Entrepreneur won't take trash from neighbors Snowball-stand owner says nearby businesses are using her garbage bin


Owners of a tiny snowball stand on Ritchie Highway in Severna Park are tired of being dumped on by big business -- literally.

Michelle Petrino, who co-owns Freezee's at 840 Ritchie Highway, said that for three months, businesses near her stand have been tossing bags of trash into her trash bin.

After shelling out at least $100 extra in removal fees, Petrino began filtering through her "extra" trash and discovered some interesting culprits, including U.S. Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest's office next door and Sprint Spectrum.

"It's disappointing to know that some people don't respect you," xTC Petrino said. "I don't go to other people's homes and dump trash on their front yard... You're in a world competing with the big dogs, and when you're just a little puppy, it hurts."

Petrino said she pays $80 a month for two trash pickups, and that each additional pickup costs $40. She said this is the second year she has operated the seasonal snowball stand, but that the trash problems didn't begin until she opened the stand for this season in March. Even before she sold her first snowball this season, she said, her trash bin was full.

The contents included building materials and electrical wiring, which she said came from contractors building what looks like a mobile phone tower for Sprint Spectrum PCS about 100 yards from her stand. She said the contractors filled her bin to the brim twice.

"I made 27 phone calls to different people, and most of them said it wasn't their department that had handled it and they didn't know who would handle it," Petrino said. "One guy said it was a contractor who did it, so I said, 'Well, who's the contractor?' and they didn't tell me who it was. We basically ate the $80 it cost to dump their trash."

Laura Richardson, spokeswoman for the regional Sprint Spectrum PCS office in Bethesda, said she did not know about the incident and declined to comment.

Gilchrest's office staff did not return Petrino's phone calls, but she said an aide came over Monday night to apologize and to remove two bags of loose trash -- unused invitations to a fund-raiser -- that the Republican's office had dumped.

Chilltrol, an air-conditioning and heating installation company in Pasadena, also sent people over to retrieve a filter that had been dumped after a job in a building near Petrino's stand.

"I thought it was a little bit ridiculous over a filter," said Nancy Roder, Chilltrol's general manager. "But I understand [their] frustration. We have two Dumpsters outside our building and we have the same problem. There are certain things in life you can't control."

Maybe you can.

Petrino said she shelled out another $20 and ordered a new trash bin last week -- one with a lock.

Pub Date: 6/03/98

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