Letters & Columns | Taylorville Daily News http://www.taylorvilledailynews.com/pages/index.cfm?id=121 Letters & Columns 2014-04-23T11:13:16Z Letters & Columns Letters Policy taylorvilledailynews.com welcomes letters to the editor, as a way we can let our readers and listeners sound off on the issues most important to them. If you wish to submit a letter, please note the following guidelines: All letters should be no more than 500 words in length, and should include the writer's name, address and phone number. We will not publish street address, e-mail address or phone number; rather, we reserve the right to contact writers to determine their validity. Please avoid handwritten letters if at all possible. If the editor comments about a letter, the reader may respond with at least as many words as were used by the editor. We would like to stimulate a sincere dialogue. All letters become property of Miller Communications, Inc., and are subject to editing for length, content, grammar, punctuation at the editor's discretion. Material that may libel or slander an individual or group will neither be accepted nor posted. All letters must be e-mail'ed to letters@randyradio.com to ensure your message is received, please include "Letter to the Editor" in the subject line. We look forward to hearing from you. &nbsp; +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ FROM THE SHERIFF&rsquo;S DESK VOL 4, NR 4. (April 2014) By Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp &nbsp; IT&rsquo;S TIME TO ENJOY YOUR BIKE RIDING, BUT BE CAREFUL! &nbsp; It&rsquo;s that time of the year again!&nbsp; Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State, says, &ldquo;Bicycle riding is a great way to get into shape and enjoy the outdoors&rdquo;, as stated in his valuable booklet, BICYCLE RULES OF THE ROAD.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; And of course he&rsquo;s right.&nbsp; I greatly enjoy riding my bike this time of year.&nbsp; Although, there is no question that there is a definite element of danger in dealing with automobile traffic.&nbsp; There are dangers that can arise all too easily.&nbsp; Therefore, I want to go through the activities and preparations that will help us all.&nbsp; It doesn&rsquo;t matter if you&rsquo;re young or old, an adult, or a child.&nbsp; It is never too late to learn, or reemphasize, bicycle safety, especially for children, who gain so much from bike riding. &nbsp; The Secretary of State&rsquo;s Bicycle Rules of the Road booklet has done an exceptional job in gathering the essential facts needed for real bicycle safety.&nbsp; For example, it lists ten vital pieces of safety equipment any bike should have.&nbsp; This list can, and should be, reviewed by all bike riders. &nbsp; The booklet&rsquo;s pages are filled with several short, easily reviewed explanations of important topics.&nbsp; They cover such topics as proper arm signals, riding on sidewalks, approaching a school bus, and right of way laws.&nbsp; Actually, I recommend that every bike rider have his or her own copy, and it should be read to make sure that riders understand the vital facts.&nbsp; &nbsp; To help the reader be sure of what has been read, the booklet includes a Bicycle Safety Quiz with key questions and multiple choice answers.&nbsp; The answer page lets you check your results so there&rsquo;s no doubt about your understanding.&nbsp; &nbsp; ANOTHER VALUABLE REFERENCE:&nbsp; KIDS AND BICYCLE SAFETY &nbsp; The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, is a government organization in the Department of Transportation.&nbsp;&nbsp; One of their publications, KIDS AND BICYCLE SAFETY, is a brief, but very informative listing of Safe Riding Tips.&nbsp; It is only 2 pages long, and it covers 3 topics-- Safe Riding Tips, Rules of the Road for Bicycling, and Sidewalk versus Street Riding.&nbsp;&nbsp; The individual points are brief but very effective. &nbsp; Their basic point is that bicycle riding is fun, healthy, and a great way to be independent.&nbsp; They also remind us that it&rsquo;s important to remember a bicycle is not a toy.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s a vehicle. &nbsp; Here are some of their tips: &nbsp; WEAR A PROPERLY FITTED BICYCLE HELMET.&nbsp; &nbsp; ADJUST YOUR BICYCLE TO FIT.&nbsp; They explain how positioning should be achieved and maintained. &nbsp; CHECK YOUR EQUIPMENT.&nbsp; Before riding, inflate tires properly and check that your brakes work. &nbsp; SEE AND BE SEEN.&nbsp; Whether daytime, dawn, dusk, foul weather, or at night, you need to be seen by others.