The Badger Herald

Syndicate content
UW-Madison's Premier Independent Student Newspaper
Updated: 30 min 52 sec ago

Sexual assault test kits can give people freedom, more control over assault

48 min 43 sec ago

Though the state delayed processing almost 4,000 sexual assault kits, Wisconsin Department of Justice is now starting to test them — giving victims more control and the opportunity to move toward healing.

Sexual assault kits or rape kits contain DNA evidence that a victim provides from their body after assault, Jaime Sathasivam, director of client programming at Dane County Rape Crisis Center, said. The kits, which are collected through a free forensic exam under the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, or SANE, program, have been in place in Wisconsin for more than 20 years and can be useful to victims.

The SANE exam consists of checking the victim’s body to ensure they are healthy and do not have problems like sexually transmitted infections, Sathasivam said. Julie Baisa, coordinator of UnityPoint Health-Meriter’s Forensic Nurse Examiner Program said the exam can also record this information as evidence of assault and place it in a sexual assault kit.

Prior to 2011, law enforcement agencies were not required to test kits in their custody, Madison Police Department Detective Sam Kellogg said. This led to a backlog of 4,000-6,000 kits sitting in storage. The Sexual Assault Response Team Protocol, implemented in 2011, has required law enforcement agencies to test all kits since.

Kellogg said Wisconsin received $4 million from the U.S. Department of Justice to catalog and test the five-year backlog of kits in 2015. But because of a lack of guidance, law enforcement has only recently begun sending these kits for testing.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said in a letter that the state did not test the kits because the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau did not give its approval to do so. Wisconsin recently received this approval and has begun testing kits.

Sathasivam said victims who go for a SANE exam are also given emotional support. This support can help them advocate for themselves, discuss the assault with family members and overall, help them through the healing process.

Victims are at complete liberty to decide whether they want to create a sexual assault kit, Sathasivam said. But there is a five-day deadline for recovery of evidence, she said. Victims can also decide what information they want in their kit, Baisa said.

“What I want people to know about SANE exams in general is that they’re really in control and they take the lead,” Sathasivam said.

Wisconsin to test sexual assault kits, help victims ‘move forward’Wisconsin Department of Justice started processing over 4,000 untested sexual assault kits Wednesday, which could be good news for victims …

More than 500 victims undergo the SANE exam every year, Baisa said. Of those, almost half are under 18.

If the victim decides to approach law enforcement, the responsible agency will take their kit into custody and send it to a forensic crime laboratory to be tested, Kellogg said. The kit can be held indefinitely at the law enforcement agency until it is needed. If the victim is unsure of whether they want to report to law enforcement, their kit will be sent to a crime lab and stay there until the victim makes a final decision.

Sathasivam said most victims whose kits have been in the backlog likely do not remember that they are there or think they have been destroyed. But there could be some victims who believe their kits are part of the backlog and think they should still be processed. These victims should reach out to the law enforcement officials they worked with or Dane County Rape Crisis Center, Sathasivam said.

Kellogg said sometimes the kits are not even used because other evidence is present. Witness testimonies, for example, are often considered sufficient evidence of an assault.

Baisa said there is a ten-year period during which the victim can make this final decision, after which their kit will be destroyed. In a system implemented January, unsure victims are given a consent form that gives them information about how long their kits will be held and resources they can contact.

“It all depends on what [victims are] comfortable with,” Baisa said.

Once this period is up, the crime lab will destroy the kits without further notice. Baisa said victims are not notified when the kits are being destroyed because it could trigger negative emotions associated with the assault.

Baisa said underage students or victims who are unsure if they were assaulted while drinking should know they will not be a given a drinking ticket. The Sexual Assault Amnesty Act of 2016 mandates this. If students are still unsure, they can choose to send their urine sample through the hospital to check for potential issues instead of undergoing a SANE exam.

Proposed bill would give sexual assault victims amnesty from drinking citations throughout WisconsinAdvocating for sexual assault victim safety and strict law enforcement against perpetrators, the sexual assault amnesty bill was introduced to …

People looking to get information on their sexual assault kits or to report sexual assault can call the Rape Crisis Center hotline at (608) 251-7273.  

The post Sexual assault test kits can give people freedom, more control over assault appeared first on The Badger Herald.

Categories: Local Media

Madison barbershop works to make health education more accessible for men of color

1 hour 6 min ago

One Dane County organization is hoping to address health disparities for men of color by focusing their efforts in one unique location: a Madison barbershop.

The Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association, a Dane County organization that focuses on reducing health disparities, opened the Men’s Health and Education Center inside of the JP Hair Design Barbershop Oct. 4. The center will educate around 800 men of color who visit JP’s Barbershop each week on prevention and maintenance of chronic health conditions, healthy living, nutrition and meal preparation.

The center is sponsored by SSM Health and funded through RWLA’s Helping Dane County to be Healthy grant program. SSM Health’s three-year grant is valued at $90,000.

Because communities of color often experience a lack of adequate housing, quality education, employment opportunities and access to health care, men of color are at a higher risk of having health problems.

African American men are 30 percent more likely to die from heart disease and 60 percent more likely to die from stroke than non-Hispanic white men, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Aaron Perry, president and CEO of the RLWA, said the Men’s Health and Education Center started as a way to reach more men of color.

“When we looked at the health disparity, we were not pleased with the progress we were making,” Perry said.

The Center is part of RWLA’s bigger goal of ensuring that residents living in underrepresented communities, who bear the heaviest burden of disease and poor health status, have the opportunity to live fuller, healthier lives, Perry said.

Leaders seek solutions to poverty, racial disparities in Madison and Dane CountyCommunity leaders in Madison are planning solutions for continuing and correlated issues of racial disparities and poverty of young families. …

Perry said seven years of research kept leading them back to barbershops — a place where getting health information to these men would be easiest.

“The thought is that if men of color struggle to go to the doctor, we are going to bring the doctor to them,” Perry said.

Jeffrey Patterson, owner of JP Hair Design Barbershop, said there will be a doctor and nurses who visit the center once a month to conduct blood pressure checkups. There will also be expert educational pamphlets on cancer, diabetes, heart disease, mental health, sleep, obesity, weight management and more.

“When we set out to do this we literally looked at all of the different health conditions relevant to black and hispanic men, and what we tried to do with the center is from A to Z get all of that information inside the barbershop,” Perry said.

Discussing disparities: County workgroups detail recommendations to lower inequitiesAs Dane County continues to suffer from glaring racial disparities in the rate of arrests and incarceration, three county-commissioned workgroups …

Perry said RWLA is entering its second year. During the first year of RWLA’s Helping Dane County to be Healthy program, Perry said they saw an improvement in the amount of men doing physical activity.

They created a “black men running group” as part of the initiative where a group of 42 men run between one and six miles twice a week.

“We’ve seen men go from not running at all [to running every week],” Perry said. “We even had one guy do a half iron man and half marathon, and there have been numerous 5Ks.”

This running group and other health educational programs have yielded a significant group weight loss. Perry said one man lost 60 pounds and no longer needs to take any blood pressure medications.

Perry said they are aiming to increase the number of men working out and losing weight during their second year by sponsoring a “Biggest Loser” contest.

“We want this to be the most significant weight loss for men of color that this city has seen,” Perry said.

They are still working out details, but nutritional guidelines and regular health check-ins with a health consultant will be part of the contest.

They are aiming for 50 to 75 men to participate in the 90 to 120 day contest, and they are even looking at rewarding the winners with two roundtrip tickets to a destination in the U.S., Perry said.

In addition, Perry said they are outlining a class on diabetes education and smoking cessation that will be taught at the center.

