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Ray and JoAnn Lecture and Bob and Mary Anne Runnels prepare to launch their boat at General Burnside Island State Park. The Lectures live at Jabez and the Runnelses are residents of Jupiter, Fla.

 

Some signs representing the “dry” point of view ended up wet, after they were found in an eastern Pulaski County creek along with numerous other placards.
Sheriff Todd Wood said that approximately 100 signs — including the “Vote No” signs relating to the June 26 option election to allow alcohol sales in Somerset, as well as political campaign signs for several candidates in last Tuesday’s primaries, realtor’s advertisements, and signs from various businesses — were located in the creek running alongside Old Pumphouse Road yesterday.
LaWanda Carr, an supporter of the anti-alcohol side of the “wet/dry” debate, told the Commonwealth Journal that she learned of the signs’ disposal from a friend, who responded to a post Carr made on social media website Facebook. Some individuals with “Vote No” signs in their yard had been reporting them as missing in recently weeks, apparently taken by another party.
“This is the second time in less than three weeks,” said Carr of the frequency of her signs going missing. “The large sign that my parents put up in the church yard (Heritage Hope Church of God) was $70 alone. ... My mom and I have personally put money into the signs.”
Carr said that she and her mother went to the creek at 9 a.m. this morning to retrieve the signs and found 36 “Vote No” placards there among the others.
“I climbed down the bank and began picking them out of the creek,” said Carr. “They were covered in moss and mud. I washed each one off and tossed them up to my mom. A few minutes later, my brother showed up and said we should call the police.”
Wood said it’s difficult to tell who might be responsible, in large part because the varied nature of signs taken doesn’t necessarily point exclusively to a “wet” supporter.
However, he said, night shift patrol cars are constantly on the lookout for suspicious activity as far as possible sign theft, and that Somerset Police officers would be doing likewise. Also, officers shine their light into a person’s backseat when making a traffic stop to see if there are any signs in that individual’s vehicle.
Anyone caught stealing a sign of this nature would be subject to small theft charges, said Wood.
“Obviously, it’s taking property that isn’t yours,” he said. “As a candidate myself (for sheriff), I know it happens. There are overzealous campaigners on both sides that do this. ... It’s going to happen in a heated election.”
David Weddle, founder of Progress Somerset, the pro-alcohol sales group which filed a petition to put the alcohol option on the ballot this June, told the Commonwealth Journal that he would allow a statement he posted on the Progress Somerset Facebook page to suffice as his response to the matter.
Weddle’s statement on the website was, “I have heard that numerous ‘No’ signs have been found thrown away in a creek. I want to let all of the Progress supporters that no one in this group had anything to do with this and we do not support these activities.”
For her part, Carr hopes that supporters of each side of the alcohol debate will play fairly in the future.
“Never make a permanent decision based upon a temporary feeling,” she said. “All citizens of Somerset, whether a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote should be appalled at these acts of theft and vandalism. This is a democratic society that entitles us to support or oppose any issue, including the upcoming ‘wet/dry’ vote.”
 

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