Fern property declared a public health nuisance

The property of Gregory Risse (pictured) in northern Grundy County between Grundy Center and Parkersburg has been declared a public health nuisance, and officials have voted to move forward with a lawsuit in hopes of condemning it. (Robert Maharry/Eclipse News-Review photo)

Amidst repeated reports of squalid living conditions, animal infestation, drug-induced hallucinations, mountains of junk and generally unruly behavior in an otherwise quiet unincorporated community of about 20 residents, the board of supervisors, Sanitarian Carie Sager and Grundy County Attorney Erika Allen have announced plans to file a lawsuit aimed at condemning the home of Gregory Risse and abating the nuisance once and for all.

Risse, who owns the aforementioned property in Fern between Grundy Center and Parkersburg, has become a household name among area police officers along with his live-in girlfriend Traci Bartholomew.

The two were arrested in January after allegedly trashing a hotel room at the Legend Trail Inn and Suites in Parkersburg, and Bartholomew is serving a one-year prison sentence at the Mitchellville Women’s Correctional Facility stemming from that incident (other than Possession of Methamphetamine, all of the other charges were dismissed in court).

Back in 2014, Risse was arrested for pushing Bartholomew against a wall at the Isle Casino in Waterloo while carrying a revolver despite his status as a felon from a prescription drug conviction in 2000, and he received a five-year suspended prison sentence. Although it was reported during the meeting that Risse is currently incarcerated at the Black Hawk County Jail after a February arrest for violating probation, a jailer told Eclipse News-Review that he had been granted pretrial release on May 2 and is not in custody.

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