Perry said the concept of a Men’s Health and Education Center has never been attempted before anywhere in the nation. RWLA is hoping this model can be replicated nationwide as part of a franchise.

“We have had screenings in the barbershop nationwide, but no one has taken it a step further and actually opened a Men’s Health Center in the barbershop,” Perry said. “We believe this model is something that can be implemented nationwide.”

The barbershop is located at 584 Grand Canyon Drive in Madison.

The post Madison barbershop works to make health education more accessible for men of color appeared first on The Badger Herald.

Categories: Local Media

La Comunidad recalls victories, challenges on 25th anniversary

1 hour 33 min ago

In the year of its 25th anniversary, La Comunidad News — Madison’s leading Spanish-language newspaper — iscontinuing to promote community involvement and political engagement for Spanish speaking Madisonians.

Publisher Dante Viscarra said the quarter century accomplishment is a major milestone for their team and a big step for the community.

“As an organization, we are very blessed to have survived that many years,” Viscarra said. “It feels good to move forward with the changes of the times, the demographics and the viewers and readership.”

Viscarra’s father, Rafael Viscarra, started La Comunidad in 1989 with a small typewriter, and has since become one of the most widely read publications by Latinos in Wisconsin. The paper offers articles in both Spanish and English largely focusing on local stories about community events, sports, the justice system and political issues.

Viscarra said one of the political events he was most proud of covering was the “Dia Sin Latinos,” or “Day Without Latinos” protest.

La Comunidad joined a coalition of organizations in February to organize a march of nearly 40,000 people to the Wisconsin State Capitol opposing anti-immigration legislation. “Dia Sin Latinos” was an attempt to show the role of immigrants in the community.

[Updated]: Thousands gather at Capitol for ‘Day Without Latinos’ protestThousands from all over Wisconsin gathered at the Capitol Thursday to protest two bills they believe would make life difficult …

Viscarra said seeing young people engage in the event and approach legislators was a validating moment for the publication as a conduit for political information.

In the 2016 presidential election, Viscarra said one candidate has singled out the Hispanic community in a “very stereotypical way” while overlooking their work in dairy, hospitality and other industries. Their coverage attempts to push past these stereotypes.

“The paper has been able to articulate clearly an opinion of who we are and what we are not,” Viscarra said. “We’re not criminals. We’re not rapists. We’re part of this community.”

New initiative showcases diversity, richness of Latino cultureThe Latino Professionals Association of the greater Madison area is showcasing their “Yo Soy” initiative this September to highlight the …

Hispanic people constituted 17.6 percent of the U.S. population in 2015, with approximately 55.6 million inhabitants, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This makes them the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority. Hispanic people made up more than six percent of the Dane County population in 2015 and almost seven percent of the Madison population in 2010.

University of Wisconsin journalism professor Mike Wagner said it is important to have information sources available in people’s first languages because it helps them feel connected to their new community and meet those who share their interests.

“If a news source is in your own language, it becomes easier to engage politically because it’s easier to be able to interpret the information you’re getting about the issues in your community,” Wagner said.

Viscarra agreed that as the media, they are obligated to provide Madison’s Spanish-speaking community members educational information and news that directly impacts their lives.

Because Madison has a population of early arrivals from other countries for whom language can be a barrier, Viscarra said it is important to provide a medium to help them integrate into a cultural identity.

‘Cuéntame Más’ leaves more to be said, done for Dane County LatinosUnidad a través de la comunidad — unity through the community. In an effort to reduce the socioeconomic disparities in Dane County’s …

The paper has faced the same challenges as many other news organizations in having to learn how to best utilize online and social media over time. Viscarra said this milestone anniversary has shown how La Comunidad has adapted to new technology while also weathering the 2009 recession.

Viscarra said one of the biggest challenges for the paper has shifted from making Latinos more visible to articulating the goals and tribulations of a diverse group of people.

“We still have a lot of work to do because we have a responsibility to empower many other members of our community,” Viscarra said. “There’s a lot of issues that we need to address.”

The post La Comunidad recalls victories, challenges on 25th anniversary appeared first on The Badger Herald.

Categories: Local Media

Best-selling author educates public on racism in nontraditional history textbook

1 hour 34 min ago

James Loewen, author of “Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong,” presented his research on “sundown towns” and errors in textbooks Monday as part of the Hilldale Lecture Series.

Loewen became interested in looking into textbooks after he started teaching at Tougaloo College, a historically black college in Mississippi.

Loewen said he asked his students about the reconstruction period after the Civil War and they completely misinterpreted all of the information.

“I sat there stunned at my students didn’t know any of this and in fact knew the exact opposite of all this,” Loewen said. “How could this happen?”

[UPDATED] UWPD arrests student during class over graffiti highlighting racism on campus[UPDATED]: Around noon Thursday, University of Wisconsin Police Department officers removed a student from class to make an arrest in …

After going to specific schools and looking at how teachers taught, Loewen decided to work on his own textbook about Mississippi history with a group of scholars. Ultimately, the book was rejected by the Mississippi Textbook Purchasing Board causing Loewen to file a court case, which ruled in his favor.

One of the biggest focuses of his research are “sundown towns,” purposefully all-white towns in the US. He said the peak year for sundown towns was 1970.

He said he originally thought there were about 50 sundown towns across the country, but in his home state of Illinois alone he has found 507.

Loewen said textbooks will often not include events that weren’t American success stories.

UW student receives death threats after debuting new clothing lineEditor’s note: This article contains racially charged language that might be offensive to readers.  University of Wisconsin sophomore and First …

For example, he said the treatment of Japanese people during World War II was not in textbooks until after the Civil Liberties Act, which apologized and paid reparations to survivors on behalf of the government.

To this day, Loewen said racism in history textbooks is an area that needs improvement.

Loewen said he is optimistic about future racial relations. He mentioned Black Lives Matter and other anti-racist movements working toward positive racial relations.

“We cannot expect black folks to fix race relations at the University of Wisconsin,” Loewen said. “We all have to fix race relations at our universities.”

The post Best-selling author educates public on racism in nontraditional history textbook appeared first on The Badger Herald.

Categories: Local Media

Wisconsin drug overdoes on the rise

1 hour 56 min ago

In the past decade, drug overdoses have been on the rise in Wisconsin due to a higher prevalence and easy access to powerful drugs.

A Wisconsin Department of Health Services report from September 2016 documented that drug overdose deaths have increased 70 percent in Wisconsin since 2005, with 872 people dead from drug overdoses in 2015. In Dane County alone, 80 people died of overdose in 2015.

The report found that 39 percent of overdoses were caused by unknown drugs, 20 percent caused by prescription opioids, and 16 percent caused by heroin. Other drugs that may have caused overdoses include cocaine, Xanax, Adderall and Ritalin.

Lieutenant Jason Freedman of the Dane County Narcotics Task Force said over prescription of legal opioids like OxyContin and other pain medicines have lead to unintended consequences for users. Those exposed to these powerful drugs can become addicted and cause users to continue using drugs beyond the doctor’s prescription.

Legal opioids are often over prescribed and illegal opioids are often easily accessed, causing them to be abused at a higher rate than other drugs, Freedman said. Opioids are also in every drug store and doctor’s office across Wisconsin, and with this availability it is much more likely that people will become dependent.

“We have a culture that is very focused on pills or quick solutions,” Freedman said. “The triggering event [of the problem] is the over prescription of opiates.”

Kris Murphy, director of development at Wisconsin United We CAN, said it is hard to point to a specific reason for the increase, but these drugs are more prevalent than before. Addiction to dangerous drugs can happen to anyone regardless of demographic.

