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Retired meth lab is now home to retired woman

Norma Ruttan
Norma Ruttan

MUNCIE, Ind (NewsLink) — A home off 10th Street used to house the ingredients to make methamphetamine, but now it houses a retired Norma Ruttan.

This home, like any other methamphetamine lab, had to go through a distinct process before it was livable again. A meth lab must be marked by their local health department and added to a formal list, according to Delaware County Health Department Administrator Jamie Bane. This is a process Bane says her team deals with often.

According to the Center of Disease Control, “If properties formerly used for the clandestine manufacture of methamphetamine are not properly cleaned, the public might be unknowingly exposed to drug residues.” That is why, in states like Indiana, properties are handled by the state rather than being dependent on a property owner who may be negligent.

For more from the CDC, read here.

A meth house inspection service says, “Vapors entering from neighboring living spaces can deliver the drug methamphetamine into your lungs. This is second-hand meth. People have reportedly tested positive for meth use as the result of a neighbor's use or manufacture. Third-hand meth exposure comes from ingestion of residue left behind by previous use or manufacture.Third-hand meth can be encountered in quantities that cause occupants to test positive for meth use.”

Read here for more on how Delaware County handles a reported meth lab.

However, this home was found and rehabilitated a little differently.

The team ecoREHAB’s formal offices sit just north of Ball State’s campus, but their real offices spread across Muncie. The team focuses on rehabilitating homes in Muncie to help revitalize the community.

“EcoREHAB’s goal is really to create sustainable housing for individuals, and in doing that, it’s also revitalizing our neighborhoods,” Williams said. “We provide homes that are affordable to purchase, but also to maintain. The worst thing would be to build a beautiful home that looks beautiful, but then when somebody moves in they can’t afford to heat or cool it.”

That’s where ecoREHAB and Ruttan meet. EcoREHAB was finishing up the recovery of a home on the southwest side when Ruttan was looking for a new home.

Ruttan moved into the home just two years ago.

“I love the white baseboards,” Ruttan started listing. “I love looking at them. I love the doors…”

Ruttan has a place not only for herself, but all her favorite things. Her kitchen wall displayed about a dozen photos featuring her late husband, who she noted would have loved the home.

In her living room sat books and old “knick-knacks."

Rutton said, “My son who, even though he usually likes great, big rooms, walked in here and said, ‘Mom, it’s so cozy.' And I thought, yeah, it is cozy.” 

Click here to hear from Norma.

Click here to visit ecoREHAB’s website to learn how you can get in touch.