Thursday, May 24, 2018

Community Conversations

100 Things to Do to Beat Summer Boredom

Summer is just beginning and you do not want to be thinking, saying, or hearing; “I’m bored” in the next few months. Below is a list of 100 things you can do to beat summer boredom. Write each of these things on a piece of paper and put it into the summer fun jar and when you get bored draw one out and have fun! Challenge yourself to accomplish all 100 before school starts.

If your kids start to suffer from summer boredom, let them come up with their own ideas for fun summer activities to put into the fun jar.  When you let children come up with their own solutions to boredom, you’re helping them develop important problem-solving skills and they will take ownership in the activity.

As the summer progresses, new ideas can be added to the jar. Then when the children get bored, they can reach into the jar for a fun activity. And, you’ll be less likely to hear, “I’m bored!”  

1.       Go hiking in the park
2.       Ride your Bike
3.       Go swimming at the lake or pool
4.       Paint a picture
5.       Play a board game
6.       Get out the hose and sprinkler
7.       Go horseback riding
8.       Go to the Library
9.       Go on a nature scavenger hunt
10.    Go fishing
11.    Have a talent show
12.    Go Camping
13.    Have a pet parade
14.    Hold a lemonade stand
15.    Tie Dye Shirts
16.    Build a sandcastle
17.    Make a collage with magazine pictures
18.    Have a pizza decorating contest
19.    Go to a baseball game
20.    Start a hobby
21.    Scrapbook some photos
22.    Go bowling
23.    Go to a water park
24.    Visit a museum
25.    Do a science experiment
26.     Pick a bouquet of flowers
27.    Blow Bubbles
28.    Make homemade ice cream
29.    Have a fashion show
30.    Finger paint
31.    Create Sidewalk Art
32.    Rent a canoe and go canoeing
33.    Write a letter to a pen pal
34.    Write or draw your own story book
35.    Start a journal
36.    Make a home movie
37.    Play catch
38.    Have a puppet show
39.     Play twister
40.    Wash the car at home
41.    Go miniature golfing
42.    Make mud pies
43.    Have a picnic
44.    Play croquet
45.    Catch fireflies
46.    Go hunting night crawlers
47.    Color in a coloring book
48.    Do a craft project
49.    Paint your room
50.    Throw a Frisbee
51.    Fly a kite
52.    Read stories
53.    Throw water balloons
54.    Play red rover
55.    Have a garage sale
56.    Build a fort
57.    Play a musical instrument
58.    Walk a dog
59.    Go to a concert
60.    Have a pancake party
61.    Plant a garden
62.    Go skateboarding
63.    Play hopscotch
64.    Do a good deed for a neighbor
65.    Clean up trash in the park
66.    Take pictures in nature
67.    Play with play dough
68.    Dance
69.    Clean your closet
70.    Design, plan and make a meal for the family
71.    Conquer a Rubix cube
72.    Hula hoop
73.    Jump on a trampoline
74.    Make root beer floats
75.    Have a fashion show
76.    Start a collection (stamps, rocks, coins)
77.    Ride a 4 wheeler
78.    Make a quilt
79.    Go shopping at a garage sale
80.    Read a magazine
81.    Play horseshoes
82.    Swing on a swing set
83.    Bake a cake
84.    Play baseball
85.    Make a smoothie
86.    Go to a fair
87.    Play basketball
88.    Play wiffle ball
89.    Play charades
90.    Go golfing
91.    Build a Lego creation
92.    Play badminton
93.    Adopt a pet from a shelter
94.    Have a pedicure party
95.    Play beach volleyball
96.    Jump rope
97.    Read a newspaper
98.    Play tennis
99.    Create a new recipe
100. Go to a farmers market

For more information on how to get involved with your kids this summer visit the SAFE Coalition at or Van Buren County SAFE Coalition on Facebook!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

DEA brings in record number of unused pills during the 15th annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Federal, state and local partners collect close to one million pounds across the country

Americans nationwide did their part to drop off a record number of unused, unwanted or expired prescription medications during the DEA’s 15th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, at close to 6,000 sites across the country. Together with a record-setting amount of local, state and federal partners, DEA collected and destroyed close to one million pounds—nearly 475 tons—of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs, making it the most successful event in DEA history. This brings the total amount of prescription drugs collected by DEA since the fall of 2010 to 9,964,714 pounds, or 4,982 tons.

