Mount Kisco Drug Council Looks To Expand Court Program With Grant

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The Mount Kisco Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Council recently received a grant for $125,000 per year for up to five years. Photo Credit: Mount Kisco Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Council

MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. — The Mount Kisco Drug and Alcohol Prevention Council is one of 60 coalitions nationwide to receive the Drug Free Communities grant this year, which is worth $125,000 a year, renewable for up to five years.

Council Chairman Mel Berger said he would like to use the money to expand the Mount Kisco court drug counseling program to Bedford courts. Bedford Town Justice Erik P. Jacobsen has expressed enthusiasm for the program, which for 25 years has evaluated drug offenders in Mount Kisco courts and provided them with rehabilitation services, he said.

“I want to put that into Bedford Court because we have young people from Fox Lane, local people from Mount Kisco, Bedford, Chappaqua and Katonah who appear in those courts and who need this help,” he said.

The 17–member council applied for the grant through the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Of the 60 groups chosen, three others were from New York, including the Cortlandt Community Coalition.

Berger said he also wants to set up programs for young people at Neighbor’s Link, which serves Latino immigrant communities; and to contribute money toward funding the youth officer at Fox Lane High School. Bedford Police Officer William Smith’s salary is paid solely by the Town of Bedford, whose officials have said that Mount Kisco and Pound Ridge should chip in because their students also attend the school.

Currently, the council has another resource at Fox Lane: Guidance counselor and council member Lauren Beeson leads the SADD club (Students Against Destructive Decisions) and watches out for drug problems among students.

The council also runs the Emergency Shelter Partnership for the homeless each winter; Prescription Drug Take Back Day, held Sept. 29; and the TIPS program, which trains business owners in preventing underage drinking.

The council is required to come up with an annual plan, including a budget, as part of the grant.

“There are very rigorous requirements here,” said council coordinator Nan Miller, including setting up an in-kind system for the council to match work paid for. “The budget has already been worked out, so we know exactly how much has to be spent on everything: supplies, the staff.”

“There are quarterly reports that have to be submitted,” she said. Mount Kisco Village Manager Jim Palmer and Treasurer Rose Sickenius will use their experience with federal grants to help the council keep track, she said.

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