&nbsp; Wearing white has not been shown to make you more visible.&nbsp; Rather, always wear neon, fluorescent or other bright colors when riding day or night. Also wear something that reflects light, such as reflective tape, markings, or flashing lights. &nbsp; CONTROL YOUR BICYCLE.&nbsp; Always ride with at least one hand on the handlebars.&nbsp; Carry books and other items in a bicycle carrier or backpack. &nbsp; AVOID RIDING AT NIGHT. &nbsp; And here are their Rules of the Road:&nbsp; &nbsp; Go With the Traffic Flow.&nbsp; Ride on the right side, in the same direction as other vehicles. &nbsp; Obey all Traffic Laws.&nbsp; A bicycle is a vehicle and you&rsquo;re a driver.&nbsp; When you ride in the street, obey all traffic signs, signals and lane markings. &nbsp; Yield to Traffic when appropriate. &nbsp; BE PREDICTABLE.&nbsp; Ride in a straight line, not in and out of cars.&nbsp; Signal your moves to others. &nbsp; STAY ALERT AT ALL TIMES.&nbsp; Use your eyes AND ears. &nbsp; Look before turning.&nbsp; When turning left or right, always look behind you for a break in traffic. &nbsp; Watch for Parked Cars.&nbsp; Ride far enough out from the curb to avoid the unexpected, like doors opening or cars pulling out. &nbsp; All of these ideas are essential to achieve maximum safety when bicycling on streets.&nbsp; Increased farm machinery traffic this time of year will make our need for alertness and awareness even more important. &nbsp; If you have young children in your family, get a copy of each of these documents for them to study and review. &nbsp; Let&rsquo;s make this a record-setter for bicycle safety. &nbsp; &nbsp; Department Activity for the last 5 months: &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; Nov. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Dec. &nbsp;&nbsp; Jan. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Feb. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Mar. Warrants 7 9 15 8 &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 20 Citations 95 71 43 65 &nbsp; 126 Crashes 26 27 37 49 &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 45 DUI&rsquo;S 4 1 3 0 &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 3&nbsp; Civil Process 99 &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 109 105 70 110 Criminal Arrests 4 9 6 9 &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 13 Domestic Calls 11 11 13 11 &nbsp; 12 Calls For Service 433 393 502 479 445 Correctional Center Prisoners Processed&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 66 69 68 69 82 Average Daily Population 54 50 54 48 53 Fingerprints 16 27 7 18 14 Transports 11 11 8 7 9 Transport Mileage 829 848 729 526 1690 Transport Hours 49 50 32 33 48 &nbsp; FROM THE SHERIFF&rsquo;S DESK, VOL 4, NR 3 (March 2014) By Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp &nbsp; HEROIN USE IS INCREASING DRAMATICALLY.&nbsp;&nbsp; IN ADDITION, IT IS HAPPENING THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES. &nbsp; The facts are clear.&nbsp; Reports from local governments are reporting the same developments.&nbsp; For years, they worked to reduce the abuse and over-abuse of certain pain medications.&nbsp; During these years, prescription drug abuse has been responsible for killing more than 16,000 people each year. &nbsp; Government actions against them have been succeeding.&nbsp; Individuals here in Christian County now find it harder to get needed prescriptions from doctors. &nbsp;The reason is that a DEA investigation in our County resulted in a doctor losing their license because of &ldquo;giving out prescriptions too freely.&rdquo; &nbsp; We have even reached the point that a new procedure &ldquo;Doctor Shopping&rdquo;, which is being increasingly used by those seeking prescription drugs.&nbsp; It means that users are obtaining a narcotic prescription from several providers.&nbsp; One study concluded that 20 percent of patients were &ldquo;doctor shopping.&rdquo; On average, the shopper group was able to use narcotics 4 times longer than single provider patients were.&nbsp; Therefore, the shoppers had 112 days of use versus 28 days of availability for non-shoppers. &nbsp; These activities have led to consequences with serious results. For one thing, the pain medications have become less available because of government action.&nbsp; That of course, means that those who still seek these drugs are facing higher prices because of the resultant scarcity, whether or not their needs are real or they are overdosing. &nbsp; Another factor was a national crackdown on drugs like Vicodin, Oxycotin and Fentanyl &ndash; a powerful painkiller for cancer patients.