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."



Have we heard enough about this issue? Coach Livengood is a great guy who broke the law and has owned up to his mistake. Give him a break please. He is a human being and is allowed to make mistakes just as we all are. The issue is with the Reflector...making it front page news with it's ridiculous heading. Why wasn't Sue Nickoli's job title listed just as his was? That is what I dislike about the Reflector, whether Joe Centers is at the helm or not, it shouldn't have been written that way.

former flyer (A...

As a graduate of St Paul, I am embarassed by the reactions of St Paul people to the article. John Livengood is not only the football coach at St Paul, he is also the athletic director and the dean of students. He is the disciplinarian at the school. He is a public figure in the small town of Norwalk so when he breaks a law, it is front page material. People are trying to make this into a St Paul versus everyone else issue. The Reflector staff is just doing their job. If it was a Norwalk, Monroeville, Western Reserve, etc, etc official, the news would have been published the same way and the people of those respective communities would have the same complaints. You can not please everyone in the area. Please stop bashing Mr. Centers, and do not bring in the mayor, the police force or owner of Berry's. It seems that everyone else is playing the victim in the case where those charged have accepted that they did something wrong. When the school is getting good publicity, people can't get enough of the paper, but when one bad thing is published, personal attacks on the staff begin. I think it is time to drop it and get ready for fall sports season!


Time to set the record straight! The principals of Berry's Restaurant,Bob, Doug and Shirley Berry,had absolutely nothing to do with the citations issued at Baines Park.None of us entered into a discussion or conversation about the activities at the ball park. Some believe that the "affair" occurred because of the outcome of our proposal for Bresson Park in uptown Norwalk.Others say that we were denied the lease because of the situation that already existed at Baines Park.By law our proposal began and ended with city council. No other entity has jurisdiction over this matter.Any questions can be answered by calling 419 668 2394 Thank you for your time. BERRY'S RESTAURANT

confused (Anonymous)

Why wasn't Sue Nickoli's job title listed just as his was?

I don't know? Who is she? Did the Reflector ommit her name from the twelve perpetrators? Were their actually 13 individuals? Were her charges dropped? Why? Was there some sort of tampering? Or an attempt to tamper? Did anybody like her? Does anyone currently like her?

Who is she?

Tired (Anonymous)

Do they serve food at Baines Park?

Graduate (Anonymous)

Well, I don't know why so many people are sticking up for him. He treated me like crap when I went to school there. If you weren't in Football or some other sport, he didnt treat you as well. So I'm glad he got in trouble for this. He deserves it.

Graduate (Anonymous)

All the people who think they have to have a beer right there instead of going home where it's safe are just a bunch of drunks. They obviously don't care if they driink and drive. It makes me mad people can be so stupid.

him (Anonymous)

I agree there was no reason to bring up the harkness problem or the worker stealing the money--i think they made harkness the scapegoat unfairly---also, 40yrs ago players drank after a softball game---some high school football players drank back then too---this coach got caught drinking--did this sting, stem from the fact berrys wanted to serve alcohol in a park and the council said no---the police should be looking at the loud music and large gatherings and possible drug activity at the house across from cardinals market-the city needs to look at the bigger problems facing norwalk--not if beer is drunk after a ball game at a park.

Community Suppo...

I grew up in Norwalk and still have family and friends there. I check the Reflector from time to time online for news and must say it has become an outlet for vicious character attacks, irresponsible reporting and a sensationalistic rag. It has become "the place to go" and attack, gossip about, or slander your neighbor or enemy or maybe someone whom you just don't like. Comment sites like this allow for people to comment without recourse - Much of what is said is slander and is damaging to persons, families and business. It is degrading the very community that this paper serves. Wake up Norwalk and Norwalk Reflector and show some support for your community and the people and businesses who have supported your community for years.

Long-time reade...

Unfortunately, the Reflector has kind of a track record of pulling up old and irrelevant facts (and not always facts) on people and connecting them to new stories. In the cae of Ms. Knoll, the poor woman didn't even to quaff an illegal beer before getting her past brought up, a stretch even by Reflector standards. As for this Livengood fellow, he is clearly a public figure -- with his high-visibility position at the town's parochial high school -- and the coverage of the misdemeanor is not out of line with his public visibility. That being said, the guy has now been spanked in the paper and will have to pay a minor misdemeanor fine. I'm not Catholic and my kids went to public schools, so I have no horse in this race, but I hear Livengood's a good coach (I mean good for the kids, not just for the win-loss record) and he's probably a good dean of students, too, so I suspect he will turn this into an opportunity to teach the kids under him. That's the best result of this whole thing -- certainly not some "off with his head" reaction that should cost him his job. One final thing ... where does this "Berry's Restaurant" conspiracy theory nonsense come from? These Baines people were committing a misdemeanor. They were cited. It's neither bigger nor smaller than that.

disgusted in no...

