By TONJA GREENFIELD
SUBLETTE — Sublette residents expressed their concerns for public safety to the Sublette Village Board and a Lee County Sheriff’s Deputy at a recent meeting.
The Sublette Village Board met for its monthly meeting on Monday, Sept. 12. All members were present except trustees Mackenzie Belan and Jeff Meyers.
Sublette resident Marlene Egler brought to the board’s attention that the people are disregarding the stop sign at South Front Street. Egler said people drive right through the stop sign all day, every day, and voiced that if people aren’t going to use it, then the village should just get rid of it.
Egler said she is concerned about her granddaughter running across the road and right in front of a driver speeding by. She also mentioned a toddler who lives across the corner.
“When they go through the stop sign they go fast,” Egler said. “Those cars, they don’t watch, they just go. Someone is eventually going to get killed.”
Lee County Sheriff Matt McGrail was at the meeting and addressed Egler’s concerns. He said it’s not up to the sheriff’s department to decide if a stop sign should be in the village or not. He did say that disobeying the stop sign is an enforceable offense. He told the board that the sheriff’s office has two deputies patrolling the county during the day, and there were three deputies on patrol during the village meeting.
Sublette Village President John Stenzel asked Egler if the stop sign was helping.
Egler said most people will come up very slowly, but there are certain drivers who deliberately go through fast.
Stenzel suggested the sheriff’s office do some patrolling, and recommended if residents see someone consistently running the stop sign to call the sheriff’s office.
McGrail said the department does what they can with the complaints they receive.
Sublette Village Trustee Julie Kessel said it’s constantly in the morning around 7-8 a.m., and after Amboy High School football practice. She said a specific driver, who is a high school student, sees you, flips you off and then steps on the gas.
Kessel asked the sheriff’s deputy to come down and patrol in Sublette, even one day a week.
“Let them know someone is here once in a while,” Kessel said.
McGrail said the sheriff’s office could do enforcement at that stop sign for a week straight, and then three months later, you will still see that problem.
Stenzel said maybe the village should make every street 20 mph. He added that people know when the cops are working in the village.
Sublette Village Treasurer Will Klein said that he thinks if you give the offender a ticket, they may think twice before doing it again.
Stenzel said he appreciates all that the deputies do and that maybe if a couple of key people get a ticket it will change what is happening.
McGrail said the department would like to do more drug enforcement in the county, and that meth is a huge problem. He added that there are other villages/towns in the county that have worse problems than Sublette.
Sublette resident Lori Hansen spoke up at the mention of drugs, saying the sheriff’s department needs to look at the street she lives on.
“I should not be afraid to live in my house,” Hansen said. “I’m tired of it. I’m terrified to be in our own house.”
She told the board she would like to see a police presence in the village.
Stenzel reminded residents that they need to call the sheriff’s office when they see something suspicious.
McGrail said he would take the concerns from this meeting to his higher ups. He also recommended residents call their Lee County Board members about their concerns as well.
Stenzel suggested the village have a community meeting, inviting the sheriff’s department down, where the public can come and learn what to look for. He also suggested the village pay for a deputy to patrol the village on a regular basis.
McGrail said Paw Paw currently contracts with the sheriff’s office for 40 hours a week for patrolling.
No action was taken after the discussion.
In other board news
The next Sublette village board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10, at the Ellice Dinges Center.