About four or five deputy sheriffs will help direct traffic at this year's fair.
By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- Richard Puerner calls himself an "expert on traffic." Each year, Puerner has to tow a concession stand between the Canfield Fair and his home on Leffingwell Road.
At night, when the fair closes, Leffingwell Road typically is packed with bumper-to-bumper traffic moving at a snail's pace. The road runs along the south side of the fairgrounds.
"Obviously, it's a problem," Puerner said.
Puerner is fortunate, however, to have a sticker in his car window that reads "Leffingwell Road resident." Mahoning County deputy sheriffs and Ohio State Highway patrolmen see the sticker and stop traffic so Puerner can pass.
Thanks to the sticker and the cooperation of law enforcement, Puerner says he has "absolutely no trouble at all" getting home.
"They're very good about it," said Jerald Hartman, also of Leffingwell Road.
Judy Bayus, a Canfield Township trustee, said about 100 stickers will be handed out this year to Leffingwell Road residents who live between state Route 46 and South Raccoon Road. Bayus lives at Leffingwell Road and state Route 46.
Area residents receive a sticker for each of their cars, Bayus said.
"These people live on the street [next to the fairgrounds], and they should have a little bit more courtesy extended to them," she said.
Bayus said the stickers were first given out by the fair officials about five years ago after she met with the officials to discuss traffic on the road.
Before then, fair police often directed Leffingwell Road residents onto Western Reserve and South Raccoon roads so they could get home, she said.
Bayus noted that she and Leffingwell Road resident Lisa Ferguson also met with fair officials and representatives from the sheriff's office and the state patrol in 2000 to ask that law enforcement play a greater role in directing fair traffic. Fair police were responsible for directing traffic at the time, Ferguson said.
"The so-called police force that the fair provides, they're not adequate," she said.
Ferguson added the stickers don't solve all the residents' traffic problems.
"When you're ... in line and the cop is 500 cars away, what are you going to do, wave it out the window?" she said.
Both Bayus and Ferguson said they feel that since the meeting, deputies and state patrolmen have helped improve the flow of traffic on their road during the fair.
Leffingwell Road resident Bill Shugart added that he's grateful the traffic control personnel are willing to recognize the sticker in his car window.
"That at least allows us in," he said. "I can't really complain."
Vince Marzano, who lives across from Shugart, also praised the deputies and state patrolmen.
"Considering how many people go through there, they make it pretty good," he said.
Bayus said she feels the sticker program eventually will be expanded to include township residents who live on South Raccoon Road.
Sheriff Randall Wellington said about four or five deputies on motorcycles will direct traffic during this year's fair. Wellington added that the deputies also will have a mobile command post at state Route 46 and Leffingwell Road, across from Bayus' home.
"I've put a lot of effort into traffic control," he said.