Thursday, March 29, 2012

Another successful Pancake Breakfast!

The weather cooperated, and a nice crowd of some 350 people found their way to the Moose Lodge in Belle Fourche on Sunday (3/25/12) for the Lion's annual Pancake Breakfast.

When the pancake batter settled, ticket sales and donations amounted to nearly $2,000, which will -- after paying expenses for the event -- go a long way to support the various community service activities performed by Lions.

Lion Swede Wennberg was quoted in the Belle Fourche Post that it was "...a gangbuster day!"  He said Lions workers had to go "three or four times" to get more sausage.

A nice bonus came with the presentation of a $266 donation from Lynn's Dakotamart, which had conducted its own fundraiser on behalf of Lions. 

Lynn's local Manager Jim Grapentine (on the right in this photo) presented a check to Lions Treasurer Rich Drabek.  Many thanks to Jim Grapentine and the many good folks at Lynn's Dakotamart for their staunch support!

Lion Bill Kunerth was kind enough to slip behind a camera and capture a few candid photographs from this event.  You'll find them in our Pancake Gallery!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Lions get the scoop on local drug enforcement

BF Police Sergeant Scott Jones
Abuse of prescription drugs has grown rapidly in recent months, and so-called "synthetic drugs" have also taken hold across America -- and this region.

Sergeant Scott Jones of the Belle Fourche Police Department gave a sobering presentation to the Belle Fourche Lions Club yesterday (3/22/12), providing lots of information and spurring considerable interest among members.  There were lots of questions.

Although Jones has been with the Belle Fourche Police Department for only about a year-and-a-half, he has some 14 years of experience in law enforcement and is one of a handful of drug identification officers in this area.

While the drug problem in Belle Fourche isn't nearly as pervasive as many parts of the country, Jones provided statistics from 2011 that should be cause for concern:  there were 18 cases that resulted in 91 citations and 34 instances of drug paraphernalia, two attempts to deliver, and 23 possessions.

During the first three months of 2012, there have been 10 cases involving 24 citations, 10 paraphernalia, six possessions, two possessions of a controlled substance, six ingestions, and one possession of an intoxicating substance.

Lions Club Program Chairman Leo Orme (at left) poses with
speaker Scott Jones of the Belle Fourche Police Department
and Lions Club President Brian Kline on Thursday (3/22/12).
Jones noted that the biggest problem continues to be marijuana and that the department is rarely seeing any instances of LCD or PCP, which were popular in an earlier era.  There also is not much evidence of cocaine in the area.  However, it is now prescription drugs that seem to have become the biggest problem.

Jones called prescription drugs containing opiates "legal heroin" and expressed the view that it would be good if physicians prescribed them only for acute pain and then only for short periods of time.  He also compared the abuse of Ritalin to cocaine.

While he applauded the work done by the South Dakota legislature in dealing with drugs in the state, Jones said that the legislative response will have to be quicker in order to deal effectively with the surge in synthetic drugs.  In the past five years or so, synthetics have become a serious concern.

One challenge is that the synthetic drugs like "Bath Salts" and "Night Lights" don't show up in drug and urine tests.  Sergeant Jones underscored the importance of not violating the constitutional rights of citizens, and he cited three ways employed in catching drug users and pushers:  
  • Observation - when paraphernalia is seen in vehicles or in homes during routine calls
  • Sources of information - a variety of individuals in the community, often even concerned family members, will often come forward 
  • Confidential sources - finding individuals within the drug culture who will provide useful information; this has proven to be among the best ways to catch drug pushers
Jones said that the drug culture may be a smaller problem here than in major cities, but that it is among the "tightest" that he's seen anywhere.  Even individuals caught for serious offenses often refuse to cooperate in turning evidence against others.  That is, however, loosening up a bit, according to Jones.

While it's unlikely that our community will ever be totally free of drugs, the goal of the Belle Fourche Police Department is to eliminate drugs in the community and make it as drug-free as possible.

Lions members were reminded that the Belle Fourche Lions Pancake Breakfast is coming up this weekend at the Moose Lodge.  The doors will open Sunday morning (3/25/12) at 8:00 o'clock, and we'll continue serving until 1:00 p.m.

While many tickets have already been sold, it's important to remind folks that tickets will also be sold at the door.  Only $5 per person for all the pancakes you can eat.  Of course, we'll have sausage links, orange juice and coffee, too!  Kids under five years of age are free.   Tell your friends and come join us for a great breakfast!

(NOTE:  Thanks to Lions Bill Kunerth and Del Neumeister for contributing to this story!)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Northern Plains Eye Foundation project outlined

In late January, the Belle Fourche Lions Club voted to support the "Lions of South Dakota Preschool Vision Screening Initiative."  It's a project designed to focus on preschool vision screening of approximately 12,000 to 13,000 registered preschoolers across the state.  To implement the initiative, Lions of South Dakota are planning to purchase eight devices to be strategically placed in the state so that "every club will have access to screening equipment." Screenings will be provided by trained personnel.  The program was scheduled to be in place by this summer.

Ronda Gusinsky
Another similar but separate initiative has been organized by the Rapid City-based Northern Plains Eye Foundation.  Its Executive Director, Ronda Gusinsky, came to Belle Fourche this week (3/8/12) to share information about their foundation and to seek financial support for their initiative.  She was accompanied by Dick Tupper from the Rushmore Lions Club in Rapid City.  We understand that Rushmore Lions Club, Downtown Rapid City Lions Club, and clubs in Piedmont and Hill City are supporting the NPEF project.

Gusinsky told about their CVSI Children’s Vision Screening Initiative and how it is about a year old.  Statistics:  one in 20 preschoolers and one in four school age children are affected with vision problems.  11.5% require glasses.  The identification takes into consideration that there is still the need to contact a Health Care Provider.  She spoke of new technology available and a machine called PediaVision Assessment Solution System.  She noted that they are looking for financial support. (Thanks to BF Lions Secretary Del Neumeister for his timely minutes!)

While it may be a bit confusing that similar initiatives are being launched in western South Dakota by two disparate regional organizations (NPEF and the SD Lions Foundation), it's good to know that there is not only a recognition of a need for early detection of vision disorders in children -- but plans of action for early intervention and treatment.

We'll keep you posted as we learn more about these initiatives.

Lion Joyce Drabek (at right) from the Northern Lights Lions Club (or was that a frisky Leprechaun?) visited the club to remind members that there will be a big Dodgeball Tournament this Saturday (March 10th) and there is still need for a few volunteers.

Members were also reminded that the annual Lions Pancake Breakfast is just around the corner (Sunday, March 25th), and there's still need for volunteers to assist with a variety of tasks.  Lions who can participate in this important event are asked to get in touch with the project chairman, Lion Ron Ensz.  The next Lions meeting will be on Thursday, March 22nd.  Thanks to Lion Bill Kunerth for capturing the above photos!