- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Volunteers recognize mentally ill buried in unmarked graves

APPLETON, Wis. (AP) - For almost 80 years, no one is thought to have visited Peter Gauslin’s grave.

Relatives didn’t know where he was buried or how he died until his great-grandson Andrew Daft began researching family history in 2012 and learned his death occurred at a mental institution. He also discovered that Gauslin, his grandmother’s father, is buried in an unmarked grave in Appleton, about 100 miles north of Milwaukee.

Gauslin is among tens of thousands who were buried in unmarked graves around the nation during the 20th century after dying at state- or county-run psychiatric hospitals, then called insane asylums or sanitariums. Families were either too poor for a headstone, couldn’t be reached or had forgotten about their relatives.

The area of land where Gauslin is buried in Outagamie County along with 132 other people who were mentally ill or disabled will soon get row markers, a plaque with their names and a memorial bench - part of an effort by volunteers nationwide to recognize the forgotten and bring attention to mental illness.

“When we forget those who are buried here then we forget that they ever existed,” said Laurie Shinkan, a volunteer with the group Friends of Outagamie County Cemetery, where burials occurred from 1889 until 1943.

There’s no record of how many mentally ill people are buried in unmarked graves in the U.S. Records kept by states are inaccurate, destroyed or can’t be located in some cases. But almost all states ran psychiatric institutions where they buried unclaimed or unwanted patients in unmarked graves, said Dr. Daniel Fisher, one of the founders of the Massachusetts-based mental health advocacy group, National Empowerment Center.

More than 500,000 people were in state mental hospitals in 1963, a number that decreased significantly after the 1963 Community Mental Health Act, 1965 adoption of Medicaid and closing of many state-run hospitals.


Milwaukee funding for new Bucks arena goes before public

MILWAUKEE (AP) - The public’s first opportunity to formally comment on part of a $500 million funding plan to build a new Milwaukee Bucks arena attracted an overflow crowd Monday evening, with one group questioning how the city has enough money to help pay for the project but not neighborhood or school investments.

The packed City Hall meeting began the final stage of a process that could see Milwaukee keep or lose an NBA franchise that has called the city home for nearly 50 years. Without a new arena by 2017, the NBA has said it will buy back the team and move it. The Bucks currently play in the 27-year-old BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Milwaukee Development Commissioner Rocky Marcoux laid out how the city plans to generate its $47 million share of public funding for a new arena and entertainment district, primarily through special tax districts. Comptroller Martin Matson presented a fiscal analysis and recommended moving forward with Marcoux’s plan.

Shortly after they and Bucks team President Peter Feigin spoke, the meeting turned to public comment.

A spokeswoman for Common Ground, a group opposed to the funding plan, told city leaders that if so much money was readily available to build a facility for a professional sports team, there “must also be a similar investment in our neighborhoods and our children.”

“How am I supposed to explain to my daughter that our public officials could find millions of taxpayer dollars to help (the) billionaire Bucks owners build their new, luxury play space, but not a cent for her public school soccer field that’s literally underwater half the season?” Jennifer O’Hear said.

About 30 other members of the public addressed the panel of Common Council leaders, with a few more speakers in favor of the financing plan than were opposed.


The Latest: Plan calls for tax districts for Bucks arena

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Milwaukee development and financial officials are giving the public its first official look at the final piece of a $500 million funding plan for a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks. Here’s the latest (all times local):

7:15 p.m.

Officials say the final piece of a financing plan for a new $500 million Milwaukee Bucks arena will rely heavily on special tax districts, and that the comptroller’s review recommends moving forward.

Milwaukee Development Commissioner Rocky Marcoux laid out how the city plans to generate its $47 million share of public funding for a new arena and entertainment district, primarily through special tax districts.

Comptroller Martin Matson presented a fiscal analysis that concluded with support for Marcoux’s plan - despite acknowledging several studies that have come out opposing public financing for sports arenas.

The details were outlined at a public meeting Monday.


Police identify 2 men killed in vehicle crash at tire shop

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - Police have identified two men who were found in dead in a vehicle after it crashed into a Green Bay tire shop.

Green Bay police said Monday that 40-year-old Rick Latour and 27-year-old Shawn Schley, both of Green Bay, were found dead in the vehicle Thursday. According to police, Latour was driving the vehicle, and Schley was a passenger.

The tire shop was destroyed by a fire. After it was put out, authorities found a destroyed vehicle with two people inside.

Police say preliminary autopsy results show Latour and Schley died of injuries from the crash, not the fire.

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