A major issue has been Re-Tired
By Jeff Jobe
Barren County Progress/JPI
A longstanding community complaint of excessive mosquitoes because of tires being stored outside for Glasgow residents living in the Pocahontas Trail, Indian Hill Subdivision, and Honeysuckle Lane areas has come to an end.
The Barren County Progress (BCP) was first made aware of the issue through a letter obtained from an open records request written in May of 2022.
The letter said that neighbors of the old B&R Tire Retreading plant detailed how they couldn’t enjoy any outside activities because of the swarming of mosquitoes and the bites that come with them.
The letter also said that for years dating back to 2012, the property and business once known as BR Tire and Retreading would deal with the issues by having tires moved, covered, sprayed, and larvicide pellets placed in them to control the mosquito population.
It detailed this had changed since the ownership changed to Bradley Reagan. “Nothing has been done for years, and mosquitoes are out of control again,” said Sherry Myers.
“We can’t even plant flowers in front of our home because we get eaten alive,” said Rita Jessie.
Myers and Jessie had never met nor discussed this issue until it popped up in a social media discussion detailing their frustrations. Their initial anger was directed at the city’s code enforcement; however, in our research, we have found this is not where the problem actually was. It later turned to Kelly Cook as the local plant manager.
Any close community will naturally feel compassion for anyone having to deal with such an issue and this is true for a community newspaper as well, which prompted the BCP to ask questions on the matter.
It was determined that it wasn’t until March 9, 2020, that the Glasgow City Council approved code 95.03. This code put into play the following: (a) It is unlawful for any person owning property or having property in their possession upon which tires are not stored under a cover to keep those tires in open areas and if not covered unless they spray those tires with an insecticide at least weekly for insects during the period of March 1 to December 1 of each year.
This code was supported and introduced by Code Enforcement Officer Sheryl Peña because she said, “We didn’t have any codes to enforce so we had to start from there.”
Code Enforcement records show the letter detailing a complaint was received on May 12, 2022. Peña made calls to Reagan, the owner listed for the Rogers Road property on May 13, 2022.
Records show she visited the site, formally filed the complaint, and met with property owners. While there, she witnessed the mosquitoes in action.
On May 18, 2022, Peña sent an email detailing the issues to the owner of the company and on May 19, 2022, she requested contact information for the trustee of the property. She indicated in the communications they must get the preventative measures going while detailing the code violations.
On May 20, 2022, Peña spoke with a Louisville lawyer associated with the property who said he can authorize spraying for one to two months and he agreed the tires must be removed. Notes indicate he was going to speak with the North Carolina owner (Reagan) to remove the tires, take to North Carolina, shred them, or do whatever is needed to remove them. On this same day, she spoke with then-Mayor Harold Armstrong in regards to having road rights-of-way mowed and tree lines sprayed.
On May 31, 2022, the “Trustee” informed her he had filed some procedure on Friday, May 27, 2022, to permit the tires to be legally removed. She followed up on scheduling pest control with the trustee and a local company to perform the spraying.
The local pest control company was phoned on June 1, 2022, and after several attempts, had Peña confirm spraying for the weekend of June 5, 2022. She again reached out to the trustee on June 6, 2022, in hope of scheduling the next spraying.
In a Zoom meeting on June 7, 2022, with the trustee, he told Peña he hoped to have the tires removed by the next spraying but clearly this man had no idea what was involved in removing 2,000 commercial earth-moving vehicle tires.
Spraying is scheduled monthly but the code is very specific that to have uncovered tires on site, they must be sprayed weekly and Peña had this addressed.
She has documented that the City of Glasgow made its second spraying on June 7, 2022. The first was May 25. They sprayed YMCA Way, Pocahontas, West Main, Honeysuckle, Rogers Road, and neighborhoods in those areas.
On June 10, 2022, Peña said, “I still have no date for the tires to be removed, but this is what I am told is happening.” Residents have had glimmers of hope over the past few years by seeing some tires removed to only be crushed with tractor and trailer loads making their way back.
Since initially reporting in July of 2022, the BCP has made numerous visits with the local property site manager Kelly Cook and Codes Officer Peña.
Cook detailed a log that showed more than 2,000 tires at one time and how they had kept records of them being removed since the court allowed them to begin the process.
Our initial report agitated some because it wasn’t detailed that a complaint had been received at the state and that they did indeed get a fine. Cook said, “We told them the same thing we would have told anyone making complaints if they had just asked.”
He further said, “We had chose to move the tires on our own and was doing it as quickly as possible working it inside our normal work routine.”
He explained, and the BCP witnessed, that some of these tires were so big that a 40’ tractor and trailer might only have eight and still be pushing the legal limit.
Cook said in August of 2022, “Look, I can understand how it might look like nothing is happening but when you are removing 2,000 tires and in the early months doing two or three loads of eight a week, it is hard to see it.”
Cook said his biggest frustration was seeing a video of him directing the traffic of the tire removal appear online and him being attacked personally and also of Peña. “Heck, she was visiting weekly and we were cooperating on our own by detailing spraying and recorded logs of what was being removed and getting attacked simply because someone refused to ask.”
Both Peña and Cook approved the BCP to coordinate a meeting with Myers and Jessie so that everyone could be on the same page but the offer was rejected. The consensus was they would believe it when they see it.
Cook also offered to allow the BCP access to the lot at any time to count and record the process and we did this for several months. Some weeks had up to three trucks loaded while others might have only one because of company demands, a longtime employee passing away, and scheduled vacations with families. But the bottom line is since Peña and Cook met with the BCP, they have kept their word.
At that time, a commitment was made that the BCP would share with the community in the same manner when this came to an end as we did when initially receiving the complaint. On January 7, 2023, they were down to seven total tires and as of press time
this week, there hasn’t been a single tire on the ground at this location for more than two months.
However, it is important to understand that although the lot is now listed to sell and until it does sell, it is a connecting location for long runs of the
tire business. This means a truck with large tires may sit loaded over the weekend and then move out on Monday but no tires will be offloaded.
This is a clear example of a city employee simply doing her job and a property owner trying to fix an issue for their neighbors.