Smile, you’re on Vineyard cam
by Bill Clough
Mar 31, 2012 | 1388 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bee County Emergency Management Coordinator David Morgan, left, and Larry McRorey, pastor of the First United Methodist Church, haul away sofas and other refuse Wednesday that were illegally dumped at the Vineyard. Newly installed security cameras promise to capture the license plates of those dropping off unrepairable junk. Police promise the people will be ticketed.
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BEEVILLE — All right! The next time you decide to illegally drop of a sofa or a mattress or whatever at the Beeville Vineyard, 210 N. Monroe St., be sure your hair looks all right and be sure to smile.

That’s because you will be recorded by video cameras — with resolution sharp enough not only to see your smile but to capture your license plate as well.

The Beeville Police Department doesn’t really care that much about your appearance, but that license plate is a pass to a ticket and fine.

The problem of people just dropping off junk that can’t be refurbished has been a continuing problem, says Executive Director Bettye Hale.

“It’s the bane of our jobs,” she says. “This has been going on since I’ve been here and that’s 12 years.”

At first, the faith-based charity tried using fences and barricades to prevent unsolicited donations.

“That just resulted in people dumping the stuff over the fence or at the front door.”

Last Wednesday, the First United Methodist Church volunteered to haul away sofas, broken TV sets, furniture and mattresses. Unfortunately, the truck and trailer didn’t arrive before it rained, further damaging the cast-off collection.

“The people who dumped this stuff here know that it’s worthless,” says Bee County Emergency Management Coordinator David Morgan, who volunteered with Methodist pastor Larry McRorey to truck away the junk. “They’re just letting the Vineyard do what they should do themselves.”

It took two trips to the dump to remove the refuse beside and behind the Vineyard building.

Hale says the city promised to install a security camera two years ago but said it first had to be repaired.

Tired of waiting, last week a patron of the organization, Susan Dirks, donated some cameras.

And, Hale says, Police Chief Joe Trevino has promised to ticket those caught on camera.

For the last 28 years, the Vineyard has supplied clothing, emergency food, blankets, emergency shelter, fans and heaters and infant care items along with helping purchase prescription medications for the needy and the unemployed.

Nowhere in its brochure that explains its mission does it mention any service involving rain-soaked, broken-down sofas; sagging, soiled mattresses; dilapidated beaverboard furniture, analog television sets, old-fashioned cathode-ray computer monitors or rusty child swings.

That Beeville has no city dump exacerbates the problem.

However, an annual Spring Clean is scheduled for Saturday, April 21. Residents can discard unwanted items that normally are not picked up on regular trash and garbage collection routes.

The Citizens Collection Center, at the city’s equipment yard at 200 S. Jackson St., allows anyone with a paid city utility bill (to prove Beeville residency) to dump one pickup load a month at the facility free of charge.

Or, of course, a person who has an uncontrolled urge to be captured on a Vineyard camera can dump the stuff there.

Be sure to say “cheese.”

Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at
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