The monthly meeting of the Newton County Community Coalition had a light turnout of members but despite the lower than usual attendance, the meeting went as planned.

The monthly meeting of the Newton County Community Coalition had a light turnout of members but despite the lower than usual attendance, the meeting went as planned.

Luis Cecenas, DFC Coordinator, provided grant updates for the group. Cecenas noted that since the fiscal year ends on Sept. 29, the coalition should get as much grant items done as possible prior to that date. Plans are also under way to reach out to the Hispanic and Pacific Islander communities.

"We'd like to have some culture diversity education for the coalition," he said.

Due to the absence of member Tal Clubbs, anticipated reports on a proposed suicide town hall meeting were tabled until a later date but plans are under way for an event at Crowder College this fall.

Two Neosho High School students attended to express their interest in volunteering for the community. Senior Colby Lane and junior Joseph Butler both came on their own recognizance seeking ways to volunteer. They have considered becoming involved with Key Club but during the meeting, the two young men were also informed of the new Neosho Youth Volunteer Program recently formed in Neosho. Both expressed interest. Cecenas told the youth that there are "good opportunities to get involved in the community."

Marlissa Diggs, The Alliance, stated that a media campaign is being planned to cover the ongoing opioid abuse within the region. In addition to a planned campaign utilizing print media, radio, and television, Diggs said there will be a media competition offered to all Newton County Schools. Area students will soon receive details how to compete with their media and a Shark Tank style competition will be held to judge the winning entry.

For the September meeting, there will be a Bring A Friend competition with a prize to be awarded to the member who brings the most friends.

With eight individuals in attendance, compared to a normal 30 or 40, the meeting lasted a shorter time than usual.

The next meeting of the Newton County Community Coalition will be Tuesday, Aug. 28 at noon at the Talkington Foundation, located at 209 N. Valley Street, Neosho.