Signs get attention of residents

Published 5:00 pm Thursday, December 20, 2007

The sudden appearance of warning sings in the Millcreek community Friday alerted community members to the possibility of drug trafficking in the area.

Mysteriously, signs showed up Friday morning toward the north end of Rock Ranch Road and also on Henleyfield McNeill Road. The signs read, “Beware, Drug Trafficking Area”.

The signs were also placed on the side of the road in front of some businesses in that community. Meda Taylor, current operator of Loveless Grocery, said someone attached one of the signs out on the front of her store with a screwdriver and that signs were in front of another store just down road.

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Taylor is not the only one who has noticed the signs, or the community drug problem. Dean Rivero said he collected about 15 of the signs in front of his business and down to the end of Rock Ranch Road. While he said there is a drug problem in the community, he disagrees with how the problem was handled Friday.

“It’s true, but it shouldn’t be posted,” Rivero said. “We don’t need that in our area. I figure it’s more of an embarrassment to the community.”

Rivero said if the parties responsible for the signs wanted to do something positive they could have spent their time and money on a community rally.

Taylor said she has lived in the community all of her life, and in the past ten years she said she has noticed the drug problem escalate. The apparent problem leads her to worry about her family’s welfare.

“If they sell to one of my grandchildren they better get ready to put me in jail,” Taylor said. “This has always been a fine community… and when the drug problem started coming it’s been a different story.”

In a previous incident Taylor said she found marijuana hidden in a flower pot on a grave at the Holliman Cemetery. Friday the signs were at the cemetery as well, the day of an interment much to the deceased family’s dismay, Taylor said.

Charlotte Owens agrees that the signs should not have been posted at the cemetery, but she does think the signs were a good idea.

“(The signs) are an eye opener, it’s kind of embarrassing, but it’s the truth,” Owens said. “I think the drug dealers need to know that they are being watched, we know they’re there and we want them gone.”

While Owens does have a sign printing business she said she did not make the signs in question.

Part of the problem, according to Taylor, is that local law enforcement appears to simply slap drug offenders on the wrist and let them go.

“The law enforcement officers are not doing their job,” Taylor said.

Bro. Donnie Boutwell, Pastor of Lee’s Chapel Number 1 Baptist Church, also thinks the signs were a good idea; especially since, according to him, it is well known that the community has a drug problem that the Sheriff’s Department appears to do little to nothing about.

During the last three months since Taylor took over operations of Loveless Grocery, she said all she hears about are drug problem complaints from community members.

There have been incidents where Owens said she has witnessed what appears to be drug activity taking place, either outside of local stores and even near churches.

During the 29 years Hutcherson has lived there she has always noticed a drug problem, but it has begun to escalate in the past five years.

“We want David Allison to get something done out here,” Hutcherson said.