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School, runners get one more chance

Students, parents and staff of the Manlius LaVallee Karate School have stirred complaints from residents who live by Wellwood Middle School.

The school outlines basic fitness requirements, which include running, and dojo owner Jeff Groesbeck said the area by Wellwood Park is the perfect setting for his students to train due to the side streets, little traffic and route length. Residents, however, are disturbed by the noise they create twice a week -- Monday nights and Saturday mornings. Groesbeck admitted parents can "get robust" as timekeepers, encouraging runners as they pass. Timekeepers are typically located at two intersections.

"This is not acceptable," said Mayor Mark Olson at the Aug. 19 board meeting. He was referring to parents' screaming during the runs. "This is not the quality of life these people are wanting."

Because this is the second time the board has heard complaints, Olson said one more time and the school is done.

School tracks are not decent alternative running routes due to conflicts with after school organized sports and the Erie Canal pathway doesn't get plowed during winter months, Groesbeck said. He relies on the park for visibility purposes, safety and again, timing and distance factors. Between six and 25 students participate in the runs each week.

"These are good kids," he said.

While the school does make announcements for parents to lower their voices, Groesbeck said maybe more reminders would help alleviate the problem.

Trustee Dan Kinsella, who lives in the area involved, said he would distribute Groesbeck's letter to the board, with his permission, to the residents to determine how they feel about the training sessions in their neighborhood. If they have a problem, he would like them to meet with the board. Trustee Mike Small agreed that Groesbeck needs to put some responsibility on himself. Groesbeck said he was willing to allow Kinsella to distribute his letter and hear what the residents had to say.

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