Monday, November 19, 2001

Thieves make free with signs

        EDGEWOOD — With last week'sobservance of the 25th annual Great American Smokeout, Kentucky's only officially designated smoke-free community remains one of the best-kept secrets.

        The reason?

        Vandals keep stealing the signs at Edgewood's borders that declare this Kenton County city of 9,400 a smoke-free community.

        “They must be pretty high up on somebody's scavenger hunt list,” said Edgewood City Administrator Roger Rolfes.

        Edgewood adopted its non-smoking stance four years ago at the request of the Northern Kentucky Independent District Health Department, the local chapter of the American Cancer Society and a resident who worked at St. Elizabeth Medical Center South, Edgewood's largest employer.

        Since 1997, city employees have repeatedly posted signs declaring Edgewood a smoke-free community. But each time, the specially made $125 redwood signs have been stolen.

        The smoke-free signs used to hang by a chain from Edgewood's welcoming signs. City public works crews tried “an allegedly cut-proof chain,” but those were snipped too, Mr. Rolfes said.

        For now, city officials have delayed purchasing new smoke-free signs until they can come up with a better way to secure them.

        Mr. Rolfes said that while there is no fine for those caught smoking, the practice is highly discouraged.
        — Cindy Schroeder


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