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Thursday, May 16, 2013 -- 12:43 pm Fife business owner wins statewide award http://www.fifefreepress.com/ - The U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) 2013 Washington state Minority Small Business Champion of the Year is Dana Pittman, president of Sustainable Floors, Inc., doing business as Sustainable Interiors, in Fife. Founded in 2005, Sustainable Interiors is a commercial interiors contractor specializing in federal and state government and commercial contracting.
"I am honored to receive the SBA 2013 Washington state Minority Small Business Champion of the Year award," Pittman said.
The SBA Seattle District Office honors Pittman for her commitment to support the advancement of small business opportunities for minority business owners, devoting her own personal time to network and outreach with other minority businesses. Sustainable Floors, Inc., is a member of SBA's 8 (a) Business Development Program, which helps small and disadvantaged businesses compete in the marketplace and gain access to federal and private procurement markets.
"Pittman is the epitome of a dedicated advocate for minority small business owners," said SBA Regional Administrator Calvin Goings.
She joined the state Capital Projects Advisory Review Board Small Business Task Force, which is focused on developing recommendations on how capital projects and construction industries can open up opportunities for minority and African American-owned small businesses. As the taskforce vice chair, Pittman's efforts resulted in the passage of a bill in the Legislature that created new language for state job order contracting procedures. "These changes provide a level playing field for all companies looking to do business with Washington state," Pittman said.
Recently, Pittman accepted a position as president of the board for the Entrepreneurial Institute of Washington, a nonprofit organization that strives to create equality for all small businesses. "This allows small businesses to develop a resilient base of job-creating entrepreneurs in Washington state," she said.
From amongst her peers, the SBA Seattle District Office has chosen Pittman as the best minority small business champion who continues to find new ways to give back to her community.
"We love to see Dana Pittman's passion, perseverance and have really enjoyed getting to know such an amazing person," said SBA Seattle District Office Director Nancy Porzio.
Pittman and other state SBA award recipients were recognized for their achievements at the 2013 SBA Small Business Awards Gala on May 9 at the Museum of Flight. Read more...
Thursday, May 16, 2013 -- 12:42 pm Community-minded couple starts new business http://www.fifefreepress.com/ - Milton residents Terry and Jeanette Koubele are realizing their longtime dream of owning their own business and making a true difference in the community. The couple recently opened a ProTect Painters professional painting franchise specializing in exterior and interior residential and commercial painting projects.
Their new business, the second franchise operation in the state, is working hard to provide local businesses and homeowners with teams of fully insured and licensed painting professionals. With the mantra that 'no job is too big or too small,' ProTect Painters sets itself apart by providing dependable, professional service at all times.
"I am on site every day of a project, talking with customers and team leaders to make sure everything is going well," Terry Koubele said.
Customers have already touted the company's dependability and professionalism. "We may not always have the lowest price, but we always provide great quality service," he added.
As a national company, the support provided by Protect Painters headquarters is substantial, and painters only use the highest quality paint such as Behr, Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore.
As the company continues to grow, Koubele hopes its impact on the community will grow stronger, as well. He plans to develop a referral program that would benefit local high school athletic programs. Any student who refers a new customer to ProTect Painters may be helping their school more than they know. "This program has been successful in other areas, and we're looking forward to starting the program here," he said. "It is our goal to become a bigger player in the community. We got into business on our own so we could get out there and get involved in the community."
For more information about the company, visit http://www.protectpainters.com. Read more...
Thursday, May 16, 2013 -- 12:37 pm Fife welcomes new reserve officer http://www.fifefreepress.com/ - Officer Alex Matveyenko was born in Russia and had the privilege to move to America at the age of 9 years old. He attended Puyallup High School and played soccer. After graduation he enrolled in the U.S. Army and became a military police officer, and his first duty station was in Germany. He was deployed to Iraq from 2006-2008, and in 2009 he transferred to Army CID at Fort Lewis. He was later hired by the department of defense as a counterintelligence specialist and worked in Afghanistan.
Upon returning home, he started working for the Department of Homeland Security as a Federal Security Officer at the federal buildings in Seattle, where he is currently working full-time as he pursues his career as a full-time Police Officer at Fife. He enjoys snowboarding, running, and camping. Please join us in welcoming to new Reserve Officer Alex Matveyenko!Read more...
