Area gearing up for New Year'sAs people anxiously await the coming of 2010 and plan events to celebrate, area agencies are gearing up for New Year’s Eve.
By: Ashley Martin, The Dickinson Press
As people anxiously await the coming of 2010 and plan events to celebrate, area agencies are gearing up for New Year’s Eve.
Since the night carries with it a high likelihood of alcohol consumption, local law enforcement agencies are reportedly going to be working overtime.
“We normally see our calls increase that involve alcohol during New Year’s because more people are celebrating the new year with parties and get-togethers,” said Dickinson Police Lt. Rod Banyai.
DPD, the North Dakota Highway Patrol and Stark County Sheriff’s Office will have extra officers on patrol New Year’s Eve.
Sheriff Clarence Tuhy said more people seem to be designating sober drivers in recent years.
“I think it’s slowly improving,” Tuhy said. “The cost associated with a DWI is not worth taking a chance and I would hope people would take on some responsibility and accountability for what they do.”
Public Transit, Dickinson’s taxi service, will be available all evening New Year’s Eve until 1 a.m. New Year’s Day, said Joel Mayer, lead dispatcher for Public Transit.
“We normally close at 10 o’clock Sunday through Thursday, but New Year’s Eve we’ll make the obvious exception,” Mayer said.
The cab will resume normal hours at 6:45 a.m. Friday, Mayer said.
“We are actually going to have extra drivers on Thursday night,” Mayer said. “We should be able to cover everyone.”
He added calling for a cab in advanced is encouraged, but not required.
Night Ride Luxuries Party Bus is also available New Year’s Eve. Lance Thomas, owner of the company, can drive groups of party-goers around town for an hour or two or all night, he said.
“I’ve had a ton of calls of people wondering if I’m available,” Thomas said, adding he isn’t booked for the holiday.
Dickinson Parks and Recreation is hosting the 19th Annual New Year’s Eve Party at the Recreation Center tonight. The family-friendly ice skating event is alcohol-free, said Wilson McLaughlin, recreation specialist.
“We’re going to be giving away door prizes and we’re going to play some games on the ice,” McLaughlin said, adding a laptop computer is included in available prizes.
“We will be providing food and beverages,” he added.
The party is free, starting at 8 p.m. and concluding at 12:30 a.m. Friday.
“Where else can you go and have all those things available?” McLaughlin. “You’re in a safe atmosphere.”
Law enforcement is encouraging residents to be safe this holiday.
The last traffic fatality in North Dakota over the New Year holiday occurred in Foster County in 2006, according to the North Dakota Highway Patrol headquarters.
The combined efforts of community support, designated drivers, taxi services and statewide law enforcement saturation have proven to save lives, according to a news release from the North Dakota Highway Patrol. During the past 30 years, North Dakota has reportedly made it through 60 percent of the New Year’s holiday seasons without a traffic fatality.
“We shouldn’t be surprised by this data,” NDHP Superintendent Col. James Prochniak said in the press release. “It’s no secret that good things come to those who make responsible decisions. The motoring public deserves safe roads year-round. Enjoy time with friends and family, but don’t drink unless you have a designated driver. They are lifesavers.”