“Today we are facing the worst drug crisis in American history, with one American dying of a drug overdose every nine minutes,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “An unprecedented crisis like this one demands an unprecedented response--and that's why President Trump has made this issue a priority for this administration. DEA's National Drug Take Back Days are important opportunities for people to turn in unwanted and potentially addictive drugs with no questions asked. These Take Back Days continue to break records, with the latest taking nearly 1 million pounds of prescription drugs off of our streets. And so I want to thank DEA and especially every American who participated in this event. I have no doubt it will help keep drugs out of the wrong hands and stop the spread of addiction."

“National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is a day for every American, in every community across the country, to come together and do his or her part to fight the opioid crisis – simply by disposing of unwanted prescription medications from their medicine cabinets,” said DEA Acting Administrator Robert W. Patterson. “This event – our 15th – brings us together with local, state and federal partners to fight the abuse of prescription drugs that is fueling the nation’s opioid epidemic.”

Now in its 9th year, National Prescription Drug Take Back Day events continue to remove ever-higher amounts of opioids and other medicines from the nation’s homes, where they could be stolen and abused by family members and visitors, including children and teens.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

DEA launched its prescription drug take back program when both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration advised the public that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—posed potential safety and health hazards.

Helping people to dispose of potentially harmful prescription drugs is just one way DEA is working to reduce the addiction and overdose deaths plaguing this country due to opioid medications.  Complete results for DEA’s spring Take Back Day are available at DEA’s next Prescription Drug Take Back Day is October 27, 2018.

There is a permanent medication drop box available in the entry way of the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office in Keosauqua.  You can bring your pills and patches there to dispose of them safely during business hours no questions asked.  For non-controlled substances (including liquids and inhalers) you may dispose of those at Lee’s Pharmacy in Keosauqua.  If you have any questions please contact the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Van Buren County IPFS Project Update

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition was awarded the Iowa Partnership for Success (IPFS) Grant in February, 2015 to address underage drinking and underage binge drinking in Van Buren County.  The coalition began the fourth year of this five year grant on September 30, 2017.  The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition’s IPFS project is funded by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

During the 2017-18 Fiscal Year the coalition is continuing to build capacity & sustainability, evaluate the work being done, and implement the five strategies it was funded to work on as follows:  

1) Alcohol Restrictions at Community Events at Privately Owned Facilities: The coalition is working with privately owned facilities to help them implement alcohol policies focused on the Best Practices for Alcohol Service at their location.  During the 2016-17 Fiscal Year four facilities established or continued with their “No Alcohol Allowed” policies (two of these are verbal only policies); the coalition worked with two other facilities to develop written Alcohol Restriction Policies and was in contact with three other facilities about whether or not they would like to develop policies for their facilities.  Coalition members continue to work with three facilities that are open to new written policies and are meeting with two other facilities who may be interested in new written policies in the 2017-18 Fiscal Year.  The coalition has heard from two facilities that they are not interested in written policies.  One has a verbal policy and one does not want a policy at this time. 

2) Alcohol Restrictions in Public Places: During the 2016-17 Fiscal Year the coalition researched what alcohol restriction policies are being followed in each town and in the county.  Coalition members visited with each city council in July to present them with information on policies they could use that would address the availability of alcohol to youth in public places, such as public parks and community ball fields.  Coalition members again visited with the city councils in January and March to find out if they are interested in implementing Alcohol Restriction Policies for their public places.  Two towns are not interested with Alcohol Restriction Policies at this time.  One town believes that they do have written policies for their ball park and city park and are checking into that.  The other four towns are going to be discussing the possibility of implementing Alcohol Restriction Policies for their towns.  The coalition staff will be checking with them on this in April. 

3) Substance Abuse Prevention Programs for Youth: The coalition is working with the Van Buren Community School District to implement the Botvin Life Skills Training Program in the 7th and 8th grades.  During the 2016-17 school year the 7th and 8th grade students all completed Level I of the curriculum.  During the 2017-18 school year the 7th grade students will be completing Level I of the curriculum and the 8th grade students will be completing Level II as the curriculum builds upon itself.  So far this school year, 57 7th grade students have completed the Level I curriculum.  The 8th grade students have begun the Level II curriculum.   

4) Underage Drinking Prevention Media Campaign: The coalition has worked with local media outlets to implement IDPH’s “What Do You Throw Away” underage drinking prevention media campaign.  It is currently displayed on posters in the Van Buren County Hospital & Clinics; posters and screensavers at local libraries; and posters, electronic billboard ads, and computer backgrounds at the Van Buren Community Middle/High School. During the 2017 summer the campaign was also displayed in poster form at local convenience stores, the Keosauqua Pool, and at Lacey Keosauqua State Park.  During the summer of 2018 the coalition plans to work with local outlets again to have the posters displayed for youth to see. 

