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Trash remedy sought

January 08, 1999|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Berkeley County woman wants something done about the trash, piles of old tires and dead deer scattered along two county roads.

Mary J. Weidman made a plea to the Berkeley County Commission Thursday morning to put an end to illegal dumping along Nestle Quarry and Cedar Grove roads off W.Va. 11 North.

The two roads run along 322 acres known as "The Old Quarry Land" and have become a magnet for people dumping trash from neighboring Maryland, said Weidman, who lives in a subdivision bordering the area.

One proposed solution to the problem is the installation of a $7,000 hidden video camera to catch lawbreakers in the act.

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Max Grove, a member of the county's solid waste authority, said the Guardian 2000 - advertised as the "Undercover Groundhog System" - could take photographs of dumpers that could be used as evidence in court.

The camera uses a wireless motion detector that turns the video camera and recorder on when someone walks or drives into the area, according to its advertisement.

After a few arrests and publicity about the camera system, fake $20 cameras could be placed around other areas as a further deterrant, said Grove.

Grove said the cost of the camera could be raised in the community but said there might be difficulty finding people to operate it.

Two similar cameras are being used against illegal dumping in Kanawah and Harrison counties, Berkeley County Commission President D. Wayne Dunham said.

Berkeley County Commissioner Robert L. Burkhart questioned the effectiveness of that plan.

"I'm afraid people will look for it and steal it - or blow it away with a shotgun," he said.

Burkhart said Weidman might be better served by taking her problem to the Berkeley County Prosecutor's Office. Burkhart said property owners are responsible for taking care of their land and could be compelled to do so by a court order.

The County Commission also suggested added patrols by the Sheriff's Office in areas with heavy dumping activity.

Grove said the camera plan is in the early stages and added he wondered why people dump trash when the county already offers free recycling at its Grapevine Road facility.

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