that it is high time something was done about this matter. Hopefuly the money collected will deture them and show that it is a serious matter and others would follow in not being so irrisponsible.

"Commissioners' Attorney Eric Somheil said there is also a state statute prohibiting littering, which carries its own punishments." This statement is something that everone should pay attention to as the state statutes will always over see any city, county, towship or any local ones. I believe that the fine at the state level is $1,000. Sock this on repeat offenders and see what happens

-- Posted by klk_klo on Tue, Aug 4, 2009, at 8:52 AM

Victory I agree with you. I pay for my property & I should be able to decide if i want to go out a build a fire in the fire pit to set around. Not have to go ask permisson from the county.If I wanted to live that way I would have bought in town not out in the country.

-- Posted by confused33 on Tue, Aug 4, 2009, at 8:57 AM

Actually, I can see a ban on burning trash and garbage anywhere. However, I cannot see the county doing that without taking up the responsibility of trash disposal. In Onslow and Brunswick counties in North Carolina, residents had access to centralized trash collection points where you deposited trash in provided dumpsters. That service was provided by the county and paid for through your property taxation.

Wallace Brothers charges $19 per month to pick up trash anywhere within the county and a dollar more if you want one of the fancy wheeled red toters. Not wanting to cut into their profit margin, but the trash disposal on my water bill in the City of Brazil is only $10.50. I'm not sure what the "tipping" fee is at the land fill, so I'm not absolutely sure if the city is breaking even. (Just thinking of how water rates had to be hiked because they were held below the break-even point for so long.)

I think that our county commissioners need to look at resolving this issue by analyzing the costs associated with trash disposal and insuring that all county residents have an approved method of disposing of household trash and garbage.

I have to agree that the ordinance they approved will get people's attention if it is enforced as it should be.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Tue, Aug 4, 2009, at 9:03 AM

Mind you, I'm not looking at a ban on all burning. I'm fighting for my right to roast weiners over an open wood fire on my own property without government interference within the City of Brazil..........LOL!

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Tue, Aug 4, 2009, at 9:06 AM

Icareaboutbrazil & confused33

I want to clarify what I am talking about when I say open burning. I am NOT talking about wood fires for cook-outs or even fall leaf burning. I am talking about a burn barrel in your backyard that your use to burn your trash.

Plastics were not made to burn. They spew a toxic fog. We force businesses to follow clean air practices but yet we poison our neighborhoods every night because we don't want to pay to have our trash hauled off.

When our neighbors burn my family has to run and close our windows because it affect my childrens' breathing. Even then it still get into our home. Please understand we are creating lung issues such as asthma and possible cancer all because we burn trash. I know it is a practice of the past, but that does not make it right. If someone wants to set a burn barrel beside your house and burn 24 hours a day there is nothing to stop them.

We all should have the right to live in our homes and not be forces to inhale our neighbors trash. We are literary being forced to take our daily dose of poison everyday! You do not have the right to force that on me or my children! Civic responsibility and commons scene needs to overcome someone simply not wanting to pay to have trash hauled away. We have laws to force people to deal with their waste water for public safety and this is no different.

I agree with Leo, the county can have plans for a centralized trash drop of point for those who can't afford it. But most can afford to have trash hauled away. I see very expensive homes with a burn barrel in the back yard!! It just nasty habit to save a few dollars or a uninformed person who does not get how much damage they are doing to themselves and their neighbors. The cost of hauling off trash is way cheaper then asthma treatments or chemotherapy.

I have witnessed people burning mattresses and even houses manure! We have to make this county a safe place to live. There is simply no way you can deny that burning trash is polluting our air. It is a old practice that simply has to go!

-- Posted by localgal on Tue, Aug 4, 2009, at 10:17 AM

Bravo to the littering law An extra bravo to the burning laws No burning in the city and county is commonsense You have to walk or drive through city or county to get to where your going So what makes either one different

Commissioners - Now your talking

-- Posted by 1dogbob on Tue, Aug 4, 2009, at 2:03 PM

As a rebuttal, smoking is not a right it is a privilege, just as driving. I have the right to breath fresh air. Second hand smoke is far worse than smoking it through a filter.

Anyone wanting to get involved in the advocacy of making Clay County smoke free please email:


-- Posted by Criminology08 on Tue, Aug 4, 2009, at 3:42 PM

We have litter laws, we have burn laws in Brazil and many other laws and we have county laws and state laws on burning trash or just throwing trash out on the road, All it does it just makes a mess out of everything and everybody. We need to enforce these laws if they mean anything. Every able body person is responsible for the actions they take. I go outside and mabey 5 or 10 minutes and pick up a little bit of trash and throw it in the trash, no big deal, it helps my town out mabey just a little. The more people do the same would make it a big deal, make the town cleaner and that is a good deal.

