Project YES continues action

The Project YES Coalition seeks to prevent all forms of underage substance abuse. Four sail signs were posted along Hughes Drive, Chahinkapa Park, with the intent to start conversations. 'Drink responsibly; talk with youth about your expectations,' the signs read.

While the Twin Towns Area continues to celebrate summer, the Project YES Coalition is continuing its education efforts.

Project YES seeks to prevent all forms of underage substance abuse. The coalition posted four sail signs along Hughes Drive, Chahinkapa Park, with the intent to start conversations.

“Drink responsibly; talk with youth about your expectations,” the signs read.

Chahinkapa Park’s softball diamonds are the site of a 12U Baseball tournament lasting through Saturday, Aug. 1. The signs are mobile, said Ariel Johnson, community prevention coordinator with the Richland County Health Department.

“Next Friday, we plan to have them placed on Fourth Street North, on the boulevard of the Leach Public Library, during the Headwaters Music Festival,” Johnson said.

The first annual Headwaters Music Festival, which will include 11 total concerts at seven locations in Wahpeton and Breckenridge, Minnesota, is scheduled to conclude Friday, Aug. 7.

Fourth Street North between Dakota Avenue and Second Avenue North will be closed for concerts lasting from 5-11 p.m. Friday. The headlining acts are Billy D & the Crystals, followed by Whiskey Creek.

“The overall goal of the signs is to placed in hot spots, where large gathering events take place with adults and/or youth,” Johnson said. “We want to prompt healthy conversations about underage drinking.”

Future display dates and locations for the anti-underage drinking signs are forthcoming. The coalition plans to increase its prevention initiative against youth tobacco and alcohol use.

Decisions on prevention messaging, free items and event participation will take shape and be finalized in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent changes. Wahpeton Public Schools is scheduled to begin the 2020-2021 education year on Wednesday, Aug. 26.

“We are working with Sources of Strength this school year with an emphasis on youth leading some initiatives around coalition goals,” Johnson said.

In other news, Project Yes is seeking to revise Wahpeton’s ordinance prohibiting the sale of tobacco to minors. The goal is to update local language to match the federal law.

“A letter will be sent to the Wahpeton City Council,” Johnson said. “We’re planning to have coalition members reach out to city council members and get on the future agenda to discuss an ordinance change this fall.”

In other news, the Richland County Health Department is introducing a new ad campaign, “It’s not my thing,” targeting toward teens. The idea is to teach youth a simple response if they’re ever pressured to drink or use other harmful substances.

North Dakota state Rep. Cindy Schreiber Beck, R-District 25, was among the coalition members attending a recent meeting in Wahpeton. It is not likely that there will be discussion about legalizing recreational marijuana when the state legislature meets again in January.

“(Legislators) are aware of the costs versus income brought in that pro-recreational marijuana is for,” Johnson wrote. “The understanding is that the costs outweigh the income.”

Daily News will continue to follow this story.

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