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Facing a Long-term Page Problem Head-on

Facing a Long-term Page Problem Head-on
August 07
04:06 2020

Facing a Long-term Page Problem Head-on

L-R Darren Coldwell, Joe Wright

The folks who are most interested in ridding the Page area of indigents and alcohol met at Page City Hall Thursday as Page’s still being formed Substance Abuse Task Force. The meeting was orchestrated by Page City Manager, Darren Coldwell, and was attended by people who were there in person, and some who were on Zoom from other locations.

Mr. Coldwell began the day by giving thanks to City Attorney Josh Smith, Economic Development Coordinator Gregg Martinez and Joe Wright, CEO of Encompass Health Services, for being the ones who got the ball rolling.

Also included in that list by Coldwell were the city’s two chiefs: Drew Sanders (Police Department) and Jeff Reed (Fire Department).

Chief Sanders repeated a comment he has made in the past, “We are not going to arrest our way out of this problem.”

Mr. Coldwell mentioned in his opening remarks that the City of Page has been fighting this problem for quite a number of years. To emphasize his comment, he quoted a newspaper headline from 27-years ago that stated, “Page Struggles with Drunken Issue.”

“So, this is something that we as a community have struggled with,”
he said. “But finally, I believe the City of Page, that we are committed to solving this problem.”

Mr. Coldwell said the 5-member group will take a three-pronged approach to solving the problem….

1) Educating retailers and their staff concerning the sale of alcohol.

2) The direct outreach to those affected by the disease.

3) A permanent substance abuse committee.

Among those very much behind this effort are Chief Sanders, Chief Reed, the City of Page staff, Banner Health, Page Unified School District, Encompass, Canyonlands Healthcare and Catholic Charities.

During the course of Thursday’s meeting, it became pretty apparent that also onboard this committee will be representatives of the Navajo Nation. In fact, via Zoom, President Jonathan Nez spent ten minutes telling the organizers the importance of what they are doing, and how his staff wants to help, too.

The committee is also partnering with the Page Lake Powell Chamber of Commerce, which was represented at the meeting by Executive Director Judy Franz and President Scott Swank.

The chamber’s participation is important, according to the City Manager, because it will help lead to an understanding by member stores on how to deal with things, such as a recurring liquor customer on the same day.

Also present at the meeting, in person, was the new PUSD Superintendent Larry Wallen. And attending by way of Zoom was our 5th District County Supervisor, Lena Fowler.

It is important to note that the Page City Council is totally on board with the Substance Abuse Task Force, having committed $25,000 toward the committee.

Coldwell was also very happy that Catholic Charities will, among other things, go out to the effected communities and give people an opportunity for help.

“They will offer them housing, offer them the first steps of counseling and eventually long-term care,” said Coldwell.

Evidently, long-term care for those who have been suffering from these issues, has been evasive in Page.

This is a very old problem in Page. But with this task force, perhaps it will finally get the swift kick in the behind it needs to bring Page a much prouder and brighter future when it comes to the people; the good people, who need help.

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