Thumbs up/down for Monday, Dec. 30, 2013

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Thumbs up to Janesville’s 12 & 12 Drop-In Center. It’s traditional that families celebrate and toast with champagne and cocktails around the holidays. But all that alcohol can make it even more difficult for those in recovery from alcohol and drug addictions. That’s why it was heartening to read last week that the drop-in center at 402 W. Delavan Drive in Janesville would again be open for 24 straight hours of marathon meetings and fellowship as an oasis for those in recovery on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Likewise, the center plans a new event—12 hours of meetings and fellowship starting at 6 p.m. New Year’s Eve. “We don’t turn anyone away,” Josh Finley, who just marked his third year of sobriety, told columnist Anna Marie Lux. “When you walk through that door, you don’t have to be alone. There’s an ease and a comfort in this place. You know you’ll get a cup of coffee and a smile.” We hope people struggling to stay sober turn first to this drop-in center before they reach for that bottle. Check the website to learn more or donate to this nonprofit.

Thumbs down to underage drinkers in bars. With New Year’s parties on tap this week, here’s something underage Wisconsinites should keep in mind: Gov. Scott Walker just signed legislation that lets businesses report underage drinkers to police and also take them to court. An underage drinker could be required to pay the business owner $1,000. That fine would be on top of the $250 to $1,000 fine that law enforcement could assess. Sen. Richard Gudex, R-Fond du Lac, sponsored the bill, designed to create another roadblock to underage drinking in a state that usually tops the nation in binge drinking and alcohol consumption. The Tavern League of Wisconsin was among supporters of the legislation in an era when technology makes it easier to produce fake ID cards and bars must hire more staff to check IDs. “I think this is a good way to ward off society’s problem with alcohol,” Gudex told the Capital Times. “We are trying to put up some road blocks so they think twice before they do this.”

Thumbs up to a bill to allow transfers of tax credits. Bipartisan Senate Bill 449 is cosponsored by Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville. It would let companies that have working relationships pass credits between them if one business lacks the income needed to use the credits. The legislation got a hearing this month and has been a top priority of Forward Janesville, which believes the transfers could spur local investment and job growth. Cullen says the bill is similar to previous legislation but with less ambiguity and that it protects taxpayers. “There’s been an awful lot of hard work on this, and the taxpayer accountability issues that Sen. Cullen identified have been resolved,” said Forward Janesville’s Dan Cunningham. “We hope it has smooth sailing this time.” Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, is author of the Assembly version. Assembly Democrats supporting it include Debra Kolste of Janesville, Andy Jorgensen of Milton and Janis Ringhand of Evansville. Like Cunningham, we hope it sails smoothly.

Thumbs up recycling those old electronics. Many people get electronics for Christmas to replace obsolete gadgets. Instead of putting older models in the trash, recycle them. Taking them to an e-cycling center helps keep communities safe from hazardous materials, reduces waste and supports local jobs, notes Thad Nation of Wired Wisconsin. Recycling them is hassle free through E-Cycle Wisconsin, a program started in 2010. Almost 450 sites collect used electronics and sell them to recyclers to be broken down for parts. Last year, the program collected 38.8 million pounds—6.8 pounds for every state resident. Nation notes that an older desktop computer and CRT monitor might weigh 60 pounds and contain about 15 pounds of glass, 14 pounds of plastics, 12 pounds of iron, 8 pounds of aluminum, 4 pounds of copper, 4 pounds of lead and 1 pound of zinc. Find a collection center near you.

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