Mediation Center Works to Increase Safety, Peace in North Carolina Communities |TODAY|
Submitted by dan. on 2007-12-07 22:05.
The Mediation and Restorative Justice Center, formerly the Blue Ridge Dispute Settlement Center, works daily to help increase the peace and safety in local neighborhoods, schools, and communities. When tensions build, Center mediators are available to spring into action and help parties work out disputes referred by the courts, schools, local agencies and the general public. The Mediation Center has been active in Watauga and Avery Counties for more than 12 years with the help of High Country United Way.
Three brothers, who are neighbors, have been hostile and have not gotten along with each other since the death of their mother five years earlier. Their wives are also involved and have been particularly vicious, attacking each other verbally near the property lines. The brothers have physically assaulted each other over a new survey and the question of who will mow the grass at several locations. The younger generation of cousins has taken sides and now no one is getting along. Warrants are taken out for assault, communicating threats and trespassing.
The Mediation and Restorative Justice Center accepts the case for mediation. During the mediation, trained mediators guide the communication, manage emotions and help the parties discuss the underlying reasons for the hostility. It turns out that some of the main underlying issues center around resentment over who paid funeral expenses, the choice of executor, and the division of the property including the mother’s doll collection.
After much discussion and frustration, one of the brothers says, “Well let’s just all stay on our own part of the property and have no communication – period!” The others agree at first, but then one says, “No, we’re getting old and if you were having a heart attack, I would come on your property to save you because you are my brother and I hope you would do the same for me.” The other two brothers agree with him. One of the wives offers to reimburse the others for the funeral expenses so they can begin patching up their differences and restoring harmony within the families. The parties continue to discuss the situation until they finally want to dismiss all charges.
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