Cloquet Community Members Take Back Their Community

By KBJR News 1

October 27, 2012 Updated Oct 27, 2012 at 10:40 PM CDT

Cloquet, MN (Northland's Newscenter) - People living in Cloquet are taking a stand against the recent rise in drugs and violence in their community.

The rally was sparked after Cristyna Watson died in a brutal homicide on the Fond du Lac Reservation.

The word community is synonymous with family, trust, and out of harm's way.

Member's of Cloquet are working to take ownership of their town.

"So people aren't afraid to step forward and to—if they see something that is suspicious going on, or if they see something that is obvious, to contact law enforcement officials," Bettina Johnsen, "Taking Back Our Community" Event Organizer, said.

Johnsen's mission, along with the 40 or so others who gathered at Veteran's Memorial Park, is to raise awareness against drugs and violence in their community.

"I think the murder of Cristyna Watson kind of topped it off for a lot of people," Johnsen said.

Two people are charged with second degree murder in connection with Watson's death.

Michael Siewert and Joseph Yellow are accused of killing Watson and disposing her body near a home off of reservation road in Cloquet.

To help create a safer community, Johnsen wants to bring people from surrounding towns together each month.

"I want to build a strong foundation of people that are like, yes, we are going to—yes we are going to be advocates for the community and enough is enough," Johnsen said.

It's clear the people of Cloquet have a message: they want a life without crime.

"Without gang members being in—in the parks when our kids are there. Or, you know, intimidating our kids," an event attendee said, "I want it safe for my kids to be able to walk around."

"I want it to be known by the community that there are people like myself out there that are not going to stand by and watch things slip though the cracks," Johnsen said.

For more information on "Taking Back Our Community", log into Facebook and click here: http://on.fb.me/VvLs6i

Justin Reis, NNC. jreis@northlandsnewscenter.com.