Marquis of Debris: Olney businesses argue over fault

Hats off to Marie McCartney, Neat-Freak of the Week.
Hats off to Marie McCartney, Neat-Freak of the Week.
Posted: May 05, 2011

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WITH THE EMAILS continuing to flow in like garbage on collection day, you are keeping me busy and employed, Philadelphia.

Keep sending your Philthiest culprit stories to me, through trash@phillynews.com, and I will track down the litterbugs and bring justice and cleanliness to your community. 

Supermarket TrashZone: My travels this week took me to Olney, where I thought I would be dealing with only one offender, but let's face it, littering is contagious. Seven Brothers Supermarket on Duncannon Avenue near Mascher Street shares a smelly lot with AutoZone that's filled with tires, trash bags, food wrappers, car parts, broken glass and plastic bottles.

"The trash stinks to high heavens," said Netty Fernandez, who has lived in Olney for two years. "We don't want to live like this."

Management at the supermarket acknowledges the trash issue and says it tries to clean once a week, but blames AutoZone for some of the garbage.

"We can do better, but our neighbors at AutoZone need to take care of its half of the lot," said Tony Taveras, a Seven Brothers grocery manager. "Most of the trash is car parts and tires."

I was told by a manager at AutoZone that it cleans every day, but piles of tires, bags of trash and empty oil containers look like they've been in the lot for more than a year.

"We are not responsible for the tires in our lot because we don't sell tires," said Sammy Tejada, an AutoZone sales manager.

Tejada quickly tried to blame The Tire Place across the street.

"Five to six mechanics work outside AutoZone, and they throw their trash outside," said John Pna, a Tire Place manager. "Twice a month we recycle all the tires that are collected here."

When I walked back to AutoZone, I noticed at least three mechanics working in the lot, and two were changing a tire.

Seems like AutoZone needs to be more efficient about keeping mechanics out of the lot, considering the signs that read "No Working on Cars in Parking Lot."

"If Seven Brothers, AutoZone and us get together, we can get rid of the litter problem right away," Pna said.

Let's hope so.

Marquis gets results: I went back to the Family Dollar on Broad Street near Poplar in North Philadelphia, which fulfilled its promise to clean up its trash. The sidewalk is clean enough to eat off of. Great Job!

Neat-Freak of the Week: Marie McCartney, 18, is a senior at W.B. Saul High School who continually participates in cleaning her block on 73rd Street near Passyunk Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia. She even prints fliers for her neighbors a week in advance to inform them of her cleanups.

"I don't want to live on a filthy street," McCartney said. "I think my neighbors are lazy, but I don't get annoyed anymore."

Keep up the good work, Marie.

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