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Kremmling working with student group to address youth substance use

Five West Grand High School students presented research about local youth substance use and pitched community event ideas that would help tackle education and usage, such as taking advantage of the new Wellness Center space for free sober events.
Sky-Hi News file photo

Five West Grand High School students presented research on youth tobacco and alcohol usage to the Kremmling Town Board and pitched some ideas for tackling the issue.

The students, members of a new social justice group called UpRISE that works with Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, shared that Grand County is part of a region of the state with some of the highest youth alcohol and tobacco usage.

According to their presentation, the 2017 Healthy Kids Colorado survey showed 20-23% of youth in Grand County used cannabis in the last month and 23-25% of youth drank alcohol in the last month.

“Something that we think is a big problem is the youth substance use,” said senior Madison Jump. “(UpRISE) tries to create awareness, prevention and understanding of how youth use tobacco.”

In an effort to lower those numbers, the students suggested more sober community spaces and events, particularly free social nights. Jump noted that a free blacklight volleyball night at the elementary school last year was successful and suggested more events like it.

The other students presenting echoed the sentiment, with suggestions like taking advantage of the town’s existing ice skating rink, the new Kremmling Wellness Center or the school gyms.

“We’re bored,” said sophomore Jesus Dominguez. “I can speak for all of my peers when I say we get bored often.”

Aside from providing safe and sober activities for local youth, the students noted that hosting events would give them an opportunity to get their required community service hours for graduation.

The board was very receptive to the students’ ideas, especially after hearing about the high use rates in the region.

“Some of the data you guys provided is interesting,” said board member Erik Woog. “I think it’s a good idea to have influencers like yourselves that reach out, educate and talk to people about why and if they’re aware of the risks.”

Kremmling Town Manager Dan Stoltman said the town is looking at how to take advantage of its community spaces, as well as working with Middle Park Health to come up with ideas on how to utilize the new wellness center.

In other business:

• The town board spoke with Ranch Creek Waste about how the new service is going. The owner acknowledged some issues early on, especially with equipment, but noted things are getting smoother. Stoltman and the board agreed that Ranch Creek Waste is improving and recognized their efforts to overcome the challenges they faced early on. The board suggested Ranch Creek Waste formalize their route schedule and utilize Facebook to notify the town if they are running late. Tara Sharp, executive director of the Kremmling Area Chamber of Commerce, also thanked Ranch Creek Waste for going above and beyond on her trash pickup.

• The board approved liquor licenses for the Kremmling Chamber for eight events throughout the year, including the upcoming chamber banquet, Cinco de Mayo and Kremmling Days.

• Kremmling’s 2019 financials showed an 11.7% sales tax revenue increase over 2018. The town collected over $1 million in 2019 sales tax revenue, with September seeing the highest collections at $109,629.


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