High school graduation time is upon us once again in Columbiana County.
It began Friday with Southern Local, Beaver Local and Heartland Christian, followed by East Palestine and American Spirit Academy on Saturday.
Today, graduation season kicks into full gear when students from Columbiana, Crestview, East Liverpool, Leetonia, Lisbon, Salem, Sebring, United and Minerva don their caps and gowns. Wellsville, West Branch and Oak Glen sudents will graduate next weekend, followed by Springfield Local on June 8.
That means this weekend and the next two will be filled with parties celebrating the successful completion of high school.
Oftentimes, however, the celebrations brought about by these momentous occasions, along with Memorial Day this weekend, make this the deadliest time of the year on area roads. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rank Memorial Day weekend as one of the deadliest holidays for alcohol-related traffic deaths.
In 2013, the Ohio State Highway Patrol reported 14 people lost their lives in traffic incidents over the Memorial Day weekend. OVI-related traffic fatalities decreased to three for the 2013 weekend, down from seven in 2012, but OVI arrests increased nearly 5 percent, possibly due to beefed up enforcement.
Ohio's Investigative Unit is also reminding parents who are hosting a party for their child's friends to be aware that in the state of Ohio, parents cannot give alcohol to those under 21, even with the other parents' permission. Parents also cannot allow minors to consume alcohol in their home.
Anyone convicted of attempting to purchase alcohol as a minor, sharing in the cost, using false identification or furnishing alcohol to a minor may face a maximum sentence of six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
Remember, alcohol isn't a required ingredient in the recipe for a successful party. And, keep in mind, too, that alcohol and motor vehicles never mix well.
To all of the graduates congratulations, but remember to celebrate safely.
Let's make sure we're all here with much more to celebrate on Tuesday.