BGC reopens its doors

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 30, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; A blue Little Tykes easel standing in the driveway on E. Stiers Friday said it all: Club open, 12:00-4:30.

There was music roaring, a movie playing and students shooting hoops &045; other signs that life has resumed in the Boys & Girls Club.

After four days of closure due to vandalism during the weekend and plumbing issues, everything was in full swing again Friday.

Email newsletter signup

And members are glad to have their club open again so they do not have to sit at home and be bored. This is a place they can come to play, to be with friends, to dance and to learn. &uot;The club means a lot to the little ones,&uot; Marcus Davis, a senior at Natchez High School and member and volunteer at the club said. But it also means a lot to him and the closure was &uot;hurtful,&uot; he said.

&uot;I was mad because that is something that gives our kids something to do and not get in trouble,&uot; Davis said. &uot;Don’t break into something that is for you,&uot; he added about the vandals that were members of the club. Other children feel the same way.

Faye Minor, executive director of the club, said many members came by the club when it was closed and were hurt that someone would hurt the club.

&uot;That was wrong,&uot; 10-year-old member Angela Baker said about the vandalism.

Anastacia Ellison agreed. This is a place she loves to come to because, otherwise, she does not have anything to do. She likes to learn things at the club and was upset when it had to be closed this week.

&uot;If they came to see what we really do, they wouldn’t damage it,&uot; Ellison said about the boys that vandalized the club this weekend.

In just four days, the Natchez Police Department apprehended four suspects in the case on tips from members of the club.

Three more suspects were arrested Friday, adding to the one arrested Thursday.

Three are juveniles, but Timothy Selmon, 17, will be tried as an adult for felony burglary. Selmon, a 15-year-old male and a 14-year-old male are charged with burglary of both the AJFC and the Boys & Girls Club. The 13-year-old arrested Friday will only be charged with burglary of the AJFC.

In addition to the arrests, the police recovered the three toys stolen from the AJFC.

Minor said about 15 or 16 children from the club told her who vandalized the club Sunday night.

&uot;I’m so proud of the kids that came forward that said, ‘We’re upset too,’&uot; Minor said.

Although their efforts are applauded, some, Minor regretted, have been threatened by the children suspected of committing the crime.

Minor said the club will press charges against the suspects and does hope they learn their lesson.

&uot;With as young as they are, a lesson should be taught now,&uot; Minor said. &uot;It is important to set an example with these kids.&uot;

Minor was glad to hear the police did such a prompt job of finding the suspected vandals.

&uot;The police did a great job,&uot; Minor said. &uot;They talked with us, they spent time with us, and they came to the crime scene.&uot;

Mullins agreed that the investigation went quickly and said that is beneficial when working with children.

&uot;It is important especially with young people to correct the young people quickly,&uot; Mullins said.