DON'T KIDNAP AMBER ALERT BILL
The state's first Amber Alert worked to perfection when a Klamath County Sheriff's Deputy took into custody Thursday a Washington woman after the possible abduction of a 10-year-old Redmond girl.
In the fall of 2001 the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children launched the AMBER Plan America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response nationwide.The system in Oregon went live a year later, and Amber Alert laws have been passed in 38 states. But Congress is dragging its feet on making the plan truly national.
HERE'S HOW the Amber Alert, credited so far for saving at least 34 children, works. Three criteria are necessary to activate an alert:(1) law enforcement confirms a child has been abducted; (2) law enforcement believes the circumstances surrounding the abduction indicate that the child is in danger of serious bodily harm or death; (3) there is enough descriptive information about the child, abductor, and/orsuspect's vehicle to believe an immediate broadcast alert will help. State police send information to all news media and law enforcement agencies and bulletins are broadcast on radio, TV and electronic highway signs.
It's time to pass a national Amber Alert bill, but a Republican leader may be dragging his feet. The father of Elizabeth Smart, the Salt Lake City 15-year-old who was reunited with her family Wednesday nine months after being kidnapped, said that House Judiciary Committee Chair James Sensenbrenner is slowing down the popular proposal by tying it to a larger piece of legislation. More success stories like the one in Klamath County will be possible when the Amber Alert truly goes national, and agencies and media from coast to coast work together to stop kidnappers in their tracks.
GOOD JOB, BUSINESSES
Hats off to the businesses that sell liquor in La Grande. For the most part they are doing a good job of keeping alcohol out of the hands of minors.
Twenty-six of 29 licensed alcohol-serving businesses refused to sell alcohol during a check conducted earlier this month by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. That's at least a B-plus grade for overall compliance.
ALTHOUGH THE ISSUE of what is the correct age might be argued by people who have been to Europe and seen teenagers legally drink alcohol, the United States has determined that a young person be at least 21 years old before consuming. The judgment of youth and issues related to their safety, including alcohol-
related highway fatalities, have kept the drinking age at 21.
The three businesses that sold alcohol to an underage volunteer were the Golden Crown, the Golden Harvest and Klondike Pizza. A B-plus is a good grade. But the community can strive to do better.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission will be stopping by local businesses and restaurants again sometime in the future with its young volunteer. Let's see if our restaurants and stores can get an A grade.