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Sunnyside's Promise jumps on anti-alcohol, tobacco advertising bandwagon

Proponents of limiting alcohol and tobacco advertisements on store walls gained evern more support at last night's Sunnyside School Board meeting.

The Sunnyside School Board Thursday night heard from Sunnyside's Promise Chair Ed Radder about what the local group thinks concerning the advertising of alcohol and tobacco products near school facilities.

The Sunnyside School Board decided at its February meeting to approach Sunnyside's Promise and get the organization's input after school board director Bill Smith shared his concerns regarding advertising of alcohol and tobacco products at a convenience store across from Chief Kamiakin Elementary School.

Radder, who is also police chief for the City of Sunnyside, told the school board that John Hughes, executive director of safe and effective schools for the Sunnyside School District, will be presenting a letter on behalf of Sunnyside's Promise to the Sunnyside City Council next Monday night, asking the city leaders to take a stance on businesses advertising alcohol and tobacco related products in the areas of school facilities.

"It is going to issue a challenge to the city council," Radder said of the letter. "It pretty well addresses Sunnyside Promise's concerns."

Radder said there are about a half dozen convenience stores that are within school district facilities in Sunnyside.

Radder added that what Sunnyside's Promise and the school district are trying to address with alcohol and tobacco related advertising products should be taken up as a part of a 24-page document city staff has drafted in regards to a sign ordinance officials have been looking at implementing. The sign ordinance is scheduled to be part of a public hearing next Monday before the Council. The public hearing is part of a process the city has to go through after it invoked a moratorium on signs following an appeal issue local contractor Tom Paul brought before the Council.

The sign ordinance issue is also scheduled to go before the Sunnyside Planning Commission for public input on April 13. Radder encouraged all community members to be at both meetings to provide their input.

"Show up at these hearings and make your opinion known," said Radder. "We (Sunnyside's Promise) will take the official stand it needs to be dealt with."

Smith asked Radder if he had spoken with store owners about the issue of advertising their products. Radder said there is money to be made by business owners for putting up the advertising banners for distributors.

Smith said he believes the community should ban together to deal with the issue of alcohol and tobacco products being advertised to minors. Smith also felt the school board should take a firm stance on the issue when approached by the Washington State Liquor Control Board in regards to liquor license requests.

"We as a school board need to adopt the position no more new liquor licenses in the proximity to schools," said Smith. "I think it needs to be a whole community effort and just not push it to the City Council."

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