Anyone can be prescribed a legal drug and end up addicted to that drug, especially if the person is predisposed to addiction, Murphy said. Today, if the patient’s prescription runs out and the person is addicted it is easy for them to find relief in illegal drugs like heroin.

For the past decade, these illegal substances have become more available, Murphy said. Through personal research, Murphy has talked to high school students who say it is easier to get heroin than it is to get alcohol. Since people have such easy access, they don’t understand the physical costs of using these drugs.

“I think often times people, kids run into it and they don’t realize that one bad decision can affect the rest of their lives,” Murphy said.

It’s ‘our’ problem: The growing heroin epidemic across WisconsinIn 2006, as an incoming college student traveled from Massachusetts to begin her freshman year at University of Wisconsin, she struggled …

Murphy said this increase in availability can be linked to high profits that drug dealers can make from dangerous drugs like opioids and heroin. The price of illegal drugs can increase when taken from large urban areas like Chicago to cities and towns in Wisconsin.

High profitability in selling illegal drugs has created a supply chain throughout the midwest, Freedman said. This supply chain starts outside of the United States and is dispersed throughout the country.

Almost all heroin from North America originated in South America, Freedman said. An increased demand in the states creates a larger market to bring more drugs north. These drugs are transported to large urban centers like Chicago and distributed from there. 

Increased demand has also encouraged the development of synthetic drugs, Freedman said. Drugs that can be made cheaply in laboratories have the potential to be much more powerful then organic versions. Synthetic drugs like Fentanyl can be combined with heroin to create a more powerful drug.

Lawmaker looks to ban synthetic heroin in WisconsinAmid Wisconsin’s rising heroin and opioid epidemic, a lawmaker has proposed to ban a type of synthetic heroin that isn’t …

Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent then morphine, another opioid, and can be lethal in very small doses.

Murphy said when people use these potent drugs it is harder to treat them if they overdose. Naloxone, a drug that treats opioid overdose in an emergency situation, is able to save people who have overdosed, but with the introduction of more potent drugs naloxone may not be enough, Murphy said.

Freedman said to combat this issue there needs to be substantial federal and state resources.

Improvements in drug use prevention and education have caused the number of new addicts to drop, Freedman said. Doctors are controlling the amount of potentially dangerous drugs that are being prescribed to patients. This will decrease exposure to dangerous prescription drugs and help decrease abuse in the long run.

The largest anti-drug effort is to break the cycle of demand, Freedman said. Law enforcement policy makers and others have been involved in working with people who are suffering an addiction to get them the treatment they need.

“People need to demand it of their politicians and leaders that we take this on very strongly,” Freedman said.

The post Wisconsin drug overdoes on the rise appeared first on The Badger Herald.

Categories: Local Media

NEDA Walk in Madison highlights eating disorder prevention

2 hours 50 sec ago

When dealing with stress and day-to-day struggles, the transition to college can cause many college students, especially college athletes, to develop eating disorders.

Every 62 minutes at least one person dies as a direct result of an eating disorder, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.

Additionally, the prevalence of eating disorders among college students is increasing, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. A 2011 study found that at just one college over a 13-year period from 1995-2008, total eating disorders increased from 23 to 32 percent among females and from 7.9 to 25 percent among males.

UW researchers hope to find out why women are more likely to experience anxiety disordersUniversity of Wisconsin researchers are conducting a study that could provide insight as to why preteen girls are twice as likely …

Katherine Meier, a NEDA Walk committee member and a senior studying social work at the University of Wisconsin, said transitioning to college can be a huge trigger for eating disorders.

“It is just a big life change and transition or stressor and all this new stuff comes along with it,” Meier said. “Stress and stuff like that triggers eating disorders often.”

NEDA hosted a walk in Madison in early October dedicated to raising funds and awareness for eating disorder intervention and treatment. More than 250 walkers from the area participated. Paula Riesch, the Madison NEDA Walk chair, said they have raised more than $22,000 so far, beating their original goal of $20,000.

Meier’s work on the committee involves working with donors and sponsors to spread the word about eating disorders and build support within the Madison community. She said all the proceeds go to treatment services since there are currently few options in Madison. She said the closest in-patient location to the UW campus is in Oconomowoc.

Though University Health Services does not offer in-patient treatment options, Meier said they still have plenty of resources. Each student struggling with an eating disorder is matched with a therapist, nutritionist and medical provider as well as psychiatry services if necessary, according to the UHS website.

UHS seeks to improve mental health, sexual assault services — but at an increased cost to studentsAt a University of Wisconsin student government committee meeting Monday, University Health Services proposed a two-year plan to financially back …

These types of service options are especially important since college and high school students — especially athletes — are at a higher risk for eating disorders than the rest of the population, Riesch said.

“[Eating disorders] affect all genders, they affect a wide range of ages and races, but often eating disorders manifest themselves in the high school and college years,” Riesch said.

Riesch said athletes are often at a higher risk of having eating disorders since there is a higher focus on their bodies and their ability to perform physically.

Recently, a Penn State kicker, Joey Julius, opened up about his binge eating disorder on Facebook. Due to his eating disorder he was absent from the football team during spring and summer 2016.

Giving up the game: Student athletes face internal challenges when they leave the fieldUniversity of Wisconsin redshirt senior offensive lineman Ray Ball was nowhere to be found after he suffered a right arm …

Before joining the committee, Meier herself participated in the NEDA Walk. She said she had a past with eating disorders and wanted to participate to help other people who might not be in as good of a mental state as herself.

Riesch became interested in learning more about eating disorders after her daughter underwent intense treatment for anorexia. She said most people know very little about them because many people hide their eating disorders due to the negative stigma held against those suffering from them.

“Often the person who is suffering seems to be functioning quite well because they can become very skilled in masking their problem to the point where they are in denial themselves,” Riesch said.

Riesch said in her own community in southern Wisconsin they lost three young people to eating disorders in the last 10 months.

Though it is not an easy process, Riesch said recovery is possible as long as we remove the negative attitudes toward eating disorders so people come forward and receive treatment.

“We want people to reach out if they themselves are having a struggle or someone they care for is struggling,” Riesch said.

Letter to the editor: Society’s stigma against mental illness alienates the sufferingI’m of the opinion that cancer patients have cancer solely to get attention and be dramatic. That girl with sickle-cell …

If you think someone might have an eating disorder, Riesch said it is important to investigate. She said some signs might be an obsession with food, visits to the bathroom, unexplained weight loss and picky eating.

Those with eating disorders or who know of family or friends with eating disorders can contact UHS or take the screening test provided by NEDA to find out more information on how to get treatment.

The post NEDA Walk in Madison highlights eating disorder prevention appeared first on The Badger Herald.

Categories: Local Media

UW researchers seek to make rewiring the brain possible

2 hours 4 min ago

A University of Wisconsin laboratory’s inquiries into neuroplasticity prove that brain damage does not have to be permanent.

Researchers at the Tactile Communication and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory, founded in 1992, use the Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator device that they developed in 2007, known as PoNS, to challenge the notion that the brain cannot heal or adapt after brain damage or trauma.

The PoNS device stimulates and strengthens the brain after previous brain damage.

Dr. Kurt Kaczmarek, a UW electrical and biomedical engineer and second lead scientist, said PoNS stimulates the tongue by sending small electrical impulses, creating a vibrating, tingling sensation.

“We believe that the electrical stimulation predisposes the brain to modify its function more effectively for rehabilitation,” Kaczmarek said. 

