Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on June 14, 1998 · Page 48
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 48

Ukiah, California
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 14, 1998
Page 48
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For Immediate orders call now 1 (800J 604-5656 To send check, money order, or to charge to your credit card fill out coupon and send to: WYSCO Products, RO. Box 1668 Baldwin Park, CA. 91706 ONLY $ 69.95 + $6.95 Postage & Handling I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I Name Charge My D VISA D MasterCard Q Address City State Zip Signature Card Expires ^^ - *- ^iss^^fj^^^m^'^^S^' •prs """"^-" Can teen drinking be curbed? Yes, and the nationally praised Project Northland has proved it. The key: Reach beyond classroom walls tO engage the Community. BY DENNIS MCCAFFERIY D RIVE PAST THE town welcome sign that says "Population 333" and the heart of Wrenshall, Minn., remains a stumble of county road marked by a post office and The Boneyard, a liquor store flagged by a Pabst Blue Ribbon sign. This is where a teenager like Katy Mellum faces the struggle: how to get her friends to do something on a weekend night other than drink themselves into oblivion. One night, Katy screamed. It was the only way she could persuade them not to drink that night. It was the only way to keep them from driving to some shot-and-beer party in another town and on the way home possibly killing themselves. Or someone else. "They were saying they were going to go," says Katy, 16. "I lost it. I yelled at them, -'I don't want to lose you guys!' I told them over and over again how stupid it was." Her friends stayed in Wrenshall that night. They avoided a scene where, typically, teens drink alcohol until they are physically ill, laugh about it, then drink some more. This is the key to "Project Northland," a nationally praised program based at the University of Minnesota that Katy and 24 USA WEEKEND • Juna 12-14,1998 . about 1,200 other teenagers are taking part in. The organizers of the project don't pretend they have found a way to get teens to stop drinking. But they're getting them to drink less. Experts and communities that struggle with teens and alcohol are taking notice. Binge incidents in which students drank themselves to death this academic year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Louisiana State University made headlines across the nation. Now, as summer starts, teens have more unsupervised time on their hands to possibly abuse alcohol. Projects like Northland have succeeded because their reach is not trapped within the confines of a classroom. Northland officials have designed the nine-year, $9 million program to draw parents, peers, teachers, town council members, police departments and prosecutors. Even prisoners. It targets communities like Deer River, Bigfork and Floodwood, where research shows the likelihood of alcohol-related deaths is greater than elsewhere in Minnesota. Built as railroad stop and farm market towns, communities in this region often saw to it that the church was

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