St. Paul coach one of 12 busted for drinking at city park

St. Paul High School head football coach John L. Livengood was one of 12 people cited by Norwalk police Wednesday evening for alcohol-related offenses at Baines Park. The following people, whose addresses were not available, were issued misdemeanor citations for possessing or consuming an open container of beer or intoxicating liquor on city property: John L. Livengood, 41; Lawrence A. Fisher, 35; Emily J. Mira, 34; Jason T. Green, 26; Susan M. Caprara, 43; Anthony P. Caprara, 44; Bradley T. Clark, 25; Christopher N. Harkness, 40; Juliana M. Mapus, 24; Robert C. Wilkerson, 38; Kevin M. Hay, 29; and Steven C. Popke, 30.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010


St. Paul High School head football coach John L. Livengood was one of 12 people cited by Norwalk police Wednesday evening for alcohol-related offenses at Baines Park.

The following people, whose addresses were not available, were issued misdemeanor citations for possessing or consuming an open container of beer or intoxicating liquor on city property: John L. Livengood, 41; Lawrence A. Fisher, 35; Emily J. Mira, 34; Jason T. Green, 26; Susan M. Caprara, 43; Anthony P. Caprara, 44; Bradley T. Clark, 25; Christopher N. Harkness, 40; Juliana M. Mapus, 24; Robert C. Wilkerson, 38; Kevin M. Hay, 29; and Steven C. Popke, 30.

"One of the things that have occurred through all the discussion of drinking in public parks is that drinking goes on after ball games at Baines Park," Norwalk Police Chief Kevin Cashen said today, adding officers normally patrol there and have issued verbal warnings.

Drinking in public places has been a hot topic in city this summer, ever since Berry's Restaurant sought permission to serve alcohol in Bresson Park. Granting that request would have required the city change the city's ordinance to allow alcohol on public property under certain conditions. After much public outcry, the issue was defeated.

Cashen said city Park and Recreation Department staff have picked up empty cans on the hillside at Baines. "After talking with park and recreation, we decided to take a look and see what is going on," the chief added.

The citations issued Wednesday involve minor misdemeanor offenses carrying fines only, no jail time.

Livengood, who was at football practice today, could not be reached for comment, nor could Walt Klimaski, Norwalk Catholic School president.

One of the suspects cited Wednesday was Harkness, a Huron County probation officer from 1997 to 2004.

About 2004, investigators found no evidence that Harkness was involved in the misappropriation of $15,000 from the probation department, Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said. The prosecutor noted that Harkness may have been lax in supervising his secretary, who was later convicted of the crime.

Melinda "Mindy" S. Knoll, 43, of North Fairfield, was sentenced Oct. 9, 2005 to three years of probation for attempted tampering with evidence in the 2004 case.

"Everybody liked him," Leffler said about Harkness. "He was a football player. He tried out for the Bengals. He had a lot going for him."


festivals this ...

i wonder if john livengood will be attending the beer tent at st. paul's festival this weekend? members of the student faculty will be in attendence at the festival who will drive all these drunk people home? how many of them will squander their money in the gambling tent? more than half rest assured. i am a strong believer in supporting your parish and town but i do not go into the beer tents nor do i gamble. especialy in front of my children.


i had the honor of playing for coach livengood while i was in high school. i respected him so much then and i still do now. we all know and coach livengood himself knows, that he used poor judgement. does that make him any less of a human being? NO. he's a human being; we all have made poor choices in our lifetime and have suffered the consequences along with them. im sure that he's dissapointed in himself, not because he got caught. but because he let down the kids that look up to him. i just hope that this story doesn't drag on. it's done and overwith and we all need to get on with our lives

jvkl (Anonymous)

I think the person who wrote that should have to provide their credentials and name to the public. What a dumb A**.
What in the world does Chris' background and that other poor woman's background have anything to do with the article....thats right...NOTHING. If you are going to print stupid material then focus on the big wigs of Norwalk like the ..... MAYOR. or better yet if we have to keep reading about Doug Berry and this stupid park issue then look into his past. Softball games are nothing more than friends getting together after a long day at work and unwinding for the week. Are they really harming the good citizens of Norwalk, Good way to waste the tax payers money by hiring the swat team for those BIG SCARY SOFTBALL PLAYERS ON THE HILL. Good Grief can we not focus on important issues.

nicely said (An...