Thursday, May 16, 2013 -- 12:33 pm 'A Day in the Life of a City of Fife Employee' http://www.fifefreepress.com/ - If your day begins with someone saying "All Rise for the Honorable Judge", you either had a rough night or you just might be Tony Peterson, Lead Clerk for the Fife Municipal Court.
Tony has a very important and structured job within the Court, which includes controlling the timing of events, recording all dockets, and inputting all case information into a court order. A minor mistake can mean a guilty person walks free, and thankfully Tony is very good at his job.
Tony has served Fife Municipal Court for over 11 years, with a gradually increasing work-load. He now supervises all clerks and dabbles in accounting. Being in court day after day might seem disheartening, but it is actually quite the opposite. "I love seeing someone turn (his or her) life around after receiving a DUI or similar infraction. The youth that come through are usually the most affected and make the most positive changes," Tony said.
Most students don't understand that getting a Minor in Possession
charge can actually keep you from getting scholarships and loans. Tony explained that learning these lessons early can make a big impact on a person's future, hopefully for the better.Read more...
Thursday, May 16, 2013 -- 12:30 pm Coming to Fife this Summer - FIFE FARMER'S MARKET http://www.fifefreepress.com/ - The City of Fife is pleased to announce the creation of the Fife Farmer's Market!
WHEN: Every Wednesday June 26 through August 28
11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
WHERE: Fife City Hall/Centennial Park 5411 23rd St E
WHAT: Fresh Food Prepared Food
Arts & Crafts More...
The Fife Farmer's Market will bring our commu- nity together, bring people to Fife, celebrate our City's unique characteristics, and provide healthy options for our citizens and visitors.
Calling All Vendors!
Fife has a unique market of 9,800 citizens and a daytime working population of over 25,000! Fife has a huge need and demand for fresh produce and other items, and we believe this Farmer's Market will be the answer. There is a limit of 33 vendors, and spots will fill fast; vendors are selected by the Market Management, based on quality, originality, locality, seasonal versus daily, and compatibility with the exist- ing market mix and mission statement. Agricultural products are given priority over other product catego- ries, striving for the following composition:
· Fresh Farm Products, 50% - Grown or produced in Washington State, or surrounding counties, by the seller.
· Processed goods, prepared foods and processed foods, 20% - Made from raw products/ingredients, the majority of which are grown and produced by the seller, who is personally doing the cooking, canning, baking, preserving, etc.
· Handcrafted items, 20% - All craft products should be handcrafted in Washington state.
· Other, 10%
Vendor Space Information
Each accepted vendor will be allocated a 10'x10' outdoor space; additional space can be purchased for an additional fee. Vendors are responsible for provid- ing their own tent, table, chairs and display materials. We ask that all vendors make a commitment to stay at the market for its entirety, (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.), and only break down booths at the conclusion of the mar- ket. Parking space is limited; please plan on parking in the Fife High School - staff parking lot. The parking at City Hall is solely for attendees. No weather related refunds will be given.Read more...
Thursday, May 16, 2013 -- 12:18 pm Letters to the Editor: Bob Ecklund http://www.fifefreepress.com/ - Dear Editor,
For youth development. To me, it is more than just three words - it is a mission in which "Y" members and supporters play an important role. A mission we could not accomplish without you.
At the Y, we believe all children and teens have great potential. Youth build skills and confidence as they explore new interests and passions through leadership and academic enrichment programs such as childcare, Late Nite and Youth and Government. The Y is the starting point for many youth to learn about becoming and staying active, and developing healthy habits they will carry with them throughout their lives. And the benefits are far greater than just physical health. Youth are gaining confidence from learning to swim and building positive relationships that lead to good sportsmanship and teamwork.
Each day we work to make sure that every child has an opportunity to envision and pursue the best possible future. We could not make this a reality without your support.
During our Strong Kids fundraising campaign you helped us raise more than
$2 million to support youth and programming at the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties.
Thank you. You give young children a safe, enriching place to go before and after school. Your support provides youth a chance to explore and grow at YMCA Camp Seymour. It is your donation that helps teens learn values and positive behaviors at YMCA Late Nite each weekend.
