Inspectors order group to leave overcrowded house

Youths apparently were in town selling books door-to-door
The Courier-Journal, July 19, 2003]

Metro Louisville inspectors yesterday ordered 18 people, most of them young and apparently affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, to leave the three-bedroom house in Newburg in which they had been living.

Jan Tucker, a code enforcement officer, said the house, at 4203 Wooded Way, was overcrowded. Tucker said the youths were sleeping on air mattresses and floors throughout the house.

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No one was home yesterday when officials posted the order. Tucker said the occupants will have 15 days to pick up their belongings. It could not be determined how long they had been living there.

Inspectors and police learned of the housing situation from Strathmoor police officer James Wilder, whose department patrols the small cities of Strathmoor Village, Strathmoor Manor and Strathmoor Gardens near the intersection of Bardstown and Taylorsville roads.

Wilder said he encountered several of the young people going door – to door Monday, trying to sell cookbooks and asking for donations for a company called the Family Health Education Service. A company by that name is affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist C hurch.

He said door-to-door soliciting without a permit is not allowed in the small cities. Wilder said he questioned the group and a leader who arrived in a van, issue d a citation to the adult, then confiscated two-way radios, money and paperwork.

He said he told the group they could pick up their belongings at a later date.

Wilder said he learned from the paperwork that 16 of the youths, mostly under the age of 16, were living at the house on Wooded Way. He said three adults also lived with the children, although city inspectors said only 18 people lived at the house, including two adults.

Wilder said their paperwork indicated they were from Georgia, Alabama, Michigan and New York and had planned to stay in Louisville for 10 weeks.

Wilder said he called several agencies because he was concerned about the welfare of the children and alerted metro code enforcement officials.

Attempts by The Courier-Journal to find them were unsuccessful.

Standing outside the house yesterday, Metro Council member Barbara Shanklin, D-2nd District, said she was concerned about the well-being of the group and questioned the enforcement action. “We have a lot of drug houses in the Newburg area that ought to be shut down,” she said. “I want to shut them down if we have a real problem and the neighbors have an issue.”

Neighbors on Wooded Way said the young people living there were well-mannered and religious.

“They sang the gospel every morning and preached to each other,” said Shawn Blackston, who lives across the street. “They were some of the best neighbors we ever had.”

Neighbor Jessie Peterson said the youths who lived in the house were always friendly.

“I’ve been living here 25 years,” he said. “I pretty well know if somebody’s doing something illegal.”

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