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Garrett Gazette - October 23, 2006


Washington, Oct 23 -  

Dear Friend:

Today, I am participating in a program at Ramapo Ridge Middle School in Mahwah to promote smart and safe Internet use for adolescents. The program, Internet Smarts, is part of an award-winning educational initiative called Power to Learn developed by Cablevision.

There are far too many predators on the Internet - people who lure young people in chat rooms and other electronic forums into very dangerous situations. As the father of two teenaged girls, I know how important it is for parents to stay involved with their children when they use the Internet. The Internet Smarts program gives parents another good tool to use.

In addition to teaching these middle school students how to use the Internet for appropriate research, Cablevision will provide them with a book, "Internet Smarts: Safeguarding your Children in Cyberspace," for their parents. You can access that book as well at www.powertolearn.com.

Earlier this year, I was proud to support the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which helps protect children from abuse. It provides parents and other adults who work with our kids in schools and community groups a helping hand as they guide children safely into adulthood. Highlights of this bill include:

Expanding the National Sex Offender Registry. The bill will integrate the information in State sex offender registry systems and ensure that law enforcement has access to the same information across the United States, helping prevent sex offenders from evading detection by moving from State to State. Data drawn from this comprehensive registry will be made available to the public so parents have the information they need to help protect their children from sex offenders.

Strengthening Federal Penalties for Crimes Against Children. The bill imposes tough mandatory minimum penalties for the most serious crimes against children and increases penalties for crimes such as sex trafficking of children and child prostitution. It also provides grants to States to help them institutionalize sex offenders who have shown they cannot change their behavior and are about to be released from prison.

Making It Harder for Sex Predators to Reach Our Children on the Internet. The bill authorizes new regional Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforces that will provide funding and training to help State and local law enforcement combat crimes involving the sexual exploitation of minors on the Internet.

Creating a New National Child Abuse Registry and Requiring Investigators to Do Background Checks of Adoptive and Foster Parents Before They Are Approved to Take Custody of a Child. By giving child protective service professionals in all 50 States access to this critical information, we will improve their ability to investigate child abuse cases and help ensure that vulnerable children are not put into situations of abuse or neglect.

The President signed the legislation into law this summer to start putting these new protective measures into effect quickly. I also encourage you to look into other resources available to parents through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at www.missingkids.com.

Sincerely,

Scott Garrett

Member of Congress

ISSUE OF THE WEEK: PROTECTING THE WALLKILL RIVER NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

The Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge is located on 4,800 acres running across Sussex County, New Jersey and Orange County, New York. Land acquisition is continuing, and under a current management proposal pending with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) the Refuge may as much as double in size.

In these over-crowded, largely urban states, preserving this wildlife habitat and natural environment is vitally important and I have been a strong supporter of the Wallkill Refuge. In fact, I am currently working with community leaders to preserve space near the Refuge. In addition, I am working to preserve the current full-time staff at the Refuge. Under proposals being considered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuge, the Refuge Manager could be moved to another refuge, leaving the Wallkill Refuge only to shared staff with other local refuges.

Even in its current size, there are a number of issues with which the Refuge Manager must contend on a daily basis, including ATV damage, poaching, and illegal hunting. It is crucial that the Refuge have a dedicated caretaker whose sole responsibility is the management of these extensive lands. Without full-time dedicated staffing, the Refuge will not receive the care and attention that is needed to preserve this pristine environment. This is even more valid should the proposals to double the size of the Wallkill Refuge be approved.

Last month, Congressman Maurice Hinchey of New York and I sent a letter to the Chief of the Fish and Wildlife Service's Northeast Regional Office asking him to reject any reorganization plan that would eliminate the permanent staff from the Wallkill Refuge. I am hopeful that the FWS will recognize the importance of not only setting aside this land for preservation but also for providing the Refuge with the staff and resources necessary to keep it preserved for generations to come.

CONGRESSMAN SCOTT GARRETT'S OFFICE COMING TO A TOWN NEAR YOU:

Congressman Garrett's staff will be holding Mobile Constituent Service Hours in a number of Fifth District towns this week. The Congressman's Constituent Service Officers are trained to act as your liaisons with Federal agencies. But, it's not always easy to make it out to one of the Congressman's district offices - in Paramus and Newton - to meet with one of them, especially when you are dealing with government red tape. These Mobile Constituent Service Hours sessions bring the Congressman's office to you. So, if you are having trouble with a Federal program, such as Medicare, veterans benefits, Social Security, or more, please feel free to come by. And, please bring copies of any relevant paperwork with you to facilitate their work.

Tuesday, October 24th

Vernon

9:00 am to 11:00 am

Senior Center, 21 Church Street

Tuesday, October 24th

Harrington Park

1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Borough Hall, 85 Harriot Avenue

Wednesday, October 25th

Waldwick

10:00 am to noon

Borough Hall, 63 Franklin Turnpike

Wednesday, October 25th

Saddle River

1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Borough Hall, 100 Allendale Road

Thursday, October 26th

Oakland

10:00 am to noon

Borough Hall, One Municipal Plaza

Thursday, October 26th

Washington (Warren County)

1:30 pm to 3:30 pm

Chamber of Commerce, 10 Brass Castle Road

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