You can help teen drivers be safe!

In 2012, the number of teens killed in traffic crashes increased nearly 20% during June and July.  Young drivers have high fatal crash rates because of limited driving experience and immaturity that can often result in high-risk behavior behind the wheel.

Remind him or her:

  • “No drinking alcohol.”
  • “Buckle up.”
  • “Slow down and respect the speed limit.”
  • “No phone calls or text messaging.”
  • “Here’s how to recognize danger on the road…”

For more information, go to:

Be safe on the 4th of July

Have a Happy – and Safe – 4th of July


Wisconsin law allows the sale, possession and use, without a permit, of sparklers not exceeding 36 inches in length, stationary cones and fountains, toy snakes, smoke bombs, caps, noisemakers, confetti poppers with less than ¼ grain of explosive mixture, and novelty devices that spin or move on the ground.  The sale and use of these items without either a permit or age restriction does not mean they are safe.  Sparklers, for example, burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees.  That is hot enough to melt some metals.


To help keep youth safe when these readily available fireworks are in use, we suggest the following:


  • Always have a responsible adult supervise all use of fireworks.


  • Do not let young children light fireworks. They should be lit by a supervising adult or older child and that should be done on a flat surface away from burnable materials.  The person lighting fireworks should wear protective eyewear and be sure all others are a safe distance away before igniting any fireworks.


  • Do not re-light or pick up fireworks that don’t properly ignite (duds).


  • Use fireworks outdoors only.


  • Never point or throw fireworks at any person or animal.


  • Keep water handy.  Fireworks should be disposed of by properly soaking them in water and disposing of them in a trashcan.


Lastly, check to make sure fireworks are legal in the area you are in.  Some municipalities have laws that are more restrictive than Wisconsin law.

Your Child and Internet Safety

As like every month of the year National Awareness Campaigns are recognized. For the month of June we’d like to take a moment to focus on Student Safety, specifically focusing on internet safety. The main reason for this focus is due to recent unfortunate events that occurred in south eastern Wisconsin that stemmed from a character on an internet website. Click here for specifics of the event.

Technology over the past decade has become an integral part of our daily lives, as well as our student’s education. Therefore, it is important for students, parents, and educators to understand that while the internet can be used as a great resource with a wealth of knowledge; it can also pose many hazards and dangers. There are several steps that parents, families, friends, educators, etc. can take to minimize risk posed to children using home or school computers. Here are a few steps individuals/organizations can take:

  • Do not allow your child to have a computer with Internet access in their bedroom or any area that is private. Move it into the family room or someplace where you can easily see the activity.
  • Set time restraints. Do not allow your child to spend hour after hour online.
  • Check history and consider installing tracking software as well as parental controls. If your child is “wiping” the history every time, then you should find out why.
  • Spend time with your child online. This does so many things including giving you quality time with your child. Explore together!
  • Teach your kids that when they come across any material that makes them feel uncomfortable, scared, or confused to immediately tell you or another trusted adult.
  • Teach your kids to never open emails from people they do not know in person.
  • Teach kids to never reveal any personal information and to immediately tell you or a trusted adult if someone ever makes them feel uncomfortable or starts communicating in a sexually explicit manner.
  • On social networks like Facebook, make sure the privacy settings are on to limit contact to only those on your child’s “friends” list and those should be people the child actually knows in person.
  • Make sure your child understands that anything that gets posted online will always be out there and can NEVER be completely deleted. A suggestive picture to a boyfriend could end up anywhere and everywhere. All pictures should be cleared by you before posting.
  • Make sure your child understands that he or she should, under no circumstances, ever
  • meet in person someone they met online without you being present.

Remember to simply talk with your child about safety on the internet and making thoughtful choices when it comes to their online activity. This information has been provided by: Child Rescue Network.

If your teen is giving a party: Suggestions for Parents

  • Help your teenager plan the party.  Make a guest list and invite only a specific number of people.
  • Have your child pass out or send invitations and try to avoid the “open party” situation.
  • Don’t send e-mail invitations.  They can be forwarded to a large number of people quickly and you lose control of who has this information.
  • Put your phone number on the invitation and welcome calls from parents.
  • Set rules ahead of time such as no alcohol, drugs or tobacco.  Set a start and end time for the party.
  • Let attendees know that if they leave, they can’t come back.
  • Have plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Plan some activities such as music, games, movies, etc.
  • Let your neighbors know in advance there will be a party and that you will be there to supervise.
  • Limit the party access to a certain area of the house/property.
  • Have a plan for dealing with vehicles.  Include parking information on your party invitation.
  • Call parents of any teen who arrives in possession of alcohol or under the influence.  If you can’t get in touch with the parents, keep the teen there or call the police if necessary.
  • Secure all forms of alcohol, firearms, prescription drugs and other potentially hazardous items in your home in a safe place
  • Familiarize yourself with you community’s noise ordinances.
  • Invite some other parents to help chaperon if there will be a large number of teenagers.



