Social Host Story

April 3, 2008

  • Freeborn County Family Services Collaborative ATOD (Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs) Prevention Coalition hosted an Underage Drinking Prevention Town Meeting on underage alcohol use. Sponsored by: See http://www.stopalcoholabuse.gov/townhall/.
  • During the Town Meeting citizens expressed concern about minors drinking at home.  This was discussed and many present had the same concern.  Citizens talked about other towns having an ordinance against being the host of the venue where there was underage drinking.  Some suggested it would be something to look into and it may be good for our community.

April – August 2008

  • Jill Marin, District 241 School Board member, was also present at this town meeting, heard the people’s concerns and brought them to her husband, City Councilman George Marin.
  • City Councilman George Marin then contacted Albert Lea City Manager Victoria Simonsen about this concern. Victoria Simonsen then contacted the Albert Lea police department and requested they research such an ordinance. Lt. JD Carlson spoke with his Chief Dwaine Winkles about this. Winkels referred Carlson to Chief Knight of the Chaska MN Police Department. Chaska was the first town in MN to implement a Social Host Ordinance. Knight emailed the Chaska Social Host Ordinance to Carlson. Carlson re-worded the Ordinance from Chaska only replacing the name of the town Chaska with Albert Lea so that our ordinance was identical to Chaska’s.
  • Carlson presented draft of Ordinance to the rest of the Albert Lea police department and to the then City Attorney Steve Schwab. Changes were suggested, Carlson implemented changes. Police department stated support for ordinance.
  • Carlson connected with fellow Albert Lea police department Lt. Phil Bartusek and discovered his work on similar issues. Bartusek started the ZAP program in 2005.
  • Carlson requested that he and Bartusek be allowed to present ordinance at Sept. 18 City Council Pre Agenda meeting (no public present, only City Councilors & some City Staff). Regarding the ordinance.

September 2008

  • Sept. 18 ± Carlson and Bartusek present Social Host Ordinance to City Council at pre-agenda meeting.  Some councilors had concerns with the ordinance: war veterans, wedding dances. City Manager Victoria Simonsen suggested Carlson and Bartusek do further research on the ordinance and address the concerns of the council.  She invited Carlson and Bartusek to present again on Nov. 10.  See Sept. 25 Albert Lea Tribune article: http://albertleatribune.com/news/2008/sep/25/city-mulls-social-host­law/
  • State Safe and Sober stats were released showing that in Freeborn County from 2005­2007, 30% of the people who were arrested for drunken driving were age 24 and younger.  This supported the need for more tools to help reduce underage drinking, tools such as this Social Host Ordinance.

November 2008

  • Nov. 8 -Article in paper about Council to read proposed ordinance: http://albertleatribune.com/news/2008/nov/08/council-read-proposed-social-host­ordinance/.
  • Nov. 10 ± Council votes 4-3 to move forward and accept public input regarding ordinance. Will hear public input and vote on ordinance on Dec. 8. Newspaper story :http://albertleatribune.com/news/2008/nov/11/council-votes-accept-public-input­regarding-social/
  • Nov. 12 ± Alice Englin invites Carlson & George Marin to present Social Host Ordinance PowerPoint presentation to Freeborn County Partners In Prevention ATOD Coalition.
  • Nov. 19 ± Carlson presents to FCPIP ATOD Coalition.  Coalition Rallies!!  Alice sent message out to all FC-PIP membership asking them to reply if they were not in support of the Ordinance at which point Alice would take their name off the list of supporters from FC-PIP. Only a few asked to have their names removed.
  • Letters from FC-PIP, CDC, School Dist. 241 were submitted to City Council in support.

December 2008

  • Carlson and George Marin invite Chaska Chief Knight to be present at Dec. 8 City Council meeting to answer questions and show support.  Knight not available but sent one of his officers.  G. Marin spoke with Country Inn and Suites who provided a room at no charge for the officer.  Carlson paid for meals and mileage out of pocket.
  • Sunday Dec. 7 – FCPIP sponsored Ad was run in Tribune to educate community on details of the Ordinance in order to educate and address misperceptions.

Newspaper article Dec. 8, day of meeting:

http://albertleatribune.com/news/2008/dec/08/albert-lea-city-council-mull-social-host­measure/

Dec. 8 – Carlson gave presentation including support from FCPIP, Alice Englin read letter of support from FC-PIP, Riverland CC President read letter of support, Jill Marin read a personal letter of support. George Marin read letter of support from citizen. Passed, vote was 4-3. Carlson has DVD of actual City Council meeting.

Newspaper article Dec. 9:

http://albertleatribune.com/news/2008/dec/09/albert-lea-city­council-adopts-social-host-ordinan/

Ordinance went into effect January 8, 2009.

Return to Region 6