Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Snapchat app – Why Parents need to be very concerned   Leave a comment

Parents – Here is just another reason why you NEED to know what is on your child’s phone. The newest, hottest social media app is Snapchat. It’s an app that allows users to take a picture, add some text if they want, and send it off. When the recipient receives it, the picture deletes itself up to 10 seconds after it has been seen.

For those of you I know personally – Some of your children are using this app. I added this app to my phone and it tells you what contacts in your phone are using this app. Some of your children’s names popped up. I am no going to divulge who those young people are. That is something you need to investigate and talk with your children about. (By the way, the same holds true for Instagram – Your children are using this app too.) Facebook is full of requests from our young people to “Snapchat me”.


What is this picture, taken from Snapchat’s website implying?

My first thought after hearing about this app was “Well, that’s stupid. Why would that appeal to anyone?” That thought lasted about as long as a person can view a Snapchat picture sent to them. My next thought was this app is just begging for people to send nude photos of themselves. I’m sure the Snapchat user’s thought process goes like this: “What could be more perfect? Take a naked picture of myself, send it to ___________ (fill in the blank of the person to be impressed by said picture), he/she will be impressed and like me. Life will be great because photo will automatically deleted and I will be considered cool because I’m giving him/her what he/she wants. This is awesome!”

Ad for Snapchat from a college website


This thought process couldn’t be more wrong, and this is why we need to stay vigilant as parents in keeping up on what our kids are doing. We MUST keep reminding them that what they do online will be there forever no matter what they read or hear.

Snap chat arms immature minors (there are no age restrictions) with an easy way to send photos of themselves and others that could have long lasting consequences past the 1 to 10 second timer on the app.

Although an interview with Snap Chat’s CEO, explains that sexting is not the motivation of the app the FAQs say something completely different:

According to Snapchat’s 22-year-old co-founder and CEO, Evan Spiegel, “it doesn’t actually make sense for sexting. Because you see the photo for, what, three seconds?”
Snapchat photos don’t last very long.

From Snapchat’s FAQs:

No, snaps disappear after the timer runs out. You can save snaps that you capture by pressing the save button on the preview screen.

Screenshots can be captured if you’re quick. The sender will be notified immediately.

Yes, anyone can take a screen shot if they are quick enough, and as we can see by watching our kids text, they can be very nimble with their fingers. Even though the sender is notified if a screen shot is taken, it doesn’t matter. The damage is done. A digital photo can be taken of the phone when a Snapchat image is received. Then, the sender doesn’t even know that the image was captured.

Those pictures could be sent around faster than you can imagine, ruining a young persons reputation in a matter of minutes.

Snapchat’s main feature is definitely implying a false sense of security. Their privacy policy states that they “cannot guarantee that the message data will be deleted in every case” and “Messages, therefore are sent at the risk of the user”. So, theoretically, if a child were to send an inappropriate photo through Snapchat, the image could be floating around on their servers even after the photo has been deleted from the recipient’s phone. How do we know that we can trust Snapchat employees to respect their users’ privacy? The answer is: We can’t. And the consequences can be disturbing, with parasite porn sites stealing and spreading images and videos of young people, and tragic tales of victims like Amanda Todd, who was bullied so badly over images of her that were shared over the net that she commited suicide. (Taken from

As you can see from, as of today, Snapchat ranks 2nd in photo sharing apps.

top photo app stats

Snap chat is currently sharing more than 10 million images a day.

Parents, as you can imagine, Snapchat would allow a child or teen to send nude photos to their friends without fear of becoming the laughing stock of the school or ending up on a porn site, but we should expect more from our children. We should expect them to make good decisions for themselves, regardless of how easy technology makes it from them to do otherwise. My hope is that you will take this knowledge and use it to leverage your vigilance at home. Keep an eye out for this app on your child’s mobile device. If you see that they’ve downloaded it, chances are it’s time to sit down and have a serious conversation about the consequences of sexting.


