Council explores keeping EpiPens at concession stands; fireworks approved

by Laura Bednar

March 14 city council meeting

Independence is partnering with the Allison Rose Foundation to bring epinephrine devices to food concession stands in the city. Independence residents Michael Suhy and his wife Rebecca started the foundation when their daughter Allison died after experiencing anaphylaxis due to a severe nut allergy.

According to its website, the Allison Rose Foundation “is dedicated to changing the lives of food allergy families through education, awareness, research and advocacy.”

Also involved in the initiative is Code Ana, a nonprofit that provides education on medical emergency response plan creation, anaphylaxis, epinephrine and food allergies.

“Only trained personnel that have gone through the training process to identify an allergic reaction has taken place would have access to [the EpiPen] to administer that in an emergency,” said Fire Chief Steve Rega.

He added that the agreement with Code Ana will establish the pharmacy protocols to have the medication on-site, and the Allison Rose Foundation will provide the EpiPen medication.

According to a memo from Rega, “ARF will help us establish medical protocol for the epinephrine’s use. They will also provide all the initial training and at this time the cost of the epinephrine auto-injectors as well.”

Suhy demonstrated how to use the medication at the meeting. The EpiPen had an automated voice explaining the step-by-step process of injecting someone with the medicine. Suhy said the pens “bridge the gap before we can get there as EMS.”

A box with two EpiPens will be installed at concession stands at the Civic Center, Fieldhouse and press box. The medicine has a shelf life of one year, and the fire department will inspect the boxes annually.

Councilperson Jim Trakas asked about liability insurance. Suhy said individuals are protected under the Good Samaritan law, in which the person who uses the EpiPen is not liable regardless of the outcome.


Council members hired American Fireworks Company for the Fourth of July, Home Days and tree lighting fireworks displays for $47,300. Rega said the contract is almost identical to last year’s, but a 10% cost was added if the city has to use a rain date for any of the shows.

Councilperson Anthony Togliatti said he thought the tree-lighting fireworks had low attendance. Mayor Greg Kurtz said residents watched from their homes because the foliage didn’t block their view as it does in summer.

Councilperson Tom Narduzzi said he was concerned about having a rain date for Home Days because the event ends Saturday night and people may not show up for a show on Sunday.

Council member Dale Veverka moved to have a larger show on Fourth of July and eliminate the Home Days and tree lighting fireworks; Togliatti seconded. The motion failed, with five council members voting no.

Vice Mayor David Grendel moved to eliminate the Home Days fireworks and retain the others. The motion failed with only Grendel and Veverka voting in favor. The original ordinance for three fireworks shows was approved with Veverka and Togliatti voting no and Narduzzi, Trakas, Grendel, Chris Walchanowicz and John DiGeronimo voting in favor.

Council gave Rega the authority to negotiate with the company to see if the rain date for Home Days could be changed without incurring extra costs.

In other news

The police department purchased four new 2023 Ford Explorer Interceptor vehicles for $209,363. Police Chief Robert Butler said the department did not receive any new cruisers last year. The Kent police department passed on purchasing the vehicles, and Independence acted quickly to get them, according to Butler.

The city will pay Specialized Construction $295,317 for the 2023 crack seal program. This includes mastic surface sealing for the Lafayette Subdivision, asphalt rejuvenation and surface sealer for Hemlock Trail and pavement repairs and crack/joint sealing work on Rockside Road.

Firefighter/paramedic James Loparo was authorized to keep his helmet and duty badge upon retirement. He has been with the department for 20 years. ∞