Burn barrels will return, Occupy Youngstown vows
By Karl Henkel
The tarp and burn barrel will soon return to Central Square, members of the Occupy Youngstown movement said Saturday.
Despite Police Chief Rod Foley’s order to remove those items, along with a tent, three chairs and several wooden signs, Friday, the group said it isn’t going anywhere and will begin to prep for chilly weather conditions in the coming weeks.
“We’re going to try and set up the tarp like we had it before,” said Jarrod Badgett, a 22-year-old member from Canfield who has logged about 100 hours per week at the site.
The group made the decision after a meeting earlier in the day that was attended by about 30 members.
Jessica Arnold, 29, of Youngstown, said the group will look for a new burn barrel, possibly with help from a local union.
She said the group is confused about why the barrel was taken away.
She said Councilwoman Annie Gillam actually had the first burn barrel delivered to the site.
“You can understand our confusion on things,” Arnold said.
One member, a veteran, Sean O’Toole, 61 of Warren, questioned Mayor Chuck Sammarone’s timing.
The items were removed Friday — Veterans Day — and in the early morning, when only four members were present.
“Why did he pick Veterans Day to take away our free speech?” O’Toole said.
Members also said they think city officials are doing a disservice to those members of the community living in poverty, because Occupy Youngstown has provided food, beverages and shelter to those in need.
They also cited a Nov. 3 Vindicator article that detailed Youngstown’s nation-high 49.7 percent poverty rate.
“We’re helping those without food,” Arnold said. “That’s all the more reason for us to be out there.”
Members said Saturday they will respect police and fire workers if they return and take away Occupy Youngstown’s belongings, because “they’re just following orders.”