Posted December 4, 2012 by greggornation in Bullying, Family, General, Media, School, Technology

Instagram for Parents – Info For Parents – Part 3   Leave a comment

Here is part 3 on my Instagram series for parents. This time with some more information on privacy settings.

You can read Part 1 and 2 here:

Instagram for Parents – Info For Parents – Part 1

Instagram for Parents – Info For Parents – Part 2

***Please note that this article only talks of instagram in terms of Ipod and Iphone. It is an Android product as well, and now profiles and comments can be viewed on the web***

Instagram – Is It Okay for Kids? What Parents Need to Know

 | February 8, 2012 |

In many ways, and without reinventing the wheel, Instagram is changing the way people share photos with each other. The mobile app, which is only available on the iPhone, is steadily growing in popularity among the kid and teen crowds, causing parents to take notice and ask, what exactly is Instagram, and is there anything I should be worried about?

Just like with any social sharing application, there are a few things parents need to know about Instagram and how their teen may be using it, so the Yoursphere for Parents editorial team did the research. But first, what is Instagram?

What Is Instagram?

Instagram is a photo sharing mobile app that’s (currently) only available on the iPhone and iPod Touch. Users can either upload a photo from their device’s library or take a photo right then and there and use Instagram to change the way the photo looks.

The user then has the option to simultaneously upload this photo to a number of social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Foursquare, depending on which ones they sync to their Instagram account. The photo will also be uploaded to the Instagram community where people can like and comment on it.

In many ways, Instagram is a photo-sharing social network on its own. Users have a profile with the option to fill out information such as first and last name, username, birthday, gender, bio, email address and phone number. Popular photos from all over the world are shared under the “Popular” tab, and every user has the option to follow other Instagram users and vice versa.

The idea behind Instagram is simple, really. And they execute it so beautifully. But just like with any social sharing application, there are some privacy and concerning content issues that can ruin the Instagram experience for a family with kids and younger teens.

What Parents Need To Know


The only information required when signing up for Instagram is an email address and desired username. Though they ask for a phone number, it’s very clear during sign up that this is optional, so please consider your privacy or your teen’s privacy before entering a phone number here.

The single most important thing to realize is that, by default, anyone can view the photos that you upload to Instagram. In other words, your profile and your photos are publicly viewable unless you tell it otherwise. If you only want your followers to see your photos, then you need to set your profile to private by following these steps:

  1. Go to your profile page (tap the Profile tab)
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the Profile page, where you’ll see a “Photos are private” switch
  3. Toggle the “Photos are private” switch to ON to turn on privacy.

Once you set your profile to private, anyone who wants to see your photos will need to be your friend/follower first, meaning they’ll have to send a request and you’ll have to approve.


During the process of uploading a photo, the geo-location data of the photo you’re uploading can
easily be shared with your followers if you’re not careful. Fortunately, Instagram turns geotagging off by default, but it’s easy to accidently turn it on.

When uploading a photo, be sure to avoid tapping the button shown in this screenshot. If you do, you can always tap it again to turn it off. This is just something to be aware of as geotagging is a huge risk to you and your teen’s privacy online. You can learn more about how geotagging works,here.


Instagram is not for children under the age of 13, and in my opinion, not suitable for slightly older teens, either. If you’re 12 years old, there isn’t even a 1999 year to choose when signing up. Instagram has strict Terms of Useand Community Guidelines that make their age requirement clear. Also, there’s an obvious connection between Instagram and other adult-intended social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Blocking and Reporting Users and Content

While there are tools for reporting/blocking users and inappropriate content, know that people will, and do upload nude photos. In fact, the editorial team found a multitude of bestiality photos in less than one minute when searching for friends. It’s a sad fact, and another commonsense reason that you shouldn’t allow your children to use Instagram. If you are an Instagram user, they provide easy-to-use tools to block or report someone. The steps below show you how:

Blocking a user –

  1. Navigate to their profile page (tap Profile > Search Instagram > Names and usernames, then search for and tap on their username).
  2. Tap the button in the top right corner of the screen (gear icon).
  3. Tap “Block user” to prevent the user from viewing your account.


