- Associated Press - Saturday, April 5, 2014
Heroin use, deaths on rise in Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Some states, including Wisconsin, are reporting a rise in heroin use as many addicts shift from more costly and harder-to-get prescription opiates to this cheaper alternative. Here’s a look at what’s happening in Wisconsin:

THE PROBLEM:

Heroin use and overdose deaths have increased dramatically in Wisconsin, according to the state Department of Justice. The increases reflect the national trend of prescription opiate addicts turning to heroin. Every time an addict uses heroin, he or she could die, according to DOJ, because it’s impossible to know how strong the dose is or what’s in it.

THE NUMBERS:

According to the state Department of Health Services, the number of deaths with heroin as a contributing factor more than quintupled between 2003 and 2011, from 25 to 134.

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Man accused of stalking terminally ill girl, 13

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) - A man who allegedly stalked a terminally ill 13-year-old girl online and moved from West Virginia to Wisconsin to be near her was charged this week with felony stalking.

Shannon C. Bailey, 30, found the girl on CaringBridge, a website where families update friends on the medical conditions of loved ones, according to the criminal complaint. He allegedly became infatuated with her and sent her mother a Facebook message saying he needed to see the girl and be with her.

The mother told police Bailey had been harassing her daughter since then. She said she believed Bailey wanted to marry the girl.

Bailey told police that he has no sexual desire for the girl, but he just wants to be her friend and help her as she awaits a liver transplant, according to a WITI-TV report.

The mother called police Monday after spotting Bailey in her neighborhood. Bailey told responding officers he had every right to be wherever he wanted, the complaint said. When police advised him of the mother’s concern for her daughter’s safety he said it’s up to the girl, not the mother, to decide whether the girl wanted to be with him.

Bailey said “his heart and the Lord is telling him he needs to be with the girl,” the complaint said.

He was charged Thursday with felony stalking, which carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine. He was ordered held on $100,000 cash bond, and the judge asked the public defender’s office to contact him about representation before the next hearing Wednesday.

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Study touts benefits of wood pellets for energy

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) - Using wood pellets for fuel in southwestern Wisconsin could save millions of dollars a year in energy costs, slash carbon dioxide emissions and create at least 80 jobs, according to a study.

The report, commissioned by the Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission, says regional forests could provide plenty of biomass that otherwise just decomposes, the La Crosse Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1kcrDCYhttp://bit.ly/1kcrDCY ) Saturday.

If one in five households and businesses in Crawford, Monroe, Richland and Vernon counties switched to wood pellets from propane, heating oil or electricity, they could save more than $2.6 million a year, the study found. That level of demand would also support a small pellet plant, which could support about 80 jobs and have a $4 million impact on the regional economy, the analysis said.

The study was funded by $52,000 in grants from the federal Department of Commerce and the Wisconsin Department of Administration.

There are eight wood-pellet plants in Wisconsin, but the nearest to that region is in Ladysmith, 130 miles north of La Crosse.

The region’s forest lands, about half of which are privately owned, could provide an adequate supply of biomass, the study said, noting that the vast majority of the area isn’t actively managed.

Of course, switching fuel sources comes with challenges. Heating equipment would have to be replaced, and acquiring pellet supplies takes more work that receiving conventional fossil fuels.

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Racine County prosecutor cited for drunken driving

RACINE, Wis. (AP) - Racine County district attorney Rich Chiapete (chuh-PEH’-tee) acknowledges that he drove while intoxicated this week and fled the scene of a single-vehicle crash.

In an email to The Journal Times of Racine (http://bit.ly/1h0tpUqhttp://bit.ly/1h0tpUq ) Saturday, Chiapete said he received municipal citations for OWI and hit-and-run. Racine Police Chief Art Howell confirms that Chiapete was cited after striking a tree and traffic signal Friday about 10 p.m.

Chiapete says he was involved in a single-car accident while returning home from a birthday party where he’d had a few drinks. He says he initially panicked and left the scene.

He says he’s “ashamed and embarrassed” and takes full responsibility for his “extremely poor judgment.” He says this shouldn’t have happened. He adds that he’ll work hard to restore his community’s faith in him.

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Information from: The Journal Times, http://www.journaltimes.comhttp://www.journaltimes.com

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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