Trina Justman Reichert
Community Health Advocate
I absolutely love going to baseball games and one of the best memories I have from childhood is attending a Brewers game the summer of 1984 with my parents. I vividly recall Rollie Fingers being driven onto the field in a red convertible to pitch in the seventh inning and my dad saying, “He’s going to save the game!”
I have never really given much thought that our baseball team is called the Brewers. I also never thought twice that Bernie Brewer used to slide into a vat of beer when they hit a home run. That example may seem trivial, but you don’t have to look much further to see how the Wisconsin drinking culture seems to just be the norm. The tagline “Drink Wisconsinbly” is everywhere, and on one poster, proudly boasts, “Outdrinking every other state since 1848.”
According to a January article published on jsonline.com, “Criminalizing first-time OWIs is a tough sell in Wisconsin, but Rep. Jim Ott vows to try,” “Last year the U.S. Centers for Disease Control released a survey in which one in four Wisconsin respondents reported binge-drinking at least once in the past month, the second-highest rate among the states behind only North Dakota. The state ranks 20th in population but has landed among the top 15 states for drunken-driving arrests every year from 2005 through 2017, according to the latest statistics compiled by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. From 2005 through 2009 the state ranked in the top 10 for operating while intoxicated arrests.”
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You may have heard the news that there was work done creating a bill that would include a first offense operating while intoxicated being changed to a misdemeanor, instead of just a traffic violation. Wisconsin is one of only two states that does not criminalize first offense drunken driving. It was decided to not include the bill to vote.
Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt said if it cuts back on drunk drivers, he’s in favor of criminalizing a first-offense OWI. “The penalties aren’t the goal, the goal is keeping everyone safe and making sure everyone gets home,” Sept. 19, tmj4.com.
Blue Zones Project works with the areas of People, Places, and Policies with the intent of strengthening the well-being of the individual by supporting them through community-wide health efforts. Our local team and the Dodge County Tobacco/Alcohol Policy Committee has been incredibly effective working with the county and municipalities on implementing Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment or SBIRT and place of last drink or POLD. These programs do not address alcohol use and addiction as they pertain to crimes, but more focus on prevention. The goal is to continue to offer resources and work with our communities to make Dodge County a safer, healthier place to live, work and play. This can be done while still enjoying a beverage. Responsibly.
Blue Zones Project is a community-led well-being initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through improvements to a city’s environment, policies, and social networks. Blue Zones Project is brought to Dodge County through sponsorship by Beaver Dam Community Hospitals a member of Marshfield Clinic Health Systems, in collaboration with Sharecare, Inc. and Blue Zones, LLC. Dodge County is the first Blue Zones Project demonstration site in the state. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit bluezonesproject.com.