The same steps can be followed to report a user, in addition to giving a reason why you’re reporting them.

Reporting a photo –

  1. Tap the “…” below the photo you would like to report and then “Flag for review”
  2. Select the proper reason for reporting from the list and, if prompted, a short description.


NOTE: All flags are anonymous and go directly to Instagram.


So, parents, do you use Instagram? Does your teen? If so, have you or they encountered any privacy, bullying or content issues like we did?  As I said at the outset, Instagram does a simple and fantastic job of letting us do some very fun and creative things with our photos. Frankly, in my opinion, it’s a shame that others ruin what should be enjoyed by you and your family.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below. And remember, there are plenty of apps out there, just like there are plenty of social networks out there that were made FOR your children, and with their privacy in mind. And though it’s a wonderful app that enhances the way we share photos, Instagram is not one of them.

I hope you have found this series useful. I can’t stress enough how important it is to know what your kids are doing when online. It’s important to understand that online doesn’t mean sitting in front of a computer. If they have a smart phone, they can be online anywhere. For their safety, please know what they are doing.



Posted November 30, 2012 by greggornation in Family, Media, School, Technology

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Instagram for Parents – Info For Parents – Part 2   1 comment

Continuing on with Instagram for Parents – Info for Parents Series

I hope you found part one informative. If you didn’t read it yet, you can find it here:

Instagram for Parents – Info For Parents – Part 1

Here is another article on Instagram that I found interesting:

Instagram: What parents need to know


Business news today is dominated by Instagram, a quirky photo sharing application. Facebook has announced it’s buying the start-up used by 30 million people in a deal worth about a billion dollars in cash and shares.

Some of the most prolific users of Instagram are teens. Using their iPads and smart phones, they snap photos, embellish them and share them with friends.

Instagram is a hit with teens. (Karly Domb Sadof – AP)

A 16-year-old writing for the teen-produced site Radical Parenting detailed in a recent post why she and her friends are addicted to Instagram. Perhaps the biggest reason the application is such a hit with teens, as the writer mentions, is that it offers an outlet for that abundant need teens have for self-expression.

The purchase by Facebook is likely to make Instagram that much more popular. So, it might be a good time for a parental primer.

The folks at Yoursphere For Parents, a group that provides Internet safety information, recently gathered some helpful tips to better supervise this digital playground.

First, it’s important to know that photos uploaded on Instagram can, by default, be viewed by anyone, anywhere. There’s also an option to share the photo location, which may be of concern if a parent would rather not have a child broadcast his whereabouts.

Also, Instagram, like Facebook, is not supposed to be used by children under 13. Images are usually cute or artistic, but there are also nude photos and disturbing images to be found.

The application requires an account sign-on, which includes entering a birth date, but many parents have already found that tech-savvy kids easily overcome this obstacle.

Also, like so many digital gathering places, Instagram has been used for cyber-bullying.

The Yourshpere editors make it clear that it’s not the application itself that is necessarily a problem — and the Radical Parenting writer offers a glimpse at how teens are using it to explore their artistry.

Still, a certain level of supervision is advised.

Do your kids use Instagram? How? Do you monitor their use?

Stay tuned for Part 3 – Coming tomorrow…greggor

Posted November 28, 2012 by greggornation in Family, Media, School, Technology

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10 Building Blocks of a Happy Family   Leave a comment

From Jim Burns over at
Over the past few years more and more youth workers talk with me about family issues in the church as well as their own family problems. I spent much of my youth ministry career studying kids and families in crisis and just a few years ago I started asking the question, “Are there any happy families out there?” I ended up doing a two-year study of traits of healthy families. I came up with 10 traits or what I like to call building blocks for a happy family. As a youth worker one of your jobs is the help families succeed. A majority of youth workers, also, now have families of their own. For me there may not be a more important part of my job than to focus on my own family as well as bring positive Christ-honoring input to families in the church. 