-- Posted by garyodavis on Tue, Aug 4, 2009, at 4:38 PM

I made some typos... but the biggest was "houses manure" I meant to say horse manure. :-)

-- Posted by localgal on Tue, Aug 4, 2009, at 5:13 PM

I can't wait until an ordinance is passing making it illegal to smoke in public places where food is served. The best restaurant in town is losing customers due to smoke filled air. There is a no smoking area right next to the smoking area and you might as well sit in either area as there is no difference. People have a right to smoke and should do it if they want but I have a right to clean air and I sure don't want it around me when I eat. How sad that someone is so addicted that they can't eat without lighting up. Go home and eat where you can light up. Listen up city and county officials as a poll was taken recently with the vote to ban public smoking was over 80%. A smoker has rights and a non smoker does too.

-- Posted by Tracy Jones on Wed, Aug 5, 2009, at 11:17 AM

sorry should be passed my error

-- Posted by Tracy Jones on Wed, Aug 5, 2009, at 11:19 AM


I read your comments all the time and mostly agree with you. But on the comment you made here (Go home and eat where you can light up.) don't you think the same could be said to you? Stay home and eat so you don't have to breathe the smoke!

Now let me give you my opinion. I have been a smoker for some 40 odd years. I visit these places (smoking and nonsmoking). No matter where I go, be it a smoking or nonsmoking place of business I try to respect the people around me.

I see nothing wrong with nonsmoking places; truth is they should all be nonsmoking. Just because I choose to smoke doesn't give me or anyone else the right to inflict pain or harm to others. As a smoker, I enjoy a smoke after a meal, but anyone who smokes can surely wait until we go outside or get home to light up.

Anyway, please don't put yourself in a position of ridicule by making comments like you just did. You're too good for that!


-- Posted by driverdude on Wed, Aug 5, 2009, at 12:00 PM

I have been a smoker for more than 40 years and now I am paying for this very bad habit. Over three years ago in May I quit smoking. After having a heart atack in March I went through test and needed triple by pass surgury, my doctor told me I need to quit smoking and that is exatly what I did. I can't tell people not to smoke or in my opinion have my health and many others at risk of the smoker. Non smokers need safety areas where we can be free from the smoke. Smokers are good people with a bad habbit, I was guilty for over 40 years of this habbit I don't want to make any body angry at me. smoking will slowly make everybody have health risk, If our elected officals don't make proper laws for the safety of the non smoker. We don't dislike the smoker, the non smoker just don.t like the smoke.

-- Posted by garyodavis on Wed, Aug 5, 2009, at 3:17 PM

Why do we keep passing "new ordinances" when there are already laws on the books that just are not being enforced? Making the fine stiffer means nothing if you dont enforce it. I recall seeing something about this on the news and they said if you saw someone littering report it. Well that will only go so far. I remember a few years back when school bus drivers were taking down plate numbers of people who passed them while the stop arm was out. It was a waste of time because law enforcement had to witness the infraction to write a ticket. Same will happen here. The public can help, but you cant have them policing each other.

-- Posted by opininated on Thu, Aug 6, 2009, at 9:19 PM

Isn't it already illegal to burn trash in Indiana?

-- Posted by Anodos on Fri, Aug 7, 2009, at 7:01 AM

When was the last time anybody in Brazil or Clay county been fined for litterig or burning trash ????

-- Posted by garyodavis on Fri, Aug 7, 2009, at 10:13 AM

opininated, Anodos, and nwo2012dog,

You all make very good points. I do believe that the law is already on Indiana law books about burning trash. But it is up to each county to make it own codes and enforce them. This can be done town to town, such as you can't burn trash in Brazil or it can be a county wide ban. I believe this has to be done at the county level to make a difference. Take Murphy street, one side is in town on side isn't. The people who pay to have their trash properly removed have to breathe the toxic smoke of their neighbors across the street, this is by no means fair or safe.

It isn't hard to see who burns, just look for the rusty barrel in the back yard. The commissioners need to see this as a serious problem and stand up for the majority of people who dispose of their trash correctly and protect them from the toxic smoke of those who don't. We need real fines and real enforcement.

Give people a couple of months to find a service or make arrangements, make the public aware of the law through the newspaper then start enforcing the law.

Maybe we need to make an official petition and bring this to the commissioners in a formal request. To me it is so simple, stop poisoning the air we breathe and make this county a better place to live. This is just a bad habit that has been passed down through the generations, but it isn't necessary anymore and we now know the damage it causes.


-- Posted by localgal on Sat, Aug 8, 2009, at 10:19 AM

Feel good legislation, all designed to campaign around.

P.T. Barnum, eat your heart out.

-- Posted by shadowrunner940 on Sat, Aug 8, 2009, at 12:32 PM


You are right, we will all feel better after we can breath clean air!

I am not a "global warming" person. But we are responsible to not litter and to dispose of our trash in a responsible way.

