Thursday, July 30, 2015

Iowa Partnership for Success Funds: Capacity

The SAFE Coalition is currently working on the Capacity phase of the IPFS (Iowa Partnership for Success) Grant. This requires the completion of a key document, the Capacity Workbook.

The Capacity Workbook requires the collection of information about the providers of prevention services in Van Buren County and how they do or do not work together.  Coalition members are working to collect the required information to complete this document and identify the work being done in the community related to underage drinking and underage binge drinking.  During this process the coalition also hopes to connect with other partners in the community to help build the capacity of the coalition to address underage drinking and underage binge drinking in Van Buren County. 

The next steps for the IPFS Grant will be to use the data collected during the assessment phase and the information from the capacity phase to identify local conditions and plan strategies to make community change.  For more information on the Partnership for Success funds you may contact the coalition office at 319-293-6412 or via email at

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Teens Selected to attend CADCA National Leadership Institute in Indianapolis, IN

Two Van Buren County Teens have been selected to attend the CADCA National Leadership Institute. This event is being held in Indianapolis, IN August 3rd-6th, 2015. Emily Jester (12th grade) and Cheyenne Schmitter (11th grade), both Van Buren High School students, were selected by a team of adult SAFE Coalition members who reviewed all applications submitted for the event. Their applications were rated the highest and they were given the honor of attending this year.

CADCA's NYLI Experience is built on the framework of the National Coalition Institute's National Coalition Academy. In these sessions, both youth and their adult advisers learn how to help community coalitions be more effective in producing community change. The NYLI Experience helps coalitions build their capacity to foster youth leadership in the design, implementation and evaluation of action strategies addressing community problems. In addition, this training builds the relationship between the youth leader and the adult coalition coach.

The participants learn about the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF), logic models, strategic planning, developing interventions, advocating for change, evaluation, and sustainability. The NYLI Experience is a CADCA workforce development strategy that teaches what is required to create and nurture the growth of committed leaders and their work within coalitions. It better equips youth and adults to develop an action plan that clearly defines the strategies that young leaders will carry out to address the problems and goals that the coalition is striving to affect.

It is an honor to be selected to attend this event. The coalition only sends two Van Buren County students each year based on applications of the YLC members. These teens should be commended for their hard work and dedication to their community! Congratulations Cheyenne and Emily! The adult coalition members attending with the girls this year will be Melissa Daugherty and Kris Rankin.

For more information on NYLI or the YLC Program please contact the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or

Emily Jester
Cheyenne Schmitter

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Drug Free Communities Funds Make a Difference & IPFS will Continue the Work: Underage Drinking is on the Decline

Kids these days: Maybe they’re actually doing better than we thought; or at least better than our own generations did as youths.  Here's why: A new report from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that both rates of underage drinking and underage binge drinking are on the decline.

The national study of people ages 12 to 20 found that between 2002 and 2013, underage drinking dropped from 28.8 percent in 2002 to 22.7 percent, while binge drinking fell from 19.3 to 14.2 percent for the same age group.  Binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks one occasion within the past month for males, and four or more for females.  "We haven’t seen a decrease of this size in quite a while," said Fran Harding, director of SAMHSA's Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, who noted that alcohol is the No. 1 most abused substance among youths ages 12 to 20, topping tobacco and illegal drug use.

Locally Van Buren County rates for 11th grade underage drinking went down from 47% in 2002 to 27% in 2014.  While binge drinking rates for 11th grade youth fell from 38% in 2002 to 15% in 2014.  Data obtained from the Iowa Youth Survey (IYS). 

Binge drinking is almost always linked to intoxication, which commonly leads to unwanted sexual advances, drunk driving, violence and other dangerous incidents, Harding said.  It also accounts for the deaths of approximately 5,000 young people per year.  "We’re celebrating these numbers," she said. "We believe that this all fits in with the movement that this is a healthier country to live in."

Harding credits the outcome to law enforcement crackdowns in addition to SAMSHA’s work educating parents, youth and communities on the dangers of alcohol, much of which has spread via social media. In recent years, SAMHSA has led campaigns aimed at giving parents tips and resources on how best to address the dangers of alcohol with their teens.  "Parents want their children to be safe," Harding said. "They don’t want their young person to drink, but they don’t know what to say."

Needless to say, there's room for improvement among all age groups. And SAMHSA hopes to see the underage drinking numbers continue to decline as well.  "We’re hoping that we’re not there yet,” Harding said. “We’re trying to bring that alcohol number down much farther than it already is."

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition will continue to address the problem of underage drinking locally with the receipt of the Iowa Partnership for Success Funds (IPFS).  These funds will be spent specifically to address underage and underage binge drinking. 

For more information on the work of the SAFE Coalition and underage drinking in Van Buren County please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or

Adapted from an article on June 26, 2015 by Cait Harrison

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Frozen in July: SAFE AND HEALTHY KIDS FAIR July 28th — 5:00 to 7:00 pm

The Child Abuse Prevention Council will be sponsoring the ninth annual “Safe and Healthy” Kids Fair. The event will take place on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 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 Frozen in July 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 home-schooled children will receive free school supplies. 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.  A raffle will also take place where prizes will be given away being donated by the various vendors. 

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 319-293-7157.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

This Fourth of July ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’

The Fourth of July is one of America’s favorite holidays. And why not? Families and friends gather to celebrate our country with food, parades, parties, picnics and fireworks.