5) Social Host Ordinance: A Social Host Ordinance addresses the problem of adults knowingly providing a place for an underage drinking party.  The coalition currently is working to educate community members and government officials on why this ordinance would be helpful in Van Buren County and to build support for the ordinance.  The coalition will be hosting three learning forums in the next six months to educate about the ordinance, how to approach local government officials to encourage support for the ordinance, and to allow for discussion on the need for such policies in Van Buren County. 

For more information on the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition or the Van Buren County IPFS Project please contact the coalition office at 319-293-3334 ext. 1017 or  

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Working Together to Make Van Buren County SAFE

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition is working to combat underage drinking. Residents may not realize that preventing alcohol abuse begins with effective policies and procedures. “It’s common to think of law enforcement as the primary way to stop teen drinking through arrests and citations,” said Kris Rankin, Van Buren County’s Iowa Partnerships for Success Coordinator. “It is clear that law enforcement is a vital part of the network that is working to prevent and stop underage drinking and youth binge drinking; however, actions taken at the city and private facility level are also key to creating a healthy and safe environment for teens and adults.”

A good example of this is Keosauqua’s Band Shell Rental Policy that requires adult supervision of events with participants under 21 years of age, that no alcohol be provided to anyone under the age of 21 at an event, a higher deposit for events with alcohol being served or sold at them, that alcohol be consumed in a fenced portion of the property where participants under the age of 21 are not allowed, and if cash bars are used, they must provide proof of dram shop insurance and have a valid liquor sales license. 

The SAFE Coalition is available to work with residents, organizations and community leaders to prevent underage drinking and to help develop appropriate policies for their location. Residents are encouraged to learn about and advocate for strong alcohol-related policies. The coalition offers free Merchant Alcohol Trainings where servers are trained in the best practices of alcohol service to keep alcohol out of the hands of youth in the county.  The coalition also has ID Scanners that can be borrowed to use during any event in the Van Buren County area. 

The SAFE Coalition received the Iowa Partnerships for Success Grant in February, 2015 to address underage drinking and underage binge drinking in Van Buren County.  The Iowa Partnerships for Success Grant is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and is administered by the Iowa Department of Public Health.

For more information on underage drinking, visit or contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-3334 ext. 1017 or 

What Do You Throw Away When You Drink?

Thursday, April 26, 2018


The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition continues to see that one of the largest problems facing our community today is the underage use of alcohol.  As graduation time draws near, we encourage all families with high school seniors to not provide alcohol at your graduation parties as the parties are in honor of your student.  Also please take time to discuss the potential dangers that occur when alcohol is available at graduation celebrations or other parties your senior may attend these last days of the school year. They should consider the consequences they could face for consuming alcohol under the legal age.

Underage drinking can have varied consequences for the youth of Van Buren County.  Making the decision to consume alcohol under the age of 21 could take away the chances of receiving financial aid in college.  If convicted of alcohol use, it will be on their permanent record, which is something Federal Aid takes into serious consideration.  They may not be able to practice the following careers in Iowa if convicted as well: accountant, architect, attorney, chiropractor, dentist, engineer, law enforcement, medical doctor, nurse, optometrist, pharmacist, physical therapist, physician assistant, psychologist, real estate broker, court reporter, social reporter, teacher, or veterinarian. 

Most people would never think of violating laws related to drug use, but the community norm regarding use of alcohol is often thought of differently.  Clear expectations and boundaries are important components of healthy community norms and values.  Positive adult role models also play a significant role in establishing these norms.  While it is legal for adults to consume alcohol, graduation parties are NOT held in honor of adults.  Such celebrations are held in honor of the young person for their achievements and graduation from high school.

Please examine your personal beliefs about alcohol use by young people and the example set by our community during graduation time.  We are hoping you will plan to join the many families who are celebrating their student’s graduation in an alcohol-free environment. Congratulations and best wishes to your high school senior and your entire family on behalf of the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition!

For more information about underage drinking or the SAFE Coalition please feel free to contact the office at 319-293-3334 ext. 1017 or via email at  If you are interested in what the SAFE Coalition has been doing please check it out on the web: or Van Buren County SAFE Coalition on Face Book!