Thursday, July 12, 2018

What is this Social Host All About – Part 1

Who is a Social Host? 
A social host is someone who knowingly allows an underage person to consume alcohol illegally on the host’s property. 

What is Social Host Liability? 
Social Host Liability is the legal term for the criminal responsibility of a person who allows such illegal activity.

What would this ordinance/law aim to do?
·         This ordinance is part of the effort to stop underage drinking.
·         The Social Host Ordinance is aimed at those who allow persons under legal age to consume alcoholic beverages in or on property they own or control.
·         This ordinance would address enforcement and prosecution problems where persons knowingly permit or allow underage drinkers to have a party on their property, even when the owner didn’t supply the alcohol, and persons, including parents, who knowingly permit or allow their children’s friends to consume alcohol at their home, even where the parents didn’t supply the alcohol.  Currently, only the person who actually physically sells or gives the alcohol to the person under legal age can be prosecuted.
·         The ordinance will address adults who know that underage drinking is occurring on their property and either allow it to go on or does nothing to stop it.  Underage drinkers may obtain the alcohol from one person, and then go somewhere else to drink it.  Common examples are parties that take place in rural areas, or the basement of a home of one of the underage drinkers.  Parents have told police that they knew about the party and it was okay with the parents, because the kids weren’t driving and they knew where they were. 
·         The charge and penalty will be punishable by a fine.
·         The ordinance only applies to those who know that underage drinking is going on and do not stop it, or who gave permission for it to occur in the first place.  It would not apply to persons who did not know that underage drinking was occurring on their property.  For example, if the parents were away, and their child had a party at their home and the parents were unaware of it, those parents would not be charged.  Other examples would be a land owner who does not live on the property and teens hold a party on it without the owners knowledge or a property owner who rents a cabin or room to someone who allows underage drinking while renting the property – the owner would not be held accountable for this, the renter would be the one held accountable. 
·         The ordinance/law would not give law enforcement permission to enter private property without cause. 

Read more about Social Host in next week’s paper.  For more information please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-3334 ext. 1017 or or attend the coalition’s next Community Conversation on August 8th at 6:00 pm at the Great Day Café (free meal provided) to learn more about the topic. 

Monday, July 9, 2018

July 12th Community Conversation

SAFE AND HEALTHY KIDS FAIR: July 31st — 5:00 to 7:00 pm

The Child Abuse Prevention Council will be sponsoring the fifteenth annual “Safe and Healthy” Kids Fair. The event will take place on Tuesday, July 31, 2018 at the Roberts Memorial Building in Keosauqua from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. and is open to all Van Buren County residents.
The fair theme this year will be Emoji’s with many fun games and activities for kids.  As always the fair will focus on keeping kids, ages 0-18 in the county safe and healthy.  Topics that will be covered include: child abuse prevention, nutrition, mental health, dental, immunizations, lead poisoning, fire safety, literacy, quality child care and preschools, parenting skills, and many more. Last year 35-40 exhibitors participated in the fair.

All school-aged children from Van Buren Community Schools, Harmony Community Schools and children home schooled in Van Buren County will receive a free school supply voucher. Handouts promoting health and safety will be given to each child as well as other community services.  A free book and back pack will be given to each student who attends the fair (child MUST be present).  A raffle will also take place where prizes will be given away. 

This event promotes the many resources we have available to the children of Van Buren County. If you have any questions or would like to volunteer please call 319-293-8727.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Community Conversations

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 were in contact with three other facilities about whether or not they would like to develop policies for their facilities.  During the 2017-18 Fiscal Year the coalition members have continued to work with five facilities that are open to a new written policy and are meeting with two new facilities who may be interested in a written policy.  The coalition has heard from two of the seven facilities that they are not interested in written policies.  One has a verbal no alcohol allowed policy and one does not want a policy at this time.  Another facility implemented a formal no alcohol allowed policy for part of the facility and a formal alcohol restrictions policy for the other part of the facility.  The coalition will continue to work with the four facilities who are or may be interested in establishing alcohol policies. 

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. Four towns have now stated that they are not interested in implementing Alcohol Restriction Ordinances at this time.  Another town believes that they do have written policies for their Ball Park and City Park and are checking into that.  One town is allowing the coalition to participate in a community event planning committee that will set policy for their community events and may allow a policy through this committee.  One town is still willing to discuss the possibility of a policy during a work session.  The coalition is now working to find ways to work with the towns that have said they are not interested in ordinances. 

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 all of the 7th grade students completed Level I of the curriculum and all but one of the 8th grade students completed Level II as the curriculum builds on the information provided each year. The 8th grade students were also able to complete an additional module that addressed prescription drug safety with the help of the Jefferson, Keokuk, Van Buren, and Washington Decategorization Board (Decat Board). For the 2018-19 school year the curriculum will be taught by a different teacher so, the coalition and school district with the help of the Decat Board are making sure the teacher is trained and ready for the new school year to implement the Life Skills program. 

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 summer of 2017 the campaign was also displayed in poster form at local convenience stores, the Keosauqua Pool, and at Lacey Keosauqua State Park.  The coalition members are currently working with local outlets again to have the posters displayed for youth to see during the summer of 2018. 

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 hosted one community conversation on June 7, 2018 to help educate community members 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.  The coalition will be hosting two additional community conversations on July 12, 2018 at 12:00 pm and August 8, 2018 at 6:00 pm at the Great Day Café.

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