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Combined efforts result in safe street dance

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RONAN — The annual Pioneer Days Street Dance was a much calmer, safer event this year thanks to the combined efforts of local law enforcement and community volunteers, city officials said last week. 

The dance’s future hinged on the outcome of the event, as city officials said they would consider imposing an over-21 age limit on future dances if problems with fights, littering and underage drinking that have been a problem in the past continued. 

Officer Tim Case said the event went smoothly. 

“Everything went great,” Case said. “There was hardly anything that was allowed to leave or come in. There were no drinks that left. There was no trash that left.” 

Case said there were some problems with underage drinking that both bars have agreed to remedy in the future by closing the dance to younger folks. 

“It starts at nine,” Case said. “Probably 90 percent of the kids did not have their parents with them because they came straight from the rodeo ... It wasn’t a good situation. We had several problems with underage kids drinking because everyone is passing around stuff. It is just too hard for us to control.” 

The number of problems experienced this year was far fewer than what has resulted from the dance in the past, according to Officer Pat Noble. 

Noble credited the calmer atmosphere to a number of folks who volunteered or donated their time to help Ronan’s two officers police the event. Lake County Sheriff’s Office provided four reserve officers to help and Sheriff-elect Don Bell stopped by to make sure everything was OK, Noble said. 

Much credit goes to the Mission Mountain Survivors Motorcycle Club that provided free security, according to Noble. 

“They did a fabulous job,” Noble said. “They volunteered at the gates. The security they had this year stuck around. I was really impressed. It was remarkably better than last year.” 

Mayor Kim Aipperspach said one of the few people who did cause problems came up to him the next day at the Pioneer Days concession stand and apologized for his bad behavior. 

“He said he wanted to apologize to the cops too,” Aipperspach said. 

The officers and council members had more ideas about how to improve trash cleanup and install barriers that will likely be discussed before next year’s dance. 

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