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Beale, community combat underage drinking crimes

Posted 11/13/2006   Updated 11/15/2006 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Christine Collier
9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs

11/13/2006 - Beale AFB, Calif. -- Beale Air Force Base has been selected to receive a grant from the Department of Justice which will allow the base and the state to share $900,000 over the next three years to reduce underage drinking by Airmen. 

The award of funds was made through the Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Discretionary Program, which focuses on reducing the availability and consumption of alcoholic beverages by underage service personnel. EUDL is the only federal initiative directed exclusively toward preventing underage drinking. 

"To each and every person of age, it is our duty to protect our underage folks from alcohol - not to provide it," said John Nicoletti, local coordinator for the EUDL Discretionary Program. "If you culturally shift that one decision, you will affect the majority of problems facing our young people today. You may, in fact, save a life." 

The Alcohol Beverage Control will administer the funds from the grant through the San Diego State University Research Foundation, which will distribute the funds to Mr. Nicoletti. He will create and manage a local coalition of citizens, leaders and key stakeholders in the prevention arena. 

"This grant is an exciting opportunity for the base to partner with local communities to decrease underage drinking, both in the community and on base, including civilians, dependants and active-duty servicemembers," said Capt. Courtney Cantrell, Beale EUDL Discretionary Program coordinator. 

Local police departments from Yuba City, Wheatland and Marysville will receive part of the grant, and will be working with the 9th Security Forces Squadron on the program. 

Additionally, Yuba Sutter Friday Night Live will receive funding to implement a media campaign and support staff. 

The long-term goals of the program include: reducing driving under the influence incidents and accidents involving Beale Airmen by 50 percent; reducing underage drinking related incidents, crimes and accidents involving Beale Airmen by 60 percent; and reducing the rates of underage drinking in the Beale area youth, particularly Wheatland High School students, by 15 percent per year. 

"I think the program compliments the commitment of a better life the Air Force has made to its Airmen," Mr. Nicoletti said. "On one hand, you might say 'if I'm young enough to die for my country, then I'm old enough to drink,' but on the other hand, if you are over 21 and provide alcohol to someone underage and a tragedy occurs, is that taking care of your wingman?" 

"If you can help another by preventing underage drinking, isn't it worth doing?" he said. 
"As for me, yes, I will help." 

Other bases and states to receive the grant were Davis-Monthan and Luke Air Force bases in Arizona, Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii, and Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana.

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