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Springville residents say 'No more!'
Gangs, drugs said to be problem in community
Concern over an increase in crime and gang-activity in their small mountain community has prompted Springville residents to step up, run community awareness meetings and educate their community on doing something about it before it is too late.
On Sunday, a documentary movie will be shown at the Springville Memorial Building in an effort to alert the community about the problem, said Springville resident Joyce Eshelman, who is helping spearhead the showing that she hopes will inform, prepare and inspire people to get involved.
The documentary focuses on Manchester, Kentucky — a small town similar to Springville — that is ravaged by drug abuse and addiction, corruption, children dying from drug abuse and drug dealers, and how the community united when churches and individuals joined together. Through prayer and action, Manchester was miraculously changed, Eshelman said.
“It shows that when a community comes together, lives can change. Where there was no hope, there is hope now,” she said. “Springville is currently facing many of the same issues that once ravaged Manchester. There was hope for Manchester and there is hope for Springville but we must be informed, equipped and then ready to take action.”
The showing will be the third for the community. The first two were held at the church but because of its small size, and because it is not a church function, Eshelman said they decided to have the third showing at the Springville Memorial Building.
“We’re just a group wanting to drive out the misfits and trouble makers. We want to change them — their hearts and lifestyles,” Eshelman said.
It was the same thought law officers had when they called a Community Meeting on July 22 at Springville Lighthouse Chapel.
Local California Highway Patrol Officer Greg Stoffel and Deputy Sheriff Ron Crouch apparently shared a grim picture about the future of Springville if nothing is done to stop crime.
The meeting was packed and had to be moved from the fellowship hall to the sanctuary.
Two sisters, Patricia Ediger and Cara Shelton, reported on what happened at the July 22 meeting on their website — Classic Christianity: A Year of Timeless Devotions.
“Having no local newspaper, most residents of this rural area lived in splendid ignorance of the battle being waged by our local law-enforcement,” the blog read. “So when our officers requested a meeting, we all knew it must be serious.”
During the meeting, the officers talked about “Appalachian Dawn” prior to starting the movie.
“We’ve asked you here to see what another small town in Kentucky did when their children were wasted and dying They fought back and recovered the next generation. We can do that too,” one officer was quoted on the blog.
Residents were asked to return to their churches and to pray diligently for the hearts of users, and of the dealers, to be changed. And that those who refuse to change, be revealed to law enforcement for prosecution. The community is doing just that at 6:30 p.m. each Tuesday, Eshelman said.
“We meet at the Lighthouse and pray for our children, our neighbors and our school because this is affecting us. It’s a dominoes-effect. There’s no direct problem at school but if homes are affected, education is affected,” Eshelman said. “We call our prayer meeting ‘Ignite’ — we want to ignite a fire in them and inspire people to get involved. These kids are our future. If we can’t change them, what’s going to happen to our country?”
The documentary is free, open to the public and set for 6 p.m. Sunday at Springville Veterans Memorial Building, 35944 Highway 190, Springville.
A question and answer time will follow the viewing. The next Community Awareness meeting is slated for 6 p.m. Sept. 9 at the same place.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.