space
space
Peshtigo Times
space
space
space
Perspectives
* From our readers
space
space
Sports Shorts
* 26th Annual Fire Tower Run
* Badgers Continue To Dominate
* Straight-Set Win For Panthers Over Marines
* Cougars Win Catfight
* Ducks Unlimited Sets Fundraiser

space
Peshtigo Fire
space
e-Edition
Now Available
For more information
click here
dot
THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
space
dot
space
040914SIGNING.jpg.jpg

SIGN BILL—With state and local dignitaries looking on, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law four bills to help deal with the heroin problem in the area. The bills, which were sponsored by Representative John Nygren (far left), were signed by Walker at the Marinette County Courthouse on Monday morning.

Gov. Walker Signs Drug HOPE Bills In Marinette

April of 2014 may go down in history as the start of a new season of HOPE for the families of drug addicts in Marinette County and all across Wisconsin. At the Marinette County Courthouse on Monday, April 7 Gov. Scott Walker signed into law four of seven bills aimed at “Heroin Opiate Prevention and Education” HOPE.The series of bills introduced by Rep. John Nygren of Marinette provides new and hopefully better ways to treat and prevent heroin addiction and punish those who continue abusing the drug.

There were about 100 persons in the County Board Room to witness the historic signing.

This is believed to be the first time a Wisconsin governor has singled out Marinette County for a ceremonial bill signing. When the governor arrived at 8:30 a.m., the County Board room, rearranged for the event, was filled with over 100 observers, staff, supporters and security personnel. Gov. Walker and his entourage had flown into Twin County Airport in Menominee Monday morning. The remaining three bills in the HOPE program were signed Monday at Stevens Point, Eau Claire and Milwaukee.

Walker said the day-long ceremonial signing events were starting in Marinette, not only because it is Nygren’s home community, but because of the particular problems this district faces. Marinette County has the dubious distinction of having the highest per capita rate of heroin overdose deaths in the state. However, Walker said, drug problems that once were considered to be urban types of concerns have spread to rural areas, with young people typically starting out using prescription drugs. “This is a challenge all across the state,” Walker declared. He said one of the purposes of the bill signings in various parts of the state was to raise public awareness of the issues involved.

Thanks to the governor’s support, Nygren’s efforts and those of the Marinette County Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee, a new Treatment Alternatives and Diversions (TAD) program will soon be underway here. Robin Elsner, head of the Health and Human Services Department that has primary responsibility for the new HOPE project, hopes they will begin admitting people to the program in early June.

“We’ve got to make this happen, It’s been a long time coming, and now that it’s here we have to get going on it,” Elsner declared. Thanks to one of the bills penned by Nygren and now signed by the governor, Marinette County will be receiving a $124,502 state grant to help cover TAD expenses. The county match of $94,183 is to come from existing program funds and savings anticipated from a reduction in the number of jailed drug offenders.

Statistics show that 100 percent of prisoners jailed for heroin abuse and not treated come back for subsequent stays, generally more than once. Total cost to the county, the state, society in general and the families involved has not been calculated but even the measurable costs add up to many millions.

On Tuesday, April 8, educators from Washington, DC began a three-day TAD Court training session with Marinette County people, including the recently appointed TAD Coordinator, Sarah Plansky Pecor. Pecor is a veteran of 23 years with the local Department of Health and Human Services, most recently as a child abuse investigator.

Others being trained are Sheriff Jerry Sauve, Health and Human Services ADAPT Clinic Director Rob Valentine, State Probation and Parole Officer Bobbie Christopherson, Public Defender Brad Schraven, District Attorney Al Brey or a representative from his office, a representative of community educators, and Circuit Court Branch II Judge James Morrison, who was instrumental in getting the grant that made the intensive Drug Court training session possible. All are members of the local Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee and are expected to take active roles as the new programs become reality.

Further refinement of TAD plans is expected at a Health and Human Services Committee meeting at 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 9, and at a Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee meeting at 8 a.m. Friday, April 18. Elsner said the goal of the Marinette County program will be to get addicts off drugs and alcohol and into productive, meaningful life styles.

Gov. Walker was welcomed to Marinette on Monday morning by Sheriff Jerry Sauve, who admitted that “Marinette County has had quite a problem with this heroin epidemic in the last five or six years...Our jail is 10 years old and badly over crowded and it has affected so many people in so many ways and not in a good way.” He commended Nygren for his leadership in efforts to fight heroin and opiate drug addictions. “He really took the lead and pulled the wagon,” Sauve declared.

