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Wednesday, June 14, 2006 – 3:00 p.m.
City Council Chambers

Present: Mayor Brown, Pete Haga, Amanda Silverman, Scott Holdman, John Packett, Betty Otteson, Haylee Cripe.

Mayor Brown welcomed everyone and did roll call.

II. Youth Commission

Haga reported that the Answer meetings that were scheduled for June 8 had been cancelled and therefore there was no feedback from the work groups on the recommendations that the cabinet made at the last meeting. He added that the cabinet now needs to decide what direction they want to take. Holdman asked whether there were any samples of youth commissions from other communities that we could look at and get ideas from. Haga responded that there were and that is where we got some of the ideas for the structure that we are proposing. Silverman stated that perhaps we should just move forward with our plan as proposed and that we can always modify it as we go along if more feedback becomes available.

Haga reviewed the timeline with the group. He stated that he and Packett would be meeting with probation officials before the end of June and that contacts would also be made with the school officials on working out the logistics of student participation on the commission. Haga stated that in July there will need to be a subgroup of the cabinet that works on advertising and marketing of the commission so that we get interest generated for the organizational meeting in September. Holdman added that perhaps we should also get the word out to all members of the community, similar to a call to action, as that will also help increase interest. Mayor Brown suggested making sure that the Herald was aware of the plans and contacting Tu Yen Tran to do an article. Haga added that we need to make contact with the Teen Page personnel at the Herald and see if they would assist with spreading the word on the commission.

Holdman stated that he had been at a grant writing initiative at the Center for Innovation last week and he was thinking that perhaps there would be some grant dollars that we could apply for that would help fund projects. He added that Rood was also at the meeting and that she would be familiar about what he’s talking about. Packett stated that the NDSU extension office had recently done a presentation for Rotary on some partnering programs that they have and perhaps they would be a means to reach some youth for input over the summer.

Cripe commented that it may be more appropriate to avoid the word “kid” in our marketing of the commission as that is not well received by all. The group discussed using “youth” instead.

Haga commented that the consensus seems to be to continue working on details over the summer and to plan for the organizational meeting in September. Silverman suggested utilizing the radio, like XL93, as another means to get the word out to community members. Brown agreed that would be a good idea. Haga will follow up with both the Teen Page at the Herald and XL93.

III. “It’s Not OK” Campaign – Community Discussion on Underage Drinking.

Mayor Brown stated that there was a task force on underage drinking that had brought forth a server training intiative, but the Council had not believed that this step would fix the problem of underage drinking in the community. Brown continued that he feels this committee may be a good one to look at this issue due to its significant effect on young people and that he feels that we need to send a message that it is not o.k. to drink underage, maybe through billboards, psa’s, maybe get parents to understand that it is not o.k. to condone this behavior.

Packett reported that he will be attending a meeting with ND DOT and other agencies later this month and that they are looking for ways to spend dollars and maybe this could be a source of funding for the program. Haga added that at the meetings that were held by the task force the feeling was that it would take a community initiative led by the Mayor to really spur change in the community and that a small task force alone could not do enough. Packett explained to the group the community swap that law enforcement does from time to time as part of alcohol or traffic enforcement campaigns and how that has helped in those areas. The group discussed the need to get the message to the parents as well as the youth, since the parents behavior and attitudes often contributes to the youth attitudes and behaviors. Packett suggested perhaps even having some youth communicating with younger youth as to why it’s not o.k. to drink underage, instead of just adult to youth communication.

Mayor Brown suggested that perhaps the cabinet could also look at partnership opportunities with The Answer, the school, PTA and then see what funds are available and maybe run a picture contest as we do with the no smoking campaigns. Haga stated that the members of the Cabinet not here today will be able to read the minutes and can then forward on their input, including where they would like to assist.

Holdman suggested that one other thing to consider is the structure of the commission and perhaps at some point in time it would be appropriate to make them their own separate entity, apart from the school system, so that they could fund raise and write grants on their own. He continued that perhaps to keep the program going there could maybe be a staff person to coordinate. The group inquired how difficult this was to set up. Holdman responded that if you initially apply under an existing foundation, then could get all approved within a couple of months so could begin work before the full process is complete.

Packett stated that his hope is that we keep the process going as it has been where cabinet members talk with youth and share ideas, and does not become us talking at them. He expressed that the meetings that he attended were very productive and good to hear what the youth are really thinking on issues. Holdman agreed that it is very encouraging to get real information not just do what we think people want, but what will really make a difference.

The group discussed whether there were any other ways to reach youth groups over the summer to continue getting feedback as we proceed. Some suggestions were the Urban Development youth work program, the Park District Youth Work Program, and Job Service North Dakota.

Haga stated that he will continue contacts as discussed throughout the month and will be in contact with cabinet members for the next meeting date and to provide updates on the progress.

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Sherie Lundmark
Admin Spec Sr.