By Jason KUROSU
While the Crescenta Valley Town Council prepared for the upcoming Arbor Day celebration at Two Strike Park, the council also addressed business at its regular monthly meeting on April 18, much of which was focused on the issues of underage drinking and alcohol availability.
Susan Blauser, director of Operations for the Saving Lives Drug and Alcohol Coalition, presented an idea for introducing signage throughout La Crescenta’s alcohol vendors, which would indicate that those establishments would not sell alcohol to anyone under 21 years of age.
Blauser, who also sits on the Tarzana Neighborhood Council, implemented a similar plan throughout the San Fernando Valley. The signs will feature translations in several languages and will be posted in participating vendors’ stores. Blauser said that the signs themselves will not be mandatory, but letters indicating non-compliance will be sent to California Alcohol Beverage Control, which could lead to further compliance checks.
“When you reduce access, you reduce usage,” said Blauser.
The council heard from others on the drug prevention front including Suzy Jacobs of the CV Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalition and Mary O’ Keefe who represented the Fire House.
The town council supported Blauser’s plan and it was agreed that the town council and the CV Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalition would have their logos displayed on the lower part of these signs.
But those were not the only items on the agenda focused on youth, as the council also heard from the CV Organic Garden Club that is trying to establish a community garden on the grounds of CV High School. A presentation was made by Pastor Mark Yeager of the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA on teen suicide prevention.
Yeager and the YMCA are working to train chaplains to become first responders to emergencies and want to collaborate with school districts to offer help to students who may be dealing with issues but are going unnoticed.
“A lot of people think you have to pay to get help. A lot of students don’t want to say anything in school because they feel there’s an earmark on them,” said Yeager. “What we’re working on doing is creating pockets of professional assistance for families and teenagers.”
Yeager also wanted the public to know that though he views the YMCA as a Christian organization, this particular service is unaffiliated with any religion.
“I have buried five teens since 1994,” said Yeager. “One is too many.”
On a brighter note, the reports from professional first responders at the meeting indicated that crime is down throughout La Crescenta. According to Capt. Dave Silversparre of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Dept., crime statistics are down from last year.
Traffic collisions also are down from this time last year. California Highway Patrol Officer Kevin Denmon wanted to raise attention that March was National Distracted Driver Month, a cause resulting from the influx of cellphone-related auto accidents.
“We’ve only been keeping cellphone driving statistics since 2009,” said Denmon. “The number of accidents is going down, just not as much as we’d like.”
Toward the end of the meeting, the council resumed some business from the Land Use Committee meeting from the previous week.
The Land Use Committee, along with members of the community, had expressed displeasure over Southern California Edison’s plan to place a transformer box outside Two Strike Park.
SCE Local and Public Affairs Region Manager Ben Wong spoke at the town council meeting to provide an update on SCE’s plans, which were originally to secure an easement to build on the land.
“I’m happy to report that [the engineering staff] are now looking into other alternatives and have decided that we do not need an easement in Two Strike Park and that we are going to be approaching the upgrade for nearly 2,000 customers in La Crescenta without impacting the park,” said Wong.
The council also concluded a discussion from the last Land Use Committee meeting to decide conclusively whether residents could sit in and vote for absent Land Use Committee members at regular meetings. It was decided that a registered voter or property owner within the unincorporated La Crescenta area could be appointed to serve on the Land Use Committee, as long as the new member was approved by a majority of the town council.