People's pasts should not have been brought up their names should have just appeared for what they were cited for. Bottom line here is everyone is accountable for his/her own actions and should own up and take whatever punishment the courts decide fit in their case. Alcohol in most city parks is prohibited because there are those who cannot handle their alcohol and control their actions. These laws are meant to protect the CHILDREN and other residents in Norwalk from these people so that they may go to public parks and enjoy them. Some of these people cited are in prominent positions in this town and should have set a better example that being said everyone makes mistakes and nobody is perfect. I do however have an issue with the drinking then driving I hope those drinking let someone else drive them home.

T$Robinson (Ano...

to "confused" yes that is the perfect name for you , because you are very confused !!! you state that you think that there might be a conspiracy of some kind , because you didn't see where Sue Nicoli was charged with open container ?? well , if you knew anything .. Sue , married Anthony (Tony) Caprara about 20 years ago ... thus ,aking her name ... Sue Caprara!! so you see there is no conspiracy , like you would like to believe .. just ignorance on your part

dull (Anonymous)

I am obviously not the smartest person around, as evidence by my response in this forum. I believe confuse was trying to be funny and was not serious. I think he/she was bringing out the absurdity in the way the story was written. If I'm wrong I am even dumber than I originally thought. I have to go play with my feet, so I have to cut this short, good bye everyone.

still tired (An...

Hey flyer fan forever and confused...a Sue Nickoli used to work at Burger King a long,long time ago. I don't know if that helps. She spelled her name different than the one T$Robinson is refering to. Know nothing of a marrige. She never struck me as a softball player/Busch Light type though....They may be two different people. She did seem well liked. As I recall she auditioned for some traveling dance troupe and left town. She seemed to have a lot going on. Very cute too.

Olfactorily off...

did someone say joe centers smells bad?

Did you say ste...

I ate a hot dog at baines one time.

Does it matter ...

I'm disgusted by the whole thing. I wouldn't even no where to start. Maybe I'll start by no longer receiving the Norwalk Reflector.

re: Graduate (A...

I agree. I hated running into John at school because he treated you like garbage if you weren't a football player. I'm sure that things were much different for the football players and I can see from their perspective why they would defend him and look up to him. Not all of us see that same rosey picture. It's great for your self image as a kid to have an authority figure calling you a loser, much less something that I couldn't repeat on this website. I hope all of this attention wakes him up and changes his attitude. My son is very bright but does not play football. I refuse to sit back and watch him go through the same thing. It does no good to talk to the administration there, so maybe all of this publicity will help.

Lillie Chaos (A...

OK, have we vented enough here? I would like to focus on the noisy house across from Gardner's Market. I was surprised to see this mentioned because I thought it was just me being too conservative BUT if others have noted
the traffic and noise and music coming from this location
it cannot be just my imagination. I like to shop at Gardner's but now am uncomfortable. Do you think maybe we could put that area on the patrol route so that people who want to patronize local merchants can without having to worry about the safety of their vehicles or their own personal safety? Some of us don't want to shop at Wal-Mart or go out of town.

Like the majority of readers of the Norwalk Reflector I am far more concerned but drugs and the people who use them than I am about people having a beer after a ball game.

Reality check, please. I would prefer a coach with a beer than an addict with a needle any day. Are we trying to compete with Willard for the title of Heroin, Ohio????? Maybe we should just be Heroin County. Hmmmmmm,food for thought.

re:re:graduate ...

Hey, you sound like a loser. How about telling us what you did to get these comments from Livengood.

disgusted in no...

Like Lillie Chaos pointed out problem houses there are two such as houses just another block down in the middle of whittlesy and prospect st. These yard birds are out screaming in the middle of the night at all hours. The police come and tell them to be quiet and go in it does no good. I was told the father has a sound proof room upstairs to sleep. Nice that he can sleep when nobody else can because his kids are in the street screaming with a bunch of other kids. Where are the parents? Then there are the nuts next to them who scream at their grown daughter, her child, and her sister's child at all hours. The two daughters would have guys come and have sex with them in the van while the parents slept until one night the father caught one of them. That is how everyone in the neighborhood found out what was going on because he stood on the porch and screamed obscenities at them. I was under the impression that this town had a curfew for minors? Am I wrong? Who do you have to complain to?


No interesting story here. I attended school. 3.8GPA. I just didn't have enough time for sports. Football requires a lot of time and dedication. I think it's great if you have the time for it, but unfortunately not everyone can make that type of commitment. Based on your comments, I guess John was a role model that the kids could learn something from. Too bad it wasn't something positive.

perspective (An...