&nbsp;&nbsp; The switch of people who are addicted to these prescription drugs to heroin is even more comment due to increasing costs on them. &nbsp; Nearly half of young people who inject heroin surveyed in three recent studies reported abusing prescription opioids before starting to use heroin. One reason for this is that the prescription pills and heroin are in the same class of drugs and provide a comparable euphoric high. &nbsp; In addition, once users have turned to heroin and its more bearable pricing, they are likely to stay with it.&nbsp; In fact, continuing changes in the prescription drug field principally serve to increase the appeal of heroin.&nbsp; For example, one 2012 study found that reformulation of OxyContin to make it harder to abuse, caused heroin use to nearly double. &nbsp; The drugs&rsquo; prices are a major reason for these changes.&nbsp; An 80-milligram OxyContin costs between $60 and $100 per pill on the black market.&nbsp;&nbsp; Other prescription pain pills range from $20 to $60.&nbsp;&nbsp; In comparison, heroin costs $45 to $60 for a multiple dose supply and $3 to $10 a bag.&nbsp; &nbsp; OxyContin abuse has also been declining because the drug has been reformulated so it is more difficult to crush and snort.&nbsp; The result supplies even more reason to turn to heroin. &nbsp; According to the studies, heroin use between 2007 and 2012 recorded an increase of 81% in first-time heroin users who had previously abused prescription drugs.&nbsp; &nbsp; It is estimated that 607,000 persons per year used heroin in the years 2009-2011, compared to 374,000 during 2002-2005. Similarly, the estimated number of new heroin users increased from 109,000 per year during 2002-2005 to 169,000 per year during 2009-2011. &nbsp; Heroin use is on the rise in the USA with the number of deaths from heroin use also on the rise. It takes little time for a tolerance to the drug to build up so that it takes more heroin to get the euphoria.&nbsp; Heroin is an opioid that is synthesized from morphine.&nbsp; When it is in the body, it enters the brain where it is converted back into morphine, which binds to opioid receptors. Another reason heroin use grows when someone switches from prescription drugs is that when heroin is used to replace prescription drugs, the heroin produces results that makes its high a draw that&rsquo;s hard to resist.&nbsp; The problem is that heroin is highly addictive.&nbsp; Anyone from any group or age bracket can easily become addicted in a very short span of repeated use. &nbsp; Of even more concern is dealing with the impact of heroin usage. A recent survey of teens and college age young adult is reveals that this age group &ldquo;doesn&rsquo;t believe that occasional use&rdquo; of heroin is dangerous.&nbsp; This should be a powerful warning to their parents.&nbsp; &nbsp; The power of heroin to strike throughout the age groups and backgrounds was shown when just a few weeks ago, on February 2, a famous and very popular actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman, paid a deadly price and died from the use of heroin and other drugs. &nbsp; In earlier years, he had said that his long affair with drugs started while he was in college.&nbsp; He used any drugs and alcohol he could &ldquo;get his hands on.&rdquo; At 22 years old, he had entered rehab and stayed sober for 23 years.&nbsp;&nbsp; Last May he entered rehab again for a 10-day detox program.&nbsp; He died at just 46 years of age.&nbsp; Many others have followed the same path.&nbsp; Last July, the star of &ldquo;Glee&rdquo;, Cory Monteith died from heroin and alcohol. &nbsp; A typical example reported that a 16-year-old Virginia high-school student who had never injected heroin before died when a friend shot it into her vein. &nbsp; Maryland officials said that heroin tainted with fentanyl had claimed at least 37 lives since September.&nbsp; Another 22 cases were reported in parts of Pennsylvania. &nbsp; We are receiving information on these activities in Christian County, and our next report will include that data. &nbsp; We must not conclude that this data suggests that marijuana is being reduced as a result.&nbsp; Here is something to consider: In 2012 alone, more than 31 million people used marijuana or hashish.&nbsp; Legalizing it and promoting the fact that it is a medicine is increasing usage further. &nbsp; Some basic reasons heroin is growing so fast are. &nbsp; 1.