When you’re away from home or out of town


  • Set and communicate rules and standards to be followed in your absence.
  • Do not allow underage youth to have unsupervised parties or gatherings
  • Remind them of their responsibilities and the consequences of their actions.
  • Have a relative or responsible adult stay at your home during your absence, have your teenager stay with a responsible adult or ask a neighbor to watch the house and stop in while you are gone
  • If you are concerned that your child might have a party anyway, you can call your local police and ask them to drive by at some point over the time you are gone.  Make it a point to tell your child that you have asked the police to do this.


If your teen is attending a party


  • Know where your child will be.  Call the parent in charge to verify the occasion and location of the party and ensure there will be adult supervision.
  • Ask how many teens are expected at the party and offer to help supervise or provide refreshments.
  • Make certain that the host will not be serving or allowing alcohol.  Ask how they plan to handle the situation if a teen shows up with alcohol or has been drinking.
  • Indicate your expectations to your child and the parent hosting the party that if the teens leave and go somewhere else, you will want to know.
  • Set a curfew for your teen to be home and when they arrive home, have them check in with you
  • Know how your child is getting to and from the party.  Reinforce the message to your teenager that they should never allow someone who has been drinking or using other drugs to drive them anywhere.
  • Assure your child that they can telephone you to be picked up whenever needed.
  • If the activity seems inappropriate, express concern and keep your child home


Other ideas


  • Get to know your children’s friends and their parents.
  • Find out other families’ policies on alcohol, drug and tobacco use
  • Remember, it is illegal to serve underage youth, other than your own child.








This project is a joint effort of the Wisconsin Alliance for Youth, Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Wisconsin Department of Health Service and the Wisconsin Clearinghouse for Prevention Resources, a department of University Health Services, University of Wisconsin –Madison


Legislation to Strengthen Ban on Synthetic Marijuana Signed into Law

Northern lawmakers Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar), Representative Janet Bewley (D-Ashland), and Representative Nick Milroy (D- South Range) praised a bi-partisan bill signed into law today that will give law enforcement better tools to fight the plague of synthetic marijuana that is spreading throughout our state. 

While the state had previously enacted a ban on synthetic marijuana, distributors found that they could get around the law by altering the synthetic formula, making it difficult for prosecutors to try the cases. During the past two years the lawmakers worked closely with Attorney General Van Hollen and co-authors Republican lawmakers Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R- River Falls) and Representative Gary Bies (R- Sister Bay) to find a way to strengthen the current ban on synthetic marijuana. “Law enforcement has been hamstrung in their efforts to crack down on the production, distribution and use of this dangerous drug. This bill closes the loopholes that exist in current law and will make it harder for these criminals to avoid prosecution.”

The law provides a vastly more comprehensive list of illegal substances based on what crime labs are seeing.  Chemical substances that are similar in composition to the listed substances are now illegal.  This law puts an end to the loophole, in which a drug’s chemistry is altered to avoid prosecution.  “No matter how hard the manufactures have worked to find loopholes in the law, we have worked just as hard to close those loopholes and give law enforcement the tools to stop the sale of this poison.”


The Legislators expressed confidence that the bill will provide tools for law enforcement to prosecute sellers of illegal drugs. “The new law is tough and sends a message to retailers who realize that Wisconsin is serious about removing these drugs from our communities.  However, manufacturers from outside Wisconsin will continue to find a way to peddle this poison.  We will need constant vigilance by citizens to help law enforcement in getting rid of these substances which harm our citizens.”


This is good news for the concerned citizens of Northern Wisconsin who have been working with local law enforcement, educators and public health officials to fight the spread of synthetic marijuana.  Groups like the Chequamegon Coalition Against Synthetic Drugs and others can be proud of the work that they’ve done.  This new law will make their work easier.”


The synthetic marijuana plague is not just a regional problem but one that is considered “epidemic” across the country. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, the number of calls to poison centers related to synthetic drugs soared from about 3,200 in 2010 to more than 13,000 in 2011 and over 20 deaths related to synthetic drugs were reported last year.  A survey tracking teen drug abuse reported that one in every nine high school seniors have used synthetic marijuana.