Dr. Yuri Danilov, a neuroscientist in the lab, said these tingling sensations exercise the neurons, which transmit nerve impulses to the brain to keep it functioning properly after trauma. When the brain faces a challenge, it finds ways of meeting that challenge by rerouting signals in some way, forming new connections or changing the chemical environment surrounding the neurons, Danilov said.

The brain’s ability to reorganize in response to new information, needs and pathways is known as “neuroplasticity,” Danilov said.

“Neuroplasticity is the essence of our life,” Danilov said. “Humans are capable of learning because of neuroplasticity.”

New information is a challenge for people’s brains to learn, and “neuroplasticity” is one of the reasons new information can be preserved in the brain.

UW scientists develop brain-like structure to improve drug safety testingUniversity of Wisconsin scientists have created a structure that mimics brain function and may be used to determine the safety …

The device has already proved its effectiveness on people with multiple sclerosis, who showed improvements in balance in comparison to those who received the placebo PoNS device, Kaczmarek said.

Kaczmarek said the TNCL uses “maximal challenge” tests where individuals practice a certain movement for about 20 minutes without frustrating them while they receive tingling sensations from the PoNS device. Circuits in the brain that are responsible for controlling those movements will then improve their function as the PoNS device strengthens the neurons carrying that information to the brain.

“By using maximal challenge with 20 minute paradigm and combining that with the PoNS device we are trying to make this process as efficient as possible,” Kaczmarek said.

The TNCL is an interdisciplinary lab composed of a team of individuals ranging from biomedical, mechanical and electrical engineers, physical therapists, neuroscientists and student trainees.

UW researcher hopes to prevent, repair damage to brain caused by neurological diseasesUsing her background in neurodegenerative disorders, University of Wisconsin medical physics professor Marina Emborg is working on developing strategies to prevent …

In the past, TNCL has developed other devices for sensory substitution of touch and sight. If someone is blind, they can still get facial recognition through the sense of touch through the PoNS device, Kaczmarek said.

Researchers at the TNCL have also worked with victims of multiple strokes, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.

The TNCL research and the PoNS device have the potential to change the lives of people who believed their brain trauma would inhibit their lives forever, Kaczmarek said.

“The overall goal of the lab is to help improve overall human performance in one way or another, particularly neurological performance,” Kaczmarek said.

The post UW researchers seek to make rewiring the brain possible appeared first on The Badger Herald.

Categories: Local Media

New emergency room program aims to help addicts seek treatment

2 hours 22 min ago

People struggling with opioid addictions will have more support options available following the Nov. 1 launch of a new program at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison.

The Recovery Coach program, which will be the first of its kind in Wisconsin, will place on-call recovery coaches in the emergency department where overdose patients are treated.

A recently released report from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services showed a 70 percent increase in total drug overdose deaths from 2005 to 2015.

Doctor Kyle Martin, an emergency department medical director and University of Wisconsin alumnus, said in an email to The Badger Herald that the voluntary program for patients aims to provide resources and counseling to patients addicted to opioid substances like heroin, Vicodin and Percocet.

“Opioid addiction is a very powerful disease, affecting thousands of people in our community, from all walks of life,” Martin said.

The Recovery Coach pilot program aims to enroll 75 patients over the initial nine-month period, after which they will judge the success of the program.

MPD announces new initiative to fight opioid epidemicIn an effort to curb the growing opioid epidemic in Wisconsin, the Madison Police Department Thursday announced a new initiative aimed at providing …

Funding for the program will come from the Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation and Dane County. Program planning falls to Safe Communities, an organization that coordinates county-wide efforts to improve public safety.

Martin said patients often are monitored in the ER but then discharged, enabling them to repeat the cycle of overdosing and continuing to use drugs without intervention. The program will pair patients with trained counselors.

“The idea is to place someone who knows their situation,” WMSF Executive Director Eileen Wilson said. “These recovery coaches are people who are in some cases former drug abusers and just have a very intimate knowledge of what’s happening and can be a wonderful resource for guiding them through into treatment programs.”

Wilson said the purpose of the program is to catch people at the time when they’re in crisis, possibly after they have been revived from near death with the opioid counteractive drug called naloxone, commonly known as Narcan.

Skye Tikkanen, the Safe Communities drug poisoning prevention program manager, said patients will receive personalized paths to recovery.

Once hospital staff determine patients are medically stable, Tikkanen said the patients will be given the opportunity to meet with recovery coaches, who will use the motivational interviewing and basic counseling techniques they received in training to help the patients and provide them an opportunity to get into recovery.

Coaches determine appropriate treatment options and stay connected with the patient every day until he or she can get into a treatment system.

The person who has had the overdose is responsible for determining what they want that support to be. Tikkanen said the whole program is designed to be individualized to each patient’s needs.

“For people that have really high social anxiety, they might want texts every day because that’s what they’re most comfortable with,” Tikkanen said. “For people who have less anxiety, they might want to go to meetings, to get coffee or to get phone calls. We’re really leaving that up to the person.”

It’s ‘our’ problem: The growing heroin epidemic across WisconsinIn 2006, as an incoming college student traveled from Massachusetts to begin her freshman year at University of Wisconsin, she struggled …

The foundation’s mission is to advance the health of Wisconsinites by supporting medical education and public health initiatives. Safe Communities applied to the foundation for a grant to fund the Recovery Coach program.

The program matches the foundation’s priorities to educate people and help with medical treatment. The Wisconsin Medical Society, a membership organization for doctors in the state, is also working to educate physicians on how to prevent people from getting access to the drugs, Wilson said.

Martin said he hopes the collaborative efforts of Safe Communities and St. Mary’s Hospital will help break the cycle of drug dependency and overdose.

“We believe that by intervening at a time when a patient has been close to death we will be able to break the cycle and treat their addiction,” Martin said.

Safe Communities’ healthcare taskforce, composed of representatives from all of Dane County’s healthcare systems, is looking for ways to grow the program in health organizations across the city and state if it is successful.

Coordinators modeled the new Wisconsin program after Rhode Island’s “Anchor ED,” where 80 percent of patients followed up in treatment programs.

“This high of a success rate is incredibly rare and we hope to achieve the same level of success for our patients,” Martin said.

Martin added that he hopes the success of the collaborative pilot program will demonstrate the “great need for better access to life-saving treatment for those struggling with addiction in Dane County.”

Parisi prioritizes homelessness, opioid epidemic in 2017 budgetWith a focus on investing in the county’s future, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced several expansions in social services …

Though Tikkanen said she wishes the program could have been implemented sooner, the attention being paid to the opioid epidemic is opening doors for additional funding and partnerships for improved treatments.

“In our own hospital we saw 180 opioid overdoses last year,” Martin said. “That averages to one every other day. We sincerely hope we can break this vicious, dangerous cycle and treat this disease.”

The post New emergency room program aims to help addicts seek treatment appeared first on The Badger Herald.

Categories: Local Media

Seven new police recruits, Midtown station plans added to city operating budget

2 hours 33 min ago

The Board of Estimates approved the 2017 operating budget and controversial Midtown Police Station operating expenses after numerous amendment deliberations Monday night.

Throughout this year’s budget process, one of the main focuses is the creation of a Midtown Police Station for the Madison Police Department.

Mayor Paul Soglin did not originally include the new station in either the 2017 executive capital budget or the operating budget. The approved capital budget included funding for the station so it could be completed by July 2018.

Mayor Soglin still hesitant on contentious Midtown police stationThe Madison Police Department addressed the controversial delaying of the Midtown police station construction during a Board of Estimates meeting …

The committee approved allotting funds to an additional seven police recruits in the fall recruitment class, who will replace the seven officers transferring to the Midtown Station.