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s cheap. &nbsp; 2.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s everywhere. &nbsp; 3.&nbsp; Pushers are getting creative. In Pittsburgh, police arrested a McDonald&rsquo;s employee for selling heroin in Happy Meal boxes. &nbsp; Between 1999 and 2009, 32 states saw an increase in heroin-related patients, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. &nbsp; Last month in western Pennsylvania, 22 people died after using heroin that had been mixed with fentanyl, a powerful narcotic.&nbsp; The drug cocktails were sold under innocent names like &ldquo;Theraflu&rdquo; and &ldquo;Bud ice.&rdquo; &nbsp; There are some encouraging signs, however.&nbsp; &nbsp; Many law enforcement personnel are now carrying a new life-saving antidote, Naloxone.&nbsp; Thus far, 17 states and the District of Columbia have amended their laws to increase access to Naloxone, which can help cure heroin overdoses. &nbsp; It is critical that families learn to recognize signs of these addictions and the steps needed to deal with them.&nbsp;&nbsp; Our next report will provide important help on these issues. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Department Activity for the last 5 months: &nbsp; &nbsp; Oct. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Nov. &nbsp;Dec. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Jan. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Feb. Warrants 23 7 9 15 &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 8 Citations 124 95 71 43 &nbsp; 65 Crashes 36 26 27 37 &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 49 DUI&rsquo;S 4 4 1 3 &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 0&nbsp;&nbsp; Civil Process 119 &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 99 109 105 70 Criminal Arrests 9 4 9 6 &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 9 Domestic Calls 14 11 11 13 11 Calls For Service 519 433 393 502 479 Correctional Center Prisoners Processed&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 108 66 69 68 69 Average Daily Population 47 54 50 54 48 Fingerprints 16 16 27 7 18 Transports 16 11 11 8 7 Transport Mileage 1149 829 848 729 526 Transport Hours 71 49 50 32 33 LETTER TO THE EDITOR Posted March 11, 2014 &nbsp; Dear Editor: Erika Harold is the Congresswoman we need in Washington. &nbsp;Rodney Davis has had his chance and not done the job. &nbsp;His ads claim he can change Washington, that it is broken, that he will buck the system. &nbsp;But he is the system. I know that Davis is the fair-haired, hometown boy, but he has not performed and he was not elected by the people. &nbsp;Keep in mind that the State Republican party appointed him to replace Tim Johnson when Johnson abruptly retired after winning the last primary. &nbsp;Then Davis only won the general election by a thousand votes against an opponent Johnson had battered for years. That was with State Republican backing along with financial support. That same Republican Party refused to allow Erika Harold to speak to the crowd on Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair. &nbsp;Do you suppose it was out of fear that voters would like what they heard from her? &nbsp;And why wouldn't Davis debate her during this campaign. &nbsp;Same reason. Davis voted last December favoring a budget bill that cut pension benefits to military retirees. &nbsp;Then he, and Congress had to scramble to put bills together to undue their mistake. Erika Harold doesn't make mistakes. &nbsp;She will read bills before voting on them. &nbsp;She will know what is in them. &nbsp;She is well-versed on the issues and articulates her positions clearly and effectively. &nbsp;She is intelligent and wants to be accountable to the people, voters, not Republican insiders. Let's give our trust and votes to Erika Harold for Congress on March 18th. Denis FisherPrecinct Committeeman, Ford CountyGibson City, IL &nbsp; FROM THE SHERIFF&rsquo;S DESK, VOL 4, NR 2. (Feb. 2014) By Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp &nbsp; I recently attended a special training session dealing with an unusual topic -- how to deal with those suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorders, also known as ASD.&nbsp;&nbsp; Its purpose was to help law enforcement, and other first responders, understand how to deal with those who suffer with this condition. &nbsp; It was not long ago that these courses were very few and not readily available.