Boy lobbyist prevails in ending ban on ice cream trucks

Wednesday, November 21, 2001

WEST BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- The bells of ice cream trucks will jingle-jangle again for the first time in nearly 50 years in this Detroit suburb, thanks to a persistent 9-year-old.

The Board of Trustees' unanimous vote Monday to repeal the township's ban on "frozen confection vendors" was the payoff for five months of work by fourth-grader Josh Lipshaw.

"I want to thank the township board for listening to a 9-year-old and his friends," Josh told the board after the vote, which drew applause from more than 20 children in the audience. "You took us seriously and not everybody would do that."

Curious about the lack of ice cream trucks, Josh and his mother had called township offices and learned of the ban. With his mom's help, the fourth-grader wrote a letter to township officials and collected about 165 signatures on a petition.

Appearing before trustees at their Oct. 1 meeting, Josh said, "This is an old law, so I think you should look at it again. I bet many of you enjoyed ice cream trucks when you were kids."

The township responded positively, scrapping the ban while adding a dozen restrictions related to public safety. Vendors will have to obtain a permit, but cannot get one if they have drunken driving or sexual misconduct charges on their record. The board agreed to let ice cream trucks ring bells and play music, but only at a "moderate" level.

"I'm very, very, very, very happy," Josh said after the meeting. To celebrate, Josh went with his family and friends to Dairy Queen.

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