JOHN DAY - Grant County Safe Communities Coalition board members had a retreat Dec. 8 to discuss programs, funding and a vision for the future of the group and the community.

Oregon State Police Sargeant Gordon Larson, director, and Debi Hueckman, program coordinator, led the meeting with board members Anna Gillihan, Teri Bruning, John Day Police Chief Richard Tirico and Angel Carpenter present.

Kerryann Woomer, who will oversee the Drug-free Communities grant, presented information on substance abuse prevention strategies.

The coalition formed a few years ago out of the need for a traffic light near Grant Union High School. Safe Communities will now be about a lot more than traffic safety.

The areas of focus for the future, besides traffic safety, were discussed, including enforcement of underage drinking laws and education for a drug-free community.

Grant monies have been secured to carry out programs to help with the coalition's vision, "Grant County Safe Communities Coalition promotes raising expectations for a safe, healthy and drug-free community through leadership, education and citizen participation."

"We're about working together to make this a great place to live, work and play," Hueckman said.

Safe Communities would like to build its coalition and see more citizens from the county, people who care about the community, come together and collaborate. Meetings will be held at the Outpost restaurant, with the next meeting scheduled at 4 p.m. Jan 18.

- Angel Carpenter, the Eagle

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