Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2012, 2:25 pm
Cheers & Jeers
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The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus
Cheers to the lifesaving system aimed at locating abducted children on celebrating its landmark10th anniversary. This week marked a decade since the first America's Missing Broadcast Emergency Response Alert was sent in Illinois.
AMBER alerts, named after a 9-year-old Texas girl who was abducted and later found brutally murdered, were created to get the public's help in returning the hundreds of children abducted in Illinois each year safely to their homes.
The program reminds us that when a child is reported missing, every single second counts.
Nationwide, AMBER Alert broadcasts have been credited with returning some 590 children to their homes. In Illinois in the past 10 years, 88 alerts have been broadcast and 42 children returned safely home, the agency says.
We salute all involved in this partnership between law enforcement agencies, broadcasters the National Weather Service, the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois Press Association and, of course, an active and engaged public.
"The proof of the effectiveness of an AMBER Alert Broadcast is in the numbers," says Illinois AMBER Alert Coordinator Craig Burge. "This program is unlike many others because it is a public partnership. Citizens in Illinois can take pride in the fact that they can help each and every time a child is abducted by simply being aware of their surroundings and reporting what they see to law enforcement officials."
We salute all making it happen.
Jeers to those in Springfield who continue to oppose medical marijuana in Illinois.
State Rep. Rich Morthland, R-Cordova, for example, is among those advancing what we believe are specious arguments for retaining a ban on the use of medical marijuana by those in Illinois who are gravely ill.
Rep. Morthland claims that he fears that people like his daughter, who has epilepsy, might somehow fall prey to criminals trying to buy or steal the now illegal drug if it were legally prescribed to them by doctors. Such a scenario assumes that criminals will somehow be privy to a list of those who can legally have pot for illnesses. That seems as likely as finding out which of your neighbor is on Prozac.
The bottom line, for us, is efficacy. Doctors and their patients say medical marijuana provides relief for those who are battling debilitating illnesses. If there is a way to help them with minimal risk to others, why not do it? Doctors, not law enforcement officials, should make such calls.
The sponsor of this compassionate measure, Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, had hoped that the support of outgoing House members like Rep. Morthland would help tip the scales in favor of his reasonable measure to allow controlled use of medical marijuana by clearly identified and strictly limited Illinois patients.
Let's hope other lame ducks will vote yes to allow patients registered by the state and diagnosed by a doctor as having a qualifying medical condition to use marijuana.
The legislation could come for a vote as early as next week. We urge House opponents including Rep. Morthland and state Rep. Pat Verschoore, D-Milan, to join Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, in choosing compassion over fear.
Cheers to Royal Neighbors of America and the outstanding Rock Island teen the Rock Island-based nonprofit surprised with $10,000 grant this week.
The female-led life insurance company knows the importance of empowering young women to better themselves. What better way to do that than to help Jasmine Babers, a Rock Island High School junior on her own mission to do the same? The check will help her enhance her 1-year-old girl-power magazine, LOVE, Girls.
The name of the magazine, which she and her small staff provide free, stands for "lead," "overcome," "value," and "empower." And it already has been successful at all of those goals.
"It's changing our community," said Ms. Babers, the magazine's editor. "I just want to help one girl become more inspired. I think it's doing that. I think it's worth it."
So did the women at Royal Neighbors who nominated Ms. Babers for the award.
The award isn't the first Ms. Babers' efforts have garnered. She also was chosen this year as one of 10 winners nationwide in the Spark Opportunity Challenge, announced at the White House Youth Summit, and she received Rocky's Whatever It Takes Award for being a role model for other students.
Jasmine and her compatriots would make wonderful role models for people of both sexes and all ages (so would Jasmine's mom, who had the idea for LOVE, Girls).
Consider, for example, that in addition to using the grant for their magazine, the girls will start a new college scholarship program for a graduating senior.
All we can say, is, "Wow! And, thanks!"