Task force forms for Cascade Locks youth

May 18, 2011

If the community can meet a June deadline, Cascade Locks could be in play for a 10-year federal grant that would bring $1.25 million to the town for drug and alcohol prevention efforts.

A prevention program in the city was previously operated under the title of CLIK (Cascade Locks Interested in Kids) until around 2004 when funding dried up. Maija Yasui of the Hood River County Commission on Children and Families sees the grant money as an opportunity to bring in a program with a similar mission.

She felt the program's goals would go a long way toward helping to integrate the Cascade Locks School and the community and to reach the youth of Cascade Locks.

"I see this as an opportunity to heal," Yasui said.

The money would come through a federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant

The Hood River County School district has already agreed to be a fiscal agent for the grant if it's received, but they would need an entity to distribute the money to.

That is where the June 30 deadline comes in. Before the grant application can be submitted there would need to be proof of an organization to receive the funds.

To qualify for the grant and be able to apply, the community must form a task force that shows involvement between the school, service groups, elected officials, business, faith groups health groups and the community.

"By June we have to show there is a group specific to Cascade Locks focused on prevention," Yasui said.

Many attendees of Thursday's action team meeting were previously involved in CLIK and said they would lend support however they could.

"It's a great opportunity and I'd hate to see it slip by," said Jim Holbert, who coordinates the monthly meetings of Cascade Locks community members.

The money would amount to $125,000 a year for alcohol and drug prevention efforts, including activities in the town to involve youth of all ages.

Without the community's loss of its high school two years ago and its middle school in 2011-12, Yasui felt it was particularly important to get a prevention program going with the youth of the community.

"There are a whole lot of ways to engage," she said. "How do we begin the transition?"

The group scheduled a meeting for May 25 at noon in Port House 3 to bring various community groups together to discuss how to move forward with applying for the grant.

Anyone interested in helping to form the task force should attend.

Also at Thursday's meeting:

On May 20 there will be a story tellers night at Cascade Locks School from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Anyone who attended Cascade Locks School is welcome to share their stories about the school.

Stories will be recorded for a CD from 6:30-7:30 and then will be shared live from 7:30-8:30 p.m.

For more information contact Macie Kingsley at 541-374-8467.

Port Commissioner Jess Groves said the Cascade to Crown bike ride is coming together. People wanting to participate in the ride may register at cascadetocrownride.com.

He also said the port is working with Skamania County through a National Scenic Byways grant for a bike and pedestrian path at the Bridge of the Gods.

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