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Some residents seek changes to yard waste burning

VILLA GROVE -- Some people are upset their lives are disrupted when smoke takes over their neighborhood. It happens at least once a week.
VILLA GROVE -- Some people are upset their lives are disrupted when smoke takes over their neighborhood. It happens at least once a week. Outraged neighbors in the area of McCoy Circle have been dealing with burning yard waste for years. The city has heard their complaints and hopes to do something about it. WCIA-3's Gary Brode has more.

Even with windows and doors closed, the smoke is still a problem. Sometimes homeowners get an inch of ash. That's just one issue they want resolved.

"You can hardly breathe in your own backyard."

Emily Oberg's children can play outside some days. On burning days, that's not an option.

"The children have gotten debris in their eyes and we've had to wash out their eyes because of actual objects floating in the air."

So, Oberg and her husband turned in a petition asking the city to drastically change the way they do things.

"We're hoping to reduce it to a quarterly time frame. Tuscola burns four times a year; Newman burns twice a year. We're hoping for something along those lines."

Right now, the city burns once, sometimes twice a week.

"If we did a quarterly burn, that wood pile would be two stories high."

But, Mayor Harbin certainly understands the need for change.

"I took a tour through there a couple of weeks ago, when the the wind had switched and I don't blame them. I would be irate."

He isn't planning on changing the system entirely, just make a few tweaks.

"We're just going to try to watch how we burn, when we burn and how much we burn. We're going to try this for awhile and, if it doesn't work, we'll explore different options."

Until a middle ground is reached, Oberg just wants a little warning.

"That would allow us to at least close up our house. I don't mind being away from my home for a day."

Oberg says she really appreciates what Mayor Harbin has done about the issue. A possible plan will be discussed at the city council meeting May 12.
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