Soglin said the area that benefits from the station is the “least in need of additional law enforcement.”

The new station would be located on Mineral Point Road, in a property purchased by the city in 2014.

The amendment added $209,840 to the operating budget. Once fully operational, the anticipated ongoing operating cost of the station is $927,300.

Besides the seven recruits added, another amendment included adding three additional positions: a detective sergeant to supervise a new evening shift of detectives, a sergeant to supervise the Mental Health Unit and a patrol sergeant.

Ald. Paul Skidmore, District 9, a co-sponsor of the amendment, said it was an oversight that this was not included earlier. He said the positions would help to assist in certain crime areas.

Assistant Chief Susan Williams said the mental health sergeant would specifically be in charge of the five-person mental health unit. She said they currently do not have a direct chair or immediate supervisor.

“This supervisor is strongly needed. It is the only unit in the entire department where officers report to a captain,” Williams said. “This is something we’ve had on our long range of plans and it needs to be done sooner than later.”

Committee hears advocacy groups’ input on MPD handling of mental healthMadison Police Department met for the first time with mental health advocacy groups to discuss the role of police in dealing …

Williams also said the mental health sergeant would work with the 20 mental health liaison officers.

The Board of Estimates ultimately did not decide to pass the amendment.

All together the committee added an additional $185,000 to the budget in comparison with the executive budget.

The 2017 Operating Budget will go to City Council Nov. 1, where the council will ultimately be able to create their own amendments.

The post Seven new police recruits, Midtown station plans added to city operating budget appeared first on The Badger Herald.

Categories: Local Media

Dane County Board stands in solidarity with Muslim community

2 hours 34 min ago

This can’t be real, University of Wisconsin junior Najeeha Khan thought to herself.

Khan and likely millions of other Muslims around the country thought it must have been a joke when Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump announced in December 2015 that he would implement a ban on all Muslims entering the U.S.

But statements like these aren’t something new in the Trump campaign, as the Republican nominee has made headlines for numerous other controversial remarks directed toward marginalized groups, such as Mexican immigrants, women and the disabled.

While the rhetoric he has employed has changed the national political landscape, certain local governments are standing up to the contentious comments made against marginalized and underrepresented groups.

Madison alder to attend SOTU in show of solidarity with Muslim communityU.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wisconsin, invited Ald. Samba Baldeh, District 17, to the State of the Union address this evening …

Just a few weeks shy of Election day, Dane County Board unanimously passed an anti-hate, anti-bias resolution Oct. 20 geared toward affirming their commitment to the Muslim community.

The opinion resolution is largely meant to re-affirm Dane County’s commitment to civil and human rights, Supervisor Hayley Young, District 5, said.

When Young introduced the resolution at an Oct. 6 meeting, Young said she wanted to publicly state what Dane County’s values are.

“The role of local government is to make everyone feel welcomed in their communities,” she said at the meeting.

With the resolution, Khan said she felt the Dane County Board was acknowledging Muslims as part of their community.

Khan said these resolutions also make her feel more comfortable reaching out to her government and reporting something.

“It felt really good because [the resolution] showed they were taking this issue seriously and recognizing that this is something the Muslim community is worried about,” Khan, who serves as UW’s Muslim Student Association president, said.

UW research says positive depiction of Muslims in entertainment media can reduce prejudicesNew University of Wisconsin research demonstrates how positive and relatable media portrayals of Muslims and other minority groups can decrease …

Likewise, Omer Arain, a UW junior and MSA member, said he was appreciative of the resolution, and he felt Dane County was acknowledging a divisive issue.

After Young introduced the resolution, she reached out to UW’s MSA to ask for any recommendations or changes to the language used. That inclusivity, Khan said, was “really nice” and showed that Dane County was going out of its way to be sensitive to the issue.

As elected officials, members of the board have an increased responsibility to call out and condemn hateful and often violent rhetoric used toward Muslims, the resolution said.

Madison Muslims find local support despite harsh national rhetoricIn the wake of recent presidential campaign rhetoric, some communities have seen their mosques vandalized. But in Madison, Muslim students …

Though Trump in December shifted from imposing a total ban on Muslims to “extreme vetting” of refugees — particularly those from Syria — his continued rhetoric surrounding Muslims has still been troubling for people like Arain. In the second presidential debate, Trump encouraged all Muslims to “report when they see something going on.”

Trump asked, so Muslims responded with #MuslimsReportStuff.

"Hello, I'd like to report a dangerous racist misogynist demagogue on my TV…yes, I'll hold." #MuslimsReportStuff #Debates

— Zainab Chaudary (@chaudary_zainab) October 10, 2016

I'd like to report that quinoa is overrated and looks gross. #MuslimsReportStuff

— Eman Hassaballa Aly (@EmanHAly) October 10, 2016

Arain said Trump’s request was a way of assuming that all Muslims are associated with terrorism.

“I don’t see anything,” Arain said. “Not all Muslims are actually related to these people who are committing acts of terror.”

Similarly, Khan had nothing to report.

In making these types of accusations, Khan said it leads people to assume there is automatically something intrinsically wrong with Muslims.

At a time when 43 percent of U.S citizens harbor some degree of prejudice toward Muslims, according to a December 2015 Gallup poll, it can sometimes be uncomfortable for Muslim students on campus.

On campus, hate and bias incidents have nearly tripled in the first half of 2016 compared to the last half of 2015.

Reported bias incidents nearly tripleThe University of Wisconsin Bias Response Team released a report Wednesday that found students reported nearly three times more campus …

For students like Khan, who wear the hijab, she often is put in the position where she is expected to be a “representative” for her people when speaking on certain issues such as the political climate, election or even Islamophobia.

“I think one interesting dynamic that plays out is that I can’t hide,” Khan said. “If in the moment I don’t feel safe with my Muslim identity, it’s not something I can’t put away. I’m OK with [wearing the hijab] because I made this choice. But because of that, I’m expected more and more to be a representation.”

In class, she said she feels that because it’s easy to identify her as Muslim, she is automatically expected to say something when certain issues come up. While she said she doesn’t mind it, others might have a problem with being expected to speak up all the time.

Through this resolution, Young hopes to foster dialogue and create more cohesion between local government and its community so that every group in Madison feels comfortable expressing their concerns.

“I think this resolution is going to start conversation,” Young said. “One opinion is not going to do something by itself, but it’s a good starting point.”

The post Dane County Board stands in solidarity with Muslim community appeared first on The Badger Herald.

Categories: Local Media

Working Class Student Union emphasizes fiscal consciousness in budget request

2 hours 34 min ago

The Student Services Finance Committee listened to the Working Class Student Union budget request for the upcoming fiscal year of 2017-18 Monday, which requests a 4 percent decrease in funds.

The student organization’s budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year was $56,715.50, and they’re requesting $54,455.50 for the 2017-18 fiscal year — a $2,260 decrease. This is a significant difference from last year when the WCSU budget request increased from $40,2093.05 in 2015-16 to their current amount.

Emily Biersdorf, president of WCSU, said this is because SSFC approved a student wage increase from $9.69 to $10.50 per hour which went into effect in July this past summer. WCSU has five officer positions who work 10 to 20 hours per week, Biersdorf said.

SSFC approves wage increase to $10.50/hour for some student employeesThe Student Services Finance Committee on Thursday approved raising the hourly wage of employees of organizations funded by the General …

Hong Trinh, the finance director of WCSU, said the organization offers a safe space for working class students to gather and share their experiences about issues that impact their community, such as tuition increases and lack of representation in curriculum.

