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City Grapples With Trash-Collecting Lady

June 13, 1996

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) _ With trash piled to the ceiling in most rooms of her bungalow, Bonnie Gilpin climbs up a ladder and crawls through a window just to get inside.

The trash _ everything from broken baby strollers to empty beer cartons _ blocks both doors of her one-story home. Gilpin, 53, apparently collects items that are left out for garbage haulers.

``There is enough combustible fuel in that house that nobody in their right mind would try to go inside, even if they could get in,″ said Charles Cuypers, the city attorney.

He says the bungalow is a fire hazard and is seeking a court order to have the utilities turned off.

Gilpin, who neighbors describe as an aging hippie, was nowhere to be found Wednesday. She spent time in jail in the late 1980s for piling trash up to 4 feet high outside the home, Cuypers said.

If Gilpin fails to comply with city codes, she could be jailed again _ just long enough for the city to clean the place out, Cuypers said.

``It’s been going on so long. If we can’t protect her from herself, at least we have to protect the neighbors, the people who may have to deal with her,″ he said.

A court hearing on Cuypers’ request for a court order has been set for June 24.

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