MERRILL - You probably know how about how much a can of your favorite beer costs.
But do you know how much the problem of excessive drinking costs your community?
A University of Wisconsin group put a dollar figure on the economic cost of excessive alcohol use in each county in the state.
The number factors in health care costs, lost productivity, court costs, and car crashes.
For example, Lincoln County's number is troubling.
Tanya Simonis, a Licensed Family and Marriage Therapist, often deals with alcohol problems at the North Central Health Care Merrill Center.
"$35.3 million. That was the cost of alcoholism within the community. When you average that out, it comes to about $1,200 per Lincoln County resident. That's what they pay, indirectly, for the problem of alcoholism," she says.
The economic cost of excessive drinking in each Northwoods county was estimated in the millions.
But the pain alcoholism puts on families often can't be measured with a number.
"That's an immense, immense effect. It effects their families both directly and indirectly," Simonis says. "They have two sets of rules. There are rules when the person, the alcoholic, is dry - not drinking - and then there's the rules when they're drinking. They tend to be very, very, very different."
Simonis and others at the nonprofit North Central Health Care help people and families work through these problems.
See the links below to learn more about North Central Health Care and to read the full study.
MAUSTON - Authorities are investigating the death of a person who was found unresponsive in Decorah Lake early Friday.
Kyle Lynch, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources warden for Juneau County, says he was called to the scene to assist in a boat search about 1:30 a.m. He also says the Mauston Fire Department recovered the body, which was found in the water.
The Mauston Police Department says attempts were made to rescue the individual, but the Juneau County Coroner's Office pronounced the individual dead at the scene. Police have provided few other details, and the victim's name has not been released.
APPLETON - The U.S. Marshals Service says a convicted sex offender who was wanted for violating the terms of his release has been arrested in Appleton.
The agency says 63-year-old L.C. Streeter, of Milwaukee, was previously convicted of four separate sexual assaults from 1976 to 1985. Wisconsin committed him as a sexually violent person in 1996, and he remained in treatment until his release in 2013 under intensive supervision.
The service said in a statement that he cut off his GPS and electronic monitoring bracelets and fled supervision on Monday, resulting in a warrant for his arrest. Federal marshals and Appleton police arrested him without incident in Appleton on Friday.
Kevin Carr, the U.S. marshal for eastern Wisconsin, says Streeter was "an absolute danger to the community based upon his past convictions."
WAUSAU - This has been Wisconsin's deadliest gun-deer season in the past five years, with two shooting fatalities already recorded.
Daily Herald Media reports (http://wdhne.ws/1HvNth3 ) that the two fatalities brought to an end a three-year series of seasons that had been free of firearm deaths. Four other hunters also have been wounded.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, hunters violated some of the fundamental rules of gun safety in all the incidents.
A man was killed last Sunday in Columbia County when he was shot while passing a loaded rifle to a companion in a tree stand. Wearing mittens, she grabbed the gun near the trigger and it went off. On Monday, a hunter in Waushara County was killed by a stray bullet.
TOMAH - The Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center says it has adopted another plan to improve patient care.
The La Crosse Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1QMsDMZ) that Friday's release of the "100-day plan" comes almost 11 months after media reports that veterans at the center were prescribed excessive doses of opioid pain-killers and that employees who spoke out faced retaliation from top officials.
The plan, which follows a 30-day plan announced in May, outlines steps for improving access to care, employee engagement and restoring trust.
Among other things, it calls for recruitment of psychiatric staff, employee forums and listening sessions, and opening an employee wellness center.
Several Tomah VA officials — including former Director Mario Desanctis and former Chief of Staff David Houlihan — have been fired since the problems emerged early this year.
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