Virginia Rallies Together Against Synthetics and Public Nuisance

By KBJR News 1

September 5, 2013 Updated Sep 5, 2013 at 6:48 PM CDT

Virginia, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Virginia city leaders and the community are pulling out all the stops to prevent the spread of synthetic drugs in their community.

But panhandling is another problem gripping the city and the community is taking proactive steps to put an end to some of the problems before they get bigger.

Downtown Virginia has all the charm of any Iron Range city.

But two shops in the city selling synthetic drugs are causing a panhandling problem that Virginia Police Chief Dennis Benz says need to be fixed.

"It's something that we need to address and find out why it's happening."

Chief Benz says he doesn't want the issue to impact quality of the Queen City.

"They are worried that we are losing a grip on our city and to be honest with you it kind of feels that way," said Dennis Benz, Virginia Police Chief.

To change that, city officials and neighbors came together Wednesday to share their concerns on and offer solutions.

"We are looking to give law enforcement some tools to help eradicate the problems that the businesses are experiencing," said Virginia City Councilor, Larry Cuffe.

The Virginia City Council will use the feedback from the meeting and draft ordinances that would go a step further than regulating synthetics drugs or prohibiting panhandling.

"Completely ban that substance from being sold in Virginia in any way shape or form and whether we have to do it from a civil perspective or criminal, it's something that needs further discussion," said Cuffe.

Chief Benz agrees saying with the right course of community action the city can help combat the problem and keep the city living up to its quality name.

"We're not here to arrest everybody, we just need to identify what the problem is and try to find a solution," said Benz.

It's a possible solution giving a peace of mind to everyone in the Queen City.

The Virginia City council is looking at other Northland cities for guidance in drafting their ordinances including Duluth and recently Proctors.

Another community meeting will be held on September 17th to discuss the synthetic ordinances.

Jeremy Brickley
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