&nbsp; With the increasing number of cases, the need for first responders to educate themselves makes it essential for this type of training to reach as many as possible. &nbsp; ASD cases are technically neurologically based developmental disorders.&nbsp; They produce a broad range of symptoms and vary in severity across individuals. &nbsp; Autism is 4 to 5 times more likely to be in males than females.&nbsp; Its onset is often before age 3, and the disorder affects about 1 in 55 children.&nbsp;&nbsp; It is the second, most common developmental disability, after mental retardations/intellectual impairment. &nbsp; Autism is called a &ldquo;spectrum&rdquo; disorder.&nbsp; That means it expresses itself differently in everyone, meaning no two people are affected the same.&nbsp; Every person affected on the autism spectrum has problems, to some degree, with communication, social skills, and behavior.&nbsp; There is a saying that is often heard, &ldquo;If you have seen one person with autism, you have seen ONE person with autism.&rdquo; &nbsp; Autism is usually not physically obvious, but the truth is all individuals with ASD will have difficulty with social interactions.&nbsp; Furthermore, current analysis indicates that ASD occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups, so virtually anyone can be affected. &nbsp; The CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been studying autism in depth.&nbsp; One of their programs, &ldquo;Learn the Signs.&nbsp; Act Early&rdquo;, works to help parents understand the problems ASD produces and how to best deal with them.&nbsp; It is a devastating blow to parents when they learn their child suffers from ASD.&nbsp; The many available programs, such as the one CDC offers, are helping parents build better lives for themselves and the affected children. &nbsp; With the right treatment plan, and a lot of love and support, a child can learn, grow, and thrive! &nbsp; So what &ldquo;red flags&rdquo; are there when dealing with autism?&nbsp; According to the CDC, a person with ASD might: &nbsp; * Have delayed speech and language skills &nbsp; * If verbal, may have a problem with speech volume or intonation &nbsp; * Repeat words or phrases over and over &nbsp; * Talk to themselves or to no one in particular &nbsp; * Have unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel &nbsp; * Have self-stimulatory behavior (may rock their body, twirl or spin objects, flick their&nbsp;&nbsp; fingers, wrists or arms) &nbsp; * Be fascinated with lights, reflections and/or shiny objects &nbsp; * Have insensitivity to, or high tolerance, for pain&nbsp; &nbsp; These sensory red flags are also very common: &nbsp; * Have an inappropriate attachment to objects &nbsp; * Get upset by minor changes &nbsp; * Have a lack of awareness or fear of danger &nbsp; * Avoid eye contact and/or want to be alone &nbsp; * Have trouble understanding other people&rsquo;s feelings or talking about their own feelings &nbsp; For people with ASD, these symptoms make life very difficult.&nbsp; It is also important to realize that some people without an ASD might also have some of these symptoms.&nbsp; Of course, law enforcement personnel encounter many individuals in emergency situations, and each emergency, and person encountered, may differ from the others. &nbsp; Law enforcement and first responder training may provide a certain protocol appropriate for most cases they encounter, but that protocol may not always be the best way to deal with someone who has ASD. &nbsp; It is important to realize that individuals with disabilities are 7 times more likely to come into contact with law enforcement than non-disabled people.&nbsp; Also, crimes against the disabled are not often reported.&nbsp; There is a 4 to 10 time&rsquo;s higher risk of disabled people becoming victims of a crime. &nbsp; Furthermore, they are more likely to wander or run away from caregivers.&nbsp; If they display unusual behavior, it may be misinterpreted by others as drug use, intoxication or mental illness.&nbsp; &nbsp; Some of these factors may bring difficulty to the parents.&nbsp; For example, parents who are attempting to restrain a child might be suspected of abuse.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Parents may be charged with endangerment when they have difficulty keeping a child from running away. &nbsp; There is also victimization of people with ASD.&nbsp; Their lack of social understanding makes them likely targets for those with ill intent.&nbsp; They are often the victims of theft.