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Letter: Abide by alcohol laws

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This letter is in response to the article in the West Central Tribune on May 11 titled "$1 penalty in alcohol server case is under fire from group."

The Kandiyohi County Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs Coalition is working to educate the community about the dangers of underage drinking and reduce the toll it takes on our community financially, physically and emotionally. We are disappointed with the verdict of Judge Michael Thompson handing down a penalty of only $1. Our coalition encourages adults to abide by the law and not serve alcohol to anyone under the age of 21 and we are concerned about the message this sends to the public regarding adult providers. We also believe that the Minnesota Legislature, by passing the law against sales to underage individuals, has expressed the will of the people of Minnesota.

We publicly applaud and support our law enforcement in conducting compliance checks, which are legal and constitutional. Alcohol compliance checks are done to ensure that retail establishments are in compliance with the law. "Alcohol server awareness training is offered to all retail establishments free of charge and we feel it is the responsibility of the owners to have clerks/servers trained. As a coalition, we encourage all clerks/servers to thoroughly check the ID of anyone who appears to be under the age of 30, even if they don't have a work policy in place.

Having retail establishments fail at alcohol compliance checks indicates that youth still have access to alcohol beyond friends and family. Knowing that the brain is not fully developed until the age of 25, underage alcohol consumption puts youth at a higher risk for injuries, violence, unprotected sex, alcohol-related vehicle crashes, and other unintended outcomes.

We remind adults not to provide alcohol or other drugs to underage youth, especially now with graduation season upon us. It takes a village to raise a child, so let's work together to keep our youth healthy and drug- and alcohol-free.

Laura Lindeman

Kandiyohi County ATOD Coalition Coordinator

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