You could not be more right about the public drinking. We all must do what is best for our children. Unfortunately, I do not believe this would have been front page news if it were someone else. And yes, Joe Centers is going to take alot of flack for this, but it is well deserved. With our children in mind, did he ever stop to think how this may affect livengood's children. For that matter, how it would affect his children with all of the bashing about him. He was just excited to stir the pot if you will. Sure if he was drinking at school or at the field I could understand it, however, he wasnt. He was doing his own private thing on his own private time. I will be sure to see Joe Centers at the festival this weekend with beer in his hand. Guaranteed. Joe Centers can hide behind what he calls the Norwalk Reflector. Blame it on the job. Must be hard to feel good about yourself when you are slamming your friends at the same time. He will have to face them every Sunday morning in church. Tired of hearing about poor poor poor Joe Centers. He chose that job, deal with it.

livengood (Anon...

I just read the article in the rag Morning Journal. Livengood is a class guy not only did he take full responsibility, he's sticking up for the cops and explaining why they did what they did. I dont know Livengood and Im not a St. Paul fan but the guy said all the right things. P.S. I cant believe the cops had the SWAT team out for that someone please check that out.

From the 60's (...

The bottom line of this whole artical is not who got the ticket but, why now all of a sudden is this a issue in the park. If the Mayor pushed the button with the police to enforce this so she could play both sides on this drinking issue shame on her. We all know and would have to be blind not to see this was only done because of Berrys issue. All this has done now is more people don't like Berrys and also now are questioning the mayors thinking and realizing the newspaper is printing trash. I think someone has way to much time on their hands. I personally know Chris, Sue, Tony and John and they are all great people. You guys hold your head up because only people who look bad in this is Reflector, Berrys, and the Mayor. You know it is to bad that people have forgotton how it use to be when you drank and cops took you home. And you know what? There wasn't near the accidents and fights back then. And it sure never made front page. I am not sure us older ones can truthfully say we never drank a beer where we were not suppose to back in the 60's. Yes times have changed but maybe this town needs to have some of those old ideals. We have a great town but stories and the nit picking things like this makes us all look like kids playing immature games. There is an old saying people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Think that fits everyone in this town.

me (Anonymous)

I'm sure it wasn't the "SWAT" team with their big truck and guns out. It was undercover police officers, where some of them just might happen to be on the swat team. Good lord people...get a grip.

Get over it! (A...

Come on the guy had a darn beer , how many others have had "illegal drinks" at the hill... I am sure many have!! I agree lets worry about the drugs and unruly kids running around this town all hours of the night!
Also, not real sure what the festival this weekend has to do with this??

Boom (Anonymous)

First and Foremost Mr Livengood: He made a mistake, he admitted it and is moving on. Those of you that think this lessens his effectiveness as a Dean of Students, Coach or role model should seriously consider that not everyone is perfect. Being a role model is a full time gig, even when you screw up. As parent and someone who will not present myself as a perfect individual, never dreaming of breaking even the smallest crime, I think his actions post incident are commendable and I would hope kids can see from this that even the seemingly flawless can falter, but character is built on how you handle your adversity and take responsibility for your actions. I do not condone or support the drinking in public, but again I've been tailgating at popular college football games (where drinking is technically illegal yet not enforced). So just because we weren't caught doesn't mean I haven't broken the same laws he has, and I refuse spew garbage from the soapbox with my rose colored glasses on.

As to the Chris Harkness piece: Uncalled for, but is it slander... Unfortunately no. It is in fact an unfortunate truth, but a truth nonetheless so it is not slander. What it really amounts to is irresponsible reporting. The Reflector is not under any legal responsibility to censor that. Heck if it's a slow news day they can run that story without provocation without recourse. That said, I believe it was gross misjudgment on the part of the Editor and if I were the Editor I would issue an apology both privately and publicly. While they aren't required to do so, I think it would be the proper course of actions following the principles of Business Ethics.

As to the Police/Mayor: And those of you complaining about spending City Tax money to send the Swat team, what would you rather the SWAT Team be doing? Shooting at cardboard cutouts all week? I doubt very highly the SWAT is called upon too often. The bigger question to me is why is Norwalk funding a SWAT team. It seems in the area, it may be more logical to fund a SWAT team through the sheriff's department, where it can be used over a larger area, yet still could be used in concert with NPD.

Of course I digress, arguing on a newspaper blog about the rights and wrongs of drinking, use of tax dollars and how police officers spend their time is pointless... If you're that angry call someone up who can do something about it. The only useful argument on here is lobbying the Reflector to issue an apology to Mr. Harkness. Everything else is just people throwing personal attacks at anyone and everything that they have been programmed with their preconceived notions about, spouting off and furthering the lack of individual thought.

