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LAW WOULD FINE YOUTHS WHO SMOKE IN PUBLIC

People younger than 18 would face fines or community service if they are caught smoking or using other tobacco products in public in the village, under a proposal being considered by the Village Board.

Warsaw Police Chief Bill Blythe said that if the measure is approved by the board, it would be the first of its kind in the state.

"Part of education and growing up is making people responsible for their own actions," Blythe said. "I don't see this as being an enforcement problem."

The Village Board will either have another public hearing on the matter or make a final decision on the plan during a meeting at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2 in the Warsaw Fire Hall on East Buffalo Street.

Youths who violate the ordinance would face fines of $25 or community service work. Violators younger than 16 could be referred to the Wyoming County Probation Department, Wyoming County Family Court or Wyoming County Youth Court.

"Unless there is some accountability, people won't comply," Blythe said.

The plan has met with opposition from some residents. About 70 people attended a public hearing on the matter Sept. 5.

"I don't think there ought to be a law against it," said Bill Rupp, a Warsaw resident. "They are going to make laws saying you cannot do anything. We've got too many laws in the country now."

Sue Snell, who manages the Pony Express service station on West Buffalo Street in Warsaw, said: "I'm all for it. I don't want my son seeing all these kids doing it."

Blythe said as many as 30 students will congregate in areas near Warsaw Central School on West Buffalo Street before and after school hours. Some residents have complained that the youths are vulgar and act belligerently toward adults.

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