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Falk Announces New Coalition to Combat Alcohol Abuse

For more information contact:

Joshua Wescott, 267-8823 or 669-5606

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 11/13/2008

Issued By: County Executive
View only releases from County Executive

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk today announced the creation of a brand new grassroots, citizen-driven coalition to confront the challenges of alcohol abuse in the county. Falk made the announcement surrounded by dozens of business, health, educational, and community leaders at CUNA Mutual Group in Madison.

One of the top recommendations learned from months of research by Falk and staff this year was creation of a community-based coalition to help counter the cultural acceptance of alcohol misuse. The new coalition will have its first meetings in December at the Alliant Energy Center.

Kathleen Falk at the press conference“For the first time citizens are coming together to say enough is enough with all the pain caused by alcohol abuse,” Falk said. “This group brings together the best and brightest minds in our community to help bring about the change we need. These kind of coalitions have succeeded in other parts of the country to reduce binge drinking and make it tougher for kids to get alcohol.”
Kathleen Falk at the press conference
Members of the County Executive’s new coalition represent a broad cross-section of individuals determined to work to significantly reduce alcohol abuse and its harmful effects in the county. The group will identify areas it wants to focus on and may push to change government policies and culture and address issues like binge drinking as well as other focuses. The coalition will provide reports to the community on its progress.

Kathleen Falk at the press conferenceThe coalition’s first meetings will be December 8, 9, and 10 from 6:00-7:30 PM at the Alliant Energy Center in the Waubesa/Kegonsa rooms on the second floor. Those interested in participating can contact Carol Lobes in the County Executive’s office at 266-4114 or e-mail: lobes@co.dane.wi.us

Also Thursday, Falk and the director of a group that will start a new pilot project to address alcohol abuse in Dane County middle schools were presented a check from Steve Goldberg, executive director of CUNA Mutual’s Foundation. The Foundation is providing a $15,000 grant to Project Hugs to support its new efforts to work with middle school children and their parents afflicted with alcohol problems. Falk included $60,000 in her 2009 budget to launch the program in a pair of middle schools.

"We are concerned with the growth and negative impact of alcohol abuse among middle-school students,” Goldberg said. “This grant supports the cost of a caseworker who will be located in a specific Madison middle school to intervene with students and parents involved in alcohol abuse. We hope to reach 20 students and their families during the first year of this pilot effort."

Next month, Falk will announce a package of legislative proposals she will work to get state lawmakers to adopt in their new session starting the first of the year.

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