Pubdate: Sat, 28 Feb 2009
Source: Dispatch, The (NC)
Copyright: 2009, The Lexington Dispatch
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Sometimes rounding up drug suspects is the easy part for law
enforcement officers. Ultimately, the sentences those suspects receive
in the judicial system determines how much of a long-range impact the
arrests have. The Davidson County Sheriff's Office, State Bureau of
Investigation and U.S. Marshal's Service took care of the
investigation into a methamphetamine ring, and the U.S. Attorney made
sure those arrested received stiff sentences. A press conference
Wednesday revealed the depth of the ring. Twenty-five people were
arrested, and most have already been sentenced to as much as 30 years
in prison.

Even lower-level participants whose mission was to buy over the
counter medications used to make meth faced prison time. The success
of the investigation and prosecution should severely restrict the
availability of meth in Davidson County.

Another important gathering of law enforcement officers and others
took place in Thomasville during a two-day gang symposium.

While gang violence doesn't garner headlines locally very often, the
officers made it clear that gangs are present.

Those who have regular contact with teens and young adults should be
on the lookout for gang activity and affiliation and report it to the
authorities. A particularly effective part of the symposium was the
story of a former gang member who now works to help others leave gangs.

In these days of shrinking revenues and tight budgets, the fact the
Davidson County Department of Social Services has extra money to help
with energy bills is welcome news. DSS received about $500,000 this
year to help people at risk of being unable to pay a bill for heating
oil or electricity. That's three times more than the amount last year.
DSS officials want to put the word out to qualified county residents
who might find the money a lifesaver during economically tough times.

At first blush, it might seem the county doesn't need a new food
pantry, with several already in existence.

However, the Upper Room Food Pantry will serve a new geographic area,
Southmont, during a recession, and not everyone can travel to existing
pantries in other parts of the county.

Special credit goes to the seven churches and volunteer members who
worked together to make the food pantry a reality.

Davidson County keeps building schools, but the population continues
to grow. Even as a new elementary school for the central Davidson area
will open next school year, the board of education learned Tuesday
during a work session that the population at Wallburg Elementary is

Board members and the commissioners must continue to monitor school
populations and address overcrowding. Schools are expensive, and
funding new ones poses a challenge, but learning suffers in cramped
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