State Budget News, Baraboo’s International Crane Foundation, Drug Courts And Overdoses

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Heard On Central Time

Drug overdoses are the leading cause of injury in Wisconsin, and officials are trying a number of strategies to change that. Our guest works with the state’s drug and alcohol courts, which provide drug users an alternative to time behind bars. We also learn about an award-winning crane conservation group in Baraboo, and look at the latest state budget developments.

Featured in this Show

  • As Senate Passes State Budget, Debates Now Shifts To The Assembly

    The Wisconsin state budget has been passed by the Senate, and now heads to the Assembly for debate. WPR’s state capitol reporter breaks down the latest developments.

  • International Crane Foundation Receives Award For Conservation Work In Vietnam

    The International Crane Foundation, based in Baraboo, spends a lot of time trying to restore the whooping crane population in Wisconsin. But its efforts don’t stop at the state’s borders.

    Among other projects, the foundation has been working on an effort in Vietnam that not only benefits cranes, but the people who rely on their habitat to make a living. That project was recently selected as the winner of a National Energy Globe Award.

    “I think it epitomizes the work we’re trying to do at the International Crane Foundation worldwide, which is to find sustainable solutions for cranes that not only directly affect the conservation issues of the cranes, but address the people that live … near cranes,” said president and CEO Richard Beilfuss.

    The award-winning project is based in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam. Beilfuss said the foundation is working with villagers there to show them the economic value of sustainably harvesting plants and grasses found in regional wetlands, and turning them into products. Purses, baskets and storage containers are just a few of the woven products that have been created from these plants.

    “We’ve been working with them to bring these products to market, and actually create a good livelihood out of using wetland plants sustainably from this wetland,” he said. “It’s exciting to see these examples where people can co-exist with the birds in the wild, and find these elusive win-win solutions.”

    By sustainably harvesting the wetlands, the environment for cranes — specifically sarus cranes — improves, according to Belfuss. He said in the 20 years the foundation has been working in the region, he’s seen a significant rebound in crane population.

    “There were very few cranes in the site before the project started, and there are more than 250 now,” he said. “And the number keeps going up.”

    Beilfuss said he’s hopeful that the model the foundation is using with these cranes can be expanded upon to other areas and other species.

    “We think it applies not only to cranes, but many species that live in places where there are lots of people, and where you often see conflicts between people and wildlife,” he said.

  • As Drug Overdoses Rise, Drug Courts May Provide Help

    A new report from the Trust for America’s Health shows that drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury death in Wisconsin. While drug courts are designed to reduce recidivism associated with drug use or dependency, they may also help to stem drug overdoses.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Chris Malina Producer
  • Galen Druke Producer
  • Shawn Johnson Guest
  • Richard Beilfuss Guest
  • Juan Colas Guest
  • James Pearson Guest