“Be Clean in 2017”

Published 2:44 pm Thursday, July 27, 2017

AHOSKIE – It’s just going to be a regular conversation, but it will take place at a special dinner table.

The Unity in the Community Forum, a group of Hertford County school officials, businessmen, law enforcement officers, and clergy members have held open forums with dialogue and feedback.  Persons the group has heard from include parents, politicians, students, school and college students and officials, other law enforcement, other clergymen, and community leaders.

Now they’re taking a new approach, with a twist.  There was still be interchange – but this time it will take place with hotdogs, burgers, and soft drinks.

Sunday, July 30, from 6:30-to-7:30 p.m. any and every one is invited to Malibu Drive in Ahoskie, just off Martin Luther King Drive, to greet, eat, and learn things such as town ordinances, organizing a neighborhood watch program, questions about municipal utility rates and bills, and property protection.

“It’s past time,” said Town Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Rev. C. David Stackhouse. “I have a passion about the quality of life for our citizens in every community, the whole town of Ahoskie.”

Stackhouse says it’s just an evening of fellowship, of talking and – hopefully – of listening.

“We want (citizens) to talk to us, and we want to talk to them,” he said. “We want to instill community pride.”

Stackhouse says it wasn’t that long ago that there was a stronger sense of caring within communities.

“Everybody cared about everybody, because everybody knew everybody,” the pastor noted. “There were no social classes because everybody was the same; we had to share.”

Stackhouse says threats these days come from without and from within.  While he would like to see a neighborhood watch program where “safe” homes would display decals in their windows alerting children they were at safe harbor; he also acknowledged a need to even report wildlife sightings.

“There are black bears roaming in some of our communities,” he said. “They’re just hungry; but we need to be able to call or text one another over whatever is transpiring in our neighborhoods.”

‘Be Clean in 2017’ is a neighborhood clean-up project the Councilman has thrown his name behind.  He hopes on Sunday to have materials on hand and persons to assist with questions.

“Clean communities is the ultimate,” he acknowledged, “but the idea is to clean up where we live; to have pride in where we live, whether we pay rent, are behind or ahead with rent, because that’s your board.”

Stackhouse says he wants to target every community in Ahoskie.

“We need key people who live in these communities, who know these communities, and can present someone, who’s there to share,” he said. “I don’t have a political agenda, I have a people agenda.”

The mayor pro tem says he wants to see Ahoskie named an All-American City.

“To do that it begins with strong communities, knowing one another, having relationships and fellowship with one another, and especially with our children,” he said. “And do you know how we can do that; by beginning a rapport with our neighbor.”

Stackhouse says he expects the picnic to last roughly 90 minutes, but maintains he will make himself available as long as people want to talk.

“Just look down Malibu Drive for the tent,” he says.

Stackhouse says if his fellow councilpersons, Mayor Jimmie Rowe, and newly named Town Manager Kerry McDuffie are able, they will try to attend the gathering.  Hertford County Commissioners, and representatives from law enforcement as well as the town Fire Department are also slated to attend.

“We’ll discuss town codes, and the ordinances, and give people a chance to learn who their elected officials are,” he maintained.

The Councilman wants this to be the first of a series of neighborhood fellowship gatherings.

“If we unify as a community, we can make the whole town flourish, just by fellowship,” he concluded.