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LaCrosse latino picnic cooks up smiles

August 12, 2008 | Virginia News

News Image LA CROSSE - About 75 people attended a Latino Community Picnic in La Crosse Sunday, the happy result of a sort of social experiment spearheaded by La Crosse Police Chief Rob Hall.

Local Latino families came out for the event bearing homemade food and gifts, with the children enjoying the town's playground equipment in the park across from the town Post Office. The fun afternoon came about as a result of a great deal of planning, Hall said. "The Latino community is traditionally afraid of law enforcement, whether that has to do with the fear of immigration issues or the way the police are in the country they came from," Hall said. "That's a very negative thing. It hurts both sides. Crimes frequently are not reported in the Latino community." Hall said the idea for a community picnic first came to him as a response to a survey his department distributed among residents last year. "One of the surveys suggested a 'community get together' type of event," he said. "That struck a chord with me, and when I was looking for ways to bridge the gap, it came back in stereo. When we were going door to door to invite people to the event, I met the woman who had written that on a survey! Her name is Kelly Reynolds of Shady Springs, and she truly deserves a lot of credit for it happening." External Link to Article