For quite some time, it's been snowing on the East Depot side of the public square. But this white stuff flying around and dropping onto storefront sidewalks is not precipitation, but rather large splatters of bird poop. Local business owners on that portion of the business square are, as a result, in a bit of a dander. ...
For quite some time, it's been snowing on the East Depot side of the public square. But this white stuff flying around and dropping onto storefront sidewalks is not precipitation, but rather large splatters of bird poop.
Local business owners on that portion of the business square are, as a result, in a bit of a dander. Several recently shared that bird droppings, coming from roosting birds on the nearby cell tower, are disrupting business as it drops on the sidewalks and vehicles at their storefronts.
"It looks like a snow storm hit," said Kevin Gunter, who recently opened Clarabell Collectibles at 206 East Depot. "You can't park out there without getting bombed either. And I'm sure people don't want to walk down the sidewalk from either getting hit or getting it all over their shoes."
Jon English, who owns that building and the sports collectible store next door, added, "Well not sure what can be done. I was there Monday, as we are working on Mr. [Pete] Phillips' old office. And there must have been no less than 100 buzzards or large birds roosting in the BellSouth [AT&T] tower. I guess there might be some solution."
Gunter, who leases from English, advised that right before "Small Business Saturday" about a month ago, Shelbyville Public Works pressure washed the sidewalks. "They're completely white again," he said Wednesday morning.
One East Depot business owner said she's been sick this year with histoplasmosis, which is a type of lung infection stemming usually from inhaling fungal spores or bird droppings. The Habitat store, which executive director Pam Birtcil operates at 209 East Depot, is located right across from the tall runged tower-the place where those large flocks of vultures or buzzards, as they're locally known, now favor as their roost.
Birtcil is concerned for her health. "I was hospitalized last January  in ICU St. Thomas Rutherford with lung issues that I've never experienced before," said Birtcil. "In February, my CT scan showed histoplasmosis."
The fungus of histoplasmosis, according to online medical publisher, WEB MD, grows in soil and material contaminated with bat or bird droppings. Spores become airborne when contaminated soil is disturbed. Breathing the spores causes infection. The disease is not transmitted from an infected person to someone else.
The Habitat director believes the problem is contributing to her on-going health issues. "My lungs are currently at 70 percent functioning. I'm on medication, trying to get that number up."
As well, Birtcil is concerned for her customers who want to support the non profit by purchasing items in the store. "We're losing customers because their cars look so bad after they park in front of our business to shop."
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