Thursday, June 23, 2016

This Fourth of July, There’s No Excuse— “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”

Every year Americans head out on our nation’s highways to celebrate the Fourth of July at picnics, parties, parades and more.  Unfortunately, for many, the celebrating includes drinking alcohol, which too often leads to drunk driving on one of the most heavily traveled holidays of the year.

There were 397 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2014 over the Fourth of July holiday (6 p.m. July 3rd to 5:59 a.m. July 7th). Of those fatalities, 164 people (41%) were killed in crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher.  In 2014, 9,967 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes nationwide—almost a third of all crash fatalities.  And from 2010-2014, 39 percent of all traffic fatalities over the Fourth of July period occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes.  In every state and the District of Columbia, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher. Yet, among the 164 people killed in drunk-driving crashes over the 2014 July Fourth period, 113 people died in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a BAC of .15 or higher—almost twice the set limit.

This Fourth of July, law enforcement will be out in full force, cracking down on drunk drivers by aggressively targeting those who put lives in danger.  Don’t even think about drinking and driving this Fourth of July, or you will be arrested. The ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign means zero tolerance for drunk driving—no excuses.

NHTSA data shows that young drivers are especially at risk of driving drunk. In fact, 58 percent of the drivers 18 to 34 years old who were killed over the July Fourth period in 2014 were driving drunk (BAC of .08 or higher). Motorcycle operators are also overrepresented as the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers in fatal crashes. In 2014, more than a quarter (29%) of motorcycle operators in fatal crashes had BACs of .08 or higher.  Drunk drivers are also more common at night. Over the July Fourth holiday in 2014, more than two-fifths (42%) of the drivers in nighttime (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) fatal crashes were alcohol-impaired, compared to 12 percent of drivers in fatal crashes during the day.

If you’re caught driving drunk this Independence Day, you will be arrested. The consequences of drunk driving are that serious. Not only could you put your life and the lives of others at risk, but a DUI arrest means a loss of freedom and money, including going to jail, losing your license, and paying steep financial expenses. The average DUI cost? About $10,000.

This Fourth of July, don’t risk losing your life or your independence by drinking and driving. Help make everyone’s holiday in Van Buren County safer by driving sober.  Remember there’s no excuse—Drive Sober or Get Pulled OverThe SAFE Coalition recommends these safe alternatives to drinking and driving.
·         Plan a safe way home before the fun begins.
·         Designate a sober driver to get home safely.
·         Call a friend or family member for a ride if you have been drinking. 
·         If you see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office. 
·         If you know people who are about to drive or ride after drinking, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

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

Thursday, June 16, 2016

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, the wind, the 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 another 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 the 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

Monday, June 13, 2016

Adventureland Tickets

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition has discounted tickets for Adventureland.  The cost per ticket is $22.  The tickets are now good any day until June 30, 2016.  This is due to the inability of the park to open during the first Substance Free weekend due to inclement weather.  These tickets to Adventureland are to increase awareness of Drug Prevention Programs in the state of Iowa.    

This Substance Free event is a great way to spend a fun filled day with family and friends.  You may purchase these tickets for your entire family while supplies last.  Admission will not be available at this price at Adventureland during this event.  If you are interested in going to Adventureland between now and June 30th please contact the SAFE Coalition by phone at 319-293-6412.  

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Dads, could your kids be at risk for substance abuse?

Families strive to find the best ways to raise their children to live happy, healthy and productive lives.  Parents are often concerned about whether their children will start or are already using drugs such as tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and others, including the abuse of prescription drugs.  Research supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has shown the important role that parents play in preventing their children from starting to use drugs.

These five questions, developed by the Child and Family Center at the University of Oregon, highlight skills that are important in preventing the initiation and progression of drug use among youth.  For each question, there is a video clip online at that shows positive and negative examples of the skill and additional videos and information are provided to help you practice.  
  1. Are you able to communicate calmly and clearly with your teenager regarding relationship problems?
  2. Do you encourage positive behaviors in your teenager on a daily basis?
  3. Are you able to negotiate emotional conflicts with your teenager and work toward a solution?
  4. Are you able to calmly set limits when your teenager is defiant or disrespectful? Are you able to set limits on more serious problem behavior such as drug use, if or when it occurs?
  5. Do you monitor your teenager to assure that they do not spend too much unsupervised time with peers?
For more information on talking to your teens about substance abuse please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or by email at  For other resources please check out the coalition’s website at or on Facebook – Van Buren County SAFE Coalition or on the coalition’s blog at

Article and data provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse Website

  1. Dishion, T.J.; Nelson, N.E.; Kavanagh, K. The Family Check-Up with high-risk young adolescents: Preventing early-onset substance use by parent monitoring. Behavior Therapy 34: 553-571, 2003.
  2. Dishion,T.J.; Kavanagh, K.;  Schneiger, A.;  Nelson, S.; Kaufman, N.K. Preventing early adolescent substance use: A family-centered strategy for the public middle school. Prevention Science 3 (3): 191-201, 2002.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

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!