For atleast the past 20 years plus, drinking on the hill has not been an issue. Suddenly, one day we have officers in plain clothes running around undercover, ticketing people for doing something that the police department has known about for the past 20 years plus. I think the police dept does a very good job in the community as has for quite some time. I think this particular incident does not do the police dept justice. I question the motives and the timing. Berry's, I don't think you'll get support from softball players in the future. Unfortunately, nearly every person that was cited is nothing but an upstanding citizen. They are good people. I know every one of them. This was not the way to deal with this issue that is all of a sudden a problem. As for the Reflector, your reputation was ruined a long time ago and articles like this are the reason. Try supporting good people in the community instead of dragging them through the mud for basically doing next to nothing. This should have taken about a 1 x 2 space in the middle of the paper somwhere. NOT FRONT PAGE! This incident at Baines is so controversial, but I didn't see anything written about that.

Upstanding Citi...

Perspective - I am also an "upstanding citizen." Think about what you are saying- if you are an upstanding citizen in the community you should be able to drink in the park? Can we drink and drive too? OOps I hit a child on the way home and kill them - I am an upstaning citizen... I could go on.... I know these people -grew up with them - they are great fun people- with no intent to "do wrong" but I am also sure that they were aware that what they were doing was wrong. As for Berry's they had nothing to do with these people choosing to drink in a public park, the police have issued verbal warnings for years- Berrys wanting to serve alcohol in the park adjacent to their restaurant -was defeated - unfortunate for them as they are attempting to increase business. I am sure they will survive. I also do not get the mentality that pepople would not patronize a business who supports so many families in the community and is only trying to grow their business and community. Who do you want to hurt?

perspective (An...

Just a quick response to your argument. You are assuming that everyone drinking is also driving. That is not true. Also, are you suggesting everyone that has had a beer back at Baines is not an upstanding citizen. I've personally seen hundreds and probably thousands of people over the years have a beer after the game. Believe or not, it is possible they are upstanding citizens. My problem is, you don't allow something by openly not enforcing it, then one day decide to enforce it after god knows how many years. I only suggested because of the timing of the Berrys issue, I think some of the softball players probably won't be very forgiving about the issue being brought up by Berry's.

kittylitter (An...

T$Robinson.....The perpetrator identified in the Reflector article is younger than the person you are describing.
Side note....Has Berry's ever considered numbering their menu items like at Casa Fiesta? Like, instead of saying I'll have the Tom Turkey Special, just say...give me a #2 with a diet Pepsi. I can only assume #1 would be reserved for City Chicken. Just a thought. It might make things easier on your 4 pm dinner demographic. The mariachi band thing is pretty cool too. Don't know how you guys could pull that vibe off with your customer base. Maybe live bingo while you wait to be served? But I guess Muzak has its place. Sort of like beer and mens league softball.

keep in mind (A...

when your 5 year old gets pushed down by another 5 year old its not a police matter, talk to the parents not the police....if your kid won't do his homework or do his chores, 911 is not the answer....if you get pulled over for doing 55 in a 35, do not greet the officer with "What seems to be the problem, officer?"....if you were not speeding we wouldn't be having this conversation....every time you hear on the news about people running AWAY from a crazed gunman, someone's son or daughter in a police uniform is running TOWARD that crazed gunman....HERE'S how to get out of a ticket. DON'T BREAK THE LAW. John and Chris, they were in the wrong place and at the wrong time. I support John and Chris and the Norwalk Police.

disgusted in no...

If you know something is illegal and you dont want to pay what consequences will follow that action then dont do it. Personally I think if you cant wait till you get to a bar or your home(anywhere other than a public park) to crack open a beer then maybe you have a problem. Let's not through a pity party they were all adults. At least Livengood owned up to it and of course it never should have been printed on the front page that is a given.

stevie (Anonymous)

to the posters that make sense and display some degree of civility, thank you for the interesting reading. you make this publication and this community a little better.

however, in my way of thinking too many posters demonstrate a very ugly, demeaning, and sometimes cruel perspective.

i can only conclude my visual observations are being reinforced indicating a general decline in quality of norwalk residents if the posters are a reflexion of the city.

the leadership of the town seemingly supports the image of a friendly, nice place to live, but perhaps it's time to research where and how we have gone wrong in that norwalk now seems to provide something that is attractive to the undesirable folks that make up an increasing larger proportion of norwalk.

if the issue is not taken seriously i can see the decent folks mentioned in the first paragraph finding less and less reasons to stay in norwalk. in that scenario i don't have to point out what norwalk could become.

perhaps a good starting point might be to take a peak at milan. it still appears to have maintained some of the civility of a better place to live. what are the factors?

T$Robinson (Ano...

to "kittylitter" ,, i am sorry , but you are mistaken .. look at the article . it has Susan , Capara's name and age listed . and next it has Anthony (tony) Capara listed .. and they are in their 40's .. so you see the Susan Nicoli that the writer mentioned a long time back and wondered why she wasn't cited by the police for drinking , is now Susan Capara, Tony's wife , and they are a great , fun loving and respectable couple who would undoubtedly , have a beer after their softball game , just like John Livengood and Chris Harkness would , but i have never seen any of them in a drunken state , like alot of you seem to be implying... it was a seemingly harmless offense , and they were cited , and they will pay the fine , and move on with it ,, i wish alot of you could do the same