Bill to be considered to eliminate texting while driving by MITCH HARVATIN Student reporter State legislators are pushing a ban on texting while driving. If the law doesn’t pass, Michigan could lose up to 25 percent of its road funding in the near future. Statistics aren’t clear on exactly how many accidents are caused by using cell phones to talk, text or e-mail while driving, because in most accidents the individuals involved aren’t forthcoming in telling the police officer that they were using a cell phone while driving. Police cannot go through the driver’s phone without a search warrant. In a 2008 MSNBC report, six states have bans on talking, texting, e-mailing or gaming on an electronic device while driving. Those states include Alaska, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, Washington and District of Columbia. Sixteen other states are considering passing this ban, and Michigan is one of them. According to Lawyers.com, “In Michigan, Senator ‘Buzz’ Thomas (D-Detroit) introduced Senate Bill 783, which would stick drivers caught reading, typing or sending text messages on a cell phone or electronic wireless device, such as a BlackBerry, with a $100 fine. The punishment would be a secondary offense, meaning police could only ticket drivers for violating the rule if they were pulled over for another reason. The bill was last referred to the Committee of Energy Policy and Public Utilities.” The Rockford Squire placed a call into Sen. Thomas’ office, but has not heard back from him yet. The National Transportation Safety Board investigated a Los Angeles Metrolink commuter train crash last fall, which left 25 people dead and 128 people injured. Published reports conclude that the train engineer was texting. That train ran a stop signal and crashed into an oncoming freight engine. Michigan State Police and local law enforcement agencies cannot write a ticket for texting while driving, but can issue a ticket for careless driving, which would include the driver weaving in and out of their lane or speeding. Research has shown that driving response while texting is as bad as while driving drunk. Lieutenant Chris McIntire, Post Commander for the Michigan State Police in Rockford, agreed. He feels very confident that this bill will be passed in the near future. “My troopers know it […]
The Humane Society of Kent County’s Kibble Konnection pet food bank has helped over 350 families and over 1,000 animals since its first distribution date in March 2009. However, with the demand for the Kibble Konnection program increasing each month, donations of pet food are critical. “We distribute around 7,000 pounds of pet food to families in need each month,” said Karen Terpstra, executive director for the Humane Society of Kent County. “The program is funded solely through donations from the community, and as long as there is food available we will be able to continue to help as many pets as we can.” All pet food donations are accepted, but dry dog and cat food are the most essential. “We have seen so many people who without this program might have to consider relinquishing their animals to a shelter,” Terpstra explained. “We hope to be able to continue to help them and keep these pets in their homes where they belong.” Individuals can drop off food Tuesday through Friday from 12 to 7 p.m. or Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Humane Society of Kent County, 3077 Wilson NW, Grand Rapids. There are also nine additional donation drop-off sites in the Kent County area. A list of these drop-off sites is available at www.hskc.org or by calling (616) 791-8066.
Sometimes stormy skies did not deter fans of all things Celtic on Saturday, August 8 , in downtown Rockford. Organizer Chris Murphy said she was nervous at first because of the stormy weather, but Celtic fans must be true die-hards. “By afternoon it was packed and shoulder-to-shoulder,” she said. “Both stages were busy the whole day. We believe the turnout was as good as it was last year.” Last year 5,000 to 10,000 people visited. Photos by Tom Scott
Some sunny perspective Dear Editor, It is time to sit back and fully evaluate over-the-top reports in the news this week incredibly suggesting that getting a suntan is now in the same risk category as cigarettes, arsenic and even plutonium. That’s ridiculous. Cigarettes, arsenic and plutonium all undermine the body’s natural functions. But getting a suntan is different—it is a part of our body’s natural design. Humans, like the rest of the planet, need sun exposure to survive and thrive. Ignored in much of that reporting were the very important nuances that define humanity’s very important relationship with UV light and sunshine. Specifically: • Not one single study exists anywhere in the world implicating tanning in a non-burning fashion as a significant risk factor for permanent skin damage. Indeed, no study has ever been designed with protocol to ask this question. • Melanoma is more common in people who work indoors than in those who work outdoors. Because this is true, the relationship between melanoma and sunlight cannot possibly be clear-cut. If it were a clear-cut relationship, outside workers would have higher incidence than inside workers. • Melanoma most commonly appears on parts of the body that do not receive regular exposure to sunlight. Again, because this is true, the relationship between melanoma and sunlight cannot be clear-cut. If it were, melanomas would appear most often on parts of the body that receive the most sunlight. • The sum of data do not substantively link indoor tanning equipment with an increased risk of melanoma. Indeed, 18 of 22 epidemiological studies ever conducted on this topic show information was conspicuously absent in what was spoon-fed to the media. Finally, consider this hypocrisy: The dermatology community still continues to use indoor tanning equipment in dermatology offices to treat psoriasis and other purely cosmetic disorders—a treatment called “phototherapy.” If what was widely reported last week were actually true, then the dermatology profession would be guilty of that which they accuse indoor tanning facilities: of increasing women’s risk melanoma in exchange for treating a non-lethal disease, which would violate the “never do harm” provision of a physician’s Hippocratic Oath. Saying that UV exposure is harmful and should be avoided is as wrong as saying that water causes drowning, and […]