San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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April 15th, 2009
City, volunteers, help with property cleanup

Property owner John Schiwitz watches as Jim Owens, James Locke, Bradley Rodriguez and Eric Solazano help clear his land.


The City of San Marcos worked with a local church to help a homeowner clean up his property on April 10, after trash and pets became a problem.

The City’s Community Services/Environmental Health, Animal Services and Neighborhood Services Departments, along with volunteers from Calvary Baptist Church, gathered at the home of John Schiwitz, who has lived on the property for most of his 53 years.

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

Carlos Rodriguez, payroll manager for the city’s finance department, and Calvary Baptist member, organized volunteers at the church with the assistance of Ken Naquin, Calvary’s Minister for Students.

At the site, Calvary Pastor Dennis Spire ran a small front end loader, while more than two dozen church volunteers helped with the clean up.

Neighborhood Services provided a dumpster for the cleanup, and some city workers and their families dedicated their days off to lend a hand. The PALS Prevent a Litter organization spayed and neutered two dogs belonging to the owner, in addition to two others earlier this year. Another six dogs have been taken to the Animal Shelter for adoption since January.

At the end of the work, volunteers removed five trailer loads of brush, three trailers of scrap metal and a 40 yard dumpster of debris.

Schiwitz was grateful for the help.

“It became overwhelming and got away from me,” Schiwitz said. “I appreciate all the help to clean up my property.”

Pastor Dennis Spire of Calvary Baptist Church loads metal debris.

City employees Carlos Rodriguez and CJ Cooley help move old appliances.

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