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."


Not a Flyer (An...

Hey retired cop...I don't think most intelligent readers question the cops doing their jobs. The "undercover" cops patrolling Baines were all SWAT officers. It is my understanding they were "killing time" until dark when they would begin training exercises. That information came from a member of the NPD. Since it is illegal to drink in a public park, maybe the NPD should have been enforcing this law for the last decade instead of looking the other way as many of them sat on the hill drinking.

get some smarts...

I am so concerned that people are downing our police officers but upholding these citizens that got busted. Are you guys really that sick!What is happening to the world do you really have any morals to show your children or yourself.I bet if one of them got into an accident and killed one of your family members you would be telling a diffrent story wouldn't you!If the police officers are so bad why call them next time your in trouble.I think it's sad. Here's some food for thought who would you rather your child look up to a police officer or the next town drunk? To the officers thanks for all the things you do for this community to keep it safe.Thats the ultimate reason you do your job!

Retired Cop (An...

Hey Not a Flyer....regardless, drinking in a city park is illegal!!!! Obviously they received complaints and took enforcement action. Quit bitchin and move on. Who cares if these guys are on the SWAT Team, they are all police officers and can enforce any law regardless of their assignment. I'm sure you have sped in your vehicle many times and passed a police officer, sheriff's deputy or state trooper, just because they did't stop your for speeding doesn't make it legal or okay to do, does it?

WIN/WIN (Anonymous)

Bravo to everyone who has commented so far. Here is the summary.

1. Berry brings up illegal drinking to make a simple point about council and the NPD being a hypocritical in their position about allowing drinking in a public place. Great Argument!

2. Mayor Lesch and Council At Large must make a move quickly to save face and prove they are consistent. Good Move!

3. NPD issues some verbal warnings and possibly leaks information to Park & Rec employees. Another Good Move!

4. After due time the undercover sting goes into effect and 12 people are caught with open containers. Good Sting!

5. The local paper, which is in the business of MAKING MONEY by reporting stories, gets the story and prints it in a way that draws much attention and controversy and ignites fire and passion from many readers. WHAT A GREAT IDEA!!!

6. People react and the buzz grows. The community comments online and everyone is talking and stating their opinion and it might even cause some people to get more involved and actually vote in upcoming elections. AWESOME RESULT!!!

7. Everyone who was cited will pay their fine, stop drinking at the park and go on with their lives. In almost a minute it will all be a memory. CH and JL will have stories to tell their Grandchildren someday and will all live happily ever after.

SUMMARY: Doug Berry did his job. The Mayor and Council did their jobs. The NPD did their jobs. 12 people got caught violating a minor law and having a good time without harming anyone or themselves. The Reflector did their job. The community debates and is doing their job. All people cited will move past this almost immediately. The community will grow.

Congrats on a job well done by all!

re:get some sma...

the ticketed people are a far from being "town drunks".......a badge doesn`t make a cop any better than you or I. No one is perfect!!

re: John Riley ...

I hope the other readers here don't think that you represent all of St. Paul's when you speak. Of course you don't want to see this kind of news on the front page. It's embarrassing, isn't it? Not just for our coach, but the rest of us at St. Paul's as well. Guess what? The Reflector is not to blame for this embarrassment, John is responsible for his actions. I don't find your remarks about this being newsworthy only "if some people died or at least got injured" to be in good taste. What if to NPD didn't ticket those people? Would they have drank more and possibly caused an accident on their way home? Thank god we don't have to find out. Thank you NPD and I am sorry for any degrading comments that have been made here towards you or any of the other innocent people who have been blamed.

DUH!!! (Anonymous)

Are these people all ignorant,well they must be!They know better to drink at the parks!They do it anyway,& have for years.It's about time the police took action on this matter.Most, not all-but Most of these players, drink at baines park, then they usually meet each other at the bars.Usually several of them will remain for hours on end to continue drinking more!I know this because I have seen it-over&over again.The same holds true to a lot of volleyball players.After the games,several will meet at the bars& the women really get lit up!!!So, in essence this was really overdue.They should have wised up,Livengood& the others know what is going on in the local news lately.He is an authority figure.He knows better!That's like a guy working for m.a.d.& drinking & driving!He's in the position to leave a lasting impression on children.I hope some of the school teachers are careful about drinking at the local bars in town.Because if one of them are caught, the same story will only repeat its self.More or less.I'm not against having a good time-BUT the law is there for everyone to abide by!It makes me wonder if a lot of these posts were posted from the same people, over&over again!Really now!

Moose player (A...

