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Help Me Howard: Dump next to Newark woman’s home finally cleaned up

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For two weeks now I’ve been telling you about Ernestine McCoy.  She’s the Newark resident who’s been battling the city and her former next door neighbor.

The neighbor and his construction company were supposed to build a multi-home development next door to Ernestine’s house.  But the economy tanked, the deal fell through and he proceeded to use the lot as a dump for construction debris.


This was the lot next to Ernestine’s home before Howard stepped in.

Ernestine is a proud Newark resident.  Proud of her home and of the kids she raised in it.  She’s just the kind of person Newark needs.

Unfortunately, her complaints to the city and her neighbor seemed to fall on deaf ears because she says this problem has been going on since 2007!   Ernestine told me about one meeting with the guy dumping next door.

“He said I don’t know what to tell ya. This is my lot this is my land. I can dump here if I want to! I said well, we gonna see about that!”

When I got involved, the dumper, Nelson Espinoza of IBN Construction, promised he’d have the lot cleaned up in 15 days.  It didn’t happen.

But then, a little good fortune.  When I tried to call him again, I mistakenly dialed the office of Karim Arnold, Newark’s Director of Neighborhood Services. Coincidentally, he’d just had Espinoza in his office and delivered an ultimatum: clean up the lot or face arrest.

Espinoza apparently got the message. The very next day, the debris was gone.


Victory! The lot next to Ernestine’s home was finally cleaned up after a six year battle.

We went back to see for ourselves. Ernestine was thrilled.

“I’m so happy, you can’t begin to believe how I was able to sleep better,” Ernestine told me. “I feel better about myself. I just can’t explain.”

Ernestine didn’t have to explain. Victory! She’d won her six year battle. Her thanks were all the reward I needed.

“I’m lovin’ it! You the man! Thank you very much! Thank you. It’s absolutely wonderful!”

See what happens when one motivated reporter and one persistent city resident get together?


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