Community Council seeks new study topic

It has tackled childhood issues, the local economy and gangs.

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WALLA WALLA - The Community Council is looking for its next pressing issue to study and explore in an effort to improve the quality of life in the Valley.

The organization is wrapping up research on its latest study - how prevention efforts could reduce gang membership and its impacts in the region. Findings and recommendations from that study are expected to be released this summer.

In the meantime, the Council is seeking suggestions for its next topic, Executive Director Julie Reese said.

Though submissions are accepted throughout the year, those who want their ideas considered for the 2011 study must have them submitted by Feb. 28. The topic is expected to be announced in the spring, and a six-month study will commence this fall.

To be considered, the topics must fit six criteria:

Definition and manageability: Is the issue clear? Can it be researched and effectively handled by the study process?

Importance: Is the issue important to the region? Does it affect large numbers of people on an economic or quality-of-life basis?

Necessity: Is it likely other groups can or will carry out a similar study?

Citizen interest: Is the issue likely to attract participation from a broad spectrum of members of the community?

Effectiveness: Can the issue be resolved by reason, based on fact, or are the emotional overtones too great to permit reasoned analysis?

Timeliness: Will the study provide guidance for decisions needed now? Is there enough time to complete the study before community decisions must be made?

The study process is open to all who want to participate. The process will conclude with a report to the public and recommendations for action. A task force will then work with the community to implement the recommendations.

The upcoming study will be the fourth of its kind since the Community Council formed in 2008. Previous studies focused on the educational, mental health and housing stability of the region's children; and how the region's economic vitality can be improved through the creation of value-added businesses using agricultural resources.

Implementation teams for those topics are led by Robert Zagelow and Mark James, respectively. Rick Griffin is chairing the gang-related study.

Ideas for the next study can be submitted to Community Council, P.O. Box 2936, Walla Walla, WA 99362 or to director@wwcommunitycouncil.org. Describe the topic as fully as possible and include your name, telephone number and e-mail (or postal) address. For more information, call Reese at 540-6720.

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