Sauve introduced Governor Walker, who promptly turned the microphone over to Nygren, but not before he also praised Nygren and Senators Shiela Harsdorf and Alberta Darling for their leadership in bringing the new drug laws into reality. He said Nygren in particular had much credibility on the issue both because of his own family problems with heroin and because of his position as chair of the state legislature’s Joint Finance committee.

Nygren’s daughter Cassie was involved with opiate drugs, which brought the problem home to him in very personal ways.

Nygren said the drug problem, “is much bigger than my family story. It affects the entire community, particularly in the last six or seven years.”

Nygren admitted at first talking about his family’s involvement was extremely difficult, “because your personal stories are just that...personal.” Talking about the problem got easier as he learned more and more about the needs. He said an incredible number of people have talked with him in the last five months, with some incredible stories to tell.

These laws, Nygren said, won’t cure the problems, but they will give law enforcement people more tools to work with in their efforts to save lives and restore futures. The entire HOPE agenda, he added, will “create more awareness of the problems we face here in northeast Wisconsin and the state and even the entire nation.”

Nygren said provisions for alternative treatments are important because studies show that past handling of opiate addicts through the law enforcement and court systems produce “100 percent recidivism,” which he maintained proves that “incarceration isn’t always the best treatment, and alternatives are needed to deal with this horrible scourge.”

Gov. Walker expressed hope that the new methods will prove successful, “and someday in the future we can come back and talk about the heroin problem we used to have.”

Flanked by officials from the City and County of Marinette, Walker began signing the four bills, using at least 14 pens which were eventually distributed to those present. State Rep. Jeff Mursau of Crivitz and and State Sen. Robert Cowles of Green Bay were among state level officials who witnessed the historic signing.

“I’m very happy these bills got passed, both for law enforcement and for individuals,” Mursau declared. “This is a good first step and we’re going to keep working on things to control these problems...which are very prevalent in Marinette County. We want to keep making it easier to help people get off these drugs,” Mursau went on, but stressed, “These laws don’t give more freebies, they give help to all the people involved.” “Fighting addiction”, he added, “isn’t about putting people in jail any more, it’s about helping them stay out of jail!”

Cowles said he was on hand to show support for Gov. Walker and Nygren. He said all the bills being signed on Monday were the result of Nygren’s work, “and we just helped.” He expects these seven bills will not be the last in the HOPE arsenal. A bill coming later will provide graduated penalties for various types of drug offenses. He noted that all seven of the bills Walker would sign that day had passed both houses of the legislature without opposition.

“This is the best news I’ve seen in the two years I’ve been on the bench,” declared Judge Morrison, who has been among the most active promoters of the Drug Court and TAD programs. He has spoken frequently of the frustration of having to sentence relatively minor drug offenders to prison because there is no local treatment available. “This is the first time we have tools that will both protect the public and help the addicts,” he declared.

Morrison, at other meetings, has told of being criticized by the family of a young drug offender for sending her to prison, and asking them, “Would you rather visit her in prison or in the cemetery...That is your only choice!” He is hopeful now that HOPE may change that grim outlook. District Attorney Allen Brey has expressed the same sentiments.

Elsner, who will be overall head of the TAD program for Marinette County, said the most effective treatment for addicts is a form of very busy, involved outpatient treatment, though the Marinette County model may include some relatively brief inpatient stays when appropriate. He said the goal is case management which will keep recovering addicts involved in TAD activities 30 to 40 hours a week, to help them learn to live an alcohol and drug free life style. He said the way to tell if an addict is truly reformed is to determine if they have begun living meaningful and productive lives. He has no patience with the maintenance-type drugs that may control the need for opiates, but keep people from living less than productive lives.

Marinette County Board Chair Vilas Schroeder felt it was quite an honor to have the first signing ceremony for the HOPE project held in Marinette County.

“Today Wisconsin has taken a great step forward in the battle against opiate addiction,” Nygren said after all seven bills were signed. “After traveling the state with Governor Walker and watching as he signed all seven of my HOPE Agenda bills into law, I’m proud that our state now has a foundation that will help those who struggle with heroin and prescription drug addiction.

“Addiction affects people of all demographics, races and income levels. Many have focused on urban areas when considering the problem of addiction, but times have changed,” Nygren said. “Today, rural areas are also at risk. The truth is that we’re currently amidst a heroin epidemic in northeast Wisconsin. While I’ve said many times that these bills are not the ‘silver bullets’ to solving the problem, they are certainly important first steps in the right direction.”

