Pubdate: Fri, 11 Feb 2005
Source: Fort Pierce Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2005 The E.W. Scripps Co.
Author: Will Greenlee, staff writer
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)
Bookmark: (Youth)


PORT ST. LUCIE -- With hair like Elvis Presley and a flame-emblazoned 
jacket and sneakers, Retro Bill had about 500 students laughing in a 
humorous Thursday show that highlighted serious subjects, including making 
good choices and the dangers of doing drugs.

"If you can get a kid determined in third, fourth, fifth grade to not want 
to do drugs, to want to get an education, to want to grow up and make their 
dreams come true, you empower them," said Retro, whose real name is Bill 
Russ. "By being empowered and educated and informed, they're going to make 
better choices in high school."  	The stop at Port St. Lucie Elementary 
School was one of several in Russ's two-day schedule that ends today. Russ, 
40, is a weekly contributor on a nationally syndicated radio program and is 
the official D.A.R.E. "Safety Buddy."

Russ's animated style, sound effects and humorous tales frequently produced 
bursts of laughter.

In one instance, he said a kid once called him a dork.

"I am not," Russ recalled. "He said, 'Yeah, you are,' and I said (no), and 
he goes, 'How do you know?' I said, 'I had my mom show me my birth 
certificate. It did not say dumb, stupid, ugly or dork.'"

Another time, he said a kid made fun of his slender build.

"He goes, 'Retro Bill's so skinny if he stood in front of the flag pole we 
couldn't see him,'" Russ said. "I was like, 'Well, you better not play hide 
and go seek with me, I'd win.'"

Holly Schrader, 10, said she enjoyed the presentation.

"I think it's really good for the kids and younger people," the fifth- 
grader said. "Some people don't know what they're doing so it'll teach them 
what not to do and what to do."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom