consider banning skateboarders
(10/28/03) The board of
commissioners recently hired county deputies to patrol town
streets. Soon, it might tell those officers to start rounding
Citing personal experiences
and resident complaints, the commissioners said Tuesday night
that they may ban skateboarding on streets and sidewalks. For
months, youths whose behavior ranges from nuisance to menace
reportedly have slammed into pedestrians and vehicles around
The town now has deputies
dedicated to patrolling at certain times, but the officers
can’t stop skateboarding because Woodsboro lacks an
ordinance regulating it. That may change soon because the
commissioners seem poised to outlaw the activity unless
there’s a sudden, drastic change in the attitude of skaters
Commissioner Gary Smith said
Woodsboro once strongly considered outlawing skateboarding but
didn’t have to because the skaters changed their ways. He
said the ban threat "got their attention and they got
Resident Scott Brakebill said
a ban might not be the best move. He suggested fining parents
when their children are caught acting in an unsafe manner. Mr.
Smith, however, argued that if the parents really cared,
they’d keep their children from doing hazardous things. He
said he didn’t think a fine was enough of a deterrent.
Catching offenders also was
seen as a problem. J. Robbins said repeat offenders are
"like cockroaches when you turn on a light" and
scatter if anyone in authority comes near. He suggested
allowing charges to be placed if two responsible adults were
willing to say they saw a youth involved in prohibited acts.
The town will continue
discussing the need for an ordinance at its Oct. 27 workshop.
The board also heard from
members of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office regarding
the establishment of a townwide Neighborhood Watch program.
The program is geared to thwart more serious crimes such as
burglary or robbery, and doesn’t address nuisances like
speeders and skateboarders, the board was told.
Neighborhood Watch, which
operates nationwide and has been set up in more than 90 places
in Frederick County, relies on neighbors to look out for each
other’s property and report suspicious activities. As a
result, Frederick County requires 65 percent of the homes in
an area to be represented in the watch program before an area
Ed Higinbotham Jr. said that
because crime is not a major problem in Woodsboro, he thought
getting enough participation might be difficult. But Deputy
Kevin White said the program is a proactive way to keep crime
out of an area.
Burgess Donald Trimmer said
the board would consider the need at a future meeting and
decide whether to proceed.
Mr. Trimmer also provided
some positive financial news. The town probably will qualify
for a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to
help cover the expense of repairing park damage caused when
Hurricane Isabel passed through the area.
A ballfield, dugout roofs and
a fence need repairs because of the storm, and sand was washed
and blown from under playground equipment. Mr. Trimmer said
repairs probably will cost about $11,000, and FEMA might pick
up 75 percent of the tab.
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