Monday Aug. 8, 2016
A group of kids from Strong Avenue held a lemonade sale on Aug. 2, 2016, in the wake of a triple homicide on the street. It wasn’t a reaction to the incident but underscored that there’s more to the neighborhood than violence. By Tim Vandenack
With the small staff here, work at The Elkhart Truth lets you dip your toes into many sorts of stories. No doubt about that.
This is perhaps my favorite from the past few weeks, a story about a local man, Damond Smart, who identified, via Styrofoam cups in a chain-link fence, more than 70 area victims of gun violence:
Smart aimed to underscore the violence that occurs on the streets here and send a message to the public, mainly those in south-central Elkhart, an older, lower-income part of town — don’t get mixed up with the wrong crowd and end up with your name on the fence.
Top: “All Lives Matter,” one of many messages on chain-link fence turned into a memorial of Elkhart gun violence victims. Bottom, L to R: Vigil to gun violence victims organized by Smart; Angel Wilson, ex-fiance of one of three victims of triple homicide; Larry Sims, who organized a campaign to help Rainelle, W. Va., deal with flooding. All by Tim Vandenack
Other topics of late:
Triple homicide: The reaction from the Strong Avenue neighborhood, rocked by a triple homicide on July 31.
The news initially caused nervousness (“Elkhart shooting deaths leave Strong Avenue residents jittery, shocked,” Aug. 2, 2016). Then a group of Strong Avenue kids put up a lemonade stand, not in response, but it underscored that there’s more to the neighborhood than violence (“Strong Avenue kids join forces to underscore good in the neighborhood,” Aug. 3, 2016).
Annexation: The end, finally, of the last of three bitter lawsuits filed by Elkhart County homeowners fighting annexation into the city.
The city agreed to carve the homeowners out of the area to be absorbed, a bitter issue that led in part to Mayor Dick Neese’s defeat last year at the hands of Tim Neese, who took over the mayor’s job on Jan. 1. I did an analysis, looking into the many issues raised by the controversy, as a seven-item list (“At a glance: Elkhart annexation cost $500,000, but will generate nearly $3.93 million a year,” Aug. 1, 2016). I also took a look at the prospects for more annexations in the wake of the resolution (“Elkhart annexation all but complete, likely not to be repeated anytime soon,” July 27, 2016).
Helping West Virginia: A local man who took matters into his own hands and called area businesses, seeking donations of construction supplies to help victims of flooding in West Virginia rebuild (“Elkhart man works the phones, collects truckload of aid for flood-devastated West Virginia town,” Aug. 7, 2016).
Larry Sims — a former RV-sector worker now seeking disability due to a congenital heart condition — has family in the West Virginia town he wanted to help, Rainelle, and launched his efforts despite never having done anything like it before.