Most parents are doing a good job of parenting – but don’t realize it. All parents should understand that there are no perfect families. I know for sure that mine isn’t! Likewise, there is no perfect parenting method. Still, my wife Cathy and I have settled on what we believe to be the ten essential ingredients for building and maintaining a happy family. Here they are presented in an “overview” form. For a more in-depth look at these issues, you may find my book (by the same name) helpful! 

  1. Be there for your kids. Your children regard your presence as a sign of caring and connectedness (even when they don’t seem to do so!) Presence provides kids with a greater sense of security than almost any other quality parents can offer.

  • Express affection, warmth and encouragement. Families with a sense of A.W.E. – as opposed to shame-based parenting – is a home where children and spouses will feel more secure.

  • Build healthy morals and values. The decisions kids make today will often affect them for the rest of their lives. Parents have significant powers of influence – through modeling and teaching – over the morals and values their kids carry into adulthood!

  • Discipline with consistency. Clearly expressed expectations and consistent follow-through produce responsible kids. Make your goal of discipline one of teaching kids responsibility not evoking obedience.

  • Ruthlessly eliminate stress. The unbalanced life will not be kind to the areas we neglect. Parents must make the difficult decisions of reducing the effect of our culture’s breathless pace on their family.

  • Communication is key. Positive communication is the language of love for our children. Parents must take the initiative to set the tone for family communication – which includes the important skill of listening.

  • Play is necessary for a close-knit family. There is nothing like play to bring about family togetherness and communication. Play builds family memories, reduces family stress and produces support and affirmation.

  • Love your spouse. A loving marriage brings hope and security to your children. At times, this means putting your spouse’s needs ahead of your children’s needs.

  • Let your life reflect the understanding that the best things in life are not things. Healthy stewardship and financial decisions produce positive family priorities.

  • Energize your family’s spiritual growth. Your greatest calling in life is to leave a spiritual legacy for your children. Pay close attention to your own spiritual health and model a healthy spirituality for your family.

Posted August 1, 2012 by greggornation in Family

7th grader commits suicide   1 comment

Source: Walt Mueller’s Center for Parent/Youth Understanding and

My heart was breaking as I watched this video about Rachel Ehmke, who took her own life on Saturday, April 28th, 2012, a victim of bullying. – Follow this link to read her touching obituary as well – – What do we need to do get bullying to stop?!?! – Greg


A father in southern Minnesota says words — simple, hurtful words — killed his 13-year-old daughter, and now he’s speaking out against the bullying his child endured at school and through social media after she took her own life on Saturday.

“These words killed my daughter,” said Rick Ehmke. “I’ll go to my grave believing that.”

For months, Rachel Ehmke was bullied at Mantorville Middle School. Though experts say there’s seldom just one reason for teen suicide, but this victim’s parents were engaged with the school over a known problem.

In fact, the school first told her parents that the 7th grade student was being bullied last fall.

“They called her all these names. They vandalized her locker — smeared it full of gum, chewed gum,” said Rick Ehmke. “Put it in all her books.”

Though she was outgoing, athletic and had many good friends, she was also bullied by a pack of girls that called her a slut and a prostitute even though she had never kissed a boy.

“She shared with us that she was being called these kinds of names,” Rick Ehmke said.

After she reported the bullying, Rick Ehmke said his daughter kept telling them everything was fine — even when it wasn’t.

Ehmke’s parents thought the bullying had been resolved — until the principal called on Friday to say a whole new group of bullies were bothering her.

“That, apparently, set her off,” Rick Ehmke said. “Back into ‘get mom and dad into it.’ Based on last time, all it did is make people angrier.”

On Saturday night, Ehmke hung herself in her room. There was no suicide note, but her family found a note card where she had written “I’m fine = I wish you knew how I really felt,” along with a picture of a broken heart.