“Our mission supports and advocates for first-generation, non-traditional, transfer and working class college students while educating the campus on the benefits of celebrating class diversity,” Trinh said.

WSCU returned $9,000, or 19 percent, of their approved budget for the fiscal year of 2015-16 to SSFC. Though student wages increased, WCSU returned $3,000 of the money allocated for student wages because most employees were away during the summer term, Trinh said.

But WCSU requested the same amount of $1,718 from last year’s budget to be allocated for student wages. Trinh said they’ll need a more student hours this year to increase WCSU’s presence on campus.

In order to prevent a waste of funds, Trinh said they will be tracking student hours more along with what they did during those hours through an Excel spreadsheet.

“There is a lot more visibility and accountability in hours,” Trinh said.

Though WCSU is asking for an increase in funds for software, advertising and their end-of-semester potluck, the main reason this budget request is lower than last year’s is because they recently moved into a new office space.

WCSU no longer needs extra funding to pay for a venue to host their Holiday Art Night where students create and make holiday art, Trinh said. WCSU does not need much funding for resource development because their new library in their new office space has become more established, Trinh said.

“We were really building up our resource library and starting from scratch, but now as our resource library becomes more established it is really less about building it and more about maintaining it,” Trinh said.

SSFC will make a decision on whether or not they will approve or amend WCSU’s approved budget for the fiscal year of 2017-2018 during their meeting next Monday.

SSFC approved also F.H. King’s requested budget for the fiscal year of 2017-2018 without any amendments.

The post Working Class Student Union emphasizes fiscal consciousness in budget request appeared first on The Badger Herald.

Categories: Local Media

Dane County Sheriff recalls deputies from North Dakota pipeline protests

2 hours 34 min ago

After sending 10 deputies to North Dakota Oct. 9 to aid with crowd control at the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney has already recalled the deputies earlier than planned because of concerns from Madison residents.

The Dane County Sheriff’s Office does not typically send deputies across county or state lines unless they are specifically requested to do so. But after the Morton County Sheriff’s office in North Dakota contacted the U.S. Department of Justice requesting assistance for large scale crowd control, Mahoney answered the call to send trained officers to help assist in overseeing the protests.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is a project that proposes to transport crude oil from the North Dakota into Illinois. It is approximately 1,172 miles long and would span four states.

Opposition toward the North Dakota pipeline includes concerns over constructing and destroying tribal lands belonging to Native Americans and health issues, such as contaminating the water supply and limiting resources, that could negatively affect neighboring inhabitants, especially those of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, Richard Monette, professor of law at the University of Wisconsin, said.

Along with highlighting the plight of Native Americans, the protests have also brought attention to law enforcement’s methods on mitigating and controlling protests.

Mahoney said the decision to send out assistance was with “good intentions” to protect the lives of both pipeline workers and protesters, several of whom were Madison residents.

“Our role was not to exercise our personal beliefs,” Mahoney said. “Our responsibility was to protect the rights of protesters and their right to assemble and exercise freedom of speech.”

But some Madison residents, particularly Ald. Rebecca Kemble, District 18, who was at the protest, did not feel her rights were being respected.

Madison pastor educates community on citizens’ rights during police interactionsAmid recent protests following the fatal officer-involved shooting of Tony Robinson, pastor and attorney Everett Mitchell sought to educate Madison’s …

Kemble said police officers who were at the protest — not necessarily Dane County Officers specifically — used “militaristic” and “provocative” tactics, grabbing and arresting her and 28 others without negotiation. She recalled the only thing law enforcement communicated to them at the time was “if we touch you, you are under arrest.”

“There are gross human rights violations happening, mostly with indigenous women and men,” Kemble said. “One woman was strip searched in front of three other male deputies.”

Kemble is facing four charges, including obstruction of evidence, inciting a riot, resisting arrest and criminal trespassing.

Kemble is not alone in her arrest. More than 100 people have been arrested since protests against the pipeline began.

While Kemble voiced her opposition on the frontline, other Madison residents back home expressed their concerns with how sending deputies across state lines may financially impact county taxpayers.

After hearing widespread citizen input in opposition to keeping the deputies there, Mahoney pulled the deputies out of North Dakota citing that law enforcement’s first priority is to serve its community.

City Council seeks to mend community-police relations through new subcommitteeAfter a contentious summer filled with debate over the Madison Police Department’s policies and procedures, the Madison City Council created …

“Law enforcement needs to recognize their authority stems from the communities that they serve,” Mahoney said. “Our priorities should mirror the priorities of our community.”

Since her arrest, Kemble said she has gotten nothing but “love and support” from her colleagues, community members and the city of Madison, who had previously unanimously passed a resolution expressing solidarity with the Standing Rock residents and opposition to the pipeline.

#DecolonizeOurCampus campaign looks to give Native American students a voiceKicking off its #DecolonizeOurCampus campaign, student organization Wunk Sheek held a die-in protest at the top of Bascom Hill to …

In continuing in solidarity with the native tribes near the pipeline, Kemble plans to share her experience being arrested and what she witnessed, as well as advocating to stop the process of the pipeline until there is “meaningful consultation” about the land and water with the native tribes.

The post Dane County Sheriff recalls deputies from North Dakota pipeline protests appeared first on The Badger Herald.

Categories: Local Media

Attempted burglary on State Street

Mon, 10/24/2016 - 6:37pm

A 22-year-old Madison woman had an unanticipated and scary study break late Saturday evening.

According to a Madison Police Department incident report:

The victim had been studying when she heard pounding on the door followed by broken glass. The noises were followed by the sound of a man’s voice, and she discovered her window had been shattered in two places.

Worried about the prospect of an intruder, the resident fled her apartment while neighbors called 911. A witness was able to identify a suspect, and he was found nearby with significant cuts on his arm.

The suspect received medical care before police took him to jail on charges of attempted burglary and criminal damage to property.

The post Attempted burglary on State Street appeared first on The Badger Herald.

Categories: Local Media

Third victim comes forward in sexual assault case against Cook

Fri, 10/21/2016 - 2:24pm

A third victim has come forward in the sexual assault case against University of Wisconsin senior Alec Cook.

Cook is now facing six counts of second degree sexual assault, one count of third degree sexual assault, three counts of battery and one count of strangulation and false imprisonment.

The current charges Cook faces span two separate cases.

Madison Police Department detectives are recommending Cook face additional charges of second degree sexual assault and false imprisonment, MPD spokesperson Joel DeSpain, said.

Cook turns himself in after second victim comes forwardA second victim has come forward claiming to have been sexually assaulted by University of Wisconsin senior Alec Cook. According …

According to the MPD incident report, a third 20-year-old victim alleged Cook sexually assaulted her at a downtown apartment in 2015.

The third victim, along with the two prior victims, are all UW students, DeSpain said.

UW student facing multiple counts of sexual assault released on signature bondFollowing his arrest Monday evening, University of Wisconsin senior Alec Cook was released Wednesday on a $500 signature bond. Cook …

MPD continues to receive new information and welcomes any other victims to step forward, DeSpain said.

The second victim told detectives she came forward because she felt “empowered” after the initial victim filed charges against Cook.

Though Cook has been released on a signature bond, he is prohibited from being on UW property, according to court records.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact Madison Area Crime Stoppers at 608-266-6014.

The post Third victim comes forward in sexual assault case against Cook appeared first on The Badger Herald.

Categories: Local Media

Cook turns himself in after second victim comes forward

Fri, 10/21/2016 - 9:16am

A second victim has come forward claiming to have been sexually assaulted by University of Wisconsin senior Alec Cook.

