Alcohol policy, where is thy sting?
THUMBS DOWN: The New Ulm City Council is conducting a study of its alcohol license violation policies, comparing local penalties with those in 11 other cities to see where we should be.
Well, whatever the city's policy is on alcohol license violations, it really won't matter without enforcement. The city learned last month that enforcement has fallen off in the past several years. The New Ulm Police Department has not conducted underage purchase "stings" since 2009, reportedly because it cannot find underage subjects willing to go into the local establishments and try to get served. Police reportedly make few spot checks, going into bars to see if those consuming have IDs.
We hope the city comes up with a fair policy for violations, and that the policy will be fairly enforced.
Bike safety reminder
SIDEWAYS THUMB: The Journal's front page this Wednesday carried a photo and report on a bicycle accident. A man was injured at the corner of 7th North Street and Broadway, one of the busiest intersections in the city.
Accidents will happen, but they don't have to happen. This accident is a reminder to all who ride bicycles, either as means of commuting to jobs or for recreation, that safety has to be your first consideration. Bicyclists, kids and adults alike, need to know the rules of the road apply to them as well as to cars. Stop signs and red lights mean you have to stop. One of our readers shared her concerns about seeing a kid zooming across Center Street at Broadway, against the red light, without so much as a look either way. It happens far too frequently, and it is a wonder there aren't more accidents.
Motorists needs to watch for bicycles, but bicyclists need to keep their own safety their top priority as well.
Sins of the past
SIDEWAYS THUMB: We know the Diocese of New Ulm is not taking lightly the issue of pastoral sex abuse, whether it happened 20 years ago or today. This week a lawsuit was filed against the Diocese, claiming an Irish priest temporarily working at St. Joseph Parish in Henderson in 1982 sexually molested a man, who was then 15. The Rev. Francis Markey, the accused, died last September while awaiting trial on a different long-ago sex abuse charge in Ireland.
The anonymous man who filed the suit is seeking, along with monetary damages, a list of actions from the Diocese to shed light on past accusations and to make sure it is addressing the problem. We hope there will be a satisfactory settlement that will benefit the Diocese, its clergy and its congregants.
The beliefs and understandings about sexual predation have changed dramatically from 20 or 30 years ago. It is no longer acceptable to keep it quiet, to seek spiritual rehabilitation for the offender and send them to another assignment. We are sure the Diocese believes this as well.
Today, people know that sex abuse is a crime, and any instance, whether commited by a clergyman or not, should be reported to law enforcement authorities.