ELK GARDEN – They range in age from 4 to 14 and they are wreaking havoc in Elk Garden, according to town officials.

By Ronda Wertman
Tribune Correspondent
ELK GARDEN – They range in age from 4 to 14 and they are wreaking havoc in Elk Garden, according to town officials.
“They are just out of control,” said mayor Marian Droppleman recently as the council noted many instances where these children are ringing door bells, fighting in the street, chasing each other with knives, trespassing on private property, and destroying resident’s property.
“They are out all hours of the night,” said Droppleman, adding that a driver on one the town streets nearly wrecked stopping for children who were playing with their remote control cars on the speed bumps in the middle of the street.
As the council looks at options, residents are becoming increasingly upset with threats of calling law enforcement or child protective services if these behaviors do not stop. In some cases the parents or guardians have been contacted, with no relief to the barrage of incidents.
From smashing watermelons in gardens to hitting at apples on a tree, this is all on someone’s property. The council noted that if the kids had asked for a watermelon or an apple, it would have gladly been given to them, but for the children to deliberately destroy them is unacceptable.
The town is looking to install cameras at the park and the parents or guardians of those responsible will be held accountable for damages and repairs.
With cooler weather on the way, the park is being winterized with the water being shut off.
In other business, the council noted that paving is completed and that costs were $200 more than the estimated $10,000.
“I’ve had a lot of people comment on the roads and how nice it is. It’s better than what we had, better than hitting all those holes,” said Droppleman.
Commissioner Jean Braithwaite reported on grant opportunities, noting that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) would be coming to look at a location for planting trees in the park.
The Carla Hardy West Virginia Tree Project donates trees to be planted in her memory.
She noted that county commissioner Roger Leatherman is looking into getting free signs to replace the missing street signs in town. Less than 10 are missing at this time. Once replaced, if the new signs are damaged, stolen, etc., it will be up to the town to bear the cost of replacing them.
“We’re getting things done; we’re getting things straightened out,” said Droppleman, praising the council and the residents for their efforts and hard work.
Efforts are continuing to verify the town boundaries, with information from RK&K Engineering to be looked at along with information from the tax records to determine what residences are in the town limits.
Commissioner Tom Braithwaite reported that the Region VIII Planning and Development Council is looking to combine with Region IX out of the Martinsburg area. Concern was expressed that this would not be good for rural communities who could be forgotten in light of the bigger cites included in this extended area.