The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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June 16, 2013

Conneaut’s Safety Town back for another season

CONNEAUT — Over the past four-and-a-half decades, thousands of little kids in Conneaut have been introduced to the rules of the roads and other helpful hints at Safety Town, sponsored all those years by the Conneaut Lions Club.

The 46th annual version of the event, featuring two one-week sessions, is well under way at St. Frances Cabrini Hall on Mill Street. The first session concluded Saturday and another starts Monday.

Approaching the half-century mark, Conneaut’s Safety Town program may have no rivals in longevity. “We understand it may be the oldest in Ohio,” said Mike David, chairman.

Between 9 a.m. and noon, children who will enter kindergarten this fall learn basic safety rules dealing with traffic, fire, railroad crossings and even firearms, David said. Madeleine Plosila, a retired Conneaut educator, oversees the program..

“Madeleine does an awesome job,” David said.

Also on hand is Conneaut Patrolman Joe Schor, who teaches kids that police officers “are your friends,” David said.

Another key part of the program are the high school students who buddy up with the kindergarteners for the week, reinforcing lessons and helping them with assignments. Forty-five CHS students are working Safety Town this year, Plosila said. “They really add a lot,” she said.

A highlight of the kids’ morning are their trips around the Town, a miniature version of Conneaut set up on the Cabrini parking lot. Children aboard tricycles pedal on “streets” past tiny buildings, all the while learning about traffic signals and signs. The kids are accompanied by their buddies while making the rounds.

“We’ve added a few new buildings this year,” David said. “(The town) keeps getting bigger and bigger.”

The Lions Club relies on donations and fund-raisers to support its programs, especially Safety Town, David said.

“If it wasn’t for the support of the community, we couldn’t continue,” he said. “The support is tremendous.”

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