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Washington County Watching Its Environment

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Webster Hart with Washington County's Environmental Department drives down Highway 50 each day, and sees what everyone else does: cars. Old ones. And lots of them.

"The Washington County court and Judge Morgan have decided they're going to get a lot more tougher on environmental crimes in Washington County," said Hart.

And so he takes a picture of Lacina's Used Auto Parts, and a small barbed wire fence where there should be an eight-foot-tall wall according to the state highway beautification law.

John Carr's home sits just off Highway 50, and right next to the junkyard.

"If it has to be there, I would definitely love to see a wall or something up there," said Carr, "at least covered to where I wouldn't have to see it everyday."

And it's Hart's hope, too. The parts plot is one of the first focuses of the new environmental crackdown. Every weekday for the last 25, Lacina's has been cited as violating the transportation code.

"We're filing each day until it's stopped or resolved," said Hart, "the fence is either up or some court measure is resolved."

County officials have been working with the owners of the junkyard for the better part of seven years trying to fix this problem, including enlisting the help of the Girl Scouts, who, a few years back, volunteered to plant a few dozen trees along this line, which would have eventually block the view from the highway. Unfortunately, a hot summer and a lack of rain curtailed those plans, and this barbed wire fence is still the only thing between the road and the cars in the yard.

"He's said he's going to do something," said Hart. "Nothing's been done yet. The final outcome is we would like to see it non-visible from the highway, whatever route he takes. We need some kind of fence up there so the public cannot see it."

Attempts to speak with the owners of the property Wednesday were unsuccessful.