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CANFIELD Park owner disputes way youth party was described



Published: Tue, August 14, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The park owner said the park took steps to ensure that nothing illegal came into the party.

By IAN HILL

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

CANFIELD -- A dance party advertised on an Internet site for raves drew the attention of the Beaver Township police, the Mahoning County Sheriff's Department and the Ohio State Highway Patrol this weekend.

Sheriff's Maj. Michael Budd said deputies and state troopers made about 90 traffic stops Saturday night and early Sunday on state Route 46 outside Yellow Duck Park.

The park owner, Len McGarvey, said today no one associated with the facility had anything to do with the Internet ad and he is angry at the way Budd has described the dance to reporters.

McGarvey said he has been in contact with some news organizations that have issued retractions.

Budd said that an Internet site stated that a rave would take place at the park over the weekend.

Raves are all-night dance parties typically characterized by booming techno music and recreational drug use.

What owner said: McGarvey said the park made up fliers advertising the dance, which included adults and featured a campfire and water slide.

He said he doesn't know what rave means but if it means alcohol or drug use, none took place that he is aware of nor would it have been tolerated.

"It was the most well-behaved group of young people I ever came in contact with," McGarvey said. No backpacks were allowed and purses were searched to ensure that nothing illegal got into the park, the owner said.

Law enforcement officials were concerned about possible illegal drug use at the party, Budd said, as well as traffic tie-ups on state Route 46.

McGarvey said he had arranged to have two deputies work at the dance but Budd withdrew them last Thursday, leaving the park to scramble for private security officers.

Budd said the sheriff didn't want them at the event.

What's disputed: Budd added that two teens worked undercover for the sheriff's department at the party and said drugs were being used at the party. However, Budd said deputies did not have enough probable cause to make arrests and break up the party.

McGarvey said Budd should have done something if drug use was suspected. "We're going to take steps to counteract what Budd has done," the park owner said, adding that his reputation has been damaged.

A member of the Mahoning Valley Drug Task Force also worked at the party, Budd said, adding he knew of only one other rave-type party in the area during the past five years.

One arrest: State troopers arrested a 31-year-old Columbiana man during one of the traffic stops on charges of possession of marijuana and driving under the influence. The man told the troopers that he was going to the party.

Budd said no other arrests were made, but several citations were issued for speeding and other traffic violations. Beaver Township police also used a drug-sniffing dog to search some cars.

Between 500 and 700 people attended the party, which took place from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m., Budd said. He added that the sheriff's department received three noise complaints aboutas a result of the party.

Budd said local law enforcement officials learned last Tuesday that the party would be held from teens who checked the Internet site.

"Our main purpose there was traffic control," Budd said. "We didn't want to get caught up in a traffic jam."

hill@vindy.com




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