Students show sweet appreciation for liquor stores that won't sell to them

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon - posted Fri., Oct. 18, 2013
Students from Rockville High School's SSNAP group deliver cookies to the Four Seasons Package Store with RHS Student Resource Officer Steve Langlais on Oct. 8. Photos courtesy of Kim McTighe. - Contributed Photo

Rockville High School students in the SSNAP (Students Seeking New Achievements Positively) group recently found a way to use positive reinforcement to help make the town safer for their peers.

Last summer, the Department of Consumer Protection, using agents from its Liquor Control Division and officers from the Vernon Police Department, conducted a series of compliance checks, using a 17-year-old minor, on stores that sell alcohol in Vernon.

Of the 16 locations visited, it is alleged that eight sales were made to the underage volunteer.

Upon discussing the compliance checks at their first meetings this fall, the group decided that while the stores that failed the checks received headlines, it was counter-productive for the stores that failed to receive all of that attention, instead of the ones that passed.

Kim McTighe, youth counselor with the Vernon Youth Services Bureau and SSNAP advisor, said the group decided to show their appreciation to the stores that did not sell to minors. They worked with the RHS baking classes – one of which made several types of cookie dough for the effort. The SSNAP members then baked the cookies, arranged them onto platters and delivered them to the stores on Oct. 8, and thanked them for helping to make Vernon youth safe.

“We asked to talk to the store managers, and they were thrilled that we called them for a good thing,” McTighe said, adding that there were many great reactions to the effort.

Managers at Price Chopper – one of the stores that didn't sell to minors – said they take the prevention of underage drinking very seriously, and test their own employees regularly. Both Stop and Shop locations, Adam's Polish Food, Wine Seller and Four Seasons Package Store were also among the stores passing the checks and receiving cookies.

McTighe said the next step for SSNAP members will be to talk with the Vernon Alcohol and Drug Prevention Council about how they might partner with the stores that did not pass the compliance checks, to help them with future training and prevention methods.

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