The Yellow Medicine Chemical Health Coalition hosted a meeting on Thursday, January 5, which happened to follow after key funding was approved by the Yellow Medicine County Board. The Back in December, the Yellow Medicine County Board voted to give the Yellow Medicine County Chemical Health Coalition a grant to sustain them until they could apply for the DFC grant.

The Yellow Medicine Chemical Health Coalition hosted a meeting on Thursday, January 5, which happened to follow after key funding was approved by the Yellow Medicine County Board. The Back in December, the Yellow Medicine County Board voted to give the Yellow Medicine County Chemical Health Coalition a grant to sustain them until they could apply for the DFC grant.

The coalition had previously been rejected for the grant, but they weren't very far off from receiving it. The feedback gave them a score of 77. Another school received the grant with a score of 86. The main problem to work on was details and implementation of the Action Plan part of the grant.

Another component the Coalition is going to focus on is better documenting the match paperwork. The county board wanted to see that local businesses and people were contributing. The Coalition discussed ways to make the paperwork easier. An electronic form to fill out was the easiest idea they came up with.

The Coalition also discussed how to increase membership. Debbie Eakes suggested started a middle school group for YME. Currently the high school kids are typically overwhelmed with commitments. The ECHO group is active and is comprised of middle school kids. Brian Skogen, the social worker from Canby, talked about how fun activities bring kids in. Sometimes it's the sole reason the kids participate.

He also brought up the idea of partnering with other organizations, like FCA, or student council. It's been helpful because it gets the student leaders involved, and also provides the student manpower necessary to run events like Kids Night Out, which was a huge success last year.

In other news:

• Mary Gillespie applied for a “Bike Friendly Community” seminar, which, if approved, will likely happen in May. There is a possibility of also forming a “bike fleet” - a set of free bikes for the community to use, similar to the system in the Twin Cities.

• Luther Talks is working on setting up a suicide assistance team training.

• Conrad Osland stepped down as Chair of the Coalition, not to abdicate responsibilities, but more so others could be seen in leadership roles. Ron Antony was elected as Chair, and Dawn Odegard was elected Vice Chair.

• The Coalition received a $1000 donation from the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. This is a donation, not a grant, so it will not count against the money the county contributed.