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Commissioners deal with noisy neighbors, cemetery burial complaints

PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (Oct. 22, 2015) — County Commissioners dealt with multiple complaints by area residents at their Thursday morning meeting, including requests to help with a person buried in what a relative considers an improper place and a woman who said a group of neighbors need help with a man who they say is deliberately playing loud music and has erected an electric fence in a residential area.

Elizabeth Goodspeed of Layla Road said her neighbor has been “pushing the envelope of unfriendliness” with regard to pit bulls.

“He has been doing numerous things in the neighborhood to annoy, if you will,” Goodspeed said, presenting photographs of signs she said the man has placed on property saying people are not allowed to walk their dogs. According to Goodspeed, the man has also installed electrified fences and Goodspeed said she’s afraid kids riding their bicycles will hit the fence and be electrocuted.

Eastern District Commissioner Lynn Sharp was sympathetic. 

“We’ve had trouble with him before,” Sharp said. “This guy is a real piece of work.”

Goodspeed said she’s “called the sheriff’s department and the sheriff told me to call you guys… we are at the limit.”

By commissioner request, Lt. Ken Dodd from the Pulaski County Sheriff's Department came to the meeting to explain what deputies can and cannot do.

“The noise we can definitely do something about, but we have to be out there to hear it… it is called disturbing the peace,” Dodd said. “We can make him our business, for sure.”

Dodd said he can deal immediately with loud music but can’t make people remove things on their own property. The sheriff’s department policy is to give people one warning about loud music.

“If he keeps doing it, I will give him a citation for disturbing the peace,” Dodd said. “Don’t do anything, but if he’s got loud music playing, call us and we will come out… we’ll be firm but fair. (We’ll tell him) ‘We don’t want to do that, but if you force us we’ll do it.’”

While deputies won’t generally act on a first call, they will maintain a record of calls to a problem property and escalate response, Dodd said, in keeping with he department policy of being “firm and fair.”

“We’re going to come out there and do what I call progressive discipline,” Dodd said. “The first time we’ll give the benefit of the doubt, the second time we won’t be as nice, and the third time we’ll be a little less nice.”

While electric fences would be prohibited or restricted inside city limits, there’s no law against electric fences in residential areas of outside city limits under county jurisdiction, commissioners explained to Goodspeed, but there may be other options.

“If he puts electric fence on our easement, we can make him move it,” Sharp said.

Zweerink also said any “no dog walking” signs on trees on county easements can be removed by county road workers.

Goodspeed said she’s worried any attempts to confront the neighbor will make matters worse.

“What you have to understand is that if we take this step, there will be retribution in other ways,” Goodspeed said. “There’ll be dogs barking at 4 a.m.”

Zweerink said the neighbors need to act anyway.

“Look, this is what you’ve got to do, in my opinion. If he’s playing loud music, you need to call,” Zweerink said. “Be persistent but be patient.”

“He’ll sink himself,” said Presiding Commissioner Gene Newkirk.

“Just calm down, take a deep breath, and it will be okay,” Zweerink said. “You’re headed in the right direction.”

Commissioners also received a letter from Commissioners have received a letter from Arlene Ogle Veasman, who is trying to deal with her brother buried on private property in a location which is not an official cemetery and for which she says the property owners won’t clear weeds and won’t let her on the property to clear weeds or remove the body to the Missouri Veterans Cemetery - Fort Leonard Wood.

“There’s nothing we can do with that; it’s a legal issue. She’s probably a nice enough lady but there’s nothing we can do,” Zweerink said.

The body involved is of Danny Ogle, who died July 15, 1997, and is buried on private property on the 26000 grid of Highway H behind what Veasman says is a chicken house and garden. Other relatives include Cheri Lynn Ogle who is buried with her parents Kenneth Ogle and Lorraine Ogle in Wain Chapel/Dowty Cemetery.

“(I) would like Danny to be buried in VA Cemetery, or Wain Chapel/Dowty Cemetery, or Waynesville Cemetery,” Arlene Veasman wrote in her letter, which claims other relatives have threatened her.

In other business, commissioners began their meeting with a closed session with the new county assessor, Dan Whittle. No information on that closed session was publicly announced when commissioners returned to open session.

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