Iceland cuts teen drinking with curfews, youth centers

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) — The clock strikes 10 p.m. on a Friday night when the “Parent Patrol” enters a popular playground in suburban Reykjavik. The teens turn down the music and reach for their phones to check the time: It’s ticking into curfew.

Every weekend, parents all over the Icelandic capital embark on a two-hour evening walk around their neighborhood, checking on youth hangouts.

The walk is one step toward Iceland’s success into turning around a crisis in teenage drinking. Focusing on local participation and promoting more music and sports options for students, the island nation in the North Atlantic has dried up a teenage culture of drinking and smoking. Icelandic teens now have one of the lowest rates of substance abuse in Europe.

Other countries are taking notice. The Icelandic Centre for Social Research and Analysis, the institute pioneering the project for the past two decades, says it currently advises 100 communities in 23 countries, from Finland to Chile, on cutting teen substance abuse.

“The key to success is to create healthy communities and by that get healthy individuals,” said Inga Dora Sigfusdottir, a sociology professor who founded the “Youth of Iceland” program, which now has rebranded as “Planet Youth.”

The secret, she says, is to keep young people busy and parents engaged without talking much about drugs or alcohol.

That stands in sharp contrast to other anti-abuse programs, which try to sway teenagers with school lectures and scary, disgusting ads showing smokers’ rotten lungs or eggs in a frying pan to represent an intoxicated brain.

“Telling teenagers not to use drugs can backlash and actually get them curious to try them,” Sigfusdottir said.

In 1999, when thousands of teenagers would gather in downtown Reykjavik every weekend, surveys showed 56% of Icelandic 16-year-olds drank alcohol and about as many had tried smoking. Years later, Iceland has the lowest rates for drinking and smoking among the 35 countries measured in the 2015 European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs.

On average, 80% of European 16-year-olds have tasted alcohol at least once, compared with 35% in Iceland, the only country where more than half of those students completely abstains from alcohol. Denmark — another wealthy Nordic country — has the highest rates of teen drinking, along with Greece, Hungary and the Czech Republic, where 92% to 96% have consumed alcohol.;_ylt=AwrXnCKk9WNdHX0ACSTQtDMD;_ylu=X3oDMTByMXM3OWtoBGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwM4BHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg–

Marijuana funk no longer probable cause to search people; Maryland appeals court cites Bob Dylan in ruling

Marijuana funk no longer probable cause to search people; Maryland appeals court cites Bob Dylan in ruling
Police officers in Maryland can still search your car if they small marijuana during a traffic stop, the state’s highest court ruled, but they can’t search you unless they find evidence beyond simple possession of the substance. (Paul W. Gillespie/Capital Gazette)

Citing Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin,” Maryland highest court ruled this week that the smell of marijuana alone is not enough justification for law enforcement to search a person.

The 7-0 Maryland Court of Appeals opinion differentiates between the necessary level of probable cause that law enforcement must obtain to search a vehicle and what it needs to search a person.

Police still can use the smell of marijuana as justification to search a vehicle, the opinion said. But they can’t search anyone in the vehicle unless they find evidence of a crime, not even if police find a small amount of marijuana.[See Also] Maryland’s plan to diversify medical cannabis market attracts 160 applicants for 14 new licenses despite snags »

“The same facts and circumstances that justify a search of an automobile do not necessarily justify an arrest and search incident thereto. This is based on the heightened expectation of privacy one enjoys in his or her person as compared to the diminished expectation of privacy one has in an automobile,” the court wrote.PAID POSTWhat Is This?

The opinion comes five years after the state legislature decriminalized marijuana possession of 10 grams or less. Such small amounts are considered a civil offense, not a criminal offense, and can result in a citation that carries a $100 fine.

The ruling is a sign of the changing landscape for marijuana, something the justices noted — somewhat playfully — by placing Dylan’s famous lyric in a notation at the very top of their order.

The opinion stems from the arrest and search of Michael Pacheco who, on May 26, 2016, was sitting in a parked vehicle in Wheaton with a marijuana joint when he was approached by two Montgomery County Police officers. Officers testified that they smelled “fresh burnt” marijuana, found Pacheco seated in the driver’s seat alone, and a marijuana cigarette in the vehicle’s center console, the opinion said.

