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Sunrise Youth Bureau reports service increase

Sunrise Youth Bureau is seeing an increase in the number of youths being served. Director Holly Praus, joined by Amber Hofstad, youth advisor, reported the figures to city commissioners at their regular meeting Tuesday. Youth programs at Sunrise ...

Sunrise Youth Bureau Director Holly Praus reported to city commissioners Tuesday increases in the number of youths being served by its programs. Praus is joined by Amber Hofstad, Surnrise youth advisor. (Brandon L. Summers / The Dickinson Press)
Sunrise Youth Bureau Director Holly Praus reported to city commissioners Tuesday increases in the number of youths being served by its programs. Praus is joined by Amber Hofstad, Surnrise youth advisor. (Brandon L. Summers / The Dickinson Press)

Sunrise Youth Bureau is seeing an increase in the number of youths being served.

Director Holly Praus, joined by Amber Hofstad, youth advisor, reported the figures to city commissioners at their regular meeting Tuesday.

Youth programs at Sunrise include diversion, intervention, education prevention, out-of-school suspension, and attendant care.

Sunrise also provides crisis interventions for families in conflict.

The diversion program takes referrals from juvenile court.

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The juvenile and a parent meet with a youth advisor at Sunrise. The juvenile is counseled on what they did to get in trouble, and are given appropriate consequences.

"The goal of this program is to keep juveniles out of the juvenile justice system while still giving the youth consequences for their actions," Praus said.

For education prevention, a youth educator goes out to schools in the eight county area and addresses such topics as bullying, conflict resolution, and drugs and alcohol.

The attendant care programs helps shelter youths, placed there by law enforcement or social services, until further arrangements are made.

All of these programs and services have seen increases in their numbers, Praus said.

"Diversion had an increase of 70 percent. Suspension an increase of 50 percent. Attendant care had an increase of 68 percent. And our educational classes done at the schools had a 90 percent increase," she said.

She added, "With our current year going the way it is, I foresee it will continue to increase."

In 2018, 85 percent of Stark County youths seen by Sunrise were from Dickinson.

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Before, Hofstad said, Sunrise would see older teens, but have begun seeing youths as young as nine years old.

"Some of the issues we are seeing is an increase of youth getting caught with vaping," Praus said. "We're also seeing younger kids having more behavioral issues as well as mental health issues."

Praus emphasized the need to support Sunrise and its programs.

"These programs are vital to our community," she said. "We assist with troubled youths and their families, as well as provide education prevention programs to younger youth to assist with further issues."

She added, "If Sunrise Youth Bureau did not exist, who would provide these programs?"

In other business:

Aaron Praus, solid waste manager, provided a report on the city's solid waste in 2018.

The department provides services across Southwestern North Dakota, Praus noted, from Killdeer to Hettinger, to Glen Olin and the Montana border.

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In 2018, 64,844 tons were collected, a slight increase from 2017, but consistent over the past few years, Praus said.

"Historically, we had about a 10,000 ton increase when compared to the pre-boom era," he said.

The top three contributors were household materials at 41,158 tons, construction materials at 7,000 tons, and "inert" at 2,300 tons.

Of the household tonnage, 42 percent came from within city limits, collected by the city, with the other 58 percent from the surrounding service area.

Recycling started in October. Through February, 384 tons of materials were collected.

The city pays $64 per ton to get rid of materials at recovery facility in Shakopee, Minn., and pays $1,800 transportation fee per load shipped.

Mayor Scott Decker recognized Hannah Rathgeber, a senior at Dickinson High School, for receiving a Girl Scout Gold Award on March 19.

Rathgeber explained she has been a Girl Scout for 13 years.

"Girl Scouts isn't just about selling cookies," she said. "It teaches you how to be a leader and how to affect positive change in your community."

Rathgeber earned the award for her project, a community garden she started at her church, St. John Lutheran, called Garden of Grace.

In 2017, she built six raised garden beds there, and planted seeds last spring with volunteers, who also served as caretakers.

The produce was harvested three times per week last fall and donated to Amen Food Pantry.

"We ended up donating over 300 pounds of fresh corn, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, carrots and even strawberries," she said. "That was over 300 pounds of fresh food that went to help feed hungry families here in our community."

The garden was designed to be sustainable, Rathgeber said, so the church and volunteers will be able to donate produce every year.

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