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NEWSLETTER: IN THE LOOP / MAY
In memory of Ray Priest, panel speaker/volunteer, whose daughter Chrissy died in a DUI crash in 1995 just after graduating from OHHS. After a long distinguished career with the U.S. Marine Corps, Ray retired as a Lieutenant Colonel, his last command CO of VMFA 323. He continued his love of flying with UPS. He had a special connect with personnel at NAS Whidbey panels. We miss you Ray.
May 13: At the Oak Harbor Park Board, a council member’s suggestion to allow alcohol in City parks was discussed at great length, both FOR and AGAINST. The OHPB is waiting to hear from the public before they decide whether to approve or not. If approved, it then goes to the City, and most of them support it I’m told. If you DO NOT want the ordinance “eased” please let the park board know by emailing The OHPB president Helen Chatfield-Weeks: email@example.com
OH Park Mgr Hank Nydam: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is the AGAINST:
Thank you for inviting me here today. My understanding from the newspaper last Wed. and Councilmember Hizon’s email to me last Thursday – and please correct me if I’m wrong:
There is currently a proposal to ease restrictions on alcohol in our city parks which would allow beer gardens, wine-tasting, and such on a permit only basis within a designated, fenced-in area. People will have their IDs checked at the entrance and can only be served alcohol by licensed bartenders as stated at the meeting.
I further understand, according to the article, several council members said allowing alcohol in this manner would ‘add to special events.’ Let me state for the record, I’m not against alcohol for those legally old enough to drink it. I’m Italian, I like my amaretto and my wine. And I have worked in the field of DUI / Underage Drinking & Other Substance Abuse for over 20 years.
As the director of an organization that’s mission is to deter driving under the influence and underage drinking in our communities through education and awareness, along with our board of directors, we believe the City of Oak Harbor decades ago had several good reasons for banning alcohol in our parks. They were most likely the same reasons given during the public outcry in 1997 when the ordinance was changed by the City. You see, there was very little notice that was to happen. Then… the ordinance was reversed. Public outcry, it was reversed back. Now it is to be “eased.” This is like bad déjà booze. Easing the ordinance opens the door to the problems which are:
1. First, and foremost, it sends the message to our youth that ‘things go better with booze.’ And remember: the City is an IDIPIC Partner in Prevention. Even with trained servers and police enforcing the rules, you cannot be sure there won’t be youth sneaking drinks. Nor people drinking their allotted number of drinks and possibly others.’
2. Next, when it’s said ‘it adds to special events,’ those of us who drink know what it adds: feelings of warmth and relaxation. One drink – which is any beverage with ½ ounce alcohol – can bring a person to .02 BAC. This can result in some loss of judgment. At this level tests have also shown that drivers experience a decline in visual functions, with a lessening of peripheral vision and the ability to track a moving object. These changes may be very subtle and barely noticable to the person who has had only one drink, let alone noticeable to anyone else, but in an emergency situation, such loss of judgment and reaction, though slight, could cause the driver to not have full control of the vehicle. Therefore it’s simply not a wise choice to get behind the wheel no matter how little one has had to drink.
3. Regarding alcohol served in a Seattle park and quote “there were no problems.” Because there were no disturbances, no fights, no beer brawls? How do you know if anyone drove under the influence? The sad fact is this: most people who DUI don’t get caught; only about 1 in 100. And speaking of Seattle, after the festivities there you can hop on a bus day or night Monday through Sunday. Here you can’t. Here, most people will get in their cars and drive home.
4. As for other “successful” festivals which include alcohol, whether here or elsewhere, the past cannot predict the future. The Hindenburg comes to mind – 76th Anniversary May 6th — it had 30 successful transatlantic crossings–
You can have dozens of such events, and the added profits having alcohol will help to bring in. But that will matter not if someone is injured or killed due to an impaired driver.
5. Finally: in restaurants, bars, in their own homes, people are “personally accountable” if they DUI. With the City approving alcohol in parks, it gives a stamp of approval. And while people are still personally accountable if they DUI, by NOT allowing alcohol in the parks, the City is removing if not its liability, then its culpability. The City is then exhibiting “social accountability:” doing what is best for its citizens. More importantly, it is removing any possibility that by its permission a festival-goer will injure or kill someone by driving impaired.
Public safety should be the City’s highest priority. If what I have shared with you is not enough to keep this from going further, I strongly urge you to loudly ask for public input so that the many can decide if this is actually wanted, not the few. Thank you.
Sources: The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Century Council, among others.