Officers ordered Pacheco out of the car, searched him and found cocaine in Pacheco’s “left front pocket.” Then they searched his car where they found a marijuana stem and two packets of rolling papers. He was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute it. He also was given a citation for possessing less than ten grams of marijuana.

Pacheco moved to suppress the cocaine, arguing it was an illegal search of his person because officers lacked probable cause to believe he possessed ten grams or more of marijuana. But prosecutors argued the marijuana odor provided probable cause to search both the vehicle and Pacheco, the opinion said.

Pacheco entered a conditional guilty plea, which still allowed him to appeal to the Court of Special Appeals. He lost at that level when the court found the officers did have probable cause. But the Court of Appeals said the lower court’s opinion largely relied on “pre-decriminalization cases.”

Pacheco’s search and arrest “was unreasonable because nothing in the record suggests that possession of a joint and the odor of burnt marijuana gave the police probable cause to believe he was in possession of a criminal amount of that substance,” the opinion said.

Pacheco’s trial attorney, Richard A. Finci, praised the ruling, saying the court’s opinion mirrored his own argument.

“Evidence of possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana is not probable cause for arrest and therefore a search is not lawful,” he said in an interview.

But Finci said he believes the court also should find that the odor of marijuana is not sufficient justification to search a vehicle.

“I think it needs to go further,” he said, noting that odor of alcohol alone doesn’t warrant the lawful search of a vehicle.

In a separate, concurring opinion, judges wrote that the court’s latest opinion is “reasonable and thoughtful” but limited.

The concurrent opinion said officers still must be allowed to search a vehicle if they smell marijuana. 

“In particular,” they wrote, “it may be evidence of: possession of 10 grams or more of marijuana, possession of the drug with the intent to distribute, or the operation of a vehicle under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance.”

An officer in similar circumstances to the Pacheco case “will be duty-bound” to investigate whether the individual could be driving under the influence, the court said.

“In many situations involving those circumstances, the officer will have probable cause — which (this Court has agreed) “is not a high bar” — to arrest the individual for that offense,” the concurring opinion said.

The concurring opinion cited vehicle crashes “linked to marijuana-impaired driving rose by nearly 40 percent” between 2017 and 2018.

A spokeswoman with the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, which represents the state in Court of Appeals cases, did not respond to a request for comment.

Former RHOC Star Alexa Curtin Arrested 9 Days After Being Released from Jail

Alexa Curtin, the daughter of The Real Housewives of Orange Countyalumna Lynne Curtin, has been arrested just nine days after she was released from jail for prior charges.

According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Alexa, 26, was arrested again on Aug. 2 in Orange County. She spent six nights behind bars and was released on Aug. 8 at 7:54 p.m. after posting $10,000 bail, the documents show.

The reality star previously spent several days in jail last month, when she was arrested for warrants relating to blowing off court hearings. She was released from the Orange County jail on July 24.

Following her July arrest, Alexa pleaded not guilty in court relating to a charge of drug possession. She paid a $65,000 bond and has been ordered to appear in court on Sept. 12.

PEOPLE is out to Lynne’s manager for comment about Alexa.

It’s not the first time she has run into trouble with the law.

In January, Alexa was arrested for possession of Xanax and drug paraphernalia by the Irvine Police Department.

She was released from Orange County Jail the next day at 11:33 a.m., after posting bond, according to online jail records.

RELATED: RHOC Alum Lynne Curtin’s Daughter Alexa Arrested Again, Faces Two Misdemeanor Drug Charges

She was charged with two misdemeanor drug charges — possession of a controlled substance and possession of controlled substance drug paraphernalia — on Jan. 16, a spokesperson for the Orange County District Attorney’s office confirmed to PEOPLE.

Alexa was also charged with driving under the influence in April 2018, and with possession of drug paraphernalia in February, after police found items allegedly used to smoke heroin, according to The Blast.

She was previously charged with two misdemeanors — possession of a controlled substance and possession of controlled substance paraphernalia — after being allegedly found with drugs in her car in June 2016.

In August, she spent four days in jail and was taken to court to enter a plea for the three separate criminal cases filed against her: for possession of a controlled substance paraphernalia, vandalism, petty theft and driving under the influence of a drug, the outlet reported.

She reportedly pled not guilty to all charges and posted a $5,000 bond.

