REDI Report – May 21, 2016

Local law enforcement plays role in economic development process

This past week was National Police Officer Week. It seems in most recent years that only negative stories of police officers make headlines in national media, but every day men and women who wear the law enforcement uniform proudly are putting their lives on the line to make sure we live safe and sound. Lebanon and Laclede County are not immune from crime at times, but I certainly feel a general sense of safety living in our community and county that people don’t necessarily have in other places. We should all be thankful and I hope that we all take a moment every now and then to thank our local police officers in all the communities of Laclede County for what they do for us on a daily basis.

One thing that they certainly tackle is the issue of drugs, not unlike any other community in America. While I never think it is appropriate to put a spotlight on the issues we face and simply hammer on the negative challenges, we must also be willing to understand that we do face obstacles and find ways to address such issues.

The Laclede County Drug Council (LCDC), a group of local volunteers with a vested interest in the subject matter, is actively engaged in doing its part to battle whatever challenges we face locally and I have been blessed to participate in this committee over the past several months. I want to take this moment to personally invite you to an event that LCDC will host on May 24.

A town hall meeting to address the issue of underage drinking will be held Tuesday, May 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Lebanon-Laclede County Library, located at 915 South Jefferson Ave. in Lebanon.

The event is open to the public specifically parents/guardians, students and citizens concerned about the challenges related to underage drinking.

The May 24 town hall will be set up in a “question and answer” format where attendees will have the chance to address local panelists chosen from areas of the community that deal with underage drinking on a day-to-day basis.

After brief introductions and overviews of how the issue affects each panelist personally and professionally, those in attendance will be able to ask questions and also offer solutions.

To develop and organize the effort, the LCDC applied and received a grant through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), an organization that is sponsoring its sixth round of such town hall events across the nation. Since the start of the initiative, thousands of similar events have been held throughout the country to increase public awareness and support the efforts of community-based entities to prevent underage drinking. One of the key goals of the events is to help communities mobilize active plans in support of evidence-based prevention.

For more information on the May 24 town hall meeting, contact LCDC at 417-533-1325 or by e-mail at

I hope you are able to attend and help contribute to the discussion. If one individual is assisted, directly or indirectly, to set his or her life on a better path as a result of the forum, it will be a HUGE success. While on the surface, an issue such as underage drinking may not look like it is tied to economic and community development, it most certainly is. Someone who goes down a bad road by using drugs or excessively abusing alcohol, will likely struggle to be a good employee or member of society. By staying engaged with the subject matter, we can all do our part to help.

Have a great weekend everyone!

(Brian Thompson is the President/Chief Executive Officer of Lebanon-REDI. He may be reached at his office at 200 E. Commercial Street at 417-533-5627, by mobile phone at 417-288-9737 or by e-mail at

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