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Winnsboro City Council holds public hearing for safety ordinances regarding block parties, backpacks

The Winnsboro City Council will vote on the Bush Ordinances at next month's meeting. Source: (KNOE)
The Winnsboro City Council will vote on the Bush Ordinances at next month's meeting. Source: (KNOE)(KNOE)
Published: Nov. 19, 2019 at 12:01 AM CST
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“The city of Winnsboro is hurt, it’s not just the family, the city is hurting over Waneshia,” said Tameka White, the aunt of Waneshia Bush.

It’s been four months since

life was cut short after being

by a stray bullet at a birthday party in Winnsboro.

While time has passed, the wounds are still fresh for the family and the community, and city leaders have been working since July to make some changes.

Since Bush’s murder, a committee was formed to

, at Monday’s city council meeting, the board of alderman, mayor and citizens all voiced their opinions on the best options.

“One is too many and so that’s the reason we’d meeting now trying to get our heads together and come up with a plan that will benefit the town of Winnsboro,” said District Four Alderman Jerry Johnson.

Ordinance No. 1020 focuses on restrictions for block parties and outdoor events held on private property. If approved, hosts would have to submit a permit depending on the guest count and for guests ages 12 and older.

If the event includes 75-100 people that would require a Class A permit and a $10 fee. If the event has more than 100 people that would require a Class B permit and a $20 fee and a security officer from the police department or sheriff’s office would need to be present.

If hosts do not obtain a permit prior to the event, the event can be canceled by law enforcement officers. In addition, there would be a curfew and end time in place.

For Winnsboro Mayor Sonny Dumas, he says the ordinance isn’t meant to put a damper on the party, but instead be a proactive safety measure.

“All we’re trying to do is to make sure that lives are being protected because that is the responsibility of the police department here in Winnsboro, and it’s the responsibility of you as a homeowner to protect those individuals that are attending your party,” Dumas said.

In addition, Ordinance No. 1021 includes penalties for backpacks. It would prohibit wearing a backpack in city limits unless it is during school hours and the backpack is clear or mesh.

Both aldermen and residents of Winnsboro say that crime has been an issue mainly with people carrying weapons in their backpacks.

“If they got these backpacks you can’t see through it they need to be clear they need to be stopped. Because we got a lot of little gangsters walking around here , innocent people almost getting hurt, one that got killed, enough is enough it just takes one,” said Mary Ignot, Cousin of Waneshia Bush.

White also spoke on behalf of the Bush family supporting the ordinances; however, everyone did not share that same sentiment.

“With the backpacks, you’ve got to be careful with that too it’s outlawing backpacks going to make them keep the guns at home - I don’t think so, they’re gonna stick them in their pants,” said District One Alderman Tyrone Coleman.

“As far as having an ordinance passed so that you can have something held on your private property at your home I’m not for that. We have, at my sister and brother’s house at least three times a year we have a gathering twenty-five, fifty people or more never been an argument, never been anyone getting out of line,” said a Winnsboro resident.

The Board of Alderman will be voting on the Bush Ordinances at their city council meeting next month.

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