Thursday, December 18, 2014


Teenagers from the Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council (YLC) have joined forces with other teens and scientists across the United States as part of “National Drug Facts Week” (NDFW).  The week-long health observance, organized by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, takes place Monday, January 26th through Sunday, February 1st.  NDFW celebrates the inquisitive minds of teens by giving them a space (virtual or physical) to ask questions about drugs and to get scientific answers from experts.  As part of the NDFW celebration, the Harmony Community Schools YLC students have a variety of     activities planned that will occur in the High School, the Elementary School and the community.  The Van Buren Community Schools YLC students will also be participating and are currently planning their events. 

About a third of high school seniors across the country report using an illicit drug sometime in the past year, and more than ten percent report non-medical use of a narcotic painkiller.  While drugs can put a teenager’s health and life in jeopardy, many teens are not aware of the risks. Even for those teens who do not abuse drugs, many have friends or family who do, and they are often looking for ways to help them. 

We want teens to have the opportunity to learn what science has taught us about drug abuse and addiction.  There are so many myths about drugs cluttering our popular culture.  National Drug Facts Week is for teens to get honest answers about drugs so they can make good, informed decisions for themselves and share accurate information with friends.

Van Buren County YLC Members are active all year long working to prevent substance abuse in Van Buren County especially with their peers and younger children.  For more information on YLC please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or at  Please also check out the Coalition website at for information on YLC or about how to help prevent substance abuse in Van Buren County.  

How Are You Getting Home this New Year’s Eve? The SAFE Coalition Urges Drivers: Make a Sober Plan.

Drunk driving has become a national epidemic. Each year, drunk-driving crashes kill more than 10,000 people in America. The SAFE Coalition is working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) this holiday season, to reach out to all drivers with an important message about this deadly, preventable crime because Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

Let’s say you go to a New Year’s party, you stay a few hours and have a few drinks. When it’s time to go, you think to yourself, “I’m fine to drive. I’ve only had a few drinks, and I barely feel buzzed.” You get in your car and drive toward home.  This act places you at risk of facing the consequences of drunk driving.  Buzzed driving places you and others on the road in danger of a crash; or worse, death.   Designate a sober driver.

Unfortunately, this scenario is all too realistic. Many people wrongly believe there’s a magic number of drinks or hours that determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).  But it’s different for every person. Many factors go into the effect alcohol has on your body. Everywhere in our country, it’s illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher. A major misconception is that you have to be stumbling around drunk to be over that limit. For many people, it doesn’t take much alcohol to be too impaired for driving. NHTSA and the SAFE Coalition are hoping to change the way people think about drinking and driving, and help everyone realize that there’s no safe amount of alcohol for any driver.

Drivers convicted of DUI have many excuses, but the reality they all have in common is this: they didn’t plan ahead.  Designating a sober driver ahead of time is the only fool-proof way to avoid the dangers of drunk driving. If you wait until you’ve been drinking to gauge your level of impairment, it’s already too late.  You might tell yourself and others that you’re “okay to drive” when you’re not. Even one drink can impair your judgment and reaction time enough to cause you to overestimate your own abilities as a driver.

So next time you’re going to drink, do us all a favor and make a plan. Some simple ideas: leave your keys at home or give them to a friend; designate a sober driver who isn’t drinking at all; tell others your intentions about driving and stick to the plan; and most importantly—once you’ve had anything to drink, do not drive. Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving, so make the choice: are you drinking tonight or are you driving?

Drunk driving is never the right choice, no matter what. Even if you didn’t plan ahead, there’s always another way home. You could call a friend or family member to pick you up; and if you’re worried about leaving your car somewhere overnight, think about the alternative: a DUI costs about $10,000.

