Jamestown Substance Abuse Prevention Task Force Meeting

March 13, 2008


Present: Jessica Bucklin, Samantha Bucklin, Eleanor Hanson, Brianne Heavey, Laura Hosley, Bruce Long, Melissa Minto, Stephanie Nocon, Barbara Szepatowski, Andrea vonHohenleiten, Eric vonHohenleiten

Guest: Rebecca Heavey


I. Welcome – Participants who didn’t know each other were introduced.

II. Minutes – A member made a motion to accept the minutes, which another member seconded. The motion carried unanimously. (Unfortunately, Laura’s laptop was acting up, so she couldn’t save this part of the minutes before it froze, so there is a gap here).

III. Treasurer’s Report – Laura presented the Treasurer’s Report. She let the group know that the Student Assistance bill was $900.00 more than she expected. Tina Collins, the Finance Director, said that it would come from the Task Force bill unless she heard differently. Barbara suggested that a letter be written to the Town Council asking for the money. Eleanor agreed to write the letter. Barbara also suggested that the letter ask for $15,000 for the Task Force to make up for the anticipated budget cuts. Laura talked about the efforts that are happening at the state level to not have the drastic regionalization plan go through. Laura testified at the state house yesterday and is working with the Task Force Coordinators to come up with an alternative plan. She asked the group to give her the authority to vote on their behalf at the state meetings. Barbara made a motion to allow Laura to vote at state Task Force meetings in the town’s best interest or in the state’s best interest, if that pertained. Eric seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

The group also talked about funding for Stephanie in the summer. Melissa said that she is trying to get part of the Teen Grant to cover summer staff hours. Steph said that she will have a staggered schedule next year so she could have some time at the Teen Center, but that she would like six hours a week in the summer. Bruce said that the continuity of having Steph in the summer is critical. Melissa said that she heard that if the kids connect with a middle school counselor, they are more likely to talk to someone at the high school level.

The participants talked about another Family Fun Day like the one at Fort Wetherill. Melissa volunteered to find out if the band Sidewinder is available. Jess, Andrea, Brianne, Eric, Rebecca, and Samantha volunteered to be on a sub-committee to help plan the event.

Melissa made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s Report, which Samantha seconded. The motion carried unanimously.

IV. Old Business

            A. Student Assistance – Steph reported that Project Northland started in the seventh and eighth grades. It has led to a lot of discussion. Sixth grade will start after April vacation, as well as Towards No Tobacco Use in the fifth grade. By the time Project Northland is done, Steph will have seen all of the sixth, seventh, and eighth graders in the school. She will see about half of the fifth graders (the ones who don’t take chorus or band).

Melissa said that the fifth graders were asking about marijuana at the Teen Center. The group talked about how this is an opportunity to talk about these kind of issues. Laura told the group about the tobacco grant that she applied for with the North Kingstown and Middletown Task Forces, which will bring Dr. Victor DeNoble back in for tobacco presentations.

Steph said that seventh graders were chosen to attend Teen Institute (TI) on April 4 – 7. They will need parents to chaperone the Teen Center while they are gone, from 2 – 9 p.m. About ninety kids have been showing up on Friday nights at the Teen Center. Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and TI will join together and meet on Mondays from 5 – 6 p.m. This will be the youth advisory group.

Brianne mentioned that Team Spirit is for high schoolers. She will contact Gaby Abbate to see if posters are available that could be put up at the Teen Center, and let Laura know by email.

            B. Teen Center – Melissa announced that March 15 is the Teen Center’s one month anniversary. They are seeing 15 – 35 kids each day, with a lot more on some days. They had a dance Saturday night. 120 kids attended and they raised $900.00, with only the DJ as an expense. Melissa said that may try to have one dance a month.

They are working on a speaker series with Bank Newport as their partner. There will be one on managing money, one on nutrition, and another on creative writing. She has a meeting tomorrow with the RI Foundation. Laura requested that they keep Project Northland in the budget so that comic books for the sixth graders can continue to be funded from that grant.

            C. Legislation – Bruce told the group that there were three or four bills being discussed at the state house tonight on underage drinking, which came out of Barrington. He said that they are focusing more on youth and that fines teens get should be paid for by them and not their parents. The driver’s license is another penalty that is effective, according to members. Barbara suggested that community service works. Bruce said that even though alcohol offenses are going to be eliminated from Juvenile Hearing Boards, still there can be more consequences.

Bruce talked about how sometimes you can just talk to the right person and how you can continue to learn throughout life. Brianne told the group that the cigars are now behind the counter at the Jamestown Mobil. She also told the group that they sell cigarettes at the 7-Eleven in Newport at the rotary. Bruce suggested that someone contact Dave Roderick, the Task Force Coordinator, to have a compliance check done. Barbara said she will call her friend, a police officer in Newport.

Bruce also talked about how people in business don’t want to make enemies. He told the group about the School Committee’s decision not to create a policy banning energy drinks on school grounds. He said how a law was passed three years ago banning performance-enhancing drugs at the high school, and that caffeine was one of those drugs. Bruce and Laura asked where we go from here? Renie Sullivan, the school nurse, was asked to compose a letter to go home to parents and it was suggested that Steph do some education with middle school kids (Steph didn’t know about this). Brianne talked about how her step-sister was at a Narragansett Wellness Council meeting where Laura presented and that she took the information back to URI, where she is a Resident Assistant, and they are now checking the energy drink containers to see if they contain alcohol. Laura said that this is how awareness is raised. She presented to the Task Force Coordinators, one asked her to go to her community, and then the word is passed on from there. Melissa said that kids at the Teen Center are drinking them and getting all hyper. She is not allowing them at the Teen Center. She has also heard from teachers that the kids are more wound up this year in school. Melissa said that she would like to change her rules of conduct to include a ban on energy drinks. Laura suggested that a clear, consistent message is what works best. Bruce proposed that the Task Force and Wellness Council have a round-table discussion. Laura suggested that the discussion continue next month.

V. New Business

A. Trainings – Laura presented some upcoming trainings and recommended the Drug and Alcohol Treatment Association (DATA) trainings. Laura and Steph talked about the Underage Drinking conference that they, Melissa and Mariel Mastrostefano, Chief Tighe, Lt. Donovan, and Bruce attended last week. Laura read the write-up that Mariel wrote, and a few edits were noted. Laura will get back to Mariel on it. Two suggestions that came from the police were ride-alongs for citizens, including teens, and a tip line at the police station. Andrea, Rebecca and Melissa volunteered to work with the police on the ride-alongs, with Melissa taking the lead. Barbara and Brianne will work on the tip line, with Barbara asking to see it in the budget. Brianne expressed that it would be good for the kids to know that the police are working on the issue.

            B. Funding Requests – None.

            C. Next Meeting – April 9 at 6 p.m. at the Teen Center.


VI. Adjournment – Samantha made a motion to adjourn with Eric seconding the motion. It passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 7:45