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New Rock County nonprofit aims to close treatment gaps for those addicted

A new Rock County nonprofit will offer programming intended to close drug treatment gaps that organizers say allow addicts to slip through the cracks.

Rock River Recovery Network is the brainchild of community leaders who met in the Leadership Academy of Rock County and wanted to continue to help those struggling with addiction, said Heidi Van Kirk, who is helping the group clinch its nonprofit status.

The nonprofit will replace services offered by One2One Recovery Coaching, which dissolved when it lost its grant funding in spring, Van Kirk said.

Recovery coaches have continued volunteering since One2One dissolved, making sure nobody’s call for help goes unanswered, said Mike Sheridan, a local recovery coach.

A new program under the Rock River Recovery Network umbrella—Lifeline 2 Recovery—is emerging as an expanded version of the former recovery coach program, said Sheridan, who is the program supervisor.

Lifeline 4 Recovery will continue to dispatch recovery coaches 24/7 to hospitals when someone is admitted for an overdose.

Coaches meet overdose patients before they are discharged from hospitals to help them create recovery plans and find safe places to go, Sheridan said.

Coaches help people for days, weeks or sometimes years, Sheridan said.

The new program will offer more coaches and peer support specialists, who receive certification in helping people get and remain sober, Sheridan said.

Sheridan and Van Kirk hope to eventually see two coaches or specialists respond to each overdose. One would meet with the addict, and the other would meet with family members.

Coaches and peer specialists work with addicts to offer long-term support. Many coaches and specialists are in recovery themselves and provide a personal, relatable approach to helping addicts, Sheridan said.

A recovery coach, who spoke to The Gazette on condition of anonymity, said he benefits from coaching just as much as the people he coaches. The coach is three years sober from heroin.

Sheridan wants the nonprofit to prevent people from “slipping through the cracks” when looking for treatment.

Rock River Recovery Network will offer other programs to help addicts.

Maternity to Recovery is a peer- support program created to help expecting mothers with substance abuse disorders. Specialists and coaches will help mothers through pregnancy and postpartum.

Purposeful Recovery will offer people in recovery opportunities to learn skills and talents such as yoga, woodworking or crocheting. New skills give those in recovery a purpose and space away from their former environment to learn more about themselves, Van Kirk said.

Investing in people in recovery will allow them to invest in the community, Van Kirk said.

The nonprofit eventually will hire a resource supervisor who will keep a database of treatment centers and recovery resources. The supervisor will update the database daily to track which centers have openings and the length of waiting lists.

Rock River Recovery Network has received state approval to become a nonprofit and is waiting for federal approval before it can receive its 501(c)(3) status, Van Kirk said.

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‘Success breeding success': Milton entrepreneur starts business incubator to help others


Nate Rogers was frustrated while looking for a place where he could relocate his small business from his dad’s garage more than 10 years ago.

“I had a tough time finding a spot. There was nothing really available when I started my business, and anything that was available was a huge payment that I just couldn’t afford,” Rogers said.

After finally finding a home for his business, Badger State Maintenance, on Gateway Drive in Milton, he decided to help other entrepreneurs avoid the same frustration.

Next to his business, Rogers built a business incubator called Gateway Property Investments, which will have enough space to accommodate more than 20 other businesses when it is complete.

The incubator started with seven buildings holding six 1,250-square-foot spaces and three 2,500-square-foot spaces. Leases start at $750 a month and increase based on size and needs.

“We’ve really got something for everybody,” Rogers said. “We’ve got heaters and air conditioners in some of the units, some are just heated, and others are just cold storage.”

Current tenants include Agrace Hospice & Palliative Care, a vintage motorcycle renovation hobbyist and a golf simulator creator.

Andy Elleson owns AE Heating and Air Conditioning, which also operates out of the Gateway property. He was working out of his garage before finding the incubator in January 2018.

“Being a small business, they had an affordable and usable space there for us. I don’t know what I would have done without it,” he said.

The Gateway project took off quickly. All the incubator spaces were spoken for before the first buildings were finished.

Rogers has added more buildings in a second phase of construction. Rogers expects phase two to be finished in the next 60 days. At that point, there will be space for 24 businesses in the incubator.

Some of the new space is designed for small businesses with just a few employees that don’t need office space, Rogers said. Leases can be month to month to encourage small businesses to give the building a try.

“Maybe they’re working out of their house, and they don’t know if this will work, but they can literally give us a month’s security deposit and try it out. If it’s not for them, that’s just fine, but maybe they find a home here,” Rogers said.

In addition, there is additional vacant land on the property for another structure if a tenant business wants to put up a building of its own.

Brian Tennant, the chief information officer for Agrace, said it was an easy decision to lease space at the incubator. Agrace stocks wheelchairs, hospital beds, oxygen tanks and other health products there.

After looking at other locations, being the incubator’s first tenant and having some flexibility there steered Agrace to the location, Tennant said.

