San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

April 14th, 2009
City, church volunteers help clean up property


Pastor Dennis Spire of Calvary Baptist Church loads metal debris. Some two dozen volunteers of all ages from the church lent a hand. (BELOW) Homeowner John Schiwitz thanks volunteers Jim Owens, James Locke, Bradley Rodriguez and Eric Solazano, for helping him clean up his property. (BOTTOM) City employees Carlos Rodriguez and CJ Cooley help move old appliances.


The cooperation of several city of San Marcos departments and a local church has helped a homeowner clean up his property and reduce the number of his pets.

The city’s Community Services/ Environmental Health, Animal Services and Neighborhood Services departments, assisted by volunteers from Calvary Baptist Church, banded together Friday morning to tackle the problem of trash and too many dogs at the home.

A revised animal ordinance that took effect April 1 prohibits residents from keeping more than four adult dogs or more than seven pets in total, not counting birds and fish.

“This has been a problem property for a long time for both Neighborhood Services and Animal Control with lots of trash and dogs,” said Animal Services manager Bert Stratemann. “The owner was facing multiple citations until we came up with this solution.”

Carlos Rodriguez, a member of Calvary Baptist and payroll manager in the city’s Finance Department, and Ken Naquin, the church’s student minister, organized volunteers at the church for the project. Pastor Dennis Spire ran a small front end loader/ tractor while more than two dozen church volunteers of all ages helped with the clean up.

Neighborhood Services provided the dumpster for the clean up, which was done Friday morning, while City workers and even their family members dedicated a day off to help, along with church volunteers.

The PALS Prevent a Litter organization spayed and neutered two dogs belonging to the owner and two others earlier this year. Another six dogs have been taken to the Animal Shelter for adoption since January.

“This is a great example of how several City departments have worked together to help this homeowner come into compliance with the City ordinances,” Stratemann said.

Property owner John Schiwitz, who has lived on the property for most of his 53 years, expressed gratitude for the help. “It became overwhelming and got away from me,” he said. “I appreciate all the help to clean up my property.”

The volunteers removed five trailer loads of brush, three trailers of scrap metal and a 40-cubic-yard Dumpster of debris.


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One thought on “City, church volunteers help clean up property

  1. This is a great way for the church to reach out and serve others and the community. Great job!
    By the way, I know of a church volunteer connection tool called It connects those with a need to others with the desire and ability to help within the safety of a community.

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