SILT, Colorado - Mark Anderson, the local man convicted of having too much junk in his yard, was given an extra six weeks to fix the problem during a court hearing on Friday.
"Be sure to get that in the paper, so Michelle Obama can get a look at it while she's skiing in Aspen this weekend," quipped Anderson in a phone message to the Post Independent, referring to the fact that the first lady and Vice President Joe Biden were spending the weekend in Aspen.
Anderson lives at 230 N. Seventh St., across the street from town hall.
On Jan. 18, he was given two weeks by Municipal Judge Care (pronounced "carry") McInnis to clear out miscellaneous materials, junk and vehicles that take up most of the available space on his property, although the collection is largely hidden behind a high wooden fence.
As part of the judge's ruling, Anderson, who said he has not worked in some time due to a physical disability, was fined $1,300, including court costs and fees, for violating two town ordinances governing yard maintenance and clutter.
He said on Friday that he will be paying that fine off over time, in an arrangement he made with the town government.
If he failed to meet a Feb. 1 deadline, the judge warned Anderson that the town would fine him $400 per day until town officials were satisfied with the condition of his yard.
He also was threatened with having to pay for town crews to come to his property and do the work for him.
Calling the two-week deadline "impossible," Anderson told the judge on Jan. 18, "Ultimately the town will own my property. They will steal it from me."
But he has been working to comply with the order, he said.
"I've made quite a bit of progress," Anderson told the Post Independent on Feb. 14, concerning his efforts to comply with the court order.
But he admitted to missing the Feb. 1 deadline, and to being unsure what would happen next.
"I'm three and a half weeks into a two-week thing," he said, adding that he had received notice of the Feb. 15 court hearing.
"I was invited," he said of the hearing. "I wasn't summonsed."
Also on Feb. 14, Silt Town Administrator Pamela Woods told a reporter that she and Police Chief Levy Burris had agreed to recommend to the judge that Anderson be given more time to get the job done.
"Mark's trying to work with us, and we're trying to work with him," Woods told the Post Independent, noting that Mayor Dave Moore asked about Anderson's progress at the Feb. 11 town council meeting.
Anderson's new deadline is April 1.