Safeguarding minors

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By Nathan L. McBroom

Beer buyers at a local liquor store this past weekend were given an extra warning against giving the alcohol to minors thanks to the efforts of a group of teens.

Nine members of Spencer County High Schools' Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) came to Shelbyville on Thursday and placed hundreds of 3-by-4-inch yellow stickers on cases of beer at local alcohol retailers.

The stickers, which were designed by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, warned that selling or transferring alcohol to minors could lead to up to year in jail and a $500 fine.

Jeanice Prather, the group's sponsor, said giving alcohol to minors is a serious offense. She hopes that by canvassing the Shelbyville liquor stores, buyers will think twice about giving the alcohol to minors. Prather said by giving alcohol to minors, buyers are not only breaking the law but are also putting the youths' lives in danger.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 5,000 minors die every year because of underage drinking - with most of those deaths due to drinking and driving.

Taylorsville Chief of Police, Toby Lewis said the crime is a serious offense. Lewis, who along with Shelbyville community resource officer Ish Kovacs escorted the group, said because Spencer county is dry, residents will drive to Shelbyville in order to buy alcohol.

Lewis said the group's intention in canvassing the stores was to help save lives.

In rural areas, Lewis said some folks wink at giving alcohol to minors. Lewis, who has been on the scene of a fatal underage drinking and driving accident, said giving alcohol is nothing to wink at.

The students agreed.

Kelsey Snider, a sophomore at Spencer County High School, said her class is the first class since 2001 that has not had a student die due to drink driving. Snider said the event is an effort to ensure that all of her classmates make it to graduation.

The students stopped only at stores that gave them permission. In total the placed nearly 700 stickers at four Shelbyville liquor stores: Paradise Liquors, the Spirit Shoppe, Brighton Liquors, and Kroger's.