Police officers tell Lions about drug problem

VERGENNES — Vergennes Police Chief George Merkel and Detective Sergeant Jason Ouellette spoke at the last Vergennes Lions meeting about the problem of drugs in all of our communities.
Sgt. Ouellette described the various kinds of drugs, their appearance and the costs, in terms of both purchase price and the effects on the user and community. He said there had been over 100 arrests locally since 2011 for drug possession or sales. One alone involved between $30,000 and $40,000 worth of heroin.
Chief Merkel asked all the Lions to be aware of what is going on around our communities and to report anything suspicious. He also explained how strongly he feels about not legalizing marijuana. The chief said that most drug arrests come from traffic stops and the officer smelling marijuana, which leads to a search of the vehicle where other drugs are found. If marijuana is legalized, the possible searches become much more difficult, since the other drugs have no smell. The chief encouraged everyone to write to their legislators asking that they not pass the bill to make marijuana legal. 
During his talk, Chief Merkel had the highest praise possible for his Sgt. Ouellette, saying he is one of the best in the state at what he does. The chief mentioned how proud he is of his entire police force and thanked the community for its support.
Cash for Christmas
The meeting also covered other business, including the status of the annual Cash for Christmas 50/50 raffle. This year’s drawing will be on Dec. 5, and the winner will receive 50 percent of all the money from ticket sales. The proceeds from the raffle will be used for one of the many Lions’ projects such as the Vergennes Area Food Shelf, handicap-accessible ramps, help for the Boys and Girls Club, help for the John Graham Shelter, Bixby Library assistance, eyeglasses or hearing aids for the needy, etc.
Last year’s winner received over $2,700. If anyone is interested in purchasing tickets, they can call Lion Debbie Brace at 802-324-1758 or Lion Gary Russell at 802-877-3652.
Editor’s note: This article was submitted by Lion Larry Simino.

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