The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

October 29, 2013

Annual Mocktail Party helps discourage underage drinking

By STACY MILLBERG
Staff Writer

JEFFERSON — Ashtabula County Safe Communities is reaching out to area teens to encourage having fun without involving alcohol.

The organization will host its annual Mocktail Party today from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Jefferson Police Department’s new building, located at 105 E. Jefferson St., the former Jefferson Elementary School.

Safe Communities is made up of all law enforcement, fire departments and ambulance districts in Ashtabula County. The organization gets together to put on a variety of programs throughout the county such as child seat safety programs and Click It or Ticket, said Jefferson Police Chief Dave Wassie.

This is the sixth or seventh year the group has sponsored the Mocktail Party, Wassie said. Each of the local safety forces that chose to participate, will set up a table with a display as well as provide informational hand-outs. Each safety group will also provide a Mocktail for the event, which is an alcohol-free drink.

“We’re trying to show kids that you can have fun without drinking alcoholic beverages,” Wassie said.

A mock car crash, similar to those conducted around the same time as high school proms, will be held. Wassie said during the mock crash, law enforcement will make a mock arrest and there will be a mock trial as well.

Judge Robert Wynn will preside over the trial and there will be a prosecuting attorney and defense attorney present as well, he said.

Weather-permitting, a medical helicopter will also land during the crash, Wassie said.

All teens are invited to attend the Mocktail Party along with their parents. Wassie said parents do not need to be present, but are encouraged to attend with their kids.

All participants at the party will vote on their favorite drink as well as the best display. Wassie said there are 16 local safety force groups participating, including the U.S. Coast Guard, Ashtabula County Emergency Management Agency and the Ashtabula County Coroner’s Office will participate in the mock crash.