Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

March 18, 2014

Coalition gains another grant

Debbie Blank The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — More funding will flow to the Coalition for a Drug-Free Batesville, members learned March 10.

Officials at the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration Division of Mental Health and Addiction, which provided a $30,755 grant for the AlcoholEdu® for High School program, informed CDFB coordinator Kim Linkel more dollars were available. She applied and learned the coalition will receive an extra $33,000 one-year grant effective July 1 and renewable for two years.

Linkel said the dollars will be used to start the Batesville Middle School sixth-grade reading curriculum on the book “Bounce” by Chad Varga; coalition awareness activities, such as August’s National Night Out plus probably one more; trainings; mileage expenses; leadership funds for the Mayor’s Youth Council and Choices Program; evaluation system; 40 developmental assets materials; and the coordinator’s salary.

Dr. Jim Roberts, Batesville Community School Corp. superintendent, suggested planning an end-of-the-school-year activity to urge kids to stay drug free over the summer. Mayor Rick Fledderman, who co-chairs CDFB with Police Chief Stan Holt, said perhaps a movie at the Gibson Theatre could be sponsored. Melinda Brown, executive director of Stayin’ Alive, the Franklin County Local Coordinating Council, advised, “When you do come into some money, make sure whatever activities are chosen” are in compliance with the coalition’s mission and goals.

Oldenburg Academy President Diane Laake said, “We have a few technical issues, which we think we have resolved,” with the new AlcoholEdu® for High School online program, created by EverFi, Washington, D.C. She reported, “Losing 12 days (of school due to poor weather), most in one quarter, has been a little stressful academically. We will have it completed by the end of the year, but not as timely as we thought we would have.”

Batesville High School associate principal Brad Stoneking said the technical problems were on the company’s end and have been fixed. After a letter is sent to parents and guardians, students will finish the mandatory noncredit class after spring break.

Two surveys, one for students and the other for adults, also were discussed at the meeting.

Two weeks ago, BHS students took the annual Indiana Prevention and Resource Center Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Survey. Answering the questions online “worked out well,” according to Stoneking. OA students completed the survey that afternoon.

St. Louis School students in grades 6-8 also will take the survey. “That’s going to be a first,” pointed out the coordinator. With BMS students involved as well, this spring will be the first time information about underage alcohol and drug use of all Batesville area students in grades 6-12 will be compiled.

Stoneking observed with recreational marijuana legal in Colorado and Washington, students are talking about why marijuana should and shouldn’t be legalized here. “It’s a debatable topic.” Health and physical education teacher Connie Dickman told him “‘I can give them the facts’” and point out marijuana can be a gateway drug to more serious illegal substances.

Linkel admitted, “I was a little disappointed” 429 citizens responded to the coalition’s Community Perception Survey, which closed in mid-February, lower than 780 who answered in 2013. One positive: A new question asked if the person is interested in being involved in CDFB. “We had 41” respond. “I was very shocked. We can work on reaching out to them. We had discussed doing some (night) parent sessions,” for citizens who cannot attend coalition meetings, which take place on the first Monday from 11 a.m.-noon in the Memorial Building’s third floor conference room. All meetings are open to the public.

One question asked, “What do you suggest the CDFB focus should be in addressing alcohol and substance abuse?” There were 195 comments. Survey results will be analyzed, then disclosed soon.

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.

Positive influences • Choices Program director and CDFB member Cindy Blessing has scheduled two upcoming events. Over 100 Ripley County seventh- and eighth-graders will attend a Middle School Youth Summit at BHS March 18 and BMS and BHS students will listen to youth leadership speaker Ted Wiese discuss making good choices April 3.