Please remember to stay safe by driving sober or by designating a sober driver this New Year’s Eve.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

You Choose: Drink OR Drive - Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving

The holiday season is right around the corner. As Americans prepare for festivities with family and friends, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants to remind all drivers that it’s dangerous to drive after drinking. You have to choose your role before drinking begins: will you drink or will you drive? Remember, even if you only have a little bit to drink and think you’re “okay to drive,” you could still be over the legal limit, because Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

A lot of folks think they know their own limits. They think that if they’re just a little ‘buzzed,’ then they’re still good to drive. This couldn't be further from the truth. Time and again, drivers who may have only had a couple of drinks put themselves and others at serious risk.  Driving with any alcohol in your system can be dangerous.

In every state in the country, it’s illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher. And for some people, it doesn't take much to reach that level. We really want all Van Buren County drivers to understand that you don’t have to be falling-down drunk to be too impaired to drive. That’s why the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition is working with NHTSA to spread the message: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

This anti-drunk-driving campaign aims to inform all Americans about the dangers of driving after drinking—even after drinking just a little. Drunk driving has become a terrible killer on our nation’s roads. Every year, more than 10,322 people are killed by drunk drivers in America. This time of year is especially dangerous due to holiday celebrations and frequent parties. In December 2012 alone, there were 830 people killed in crashes involving at least one drunk driver or motorcycle operator. On average, a third (31%) of all crash fatalities in America involves drunk driving.  

So this holiday season, NHTSA urges you to plan ahead: designate a sober driver. If you plan on drinking at all, don’t plan on driving. Don’t just assume that you’ll know whether you can safely drive or not at the end of the night.

Van Buren County drivers, please remember these tips to avoid a DUI and keep our roads safe: 

Even one drink can impair your judgment and reaction time and increase the risk of getting arrested for         driving drunk or having a crash. 
If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving.  Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party             begins. 
When you know you’ll be drinking, leave your keys at home or give them to someone else.
If you have been drinking, do not drive—even a short distance. Call a sober friend or family member.
Remember, it is never okay to drive after drinking. Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

For more information, visit

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Van Buren County YLC News

Kaylee Stockwell, Mekenzie Rodibaugh,
Sarah Thornsberry and Tempis Rysdam
with the tree they decorated for the
Festival of Trees for the YLC Group 
Chase Murphy, Tristan Sample,
Emily Housh and Makinzie Fields
decorating the tree in the Keosauqua
Park for Christmas for the YLC Group
Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council Members have been busy this holiday season. The students chose to again take part in helping to make the season a little brighter for the community. High school YLC members spent a cold morning decorating the Christmas Tree that is in the Keosauqua City Park. This is a project they look forward to every year as it provides a festive look to the town as visitors approach from the bridge. The members that assisted with the decorating this year were; Tristan Sample, Chase Murphy, Emily Housh and Makinzie Fields. YLC members also decorated a tree for the Lions Club Festival of Trees event. The students like to be able to give back to the community that has provided so much for them and they feel this is one way they can do so. They received donated ornaments and lights for the tree and choose a day to go out and decorate the tree according to the theme. They put a lot of work into the tree so that it looks great and brings a high bid for the auction. The money raised from this event goes to the Christmas for Kids program in Van Buren County and any contribution they can make to support the cause is great! The students who assisted with the tree decorating this year were; Kaylee Stockwell, Mekenzie Rodibaugh, Tempis Rysdam, and Sarah Thornsberry.

YLC members are also working to raise money this year for new YLC t-shirts in order to do this they will be holding a variety of fundraisers throughout the year. The first one they participated in was working at the high school basketball game on December 3rd in the concession stand. The YLC members look forward to getting shirts so they are recognizable in the community as they participate in their project and activities.

YLC members will be gearing up for spring activities soon where they participate in National Drug Facts Week, Kick Butts Day and Alcohol Awareness Month. Be watching for these students out in the community!

For more information on Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council or any of their activities you may contact the office at 319-293-6412 or via email at You can also find out information about YLC on their website: or on Facebook: Van Buren YLC Chapter.