Kathy Clark, a resident of Jones Creek Road, sounded an alarm about shady activities in the Jones Creek/Newland area during the Richmond County Board of Supervisors meeting. “We are being inundated with an influx of folks that are up to no good,” she said.
“There are things going on that are not representative of what Richmond County or the Northern Neck stand for.” There’s a lot of activity on Jones Creek Road, especially Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., during normal working hours. These are not locals. They’re not folks interested in the river. “And they’re not down there doing community service either. They’re doing a huge community disservice,” she said.
Clark claimed to know this because her household and others have installed surveillance cameras and are keeping tabs. She went on to explain that over the summer, there were several break-ins. In one instance, a family’s home was “totally obliterated” and the crime remains unsolved, she said.
Last week, Clark was informed of a shooting. It’s undetermined who or what was being shot at. “And there’s a lot of suspected drug activity… things that make me question ‘how did we get here?’”
Clark told the board her 77-year-old mother has lived in the same house on Jones Creek Rd. for 60 years, and said until now, she’s never been afraid to be home alone during the day. “That’s eye-opening. No one should feel that way in Richmond County,” Clark told the board.
Clark is the district operations manager for the Northern Neck Soil and Water Conservation District, and one of the reasons she hasn’t conducted the waterway clean up at Jones Creek this year, is due to safety concerns. “There’s stuff going on that I’m not prepared professionally or personally to take a group of volunteers to clean it up right now,” she said.
According to Clark a lot of the older generation are dying. Homes are unkempt, overgrown and some areas have become nearly unrecognizable. “We joke that Newland has become ‘the hood.’ We’re starting to label [some] areas the projects,” she told the board without sounding humored.
Clark insisted conditions in the area are not a reflection of the Sheriff’s Office. She and other residents are in close communication with Sheriff Steve Smith who, she said, answers every time. And his office has increased patrol in the area.
“But I don’t see things getting any better. So I’m appealing for support for the county that we can come together as citizens and leaders and discuss a way we can, with the help of law enforcement, nip some of these things in the bud,” she said.
Clark proposed holding a community forum. Board of Supervisors Chairman Lee Sanders told her to proceed with planning the meeting and assured her that the county would support the effort.