Committee Minutes

Wednesday, July 26, 2006 – 3:00 p.m.
Council Chambers

Present: Lisa Berger, Pat Burger, Jamie Selzler, Mark Rath, Pete Haga, Rich Becker, Chris Rood, Betty Otteson, John Packett.

I. Welcome and Introductions.

Haga welcomed everyone and stated that the Mayor was not able to be present, as he was in Washington DC involved in some meetings with the Pentagon and other staff on the UAV mission for the Base.

II. Youth Commission Update
a. Update
b. Marketing Suibgroup

Haga reported that he had been in contact with Dennis Herbeck at Probation and that he will be bringing the item to those in his organization to decide whether they want to participate. He had a concern that sometimes the clients that they deal with are already singled out as the outcasts and that if they are on the cabinet as a representative of that group that it might reinforce that to them and that perhaps it would be better to not associate the individuals on the cabinet with any particular school or group.

Burger asked if anything had been firmed up on how this group would interact with Council. Haga stated that the intent is for them to have a connection to Council but that no firm direction had been set yet. Rood commented that perhaps it would be better to let the cabinet decide how that would work.

Becker expressed a concern that we are still only probably going to reach about 60% of the youth and that there is still a significant number that are not involved in the community that still may not get represented. Rath agreed, but commented that there may be some of those that will not want to be a part of this and all we can do is make the opportunity available. Rood added that perhaps once youth sees that the commission is established and that they do get things accomplished it may stimulate interest from some of those on the fringe may decide to get involved.

(Packett arrives.)

Rath expressed that his main concern is that the youth at Community High get included as they tend to be the ones that will talk most honestly about issues. Rood commented that they were very informative during the initial discussions and that we should be able to make sre their included through the interview process that we have set up.

Haga stated that the most important thing we need to confirm next would be the logistics with the school district to make sure that they are on board with students being out of school to participate and that he had hoped Ron Gruwell would be able to attend today’s meeting to give some information on that. He continued that the other thing will be to work on the marketing for the meeting in September. Burger stated that there is a family expo on August 29 which is geared toward families of middle and elementary school youth for signing up for activities and had 300 families last year and hope for more this year and that if could get a flyer could include in the bags that go out to all that come to the event. Haga stated that we need to firm up the date for the September event and cabinet should do that at the next meeting. Haga added that he has been in contact with the Grand Forks Herald and they are enthusiastic about promoting the commission and will be in contact as we move forward.

Rath suggested that we could also put out a flyer at the August 1 National Night Out event if some information could be put together that fast and perhaps should also put on the City website to get feedback from people as we go forward.

Rood commented that she believes that the school will agree based on the fact that they have allowed the students to be part of the Answer groups and maybe if problem to do both could switch this for the other one. Burger pointed out that the recommendations include 1 UND participant, but it appears that our focus may not fit that and do they need whole different group. Becker agreed and stated that he would see a liaison with UND being more in a mentoring capacity for the high school students. Packett commented that it also could provide some continuity for those fresh out of high school. Haga added that he would see this as maybe not on the commission, but maybe on this cabinet. Rath responded that at a prior meeting there had been discussion that we would start out with one commission focused on high school/middle school youth and then once we get that going look to expand to the college age.

The group discussed the creation of a marketing brochure. Haga stated that he has not begun work on a brochure, has resources available, but was hoping to get a subgroup of the cabinet to provide input on the brochure and asked for volunteers. Burger stated that also had some resources at United Way that could help and perhaps young professionals group would also have some individuals that could provide assistance. Rood and Selzler volunteered to serve on the subgroup.

Becker suggested that perhaps in one to two years when we feel this is successfully established perhaps we should consider inviting Mayor Stauss and two East Grand Forks High Schools to participate, as we really are two cities making up one community and would really be a good metric of success to bring whole community together on this. Haga inquired whether anyone felt we should go ahead and invite them to participate at this point. Consensus of the group was to try and get off the ground first and then bring them in and still have time to do that before get policies, etc. set.

Haga stated that he would work to firm up the September date and when he last checked the calendar there was not any conflict with the date that had been tentatively listed. He continued that he will also work with the subgroup to get the brochure created and out within the next couple of weeks, as well as getting something put together that can be available for the August 1 National Night Out event. Rath suggested maybe a suggestion box with 5 or so questions and then maybe have a drawing for something like a dinner with the Mayor as a prize. Haga will check on that and keep everyone updated through e-mail.