Santa Claus (An...

The fact that people were cited for drinking in the park is 2 fold. Berry's Restaurant and the fact the hill was a mess with broken bottles and beer cans the week prior. Most ball players are responsible before, during and after games. Some morons ruined it for everyone and warnings were issued for 2 weeks. Roast the Reflector for making issue with Livengood and Harkness. Both of these guys are stand up men and will take responsibility for their actions. By the way, to insinuate that Joe Lindenberger had anything to do with what happened is asinine!!!!. Yes, he was there and played against my team wednesday night. Yea, he can be a jerk sometimes and alot of people don't like him, but come on, he is a ball player like everyone else. John and Chris keep your heads up, you are still very much respected. I'll buy you a cold one at the beer tent this Saturday if I see ya.

T$Robinson (Ano...

Iam alittle confused by the reaction of alot of the people who have voiced their opinions on here .. ysome of you think that it was wrong for the mayor to tell the police to watch the city parks for drinkers .. well that is why she was elected .. to do her job !! then you are upset that the police cited the offenders , well isn't it their job to see that the laws are upheld??and then you are upset that the reflector wrote a front page story about it ?? isn't that the reason that they publish and see a newspaper , to report what is happening locally and around the world ?? i can understand being upset if you had caught the mayor telling the police to let people break the law , and i can understand the outrage if you had seen the police let criminal behavior go on without consequences , and so on , but to be upset because people are doing the right thing ??? that is outragous

Phill Oglesby I...

In reading the article “St. Paul coach one of 12 busted for drinking at city park”, I was truly amazed. I was not amazed by what happened (open container violations). I was not even amazed on the news worthiness of the article (coach cited). What amazed me on how poorly written this article with the sole purpose to smear ones reputation. Headline and article emphasis on 2 of the cited makes my point. I am not defending those who were cited for drinking because thy clearly broke the law. I am not complaining about the Norwalk Police department decision to enforce the law at Baines park where for years teams would unwind for the most part in an orderly and peaceful manner on “the hill” with a malt beverage. This was due to the recent spotlight on altering city ordinances to allow selective public dinking failing. The police department had no choice but to be consistent. My complaint is how a newspaper that I use to pride about staying above the tabloid-like slants to newsworthy items has now joined the ranks. My point of contention is the relevance of bringing up items that have nothing to do with the article such as information on Chris Harkness. Here you have someone that is NOT in a public position who was who left his position with the county and was not cited or charged with anything. So if someone was exonerated and cleared of accusations, why bring it up again unless there is an agenda? Then the article is written in past tense which could imply that Mr. Harkness has hit skid row, is up to no good or was somehow the instigator of the people cited for open containers. "Everybody liked him," Leffler said about Harkness………He had a lot going for him.". These statements imply that those impressions are no longer valid. Now for the next few weeks I will have to scan over the people pontificating on this issue, calling for Mr. Livengood’s head while there are so many more important items going on in the world such as WE ARE IN A WAR, CRUMBELING INFRASTRUCTURE, ECONOMY, etc. Knowing both of the people in the article personally and knowing all the good they have done working in the community I am dumfounded on the slant and intention of the article to tear down the reputation of these two individuals. Obviously it is an editorial choice on what to print and what not to print. But it is an editorial choice on HOW an article is written and HOW it is emphasized in the newspaper. The Reflector owes Chris Harkness an apology. Please Reflector, get back to good ol straight forward journalism and leave the sensationalism to the other local paper.

from the 60's (...

I don't think people are so upset about a law being enforced it is how this has all came about and why it has became a sudden issue. Yes people are upset about how the reflector has wrote it up and should be. All this has accomplished at this point is to have a small town atmosphere split in view points. It has cost the mayor and the reflector respect and maybe future votes from it citizens. The police were doing what told to do by higher ups. This whole isuue could have been avoided it handled right.

mom (Anonymous)

The more I read this crap the more it makes sense to me that there always needs to be someone to set the example. In our family it was the older brother and sister. Someone is always picked to fix things that are for what ever reason not the right thing to do. This week the wrong thing to do is drink at Baines Park. I for one could not have picked 2 better people to use as an example for my kids. John Livengood and Chris Harkness thanks for being the best role models our children can have and thank you---because of you the rest of us will stop drinking at Baines Park and Norwalk will be a much better place to live. Oh by the way I am from Monroeville BIG DEAL!!!!!!
Mr. Ringholtz ever drink a beer in public?????LOL

Mike Jackson (A...

