Alcohol issues addressed at interagency meeting


Staff writer

At the interagency meeting Friday in Hillsboro, Charles Rempel, technology and prevention coordinator for Communities in Schools (CIS) of Marion County, presented facts about the most recent developments in alcohol abuse among under-age drinkers.

"All kids are at risk at some time in their lives," he said.

Rempel talked about Alcopop, "a girly drink designed for middle school and high school girls."

He also noted that some of the latest energy drinks have alcohol in them and are popular among high school students and college-age young people under the age of 21.

He said one teen-ager told him scare tactics — i.e. presenting worst case scenarios involving drinking — don't work.

He suggested that parents teach their children responsible drinking (at social events) using the 0-2-1 rule: O drinks under age 21, two per hour for males 21 or over, one per hour for females 21 or over.

He said the problem of under-age drinking is much lower in Marion County than in Kansas as a whole, but parents need to be aware of what their children are doing. He said if children learn about alcohol abuse from their parents, they are 50 percent less likely to have problems with it than those who don't.

One woman at the meeting, who has a nine-year-old, expressed a need to know the code names teen-agers use for common drugs and drinks. She was advised to check out websites or to ask the kids themselves for the information.

Cost-share for workshops

Executive director Linda Ogden reported that money is available to help those desiring to attend an upcoming workshop. Half of the cost will be covered by CIS of Marion County.

The workshop will be held Feb. 20-21 in Junction City. The first day will deal with strategies for working with families living in poverty.

The second day, Paul Gorski, internationally renowned scholar, will present numerous strategies on how to create an equitable learning environment for all students.

Cost of the two-day learning opportunity is $50. Registration is possible online. Questions may be directed to Tammie Benham at

Marsha Meyer of Hillsboro Community Medical Center announced a workshop on dementia will be held Feb. 29 at Salem Home.

The multi-county workshop is designed for families and individuals living with Alzheimer's or other types of dementia. It will provide information to those newly diagnosed, those who have been living with dementia for a length of time, and those who want more information. Adult day-care will be provided if reservations are made.

SRS field representative Ken Grochowsky announced the LIEAP program will be available from Jan. 22 to the end of March. It helps low income people pay heating costs.

Ogden reported that The Learning Center in Hillsboro has developed a curriculum in family living for students who will face parenthood in the future.

According to Ogden, the Family Financial Assistance Fund, used to help low-income families in emergencies, ran out of money. Thankfully, she said, Golden Heritage Foods LLC, Hillsboro, donated $4,000 to keep the fund liquid.

Ogden and CIS president Robert Carlton said the needs are great, so money is likely to run out again before the end of the fiscal year June 30.