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Be careful while celebrating

By Staff
Where will you be when the blueberries drop tonight? There at the Message Center, counting down the seconds until a new year is ushered in? At a party here in town, with a paper hat stuck on top of your head and handful of confetti? How about at a local restaurant, eagerly anticipating 2004 with friends or family?
All of these ways of celebrating the new year -- and countless others -- have many things in common.
One of them: Unless you're within walking distance of the place you choose to make party central, you're going to be on the roads tonight.
It isn't always easy to have fun and act responsibly, but this evening above all others calls for that perfect balance between good times and good judgement.
Inevitably, alcohol will play a part in many -- okay, probably most -- celebrations tonight. This requires two things from people who'll be out and about in their automobiles -- making sure that they themselves are fit to be handling a car, and being on the lookout for others who may not have been so careful.
Everybody's had a list of holiday driving "do's" and "don't's" quoted to them at least once in their lifetime, probably more, so there's no need to go through them here. In the end, they all amount to being careful, being smart.
If you find yourself behind the wheel of a car this evening, take responsibility beforehand for your own actions, and keep an eye out for those who've had too much to drink.
One list I would like to pass on, however, has to to with another important element of having fun on New Year's Eve -- fireworks. Going over this list with anyone planning to light up the night, especially any young people, is a good idea.
The list, provided by the National Council on Fireworks Safety, makes some good points:
There's a lot to look forward to in 2004, as there is each time a new year rolls around. Get the new year started off right by having fun responsibly tonight, not matter how or where you choose to celebrate.