WAUSAU - Representative Sean Duffy was in Wausau Monday evening at UW Marathon County.
He brought the hot topics in Washington closer to home and up for discussion.
Duffy encouraged people at the town hall style meeting to ask questions and raise concerns.
Right away, questions came up about gun control.
Representative Duffy says it goes beyond fire arms.
“For me, I think we need to have a conversation in our communities and societies, about what we do about mental health, what we do with video games, what we do with other areas of the law. As opposed to taking firearms or clips away from law abiding citizens,” said Rep. Duffy.
Also on the docket was the current US budget.
Plenty of people want to know what the next step is for balancing a budget and getting out of debt.
“So now we've just navigated a bill where the senate is going to lead to pass a budget and when you have a senate pass a budget, that balances and a house pass a budget that balances we can now have a conversation about where we prioritize our spending and to get us on the tragectory to balance- that's a really important thing,” said Rep. Duffy.
We asked Representative Duffy about creating logging jobs in the Northwoods.
He said economic growth is important for the forest products industry.
“But we understand, I understand how important logging is to Wisconsin's history and to our current economy and I'm going to keep fighting to make sure we open up those forests so we don't have to have some of our mills importing wood from Canada. Which is absolutely insane,” said Rep. Duffy.
Other topics included the mining bill, immigration and social security.
These town hall meetings have been held in every county Duffy represents.
MERRILL - Hospitals can sometimes scare kids and even many adults.
That's why one Northwoods hospital wants those kids to be comfortable with doctors if they ever need their help.
Merrill kindergarteners visited Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center on Wednesday.
The kids got to see an ambulance, physical therapy and x rays.
"We try to show them that you know what, the hospital isn't so scary. And we bring them through different areas that they may experience when they come in or they have a family member here. And a lot of times children, if they don't know, they're very afraid. A hospital can be very intimidating, says Jane Bentz, Director of Foundation and Community Outreach.
ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - 4.7 might seem like just a random number, but it gives us an idea of just how cold it was this year. 4.7 degrees was the average temperature for this winter. It's the coldest winter in more than a century.
It’s common to see these sights and hear these sounds in a typical winter. But this year, we heard them a bit more. The Northwoods fought through it’s snowiest and coldest winter on record. What made it so rare was the persistent cold.
NORTHWOODS - Home sales fell in the state of Wisconsin, but they're on the rise in the Northwoods.
Real Estate experts say home sales are up 5% in Oneida County. Home sales for the Northwoods are up 4%. Experts say right now it's a buyers market.
“If you're a seller right now you are probably going to be seeing some low ball offers,” says Ashlei Highfill, Century 21 Sales Associate. “We just encourage people to respond to any offer that they get not to just reject it or be offended but these days we are seeing a lot of buyers coming in and offering a lot less than what sellers are asking for.”
Experts say fewer homes are being foreclosed. This allows more families to make first time home purchases.
“It’s great to see that people are obviously getting back to work so they can afford to take that opportunity to put their family in their first home it's exciting for all of us,” says Highfill. “We're always happy to see somebody get that first house for their kids we're seeing some people that are making more money now so they're buying a move up house.”
Overall home sales in Wisconsin fell 11% compared to this time last year.
NORTHWOODS - People in Wisconsin love their beer, but alcohol is a big problem in the Northwoods. Experts want people to remember that alcohol is a drug and should never be abused.
Alcohol is a depressant and slows down the central nervous system. Experts feel drinking here in the Northwoods has become too normalized.
“When you talk to people even from the Northwoods community alcohol goes hand in hand with family gatherings , graduation, prom, hunting, snowmobiling, recreational activities,” says Katie Kennedy, Options Counseling Service Clinician. “It's kind of created this normalized look at alcohol that it's okay to do that in these environments or in these situations when it actually really increases risks.”
It's not just adults that have alcohol problems. Kids under 21 are finding unique ways to abuse the drug. Some have even resorted to snorting alcohol as a means to get drunk faster.
“What happens anytime you ingest a substance as far as snorting like right into your nose it goes into your mucus membrane,” says Kennedy. “So instead of drinking alcohol whereas it's processed through your system it's a process, the alcohol goes immediately into your body into your blood stream it affects you a lot quicker.”
In 2012 Wisconsin was the number one state for binge drinking. That's according to the Center for Disease Control. April is alcohol awareness month.
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