RELATED: Real Housewives of Orange County‘s Alexa Curtin Files for Divorce from Husband Michael DeVecchio

In October, a judge issued a warrant for her arrest after she skipped a court hearing related to the three separate criminal cases — including her August arrest for drug-related warrants — according to the outlet, and her previous bond of $5,000 was forfeited.

Months earlier, Alexa filed a lawsuit accusing an Orange County sheriff’s deputy of raping her in 2014, and was eventually awarded $2.25 million.

The Bravo star also ended her marriage of six years in May, after she filed for divorce from husband Michael DeVecchio.

According to court documents obtained by PEOPLE, Alexa and DeVecchio filed a joint petition to end their marriage in Orange County on May 15. The former couple got married on Nov. 28, 2013, and separated just two years later on June 1, 2015.

They will officially be divorced on Nov. 16, 2019, the court documents state.

German tourists run over, killed at Washington swimming hole

WASHOUGAL, Wash. (AP) — Two German tourists visiting family in nearby Portland, Oregon, were run over and killed by a local man as they sunbathed by a swimming hole, police in Washington state said Wednesday.

Police arrested David E. Croswell, 71, of Washougal, Washington, and held him on suspicion of vehicular homicide while driving under the influence of intoxicants and hit-and-run driving that causes death.

Killed were Rudolf Hohstadt, 61, and Regina Hohstadt, 62, of Germany. The pair had arrived in the United States a few days ago to visit the Portland metropolitan area and took a trip to the Washougal River, police said. The river in southwest Washington is about a 30-minute drive from Portland.

It wasn’t immediately clear where in Germany the Hohstadts were from.

A note on the gate at Croswell’s home Wednesday said the family would not comment and asked reporters to leave the property.

Authorities say Croswell told them he had been drinking at a local restaurant Tuesday before the crash. Court documents show a preliminary breath test taken nearly four hours after crash found he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.085. In Washington, a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or greater is considered evidence of drunken driving.

He made a first court appearance Wednesday morning, where bail was set at $500,000. He will be arraigned July 10.

The Columbian newspaper reports that Croswell’s court-appointed attorney, Shon Bogar, said Croswell is a lifelong Washougal resident. Bogar said his client has medical problems, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Bogar asked the judge to set a more reasonable bail amount.

In a statement, police said Croswell didn’t stop or slow down after crashing through the fence. He tore down a steep embankment to the sunbathing area, turned hard to the left, ran over the victims and then circled up a berm, knocked over a sign and left through the other side of the parking lot. He was arrested several miles away, police said.

Authorities do not believe Croswell and the victims knew each other or had any interaction before the crash.

The incident shocked the small riverside town that has been growing rapidly in recent years as it gains popularity as a far-flung and more affordable bedroom community for Portland and Vancouver, Washington.

Residents stopped by Wednesday to leave flowers. A chain link fence edging a small parking lot was ripped out of the ground where a car had crashed through. Neon orange spray-paint in the grass marked the car’s trajectory from the parking lot, which sits on a hill overlooking the river, to the grassy park and sandy beach below.

Triangles in the same orange paint indicated where the Hohstadts had been sunbathing when they were struck. Dark circles of dried blood appeared in the grass inside the triangles.

Resident Carrie Cox said the deaths upset her so much that she took a day off work. Her 14-year-old son, who is on summer break from school, comes to the swimming hole frequently, she said.

“It’s very popular. Usually the road on a hot day is lined all the way back, both sides, this whole parking lot and all the way to the intersection,” she said. “This is a very small community so you don’t hear of things like this. My God, it’s terrible.”

Attorney arrested for driving under the influence


Chattanooga Police say they arrested a local attorney for driving under the influence around 12:45 p.m. on August 15.

Witnesses say 66-year-old Jennifer Lawrence struck two vehicles as she was turning onto Georgia Avenue from ML King Boulevard, according to an affidavit.

The affidavit says Lawrence was stopped in her SUV in the middle of Georgia Avenue when an officer pulled up.

The officer says Lawrence was unsteady on her feet, swayed back and forth, had slurred speech and had bouncy eyes.

The officer also said he smelt alcohol on Lawrence’s breath and proceeded to conduct a sobriety test.

After the sobriety test, Lawrence was arrested and charged with driving under the influence.

Lawrence is due in court on August 29.