Pearce Creek work pro­gresses

Md. re­news needed project cer­tifi­cate

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By JA­COB OWENS

jowens@ce­cil­whig.com

— Progress has been slow to come on the in­stal­la­tion on an im­per­me­able liner at the Pearce Creek Dredge Ma­te­rial Con­tain­ment Field (DMCF) through the end of win­ter, but res­i­dents of nearby com­mu­ni­ties

EAR­LEVILLE

got a first­hand look Fri­day at what to ex­pect at the site by the U.S. Army Corps of En­gi­neers.

Abun­dant rain­wa­ter in Fe­bru­ary has made progress more dif­fi­cult for Sealaska, the Corps’ con­trac­tor, as they pre­pare the more than 250-acre dredge spoil dis­posal site for place­ment of a syn­thetic liner that will pre­vent the leach­ing of nat­u­ral con­tam­i­nants

bricks in which the names would be etched or em­bossed or in some other form.

To reach that goal, they re­cently es­tab­lished a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion called Friends of Ce­cil County Vic­tim Me­mo­rial Ser­vices. Mem­bers of that group plan to meet with pub­lic of­fi­cials and builders to de­ter­mine where a per­ma­nent me­mo­rial can be placed and what type of me­mo­rial would be the most fea­si­ble, VanCulin said.

The group also is ac­cept­ing taxd­e­ductible do­na­tions to raise money to cover the costs of plan­ning and cre­at­ing a per­ma­nent me­mo­rial, she added.

“We are just try­ing to fig­ure out the best type of me­mo­rial to build and where. Ideally, the best place is at the Cir­cuit Court­house gar­den (court­yard). It’s an ideal spot be­cause that’s where sur­vivors go for the mur­der (and other homi­cide-re­lated) tri­als. That is where jus­tice is served,” VanCulin ex­plained.

A ma­jor con­sid­er­a­tion of erect­ing a per­ma­nent vic­tims me­mo­rial wall would be how much blank space to leave, in or­der to ac­com­mo­date the names of fu­ture vic­tims, she ac­knowl­edged.

“Un­for­tu­nately, un­til the end of time, peo­ple are go­ing to mur­der each other,” VanCulin said, adding, “So we would have to be able to add names.”

VanCulin is fa­mil­iar with mur­der all too well.

VanCulin’s sis­ter, Terri Ann McCoy, 40, was shot and killed when she stirred from sleep af­ter four gun­men broke into her par­ents’ Ch­e­sa­peake City-area home in Novem­ber 2009, ter­ror­ized the cou­ple and then robbed them.

Ev­ery April since then, VanCulin, 50, and other fam­ily mem­bers have par­tic­i­pated in the an­nual Vic­tims Wall and Walk in front of the cir­cuit court­house, an event hosted by the Ce­cil County State’s At­tor­ney’s Of­fice.

Ear­lier this month, VanCulin served as the guest speaker when Ce­cil County hosted the 27th An­nual Mary­land Statewide Me­mo­rial Ser­vice for the North­ern Re­gion — mean­ing sur­vivors from Bal­ti­more City and Bal­ti­more, Howard, Har­ford, Anne Arundel and Ce­cil coun­ties gath­ered at the event site in Per­ryville. Ce­cil County had last hosted that statewide event in 2009.

VanCulin re­ceived a stand­ing ova­tion from an es­ti­mated crowd of 500 at the end of her grip­ping speech, one in which she re­called the night of her sis­ter’s mur­der — from the mo­ment she was awak­ened by a wee-hours phone call and re­ceived the tragic news, through the months-long crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion, through the tri­als and sen­tenc­ing hear­ings of the four de­fen­dants and be­yond.

As for this Friends of Ce­cil County Vic­tim Me­mo­rial Ser­vices project, VanCulin stressed that it is in its in­fant stages. The or­ga­ni­za­tion plans to set up meet­ings with county and Elk­ton town of­fi­cials so group mem­bers can dis­cuss the vic­tims me­mo­rial they en­vi­sion and how it can be ac­com­plished.

Elk­ton Mayor Rob Alt said he would be re­cep­tive. Alt noted that he at­tended the statewide vic­tims me­mo­rial event in Per­ryville on April 10 and that he was emo­tion­ally moved by it.

“I could feel the pain in the room. I also sensed that they (sur­vivors) felt com­forted by be­ing with peo­ple who had ex­pe­ri­enced what they had ex­pe­ri­enced, peo­ple who un­der­stood how they felt,” Alt said. “It was a very touch­ing event.”

Alt said he is will­ing to ex­plore what­ever op­tions Elk­ton has to of­fer to make some sort of per­ma­nent vic­tims me­mo­rial a re­al­ity.

“It (the statewide event) touched me in such a way that any­way I can help to pro­duce a me­mo­rial wall or an­other form of vic­tims me­mo­rial, I will,” Alt said, adding, “I would think that we could find a home for a vic­tims’ me­mo­rial some­where in Elk­ton.”

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JA­COB OWENS

Gavin Kaiser, an en­gi­neer with the Corps of En­gi­neers, talks to res­i­dents vis­it­ing the Pearce Creek dredge spoil dis­posal site.

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