Thursday, May 30, 2013


I-STEP (Iowa Students for Tobacco Education and Prevention) was created in 2011 by Iowa students to empower the youth of Iowa who have been affected by tobacco use.  I-STEP members, youth from middle schools and highs schools all over Iowa, have participated in community events such as the Great American Smokeout, Through with Chew Week and Kick Butts Day.  The group strives to be a youth-led organization dedicated to magnifying youth voices with tobacco prevention message.  

The I-STEP 2013 Summit “The Choice is Yours” is planned for June 12th, 2013 at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny, Iowa.  This will be a day filled with great speakers, youth movement planning, a dance, candle light vigil and much more!  The summit is free and open to any youth between the ages of 12 and 24 years of age.  Transportation is being offered with pick up locations across the state.  For more information about the summit or to register for the event by going to
Van Buren County youth are represented at this event each year. Drew Nolting and Cassie Johnson are both members of the I-STEP executive council and assist with the planning, preparation and presentations at the event. Each year at this event the I-STEP organization elects executive council members, any students interested in being a part of I-STEP at the state level can apply for a position on the council. Council members are able to bring statewide information back to the local communities and implement strategies with all Youth Leadership Council Members.

For more information on I-STEP you may contact the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or You can also check out I-STEP and the SAFE Coalition on Facebook.

Friday, May 24, 2013

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 SAFE Coalition on Facebook!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Merchant Services

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition offers a variety of services for merchants who serve and sell alcohol in Van Buren County. It is our goal to help reduce youth access to alcohol by assisting businesses in ensuring they have the proper licenses and are following Iowa regulations. This is best accomplished by Merchant Alcohol Trainings offered by the SAFE Coalition each month. Merchant trainings are scheduled for May, June and July so if you haven’t been trained we encourage you to attend one of the upcoming training opportunities.
May Trainings:
May 21st 6pm- Roberts Memorial Building
May 22nd 9am- Roberts Memorial Building
June 19th 9am and 6pm- Roberts Memorial Building
July 23rd 9am and 6pm- Roberts Memorial Building
RSVP is required for the above trainings. Please contact the coalition at 319-293-6412 to register.
RAGBRAI Assistance
The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition along with the Iowa Alcoholic and Beverages Division will be hosting an information session in Keosauqua. This meeting will be intended for local authorities; local licensees and vendors who plan to sell or serve alcohol along the RAGBRAI route as they make their way through Van Buren County in July.
The meeting will cover:
· Five day licenses
· Outdoor Service Areas
· License Transfers
· Brand Name and Logo Advertising
· Purchasing from a Wholesaler
· Bringing Alcoholic Beverages into a Licensed Premise
· Infusing
· General Law and Regulations
Iowa Alcoholic Beverage Division will be available to answer any questions about the sale and service of alcohol on the route.
Meeting Information:
Wednesday, May 29th
Van Buren County Hospital– Community Services Room

RSVP is required for this meeting. You may contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or or to ABD directly at or 515-281-7414

Local Businesses are Advertising Well!

As the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition continues efforts to enhance the quality of life through a safer community, it is looking closely at environmental changes that can reduce underage drinking.  Because local businesses sell alcohol beverages, they undoubtedly share the goal of the coalition to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors.

Members of the coalition have received training about these environmental prevention strategies through the Youth Leadership Institute (communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol, or CMCA, training).  They learned that evidence shows a minor’s likelihood of drinking is impacted not only by the availability of alcohol, but by more subtle factors such as the number of an establishments alcohol ads both inside and out, placement of those ads, placement of alcohol, regularity of I.D. checks, special promotions and age requirement signage.

The SAFE Coalition designed an evaluation instrument to measure the advertising in local alcohol retailers, all retailers in the county are scanned each spring.  In the spring of 2013, they graded nine establishments with liquor licenses in Van Buren County and the results reveal some great news:
o       Boyd Grocery and Casey’s both received overall grades of A! 
o       Six of the establishments received a grade of B or higher for their overall grade.
o       All nine of the establishments received a grade of B or higher for Alcohol Advertising.
o       Seven of the establishments received a grade of B or higher for Tobacco Advertising.
o       Six of the establishments had signage regarding age requirements for buying/ordering alcohol and the subsequent penalties.
o       All nine businesses improved or maintained their overall grade from the 2012 evaluation. 