Each of you help countless children realize their potential. You make a difference. Together, we can support our children, strengthen our community and build bright futures.
President and CEO
YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap CountiesRead more...
Thursday, May 16, 2013 -- 12:16 pm Letters tot the Editor: U.S. Representative Adam Smith http://www.fifefreepress.com/ - Dear Editor,
Based on the intelligence that we have, it appears that the Bashar Assad regime has used chemical weapons against the Syrian people. If true, this is a sad and worrisome development in an ongoing humanitarian crisis. We must work with our partners in the region and the international community to confirm beyond a doubt that chemical weapons were in fact used and, if so, determine who used them and when. The seriousness of the situation dictates a thorough and thoughtful approach.
If it turns out that chemical weapons were used, it would be the latest atrocity committed by the Assad regime. The civil war in Syria is an enormous humanitarian catastrophe caused by a brutal and desperate regime. But as we consider option to respond to this atrocity, I am not convinced that military action is appropriate at this time. There is no evidence that United States military action will achieve anything, except cost American lives and treasure. As we respond, we must remember the lessons we have learned from the war in Iraq.
We should work with the international community, as well as our allies in the region, to consider the best options to remove Assad from power and promote a regime that has the support of the Syrian people. However, we should be under no illusions that this will be easy. It will not. We must exercise extreme caution, and we must not assume that the United States military can resolve this civil war.
The Syrian people deserve the right to live free of tyranny and oppression and the United States must continue to be a force for good in the world. I encourage the administration to take the time necessary to confirm what has taken place and to develop an appropriate response.
U.S. Representative Adam Smith
Thursday, May 16, 2013 -- 12:15 pm Letters to the Editor: Pat Sheehy http://www.fifefreepress.com/ - Dear Editor,
I was recently cited for a red light infraction at the intersection of Valley Avenue and 70th Avenue for failing to come to a complete stop before making a free right turn. I was turning off Valley Avenue to go north on 70th Avenue. While looking at the pictures online, it appears that the first picture may have been taken before I had crossed the stop bar and before I had technically committed any wrong. If that is true, this red light camera would be illegal under Revised Code of Washington 46.63.170(d), which states "Automated traffic safety cameras may only take pictures of the vehicle and vehicle license plate and only while an infraction is occurring..."
I am personally planning on paying my ticket and moving on as it is not worth it for me personally to fight, but I thought the public should be aware and may wish to investigate this matter further.
Federal WayRead more...
Thursday, May 16, 2013 -- 12:11 pm Guest Editorial: What happens in Seattle should stay in Seattle http://www.fifefreepress.com/ - There is an old saying, "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." Well, what happens in Seattle should stay in Seattle.
Seattle officials had a bad idea a couple of years ago, and now some state lawmakers want to expand that bad idea statewide. The bad idea is Seattle's paid sick leave policy applies to any business with five or more employees, even if that business is not located in Seattle.
Approved in 2011, the controversial ordinance states that, if one or more of your employees spends more than 240 hours a year - or about 10 percent of their time - in Seattle on business, you must pay them pro-rated benefits, even if your company is located in Everett, New York or Milan, Italy.
To ensure they comply with the law, employers must keep track of every minute their employees are within the city limits of Seattle, delivering flowers, picking up packages, making sales calls or attending a conference or training seminar.
Just reading the rules is confusing enough. Imagine trying to comply with them.
One wonders why, if this was such a good idea, the Seattle ordinance allows labor unions to request waivers to exempt their employees?
To determine if a policy makes sense, try this simple exercise: transplant the policy to another environment. What if your landlord charged you a different amount of rent each month based on how much time you, your spouse and your kids spent in each room of your house?
Chances are you would think your landlord had a screw loose.
Seattle officials see nothing wrong with their policy, but one wonders how they would feel if another city turned the tables. Imagine their reaction if a neighboring city passed an ordinance exempting Seattle companies from their paid leave obligations while their employees were working in that neighboring city.
Seattle officials would likely see such a policy as an outrageous intrusion. Exactly.
Fortunately, the legislation to expand Seattle's overreaching paid sick leave policy statewide did not make it to a voteRead more...
