NEW CASTLE — Tensions have been rising to a high pitch recently between representatives of New Beginnings Ministries in Warsaw and the adult entertainment club The Fox Hole in New Castle. As the two parties have now been at odds over the past few years, recent developments of bikini-clad dancers from The Fox Hole turned the tables and stared protesting outside New Beginnings, the two groups have agreed to meet today.
With nine miles separating the church and the strip club, residents of New Castle are concerned the church is overstepping its bounds by encroaching on the small town.
“We’re afraid someone’s going to get hurt or even shot,” said Mary Ann Williamson of New Castle. “With that establishment (Fox Hole) there, it isn’t really hurting anybody. I don’t go there, but if that’s what they want to do, they can.
“New Castle is a ‘good ole boy’ town, and this business was grandfathered in” added Williamson. “I’ve talked to some of the young girls there, and one was crying, claiming [church members] said mean things to her. I think [New Beginnings Ministry] is going too far.”
Not wanting to voice her opinion on either party involved, “I don’t want a feud,” said Peggy Sue Wilson of Peggy Sue’s Restaurant. “I hope both parties can come to an agreement and put the issue to rest.”
“They really shouldn’t be here,” said Anna Wengerd of Woodland Furniture and Bulk Foods, referring to The Fox Hole being located in her community. But as far as the church goes with their protests, “I wouldn’t have anything to do with that,” she said.
Wishing to remain anonymous, one employee at Troyer Furniture said, “I don’t like it (The Fox Hole) here, and most of us Amish don’t. But it’s their thing. It’s whatever they want to do.”
Charlene Beckley, born and raised near New Castle, said she hopes having a place like The Foxhole in New castle doesn’t cause people to not want to live there.
“It’s a great place to raise a family; and we don’t really appreciate that type of business here, but to each his own,” said Beckley. “I don’t think either party can do anything for the other.”
A lawsuit filed in August 2007 by B&B Entertainment and Thomas George, owner of The Fox Hole, claiming members of New Beginnings Ministries were forcing their religion upon patrons and employees at The Fox Hole, and were attempting to prohibit them from exercising their constitutional rights.
In July 2007, an explosive device was planted in a Dumpster behind the nightclub. Although no injuries or damage were reported, George’s suit alleged church protesters planted the device themselves in an attempt to disrupt business and draw attention to themselves. Shortly after the event, church member Jeff Cline claimed the device was planted by George in an attempt to scare away the protesters. At the time, Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Bill Kobel said there was very little evidence to go on. No arrests were ever made following the incident
The lawsuit was dismissed in June 2009.
Recent reports have stated members of New Beginnings have allegedly appeared outside The Fox Hole with bull horns to harass employees and patrons while also taking pictures of patrons’ license plates and posting them on the Internet.