More Problems than Progress on Messy Berwick Properties

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BERWICK – It’s a nightmare neighbors first told us about a few weeks ago. Neighbors say squatters were making a mess on two properties near Test Track Park in Berwick. Neighbors say weeks later there have been more problems than progress.

Dan Bogart of Berwick had Newswatch 16 take a look at the mess just two weeks ago. There was junk everywhere.

Now, much of that clutter is cleaned up, but Bogart says the problem is far from over.

"The situation is just getting worse and worse all the time. These people will not abide by anything that anybody says,” said Bogart.

Police were at the property of Ruhmels Lane again Tuesday and picked up Rae Ellen Miller on an outstanding warrant. She’s been living at the house on Ruhmels Lane and today pleaded guilty to several of the code violations for the clutter.

"Anything is a win today, anything, as far as these people are concerned. Anything is a win,” said Bogart.

But Bogart says people are still squatting on these properties in campers.

Mary Ellen Ruhmel of Danville says she only spends her days on her son Damon’s property.

"I'd rather, much rather, be here than in town. It's so beautiful down here this time of year and my little dog and I walk the test track,” said Ruhmel.

But amid all of the problems, there has been some progress on this property. A dumpster has been moved on site and much of the trash has been moved inside of it, but Berwick officials and neighbors say there's still a long way to go.

Borough code enforcement officials, police, and neighbors met this week to try to resolve this issue once and for all. The borough says the property owners have ten days to clean up.

"After that, the borough will come in, if they don't have it cleaned up the borough will come in and clean it all up and put a lien against the properties,” said Bogart.

Ruhmel says her son and others have worked hard to clean up the trash.

"You should have seen it before, that 40 yard dumpster, they had another one like it and it was packed,” said Ruhmel.

Both property owners say this messy problem is one they promise to get rid of once and for all. The owners of these two properties in Berwick do not live on the properties. They say this issue has also become a nightmare for them, and they say they are working to get unwanted people evicted and the mess cleaned up.