“I wish she could’ve,” Rick Ehmke said. “I don’t think we’d be sitting here if she could’ve.”

Word of her suicide spread quickly through the tiny town, and even faster on Twitter and Facebook as some of Rachel Ehmke’s friends made posts retaliating to the bullies. But Rick Ehmke said he doesn’t blame the school, the kids or even the Internet.

“They’re good kids that made some bad choices,” he said. “Truly, if they ever thought she’d do something like this, they’d never do it.”

Instead, he only wants to share his profound loss now that he won’t see his daughter swim again in the pond she loved. He will never pick out a dress for prom, or for a wedding.

“I’ll never understand, but I need to figure out how to go through life without my daughter,” he said.

If there is one thing that angers him, however, he said his stomach turned when he searched his daughter’s Internet browsing history and found she had visited a site offering tips on how to take your life — even a discussion group where someone gave her advice.

Posted May 7, 2012 by greggornation in Bullying, Family, School


Did you know that 30 percent of women murdered in the US are killed by their boyfriends, husbands, or exes? Or that 20 to 25 percent of college women will experience attempted or complete rape in college? Date rape, intimate violence and relationship abuse are issues that many women face every day. We talked to New Jersey-based counselor Dari Dyrness-Olsen, author of Safe Dating for College Women, about what women can do to protect themselves while dating and in a relationship. Here are her top 10 tips for staying safe.



Dari Dyrness-Olsen, MA, LPC, author of Safe Dating for College Women, is nationally known as “America’s Safe Dating Coach.” She is currently working with New Jersey legislators on passing the “Safe Dating Law” that will require all public middle and high schools to add Safe Dating Curriculum to their annual health curriculum. Dyrness-Olsen is also working with the national organization Love Is Not Abuse and other states to model what she is doing in New Jersey. Here are her 10 tips to stay safe while you’re dating.

1. Don’t buy into “love is blind”

If relationships started off abusive, then no one would ever date. Dating abuse slowly rears its ugly head over time, as the relationship progresses. Before you know it, you have fallen in love with the person who is treating you badly.

2. Know the red flags of dating abuse

Dating abuse is all about power and control over another person. Do you fight a lot? Is he mean to you? Does he put you down? Does he text you obsessively and need to know where you are, who you are with and what you are doing? Does he want you to spend all of your time with him?

3. Set the bar high

You deserve to be in a safe, healthy and loving relationship. The most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself. When you love yourself, you can love other people, and they can love you back in a healthy way.

4. Be aware of family dynamics

When kids grow up in abusive families, there is very good chance they will follow in their parents’ footsteps. The apple often doesn’t fall far from the tree, unless they have received professional help.

5. Never depend on a guy

The best lesson I ever learned from my parents was to never depend on anyone else to take care of me. With a divorce rate of more than 50 percent, statistics show you may well end up divorced and having to support yourself and your children. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted March 22, 2012 by greggornation in Bullying, Family, School

When Texting Turns to Torment   Leave a comment

When Texting Turns to Torment

In CyberbullyingMobile and communicating by Caroline Knorr, on 03.01.2012

Dealing with Digital Harassment

Too much texting, too much calling. Are your kids at risk?

  • 76% of people ages 14-24 say that digital abuse is a serious problem.
  • Compared to 2009, young people in 2011 were significantly more likely to step in if they saw someone “being mean online.”
  • Some of the most frequent forms of digital harassment include people writing things online that aren’t true (26%), people writing things online that are mean (24%), and someone forwarding an IM or message that was intended to stay private (20%).
  • Digital abuse isn’t generally the act of strangers — perpetrators are usually people the victims know well.
  • (All of the above are from the 2011 AP-MTV Digital Abuse study)

Advice & Answers


What Is Digital Harassment?


Digital harassment is when kids and teens use cell phones, social networks, and other communications devices to bully, threaten, and aggressively badger someone. While it’s a form of cyberbullying, “digital harassment” is a bit different because it usually takes place between two people in a romantic relationship.