Thursday, May 16, 2013 -- 12:09 pm Editorial: Light rail should run to the east http://www.fifefreepress.com/ - Imagine a local company that has an annual impact of payroll and project spending of $430 million, including $3 million in charitable donations to Mary Bridge Children's Hospital, Emergency Food Network and Toys For Tots.
Imagine this company is the largest non-healthcare employer, with 3,500 local workers on its payroll. It issues more paychecks than Pierce County government and the City of Tacoma. It writes more than double the paychecks of Walmart and is set for another expansion to build on its payroll.
Its payroll is more than three times what Russell Investments had locally when the investment giant opted to move its headquarters to Seattle in 2009. That is an important fact since the Tacoma officials and their business-boosting partners had cobbled together a deal to keep the firm in Tacoma that would have saved Russell some $140 million in taxes, fees and infrastructure costs over 20 years. The offer was not enough. But it showed a willingness of city and business officials to front money and resources to promote business activity by a local business.
The lack of discussions to promote the economic activities of a business three times Russell's size, however, is curious. That business that dwarfs Russell's payroll is the Puyallup Tribe and its business arms.
Tacoma City Council has endorsed a plan that would expand the Link light rail from the Theater District Station up the Stadium Way hill to Martin Luther King Jr. Way and end at South 19th Street at a cost of $ 133 million. An alternate route, which was backed by the business stakeholders group that included tribal officials, would have run the rails north from Tacoma Dome Station to Portland Avenue on one end and from the Theater District Station to MLK and 6th Avenue on the other for the same price.
The city-backed route is championed as an economic booster of Hilltop, which is apparently overflowing with would-be riders willing to pay $2 to $4 to take a light rail train downtown. The trip would still likely cost Hilltop residents even if they do not take the Link, since the project still needs $50 million in "local partnership" funding - likely through property tax hikes, but no one is talking about it.
The alternate route to Portland Avenue, however, would link Salishan with the rest of the Tacoma, something the city has long wanted at no cost to property owners. The tribe has access to federal funding earmarked for transportation projects that benefit Native American tribes that could be used to fully fund the "local partnership." Tribal officials have also said it would open its parking lots at its Emerald Queen Casino for Link riders to events at Tacoma Dome and the Greater Tacoma Trade Convention Center, which lack parking spaces.
As the tribe also has its other Emerald Queen in Fife, a route to Portland Avenue would make an extension across the Puyallup River a definite possibility in the future.
The response to the offer, however, has largely been that the tribe shoulRead more...
Thursday, May 16, 2013 -- 12:01 pm How will your workplace garden grow? http://www.fifefreepress.com/ - The space behind the vast Tacoma Weekly strong-hold on Pacific Highway was, we admit, on the seedy side.
Long before our thriving enterprise moved in last summer, some fine citizen ditched, literally, a sofa in the drainage canal behind the building. Last year, the surface water maintenance crew working the slope under Interstate-5 found it and, casting accusing looks at blameless journalists, hauled it out and set it by a cluster of derelict newspaper paper racks.
There was another box back there, wooden and bent on becoming one with the morning glory, horsetail and nasty grass around it.
We were not alone. Our neighbors to the north had laid out an obsolete wall cupboard next to the platform on which they stored pallets, wood and a pickup canopy. They invited recyclers to make free with the materials, and, to this community's credit, a good deal of the stuff has been taken to new uses.
Still, our semi-industrial back yard was graceless, the kind of place that attracts dicey elements. I have, with my own eyes, seen Steve Dunkelberger, Ed Curran, Ernest Jasmin, even Matt Nagle, hanging out there on "jibber jabber" breaks.
I imagined something lovelier, healthier. I imagined cherry tomatoes and lettuce for lunch, squash to share with a food bank, pumpkins and watermelons for their air of celebration.
I imagined catching up with the rest of Tacoma.
Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland collaborated with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and environmental groups to hold our first Garden Summit three years ago. At it, she challenged Tacomans to build and tend more community gardens per capita than any other city in the nation. The city and county had been inventorying scraps of their under-used property, so organizer and horticulturist Kristen McIvor had sites to offer them. Franklin Pierce School District took the opportunity to revive agriculture with the New Pathways program at The Farm at Waller Road and 96th Street East.
Tacomans thought before they leapt and did the organizing to build seven successful gardens that first year. Each matches the sense of the neighborhood.
