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Parent asks St. Lawrence Central School Board to consider all-purpose turf field

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BRASHER FALLS - A St. Lawrence Central School resident who works with local youth sports programs told board of education members this week that he’d like to see the district address issues with their athletic field, perhaps by considering the installation of a multi-use artificial turf field.

Ronald Villnave, organizer of the Tri-Town youth football program, said he has seen players injured - none of them seriously, he said - because of issues with the district’s football fields. Among them he said, is a sinkhole.

He suggested that other districts have addressed the issue by installing multi-purpose turf fields that could be used for a variety of sports including football, soccer and lacrosse. Massena and Potsdam are among two local school districts that have converted to a turf field.

“I know Lowville did,” according to Mr. Villnave, who said he has a son in the seventh grade who participates in athletics.

He suggested a capital project could address the problems, with no impact on the taxpayers because of state funding for such endeavors, and it could be used for multiple sports.

“If it doesn’t cost us anything, what’s it hurting to ask the state?” Mr. Villnave wondered.

Also speaking during the public comment period of this week’s board meeting, resident Jerry St. Hilaire asked about the status of his application for a varsity baseball coaching position.

However, because Mr. St. Hilaire reportedly did not yet possess the necessary coaching license and the district’s contract with its teachers requires coaching positions must first be offered to teaching staff, William Scharf was appointed by the board to the position this week. Mr. Scharf is the varsity football coach and has coached the junior varsity baseball team.

Mr. St. Hilaire supporters spoke to the board prior to the decision being made to appoint Mr. Scharf. They said Mr. St. Hilaire had a love for not only the game, but also for working with the players. He has long been active in youth baseball in the Tri-Town area.

“Jerry coaches baseball because he loves the kids and he loves the sport, and kids love working with Jerry. Jerry doesn’t do it for a paycheck, but for his love of kids,” Tracy Villnave said.

Faith St. Hilaire also noted that several letters had been sent by players’ families to Timothy Wagoner, the district’s athletic director, to share their experiences about working with Mr. St. Hilaire when he coached their child’s baseball teams.

Superintendent Stephan J. Vigliotti Sr. advised Mr. St. Hilaire to contact Mr. Wagoner to find out the status of his application.

The board later appointed Mr. Scharf to the post following an executive session.

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