Nygren has worked with law enforcement, addiction rehabilitation groups, pharmacists, the legal community and all levels of state and county government to formulate this comprehensive package. “These laws are a great improvement for Wisconsin, and I am proud that I was able to bring this important issue to the forefront,” Nygren declared. “Now, it’s my hope that we will continue to build upon the HOPE agenda in the future, and continue to make necessary changes that will help those who suffer because of addiction.”

Wisconsin Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen joined the chorus praising Nygren for his efforts on behalf of the entire HOPE legislative package. “I commend Representative Nygren for his leadership, and I thank fellow lawmakers and the governor for their support of these critical, lifesaving pieces of legislation. The spiral of opiate and heroin abuse is unrelenting but so is our will to defeat it, and today marks an important step in ridding our great state of this evil,” he declared in a news release issued on Monday.

Van Hollen added some specific praise for AB 668, which supports the TAD program. “These projects across the state have already proven effective and cost efficient as we work toward reducing victimization.”

Van Hollen noted that National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is set for Saturday, April 26. Individuals with unused, unwanted or expired medications are urged to take them to a collection site for proper disposal. Local sites can be found at the “RxTake-Back Day” tab on the doj.state.wi.us web site. There is a disposal facility at the Marinette County Law Enforcement Center on County T, Marinette, and some clinics in the county provide disposal as well.

The AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW) hailed Governor Walker and the Wisconsin Legislature for its adoption of the HOPE legislative package. A recent ARCW news release states: “Because injection drug use remains one of the primary ways that HIV and hepatitis C are spread, ARCW has conducted aggressive prevention programs targeting injection drug users since 1994. The prevention programs carried out by ARCW are based on the belief there is value in all human life and that every day presents a new opportunity to help someone battling addiction find the treatment they need to find sobriety.”

The ARCW news release also cited the lifesaving value of Naloxone, which can save the life of an individual experiencing an overdose by immediately counteracting the ability of the opiate to shut down the central nervous system.


Recent stories, opinions and photos

Issue Date Department Headline
10-01-2014Sports
26th Annual Fire Tower Run

10-01-2014Sports
Badgers Continue To Dominate

10-01-2014Sports
Straight-Set Win For Panthers Over Marines

10-01-2014Sports
Cougars Win Catfight

10-01-2014Perspectives
From our readers

10-01-2014Perspectives
Tales from the old-timer

10-01-2014Perspectives
Country Cousin

10-01-2014Obituaries
Julie A. (Clermont) Swanson

10-01-2014Obituaries
Robert F. Sinkey

10-01-2014Obituaries
Joan Merline

10-01-2014Obituaries
Rev. Ralph C. Merkatoris

10-01-2014Obituaries
Gloria D. Martin 

10-01-2014Obituaries
Anita M. Kresge

10-01-2014Obituaries
Rebecca S. Jones

10-01-2014Obituaries
John H. Jacobs

10-01-2014Obituaries
Kody E. Hannon-Windbiel

10-01-2014Obituaries
Ruth L. Amundsen

10-01-2014Obituaries
Lorraine M. Thomson

10-01-2014Obituaries
Harry Schmidt

10-01-2014Obituaries
Sylvia P. Sanford

10-01-2014Obituaries
Frances B. Pashouwer

10-01-2014Obituaries
Jacob C. "Jake” Neuens

10-01-2014Obituaries
Donald R. Mueller

10-01-2014Obituaries
Nathalie Miller

10-01-2014Obituaries
Veronica J. LaBrosse

10-01-2014Obituaries
Josephine F. Kobus

10-01-2014Obituaries
Lynwood D. Harrand

10-01-2014Obituaries
Ethel L. Gummin

10-01-2014Obituaries
Audrey M. Glass

10-01-2014Obituaries
Virginia Dobbs

10-01-2014Obituaries
Lorraine Axenrod

10-01-2014Obituaries
Jim Ama

10-01-2014Community - Wausaukee
Athelstane Fire Auxiliary Craft Fair

10-01-2014Community - Wausaukee
Library Sells Used Books at Fall Fest

10-01-2014Community - Wausaukee
Wagner Fire Department Annual Sportsman Raffle

10-01-2014Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Big Fall Festival is Oct. 4th

