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Volume V, Issue 38

September 18, 2013

Walking the talk Suicide Prevention Month reminds us of how far we have come By Jeannette Boner Last Wednesday a small group of teenagers and a few family friends gathered at the Driggs City Park just before the first bell at the high school. Each took hold of a blue, helium filled balloon. Blue because Tiffany blue was Aidan Bivens’ favorite color. And walking out into the grassy field, her mother took out her camera and began to film the release, whispering through tears that her daughter is stilled loved, still missed, as the balloons floated into the perfectly clear day. Aiden Bivens died by suicide a year ago that Wednesday. And while more than 100 students marched down the streets of Driggs on Tuesday in honor of Suicide Prevention Month, encouraging others to “be strong,” and to “seek help,” the reality remains that Teton Valley continues to publically and privately wrestle with community members lost. “It’s very hard to deal with a loss like this,” Karen Bivens, Aiden’s mother, said this week. “Everything goes away with time and people have survived worse things. It’s so hard on the survivors and a lot of times they (who have died by suicide) don’t think about that. I think if she could have seen how sad we are... but she had dealt with issues of social acceptance and these are personal issues that are temporary.”

Citizen photo/Jeannette Boner

Teton High School students Rebekah Bernal, Kati Dery, Marisol Trejo and Diane Sumicad get excited at the Suicide Prevention Walk in Driggs on Tuesday.

The Walk The Suicide Prevention Walk was sponsored by the Teton Valley Mental Health Coalition and Teton Valley-SPAN (Suicide Prevention Action Network), two organizations that were born out of a emergency health crisis three years ago when Teton Valley experienced what experts call “cluster suicides,” a succession of deaths related to suicide. More than a dozen died and half of those were teenagers. Over the last few years, these programs and others like them have produced a growing message that the community is not alone in their battle with depression, abuse, addiction and other struggles that are often fought alone. Some of these efforts can be seen Prevention continued on A16

Love letters

Raptor release

Reaching out

Chamber grant

Meet the people behind the letters you have loved and hated.

Find out why Teton Valley was the perfect place to give four birds a new lease on life.

Chamber scores big state grant for new programs and events in the coming year.

One woman’s desire to spread creativity and a little paint to local students just received another grant to support her passion. See page A12

See page A3

See page A8

See page A17

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Vc sept181