Are you guys serious? Joe Lindenberger has personally been telling teams the past couple of Wednesdays to watch their drinking on the hill. A formal complaint was made with the Police Dept. so Joe was actually looking out for the softball players, not leaving them hang out to dry!

We (Joe's team)won our first game of the 2nd half last Wed. Do you Joe bashers realize that our team (the Moose) get a free beer at the Moose after a Win?? Being 1-8, we were pleased to go get our free draft! The first win in a long, long time, so yea, we were long gone before the bust went down, but there was no pre-warning. This (bust) wasn't scheduled around our games. Is it a coincidence, yea, but thats all it is. If it wasn't for the win, I'm sure plenty of Moose players, myself included, would have been cited as well. But of course everyone want to jump to conclusions,point fingers and complain. Those of you doing that are just as bad as the person who wrote that article in the first place!

better things t...

doesnt the norwalk p.d. have any-thing better to do. i thought norwalk was a big herion city why dont they crack down on that instead of little misdemenors.i know for a fact that officers have sat on the hill and drank so what does that tell the citezens of norwalk

Sad state of so...

Maybe I can explain this slow enough so that everyone here gets it. Try to follow along, all!
The NPD responds to complaints they receive. They were there because somebody complained. They likely DID have better things to do, but they don't have the luxury of ignoring public complaints. If they did, you would all have a new reason to be upset. If you want drinking to be allowed in our public parks, why don't you start a movement to get the issue on a ballot. If you are old enough to drink, you are old enough to vote, aren't you? I would suggest that you reference if you are going to attempt to draft a petition, though. Good luck!

Citizens on Pat...

Better things to do--Drug users and abusers often abuse and use more than one drug. I believe alcohol is a mind altering drug. Maybe you need to go back to middle school and attend another health class!

Sad state of so...

Herion is a fashion designer from Sarasota, Florida. Why do the NPD need to spend any time cracking down on the sale of her clothing line? Seems like the drinking thing would be a bit more worthwhile.

STUPID (Anonymous)

RE: win/win...GOOD COMMENT! As I have read all these comments, one word comes to mind.."ridiculous". Some make good points while others are just plain nasty. The reflector needs to remove this stupid site...I also read some of the other articles and their comments...Good grief you guys are mean. Its over, now go on. and one more thing, retired cop...I think you have some serious anger issues and thank god you are not on the force today, and sad just like to cause trouble.

O Boy! (Anonymous)

I just want to take some time to shine some light on the less talked about people in the article... Sue and Tony are outstanding citizens that give a lot of their time to the community... I am very disappointed that the Reflector would allow these people to be looked at it such a manner. Hats off to the Busch Light drinkers who took it like troopers(and I don't mean State Troopers either!)

T$Robinson (Ano...

to "sad state of society" thank you for pointing out the facts , plain and simple !!! it is about time that someone made some sense on here .. the drinkers were violating the law, the police were doing their jobs by citing them , and the reflector was doing their job , by reporting it .. it's that plain and simple ..all of this conspiracy talk about Doug Berry, tipping off the police , and the mayor , not liking sports ,and Joe Centers turning on his alliance with St. Pauls , is all a bunch of gossip and propaganda.. and that doesnt get anyone, anywhere...thank goodness that the police are doing their job , otherwise there would be chaos ..i have alot of respect for the hard work that these officers do, especially since Gary Higgins left the force ..

Are the NPD jus...

I want you to know who the real NPD are? when my son was drinking underage with his friends the NPD arrest each one of them. Last weekend the kids with pot and underage drinking were turn over to one of the kids mother. Was it because one of the kids was a city office holder kid? Must be that the city police choose who their freinds are and who will get a ticket. Iam just a middle class tax payer. We wouldn't want any one in city office to look bad. Who cares if the average citizen looks bad.Good thing it wasn't reported it would ended up an the front page and the brothers or sisters of the deliquent might be embarrse. Final thought,some of the NPD are no better than the law breakers on the top of the hill!!

Mike Jackson (A...

And another thing...this article could have at least reported the fact that Livengood's team won...

c (Anonymous)

And his team usually does!!

Mob Mentality (...

Next time the Park and Rec sponsors and Easter Egg hunt, I'm gonna bring my twelve pack. I think we should be able to drink there too. Hey, when the Park and Rec sponsors their alcohol free night on New Years got it.... I'm bringing the twewlve pack. When I get busted I'm gonna blame the cops for picking on me and that Doug Berry conspired with the city forefathers to crack down on me.