10-01-2014Community - Crivitz
Shire to Preach at Faith Church

10-01-2014Community - Crivitz
Over 50 Vendors Expected at Show

10-01-2014Community - Crivitz
105 at Legion Gun/Knife Show

10-01-2014Community - Crivitz
New Life Holds Oktoberfest Oct. 9

10-01-2014Community - Coleman
Open House at Coleman Fire Oct. 12

10-01-2014Community - Coleman
Coleman Legion Lists Sept. 27 Raffle Winners

10-01-2014Community - Coleman
Brazeau Emergency Services Set Oct. 14 Open House

10-01-2014Community - Coleman
Coleman Village Board To Meet

10-01-2014News
City Hosts Diggers At Park Oct. 11th

10-01-2014News
Open House at Coleman Library

10-01-2014Front Page
Peshtigo Historical Day Deemed as Huge Success

10-01-2014Front Page
Marinette/Menominee County Disputes Over Airport Continue

10-01-2014Front Page
Three Trustees Resign From Riverside Cemetery Board

10-01-2014Front Page
Invite One Candidate For Second County Administrator Interview

10-01-2014Front Page
County to Get New Topographical Maps

09-24-2014Sports
Ducks Unlimited Sets Fundraiser

09-24-2014Sports
Niagara Netters At Top Of M-O, Peshtigo And Coleman Not Far Behind

09-24-2014Sports
Another Strong Showing For Peshtigo CC Runners

09-24-2014Sports
The Strong Get Stronger

09-24-2014Perspectives
From our readers

09-24-2014Perspectives
Tales from the old-timer

09-24-2014Perspectives
Country Cousin

09-24-2014Obituaries
Lyle Whiting

09-24-2014Obituaries
Lorraine Thomson

09-24-2014Obituaries
Bill Teteak

09-24-2014Obituaries
Angelina Szadziewicz

09-24-2014Obituaries
Luella J. Petrin

09-24-2014Obituaries
Dale M. Nutt Sr.

09-24-2014Obituaries
John E. Noonan

09-24-2014Obituaries
Audrey Hranach

09-24-2014Obituaries
Audrey M. Glass

09-24-2014Obituaries
Eugene Chapman Sr.

09-24-2014Obituaries
George R. Behrendt

09-24-2014Obituaries
Alexander F. Zielinski, Sr.

09-24-2014Obituaries
Thomas J. Wichman

09-24-2014Obituaries
Heidi E. Teasdale

09-24-2014Obituaries
Susan Smith

09-24-2014Obituaries
Patricia A. Seguin

09-24-2014Obituaries
Donald M. Podner

09-24-2014Obituaries
Gladys I. Philipps

09-24-2014Obituaries
Jeffrey A. Pecotte

09-24-2014Obituaries
Marcy Olsen

09-24-2014Obituaries
Lorna M. Micheals

09-24-2014Obituaries
Willis W. McDonald, Sr.

09-24-2014Obituaries
Patricia Krueger

09-24-2014Obituaries
Robert J. Hruska

09-24-2014Obituaries
Betty J. Hearty

09-24-2014Obituaries
Patricia R. (Obey) Gustafson

09-24-2014Obituaries
Allen H. Boser

09-24-2014News
Need Blood For Organ Transplants

09-24-2014News
NEWCAP Free Flu Vaccine

09-24-2014News
Date Change for On Camera Event

09-24-2014Community - Wausaukee
Athelstane Fire Auxiliary Craft Fair

09-24-2014Community - Wausaukee
Legion Auxiliary Lists 3 Events

09-24-2014Community - Wausaukee
Professional Wrestling at Wausaukee Sept. 27

09-24-2014Community - Wausaukee
Athelstane Fire Open House Set

09-24-2014Community - Crivitz
Judge Stichmann To Serve on District OLR

09-24-2014Community - Crivitz
Food Pantry Gets $500 Shopko Grant

09-24-2014Community - Crivitz
CHS Homecoming Week of Sept. 29

09-24-2014Community - Crivitz
New Pottery Studio, Classes in Crivitz

09-24-2014Community - Coleman
Veterans Win Fair Quilts

09-24-2014Community - Coleman
CCBA Lists Area Events

09-24-2014Community - Coleman
Equity Plans Bean Bag Toss League

09-24-2014Community - Coleman
Steiners in Coleman Has New Owners

09-24-2014Front Page
Grover-Porterfield FD Open House a Success

09-24-2014Front Page
Peshtigo Historical Day Parade, Events Saturday

09-24-2014Front Page
To Hold Special Airport Meeting On Thursday

09-24-2014Front Page
Peshtigo Town Constable To Issue Citations For Dumping

09-24-2014Front Page
Lena School District Adopts $4.8 Million Budget

09-17-2014Sports
UPIR Fall Classic Wraps Season, Crowns 2014 Champions

09-17-2014Sports
Coleman, Peshtigo In Five-Game Thriller; Crivitz Over Wausaukee, Lena at Home