“When we learned of this project ... we jumped on it,” he said. “This is really a place where we can maintain our inventory and dispatch people to do deliveries. I think it’s going to be a really good fit.”

The city of Milton thinks the incubator is a good fit, too.

“This is the private sector doing this to help other private sector businesses. It’s really ideal,” said Milton City Administrator Al Hulick.

For Hulick, the fact that Rogers is helping others after going through the hardship he experienced is a win for everyone.

“It’s success breeding success,” Hulick said. “He, like many of the businesses he is providing homes for, started in his parents’ garage and then moved up. It’s such a fantastic asset for us to have as a community.”

Obituaries and death notices for July 30, 2019

Thomas M. Anderson Sr.

Violet Lois Casper

Nicholas “Buddy” Daniels

Jeannette C. Dobbs

Lois C. Kerl

Irene Liszewski

Anne T. Michuda

LeRoy E. Punzel

Eileen Zebold

Andrew Harnik 

FILE - In this Wednesday, July 24, 2019, file photo, Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas., questions former special counsel Robert Mueller as he testifies before the House Intelligence Committee hearing on his report on Russian election interference, on Capitol Hill in Washington. President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday that the nation’s top intelligence official would step aside on Aug. 15, and that he would nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe to the post, following a report Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats is leaving his job next month. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Aaron Gash 

Milwaukee Brewers' Zach Davies pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Sunday, July 28, 2019, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

5 dead, 2 injured in residential shootings in Wisconsin


A shooter killed three family members at a home in a small Wisconsin town, then went to a residence in a nearby community and opened fire on more people, sheriff’s officials said Monday.

The shootings some 9 miles apart in northwestern Wisconsin left a total of five people dead, including the shooter, and two others wounded, authorities said.

Authorities found the shooter and another person dead while responding to a 911 call in Lake Hallie at about 10:30 p.m. Sunday, Sheriff James Kowalczyk told WQOW-TV. Authorities said the dead were a man and a woman, but Kowalczyk didn’t say which one was the shooter or how authorities were able to determine who the shooter was.

Two other adults at the home in Lake Hallie were rushed to the hospital with gunshot wounds. There was no immediate word on their conditions.

Authorities looking to notify the shooter’s relatives then went to a home in the town of Lafayette around 2:30 a.m. Monday and discovered three more bodies, Kowalczyk said.

“We went to the door, received no answer, attempted to make a call, again no answer. We finally forced our way in and found three other victims of a homicide,” Kowalczyk said.

The dead there were a man, a woman and a boy.

The names of the victims and the shooter have not been released. Kowalczyk told WQOW that authorities were still trying to determine a motive. The sheriff didn’t immediately return a phone message left by The Associated Press.

Hannah Larson, who lived in the same four-unit complex in Lafayette, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune an 8-year-old boy lived there along with his father and grandmother. Larson said the 8-year-old had sometimes played with her 7-year-old brother.

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Organizers: Second giveaway of bricks from General Motors plant is Aug. 10


Blackhawk Community Credit Union says it plans a second giveaway of bricks from the former General Motors plant Aug. 10, but this time it will be at a new venue and will run four hours.

Credit union CEO Sherri Stumpf said volunteers through the credit union have readied thousands more bricks for a second distribution.

The credit union plans to hand out the bricks at the site of its future headquarters, the former Moose Lodge property at 2701 Rockport Road.

The distribution will run from 7 to 11 a.m. or until bricks run out, Stumpf said.

On May 4, the credit union distributed more than 2,500 bricks—up to two bricks per car—to residents free of charge. Those bricks came from a wall in an older part of the GM plant, and the credit union handed them out in drive-thru fashion at the credit union’s West Court Street location.

The bricks being handed out Aug. 10 are from two parts of the 100-year-old GM plant complex that were among the last to fall during demolition this spring. They’ll have a different character and look compared to the GM plant bricks given out in May.

Some of the bricks in the Aug. 10 giveaway come from the former plant’s east façade, the front of the plant’s landmark administration building that faced South Jackson Street.

The credit union also will distribute large bricks collected from the plant’s main smokestack, which demolition crews pulled down April 28.

In May, at the first giveaway, hordes of residents lined up in vehicles for a mile along West Court Street. Some people waited hours in their cars to get a few bricks.

Stumpf said the former Moose Lodge, which the credit union bought earlier this summer, was chosen as the site for the latest brick giveaway because the spot will allow better traffic flow than West Court Street.

Local police have asked organizers to limit the Aug. 10 giveaway to four hours to ensure that traffic from the event won’t disrupt other local activities planned on the west side that day, Stumpf said.

Stumpf and organizers wouldn’t estimate how many bricks are available for distribution, but Stumpf said there shouldn’t be a shortage.

“We’ve got plenty of bricks. We’ve got a lot of bricks from the front façade of the building, and the bricks from the smokestack are large. Very large,” Stumpf said.

She said the smokestack bricks are large enough that organizers will distribute only one per vehicle.

Like the first distribution, the bricks are free, but the distribution will be first come, first served.