Valley Communities Take part in a National Fight against Crime
11/15/2007 (KFSN) -- "Weed and Seed" has a meaning other than gardening for one south valley community and people in Cutler-Orosi are growing a brighter future.
The communities of Cutler-Orosi united in celebration Wednesday night at Golden Valley Elementary School in Orosi.
Cutler-Orosi is one of 38 communities selected for grant money under an anti-crime program called "weed and seed."
"I think we have seen a rise in gang activity and drug activity and this really enables us to bring in some of the resources that the community needs," said Logan Robertson, Site Dir. For "weed and seed."
People who live in east Orosi and Cutler have been plagued with gang graffiti and violence.
In May, rival gangs erupted in gunfire just two blocks from Golden Valley Elementary School.
"Weed and seed" gives money to small, unincorporated communities like Cutler-Orosi, who are suffering from crime and other social problems.
The grant will give Cutler-Orosi $175,000 the first year, split evenly between law enforcement and the community, and eventually give up to $1 million over 5 years. People say it's much needed money for after school programs and to bring officers into troubled neighborhoods.
The "weed" or law enforcement part of the grant starts with the Tulare County Sheriff's Office, which is about to open a brand new station.
As part of the grant, deputies will carry out 4 more gang and 4 more drug sweeps a year, bring in new equipment and eventually implement 20 neighborhood watch programs.
As for the seed side of the grant, organizers want to expand recreation in the community.
"The broad range we're looking at is sports activities and arts activities," said Logan Robertson.
"They need to be active, very active in the community. They need to be active with their children, keeping their children busy in activities so that they don't have all this time to get into trouble," said Patsy Marquez, Orosi resident.
Many hope the seeds of change being planted now will help these communities grow to become safe and nurturing places to live.
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