And yet there is a very dark side to this great holiday. For many, the celebration includes alcohol, but the holiday quickly goes from festive to fatal when people choose to drive after drinking. From 2009-2013, nearly 40 percent of ALL traffic fatalities over the Fourth of July period occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. In 2013, Forbes magazine named the Independence Day holiday “the most dangerous holiday of the year.”  Over the Fourth of July holiday period in 2013 alone (6 p.m. July 3rd to 5:59 a.m. July 8th), there were 199 people killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes on our nation’s roads.

To crack down on drunk driving this Fourth of July, law enforcement will be out in full force, aggressively targeting those who put lives in danger.  Iowa is ramping up their enforcement to make our roads safer this Fourth of July.  For everyone’s sake, don’t drink and drive or you will be arrested. The ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign means zero tolerance for drunk driving—no excuses.”

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that 10,076 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in the United States in 2013—representing almost a third of all crash fatalities. By comparison, during the July Fourth period that year, 39 percent of all crash fatalities involved alcohol-impaired drivers.

In every state, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher, yet people continue to break the law and drive drunk. And the rate of high-BAC impaired driving is astounding. In fatal crashes during the July Fourth period in 2013, more than one-fifth (21%) of involved drivers or motorcycle operators had BACs of .15 or higher—almost twice the legal limit.

NHTSA data also reveals that 35 percent of young drivers (18 to 34 years old) were driving drunk (BAC of .08 or higher) in fatal crashes over the July Fourth period in 2013. Motorcycle operators are also over represented as the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers in fatal crashes. In 2013, more than one-quarter (27%) of motorcycle operators in fatal crashes had BACs of .08 or higher.  Drunk drivers are more common at night, too. Over the July 4th holiday in 2013, more than two fifths (42%) of the drivers in nighttime fatal crashes (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) were alcohol-impaired, as compared to 13 percent of drivers in fatal crashes during the day.

This Fourth of July holiday, you can show your patriotism by helping to make Van Buren County roads safer for everyone.  Remember to Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. It’s as simple as that.  Law enforcement is not messing around this Independence Day: if you’re caught driving drunk, you will be arrested. And keep in mind that aside from putting your life and the lives of others at risk, driving impaired can also lead to serious consequences. A DUI arrest can mean time in jail, loss of your license, and steep financial expenses; the average DUI costs about $10,000.

Simple tips to prevent drunk driving:
·         Plan a safe way home before the fun begins.
·         Before drinking, designate a sober driver.
·         If you’re impaired call a sober friend or family member.
·         If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office. 
·         If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take your friend’s keys and help your friend make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

For more information about the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, visit

Know the Facts about Boating & Drinking

Operating a Motorboat or Sailboat While Intoxicated –Boaters are reminded that alcohol reduces reaction time and the ability to make quick, sound judgments in an emergency situation. Also, wind, sun, glare off the water, and water movement multiplies the effects of alcohol.  The current blood alcohol level for boating while intoxicated (BWI) is .08 percent – the same as a motor vehicle as of July 2011. 

Operating a motorboat or sailboat while under the influence of alcohol (.08 alcohol level or higher), a controlled substance, or other illegal chemical is unlawful. For the purpose of BWI, "operating a motorboat" means the motorboat is powered by a motor that is running. For the purposes of BWI, "operating a sailboat" means the sailboat is either powered by a motor that is running or has sails hoisted and is underway. Operators who are impaired may be required to take tests by an enforcement officer to determine their sobriety. Anyone refusing to test will be charged a penalty.  All navigable waters in the state of Iowa will be subject to the new law, except farm ponds and privately owned lakes.

First Offense: A Serious Misdemeanor – A serious misdemeanor can result in the following punishments:
  • Imprisonment in county jail for at least 48 hours.
  • Assessment of a fine up to $1,000.
  • Loss of boat operating privileges for one year.
  • Assignment to a substance abuse evaluation and treatment, and a course for drinking drivers.
Second Offense: An Aggravated Misdemeanor – An aggravated misdemeanor can result in the following punishments:
  • Imprisonment in county jail or community-based correctional facility for at least seven days.
  • Assessment of a $1,500 to $5,000 fine.
  • Loss of boat operating privileges for two years.
  • Assignment to a substance abuse evaluation and treatment, and a course for drinking drivers.
Third Offense: A Class "D" Felony – A class "D" felony can result in the following punishments:
  • Imprisonment in the county jail for 30 days to one year.
  • Assessment of a $2,500 to $7,500 fine.
  • Loss of boat operating privileges for six years.
  • Assignment to a substance abuse evaluation and treatment, and a course for drinking drivers.
Consequences of Refusing to Test – Refusing to submit to a breath or chemical test can result in a $500 fine and a one year suspension of boat operating privileges. If the offender, during the second offense, refuses to submit to a test, a $1,000 fine will be assigned plus suspension of boat operating privileges. Third-time offenders will receive a $2,000 fine and suspension of boat operating privileges. 

Questions & Answers
Can I drink alcohol on the boat?  Yes, consuming alcohol is permissible on the boat, but remember the operator is not to be under the influence.

Will a boating while intoxicated (BWI) offense affect my driver's license?  No, a boating while intoxicated (BWI) offense will not be transferred to your automobile driving records.

How much alcohol can I consume to be considered legally drunk?  That depends on the individual. Use extra precaution while drinking on the boat because sun, wind and movement can quickly amplify the effects of alcohol and disorient the operator or passengers.

The information for this article came from the Iowa DNR website. 
For more information contact Iowa Department of Natural Resources at 515-281-5918 or at