Pubdate: Tue, 02 Dec 2003
Source: Winona Daily News (MN)
Copyright: 2003 Winona Daily News
Author: Margie Cady
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)


Efforts to continue the DARE program in Winona have fallen short.

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program will be dropped for at least 
one year, the city council learned Monday. Winona Police Chief Frank 
Pomeroy said the program will end with the DARE graduations in January.

In a memorandum to the city council, Pomeroy said DARE officer Kevin 
Kearney was only able to raise about $37,000 of the $65,000 needed to 
continue the position.

"We tried our best," Pomeroy said before Monday's meeting. "But that's far 
short of what's needed."

The DARE program teaches children about the dangers of drug abuse. The city 
of Winona cut its funding in June, and Winona County also was unable to 
provide funding in 2004.

Winona Area Public Schools had pledged $5,000 to save DARE, with the 
provision that the county and city do the same.

"We have to make a choice, what's more critical at the time," Mayor Jerry 
Miller said. "Probably, what's more critical right now is we have an 
officer on the street, instead of the DARE program."

In addition to the funding shortage, DARE also put a strain on the Winona 
Police Department.

Pomeroy said the department has been reduced by one officer. The department 
also will face nine medical leaves in 2004, in addition to a one-year leave 
of absence.

"I don't think the city should bear that (DARE funding) burden by itself," 
said Dieter Mielimonka, council president. "We don't have any extra money 
to go around."

Pomeroy said DARE has been in Winona at least a decade. But while many 
students have benefited from the program, there were 100 drug-related 
arrests in the city in 2002, and 110 arrests this year.

"That's an awful lot for a community this size," Pomeroy said of the arrests.

Council member George Borzyskowski said he is saddened to lose the program. 
He praised Kearney for his fund-raising efforts.

"I myself would like to see the program continue," Borzyskowski said. "But 
as we look at the (budget) numbers, the funds just aren't there."

Borzyskowski added that DARE could return at a later date.

Truth In Taxation

Also Monday, the council held the 2004 Truth in Taxation public hearing. 
The city's proposed net tax levy is $4,102,531, an increase of 11.27 percent.

Jim Kronebusch, who describes himself as middle-aged, said he is not 
concerned about this year's taxes, but by the precedent the council is setting.

"We are a community getting older and we do not need more and more taxes 
here," Kronebusch said. "I can still afford it, but maybe when I'm 65, I 

Miller said the value of area homes also figures into taxes.

"Our levy today is less than it was in 2001," Miller said.

The proposed 2004 budget is $38,464,586, which includes the Port Authority.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman