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Vern's Views
By LaVonne Erickson

The past couple of weeks our community has had three different events in regards to alcohol, drugs, suicide, and human trafficking. Two of the events were sponsored in part by the Area Safe Communities Coalition. They sponsored a Town Hall meeting on Thursday, March 27th. There were five different speakers there to cover the topics of alcohol, drugs, prescription drugs, traffic accidents, and knowing your surroundings. Then on Sunday, March 31st they had Dr. Bob Edwards in Mohall to talk about suicide prevention. Both events had only 20+ people in attendance, which was really sad.

There is an alcohol and drug problem here in Renville County, even if some of you think there isnít. Our county, as well as the Minot district, has some pretty high statistics, and those statistics even exceed the state ones. The Area Safe Communities Coalition is trying to make all of us aware of what is going on in the county and around us. The only problem is -- people are not coming to these events, so that they can be enlightened on what is happening, what to look for in our children, how to keep them safe, and ways that we as people in our communities can help law enforcement with these problems.

I realize that it is not easy to attend all of these meetings, and it certainly isnít easy to schedule these events around everyone elseís schedule. But I hope that people will start taking a bit more interest in these things and make a better attempt to attend when they can. That means the youth too -- these events are FAMILY events and are for everyone. Reports show that children as young as the fourth grade are drinking, and that IS NOT acceptable.

This past Wednesday, Shelbi Bahl was responsible for bringing a group to the MLS School to talk to the students in grades 7 through 12 about human trafficking. That too is another scary situation. The group is visiting every high school in America that will allow them to come into their school so that the children, as well as the adults, will speak up and SAY SOMETHING when they see something wrong. It was mentioned at all three events that there needs to be a change in society and the way people think, and that begins with each one of us. We live in our communities and we need to do our part to make them safe.
Birthday greetings this week go out to my great-nephew, Ethan Cox of CA on the 18th; and to my great-niece, Maddy Johnson of Mohall, on the 19th. Love and best wishes to both of them.

I would also like to extend a BIG congratulations to my cousin, Eric Cummins and his new bride, Kari Szewczyk, who were married this past Saturday in the Las Vegas, NV area. Love and best wishes to both of you!

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