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Pastor John and Camille Fetterhoff
By Caroline Downs
The Kenmare Safe Communities Coalition took a formal step toward organizing at the July meeting by electing Pastor John Fetterhoff to a two-year term as the coalition’s chair and Camille Fetterhoff as the coalition’s secretary.
The members also reviewed mission statements from other coalitions in North Dakota before drafting a similar statement.
The Kenmare Safe Communities Coalition’s mission is to coordinate efforts among family, school and community to measurably improve the well-being, health and safety of the community of Kenmare, and to promote positive choices, responsible behaviors and a healthy lifestyle.
In a third organizational step, the coalition started writing by-laws, which will be reviewed and revised at the next meeting.
“This is going to be a work-in-progress,” Pastor Fetterhoff said as coalition members discussed the formal rules.
As the group talked about defining membership in the by-laws, they raised a concern about a lack of participation or representation at coalition meetings by the Kenmare School District.
Holly Brekhus, First District Health Unit Tobacco Prevention Coordinator, noted she had sent information about the group and an invitation to attend prior to the first meeting the coalition held last spring, but she said further communication or a different meeting time might be necessary.
“I think we need to get the school involved,” said FDHU public health nurse Melissa Burud, “and if that means we change the [meeting time], so be it.”
She noted the elementary and high school principals usually participate in the Safe Communities meetings she attends in Renville County, and she and Brekhus said sometimes district superintendents attend the Safe Communities meetings held by other cities or counties.
The Kenmare Safe Communities Coalition currently meets the second Thursday of each month, but the group tentatively planned a meeting for the fourth Thursday in September if representatives from the Kenmare schools could attend at that time.
Take Back event
for old medications
Pastor Fetterhoff reported a significant interest in the Kenmare Safe Communities Coalition’s information table set up during the Rib Rally and Classy Car & Hog Round-Up on June 29th. The Coalition’s display featured information about prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse and proper disposal.
Fetterhoff showed coalition members a medicine cabinet display containing examples of various prescription and over-the-counter medications arranged next to examples of various types of candy, some of which looked identical to the drugs.
“This made an impression on everyone who looked at it,” he said. “We had one lady who didn’t want to believe stuff like that goes on here in the community, but we know it does.”
The display was loaned by the Department of Human Services Division of Mental/Substance Abuse.
Fetterhoff said he, Camille and coalition members Pat and Marvonne Kinsella visited directly with about 20 individuals during the Rib Rally, while several others stopped at the table and picked up informational pamphlets. Additional brochures about prescription drug abuse and proper disposal of unused medications are available at the city auditor’s office at the Memorial Hall.
Brekhus asked about the possibility of Kenmare holding some type of “take back” program for community and area residents to dispose of expired or unneeded medications.
“It has to be initiated by a law enforcement agency,” she said.
She noted Renville County is making plans to sponsor a Take Back event in August, and that October 26th is designated as National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
Presently, Kenmare Drug can accept some types of unused or expired prescription medications on a limited basis.
Coalition members agreed to continue discussing options for a comprehensive Take Back program to be held locally.
Next meeting August 8th
The next meeting for the Kenmare Safe Communities Coalition is scheduled for Thursday, August 8th, beginning at 11 am at the Kenmare One Stop Burger Shop. All community and area residents are welcome to attend the meeting.
For further information about the Kenmare Safe Communities coalition, contact Melissa Burud at 701-385-4328 or Pastor John Fetterhoff at 701-385-4466.