According to the Madison Police Department incident report, after the second 20-year-old victim came forward Thursday night, Cook turned himself in.

UW student facing multiple counts of sexual assault released on signature bondFollowing his arrest Monday evening, University of Wisconsin senior Alec Cook was released Wednesday on a $500 signature bond. Cook …

Central District detectives arrested Cook and charged him with two counts of second degree sexual assault and one count of third degree sexual assault.

In the days following his arrest, MPD received an “appreciative” amount of information to help with the investigation, MPD spokesperson Joel DeSpain said.

UW student arrested for sexual assaultThe Madison Police Department arrested a 20-year-old University of Wisconsin student Monday evening for multiple charges, one of which includes second degree …

The 20-year-old woman who came forward after the first arrest told investigators Cook sexually assaulted her last February, DeSpain said.

“I saw the news story and was empowered by another girl being able to tell what happened to her, that I thought I could now finally tell,” the victim said to detectives.

The investigation is still ongoing. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact Madison Area Crime Stoppers at 608-266-6014.

The post Cook turns himself in after second victim comes forward appeared first on The Badger Herald.

Categories: Local Media

Experts highlight intersection between religion, politics at Cap Times panel

Fri, 10/21/2016 - 6:58am

Madison-based religious experts gathered to discuss the intersection between faith and politics at a Cap Times panel Thursday at High Noon Saloon.

Freedom From Religion Foundation Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said she does not believe faith and politics should mix because it leads to “terrorism and pure blood shed.” A leader has to uphold the constitution regardless of their faith, Gaylor said.

Most voters in the U.S. are not inclined to vote for an atheist president, which Gaylor said excludes atheists from the political process. Currently, almost a third of millennial and adult voters are atheists, which is “a lot of people to ignore,” Gaylor said.

Pastor David Smith of Faith Community Baptist Church said faith and religion should not be considered the same. While religion is about practice and devotion, Smith said, faith is more personal. He said people need to be careful about distinguishing between the two when it comes to the election.

“Whenever you’re voting you should base it off of your personal beliefs and faith, which may differ from your religion,” Smith said.

Masood Akhtar, entrepreneur and advisor to Madison’s Muslim community, said Islamophobia influences politics greatly, which is why it is important for the Muslim community to be more involved. When just one Muslim performs an act of terrorism, the whole community is blamed for it. Akhtar said this is a serious issue because Muslims comprise a large community and cannot be generalized this way.

As part of his campaign, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump called for a ban on Muslim immigrants. Akhtar said this caused a lot of problems within the Muslim community, which has turned its back against Trump. But Trump’s comments also opened opportunities for dialogue among Muslims.

“Our politicians need to understand that we are a part of the community,” Akhtar said. “We will continue to live here, and we’re not going back home.”

YWCA Madison to host 15th annual Racial Justice SummitAs the University of Wisconsin pilots its cultural competency initiatives to achieve diversity and inclusivity, Young Women’s Christian Association Madison spurring …

R.D. McClenagan, training pastor of Door Creek Church, said having people support both Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is a “great thing” because people need to challenge each other. McClenagan compared the election environment to the Church in that both allow people to come together and exchange ideas respectfully.

McClenagan said Christianity is built on grace, and he advocates for loving even those whom one disagrees with. He said this ideology should be applied even in politics.

When it comes to how religion impacts student voters, Pres House Co-Pastor Erica Liu said students tend to take on their family’s political views. University of Wisconsin is more liberal but still has political diversity, she said. Some students involved in the political process integrate it with their faith while others cannot bring the two together.

Liu said coexisting the way students do and coming to an agreement regardless of your faith would be a good way to integrate politics and religion. She said she agreed with McClenagan in that interacting with a person one disagrees with can make the political system much stronger.

“Whatever identity label makes you tense up, whoever that person is, that’s who you need to go eat dinner with,” Liu said. “We need to eat with the people we disagree with on a regular basis. That is a very powerful thing.”

Faith-based program aims to heal racial disparities in Dane CountyA local church on Madison’s east side will serve as a new site to improve racial disparities in Dane County …

Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman of Congregation Shaarei Shamayim said sometimes politics interact with religion in a way that pits one against the other. She said Trump targeted Jewish communities and pitted them against anti-Semitic communities, creating divides among people.

Zimmerman said people should condemn the kind of bigotry that Trump created. Regardless of faith, religion and political standing the important aspect is that people stand together.

“We should be allies and actively oppose bigotry that is being spewed,” Zimmerman said. “It could be a Trump rally or other issues that divide our communities, and it’s important that we are each other’s allies.”

Doha Awad contributed to reporting for this article.

The post Experts highlight intersection between religion, politics at Cap Times panel appeared first on The Badger Herald.

Categories: Local Media

From Twitter to reality, creator of #WhyIStayed seeks to make domestic violence part of a national dialogue

Fri, 10/21/2016 - 6:09am

Four years free of her own abusive relationship, Beverly Gooden took to Twitter to voice the reasons that made it difficult for her to leave such a situation.

Tacking on the hashtag #WhyIStayed, Gooden responded to the Twitter dialogue surrounding the 2014 arrest of NFL football player Ray Rice for domestic violence. The next thing she knew, #WhyIStayed was trending on Twitter. The hashtag was tweeted by more than 100,000 people within the first 24 hours.

In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, student organizations Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment, Illumination Magazine and the Campus Women’s Center co-hosted an event with Gooden as a keynote to open the conversation about abusive relationships Thursday evening.

In 2014, video footage of then-Baltimore-Ravens-running-back Rice physically assaulting his then-fiance was leaked, leading to his arrest.

Domestic violence deaths spike in WisconsinTo combat the rising number of domestic violence homicides, victims of domestic abuse and family members shared their stories and recognized …

When Gooden saw the Twitter responses to the video footage of Rice assaulting his partner, she noticed that all of the questions were pointed at the woman.

“No one was asking anything about his actions,” Gooden said. “People were asking ‘Why did she stay?’ when it should have been ‘Why did he abuse?'”

That’s what sparked her initial Tweets and the hashtag #WhyIStayed, which opened a national dialogue.

Now, Gooden’s voice goes beyond Twitter. She travels to college campuses, speaking out about the reasons why women stay in abusive relationships and the dangers of when they do.

It can sometimes be difficult, Gooden said, for a person to know they are living in a cycle of violence.

Initially, Gooden said there would be 28 good days in a month, a day of violence and then a day or two of reconciliation.

“The math is in their favor until 28 days turns into 20 days,” Gooden said. “And 20 days turns into 17 days, and 17 days turns into 14 days, and the math is up.”

Gooden said she ultimately made the decision to leave the relationship after her ex-partner pushed her out of bed while she was sleeping and followed her into the bathroom to choke her.

It took that instance to make her realize it wasn’t her: She wasn’t the one causing the violence.

“Every other time that he had hit me for any reason, I could always point to an action that I did to make him do that, but what are you doing when you’re sleeping?” Gooden asked. “You’re literally not doing anything except sleeping, and so that was the first time I realized: ‘It’s not me.'”

It was also the first time she realized she could die.

UW alumna recognized for work with domestic violence issuesAs the Justice Systems Director at End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, Tess Meuer wears many hats. She provides training for domestic violence program …

To identify domestic violence and abuse, Gooden said it helps everyone to be aware of the groups who are most often targets of it.

Homicide, Gooden said, is the leading cause of death for black women between the ages of 15 and 24 in the U.S.

