PIEDMONT -- The city has a sweet dilemma -- candy throwing at the Fourth of July parade.
Recreation Director Mark Delventhal noted to the Recreation Commission at the July 17 meeting that police Chief Rikki Goede was concerned with children's safety with the practice of candy being tossed into the street as floats went by, with children scrambling for the candy. Several cities have banned the practice, saying tossing sweets is not worth the jeopardy to children.
The Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce put a stop to candy throwing at this year's Fourth of July parade, despite the objections of some participants. A boy was injured when he was run over by a float chasing candy a few years back, officials said.
The Columbus Dispatch reported in 2011 that most parades in central Ohio were also banning the practice for safety reasons. In Florida, a man received a detached retina when struck by a flying piece of hard candy in 2007 at a Christmas parade. In 2009, a Florida boy was killed when his foot got caught under a float when he was passing out candy.
"We will continue to meet about this," Delventhal said. "At the end of the parade route, candy was being tossed from cars that were unloading. It could be very hazardous" for children to be running out in front of cars. The commission agreed that while candy tossing is a parade tradition, the practice should be reviewed with an eye toward safety.
In other news: Summer is in full swing with robust sign-ups for recreation department programs, supervisor Erin Rivera said. Classes are still available and can be viewed in the summer brochure at www.ci.piedmont.ca.us. Summer Schoolmates has been serving more than 100 families every day with extended hours from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Children swim on Wednesdays and Fridays in addition to their other fun activities, she said. Schoolmates registration will move to an online system this fall.
As of last week, 258 children were served between the ages of 18 months and 13 years old in the myriad programs offered. The day camps are exploring new craft ideas such as duct tape art, henna design and hammer and nail art. There is a team of 50 assistants working with the campers.
Tiny Trotters is a new camp for budding basketball players, led by coach Michael Murphy. Beginning in August, the department will start a program for preschool special-needs children in collaboration with the school district, Rivera said.
Rivera said the 75 junior counselors in training and the 30 counselors in training assisting at summer camp and preschool programs is adding another level of care and attention.
"We are working hard to make summer fun for kids. It's like running 15 birthday parties at once," she kidded.
Commission chair Nick Levinson also reviewed upcoming capital improvement projects and their priorities. Beach turf is high on the priority list. Delventhal said now that Piedmont's budget picture is improved, such improvements can be better planned. Capital projects were suspended during lean budget times. The city engineer is preparing a comprehensive project list, he said.
It's not too early to check volunteer opportunities, especially for cleanup at the Harvest Festival which takes place on Sept. 29. For more information, visit http://piedmontharvestfestival.org. The commission's next meeting will be on Sept. 18.