Every “15 Minutes” Someone Dies

Fifteen Minutes Program


by Judy Bushy
Nadine McElyea sent an e-mail message that a number of community organizations and agencies, along with Happy Camp High School, were conducting an emergency drill Thursday morning at the high school. After the message over the loudspeaker, you could hear sirens, see fire and ambulance rigs and a helicopter arrived, just as if Mercy flights was taking someone to the hospital.. Nadine wanted everyone to know that there was no actual crash taking place and panic!

The event is called “Every 15 Minutes” and is a simulated drunk driving event. For the Fire, Ambulance and law enforcement it was a drill. For some of the students, it was acting opportunity as they played the part of a driver and passengers and what really could happen from someone driving under the influence. For the rest of the students, it is hoped that this will impress them with the dangers of driving or riding with someone who has been drinking or taking other drugs of any kind.

We had discussed the plans at the Community Solutions to Alcohol and other drugs meeting on Wednesday evening. A number of new people came to the meeting, parents and others concerned about the children and youth in our community. At the initial meeting of this group sixty people were there to express their concern. It is always encouraging that more come to be involved.

You know me; usually at any activity, especially with the students, with my camera to catch the memories. But I had to ask to be excused from this exercise. My oldest son, Michael’s birthday was just April 16th and he would have been 38. When he was 18, he died in a single car accident on his way to morning classes at Shasta College in Redding. It wasn’t a drinking or driving accident. Legally they have to check that, but that doesn’t make it hurt less or the loss easier to forget. Because I know the hurt and loss of losing a child continues, we never want to see that for any of our families along the Klamath River corridor! Especially when this type of accident is preventable!!

We don’t want our children and young people ruining their lives with illegal activities. We don’t want them to use substances that will ruin their body and brain. We want them to reach their full potential and become successes at what they want to be. What seems like a small thing as a child can be a tremendous handicap when you leave carefree childhood and want to earn a living and have a happy family. It is worse when you find out you are not only damaged by the activity but also enslaved by it. There are too many that have become slaves to substances that are not even legal for them.

Chuck Lent was at the school to council anyone who wants to talk about the simulated accident issues. The teachers and staff of the High School want very much to see each and every student become the healthy, wise, learning young adult they can be. Many people in our community, as evidenced by sixty showing up for the initial meeting and more coming all the time, care about what happens to our kids. They come and say, “How can we help our kids?” People care. They not only care about the kids, but about the families.

“What can we do to help the parents keep the kids from these behaviors?” There is help available for parents.
“What can we do to keep substances away from the kids?” That is the goal of the Community Solutions group. Family Resource Center has information on the adolescent brain and why these substances are so damaging to the young person’s life. They are having an Outdoor Club for the kids who complain that they don’t have anything to do. They will be having activities for free fishing day at Kelly Lake. They are planning to take kids geocashing. (Have you heard of this new hobby? It is like the old orienteering with compass to find a place on the map but with the technology of the GPS to find the “treasure.”) They are planning activity for the Saturday before Mother/’s Day. They will have a fun race car activity Saturday June 19 for kids and Dads, Grandpas’ or uncles, while mom gets a day off. They are also offering opportunities to garden and dig in the dirt as a family. Karen Derry told how they took some of the teens to an activity with miles of zip lines and how fun it was for them.

Deputy Josh Tygart was at the Community Solutions Meeting and he explained how a “welfare check” can be requested on a person, including a juvenile, you may have reason to feel is in danger. There have been eight or nine juvenile arrests for being under the influence recently and two adults for contributing in the last week. We do not want our community to enable the youths to continue this dangerous behavior. We want a happy, healthy successful life for each and every child here. Reminder, the curfew for children is 10 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on weekends. They can cite and take home any children and youth on the streets after that time.

This community has everything it needs to raise good kids….we want to do it. If a parent needs help, there are ways to get help. The Family Resource Center has parenting classes and topics on such subjects (such as “Lying and Truth Telling” May 21st.) If there is a topic needed, they will be happy to arrange help in areas to strengthen out families and community. Remember, you may save a life! An assembly at the high school will take place Friday. Guest speakers include Steve and Debbie Allen of Redding, DA Kirk Andrus, and many local speakers. As the teens read the farewell letters to their children, iand the parents read their letters to their children, tears flowed and boxes of kleenix were passed around.
The people from our community who spoke made very moving case for the concern and love and the desire to prevent tradgedys from happening here.

Juvenile Justice Results at Community Solutions Meeting

Nadine McElyea, who is the Mental Health Services Act worker with the Family Resource Center , introduced Captain Betts from the Sheriff’s Department. Betts said with losing funds and resources, meetings like this are important to open lines of communication and see how we can partner up to achieve goals. He did want to emphasize that the deputies will not be leaving the area, as that had been the concern of a previous meeting.