“In a time where politics in Wisconsin is more divided than ever, lawmakers from each party and from every corner of the state came together to address this issue because we all recognized the problems caused by these drugs and the trouble law enforcement was having prosecuting these criminals. This bill is a good example of how our system can still create good policy when everyone is willing to work together.”

Pierce County Parents Join Together to Stop Illegal Underage Drinking at Springtime Events

Springtime brings lots of opportunities for youth and adults to celebrate the accomplishments of the past school year; blow off pent-up energy from the long Wisconsin winter and generally have fun.  This year, Pierce County can avoid the tragic alcohol related teen deaths that have marred so many past proms and graduations.


The Pierce County Partnership for Youth together with the local police/Sherriff departments to remind everyone that Parents Who Host Lose the Most:  Don’t Be a Party to Underage Drinking.  The coalition is working with police and community groups to provide parents with accurate information about the health risks of underage drinking and the legal consequences of providing alcohol to youth.  The campaign encourages parents and other responsible adults to clearly and directly remind family members and close friends that allowing teenage alcohol consumption is illegal and unacceptable.


 It is illegal, unsafe, and unhealthy for anyone under age 21 to drink alcohol.   Allowing underage youth to drink alcohol in your home endangers everyone’s children.   Together, as a community, we are all saying hosting or allowing underage drinking is unacceptable in Pierce County. We’ll be cooperating with police efforts to identify and prosecute those who sell and serve alcohol to youth.


Underage drinking isn’t a “grey area” of the law.  If it illegal to purchase, pour or provide alcohol for anyone under age 21 who isn’t your child or spouse.  Other parents can’t provide “permission” for you to serve their kids alcohol. 


Adults who think taking car keys away when providing alcohol to youth are placing both the youth and their financial future in jeopardy.  Alcohol related drowning, falls and suicides kill hundreds of teens each year.  And most homeowners’ insurance policies don’t extend liability coverage for illegal activities.  If you purchase, pour or provide alcohol for youth; you put your financial future at risk.


Parents, grandparents and other adults hosting parties for youth under age 21 should plan family and teenage events carefully to prevent underage alcohol use.   Parents can protect themselves and their teens by following these simple guidelines when hosting parties that include teens:


  • Host safe, alcohol-free activities and events for youth during prom and graduation season.
  • Refuse to supply alcohol to children or allow drinking in your home or on your property.
  • Be at home when your teenager has a party.
  • Talk to other parents about alcohol-free youth events. Unity creates a tough, enforceable message.
  • Report underage drinking to authorities promptly. 
  • Make sure your teenager’s friends do not bring alcohol into your home.  If youth bring alcohol into your home, confiscate it immediately.



Many people use medications out of necessity.  Perhaps you are one of them.  If so, it is important that drugs prescribed to you and over-the-counter medications purchased by you for your use are used only by you.  One way you can help make sure no one uses your medications but you is to dispose of your outdated and unnecessary drugs properly.


Pierce County residents are fortunate because several area law enforcement agencies and the Pierce County Recycling Center help you do that.  Drop off sites are located all through the year by the dispatch/jail window at the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and in either the office or lobby area of the Ellsworth Police Department, the Prescott Police Department, and the River Falls Police Department.  Special red painted stations identify where both personal and pet medications can be dropped off anonymously and free of charge.  In addition, the Pierce County Recycling Center hosts Spring and Fall “Clean Sweep” days at its location at 707 N. Maple St./Hwy 65 N. in Ellsworth.


When using these collection sites, medications should be left in their original containers with personal information blacked out.  Needles and medical sharps are not accepted.


The Pierce County Recycling Center will hold its Spring “Clean Sweep” day on Saturday, April 12, from 8:00 a.m. to Noon.  Two hundred pounds of medication was collected during their last event.


It’s time for Spring cleaning.  Why not begin with your not needed medications?

April is the month!

Turningpoint needs your support in our efforts to end sexual violence and child abuse in our community.


April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Child Abuse Prevention Month.  April is set aside across the nation for every community to collectively focus upon the societal problem of sexual violence and child abuse and the ways in which services like ours are working to end this violence and seek justice for its victims.  Nationally, 1 in 4 females and 1 in 6 males will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18 and almost five children a day die as a result of child abuse.


In the next week or so, you may notice blue and teal ribbons throughout the main street area in River Falls.  The blue ribbon represents our support in the prevention of child abuse in our community, while the teal ribbon represents our support in the fight to end sexual violence.  Child abuse and sexual assault are two of the most underreported crimes in the world today.  These are problems in our community and all over the world.  Making these blue and teal ribbons visible will bring community awareness to such a taboo topic.  So what can you do to help?  It is as easy as sharing this information with your friends and family throughout the month of April.