09-17-2014Sports
Area Runners Place Well In Shawano

09-17-2014Sports
Another Winning Week For Area Teams

09-17-2014Perspectives
From our readers

09-17-2014Perspectives
Tales from the old-timer

09-17-2014Perspectives
Country Cousin

09-17-2014Obituaries
Roberta L. Shelby

09-17-2014Obituaries
Eleanor E. Robinette

09-17-2014Obituaries
Roger E. Pillsbury

09-17-2014Obituaries
Otis E. Goltz

09-17-2014Obituaries
Barb Christensen

09-17-2014Obituaries
Elizabeth J. Baumann

09-17-2014Obituaries
Betty L. Woller

09-17-2014Obituaries
Joyce Wieck

09-17-2014Obituaries
Patricia J. (White) Utley

09-17-2014Obituaries
Mary L. Swanson

09-17-2014Obituaries
Robert T. Sandahl

09-17-2014Obituaries
Monica M. Rymer

09-17-2014Obituaries
Donald L. Noack

09-17-2014Obituaries
Marie T. Naffzinger

09-17-2014Obituaries
Michael G. Motsinger

09-17-2014Obituaries
Eleanor R. Mikula

09-17-2014Obituaries
George J. Medley

09-17-2014Obituaries
Calvin W. Krueger

09-17-2014Obituaries
Virginia Eggen

09-17-2014Obituaries
Richard S. Bozile

09-17-2014Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Acts On Pier, Mobile Home Violation

09-17-2014Community - Wausaukee
Presbyterian Women Oct. 18 Fall Supper

09-17-2014Community - Wausaukee
Legion Post 66 Chili Fest Sept. 27

09-17-2014Community - Wausaukee
Athelstane Board Receives Public Input, Timber Check

09-17-2014Community - Crivitz
Legion Gun, Knife Show on Sept. 27

09-17-2014Community - Crivitz
19 at Even Monday Cards

09-17-2014Community - Crivitz
Wolverines Sept. 26 Tailgate Party

09-17-2014Community - Crivitz
KC Dinner For Special Friends

09-17-2014Community - Coleman
North Country Kickers Fall Dance on Sept. 27

09-17-2014Community - Coleman
KC Punt, Pass Kick is Sept. 2

09-17-2014Community - Coleman
Coleman Students Return from Educational Trip to Greece, Italy

09-17-2014Community - Coleman
Free Horseshow at Equity Park Sept. 21

09-17-2014News
Balthazor Benefit at Lee’s Foods

09-17-2014News
Grover Porterfield FD Open House is Sept. 20

09-17-2014News
Coleman Legion Flag Disposal Ceremony Sept. 27

09-17-2014News
VA to Hold POW/MIA Recognition Day Sept. 19

09-17-2014Front Page
New Platform for Old Depot, List Oct. Events

09-17-2014Front Page
Peshtigo School To Buy Industrial Park Land


space
Peshtigo Times
WEB Poll!
Do you plan to vote in the November election?
space Yes
No
Undecided
space
TO VOTE CLICK
YES, NO or UNDECIDED

Suggest a Question
space .
space
FRONT
space
.
space
CLASSIFIEDS
space
.
space
COMMUNITY
space
.
space
GUEST BOOK
space
.
space
NEWS
space
.
space
OBITS
space
.
space
PERSPECTIVES
space
.
space
SPORTS
space
.
space
SUBSCRIBE
space
.
space
.
space
PESHTIGO FIRE
space
.
space
CUSTOM PRINTING
space
.
space
TIMES' SAVER
space
.
space
Click for Peshtigo, Wisconsin Forecast
FORECAST
space
Quick...
News or Ad Search
Enter News key words.
Enter Ad key words.



Peshtigo Times
841 Maple St
PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
Phone: 715-582-4541
Email:
News@
PeshtigoTimes.com

space
Fax: 715-582-4662
© 2000-2014
All right reserved
space
Powered by
WEB Media
Interactive
COMMUNITY
WEB sites