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Chamber briefed on Tri-County Drug and Alcohol Awareness program hosted by Philip

by Del Bartels

The Philip Chamber of Commerce meeting on Monday, April 14, 2008, quickly covered old business.

Then guest speaker Kelly Sterns of the South Dakota Highway Patrol updated the chamber on the preparations being made for Philip's hosting of the Tri-County Drug and Alcohol Awareness program this year.

Stern said that a mock accident, with all its associated programs, will be presented at the Philip High School on Wednesday, May 7th. It will begin at 8:15 a.m. with the announcing of the winners of the kindergarten through fourth grade poster contest. Stern said that one student from each grade will receive a cash prize and their poster will be published in the Pioneer Review during the month of May. The poster theme will revolve around an "egg car" idea. All entered posters will be displayed in area businesses during May.

The rest of the day will be devoted to freshmen from Philip, Kadoka and Wall, and to all adults who attend. Two of the planned learning stations will be golf cart courses where student and adult drivers wear "fatal vision goggles" that simulate increasing degrees of alcohol impairment.

Stern agreed that it is not a good thing that all the students will not be able to participate, but plans are to make it a 'rolling machine' where a similar presentation can be given one year in Philip, then the next year in Kadoka, then in Wall. Thus, all students will participate, and do so when maybe the message will be internalized the best by those students. Adults are invited every year.

Life Flight will be present, and one volunteer senior student will receive a free helicopter ride. S.D. Highway Patrol Officer Slade Ross of Philip will showcase the abilities of his drug dog. Ambulance crews, fire fighter extrication crews, and various law enforcement agencies from all three counties will participate. Around 70 to 80 volunteers are expected to aid the presentations. Yet, Stern stressed, it is not about the departments and agencies, it is all about the kids.

Stern knows that many adults remember when drinking and driving seemed to almost go together. Even today many think, 'Kids are going to drink anyway. Lets hope they just stay out of trouble.' The message through such programs as this one now must be "We don't accept teenage drinking!"

All potential volunteers and other interested people are invited to the final planning meeting for the Tri-County Drug and Alcohol Awareness program. It will be at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 1st, in the Philip Ambulance Building.

In other business, the Philip Chamber of Commerce will provide the pre-event meal for the Matched Bronc Ride set for June 20th. The meal's cost will be included in the price of the event's tickets. Overhead costs for various menus will be researched and reported at the next chamber meeting. The chamber will also provide manpower for ticket sales and parking.

Festival Days on August 1st and 2nd will include inflatable activities such as an obstacle course, and football and basketball toss games. These will be provided by the South Dakota National Guard. Arrangements are already being made for a disc jockey for the Saturday evening dance. Plans are for him to also be set up for karoke.

Chamber co-chairs Kent Olson and Corky Thorson received a letter reply from South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds. The Chamber was trying to build support for the Exit 131 option for the future Minuteman Missile National Historical Site Visitor Center.

"Thank you for your letter regarding the location of the visitor center...," began Rounds. "National Park Service staff explained the aspects of the four alternatives and acknowledged that the Park Service prefers Alternative 4.... With this in mind, I will support their preference, which incorporates building the visitor center at Exit 131."

The next meeting for the Philip Chamber of Commerce will be at The Steakhouse at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, May 12th.