NEW CHICAGO | On garbage pickup day, Melissa Olovich and her husband wait until the last minute to put their trash on the curb.
That's because next door neighbor Fred Janizek will pick through it, Olovich said, and add those items to his house and yard already filled with debris and garbage, some collected from local restaurant dumpsters.
"It's turned into an absolute nightmare," she said.
Town officials agree.
Janizek, 85, who lives in the 100 block of Arthur Street, has received citations on a near-daily basis from town officials since May 18, 2012, because of the unmowed yard, junk vehicles filled with garbage and assorted litter, Town Council President Laurie Robbins said.
"It's been going on for nearly two years. We're not taking it lightly, but you can't make someone do something if they don't want to. I feel terrible for the neighbors," Robbins said.
Jeff Janizek, son of Fred Janizek, said he had no comment on the situation when he was reached by phone.
Jeff Janizek, who lives in the house with his father, and Police Chief Tim Lucas confirmed Fred Janizek recently had been taken to a local nursing home.
Town officials last week tagged three junk vehicles in Janizek's yard and on Monday had them towed.
"One of the vans was so full of junk and "to-go" food garbage, he had hung strips to catch flies inside the vehicle. It was so packed with stuff he couldn't drive it," Robbins said.
Janizek, whose property had a lien placed on it by town officials for failure to clean the property, is scheduled to appear Nov. 12 in Lake County Court in Crown Point before Judge Jeffrey Boling.
Jeff Janizek told the judge at the Aug. 13 court hearing a contractor had been hired to clean the property.
That has not happened, town officials said.
Fred Janizek, who also has a house in Merrillville, received several citations for accumulated debris on that property in 2006.
That situation remains unresolved and a hearing is scheduled for Sept. 26 in Merrillville Town Court.
Pam Richard, a town councilwoman who lives in Janizek's ward, said her home is directly behind his.
The items in his yard include about 20 bikes, numerous shovels, bags of beer cans and empty milk cartons he collects from schools, Richard said.
"He also has a duck and a dog, but neighbors never see them come out. He has to have rodents," Richard said.
Olovich, who lives directly east of Janizek, said she became so tired of the mess from her neighbor that she and her husband put up a privacy fence.
The house has also attracted feral cats.
"It's out of control," Olovich said.