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Officer Norway’s Corner – A focus on driver safety, substance abuse

By SRO Kjell Michelsen

The month of October is well underway. The Apple Festival, which turned out to be a record-breaking one, is behind us. The festival also brought with it some fall-like weather, especially a little rain which was much needed in our area.

Fall is definitely my favorite season of the year. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are lined up, and many stores in their eagerness to sell have just thrown them in altogether it looks like.

October is also one of the key months in the school year where an increased focus on especially teen driver safety takes place. It starts with the National Teen Driver Safety Week on Monday, Oct. 21. That same week is also the kickoff of our yearly SADD Club Rock the Belt campaign, which will have a focus on seatbelt use.

During that same week in October, the Red Ribbon Week starts, which is also a yearly campaign with a strong focus on combating drug use in any form, especially among teens. The Red Ribbon Week, like so many other campaigns with a focus on safety and prevention, got its start with a tragic incident.

Enrique (Kiki) Camarena was a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agent. He was killed in Mexico in 1985. On Feb. 7, 1985, the 37-year-old Camarena left his office to meet his wife for lunch. Five men ambushed and kidnapped him. One month later, his body was found. He had been tortured to death.

In honor of Agent Camarena’s memory and his fight against illegal drugs, friends and neighbors began to wear red ribbons. Parents, sick of the destruction that alcohol and other drugs cause, formed coalitions, and adopted Camarena as their model. They embraced his belief that one person can make a difference, and so the start of the Red Ribbon Week was born.

All these activities, with a focus on teen driver safety and substance abuse, are one of my key focus points at our high school. It’s hard to reach every student and to get the point across, but if just one or two gets it, it is worth it a hundred times over.

Until next time, be safe, have fun, and enjoy the crisp, cool fall days.