Banks County Opinions...

MAY 26, 2004


Column

By: Rochelle Beckstine
The Banks County News
May 26, 2004

llegal teen tanning
California tanning salons may soon have to add backdoor entrances and secret passcodes for teens wanting to be tan for their prom or summer vacation. That’s because California legislatures passed a bill outlawing indoor tanning for everyone under age 18 without a prescription from their doctor. (And what kind of doctor will say that a tan body is medically necessary? An addendum should be added to the bill that any doctor writing such a prescription will have their medical license revoked.)
The teen no-tanning bill passed the state assembly 42-26 and now goes before the state senate for consideration. If passed, California teens will be prohibited from smoking, drinking, playing the lottery and tanning indoors. Lawmakers said they felt the law was necessary because of the high number of new skin cancer cases every year in California and nationwide. The California Society of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery reports that tanning salons are responsible for part of the 1 million new skin cancer cases annually and the 7,400 annual skin cancer deaths.
Some people allege that California lawmakers are stepping over the line between where government should stop and good parenting should start. But I don’t think so. California and 27 other states require parental permission for 15 to 18-year-olds to visit a tanning bed and children 14 and under have to have their parent with them when they go. These restrictions are not enough and California legislators have recognized that. There are good reasons why the government doesn’t rely on parents to keep their teenagers away from smoking and drinking. Parents can’t be everywhere and teenagers have had years to practice their parent’s signature. Not only that but very few people seem to realize that tanning is NOT healthy, not out in the sun and not in a box or with a fox ....
From a very early age, we absorb our society through images and we come up with ideals based on those images without realizing it. Most of what is culture comes across on the TV screen or in movies. All of the very attractive people are tanned. Vitamins can be ruggedly handsome and tan or dweeby and pale (natural skin tone). But the good guys are always tan because in our society tan skin is healthy, vibrant, glowing, sun-kissed. In reality, where we must live day to day, tan skin leads to unnatural premature aging, a reduced immunity to disease and skin cancer, which absolutely is just as serious as other cancers. So it is fitting that California, who popularized tanning though moving pictures, should be the first to ban indoor tanning for children. Don’t forget not too many decades ago, tanning was faux pas and natural-toned skin was the rage.
But what I’d really like to see happen is for legislators to address the problem and not the symptoms. Why can’t Hollywood seek to reeducate people about the realities of tanning. Show more of what happens after years of keeping that sun-kissed glow. How sexy is it now?
Rochelle Beckstine is a columnist for MainStreet Newspapers.

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Column

By: Angela Gary
The Banks County News
May 26, 2004

What makes a ‘true friend’?
True friends really are hard to find. When you are in elementary school, you have lots of friends. The list may get smaller in middle and high school, but you still have 20 or 30 people or even more who you consider to be real friends. As you get older, the list gets shorter and shorter.
I now have only a handful of people I consider true friends. These are people I can count on in a crisis and people I talk to about my troubles and successes.
One of the worst things that can happen is when you find out someone you thought was a true friend isn’t the person you thought they were. This happened to me many years ago and I learned a valuable lesson. I have been much more cautious with the friendships I’ve developed since then.
Someone very close to me learned this hard lesson about friendship this past week. She thought she had a large group of friends, but she found out that just wasn’t the case. It’s a tough lesson, but it’s one everyone learns sooner or later.
A true friend is someone you can ask to take you to the airport at 6 a.m. on a Saturday or pick you up after your car breaks down at midnight.
A true friend is someone who encourages you when you are down and supports you in whatever you do.
A true friend is there in the good times and the bad times. A true friend will pray for you, cry with you and laugh with you.
A true friend will tell you if a dress you try on isn’t flattering and will tell you if you have food or lipstick on your teeth. She will also point out that you have on different shoes or that you have a big spot on your shirt.
While you might have a lot of people who make the cut on the items listed above, it is the next two that will take all but a handful off of your list.
A true friend is someone who defends you when others try to tear you down and who tells you when others are out to get you. A true friend is someone who will not talk about you behind your back or pretend to be close to you only to hurt you.
If you have a true friend, hold on to them. And when you are disappointed by a false friend, know you aren’t alone. We have all been there.
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News and associate editor of The Jackson Herald. She can be reached at AngieEditor@aol.com.


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