NEWS STORIES

Focus on Funding & Stigma During Mental Health Awareness MonthSubmitted: 05/07/2013
RHINELANDER - Mental illness can be a tough topic to think about and deal with, but recent acts of violence like the shooting in Newtown have drawn more attention to the issue.

In May be recognize Mental Health Awareness Month. Governor Scott Walker said he wants to increase mental health spending by $30 million in his next budget. Some local advocates say that's a good start.

"Mental health is severely underfunded in this country. We don't have nearly enough caregivers, or professionals. There are no incentives to go into mental health care. I'd like to see all those things [change]," said Mick Fiocchi, the President of the Northern Lakes chapter of the National Alliance for Mental Illness.


Fiocchi says 20% of the population suffers from "severe mental illness"; that includes major depression, schizophrenia, and different forms of bi-polar disorder.

He'd like to see the increase in funding build a mental health support center in the Northwoods.

"Where people with mental health issues would be able to obtain services... like job support, peer support. And this could include not just people with severe mental illness, but it also could be military veterans who are dealing with PTSD. There are such facilities located in other parts of Wisconsin," he says.

Another goal Fiocchi would like to focus on during Mental Health Awareness Month, is breaking the stigma of mental illness. He says people around you are dealing with mental illness every day, and it's important to remember that like any other illness, mental illness CAN be treated.

The Northern Lakes chapter of NAMI meets every fourth Tuesday of the month, from 7 to 9 p.m. , usually in the community meeting room of the Rhinelander Goodwill Store.

On May 28, the guest speaker will be NAMI co-founder Bev Young she’ll share her story and experiences of advocating for families with mental illness. That meeting will be at First United Methodist Church on Arbutus Street in Rhinelander.

NAMI also offers a support group the second Saturday of each month at 10 a.m.

For more information call NAMI Northern Lakes at (715) 362-0423 or (715) 272-1294, or the Oneida County Mental Health Inter-Agency Council at (715) 369-6118.


Story By: Kailey Burton

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 IN OTHER NEWS
"See Tracks, Think Train" campaign stresses caution near Wisconsin railroadsSubmitted: 04/15/2014

TOMAHAWK - The number of crashes, injuries, and deaths on Wisconsin railroads shot up last year.

Many more drivers and walkers got hurt or killed with trains than in 2012.

Railroad safety leaders say people run into two major problems around tracks.

Some people are unsafe while at railroad crossings.

Others trespass onto or across tracks, using them as a path or shortcut.

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Police dispatchers honored for workSubmitted: 04/15/2014

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RHINELANDER - Police dispatchers don't know what the day will look like when they get to work.

Oneida County dispatchers respond to everything from downed power lines, fires and domestic disputes.

Dispatchers from around the country are being honored this week. National Public Safety Telecommunicators week is being held April 13-19.

“It just depends on what comes in. You know some days can start out pretty mellow. And just like that, it can be all chaos,” says Oneida County dispatcher Mary Goeldner.

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MINOCQUA - Lt. David Jaeger will be Minocqua's new police chief.

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That's when former chief Andy Gee resigned.

Earlier in the fall, the Town of Minocqua had reached a $100,000 settlement with Gee's former administrative assistant, Julie Mager.

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Mark Bucki takes stand in murder trialSubmitted: 04/15/2014

MERRILL - A man accused of killing his wife in Lincoln County speaks in his own defense.

Mark Bucki is on trial for the murder of his wife Anita.

She disappeared about a year ago.

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She had been strangled and stabbed.

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Wisconsin silver alert bill helps save at-risk adults Submitted: 04/15/2014

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WISCONSIN - Six out of ten people with Alzheimers and dementia will wander off at some point.

That puts them at risk for injury or even death. And not all of those people are found quickly enough.

That's why Governor Scott Walker recently signed a bill that will help find them quicker.

The Wisconsin Silver Alert bill will create a program that works like an Amber Alert for missing children.

An effective alert system is crucial to the Northwoods because of the growing aging population and severe winter weather.

For advocacy groups like the Alzheimer's Association, the new bill is a huge victory.

"Family caregivers of people who have Alzheimers, or another type of dementia are worried and concerned about whether or not their loved one might wander away from home," said Julie St. Pierre, an outreach specialist for the Alzheimer's Association in Rhinelander. "It's very important that those caregivers out there know that there are important resources that can help keep their loved ones safe in the home. The Silver Alert is certainly now a part of that safety net that we have in place."

The Alzheimer's Association was just one group that worked closely with the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network to get this bill passed.

A coordinator for the network believes this system will save lives.

"This bill really advances [us] one step forward in addressing the needs of an aging population. And that's extremely important in the Northwestern part of Wisconsin," said Joe Libowsky, coordinator for the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network. "In the Rhinelander area, where you have fairly severe weather, it makes the urgency of getting out the alert as quickly as possible even more important."

The alert system will heavily involve all 500 law enforcement agencies in the state to respond to at-risk adults who are reported missing.

Wisconsin joins 30 other states with a silver alert system.


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Bringing more art to the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 04/15/2014

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Rhinelander man who shot uncle pleads out, may avoid further punishmentSubmitted: 04/15/2014

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But now, he may get all charges dropped without further punishment.

Marcus Alsteens pleaded guilty to one felony charge Tuesday in Oneida County court.

In a deal, prosecutors dismissed three other charges, including attempted murder.

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