In addition, we want to encourage you to attend our Pottery for Prevention fundraising event on April 27th at The Phipps in Hudson.  For more information on this event, please contact Jen Rhead at 715-425-6751 x105.  Another event that you can take part in is Denim Day on April 24th.  On this day, people around the world wear denim to show support for survivors and victims of sexual violence.  For more information on denim day, please contact Katie Ryan at 715-425-6751 x104.

New Synthetic Drug – “GRAVEL”


GRAVEL, a highly addictive synthetic stimulant is an emerging drug of abuse similar to the cathinone known as bath salts. While the primary component of GRAVEL is alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone (alpha-PVP), it is often used in combination with other drugs. Seizures of the drug have also been found to contain methamphetamine, Klonopin and bath salts. The Drug Enforcement Administration lists alpha-PVP as a Schedule I controlled substance analog, similar to other synthetic drugs like bath salts. Law enforcement testing confirms that rat poison and ammonium nitrate are also utilized to dilute the alpha-PVP.

Law enforcement officials report that mail delivery systems are used for the transportation and distribution of alpha-PVP in bulk quantities. Police in Kingsport, Tennessee have seized alpha-PVP labeled as “plant fertilizer” with no other markings. Sources indicate that local dealers in the state of Tennessee are diluting the alpha-PVP with ammonia and other drugs to produce the rock-like substance sold as GRAVEL on the street.


GRAVEL is found in a form similar to small rocks or pieces of salt and can be injected or smoked. Short-term effects of GRAVEL abuse are increased blood pressure, elevated heart rate, violence, paranoia, hallucinations and brain damage. GRAVEL is relatively new and therefore long term effects have not been documented. Law enforcement officials have reported a high propensity for property crime by abusers.

Physicians have reported a serious deterioration in physical appearance after consistent abuse of the drug. The injection of GRAVEL can result in the deterioration of the tissue in and around the injection site leaving gaping holes in the body tissue that can be inches deep.


The Kingsport, Tennessee Police Department and the Sullivan County, Tennessee Sheriff’s Office have reported approximately 20 incidents involving GRAVEL in the past year.

In August 2013, Sullivan County, Tennessee Sheriff’s deputies responded to a domestic disturbance at an apartment complex. A man, who had reportedly taken GRAVEL and appeared paranoid, became enraged with his girlfriend claiming she had him under surveillance. Other reports of erratic behavior have been linked to GRAVEL abuse in the Kingsport, Tennessee area.

In November 2013, Washington County, Tennessee officials conducted a traffic stop that resulted in the seizure of 6 bags of GRAVEL.

Sources: Drug Enforcement Administration, GC HIDTA BLOC Watch Center, Kingsport, Tennessee Police Department, Sullivan County Tennessee Sheriff’s Office.

Parents of pre-teens and teens need help with parenting, too!

Parents of pre-teens and teens need help with parenting, too! New University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension website offers place for parents of teens to learn, share and connect

As young teens begin to push the limits and test their boundaries, parents can feel overwhelmed and question their parenting ability. “Even though their children don’t require the same sort of hands-on attention that they did when they were small, parents of adolescents face different, but equally demanding, challenges than they did when their children were younger,” states Stephen Small, human development and family relations specialist with the UW-Extension and UW-Madison. In response to the need for online parenting opportunities for parents of preteens and teens, family scholars from the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension have developed a new website and program called Parenthetical ( that is aimed at parents of tweens and teens throughout the state.

“Parents feel like they should be experienced, and they may feel it’s a sign of weakness or lack of parenting ability if they seek help,” says Rebecca Mather, outreach specialist with UW-Extension. “However, parents benefit from sharing strategies and the opportunity to process their feelings and information.” Parenthetical combines the functions of a blog, an informational website and a social network. Parents can share problems and ask questions and get the most current information about effective parenting and teens. The site is free and accessible twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Parenthetical features weekly posts about parenting hot topics that are meant to start conversations among users on the site. “We want the site to include not just the latest research on parenting and teenagers, but also the collected lessons and wisdom of parents,” says Anne Clarkson, outreach specialist with UW-Extension. A team of family educators from UW-Madison/UW-Extension will facilitate the site.

For more information on Parenthetical or to join the online parenting community, visit or contact Lori Zierl, Pierce County UW-Extension Family Living Educator at 715-273-6781.  You can also contact Stephen Small, Becky Mather or Anne Clarkson, at or 608-262-1115.

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