I agree with someone else on here...I find it amusing that the Morning Journal was able to locate Coach Livengood for comment and as usual, he was his stand-up self and made no excuses while saying the police we're doing their job, etc...

Yet you read this story, one chosen to be front-page news..."could not be reached" for comment. Did you even try? Why is there no byline on this story? Who wrote it? Did it even stay "Staff reports" ?? Don't hide behind a story wiht no byline...poor ethics. If you wanted this to be front page news at least do a better job of trying to reach someone for comment.

Because knowing John, had you wanted a comment, you would have got it. And from what I see of today's online paper, there doesn't appear to be a follow-up story with an attempt to get quotes from John?? (If there is a follow up story I stand corrected, but I don't see one.)

That's ok, let the Journal get more credit for actually going about it the right way...shocking.

Mike Jackson (A...

I see now on one of the inside pages there is a follow up with JL mistake. At least they sought him out again...funny though it's not front page news and no mention of Harkness' past anymore...

Blue Yummies (A...

Just curious how many softball players (past or present) in mens,womens,co-ed or church league have not drank a beer on the hill? Secondly did Norwalks finest do their jobs correctly or did they let all violators drive away knowing they consumed alcohol? If they did I hope they get scrutinized and named on the front page. Good thing nobody had an accident. Now I have to get a subscription to the Morning Journal to read about the Fliers, because if I were Livengood I wouldnt give the Rejector any interviews.

jlbc (Anonymous)

For all who think this has anything to do with berry's restaurant and drinking in the park you are out of your mind. Obviously doug, the mayor, and city council don't see eye to eye or there would be drinking in bresson "park"/walk through. Apparently "the man" is out to stop any sort of fun, baines park and berry's included.

Noname Likeyou ...

WHY SHOULD I PUT MY NAME???????? The "chicken" writer of the story didn't and that is their job, the news paper that is!

Aren't people entitled to mistakes?? Its a sorry thing that a few good people had a beer after a ball game and it takes the norwalk rejector to make this out of it!

Wish you people would get a life!

dissapointed (A...

what a weird article. I think that the Norwalk Reflector is in some need of new reporters and editors. And as far as the association between berrys and baines park, there is none. Berry's request was (if anyone was paying attention) the request of a restaurant to serve alcohol along with their meals being served in bresson park, SOLELY! The legislation that would have been modified would still not allow drinking in other city parks. The fact that these men were issued violations for drinking at baines park did not deserve front page news even if they were breaking the law. FIND SOMETHING BENEFICIAL to the community to report on. Why do you "the norwalk reflector" feel it necessary to and shame the reputation of people in this community. People that have done lots of good for the community and were merely cited for a misdemeanor, front page worthy? I think not. Unless there were ulterior motives, which the article most certainly sounds like there is.


I have been drinking at Baines for 10 yrs, with rec employees and rec higher ups. They too play softball and drink with us "bad" people on the hill. And for 10 years, the cops have drove thru and waved a little wave as they passed by...all the while checking out our cool cans and beer bottles. Why, all of a sudden, is it a problem? Boy, going down there on Wed. nite men's league and throwing tickets around, must have needed to make quota for the summer.

And...why do we care if JL was one and CH was the other and what does it have to do with CH's probation officer trouble? And here are the other 10 people, getting mentioned in the paper, on the front page when it should've been in the blotter, not once but it's in Friday's paper as well, all 12 people listed again...for having a beverage after a 90 degree softball game!



Just had to point out...The following is the correct spelling for community. COMMUNITY...Man, don't you hate it when this comes back to bite you in the 'you know what' Ha Ha Ha

solution (Anonymous)

If we set the softball field in Charlie's back parking lot, we can all drink with the 16 year olds, and not have to worry about the SWAT team.

Get a grip (Ano...

Let's all go to the festival and have a beer...even you Norwalk PD, we know you'll be there.

The sad state o...