My point is that you are all getting the mob mentality and it sounds like you want to lynch the police force, the Park & Rec and Doug Berry. You are blaming everyone else for the beer drinkers at the park who were drinking their beer and violating the city code. No one's fault but their own.

If you gotta have a beer that bad, leave the field between your games and go to the Eagles, Bluto's Shamrock, Moose, Charlies, TJ's or where ever and have a beer. Then come back.

And by the way, the police force does a fantastic job. One someone complains and "hates" a specific officer it is usually because they got in trouble for something and that specific officer handled it. Grow up people.

gas guzzler (An...

ok , i can't stand it .. i had to go to elyria on friday , and gas there was thirty cents cheaper there , than it is in Norwalk!!! why ?? why such a big difference in prices ??? $.30 is alot .. i am asking someone to please explain this to me , and until someone can give me a good explaination , i am asking that everyone NOT buy their gas in Norwalk , until they bring it down to a competative range with the surrounding area!!! this has to stop .. i am Mad as hell , and i'm not going to take it anymore .. please join me

Mike Jackson (A...

Aaron Krause wrote this story even though his name isn't on it...and I am hearing from strong sources that Joe Centers wasn't even there last week, he was on vacation!

ok (Anonymous)

as bad as this paper may be, its better than the Journal

hey (Anonymous)

why don't you people find something better to do than bash everyone and everything in Norwalk. It is the police departments job to enforce the law. It is your responsibility to follow it. And it is the Reflectors job to report the news. Joe Centers was not on vacation all week but even so, it was news. You read it, you responded and the Reflector sold lots of papers because of their headline. And you are still reading it. Go to the festival, enjoy your evening and stop with the bashing....By the way, I hear John Livengood is down at the beer tent, perhaps a picture for the reflector cam:)

Bad Reflector (...

Whoever wrote that Joe Centers was out of town when this story ran, it would make sense - if Centers was around, it would have gotten buried in the back pages. Now, if a Norwalk High official or coach was involved, Centers would be sure to get in on the front page, above the fold, with a breaking-news bulletin on the Web. The Reflector is the laughing stock of the entire Huron County area. The paper down here in Willard is better written. Joe Centers and his staff need to issue an apology to Harkness and then Centers needs to resign. He may have been a good sports editor, but he is awful as a managing editor.

blogger (Anonymous)

bad reflector you need to get a life.

Helmetbuster (A...

St Paul should be forced to forfeit every game ever coached by the evildoer and return any playoff hardware won during his tenure. Anyone who had the other evildoer as a probation officer should be released from probation immediately and have his(or her) record expunged.

me (Anonymous)

Would everyone be making such a fuss if this were a bunch of unknown people cited for drinking at the park? Noone says anything when everyday there are articles about underage drinking and other crimes commited. Just because these people are well known in the community people are upset about it. How does it feel to be treated like middle class people. I thinks it's great the reflector printed their names and the police charged them. For once the well known were held responsible for their actions.

Lillie Chaos (A...

Gee, as bad as some of you are beating up the Reflector I wonder why you even read it. If you don't like the Norwalk eflector just save your 50 cents. The Reflector has opened a forum to allow all of us to voice our opinions. I say: THANK YOU.

As for the drinking in the park issue--give me a break. So the coach had a can of beer. It is not my job to throw stones. He got a citation and he will handle it. Move on!

Some mistakes are worse than others--let's at least try to be reasonable.

T$Robinson (Ano...

to "Lillie Chaos" thank you for putting it into perspective !! it was just a citation for open container !! and the people involved don't dispute that they were in the wrong !! some people on here have made it a St. Paul's vs Monroeville issue , and some have made it a Norwalk public school system vs St. Paul's .too or better yet some people have an issue with the mayor . or the police or Doug Berry !! this is all ridiculous ,it is what it is .. a group of friends drinking a beer after a ball game , and relaxing !! this is against the law , to drink in a public park , so they were cited , and the newspaper reported it .. the way that i see it everyone did their jobs !! so i say congratulations , and thank goodness we have a system that works !! i can understand complaining when the system fails , but that did not happen here !! i do think ot was wrong for the reflector to bring up the past charges against Chris Harkness though, especially since he was found not guilty of all of those charges ...

confused (Anonymous)

Who's Mindy Knoll? Was she on the hill drinking Busch Light? What was she attempting to tamper with? Why did her tampering fall short, and only qualify as an attempt? Was she injured?
Who was the lax secretary mentioned in the article? Susan M. Caprara , Juliana M. Mapus or Emily J. Mira?