Commissioner orders Prairie Chapel Road cleared
By Thaddeus DeJesus Tribune-Herald staff writer
Friday, September 02, 2005
CRAWFORD – A lone demonstrator and the Crawford Peace House are complying with an order to vacate issued by McLennan County Commissioner Ray Meadows.
Meadows on Wednesday handed letters to demonstrators along Prairie Chapel Road informing them they must immediately leave and remove their belongings from the rights-of-way so that crews can perform road and ditch maintenance. The letter threatens arrest for failure to comply.
“We've got to shred those ditches, and I don't think people should be living in them,” said Meadows, who referred to a roughly five-mile stretch of Prairie Chapel Road where weeds tower from the roadside.
Thousands of demonstrators streamed through Meadows' precinct in the past month because of Cindy Sheehan, a peace activist who sought to get President Bush's attention on the Iraq war by starting a vigil near his vacation home that lasted for almost a month. As of Thursday, one day after Sheehan's protest ended, almost all of the demonstrators were gone, save one. Also, roughly three dozen crosses and three tents remained standing, marking the place where Sheehan and peace demonstrators first pitched their tents on Aug. 6.
Carl Rising-Moore held on Thursday a copy of Meadows' letter, which cited state law in justifying arrest if demonstrators blocked roads or roadsides.
Rising-Moore, 59, of Indianapolis, Ind., said that he, the crosses and the tents could have stayed put in an act of civil disobedience. But acting on the wishes of Sheehan, Rising-Moore and representatives of the Crawford Peace House agreed to remove the tents and memorial markers honoring fallen troops. Those items should be removed by Friday to go on display at the Crawford Peace House.
But Rising-Moore predicts that something permanent will sprout on Prairie Chapel Road some day.
“I would not be surprised if people, the state or the nation build a memorial here in that center tent where Cindy slept,” he said, looking at the tents and crosses. “She has an important message.”