Tip List: The homes aren't built, but someone's moving in

Drive to the southern end of Merced, where H/S Development's The Meadows subdivision runs into farmland, and you'll find mostly empty lots.

But the unfinished development features more than dirt marring its view of the mountains. People have now started dumping their garbage in the area.

A tipster called to tell the Tip List how bad it was getting. Vicki Medeiros, who called about the mess, said simply that "it's horrible."

So I went out to take a look. In addition to the gang graffiti along the development's fences, I found a little dump on the corner of Winder and Barroso avenues.

In the tall grass on the edge of farmland someone had left a car's front bumper, a television set, a tire, a mattress and the disembodied parts of what looked like a once comfortable chair. The collection of junk was itself surrounded by plastic bags wagging like makeshift flags in the wind.

When I drove around the handful of houses that had been built in that part of the development I saw more junk.

As I passed one of the houses, I came across Jose Lara, 35, standing in his garage. He said that he'd called the city and asked for them to come and clean up the mess -- to no avail. "I've gone to City Hall," he said.

The developer, H/S Development, had gone under, said Lara, so he didn't expect them to keep the place clean.

When I called the city's Public Works Department, I was told it would look into the problem.

Stan Murdock, the city's solid waste manager, said this was the first time he'd heard of any garbage problems out in that part of town. Because he didn't know if Lara had called his department or another part of city government, it was hard to say why there had been no response. But he did say he would send a crew out there Thursday to get the place cleaned up.

What's the problem: Garbage and refuse are being dumped at Winder and Barroso avenues.

Who is responsible: The dumpers, of course, but the city said it will get there and clean up the problem -- soon.

If you see something broken or in need of repair in your neighborhood, call the Sun-Star Tip List reporter, Jonah Owen Lamb, with your tips at (209) 385-2484 or e-mail jlamb@mercedsun-star.com.