Drunk-Patrols Out in Force

The annual anti-drunk-driving campaign by local law enforcement will be in full effect over the New Year’s holiday. With the New Year falling on a weekend, Monterey cops are expecting to encounter more drunks than usual.

“It’s primarily going to be saturation patrols,” says Lt. Phil Penko. “We’re going to have a ton of extra people working that night.”

In California, a first-time drunk driving arrest means an inevitable six-month suspension of one’s driver’s license and a few nights in jail, not to mention fines and some painful increases in car insurance rates.

Monterey will not be the only department with extra officers on patrol. The California Highway Patrol will also have a larger presence.

Local police agencies have been setting up drunk-driving check points periodically throughout the holiday season. A DUI checkpoint in Monterey on Dec. 11 stopped and screened 2,218 cars, which netted three drunk-driving arrests.[AS]

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Planned Parenthood Wins Title X Grant

Low-income patients in Monterey County will have expanded access to a range of reproductive health services next year because of a $141,000 federal grant awarded to Planned Parenthood.

The Title X grant will provide services to about 14,000 men and women who are at or below the poverty level, says local Planned Parenthood associate vice president Cynthia Mathews. It will also provide money for outreach through partnerships with community groups, schools and social service agencies.

“It will help working people, who may be uninsured,” Mathews says. “It may be for family planning. It may be an annual exam, or to help a woman who turns up with an abnormal pap test that’s pre-cancerous.”

President Nixon signed Title X of the Public Health Service Act into law in 1970. At the time, he was quoted as saying; “No American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition.”

Studies have shown nationwide reductions in unintended pregnancy, abortion and teen births—all which can be traced in part to the Title X program over the last 35 years, Mathews says.

“It’s these big public health programs where you get so much bang for your buck,” she says. “Family planning, prenatal care, childhood immunization—these are good uses of public dollars.” [JL]

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