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"Loving Us" Pow Wow Encourages Recovery PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator 31st District   
Tuesday, 15 August 2017 05:34

At the “Wogixete Wi" traditional pow wow hosted by members of #StoptheStigma and the Ho Chunk Nation, Sen. Vinehout learns about their efforts to remove the stigma of drug addiction and give people a place to seek help in a loving and nurturing environment.


ALMA, WI - “I lost my granddaughter to heroin addiction,” Anita told me. “We’ve lost so many people,” Tena added.

Recently, former Marine Tena Quackenbush and her friends, including Quincy Garvin, Jasime Funmaker, Lori Pettibone, Cindy Ward hosted a gathering to promote and encourage recovery from addiction, especially the scourge of heroin addiction.

Ms. Quackenbush started #StoptheStigma, an organization with a mission to stop the stigma of addiction. She was joined by members of “Natives Against Heroin” in hosting the event.

“Wogixete Wi” was a traditional pow wow. Translated from Ho-Chunk, wogixete wi means “Loving Us.” Reaching out with love to those in recovery and to those still suffering from addiction was the theme of the pow wow.

I was honored to be one of the speakers at the gathering.

“You are making a difference,” I told the pow wow attendees. “Building a culture that heals. Putting aside our differences and working to bring love and healing to all who suffer.”

Traditional drummers joined us, including the Red Bone drummers from Minneapolis. The Andrew Blackhawk Legion Post #129 assisted in organizing the event. Ho-Chunk members of all ages danced in brightly colored costumes adorned with intricate beadwork.

Eighty-one year-old Clyde Bellecourt mesmerized the group with his stories. The famous Native American civil rights organizer co-founded the American Indian Movement (AIM). Mr. Bellecourt is a White Earth Ojibwa. He shared how a group of a few motivated people can change the world.

“AIM was started with fewer people than you have here,” Mr. Bellecourt told us. “And mostly women and children.”

At the potluck dinner following the pow wow, I was seated with some of the elder women. They shared with me many sad stories about the scourge of heroin addiction.

Celeste told me, “My grandson OD’d in my home. I didn’t even know he was there.” She found all types of drug paraphernalia hidden in her house. The boy just turned 25 and is now in jail.

Tena showed me a photo of the dresser in the room where a woman recently succumbed to addiction. On it were two bottles of Naloxone, more commonly known as Narcan, which blocks the effects of narcotics. Even with this prescription antidote, the woman died of an overdose of heroin laced with a deadly elephant tranquilizer.

“This is murder,” tribal elder Anita told me. “Johnny just buried his daughter yesterday.” Johnny was sitting right behind me. As I gave him a big hug, he thanked me for coming to the pow wow. “We don’t want her to die in vain,” Anita continued. “This is all so senseless…we are fighting. We need something done immediately.”

The discussion continued with important questions asked but not answered. Why the moms and dads didn’t pay attention to their young ones? Why the police showed up too late to an area where a “heroin party” took place? Why are the young girls willing to “sell” themselves to the dealers who got them hooked? Why aren’t the tribal police watching the “party houses”? Why aren’t the abandon “party houses” boarded up?

“We have to close down the houses,” Anita said. “They talked of policies and procedures, but people are dying.”

Closing up the abandon houses as soon as possible is something Tena’s group #StoptheStigma is working hard to accomplish. They boarded up some abandon buildings. There are policies and procedures to work though, but the group has been successful. Tena even received permission to open up one of the buildings as a house of sobriety and recovery.

Getting people into treatment is a challenge. “It shouldn’t take three weeks for an assessment and six months for treatment,” Tena told me. People need “a safe place to go. They are in immediate crisis and they need intervention.”

For all of us, as Tena says, “Our goal should be saving lives.”

Tena and her friends started the group because they and their mentees/sponsees in recovery suffered hateful posts on Facebook. They realized the stigma of addiction not only added to the difficulties of recovery but also made it harder for someone suffering from addiction to BEGIN the long recovery journey.

Changing the culture takes longer. The Wogixete Wi Pow Wow was a beginning. Each one of us can continue “loving us” and act to help #StoptheStigma.

 
Foxconn Deal Flounders in State Legislature PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by One Wisconsin Now   
Monday, 14 August 2017 06:20

walker-terry-gou-foxconnDelays in State Assembly and Questions About Votes in State Senate Follow Independent Analysis Revealing Deal’s Costs for Wisconsin Taxpayers.

Read more...
 
Stop Outsourcing Before Expanding Tax Breaks PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Wisconsin Senate Democrats, Tony Palese   
Saturday, 12 August 2017 17:18

WalkerAccountability lacking at Walker agency overseeing Foxconn deal.


MADISON – A recent investigative report by WKOW-TV found that Gov. Walker’s jobs agency gave millions in taxpayer dollars to companies that outsourced Wisconsin jobs. Two companies specifically, Plexus Corp. and Eaton Corp., outsourced hundreds of Wisconsin jobs after receiving taxpayer subsidies from the Walker administration.

“Gov. Walker’s dismal jobs record continues to raise questions about his administration’s ability to oversee a $3 billion corporate tax giveaway,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse). “Wisconsin families are sick and tired of seeing their tax dollars going to companies that turn around and outsource jobs. If Gov. Walker won’t hold a company responsible for outsourcing hundreds of jobs after receiving state subsidies, how is his administration going to protect taxpayers if a foreign company is awarded $3 billion in state subsidies?”

According to the WKOW report, Plexus Corp. received $6.9 million in enterprise zone tax credits from the Walker administration as well as a $2 million job creation tax credit for its Appleton location, “despite agency records showing no new jobs have been created there since 2011.” The company laid off 116 workers from its Neenah facility and outsourced their jobs in July 2012.

The report went on to detail a $658,929 job creation tax credit awarded to Eaton Corp. for adding 15 jobs since 2011. However, the company “laid off 163 employees at its Cooper Power Systems plant in Pewaukee in April 2013” and moved those jobs to Mexico. In April 2015, the company outsourced an additional 93 jobs to Mexico from its Watertown facility.

Neither of these companies have had their tax breaks revoked by the Walker administration. The WKOW investigation found that the administration has failed to recover nearly one third of all taxpayer subsidies to companies that have violated the terms of their contracts with the state.

In total, more than 11,000 Wisconsin jobs have been outsourced since Gov. Walker took office.

 
Republicans Rush Amendment to Foxconn Bill PDF Print E-mail
State & Local
Written by Assembly Democrats   
Saturday, 12 August 2017 04:05

walker-terry-gouThere is little to no time to review these changes before Monday vote.


MADISON – Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca released the following statement Friday regarding the Assembly Republican amendment to the proposed Foxconn deal:

peter-barca“It’s remarkable that with a vote scheduled for Monday, we just received the Republican amendment. The legislature and the public will have little to no time to review these changes. It’s clear that Republicans are trying to rush through the process to avoid as much scrutiny as possible. We need strong protections for Wisconsin workers, contractors, and local communities for this deal to work. We also need to know that our environment is protected and that we have strong measures that allow us to get our money back if Foxconn has a change in business plans or is unable to deliver. It’s clear that Republicans are trying to appear proactive without actually fixing the concerns that many people have with this bill.”

 
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