The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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June 14, 2011

Safety Town has spots open for children

ASHTABULA — The Ashtabula Police Department still is accepting registrations for summer sessions of Safety Town.

The free program is open to children entering kindergarten this fall.

Every year, about 200 children have fun and receive interactive lessons on fire, bicycle and pedestrian safety; substance abuse; poison, gun, and railroad safety; and stranger dangers, said Jim Oatman of the police department.

This year’s Safety Town will be offered 9 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., or 1 p.m. to 3:15 p.m., Monday to June 24, and again June 27 to July 1, at Lakeside Intermediate School (old Ashtabula High School on West 44th Street). The program uses outdoor and indoor facilities. It is an accident-prevention program.

“There are no restrictions other than the children have to be attending kindergarten in the fall,” Oatman said. “Safety Town is provided free of charge because of our generous sponsors.”

Lessons will be taught by certified early-education teacher Lindsay Coup, as well as by members of the community’s safety forces, including police officers, firefighters, ambulance personnel, railroad officials and public health employees. Coup presents lessons in a way that the children understand, Oatman said. She has been teaching in the Ashtabula Area City School District for four years, and will be teaching kindergarten at the new Ashtabula Lakeside elementary-school campus, come fall.

“Not only do the children learn from the police and firefighters, but they learn not to be afraid of them,” Oatman said. “Hopefully, they would go to them in an emergency.”

A number of area corporations donate $100 a year to help the Fraternal Order of Police, Ashtabula Lodge No. 26’s Safety Town continue year after year. Sponsor names are listed on the T-shirt every child receives and keeps, and printed on the materials the students take home with them. This year, the Ashtabula County Safety Council donated $1,000 to ensure Safety Town continues for county children. Oatman said it’s important to teach the children the safety rules and keep them safe but Safety Town cannot operate without sponsors and donations. For more information, call Oatman (992-7144). Donations can be made to: F.O.P. No.  26 Safety Town, 110 W. 44th St., Unit No. 1, Ashtabula 44004-6915.

Families can register by calling994-2308 or by picking up a registration form at the Ashtabula Police Department, 110 W. 44th St.

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