WOMAN'S SENTENCING BRINGS SOBER REMINDER

June 15, 2001 11:00 pm

The sentencing Thursday of a Corvallis woman to 6 years in prison shows there can be serious consequences for adults who furnish alcohol to minors or look the other way when children are drinking.

It also reminds parents that they must warn their children of the serious and even deadly consequences of binge drinking. Are children seeing in the adults around them a tendency toward over-drinking and the exaggerated behavior that can come as a result?

Teresa Lynn Bettes was sentenced to prison by a Benton County judge for the role she played at an underage drinking party that led to the alcohol poisoning death of 14-year-old Tamara Wardles of Corvallis.

Authorities reported that Wardles went to Bettes apartment on Feb. 9 looking for someone to buy her alcohol to celebrate her 14th birthday.

We can understand someone heading to the bar with friends to celebrate their 21st birthday, the legal age for drinking. But at age 14? What kind of values are adults imparting on young people that prompts an eighth-grader to want to celebrate her birthday with alcohol?

After arriving at Bettes home, Wardles drank seven glasses of vodka and another vodka-juice cocktail in about 25 minutes. The 90-pound girl became incoherent and passed out, authorities reported. She was carried to an upstairs bedroom, where Bettes found her dead the next morning.

Adults should seriously consider what role they are playing in encouraging their children to consume alcohol, or do drugs.

Are children being adequately warned as to the consequences of consuming a great deal of alcohol over a short period? It doesnt matter whether a person is consuming vodka, beer, wine or gin and tonic. Binge drinking can lead to tragic results. And children should understand the risks they take if they do.

Keep pool open

How important is the community swimming pool in Enterprise? The city decided to close the pool because of needed repairs and a limited city budget. Citizens who showed up at Mondays city council meeting were outraged that the council would consider such a move.

Enterprise needs its pool. The city shouldnt have waited until now to address the issue of the pools needed repairs and the impact they would have on the budget.

The city needs to find a way to keep its pool open even if it means leaking a bit this year and launching a fund-raising drive to take care of the problem.

When squeeze comes to shove, governments need to figure out what matters to the people who pay the bills.