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Locals awarded for prevention efforts

Mandi Puckett awards Sheriff Jim Adkins, second from left, and his department with the Community Partner of the Year Award.People and agencies in the community who went the extra mile to promote Jefferson County Prevention Task Force projects this year were recognized at the group’s second annual barbecue and awards event Aug. 21, at Sahalee Park.

Projects completed over the past year included:

. Installing secure prescription drug drop-off receptacles at the sheriff’s office and Culver City Hall.

“We’ve filled many, many boxes of drugs,” Sheriff Jim Adkins said of the old or unused prescription drugs that have been taken off the streets, or kept from being flushed into the sewer system and polluting the water. “We hope to install one at the firehall at Crooked River Ranch,” he added.

. Continued work by Jefferson County agencies to follow the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Protocol developed locally and in place since 2006. The protocol required law enforcement, schools and others to notify parents when youths are involved with alcohol or drugs.

“It’s made a huge difference, which our juvenile system tracks. (Our county) is in the 90th percentile for youths not coming back into the juvenile system,” noted BestCare Treatment Services prevention specialist Mandi Puckett.

. Bullying prevention work included bringing in children’s author and speaker Trudi Ludwig, donating her books to local libraries, and having Ludwig do a training for staff in School District 509-J, so they know what to do if a child is being bullied.

. Challenge Day events, which help kids learn empathy for others, were held for Madras High School and Jefferson County Middle School seventh- and eighth-graders.

“The kids were moved so much by what they learned, that they wanted to keep going and developed a Be the Change group at MHS,” said BestCare prevention specialist Cindy Brockett.

. A statewide Marijuana Summit training was held in Madras, with 250 attending. Speakers included Dr. Kevin Sabet and former Miss Teen America Jewell Begin. Following the summit, Puckett said, Jefferson and three other area counties banned together and developed posters to educate the public about marijuana’s effects on people’s health.

“Kevin Sabet was so impressed that he’s taking the idea nationwide,” Puckett said.

. The “Too Good for Drugs” program was taught by Brockett to third- and sixth-grade classrooms in Culver and 509-J schools.

. Prom Perfect and Red Ribbon Week campaigns helped educate youth about the dangers of alcohol use on prom night, and illegal drugs.

Awards presented

BestCare Progrentedam Director Heather Crow-Martinez presented the awards, naming Caroline Cruz the Prevention Advocate of the Year. Cruz, of Warm Springs, trained 60 people as prevention specialists, and her students had a 70-90 percent pass rate on the test.

“This is unheard of,” Puckett said, noting, “The national pass rate is 30 percent, and Oregon’s pass rate is 40 percent.”

Julie Nisley, a counselor at MHS, was named the Be the Change Advocate of the Year, for efforts in coordinating both Challenge Day events. “She also debriefed the adult volunteers afterwards to see which youths disclosed problems and got them help,” Puckett said.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office won the Community Partner of the Year award. “We’ve seen a huge shift in prevention work since Jim took over as sheriff. Anything we ask for, they do,” Puckett said.

Adkins credited his deputies, saying, “It isn’t me, it’s the deputies who go out and do the work.”

Melody Zistel was named the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs Protocol Advocate of the Year for going above and beyond to notify parents whose kids were at parties where there were drugs or alcohol. “She’s made an impact on kids’ lives, because in most cases, the parents didn’t know, and now can talk to their children,” Puckett said.

The Faith Partner of the Year award went to Pastor Jim Leach of Living Hope Christian Center, for offering the church facility for prevention conferences, in addition to serving on City Council and the chamber board. “We have similar missions. The church is here to heal and help people,” Leach said.

Debi Stinson, owner of The Outpost, was named the Business Partner of the Year, for her outspokenness on drug abuse. Last year, when a carnival worker from the fair came into her store looking for “spice,” a synthetic marijuana, Stinson not only told him off, she called the carnival manager and fairgrounds, and the employee was fired. They welcomed the report, because they didn’t want someone who was high operating a carnival ride.

A surprise Prevention Supporter of the Year award was presented by Puckett and Brockett to Heather Crow-Martinez. “She’s always there for us and guides us on the right path. A lot of agencies would not allow us to do controversial things like the marijuana initiative,” Puckett said.




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