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NEWS STORIES

Excessive Drinking Costs Northwoods Counties MillionsSubmitted: 04/10/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


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.

Related Weblinks:
Excessive Drinking Study
North Central Health Care

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 IN OTHER NEWS

RHINELANDER -  A Northwoods veterans group wants people to remember those who died serving our country. 

The Oneida County Veterans Council held a Memorial Day ceremony in Rhinelander on Monday.

The Rhinelander High School band and choir performed at the ceremony.

Mayor Dick Johns was the speaker. 

Event organizers hope people take time on Memorial Day to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. 

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MERRILL - Hundreds of people gathered in Merrill on Monday to honor the lives of the service men and women lost over the years.

"From the Second World War, there were over 400,000 men and women who lost their lives, and it took a tremendous toll on our young people," said World War II veteran Richard Bjorklund.

The ceremony featured a guest speaker and acknowledged those still alive who served. People young and old remembered friends and family who are no longer here.

"Everybody worked together, and we still lost guys," said Vietnam War veteran John Jirovec. "It's hard to forget. Really hard to forget."

For one mother, every day is Memorial Day.
 
"My son Ryan, Sergeant Ryan Jopek, was killed in action on August 2, 2006," said Jopek's mother Tracy. "He just turned 20 and was coming home in a couple weeks, but fate didn't have it quite that way, and he didn't make it home, and we miss him every day."

Tears were shed thinking of the memories of loved ones, remembering freedom comes with a price.

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EDGAR - Marathon County authorities say a woman has died from drowning in a pool in Edgar in central Wisconsin.

Lt. Tim Burkholder of the Marathon County Sheriff's Department says it happened sometime after midnight Monday.

While the investigation is ongoing, he says the drowning appears to be accidental.

The department is withholding the victim's name and other details for now.

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ST. GERMAIN - A popular Northwoods tradition kicked off its 40th season today. The St. Germain Flea Market draws thousands of bargain hunters each week during the summer.

The market attracts nearly 400 vendors every week. Vendors showcase everything from homemade crafts and artwork to plants and homemade treats.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - Last Thursday, 15 members of the Oneida County community graduated from Leadership Oneida County. The nine-month program aims to give participants a better understanding of the county's resources and to improve participation in organizations throughout the county.

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WISCONSIN - The Wisconsin DNR wants to know if it has the right plans for beavers in the state. The final public feedback period is open for the new beaver management plan.

The document will guide decisions on beavers through 2025. The final draft touches on topics like population, habitat, and damage management. The current draft recommends keeping beaver populations mostly stable in the state.

Public input for the final beaver management plan is open through June 22. The DNR will also host a public meeting on June 16 from 6-8 p.m. at the DNR Service Center in Rhinelander to take comments.

You can read the final draft of the plan by clicking the link below. Another link shows opportunities for feedback.

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MINOCQUA - Many golf courses in the Northwoods need to work hard to make a profit each year. Cold northern springs and falls mean a shorter playing season than other parts of the state. Many increase their rates near the peak of tourism season.

One Northwoods course went the other direction during the last week of April and tried something new. Timber Ridge Golf Club in Minocqua offered something unheard of - completely free golf for everyone.

"We all just kind of thought, what a nice idea, to just say thank you to all of our customers. (We thought,) come on out for a free week of golf," said Timber Ridge PGA Professional Jerry Collins.

The course was in great shape by late April. Golfers flooded in to play during the entire week.


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