&nbsp; They can have a hard time communicating how they were victimized, making them poor witnesses and resulting in difficulties with prosecution. &nbsp; As a result of having difficulties with social and communication skills, individuals with ASD may run from first responders who are attempting to help them.&nbsp; They might also fight medical procedures.&nbsp; They may reach for a badge, or weapon, for no more reason than they are attracted to shiny objects.&nbsp; They may also have difficulty following verbal directions, may use few or no gestures, and may act without thinking. &nbsp; To counteract these situations, responders who may face individuals with ASD are told to &ldquo;give them a little more room&rdquo; than they would give others.&nbsp; They are also trained to make sure their body language and speech are non-threatening.&nbsp; One of the most important lessons from the training is that first responders avoid interpreting the person&rsquo;s failure to respond to orders or questions.&nbsp; First responders must realize this behavior is not a lack of cooperation on the individual&rsquo;s part, nor is it a reason to use increased force. &nbsp; The ASD training program demonstrates the kind of highly specialized and detailed training modern society requires.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; It&rsquo;s an example of the vital commitment that law enforcement must make today in this ever-changing world. &nbsp; Approximately 50 children living in the Christian County area have ASD. I encourage all parents of these children to contact the Christian County Sheriff&rsquo;s Office and give them their address so it can be entered into the 911 system.&nbsp; It is very important for law enforcement and first responders to know, prior to their arrival to the scene of an emergency that they may be dealing with someone with a disability. &nbsp; If anyone would like more information on ASD contact Reagan Cary, Director of Autism and Therapy Programs CTF Illinois at (217) 348-3869 extension 207. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Department Activity for the last 5 months: &nbsp; &nbsp; Sept. &nbsp;&nbsp; Oct. &nbsp;Nov. &nbsp; Dec.&nbsp; &nbsp; Jan. Warrants 8 23 7 9 &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 15&nbsp;&nbsp; Citations 107 124 95 71 &nbsp; 43 Crashes 27 36 26 27 &nbsp;&nbsp; 37 DUI&rsquo;S 1 4 4 1 &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 3&nbsp;&nbsp; Civil Process 111 &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 119 99 109 105 Criminal Arrests 10 9 4 9 &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 6 Domestic Calls 13 14 11 11 13 Calls For Service 485 519 433 393 502 Correctional Center Prisoners Processed&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 62 108 66 69 68 Average Daily Population 48 47 54 50 54 Fingerprints 12 16 16 27 7 Transports 11 16 11 11 8 Transport Mileage 947 1149 829 848 729 Transport Hours 52 71 49 50 32 &nbsp; &nbsp; FROM THE SHERIFF&rsquo;S DESK, Vol. 4, Nr 1 (Jan 2014) By Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp In less than 3 weeks, one of the year&rsquo;s most important sporting events will take place.&nbsp; February 2, 2014 will be Super Bowl Sunday, or as it is correctly identified, Super Bowl XLVIII.&nbsp; That means it is the 48th Super Bowl played in the series that began January 15, 1967.&nbsp; It is, far and away, the day that stands as the biggest event in North American sports.&nbsp; It scores the largest TV ratings, creates the greatest demand for tickets, and has just about become a&nbsp; national holiday. &nbsp; &nbsp; It is broadcast to over 200 countries and had a viewership last year of over 111 million.&nbsp; It is the second largest day for U.S. food consumption, second only to Thanksgiving. &nbsp; So naturally, that means there will be Super Bowl parties throughout the country. Family gatherings, social celebrations, TV get-togethers, and special theme promotions at restaurants and sports bars will draw millions of people to them. &nbsp; Through all the excitement lies a large and growing problem for this otherwise wonderful occasion: &nbsp; SUPER BOWL SUNDAY &ndash; ONE OF THE MOST DANGEROUS DRIVING DAYS IN THE YEAR &nbsp; Huge numbers of these partygoers will be driving, and there will be large quantities of alcoholic beverages available for any and all that want them.&nbsp; The consequences of these factors are obvious. &nbsp; The Automobile Club of Southern California reports that alcohol-related car crashes are 75% greater in California on Super Bowl Sunday than on other comparable Sundays in January and February.