Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Opioid deaths lead Forest Co. Potawatomi to launch major ad, law enforcement campaignSubmitted: 12/05/2018
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

Opioid deaths lead Forest Co. Potawatomi to launch major ad, law enforcement campaign
CRANDON - It became one funeral too many for Ned Daniels Jr.

"We had some funeral services," he said. "All of a sudden, it started to get repeated way too much."

Daniels had seen enough of his fellow Forest County Potawatomi tribal members die, killed by opioid abuse.

As soon as he was elected Tribal Chairman in February, the tribe went all-out in its fight against opioids.

On Wednesday, that fight reached a new level.


The tribe is rolling out an aggressive television ad and billboard campaign while giving almost $700,000 to local law enforcement to fight the drug problem.

"None of us are powerful alone. But together, we're unbeatable. We believe this is something we can overcome if we all come together," Daniels said.

The statistics back up Daniels' concern.

In the first part of this decade, hospitalizations for opioid abuse nearly doubled in the average Wisconsin county. But in Forest County, they increased by 415 percent. Nine people have died this year in the county from opioids.

Daniels saw it happening around him, saw his 35-year-old daughter affected by opioids, and ran for tribal leadership on an aggressive anti-opioid campaign.

"I've changed my entire life. I'm usually a businessman. I sold all of my businesses so I could do this job," he said.

Potawatomi Health Division Administrator Julie Beeney says, in her 34 years in healthcare, she's never seen drugs kill people like opioids are doing right now.

Five tribal members died from opioid abuse in January alone.

Beeney is pleased with the response of the tribe's leaders.

"They want to be the face of, 'We're the generation, we're the Executive Council, we are the community that stood up and said, 'Not one more. We're not going to continue to let our community members die,''" she said.

Along with the television ads, which will appear on Newswatch 12, and the billboards, which will line Highway 8, the tribe is giving local police hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Forest County Sheriff's Department will get $450,000 to hire two additional drug enforcement officers, doubling its drug force. The Crandon Police Department will get $225,000 to hire another police officer.

Forest County Sheriff John Dennee said the new money and donations already given by the tribe are essential.

"Without that help, we wouldn't probably be able to have the drug units and do things. We would probably be traditional law enforcement, patrolling and making arrests as they come along," Dennee said. "[With the money,] I can have guys that focus solely on opioids, drugs, awareness, education, prevention, enforcement, the whole gamut."

Dennee said opioids have risen to the top priority of the department.

"It's our number one issue. We see it in everything. We see it in every life, we see it in all of our crime, we see it in the background of a lot of things going on," he said. "We're seeing it everywhere."

Dennee said the opioid fight has helped his department and the tribe collaborate better than ever. He called their relationship "100 percent excellent."

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 04/23/2019

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:


The attorney for Robin Mendez today tried to convince the jury that another man, one who was upset with Mendez's wife, could have been the one who killed her back in 1982. You'll hear some of the testimony from a witness who may have seen that man the night of the murder.

Some Rhinelander residents have been without phone, internet and cable services for about 2 weeks, and they want some answers from Frontier. We'll bring you the details and talk with some of those frustrated customers.

And we'll talk to a Stevens Point state senator about a proposed bill that would ban what its authors are calling "selective abortions."


We'll bring you all this and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

+ Read More

MERCER - The five current and former Mercer school board members charged with class I felonies will not face jail time after their charges were dropped.

Denise Thompson, Kelly Kohegyi, Noel Brandt, Micki Holmstrom, and Deanna Pierpont all appeared in court for the first time and learned Monday that all of their charges were dismissed.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - One of the five Rhinelander employees who signed a letter of no confidence against City Administrator Daniel Guild submitted her letter of resignation on Monday.

Guild's assistant, Stephanie Rajnicek cited ongoing conflict, tension, and concerns about her future for resigning.

Her last day will be Friday, May 10th.

Rajnicek joined City Clerk Val Foley, Deputy Clerk Mary Stoll, Utility Billing Clerk Beth Mannikko, and Public Works Director Tim Kingman in signing the letter.  It was submitted during a city council meeting on March 11.

+ Read More

Play Video

EAGLE RIVER - In thinking about which color goes best with their red superhero shirts Monday, Eagle River Walgreens employees decided white fit rather nicely.  But getting chosen to fling pies filled with white whipped cream didn't exactly leave Bri Sandrone green with envy.

"I actually didn't want to, I wanted to have somebody else do it," Sandrone explained, with a laugh.

Wearing her "everyday superhero" cape and shirt, Sandrone found the courage to toss the pies in her bosses' faces.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Many people visited Nicolet College in search of ways they could live a more sustainable lifestyle on Monday.

This year marked the 9th annual Sustainability Fair. More than 40 vendors took part this year.

+ Read More

ST. GERMAIN - A one-car crash in Vilas County sent a driver and three young children to the hospital Monday evening.

According to Vilas Co. Sheriff's Captain Gerry Ritter, the female driver and child were thrown from the car when it rolled over on Highway 70 westbound in St. Germain around 5 p.m.  

Two other children were also in the car at the time.  Ritter did not have ages for the people involved, but noted all three children were in car seats.

+ Read More

Play Video

PHILLIPS - A Northwoods organization that aims to help domestic abuse and sexual assault survivors now offers it's services online. Thanks to RAINN, a national anti-sexual assault group, Embrace can now host anonymous support groups for survivors.

Embrace serves Price, Rusk, Washburn, and Barron counties. Domestic Violence Program Coordinator Angela Frieze says it can be hard to get people to attend in-person support groups. 

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: