General, Neighborhood

Massive Illegal Tire Dump in the Neighborhood

Thousands of cars pass by each day the fenced-in, now-defunct El Capitan mobile home park on Bonanza Road near Nellis Boulevard, and probably no one realized what was behind that temporary fence. In fact, until this past week, there was a massive illegal tire dump so large, numbering some 2,000 discarded tires, that it could clearly be seen from satellite photo imagery on Google Earth. (see link below)

Two weeks ago, returning home by way of Bonanza, in front of  me sat a fire engine from Station 16 and an ambulance parked at the entrance of  the former mobile home park – and the temporary fence was down. Presumably there had been a health concern with one of the resident homeless individuals. And there it was. Past the old clubhouse that served as a homeless cabin of sorts, were rows and rows  of dumped tires, some sorted, some piled six feet tall – all illegally dumped  in our neighborhood.

Nevada state law, under NRS 444A, requires that all tires be properly disposed ofby each county and not placed in a dump. In fact, each tire customer at legitimate tire businesses in Nevada pays a disposal surcharge up front. In turn, each tire business pays a fee to have those tires properly disposed of by an entity that will essentially recycle into running paths, playgrounds, parks, et al., and not place a hazardous material, a tire, that won’t break down for decades, into city landfills. Some of the hazards associated with waste tires are the high potential for fires that spew toxic chemicals in the air and are difficult to extinguish on a large scale. Other hazards include breeding ground for mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus.

The entity that is charged with enforcing the State provision within Clark County and selecting adequate disposal alternative for discarded tires is the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD).  According to the list at SNHD, only Phoenix Recycling Technologies and Lunas Construction Cleanup, can recycle.

To report possible violations, call 799-0600. To learn more about the SNHD and how it handles tire waste,  visit http://www.cchd.org/solid-waste/waste-tire-regs.php.

But that is not where the story starts or ends. Several important questions remain. Who dumped the tires? Will the tires be properly disposed of? Will anyone be held accountable?

I reported the violation to SNHD the following day, #SW 11-1210, and there was no prior record of it. It had seemingly escaped the attention of thousands of surrounding people for several months if not years. I was provided the contact information for the investigating officer and e-mailed the damning photo evidence. It was only a few days later, over the weekend, that the investigator contacted me and
we exchanged information.

In fact, the site had been spotted by a city official a few months prior and was clearly violating City of Las Vegas codes. SNHD was contacted in regard to the illegally dumped tires. But because the issue involved homeless people, I was informed that charges were highly unlikely. But that’s only half of the equation. What about the nearby llantera on Bonanza, where the tires presumably came from? It was suggested the tires were carted a few yards down from the llantera to avoid the legally required dumping fees for which the consumer had already paid.

Of note, when I took the photos I was approached by an individual who asked me not to photograph the Lunas workers. Responding in Spanish, I asked the obvious and he nodded in the affirmative.

As of the posting of this, the cleanup has concluded but the investigation has not.

To view the Google map, click on:

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=bonanza+and+nellis+boulevard&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-Address&oe=&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x80c8dc9b9a86a98b:0x5f2ea3514981ed27,N+Nellis+Blvd+%26+E+Bonanza+Rd,+Las+Vegas,+NV+89110&gl=us&ei=SKqCTszuFYSssALvs5jwDg&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=image&resnum=1&ved=0CB4Q8gEwAA

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About Speaking of Dupalo

Martin Dean Dupalo is political scientist, community volunteer, and citizen of East Las Vegas since 1980. As a political scientist, he joined the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) November 2003 as an instructor for the Department of Political Science, and taught until 2010. He had attended UNLV as an undergraduate earning two bachelor's degrees in Communications and Political Science. In his sophomore year, Dupalo earned the prestigious Harry S Truman Congressional Scholarship for academics and commitment to public service. He attended Carnegie Mellon, Heinz School of Public Policy, earning his Masters in Public Management. Before teaching, Dupalo continued a family tradition of military service. He proudly served as an Emergency Actions Officer and later trained as an Intelligence Officer in the United States Air Force. After serving four years and receiving an honorable discharge, he began teaching, first at the local community college, Clark County Community College, and then at four year state college, Nevada State College, until pursuing teaching at UNLV. While waiting for a date to enter Officer Training School, Dupalo earned two associates degrees in fire fighting and served as a wildland firefighter/EMT. His affiliation with UNLV has spanned some 34 plus years since 1975, when Dupalo was 8 years old and attended a summer program while his father attended classes. Dupalo has served the community in several capacities, one earning him a National Point of Light, and another, a Jefferson Award. He founded and managed two simple programs to recover and provide food to shelters over the course of four years, and continues to do so. He was also recognized as Citizen of the Month by the City of Las Vegas for several of his continuing volunteer efforts. One of those community volunteer efforts was as a member of the Community Development Review Board for the City of Las Vegas since 2002 through 2008 where he and other community leaders evaluated and recommended funding for approximately 80 community non-profits annually for approximately five million plus annually. A former Boy Scout Explorer, Dupalo has volunteered over the years in several capacities including a hospice with a K-9 therapy dog, serving as a CASA volunteer and as a nonprofit executive board member for a domestic violence shelter since 2005. Both inspired and saddened by a story of strife and tragedy in a national publication, in 2008, Dupalo led a small team in an effort to send medical supplies to US soldiers to be distributed to civilians in war torn areas. For this initiative and effort, he was recognized with an Angel Award as Humanitarian of the Year. His family history shaped many of his actions towards public service. A military brat, Dupalo was born at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, Indiana and grew up in West Germany. He was one of two sons born to an American career-military father and a German mother. While his father had endured many hardships growing up in Buffalo, New York, his mother had also survived hardship in war ravaged Germany and subsequently the communist blockade of Berlin and ensuing Iron Curtain. At age seven, she was one of the grateful children who survived because of the American Berlin Airlift effort of 1948. In 2007, Dupalo was nominated for the Jean Ford Democracy Award for his efforts over 20 years, since 1986, of serving directly in the election process including as a volunteer site coordinator, precinct chairperson, clerk positions and several two-year deputy field registrar appointments, utilizing his Spanish speaking ability to assist in registration efforts, as well as his focus in the classroom on the democratic process. Dupalo has served as both a public and community affairs officer including as an associate news producer and writer. He was available as a speaker for the community through the UNLV Speakers Bureau program. In 2006, at age 39, he ran unsuccessfully for public office for the nations 5th largest school district for trustee, earning 42% of the vote in the general election. In 2010, his second attempt for public office was quickly dashed after being struck by a vehicle illegally running a red light and successfully undergoing spinal surgery. Dupalo is proficient in Spanish and introductory German. In 2006, he earned Honorable Mention in the first annual Robert Warren Carmer Memorial Prize for Creative Writing. Originally entitled "A Replacement History of Las Vegas."

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