By Kurt Madar

Pilot staff writer

It's getting harder for the underaged to buy alcohol in Brookings and Harbor.

On Aug. 4 a trained volunteer for Oregon Research Institute's Reducing Youth Access to Alcohol Project attempted to purchase alcohol from businesses in the Brookings-Harbor area.

andquot;All of the nine businesses visited refused to sell alcohol without first checking proof of legal age,andquot; wrote institute Intervention Coordinator Anne Kraft in an e-mail to the Curry Coastal Pilot.

Employees in businesses that refused to sell alcohol without proof of legal age were presented certificates and congratulatory letters.

The activity was a test for how businesses are doing at carding, and a method of reinforcing businesses to card.

andquot;The activity is designed to positively reinforce employees who ask for identification before selling alcohol to a young person,andquot; Kraft said.

According to Kraft, the fact that Brookings and Harbor were 100 percent at asking for identification (carding) is something to be proud of because of a previously spotty record.

In 2007 three businesses in the Brookings-Harbor area sold alcohol to a minor in a compliance operation conducted by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC).

In 2008 two clerks in Brookings stores sold alcohol to a minor in a second compliance operation run by the OLCC.

In a compliance operation, a volunteer attempts to purchase alcohol from businesses to determine if they are properly checking identification and obeying state law prohibiting alcohol sales to anyone under 21.

The minors are supervised by OLCC inspectors or other law enforcement officers. The volunteers carry their own legal ID and are advised not to disguise their age or encourage the sale of alcohol any further than the attempt to buy.

The OLCC tests about 1,500 licensed liquor businesses annually and a number of police agencies also do compliance checks.

The OLCC offers training to store clerks, service permit holders and others on ID checking, identifying false identification, and laws regarding minors and alcohol.