Now there are scores of official and unofficial community gardens. MetroParks, The Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Pierce County, Tacoma Housing Authority, Catholic Community Services, multiple school districts, senior homes and churches are growing beets and friendships. Individuals are turning their front yards into proof that food and flowers can get along at least as well as cats and dogs. They're transforming their parking strips into planting strips.
I love this story and wanted our workplace to be part of this happy Tacoma trend.
So one drizzly forenoon, I ambushed my colleagues and channeled Judy Garland in that movie where she and Mickey Rooney point to an old barn and say to all their eager friends, "Hey, gang, let's put on a show!"
"What do you say we build a garden here?" I asked
with an optimistic uptick at the end of the sentence. No response. Well, therRead more...
Thursday, May 16, 2013 -- 11:45 am Fife students head to California for scholastic challenge http://www.fifefreepress.com/ - As summertime approaches and Fife students wait for the last day of school (June 18) with anticipation, some of them will be wrapping up the year representing their respective schools at one final scholastic challenge.
From June 25-July 1, eight students - two from Columbia Junior High and six from Fife High School - and their advisors will be participating in the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) national conference in Anaheim, Calif. After having earned their place at nationals by winning top honors at FBLA state competitions in Spokane this past April, these eight students are going in to nationals confident that they will make their schools proud.
At nationals, all eight scholars will face off against "the cream of the crop" - students from across the country who also earned their spot on the awards stage at their own state competitions. "They'll be competing against somewhere around 60-80 teams," said Fife High FBLA advisor Laura Hilzendeger.
Considering the wins at state, spirits are high for nationals.
"This was our best showing at a Washington State FBLA conference in our past 12 years," Hilzendeger said, noting that she does not remember having that many of her students onstage at once at the state awards ceremony. In addition to the many students that placed in the top five in their competitions, the Fife High FBLA chapter as a whole won awards in numerous categories for FBLA's Peninsula Region including first place in Largest Local Chapter Membership, Largest Professional Membership (for which the chapter also took the state award) and Largest Percentage of Professional Membership. Fife High senior Chantelle LaMarr won a place among Who's Who in FBLA for the Peninsula Region and was named Outstanding Chapter Member.
The Fife High FBLA contingent going to nationals will include seniors LaMarr and Jesse Raetz; junior Autumn Storholt; and sophomores Olivia Treece, Katie Breland and Kelly Oberbillig. Their FBLA advisor Hilzendeger and Christiann Thomas will be going as well.
"Taking three sophomores is really huge to me," Hilzendeger said. "Once you get that taste for nationals you want to go back. When you get the nod to go, it's such an honor for yourself, your school, your state - it's just very exciting." It also helps the students prepare for their junior year in FBLA as well.
Raising money for the trip to Anaheim is now a top priority. In addition to the chapter asking local businesses for sponsorships, Treece has organized a fundraising "restaurant takeover" event to be held on May 21 at BJ's Restaurant in Puyallup's South Hill Mall. From 4-10 p.m., diners that present a special flyer to their server will get 15 percent of their food bill donated to the Fife High FBLA. Get a flyer from any of the chapter members, or download as many as you would like from the Fife Schools website at http://www.fifeschools.com (click on "Schools" and choose Fife High School).
The junior high students and their FBLA chapter won a niceRead more...
Thursday, May 16, 2013 -- 11:33 am Plans for Brookville Garden Park adjust over time http://www.fifefreepress.com/ - City officials envision Brookville Gardens Park as someday being the crown jewel of Fife's park system. The 15-acre parcel along Valley Avenue will be developed in the near future. Fife City Council examined the topic during its May 7 study session.
In 2001 the city conducted a survey on its park system. It showed a need for open space, wildlife habitat, multi-use trails, playgrounds, athletic facilities and various programs for youth to senior citizens.
The parcel had an appraised value of $1,760,000. The city purchased it for $1,425,000 from the Yotsuuye family, which received a credit for the difference between the appraised and sale values. To date the city has spent $662,000 on design work.
There have been changes since the original concept for the park was created in 2007. Among these are increasing the comfort level of visitors with ample bathrooms and picnic spaces.