Certainly, lots of young people conduct healthy relationships and use their online and mobile lives to stay connected to each other. But not all relationships are balanced — especially with teens, whose emotional lives run at peak speeds.

Some relationships can become manipulative and controlling, and teens use the digital devices at their disposal to act out. A few texts a day can turn into a few hundred. Relentless and unreasonable demands escalate. The abuser presses for things like the other person’s passwords(so they can check up on them) and sexy photos and forces their significant other to unfriend people whom the abuser doesn’t like. They may spread lies, impersonate someone, or even resort to blackmail.



Why It Matters


Digital harassment has real consequences for those who’ve been targeted. A 2011 poll conducted by MTV and the Associated Press found that targets of this kind of abuse are more likely to consider dropping out of school, engage in risky behavior, and even think about suicide.

However, there’s a bright spot in all this. The survey also found that kids and teens who discover digital harassment among their friends are now more likely to intervene if they see someone being mean online than they were in 2009.

Large public-awareness campaigns — most notably MTV’s A Thin Line and The Family Violence Prevention Fund’s That’s Not Cool — are helping teens recognize when staying connected crosses the line into digital harassment. These campaigns use kids’ idols — like Justin Bieber — and entertaining videos to give teens the language they need to identify and end digital harassment.

Parents can support their teens by understanding that relationships these days are often played out both online and in public — and kids need their parents’ guidance in establishing appropriate boundaries for healthy relationships. Young love is complicated enough without the added pressure of constant access and public scrutiny. The tips below can help you help your kids navigate these murky waters so they can avoid digital drama for themselves and their friends.



Advice for Parents Read the rest of this entry »

Posted March 15, 2012 by greggornation in Bullying, Family, General, School, Technology

For parents, ‘the talk’ may need a reboot   Leave a comment

By Sarah White, Special for USA TODAY

Since Jan. 1, California 12-year-olds can get prevention services for sexually transmitted diseases — including the HPV vaccine, hepatitis B vaccine and HIV post-exposure medications — without parental consent. California joins a handful of states with STD-prevention language in their minor-consent laws, including Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Montana, North CarolinaSouth Dakota and Washington, D.C.

The key to STD prevention is catching kids before they have sex, which is by ninth grade for nearly one-third of teenagers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

Right now, minors in all states can be diagnosed and treated for STDs without a parent’s involvement.

Tips for parents about discussing sex

•Use the teen’s daily life. Whether it’s a Twilight story line or a pregnant classmate, the sexual behaviors around your teen provide great conversation starters, says Carol Ford, chief of adolescent medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “Ask your teen, ‘What’s your take on that?’ when they’re talking about something happening to their friend” to gauge how your teen sees things and help teens shape their own views.

•Talk early and often. “Plant the idea that you will listen in a non-threatening way, which builds trust,” says Abigail English, director of the Center for Adolescent Health & the Law. If teens can’t ask you for help, send them to an aunt, grandparent or friend’s mother.

•Be “askable.” Teens are more likely to talk when they feel they won’t be judged, says Claire Brindis, professor of pediatrics at the University of California-San Francisco. Try leaving pamphlets on contraception or STDs lying around and asking your teen what he or she thinks.

•Don’t be alarmed. Parents might be upset to see an STD vaccination listed on a health insurance explanation of benefits. But remember, those vaccines are for prevention and do not mean your teen has actually had sex.

Posted January 19, 2012 by greggornation in Dating, Family

OK Boys. . . We're Burning Your Trophies. . . .   Leave a comment

Another great post from Walt Mueller‘s Blog from CPYU

So my nephew – who was a pretty decent football player himself a few years ago – texted me this morning. “Google new canaan football team burns trophies.” My nephew lives in Connecticut near New Canaan, which is how he caught wind of this crazy little story that’s a sign of the times. 