Captain Betts introduced John Gaustad who is a Deputy Probation officer and Truancy officer for Siskiyou County . Gaustad explained and answered questions about the juvenile justice system in Siskiyou County . He is one of three juvenile probation officers in Siskiyou county working with about 15 to 20 youths in Happy Camp area. There is another juvenile probation officer doing South County with 20 to 30 juveniles under supervision and a third officer with another 20 to 30 juveniles. So,from the juvenile probation load of 55 to 80 youths, Happy Camps juveniles from the Klamath River Corridor might amount to 25-27% of the youths under supervision in the areas covered by Siskiyou County juvenile officers..

Officer Gaustad mentioned that they rarely get kids who are active in sports programs and other activities who don’t have time to get into mischief. There were suggestions for the youth sports programs, scouting, and hobby groups like model airplane hobbyists can help kids find things to do. His statement of there being no excuse for “nothing to do” was echoed by Nadine and other parents whose kids grew up hunting, fishing, rafting and hiking as well as other activities in Happy Camp. We used to have an award winning music program in Happy Camp and many of the kids would like to learn music again.

Alan Dyar, principal of Happy Camp High School , had opened the gym (and the weight room) to about thirty students that evening. He reminded those assembled that 95% of the youth in our community don’t start trouble, and do what asked. We need to reward those kids who make it worthwhile. We want the kids to go out, get an education and come back to make the community better.

Dyar also mentioned the schools have gym mats, so that the Deputy who volunteered to coach wrestling.could have a program. What is holding up wrestling is having a couple of assistant coaches to help out, especially if the Deputy is called out. Someone mentioned college scholarships are readily available for a girl who goes into wrestling!

Other concerns expressed were about adults giving drugs and alcohols to minors. Call Narcotics Task Force out of Yreka at 842-6116 with information to report on such activities. Citizen watch program (involving a phone tree) if there were volunteers, could take place of the Neighborhood Watch that disbanded a few years ago. Todd Drake mentioned the deputies suggested additional lighting would help after his break-in. There was interest in having a light at the top of High School Trail on Head and Reeves. Cleaning up trash for people to feel more self respect was discussed.. Pat, who was code enforcement officer, lost her job in July. Adopting a dysfunctional family was a possible idea. Other items discussed were curfew, and identification of house numbers.

Tom Mopas also suggested that everyone have their address prominently displayed on their home in case the fire, ambulance or sheriff needs to locate your place. He suggested calling Glenn Briggs of Seiad Fire Safe Council about signs with house numbers. Next meeting will be March 10th at the Log Memorial for Community Solutions. Potluck will begin at 5:30 with meeting to follow about 6 PM.

“Love is the Anti-Drug” Community

Happy Camp and the other small communities along the beautiful wild Klamath River aren’t immune to the problems of other communities, including alcohol and other drug abuse. However, an active body of the citizens concerned for the health and safety of our young people has begun meeting to take action to say “It is not OK” for our youth to be lost by tragedy caused by alcohol and other drug use.

The First meeting in November at Room 3 at the Happy Camp High School was a potluck followed by a spirited discussion by the community members who overwhelmed the room. There were no desks left to sit at the kitchen was full of standing people who came to see that something is done to rescue our children from this scourge

The second meeting in December was moved to the Happy Camp Grange but also included a potluck before the meetingl Sueanne Thurman from McCloud facilitated the meeting as the group brainstormed for solutions to the community problem.

Community Seeks Solutions

The Happy Camp community is closely knit, almost like a family. Like a family, we have our differences and disagreements, but we also know that our Klamath neighbors care when we face sorrows and hardships. They’ve proven themselves in the past.

It is going to take all of us working to gether to reach the goals that we want to see for our children’s lives. One of the greatest concerns is death and other serious consequences of the impact of alcohol and other drug use by our young people.

As a community we will be seeking ways to reduce access, educate, and support recovery of young people. There will be a potluck dinner Thursday, Nov. 20th at the Happy Camp High School. Potluck dinner will ber served at 5:30 and if you come for dinner, please stay for the meeting at 6:45. See you at Room 3!

Further information may be obtained from Happy Camp Family Resource Center 493-5117.

Dr. Burns Resigns Alcohol & Drug Prevention Coalition

by Judy Bushy

Things are busy in Happy Camp. The last meeting of the Children and youth Alcohol and other Drug Prevention Coalition was eventful. I was very sad to hear that Dr. Steven Burns has stepped down from the leadership of that group. Dr. Steve has done a wonderful job in founding this organization with a most important goal for our community—to prevent alcohol and other drug abuse among our children and youth.

Dr. Steve sent an email to let everyone know that he will not be able to continue actively working on the coalition project. Since moving his family to Happy Camp, he has become four times busier than he was in San Diego. He will be refocusing his time on his family and church activities as well as his many ongoing responsibilities as the town doctor.

Karen Derry who directs the Happy Camp Family Resource Center was asked by Dr. Burns to take over the duties, pending a new meeting of the coalition. We thank Dr. Steve for getting the ball rolling on this alcohol and other drug prevention efforts in our community.

Karen and Nadine are excited about the impact the Coalition can have on our Klamath River communities for our children. For more information, or to volunteer your help in this effort, you may call 493-5117.