How disheartening to see so many people here who are quick to support those caught breaking the law. Why make excuses and look for scapegoats? Are these not grown people who made their own decision to drink where they knew they were not supposed to? Why does it matter who else has drank there illegally over the past 30 years without being ticketed? The NPD has been issuing verbal warnings for some time now, which apparantly has been ineffective. It was time for them to take action and make an example out of some people to discourage the continuation of this practice. Is anyone here paranoid enough to think the NPD has been staking out this spot, waiting for a high profile figure to bust? I strongly doubt it. Would it have made the front page with any other group? I think it would. The city is trying to discourage this sort of activity and front page publicity is a great way to spread the word. I agree that the jab at Chris Harkness was uncalled for and an apology is due in his case. However, I think the apologies should stop there. The police have a tough job to do and people here should be ashamed of the cheap shots they have been taking at them. Grow up people. If you want to drink, there are plenty of establishments where you can go and legally do so.

fed up (Anonymous)

While I dont question the police on doing their job, or better yet the plain fact that these 12 broke a rule, I do question the reasoning behind the article. Apology is the number one key here to Chris. And yes it does have to do with Doug Berry. If he just accepted the answer of no and not gone to the council and made a big deal out of the "hill" issue, then none of this would be happening. Just a simple citation to some and that would be the end of it. I do feel there are other stronger issues to focus on. Your reporting on this issue is terrible and the person writing it should step forward. Funny, nothing mentioned in tonights paper about the trouble this article caused and it didn't even make the front page. Well I hope that if and when there is an apology to be made to chris Harkness and Mindy Knoll that it be done on the front page and not some tiny little paragraph hidden on the inside of the paper. For those of us who love the sport and have enjoyed many years of the guilty pleasure of "sitting on the hill" it appears to be over and unfortunately these 12 were chosen to make it a thing of the past.

The sad state o...

I have to respectfully disagreed with 'fed up' on a few points. What is the big deal about Doug Berry mentioning 'the hill' as an example in his argument to allow drinking in the park? People obviously have been illegally drinking there for years. I think that was a great example of why he should have been allowed to serve alcohol in the park. City council (who we all elected, mind you) determined that drinking in a public place was not in the city's best interest. Would it be fair to ignore this example and continue to allow people to break the law? It seems like that would be a case of double standards to me. I also disagree that a simple citation would suffice. The front page article brought attention to this issue and will likely deter the continuation of this sort of activity. The word has surely spread quickly, hasn't it? I do agree with you that a front page apology to Chris Harkness would be a nice gesture. As a final note, please remember that these 12 were not 'chosen to make this a thing of the past', it seems to me that they all openly volunteered for the job. They could have went somewhere else for their after game beer (perhaps somewhere where drinking IS legal) and none of this would have ever happened.

fed up (Anonymous)

while I too respect your opinion sss...I have to wonder...will there be stings at the Norwalk Resevoir, McGuan, or the park across from the Rec? Because I know there has been drinkning and other illegal engagements there in the past also. I also meant "chosen" as they were unfortunately the ones who were caught. And while they say they were warned for the past 2 week about drinking on the hill, in what manner were they warned? Signs posted? newsletters to the teams? None of those to my knowledge were done. And as mentioned on an earlier post...Mr. Lindenberger's team, who is on the "hill" every week, was conveniently not there on Wed...hmmmmm. Makes you wonder. I am confused as to whether you are for drinking in a public park or not. Or are you just mad about the Berry's issue that you enjoy seeing others plastered all over the front page? None of those people were loud, out of control, or fighting! They were sitting in a chair chatting with friends. So I do believe a citations and mention in the police blotter would have been fine and if it was to be handled then the rec (aka: J Lindenberger)could have contacted all team captains as to the consequences of drinking on the hill. The police have in the past just drove by and did nothing to those on the hill. Why haven't they enforced the law in the last 20+ years. No mention of that though. Maybe we should talk about that.

Retired Cop (An...

Get over it!! The citations have been filed with the court and this issue is yesterday's news!! The twelve persons cited were wrong....bottom line!! The Reflector printed facts and only facts. What looks better in the headlines? St. Paul Coach cited or 12 cited for liquor violations? Controversy sells, always has and always will!!! Also quit running your mouths about a SWAT TEAM. On one comment you say they were "undercover" and the other says it was their "SWAT" Team. I doubt the NPD SWAT Team showed up and jumped out of their van and threw everybody on their asses, like a SWAT team does when it makes entry. Maybe they should have and it might have shut up a few of you loud mouths!! Its illegal to drink in public and the cops did their job!! GET OVER IT!!

John Riley (Ano...

I'm truly wondering how the Reflector determines what news deserves front page coverage? And, how they decide how to report that news? In my book, the bridge collapse in Minnesota was a whole lot more newsworthy than a few folks having a beer after a ballgame in a public park. I am not sure this deserves front page news but apparently the Reflector looks at things differently. It would have been a better fit if some people died or at least got injured over this situation. Seems like there could be something of more importance here than bashng certain people for having a beer. My only hope is that something serious dosen't happen in Norwalk and the paper overlooks it. LOL