Weaknesses were identified in that original concept. The parking lot encroached into the wetland buffer, the existing building is in the buffer and there were three crossings of Wapato Creek. And it was determined the park lacked elements that defined its special characteristics.
Local architectural firm BCRA was brought in to do a master plan for the park. Among the changes they proposed was relocating remnant native berry vines and adding interpretive signs to explain the unique qualities of the park.
New features added during this design phase include restrooms at the play areas and two types of picnic shelters. Themed play areas were envisioned, based on the presence of trains in Fife. A centerpiece would be in the form of a shipping container.
Other features are permeable paving, bio-filtration rain gardens, green roofs, solar panels and native landscape plantings.
A revised plan in 2011 called for close to four acres of open space, three picnic areas for groups of various sizes, a fish hatchery, a perimeter trail and connection to a regional bike trail. Also, a decision was made not to have a maintenance and operation yard at the park, due to its impact on land available for mitigation.
Wapato Creek would be altered to have a length of 1,600 feet, or twice as long as currently. Flood storage capacity would increase by 400 percent.
The council was presented with several alternatives. One would delete a play structure, picnic shelter and plantings near the railroad tracks, to save $383,000. Another would delete planter walls and replace with berms, to save $164,000. A third would delete poured in place pavers and replace with standard concrete, to save $71,000. A fourth would delete embedded rail and replace with flat bar, to cut costs by $33,000.
Another would replace rubber play tiles with wood chips, to save $295,000. Several council members expressed support for keeping the rubber tiles and planters.
As designed the project would cost $7.5 million to complete. If all the alternatives were chosen, the cost would be pared down to $6.5 million.Read more...
Thursday, May 16, 2013 -- 11:31 am Hedden teacher shaves head for a cause http://www.fifefreepress.com/ - Hedden Elementary students have always exceeded fundraising goals during the school's annual Jump Rope for Heart program. But after becoming the No. 2 school in the state in fundraising last year - out of 150 participating schools - physical education teacher and program coordinator Matt Sinnes knew he had to somehow up the ante this year. And what better fundraising incentive is there for a young student than the opportunity to shave a teacher's head? This incentive more than paid off for the American Heart Association, which received $12,643 from Hedden Elementary's fundraising efforts.
"I thought that if we can raise $1 more than last year and I have to shave my head to do it, I will," he laughed. "In the back of my mind, I thought there's no way they'll raise that much money."
But raise money they did - the students beat last year's record by more than $450, and on May 15 five lucky students had the opportunity to shave Sinnes' head in front of the entire school.
"We've never had a coordinator do something like this," said Karen Hake, youth market director for the American Heart Association. "We are so grateful to have a teacher like Matt who is not only focused on physical activity, but also on community service."
Since Hedden Elementary opened in 2002, the school has raised more than $68,936.97 for the American Heart Association. "This program has been a staple here pretty much since it opened," Sinnes said. "We all just want to make a difference in some way here, and this is my way of trying to give back. Our students really feel that way, too, so it's very cool to see everyone come together for such a great cause. And if it means we can raise a few more dollars for a good cause, I'd shave my head every year." Read more...
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 -- 9:35 am Program provides grim evidence of dangers of drunk driving http://www.fifefreepress.com/ - On May 2 and 3, juniors and seniors at Fife High School participated in an intense activity that delivered a warning of the dangers of drinking and driving. It was Every 15 Minutes, a national educational program that uses a staged traffic collision, videos and visits from the Grim Reaper to remind youth of what can happen when they mix alcohol with driving.
Fife Police Department coordinated the mock crash, which was staged in the football stadium on May 2. At 1 p.m. a 9-1-1 call reporting a crash rang out over a sound system to signify the start of the simulated incident. The scenario was a two-car, head-on crash caused by an inebriated teenager driver. It resulted in one person trapped in a car.
Tacoma Fire Department was on hand, along with Airlift Northwest and Pierce County Medical Examiner's office. Firefighters removed a door of a car to free the person trapped inside. One person was airlifted by helicopter to a hospital, another died at the scene and another person was arrested for driving under the influence.
The following day students completed the school day with a follow up and closure activity. The timing was important, as the school had its prom on May 4. And graduation is approaching for seniors. This is another event that is sometimes marred by the negative consequences of underage drinking.Read more...