She also said it is important that women recognize signs in their relationships that could indicate it’s unhealthy. Power and control, coercion, intimidation, isolation and manipulation are all methods that aggressors use to maintain a violent relationship.

For her, she said, she wished she had paid more attention to the little signs along the way, like the possessive things he did such as telling her not to wear V-necks.

“I stayed because I loved him, and I married him because I loved him,” Gooden said. “I wanted to be every Jay Z and Beyoncé song I had ever heard. [But it wasn’t] healthy for me not to have complete autonomy over my body and my own decisions. It’s for you to decide when you’re uncomfortable.”

The post From Twitter to reality, creator of #WhyIStayed seeks to make domestic violence part of a national dialogue appeared first on The Badger Herald.

Categories: Local Media

UW experts predict presidential election to swing in Clinton’s favor

Thu, 10/20/2016 - 11:06pm

University of Wisconsin experts weighed in on how the last presidential debate could impact candidates, undecided voters and the election.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton went head-to-head for the last time Wednesday, explaining their stances on issues ranging from the growing national debt to selecting the next Supreme Court justice.

College Democrats, Republicans gather for final presidential debateHaving honed their shouting skills at past football games and presidential debates, College Republicans and Democrats loudly cheered on their candidates …

UW journalism professor Mike Wagner said he believes the strong contrast between the two candidate’s views will make it clear to the students which candidate they will support. Each candidate has their own policies and personal styles, which students can individually resonate with, Wagner said. He added it is unlikely that anything Clinton or Trump said in the debate will affect their position in the race.

Dietram Scheufele, UW professor of life sciences communication, said Clinton presented herself as a more conservative Democrat, which could help her boost her image among undecided voters.

“[Clinton] was saying ‘you may not like me, but Trump is so much worse’,” Scheufele said.

Wagner also said Clinton did a slightly better job of appealing to the undecided voters by talking broadly about women’s rights and policies that help children. Wagner said Trump, on the other, hand may have turned a lot of people off when he said he may not accept the results of the elections if he lost.

When asked if he would accept the election’s results, Trump said he will keep his voters “in suspense.” Wagner said it is unclear what the statement means, but Trump should accept the public’s choice automatically.

“American elections are free and fair elections, and it’s not clear why a candidate would come and say that he may not be willing to abide by the results that come from the votes of the people,” Wagner said.

College Democrats, Republicans react to first presidential debateGOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton didn’t hold back many punches in their first of three …

Scheufele said Trump’s statement on the election results allowed Clinton to prove her point about Trump’s speech being “dangerous.”

Scheufele said Trump made himself appear irrational and unpredictable with comments like how he should have won an Emmy for the show Celebrity Apprentice

“Had [Clinton] spoken the same way in her past debates against President Obama, people would have been bored,” Scheufele said. “In this election, [Clinton] showed that boring and predictable is much better than dangerous and unpredictable.”

Scheufele said the election will more likely be a decisive electoral vote for Clinton. If Clinton wins with a large gap in Wisconsin, Republican candidates for Congress may begin distancing themselves from Trump.

With only a few weeks left until election day, Wagner said it can be expected the candidates will try to appeal to as many undecided voters as they can. This would make swing states like Wisconsin a priority.

The election is on Nov. 8.

The post UW experts predict presidential election to swing in Clinton’s favor appeared first on The Badger Herald.

Categories: Local Media

UW student files discrimination complaint against Lumen House

Thu, 10/20/2016 - 10:42pm

A University of Wisconsin student has filed a complaint against Lumen House on the basis of discriminating against renters based on their religious statuses.

Nicole Niebler, who serves as president of UW’s Atheists, Humanists & Agnostics organization, filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunities Commission in Madison. She had considered renting an apartment with Lumen House, located at 142 W. Johnson St., for August 2017 before she saw the difference in price for non-religious and religious tenants.

SSFC approves eligibility for Atheist organizationThe Student Services Finance Committee approved the eligibility of Atheists, Humanists and Agnostics club Thursday evening. With a vote of …

In an Oct. 12 statement, she alleged Lumen House, a Catholic-run housing facility, makes non-practicing Catholics and non-Catholics pay $1,200 more in rent each year.

Lumen House, which is owned by St. Raphael’s Congregation, offers rental scholarships to tenants if they are approved by the Roman Catholic Church and participate in qualifying religious activities. The rental scholarships deduct $100 in rent each month.

To secure the discount, Lumen House requires the tenant be approved by Father Eric Nielsen, who serves as the director of the St. Paul University Catholic Center. Afterwards, the rental scholarship forms must be turned into Forward Management, Inc., which manages and leases the property to tenants.

Alice Vagun/The Badger Herald

In addition to requiring approval from Fr. Nielsen, under the scholarship, tenants must participate in religious activities in the first two months of their lease period.

Some of those activities, according the rental scholarship form, include leading Bible studies or participating in mission trips.

Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, said these rental practices are “inappropriate” and “coercive.”

“This is outrageous and it’s totally illegal,” Gaylor said. “This is really offensive to those who aren’t practicing Catholics.”

FFRF, a Madison-based state and church watchdog organization, is currently helping Niebler investigate and file the complaint, Gaylor said. The group’s staff attorney, Patrick Elliot, assisted Niebler in filing her complaint.

Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, places of public accommodation cannot discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or age. Public accommodation can be defined as either government-owned or privately-owned and operated facilities, services and buildings.

Under Madison’s Equal Opportunity Ordinance, places of public accommodation cannot provide or advertise discriminatory rental rates on the basis of one’s religious, non-religious or student status.

City’s homeless, atheists could be added to protected class listA proposal to add the city’s homeless and atheists to its protected class list will hit City Council Tuesday. According …

In addition to discriminating against non-Catholics, Elliot noted in the statement that Forward Management, Inc. and St. Raphael’s Congregation also gives preference to UW students — a violation of Madison’s Equal Opportunity Ordinance on the basis of student status.

The Lumen House must lease 10 percent or less of its units to non-UW students. Once they meet the quota, they refuse to rent to non-students, according to the statement.

Since Niebler will graduate from UW in May 2017, she also is limited in signing a lease at Lumen House as a non-student.

While Niebler will not be renting from Lumen House next year, she will still be moving forward with her complaint. Gaylor encouraged students who were paying the extra $1,200 a year to file a compliant as well.

Tammy Lange, an agent with Forward Management, gave Niebler a tour of the apartment building. Upon request, she denied to comment on the matter.

The post UW student files discrimination complaint against Lumen House appeared first on The Badger Herald.

Categories: Local Media

Tres Amigos to bring traditional, authentic Mexican cuisine to downtown

Thu, 10/20/2016 - 9:57pm

A new business will be adding some flavor to North Henry Street in the form of a taquería.

Replacing the old burrito express tavern that used to occupy the space at 309 N. Henry St., Tres Amigos is coming into town with a menu filled with authentic, traditional Mexican cuisine.

After working in the restaurant business for several years, owner Juan Cazeres decided to open up a restaurant of his own. The location of the taquería provided a good place for him and his partner to start since he said there aren’t many restaurants in the particular area.

The menu features burritos, tortas, tacos, nachos, quesadillas, salads and a plate special. Prices range from $5 to $9 per dish.

Alice Vagun/The Badger Herald

Cazeres said he is looking forward to having a business and making new friends in the Madison community.

“We want to make the best food around here, and I think we will offer a special sentiment,” Cazeres said.

Tres Amigos will be open from 10 a.m to 12 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m Sundays.

Cazeres said they anticipate opening this weekend.

The post Tres Amigos to bring traditional, authentic Mexican cuisine to downtown appeared first on The Badger Herald.

Categories: Local Media