On April 12, I met with the Elkhart County Council to urge them to emulate, if not surpass, the achievements of neighboring Saint Joseph County, which now limits leaf burning to two weeks of the year (one week in the fall and one week in the spring) for nearly all residents.
Over the past decades, I and others have met numerous times with the Elkhart County Board of Commissioners about eliminating outdoor burning, but to no avail. An interesting aspect of the St. Joseph ordinance is that it was spearheaded by St. Joseph County Council member Mike Hamann, not a member of the St. Joseph County Commissioners.
Outdoor burning continues to persist in many areas of Elkhart County, compromising the community’s health, safety, aesthetics and happiness.
It is equally depressing that year after year, Elkhart County community leaders refuse to engage in sustained dialogue on this topic.
A balanced community both celebrates its victories and reflects on its failures. Ignoring a problem does not solve a problem.
It will be a momentous milestone in Elkhart County’s history when the community demonstrates the fortitude to eliminate outdoor burning.