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So PLEASE whether FOR or AGAINST, and as per above, we hope AGAINST, let your voice be heard!!! Contact Helen and Hank and Ms. Hizon, who is pushing the proposal: email@example.com. She’s into social media and is taking input on her Facebook page as well where she is getting LOTS of approval for her idea.
IN FACT, the board was considering if that feedback was enough when I said NO! Not everyone uses Facebook, especially some older folks. I asked the board to PLEASE put out the word via the newspaper, etc.
So it’s up to the public now to decide.
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This didn’t make it the papers:
Prom time: most teens live for, some teens die for
By JoAnn Hellmann
Reading in your recliner you begin to nod. You look up at the clock and sigh. It’s nearing midnight and normally you would be in bed by now but you had wanted to wait for your teenager to get home from the prom. However, it’s been a long, long day. And not a very good one: a too-early meeting with disgruntled volunteers followed by one crisis after another at work topped off with a fender bender as you exited the parking lot of the supermarket.
You close your eyes…and then, an instant later it seems, jerk awake. But your momentary repose it turns out was actually twenty minutes of snooze. Knowing most likely your progeny won’t be home until the wee hours, you reluctantly decide to go to bed.
The day’s problems drift away as you sink into your pillow, and almost as quickly sink into sleep. You feel a smile on your face. But just then…you are yanked back to full consciousness by the doorbell ringing, ringing, rrrrrrrrrrringing.
Grumbling, you go to the closet. Another night of “ Sorry! Forgot my key!” Fumbling for your robe you turn and stub your toe on the foot of the bed. Now limping you nearly trip going down the stairs. By the time you get to the front door, you’re fuming, all set to read the riot act to your teenager. You pull the door open and find not the object of your disaffection but a police officer. And with him your minister. Your anger blows out like a candle as your heart falls to your feet.
This scenario unfortunately plays out year after year in different towns and cities across America. And our communities are not immune to it. Prom night and graduation parties represent a high-risk time for young people and parents had better come prepared. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that at age 16, which is the highest risk age for drivers, 48% of deaths were passengers and slightly more 16-year-old females were killed as passengers than as drivers.
More females will be a passenger of a male teen driver on prom night than any other time of the year across North America. Speeding, multiple passengers and driving between 12:00 am and 3:00 am mixed with alcohol represents the deadliest combination of factors and is the prime recipe for car crashes.
In a recent survey commissioned by The Century Council, teens were asked: “Where do you get the alcohol that you drink?” 65% of the youth surveyed said that they got it from family and friends: their parents, their friends’ parents, older siblings or family members or older friends, with or without permission.
Some parents feel drinking alcohol is a “rite of passage” for their soon-to-be adult teens. That was the very phrase used by a parent several years ago explaining why she allowed her son to attend a hidden graduation party deep in the woods. She felt the adult-planned celebration had adequate safety controls, such as collecting car keys and setting up tents for party-goers to snooze off the effects of the booze. A safer alternative it seemed to her and other parents than the probability of their kid being out on their own with intoxicated friends.
This may be a caring mother but sadly a misguided one. Luckily her son or any other teen that night did not drink to the point of dying quietly of alcohol poisoning in his or her tent. Or in a drunken stupor vomiting in their sleep and dying a la Jimi Hendrix. Or rolling over on a broken beer bottle and bleeding to death. Or sneaking the duplicate key out of their shoe and going for a wild ride with friends.
Truly this “rite of passage” is more an invitation to clouded judgment, limited control and consequences that can last a lifetime…or end one. That’s because research shows a young person’s brain continues to develop into their twenties. The younger you are, the more capacity you have for memory and learning. Young people who drink may be powerfully impairing these abilities, and short-changing their brain’s potential.
Teen-agers may smirk, shrug their shoulders and act angry at parental intrusion into their lives and prom plans, but deep down they want to know someone is concerned, someone cares and someone will be available to help if they get into trouble.
Parents who intervene can help prevent many of the problems that spring from proms, especially impaired driving. Prevention is the key. Be frank, tactful and respectful, but let your teens know specifically how you expect them to act on prom night.
Establish rules. Make sure your teens know you will not tolerate alcohol/drug use or their attendance at unsupervised parties. Set a curfew.
Establish consequences for breaking rules. If rules are broken, make sure the penalties are enforced, swift and sure.
Don’t rent hotel rooms. Or stock the bar. Or leave your teens in dangerous situations. Agree to pick up your teen, no questions asked, if he or she calls and needs a ride home from any situation.
Know who your teen will be with, including the friends of your teen’s date. Talk to the parents of other teens and make sure you all agree beforehand to the same rules and consequences.
Take advantage of supervised, all-night after-prom parties and activities that may be sponsored by your teen’s school. The goal is to let teens have fun in supervised, risk-free activities and locations.
