Press Room

Project Reverse Under Way in Washburn County

You might have noticed an increased presence of police officers and highway patrol on Washburn County roads this summer. This is due to a grant received by northern Wisconsin grant coalition New Paradigm Partners (NPP). The grant, named Project Reverse, is funded by the State Department of Health’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Agency (SAMSHA), and aims to reverse the unfortunate, long standing, northern Wisconsin trend of drinking and driving.

NPP uses only evidence based research results to help reverse the drinking and driving trend and is, in this case, primarily concerned with drivers aged 16-34, the most at -risk group for drinking and driving incidents. NPP’s Sherry Timmermann said that enhanced enforcement, i.e. more police cars patrolling areas where incidents most often happen, is one proven method to curb drinking and driving. As word spreads about the enhanced enforcement, it is also the hope of NPP and the police force, that the knowledge of more patrols out and about will in itself have the effect of diminishing drinking and driving in the area.

Spooner Police Chief Bob Andrea is pleased with the relatively new cooperation between NPP and the Spooner police department. Grant money makes it possible for the police department to free officers to work on monitoring drunk driving only. A number of new OWI arrests have resulted from this cooperation, he said.

In addition to Bob Andrea and the Spooner police department, other agents currently active in Project Reverse are Minong Police Chief, Dennis Stuart, Mike Richter with the Washburn County Sheriff’s department, and Brett Heino with the State Highway Patrol.

New Paradigm Partners is a non profit consortium of six rural school districts in northwestern Wisconsin. Using education as a tool, its aim is to improve student achievement and strengthen rural communities. If you are interested in volunteering, or would like to learn more about New Paradigm Partners, you may reach Sherry Timmermann via email at thebluehills@centurytel.net, or by phone (651) 485-4399.

Minong conducts compliance checks

A young girl, looking to be around 18, steps into a bar in Minong and tells the bartender she wants to buy a drink. Nothing unusual about that, right?

Only, this particular girl was actually hired by northern Wisconsin grant coalition New Paradigm Partners (NPP), to help find out if the bars in Washburn County complied with the laws regarding serving alcohol to minors.

Funded by a Drug Free Communities Grant, NPP has been hard at work this past summer and into fall, educating the public about drug and alcohol related community problems, as well as performing random alcohol sales compliance checks in Washburn County, the goal being to reduce access of alcohol to minors.

Unfortunately, the girl in question, who was indeed a minor, and did not carry identification, succeeded in buying alcohol from two of the nine randomly selected stores and bars in Minong.

Minong Chief of Police Dennis Stuart feels the compliance checks help educate the public about the risks of serving to minors.

“We already have problems with people drinking and driving,” he said. “We don’t need to complicate the issue with having underage drivers out there drinking as well.”

Stuart is convinced that everybody is on the same side of this issue.

“The bar owners know this is about public safety,” he said regarding the citations that resulted from the failed checks. “They handled it very well. They know we are not out to ‘get’ anyone. I believe that what New Paradigm Partners is doing is really going to pay off. They are making people more aware of the issues regarding underage drinking. They are making a great change.”

National statistics pretty much agree with the Village of Minong finding. 30% commercial access to alcohol by minors is a common number, says Sherry Timmerman-Goodpaster for NPP. This statistic was arrived at using student survey data.

While this particular study targeted commercial access of alcohol to minors, a few projects are underway to learn more about social access as well, that is, instances where parents, siblings and friends provide alcohol to minors.

New Paradigm Partners is a non profit consortium of six rural school districts in northwestern Wisconsin. Using education as a tool, its aim is to improve student achievement and strengthen rural communities. If you are interested in volunteering, or would like to learn more about New Paradigm Partners, you may reach Sherry Timmermann via email at thebluehills@centurytel.net, or by phone (651) 485-4399.

Hunting and Underage Drinking is a Dangerous Mixture

Hunting season is upon us. With it comes family time, long walks in our beautiful North woods, sportsmanship, friends… and one less positive aspect - easier access to alcohol for teenagers, as well as higher alcohol consumption in general in the rest of the population.

In conjunction with town hall meetings, compliance checks, and media campaigns aimed at educating Washburn County residents in issues related to underage drinking, drinking and driving and binge drinking, New Paradigm Partners (NPP) Rural CODE Coalition recently helped set in motion stepped up police enforcement to help curb alcohol related problems in our area. These efforts are made possible through a grant to reduce impaired driving from the State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

As a direct result of the coalition sponsored increased enforcement patrols, police chief Dennis Stuart in Minong reported that in addition to their usual enforcement, for the month of October he was able to log 1 OWI arrest, 4 citations, 2 drug related arrests and 22 warnings. Numbers were similar for the month of September.

Stuart has seen mostly positive responses from Minong residents in response to the stepped up enforcement and believes it is working, educating the public on this important issue.

In order to help ensure a happy hunting season, enhanced enforcement is also implemented in other Washburn County communities.

New Paradigm Partners is a non profit consortium of six rural school districts in northwestern Wisconsin. Using education as a tool, its overall aim is to improve student achievement and strengthen rural communities. The Rural CODE (Communities Organized for Drug Elimination) Coalition is a community based group within the NPP communities that is addressing underage drinking, impaired driving and other youth wellness related issues. If you are interested in volunteering, or would like to learn more about New Paradigm Partners or the Rural CODE Coalition, you may reach Sherry Timmermann via email at thebluehills@centurytel.net, or by phone (651) 485-4399.



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