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MINNESOTA One man's lifelong trash habit lands him in jail



Published: Sat, July 23, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE

SOUTH ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Under the beating rays of the afternoon sun, Ken Sederstrom and his 18-year-old son Thomas sifted through 60 years' worth of trinkets and trash in the back yard of a stubborn old man who never threw anything away.

"That's a lot of good luck," Ken Sederstrom said, pointing to a box full of rusty horseshoes.

Old car parts. Boxes of decades-old empty beer bottles. Random planks of wood.

It all has to go before 88-year-old Robert George Schulze can come home from Dakota County jail, where he has been held since early last week. His back yard was just too messy.

The city of South St. Paul had received complaints from neighbors since before 1992 about the junky yard.

Letters from the city turned into notices, then to visits from city inspectors, then to fines and finally to court action.

Dakota County District Judge Leslie Metzen gave Schulze 30 days to clean up, threatening him with jail time if that didn't happen.

It didn't happen. So when Schulze missed a court appointment July 14 -- his wife said he confused the court date with a doctor's visit -- he was held in contempt of court.

When he showed up at court, he was taken to jail for 30 days -- or until his yard is cleaned up.




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