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School board member unhappy with alcohol, tobacco banners

Adults around town, if they pay attention, can easily spot an array of banners and other signs advertising tobacco and alcohol. But it isn't the adults that Sunnyside School Board member Bill Smith is worried about.

Smith last night made known the issue he has with local businesses advertising alcohol and tobacco products to youth, especially those stores located near several district schools.

Smith said he had brought forth the issue of addressing alcohol and tobacco advertising by local businesses at a previous board meeting. He wanted to know if there had been any gain in providing the board with a report on the issue.

One particular business that Smith had issues with is the new convenience store that opened on the corner of 16th Street and Lincoln Avenue. Smith pointed out the numerous banners and other signs at the convience store advertising alcohol and tobacco products. The store sits directly across from Chief Kamiakin Elementary School.

"We are not asking for them to not sell alcohol or cigarettes," said Smith.

Smith said what he would like to ask of that particular business and all businesses in the community is to use their best judgment in the advertising of such products.

Sunnyside School District Safe and Effective Schools Director John Hughes told the board this is an issue that the Sunnyside's Promise group has been working on.

Members of the Sunnyside City Council, in particular Councilman Bruce Ricks, have expressed similar concerns about the advertising of alcohol and tobacco products in the community.

Smith said he would like to see the school board, city council and the community work together on establishing some sort of policy governing the advertising of alcohol and tobacco products. Smith encouraged the process to move a lot quicker than it has been in establishing some sort of community policy because he perceives the advertising of such products becoming a problem in the community.

Hughes explained that businesses that do utilize the advertising banners are usually receiving some sort of compensation from a company for advertising their products.

The board will be addressing the matter further at its March meeting.

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