III. Youth Report Card

Haga stated that he had attached to the e-mail he sent a copy of a draft report card. He continued that he had researched on the internet with the hope of finding some from other cities, however there was very little available. He explained that the five categories are based on those set forth in America’s Promise, which seemed appropriate to use given the designation they have given us, and that under each are listed some indicators which are further broken down on a spreadsheet as to which agencies fill that need and provide the data to track that indicator. He stated that the purpose of the indicators is that we can look at them and if we continue to make progress we know we are doing our job. He stressed that it is important that the final list of indicators used be ones that are specific and meaningful to our community and something that we can find data to be able to track.

Otteson reported that the Health Department does track a number of the indicators as listed in the Healthy Start category, but they are by Grand Forks County, not broken out by City and wondered if County would work for our purpose. Haga responded that America’s Promise has actually been tightening up on this type of reporting and now has a policy that if you are using County or regional/MSA information then you have to submit any applications as that type of entity. Rath stated that he runs into the same thing with his program, because it works on both sides of the river.

Burger commented that Kidscount, which is county-wide, and Healthy Families may also be able to provide us with some data, but wondered whether there are too many listed in this category and if we should narrow it. Berger responded that we need to make sure that what we collect is meaningful and useful for our purpose. Rath added that perhaps once we set our policies and priorities it will be easy to narrow the indicators down. Haga stated that on the main spreadsheet each indicator has what supports that item and can tell where data comes from.

Rood stated that a new youth risk survey was completed this year and that they have been working with the police department and are getting the information gathered plotted on GIS to see how the results fit into our community and be able to identify areas of particular concern. Burger stated that back in February Healthy Families reported that there was a week where 14 births occurred to women 16 or younger and that leads to thought about where all this comes from because we had not been viewing this as a problem in our community.

The group discussed that in looking at the indicators need to make sure that the ones that we choose are areas where we intend to focus and not just gathering to have and not use. Berger stated that some of the problem in the community is that people do not know what resources are available and need to find a way to educate youth, but also the parents and families so that they can get assistance in those areas needing help. Haga stated that once the report card and indicators are all set, will have a great resource to see where to send people needing assistance under one of the indicators, like a catalog. Burger stated that United Way is just about done updating the Help Book and is a huge task to keep current with services that are available and correct contact information, maybe could be put on-line as well similar to what the Youth Yellow Pages used to be. Rath stated that the State also puts out a similar thing through the Job Service website. Burger stated that is also tied to 211 for mental health resources.

Haga stated that he would like the cabinet to look at the report card and provide feedback on if it is proper format and also to look at the indicators and programs that support them and think about what is trackable data and if there are any other indicators that should be added to a category. He continued that the next step will be to fill in the trackable data that we can get and make sure that we have correct and complete data for the indicators. Burger asked if Haga had reviewed the Kids Count book at all, even though it is laid out in a state-wide report, there is a further breakdown if you contact them.

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

Haga stated that the this came about from the joint task force that Mayor Brown and Stauss had formed to discuss the use of alcohol in the community. The group discussed the focus that is often on alcohol at every community event, with an example being the Farmers Market from last night and big focus on the beer garden. Rath responded that Council approves all of those permits and to help change the attitude in the community they need to start saying no and try make people see don’t need alcohol at every event. Burger added that doesn’t seem family oriented if big focus is alcohol and not going to help with our trying to change youth attitude about drinking when see adults always needing it to have fun. Becker commented that need the parents to teach the values to their youth and that won’t get all alcohol out of community, but parents can teach responsibility in using it. Becker continued with an example of the meth ad campaign that he saw reinforced through out the state of Montana and that it would be interesting to see how they finance and coordinate that as it crosses communities.

Burger stated that the National Night Out is a program that gets some national funding and one thing that they will talk about is that they are seeing the homebrewing going out and more professionals brewers coming in, which brings another set of problems. She continued that the one thing they have not seem is an increase in the gang problem in Grand Forks, as that sometimes comes with the more professional drug operations and that Fargo is having a big problem with gangs right now.

Berger commented that after her visit with the kids at Valley, she was surprised to see the difference in attitude in the youth and maybe if we can find out what happens to change their attitude from one where they are against drug use and underage alcohol use and then one of acceptance to it that we can be more effective in prevention programs. Haga stated that one of the hopes is that through the “It’s Not OK” campaign we can start working on influencing this attitude shift. Burger added that we also need to work on changing the attitudes of the parents toward underage drinking, as that seems to be a big part of the community’s problem.

V. Other.

There were no other items.

VI. Next Meeting Date

The group discussed when to schedule the next meeting based on the timeline that is in place. Consensus was to plan for the next meeting on Wednesday, August 16 at 3:00 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall.

VII. Adjournment

Meeting adjourned at 4:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Sherie Lundmark
Admin Spec Sr