The SAFE Coalition sent each business their results from the 2013 evaluations, and a list of strategies establishments can employ to reduce underage drinking.  They also encouraged the businesses to review the strategies they are already using.  The coalition can help implement new strategies to support establishment’s current ones. 

Working together, we can have a positive effect on reducing underage drinking and promoting a healthy community.  For more information on these evaluations or on the SAFE Coalition please contact us at 319-293-6412 or at  You can also see what kind of work the coalition is doing online at the website: or on Facebook: Van Buren County SAFE Coalition.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Graduation 2013!

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition has found 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 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 319-293-6412 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!

National Prevention Week

National Prevention Week is a SAMHSA-supported annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues. This observance is an opportunity to join with other individuals, organizations, and coalitions in your community to promote prevention efforts, educate others about behavioral health issues, and create and strengthen community partnerships.
National Prevention Week 2013 will take place May 12-18, 2013. Sign and share the "Prevention Pledge" on SAMHSA’s Facebook page to make a difference and commit to a healthy lifestyle. This year's theme, "Your voice. Your choice. Make a difference." emphasizes that the prevention of substance abuse and promotion of mental health starts with the choices each of us makes in our own life. Through our choices, we can set an example of health and well-being for others. With our voices—whether spoken or written—we can raise awareness of behavioral health issues and help create healthier and safer communities.
The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition will be promoting prevention week through their Facebook page next week. If you haven’t liked their page do so today to get the most updated information about things you can do to set an example in your community. The theme for National Prevention Week is “Your Voice. Your Choice. Make a Difference.” You can get involved in National Prevention week in a variety of ways:
1.      Join the SAFE Coalition to address prevention in your community.
2.      Check out the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition Facebook page for prevention topics each day next week. Each of these topics will highlight ways you can get involved!
3.      Follow National Prevention Week on Facebook or Twitter to get updated information on activities happening across the United States to address prevention.

Each day during National Prevention Week 2013 has a suggested theme they are as follows:
Sunday, May 12th                     Prevention and Cessation of Tobacco Use
Monday, May 13th                   Prevention of Underage Drinking
Tuesday, May 14th                   Prevention of Prescription Drug and Illicit Drug Use
Wednesday, May 15th              Prevention of Alcohol Abuse
Thursday, May 16th                  Suicide Prevention
Friday, May 17th                      Promotion of mental, emotional and behavioral well being
Get involved today and don’t forget: Your Voice. Your Choice. Make a Difference!
For more information on Prevention Week check out the website at: or visit the SAFE Coalition website for local resources: You may contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or

Friday, May 3, 2013

Van Buren County Sherriff’s Reserve Drug Take Back Day

All of us who are passionate about reducing drug abuse cannot ignore the growing dangers of prescription drug abuse, particularly among teens and young adults. Often abusers are getting prescription drugs from friends and family, particularly from home medicine cabinets that provide easy access, which leads to accidents and the illegal sale of these drugs.

One important step we can take right now is to make sure we safely and securely dispose of unused, unneeded and expired medications.  On Saturday, April 27th, the Van Buren County Sherriff’s Reserve and Van Buren County SAFE Coalition sponsored a National Drug Take-Back Day at the Keosauqua Senior Center.  At the Take-Back Day 24 pounds of prescription medication were collected by the Van Buren Sherriff’s Reserve Officers!  Nationally 742,497 lbs (371 tons) of prescription medication were collected! 

Four days after the first event of this type, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them.  The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances.  DEA is drafting regulations to implement the Act.  Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies like the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Reserve and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.

You do not have to wait for a Drug Take Back event to dispose of your medication.  Lee Pharmacy in Keosauqua accepts the return of prescription medications (excluding controlled substances) during their regular hours at their pharmacy counter.

If you would like to know more about the Prescription Drug Take Back Days or Prescription Drug Abuse please find additional details at the following link: or contact the SAFE Coalition office at 319-293-6412 or at