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Illegal dumping at GC Industrial Park infuriates county officials

SIFTING THROUGH DEBRIS – Gibson County Sheriff’s Department investigators Lt. Dwaine Reynolds (left) and Joel Coffman (right) along with Gibson County Mayor Tom Witherspoon sift through a pile of trash and debris that was illegally dumped at the Gibson County Industrial Park. Among the trash was a small coffin lid (below). Reynolds said this is a criminal act punishable by fines and possibly jail time. Mayor Witherspoon said this isn’t the first illegal dumping at the site.

We’ve all heard the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” and for the most part it’s true. But in the case of illegally dumping trash and debris at the Gibson County Industrial Park, Gibson County Mayor Tom Witherspoon is taking it personal.

“It’s heart breaking when we work so hard to try to promote the site,” Mayor Witherspoon said of the industrial park. “It’s sad that someone would try to save a few dollars taking it to the dump.”

Last Wednesday morning the Gibson County Sheriff’s department investigation division had staff at the illegal dumpsite, sifting through the debris trying to find clues as to who committed the crime. Chief investigator Dwaine Reynolds and investigator Joel Coffman along with a cleanup crew were appalled someone would dump their debris at the industrial park. Reynolds said it is still an active investigation.

“This is criminal littering and criminal trespassing.” Lt. Reynolds said. “They could be imposed a $500 fine or more, plus restitution for the time and labor to clean it up. They could even get 11 months, 29 days.”

The debris dumped looked as if it was an old shed that was demolished, according to investigators and the cleanup crew. Roofing, plywood, OSB boards and even a coffin lid were piled up on a gravel farmer’s road near the rear of the industrial park. They were amazed to find the coffin lid that looked to be for a small child.

“Nothing surprised me anymore,” Witherspoon said. “There have been a half a dozen times (illegal dumping) as serious as this during my term as mayor—this bad or worse.”

Mayor Witherspoon said Humboldt police do a good job patrolling the area. In fact, Witherspoon himself has been stopped by officers on patrol.

“That’s okay,” he said of being stopped while at the site. “I want them to stop anyone suspicious out here.”

Humboldt Mayor Marvin Sikes said he was aware of the illegal dumping that took place last Tuesday night. The one dumping the debris was almost caught, Sikes said.

“This is bad for business,” Lt. Reynolds said while at the dumpsite. “If prospects see this, it doesn’t look good.”

Reynolds also noted others have been using the gravel road for “illegal going on and partying” from the empty beer cans and condom wrappers.

“What bothers me is someone doesn’t care if they hurt the tax payers by tying up resources,” Mayor Witherspoon said. “This hurts everyone working man and working woman in the county who are looking for a better job and better opportunities. This hurts our recruiting possibilities.”

“When they dump like this—illegal act—you just became my new personal project,” warned the county mayor.

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