Here’s the story. . . . It seems that the New Canaan Black 8th grade football team made the playoffs. They reached the semi-finals but lost. That left them in third place. A few weeks after season’s end, the team had a little party at one player’s home. The players’ parents decided to celebrate the team’s season and success by presenting their boys with trophies. . . third place trophies. The coaches then gathered the boys up and took them and their trophies to a local park, where the coaches then proceeded to have the boys burn the trophies. All three coaches lost their jobs after the incident went public. One coach apologized, saying the message they intended to send was positive one. Residents of the town are concerned that the message that was sent was all wrong – that not finishing first is the same as failure.

As I think about this story, there are a couple of things to ponder here. As a parent of kids who were athletes and as someone who coached for years, I value a positive athletic experience. Athletics is about learning, putting forth an effort, cooperation, and having fun. I never believed that “winning is the only thing.” I know there are coaches that scream, yell, and coach for nobody but themselves. Not good.

On the other hand, we live in a world where kids are coddled, hovered over, and buffered from consequences by parents who are far too child-centered. Everybody needs to get a trophy, a pat on the back, and a “you’re awesome!” even when the effort is mediocre or sub-par. Not good as well.

So, while I don’t fault the parents in this story (I don’t really know. . . I wasn’t there nor do I know the families), it does serve as a reminder that 1)we’ve placed too high a premium on winning, and 2) we coddle our kids way too much. Both are threads running through the fabric of today’s youth culture. In this story the threads cross. . . and look what happened.

What do you think?


Posted December 16, 2011 by greggornation in Family, School, Sports

Algonquin Board Moves To Outlaw Artificial Marijuana   Leave a comment

by First Electric Newspaper LLC

The Algonquin Village Board Tuesday gave initial approval to a new ordinance banning sale, possession or use of synthetic marijuana within the village.  When formally approved it would make Algonquin the first community in McHenry and northern Kane counties to ban “incense” treated with lab versions of cannabinoids, stimulants or hallucinogens that are legal in the sense that the Drug Enforcement Agency hasn’t had time to outlaw them yet.

“Our officers talked to some of the kids,” said Chief Russ Laine.  “They say they have it because it’s legal, it’s easy to get and you can’t fail a (drug) test for it.”

Activists complained to the Board earlier this month that synthetic marijuana was a danger to local youth but readily available in local head and tobacco shops.  Laine agreed the stuff was dangerous.  “The results…you don’t know what the results will be. Just in Algonquin we’ve had hallucinations, convulsions, aggressive behavior.”

The proposed ordinance is based on one drafted by Aurora and the North Central Narcotics Task Force to combat the problem there.  It bans sale, possession or use of 16 cannabinoid compounds, 17 stimulants plus 4 different ways to turn them into something else that still works and 8 psychedelics “including salts, isomers, esters and ethers of salts of isomers”.  Laine said the Aurora ordinance passed only a couple of months ago so it still hasn’t encountered a legal challenge yet.

Member Bob Smith had problems with an absence of what lawyers call criminal intent.  “Does this mean someone could be pulled over having a legal product they bought legally (elsewhere) and arrested here?” he asked.  Yes, answered Village attorney Kelly Cahill because, “It’s not a criminal ordinance, it’s a civil act,” she said.  “It’s the only way we can handle it.”

The only question still unresolved is the penalty.  The draft called for a $750 fine but President John Schmitt thought it ought to be more.  “Maybe if it was $2,000 the parents would get involved and it would get some attention,” he said.  If there’s a whopping fine, “I’ll take the blame, and I know there’ll be some, if I have to,” he said.

Another ordinance change given first approval Tuesday would tighten up a village ban on drug paraphernalia.  Laine said, essentially, it doesn’t outlaw having “bongs and hookahs and pipes”, just ones with evidence they’ve ever been used.

Posted December 14, 2011 by greggornation in Drugs/Alcohol, Family

Facts & Dreams

"Each man should frame life so that at some future hour fact and his dreaming meet." -Victor Hugo