Remember, the prom is only one night a year. To be really safe, parents must concern themselves with teen driver safety 365 days a year. Safe driving doesn’t take a holiday.
Most high school students eagerly await prom night. So many details and decisions! Tuxedos to be sized, special gowns sought after, flowers ordered, cars waxed, and the perfect pair of shoes selected. Unfortunately, after the prom, some teens don’t come home. And their parents are left to attend to the saddest details and decisions they’ll ever make.
Parents may not think they have great influence in their older children but they still do. And they can use it to help their prom-goers have memories of a lifetime, and not to become a memory.
The City of Oak Harbor may allow alcohol in city parks? Here we go again! See Page 5 HERE. AND STAY TUNED!
Annual Appreciation Luncheon for our Partners in Prevention. If you or your agency, business, organization or other group has helped IDIPIC in its mission in the past year, you should have gotten your e-vite to attend Tuesday, May 28 at the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge (behind Flyers) starting 11:30 a.m. Please be sure to RSVP by May 20. This will also be the kickoff event for KISS!
Let’s KISS: Keep It a Safe Summer! IDIPIC’s answer to the 100 Deadly Days of Summer (Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day). We’re doing a series of awareness displays and events in town and on the base which include displays at the Oak Harbor Senior Center, the Oak Harbor Library, South Whidbey High School, and at the base safety fair. Also, feature articles in the local media.
KISS Collection Tubes: Please contact IDIPIC at 672-8219 or idipic AT idipic DOT org by May 20 if your business would like to be a Partner in Prevention and place one of these on your counter during the summer:
Thank you to these businesses
that have already said yes:
Oak Harbor Sears
Lotus Tea Bar & Studio
The Greenhouse Florist & Nursery
State Farm – Landry Agency
Martin’s Automotive Services
Pioneer Automotive Services
DO YOU KNOW?
Our state is considering new DUI bills? Here’s Rep. Hayes reply to my appeal on IDIPIC’s Facebook page. (Go there and scroll down to April 7 to read what I wrote.. It begins “As the director of the Impaired Driving Impact Panel of Island County and the sister of a DUI fatality victim, I am ashamed, appalled and angered…” Let YOUR VOICE be heard as well:
NASWI NEWS We have a FULL HOUSE scheduled at IDIPIC’s 22MAY base panel for NIOC, NOPF, VAQ-132, NASWI, TSCOMM, CVWP, SARP and some FRCNW. June’s panel (the 4th, seating 1245) has already been scheduled by NHOH and the rest of NASW but there’s room for more. Contact JoAnn at 672-8218 or email idipic AT idipic DOT org to reserve seating for your command ASAP. July’s panel has yet to be reserved. Panel details HERE.
PANELS for May are: the 4th in Freeland and the 11th AND 30th in Oak Harbor. To check out future panel dates, check the schedule HERE. Looking for panels in other counties? Check HERE.
PARTNERS IN PREVENTION Welcome Back to Partners in Prevention Soroptimist International of South Whidbey, and, to date, Keep It a Safe Summer sponsors State Farm/Landry Agency, Tradewinds Insurance and Harada Physical Therapy. Your agency, business, church, organization or other group can be a Partner by donating services, items, time and/or funding. See IDIPIC’s many Partners in Prevention HERE.
SCHOOL REPORT IDIPIC presented its Th!nk, Don’t Drink, Drug & Drive class April 3rd to 11 Munros’ driver’s ed. students. On April 4th, 99 students in 4 health classes at Langley Middle School experienced Th!nk, Don’t Drink or Drug. Erik Jokinen, Langley Middle School Health/PE teacher, graciously shared at the this at the bottom HERE.
THANK YOU to our April speakers Tim McManus, Ryan Samplawski, Brian Grimm and Jim Covert and our helpers Phyllis Rainey, Eph Robbins and Cheryl Spiker. If you’d like to learn more about being a panel speaker, details HERE.
THANK YOU 2 to Whidbey Island Marathon water station volunteers who did not let the rain dampen their spirits as they cheered on over 1,600 runners the morning of April 14th: Richard & Tara Law, Kate Rogers, Tom Roithner, Sabrina Underwood, Briess Potter, Cheryl Spiker, John Hellmann, Maryann Cowan, Karmin Landry, Hope Drager, Shellie Johnson and the Husler Family: Amie, Tim, Zena & Kurt Husler AKA that day as a patrol cop, DUI offender, DUI victim, coroner, EMT, ER nurse, insurance agent, grim reaper: you get the idea. YOU ALL ROCK!