Bertie leaders react to violence

Published 9:06 am Thursday, May 27, 2010

WINDSOR – The recent outbreak of violence in the Roanoke-Chowan region has at least one group of leaders concerned.

During Monday night’s meeting of the Bertie County Commissioners, board members expressed their dismay about the violence in the region, specifically citing the death of 19-year-old Ivan Colton who was murdered May 15 in Ahoskie.

“I’ve been reading the newspapers and what bothers me is the violence in our county and surrounding counties,” Commission Vice Chairman L.C. Hoggard III said. “I’ve even seen it nationally when you look at domestic violence in situation like the death of the Virginia lacrosse player.”

The Vice Chairman was referring to the murder of Yeardley Love, a University of Virginia lacrosse player who was allegedly murdered by her ex-boyfriend George Huguely.

Hoggard said he wanted to help if there was any way he could.

“If there’s anything I can do as a public servant, I’ll be glad to do it,” he said. “I have to believe there is something we can do. If there is someone who wants to lead, I’ll help. I’m not trying to lead what happens, but I will if I’m needed.

“I have two teenage boys of my own,” he added. “I talk to them about these situations all the time. It’s something that’s really been bothering me. It’s sad.”

Bertie County Commission Chairman Norman M. Cherry Sr. said he agreed whole-heartedly with Hoggard.

“We have to start doing something or it’s only going to get worse,” Cherry said. “Your ideas are right on point.”

Commissioner Charles L. Smith said he wanted to see something done and that he would also assist in any way possible.

“I want to see something done too,” he said. “I know it has to start at home. We have to get parents more aware of where their children are and what they’re doing.”

Hoggard agreed, but said he felt the community had to take a larger role.

“I think that’s true, but there is more to it than that,” Hoggard said. “Sometimes a child can be raised right, taught to do the right things, but end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“Some parents haven’t taken an active role which means other children are at danger,” he said. “We need to all come together to work this situation out.”

Cherry, who is a retired educator, said he has seen a lot of responsibility amongst the youngsters at Bertie High School since he came out of retirement to help at the school.

“It’s amazing how much direction young people will take if you give it to them in the right way,” he said.

The board members all agreed they would help in any way if members of the community needed their support.