&nbsp; The data came from a 10-year analysis of fatal and injury crashes. &nbsp; In Los Angeles County, the data show that there were 55% more fatal and injury DUI crashes on Super Bowl Sunday than would have been normally expected during a 9-year period. &nbsp; Supporting evidence shows the role alcohol plays in these DUI accidents.&nbsp;&nbsp; Some states have various bans on Sunday packaged alcohol sales.&nbsp; &nbsp; If a state ends such a ban, analysis of the motor vehicle accidents and fatalities, with and without the ban, can reach powerful conclusions. &nbsp; New Mexico had such a development.&nbsp; The ban on Sunday packaged alcohol sales was ended.&nbsp; The increase in alcohol-related crashes was 29%; the number of after-the-ban alcohol-related crash fatalities on Sundays increased to an alarming 42%. &nbsp; The conclusion is inescapable.&nbsp; Increasing the availability of alcohol leads to more usage, and that means drivers will crash and die more frequently. &nbsp; In the case of Super Bowl Sunday drinking and crashes, the numbers of those participating are growing almost every year and throughout the country.&nbsp; Of course, as the national interest and activity levels grow dramatically each year, the crashes, and the fatalities, grow also. &nbsp; The Auto Club offered some tips for party hosts who want to ensure that their guests make it home safely and without incident: &nbsp; *Take car keys from partygoers as they arrive and don&rsquo;t let them drive drunk. &nbsp; *As a host, serve food and non-alcoholic drinks.&nbsp; Serve protein rich and starchy foods to slow alcohol absorption. &nbsp; *Do not serve alcohol to anyone under the age of 21. &nbsp; *Stop serving alcohol in the 3rd quarter of the game.&nbsp; Offer more food, coffee, and desserts to party guests. &nbsp; *Partygoers should include a designated driver in their group or use a taxi service. &nbsp; The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has excellent safety tips for individual party-goers: &nbsp; *Designate your sober driver or have an alternate transportation plan before the party begins. &nbsp; *Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast.&nbsp; Pace yourself.&nbsp; Eat enough food, take breaks and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks. &nbsp; *If you don&rsquo;t have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home, call a cab, friend, or family member to come and get you. &nbsp; *Use you community&rsquo;s sober ride program. &nbsp; *Never let a friend leave your sight if you think they are about to drive and have had too much to drink. &nbsp; *ALWAYS buckle up.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s still your best defense against other drunk drivers. &nbsp; *Many local and national agencies will be adding extra enforcement on Super Bowl Sunday to combat drunk driving. &nbsp; NHTSA also points out that there are many things we can do to minimize any car trouble at this time of year.&nbsp; Have your car inspected when necessary: *Check your battery. *Check your windshield wipers. * Consider buying heavy-duty winter wipers. *Familiarize yourself with directions and maps before you go. &nbsp;*Watch your speed.&nbsp; A slick spot in the road&rsquo;s surface can put you in serious jeopardy. *In an emergency, stay with your car and don&rsquo;t overexert yourself. &nbsp; Please remember, before you drive to a Super Bowl Sunday event, review what&rsquo;s been said here.&nbsp; It can greatly help to insure that your trip will be a safe and happy one, not only for yourself, but for everyone around you! &nbsp; Department Activity for the last 5 months: &nbsp; &nbsp; August &nbsp;&nbsp; Sept. &nbsp;Oct. &nbsp; Nov.&nbsp; &nbsp; Dec. Warrants 11 8 23 7 &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 9&nbsp;&nbsp; Citations 93 107 124 95 &nbsp; 71 Crashes 27 27 36 26 &nbsp;&nbsp; 27 DUI&rsquo;S 7 1 4 4 &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 1&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Civil Process 125 &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 111 119 99 109 Criminal Arrests 23 10 9 4 &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 9 Domestic Calls 14 13 14 11 11 Calls For Service 548 485 519 433 393 Correctional Center Prisoners Processed&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 129 62 108 66 69 < Taylorville Daily News 2014-04-23T16:13:16Z http://www.taylorvilledailynews.com/pages/index.cfm?id=121