Topics for the 2004 Operation Healthy Communities Summit are
Breaking the Ice – The Chilling Facts About Methamphetamine
Use: According to Operation Healthy Communities, methamphetamine
use has been on the rise in La Plata County since the late ’90s.
Easy to make and highly addictive, meth has become a huge concern
among law enforcement, child protection services, schools and
“It’s growing so fast and has just roared to the
surface,” said Operation Healthy Communities director Laura
The session will look for ideas and solutions before the problem
gets any worse, Lewis said.
Water – Thirst for a Solution: A burgeoning population
combined with recent drought has created concern over water availability
and usage. Lewis said this session will assess the current county
water situation, including the proposed La Plata-Archuleta Water
District, as well as long-term sustainability.
“We’ll be looking at water systems vs. wells and
how water districts affect the rural/urban interface,” she
said. “Basically, we need to decide whether these districts
Lewis said the pros and cons of such water delivery systems will
be weighed, and conservation and annexation processes will be
Children – Handle With Care: La Plata County does not have
enough licensed child-care providers to meet current needs, especially
for children younger than 4 and for those needing nighttime and
weekend care, according to Operation Healthy Communities. Yet,
80 percent of the community’s women work, making child care
“What we’re finding now is that it’s affecting
so many community members,” said Lewis. “There’s
just not enough day care.”
Of special concern, she said, are parents who work late-night
or early morning hours.
“There’s no child care for anyone doing shift work,”
she said. “Sadly enough it’s these people who really
need access to it the most.”
This session will try to find viable solutions to the shortage,
covering child-care costs and remedying low child-care worker
Safer Schools – No Bully Left Behind: School safety helps
create an environment conducive to better learning, therefore,
this session will look at what can be done to improve La Plata
Lewis said the session will include a panel of school administrators,
and that parents, students and counselors also will weigh in on
the subject. She said students were chosen by their teachers and
asked to keep a record of things such as racist comments, fights
and instances of segregation. She said the students will make
a presentation on their findings.
Participants will try to develop specific and measurable steps
that will assure safer local schools for children.
Planning in a Divergent County: Meshing the interests of rural
and urban interest in terms of growth and progress will be the
focus of this session. It also will address what is being done
about growth and what needs to be done and how the community can
get involved in the planning process. Lewis said city and county
planners will take participants through the various stages of
the development/planning process and solicit feedback.
“They will be trying to ask the community, ‘What
do you need from us?’” Lewis said, adding that it
will serve as “kind of an idiot’s guide to the planning
The session will be more informational in nature, she said, educating
participants on the planning process and identifying top growth
issues that need attention.
An Apple a Day – Reducing Demand for the Limited Health
Care Supply: With the cuts at Valley Wide Health Services, an
already hurting health-care system was injured even more. While
many groups are working on solutions such as making physicians
more available, exploring the option of a health care district
and building an inpatient psychiatric facility, these will take
time to implement.
This session will look at what can be done now and how the community
can work to promote personal responsibility for health and to
prevent further strain on the system.
– Missy Votel