published Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Tired of eyesores: Old tires piled near cemetery in Walker County

Stacks of old tires are in multiple locations next to Wallaceville Cemetery in Walker County, Ga.
Stacks of old tires are in multiple locations next to Wallaceville Cemetery in Walker County, Ga.
Photo by John Rawlston.

WALLACEVILLE, Ga. — Wilburn Fields has a question for Walker County, Ga.

"Eyesore" is a word that county officials have used to describe Fields' wooden pallet business on state Highway 341 west of Chickamauga. He faces several misdemeanor charges for violating county ordinances there.

Fields wonders why the county isn't going after other eyesores -- in particular the piles of tires next to the graveyard on Wallaceville Cemetery Road where his father is buried. Fencing around the tires is falling down.

"If I don't have the right, they don't have the right," Fields said before his May 4 arraignment in Walker County State Court.

It turns out the tires are the property of the cash-strapped widow of a disabled junk dealer, and she'd love to get rid of them.

The county hasn't gone after her because it doesn't go looking for violations -- and no one has complained, county Coordinator David Ashburn said.

"We don't have the personnel," Ashburn said. "What we do is respond strictly to complaints. All [Fields has] got to do is file the complaint. And he hasn't done it."

Audrey Taylor, who lives on Wallaceville Cemetery Road, said the tires on her 13-acre property were part of the junk business run by her husband, Raymond Taylor, who grew up in Wallaceville. He died in August 2012.

"Those tires have been there forever," she said. "I'm trying to find a way to get rid of them."

Taylor said her husband was disabled before he died, and she took care of him.

"I don't have any money," she said. "The dump down here wants like $3 a tire. I don't have the money to pay them."

She said Fields and her late husband were good friends.

"[Fields] knows I have no money. He's just trying to get the heat off of him," she said, adding, "I've never said a word about his pallets."

She's heard of a place in Alabama that pays for old tires. Taylor would be happy to give hers away.

"If they bring a truck, I can get somebody to load [it]," she said.

In the meantime, Taylor's collection of unwanted tires keeps growing.

"People keep dumping tires up there on me," Taylor said. "People throw them over the fence and knock the fence over."

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at tomar zu@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6651.

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.

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