John to Go saga ends

By Keith Shikowitz

After many court cases, newspaper and television media stories and governmental hearings, the years long saga plaguing the residents of North Wayne Ave in West Haverstraw with regard to the porta potty company Johns to go has finally ended.

North Wayne Ave has been plagued by a stink residents state, from the cleaning of the porta potties at the company’s Carol Ave site. Residents said they were being sickened by the smell and were worried that their house values were going to go down. There was also noise from the trucks being operated at all hour of the day and night, in violation of the work time order, which woke many residents earlier than they needed to be awakened. They have been in a years’ long fight to have this company removed from its current location to no avail.

As has been reported the lease to the property on the Carol Ave site ends May 31st. Reports from Fred Viohl, building inspector for the Village of West Haverstraw informed Helaine Nemeth, who along with her husband Mike, led the fight to get Johns to go removed from there, by text of the news that the company will be moving out by the end of the month. “Good afternoon I wanted to give you a head’s up that on Sunday a moving company will be at John to go moving out of their offices. They contacted the village to advise us”

Nemeth was so overjoyed by the news, she even changed the name of the Facebook group she had started from John to Go Has to Go, to, John to Go Has Gone and Went (Preserving West Haverstraw). She additionally commented that their lives can get back to normal now. “Our only real concern at this point is making sure that the area where the gravel and storage area was, is checked  to make sure that the soil and groundwater are not contaminated from the waste that was poured onto that area.”

Moving vans were seen at the site on Friday May 25th by Nemeth. A forklift could be seen dumping stuff into a large container. There was a storage box there with items being put into it. Other vehicles were there with equipment in the back of them and the pickup truck was seen coming to the lot with a big empty trailer behind it.

“Now not only can we breathe a sigh of relief, but we can now also breathe fresh air and have our windows open and have company come to visit without worrying about the stench of human waste lofting into our area.” Nemeth said.

Mike Nemeth stated, “With the exit of John to go, away go our troubles down the drain.”   

 One of her first posts on the new site announced the exit. “I am pleased to announce that John To Go, the porta potty company in West Haverstraw is leaving and taking their stink with them. Moving trucks have been there the past couple of days.”

She praised the community for its sticking together to rid the neighborhood of what they called a health hazard because of the stink being generated by the work. “All things are possible if we work together as a community. It is so important to attend local government meetings and voice our concerns, especially when it comes to the safety and well – being of our residents. I want to thank each and every one of you for all your support and give a special shout out to Ed Day who is our County Executive, who took the time to listen our concerns. Mr. Day really cares about the residents of Rockland County and not only proved it to me but to so many others as well. It is a wonderful thing to finally be able to keep my windows open and seeing my neighbors windows open, children walking and riding their bicycles and breathing fresh air, to be able to finally have friends and family over or to just sit outside without the smell of human waste. We should never have had to deal with such an issue and no one that lives in a residential neighborhood should ever have to endure this.

Showing no ill will towards Abe Breuer, the owner of the company, she continued, “For the first time in a little over three years I wish the owner of the company well. This did not belong in our neighborhood. For the first time in over three years not only are the residents happy but the birds are too. In the 3 1/2 years that I have lived here this is the first time I’ve actually heard birds in my backyard the other night. It was so bad that they didn’t even want to stay and that is the G-D’S honest truth. NEVER BEFORE IN MY BACKYARD!!! Sure, I would see birds but NEVER chirping. They would all just fly by. This was music to my ears.”

“I also want to thank Keith Shikowitz and the Rockland County times for their continued coverage of this story over the past two years.” 

The timing of this exit could not be better for the residents of North Wayne Ave. The smell was bad enough in the winter, but in the summer with the heat,  it was even worse. Now, according to Nemeth, they can finally enjoy their backyards and neighborhood without risking their health to do so.