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Melissa Hebert

The Chronicle-Telegram

LORAIN – Lorain’s Interna­tional Festival will require people of legal drinking age to wear a special wristband in order to purchase alcohol at the event next week.

The wristbands are a joint effort of Communities That Care and the Lorain Port Authority, said Communities That Care coordinator Cather­ine Gabe.

“This was something we’d been thinking about for a while,” Gabe said. Members of the organization met with Ralph Bruening, special events coordinator and facili­ties manager for the Lorain Port Authority.

“It turned out (trying to stop underage drinking at festivals) was on his radar, too,” Gabe said.

Talking about it turned into a joint effort among the two organizations and Lorain Youth Baseball.

Wristbands also will be used at the Lorain Port Fest in July.

“We’re not the prohibition police,” Gabe said. “We’re about people and businesses making smarter choices.”

The wristbands are part of the “Banding Together in 2010″ program, which also includes providing signs to businesses that remind cus­tomers that buying alcohol for teens is illegal, unsafe and irresponsible. There also will be public service announce­ments airing on local radio stations throughout the sum­mer.

For more information on the program, visit www.

Preventing underage drink­ing is a goal of the program, Gabe said. According to a 2009 Communities That Care sur­vey, 21 percent of Lorain County youth said they had drank alcohol in the last 30 days.

Also, 12.5 percent had said that they had engaged in binge drinking, and 28 per­cent of high school seniors said they had done binge drinking.

Nearly 22 percent of those surveyed said someone else – in some instances, their par­ents – had supplied them with alcohol.

More than 55,000 deaths of people younger than 21 each year can be tied to underage drinking, including car acci­dents, homicides and sui­cides.

Gabe said she’s hoping that the wristband program becomes the standard at festi­vals throughout the county.

“Vendors should know this is the way we do business in Lorain County,” she said.

Contact Melissa Hebert at 329-7129 or

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