One extreme or the other is wrong. We need to find the balance of common sense. Have a child with asthma and see that child struggle with the toxic smoke of burning trash and tell me it is "feel good legislation"

I take it you are quoting P.T Barmun's, "There's a sucker born every minute." P.T has another quote, "Without promotion something terrible happens... Nothing!"

To improve our community we have to first and foremost care about each others well being.

-- Posted by localgal on Sat, Aug 8, 2009, at 4:40 PM

Na, the quote I was referring to goes a little something like this.......

"You can fool some of the people, all of the time...."

While I'm certainly sympathetic to asthmatic children, I'm not a big fan of unenforced laws and ordinances, rewritten so that career politicians can use them as campaign slogans.

Feeling good, yet?

You shouldn't.

This should make you sick to your stomach.

-- Posted by shadowrunner940 on Sun, Aug 9, 2009, at 10:25 AM


I really want to understand what you are saying.

Are you frustrated that laws already on the books are not being enforced? I think we are talking about two different issues, but are not disagreeing with each other. I am not trying to just feel good, I want people to stop polluting our air when they can so easily not. That unfortunately is not going to happen unless you force people to stop.

I can't see how this littering ordinance is going to advance anyone's political career in Clay County.

I think we can't let our frustration on a national political field jade us into not doing things to improve the place we live. NO, not every person who throws trash out their window is going to get fined, but hopefully some will and it will deter them from doing so.

On the trash burning issue, which is a habitual everyday pollutant of everyone's air, we can pass an easily enforceable law that can end that practice quickly.

Like I said before, I do not buy all the "global warming" / "live green" culture that is making a lot of people famous and making a lot of revenue on nothing that is making our planet really cleaner, BUT that does not mean I can't stand up and try to change an obvious problem.

Being bitter only paralyzes us. I do agree that our local law enforcement are the people who make or break the reality of a law. The job has to be a very hard one. I guess in the end of the day we have to all find a way to work together, and then we all will benefit in doing so.

-- Posted by localgal on Sun, Aug 9, 2009, at 11:56 AM

[Are you frustrated that laws already on the books are not being enforced?]

That's absolutely correct.

[I can't see how this littering ordinance is going to advance anyone's political career in Clay County.]

Don't recall ever saying anything about "advancement". But, to narrow down the campaign I was referring to?

That'd be a re-election campaign.

Charlie and Paul will both point at the signs and say "see what we did?".

Then there is this.......

(Commissioners' Attorney Eric Somheil said "There is also a state statute prohibiting littering, which carries its own punishments.

Should someone be cited for violating the county's ordinance, they would go through me in an attempt to come to a resolution..." Somheil said.)

Further, burning trash on one's own property isn't considered to be littering.

In summation, with an enforceable law already on the books that prohibits littering, this is little more than local politics.

Like I said, P.T.Barnum, eat your heart out.

-- Posted by shadowrunner940 on Sun, Aug 9, 2009, at 1:29 PM


I do understand your frustration but I would be happy as long as something gets done.

I know the IDEM states that it is better to have local ordinances because they are easier to enforce than the statewide burn laws.

"Further, burning trash on one's own property isn't considered to be littering."

I also know in Clay County at the present time that the open burning of trash isn't considered littering. But it is an even more serious problem. Burning trash pollution harms us all way more than a cup thrown on the side of the road, but for clarity's sake both are wrong. I take it you do understand that when someone burns on their own private property the smoke does not stay on their property. So when the practice is done they are hurting your family and mine.

So at the end of the day, if we lived in a perfect world we would all do the right thing and be considerate of others. But, since we don't, local communities have to make their own ordinances and then enforce them. I just hope they do.

-- Posted by localgal on Sun, Aug 9, 2009, at 3:57 PM


grab a sharp freakin' stick and plunge it into my left eye.......

-- Posted by shadowrunner940 on Tue, Aug 11, 2009, at 7:50 PM


Interesting response.....

-- Posted by localgal on Tue, Aug 11, 2009, at 10:04 PM

Not I !

-- Posted by garyodavis on Wed, Aug 12, 2009, at 7:22 AM

shadowrunner- I've got the stick, let me know where to meet you.

-- Posted by Unsolicited opinion on Wed, Aug 12, 2009, at 11:13 PM

Unsolicited Opinion...

YOU ROCK!! That was about the funniest thing I've read on this website! PLEASE, keep up the good work and if you ever do stand-up comedy, please let me know. I'll gladly pay the admission!

-- Posted by Cy on Fri, Aug 14, 2009, at 4:56 PM

Cy--thank you for the nice words--I'm just trying to do my part to help out a person in obvious need. Have a good one.

-- Posted by Unsolicited opinion on Fri, Aug 14, 2009, at 10:49 PM

It is obvious, this blog needs help !!

-- Posted by garyodavis on Sat, Aug 15, 2009, at 7:46 AM

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