Erin Smith Staff writer
January 23, 2014
DUBLIN —Many individuals, community organizations and public agencies think it’s time for Bladen County to make a stand and take the communities out of the control of gangs.
With that in mind, residents are being urged to attend a free community get-together on Monday, Jan. 27.
The event is being sponsored by area law enforcement agencies, Bladen County Schools, Eastpointe and others. It will be held at the Dublin Lions Club, located at 58 First Street, from 6 until 8 p.m. and is the second installment in a series of community events focusing on gangs and gang-related activity in the county.
“This will be a series of meetings throughout the county. The first one was held Dec. 9 at the Agricultural Building on Smith Circle and was very successful, with around 100 attendees,” said Bladen County Chief Deputy Rodney Hester.
Monday’s event is titled “What is the value of a child?” and seeks to answer three main questions: How would you know if your child was in a gang, do you know how to recognize the signs and how can we intervene before it’s too late?
“Any information that we can get from the public as to gang activity is great,” said Hester. “Information provided at the forum is used to educate parents, grandparents, etc. on what they should be looking for as far as gang involvement goes. Our goal is to do as much as possible to eliminate gangs in Bladen County.”
Messages left for Nicole Wilson and Kathy Baker, both of Eastpointe, seeking comment were unreturned as of press time.
Bladen County Schools Public Relations Director Valerie Newton said the school system has been supporting the series of community events by providing guest speakers and materials. Newton said, at the December meeting, East Bladen High School Principal John McMillan served as one of the guest speakers.
Monday’s event will again feature guest speakers from several local and state agencies, though no specific speakers have been identified.
There will also be free food served at 6 p.m. and door prizes throughout the night.