La Crosse: Community members rally in Riverside Park
- Community members rally in Riverside Park
*By KJ LANG | klang@... | Posted: Monday, March 1, 2010
A concerned mother stood side by side with a downtown bar owner at the
edge of the Mississippi River on Sunday.
A long line of citizens formed a wall at Riverside Park to make a
statement about preventing more river drownings in La Crosse.
They also looked to each other for possible solutions.
"When there are too many accidents at an uncontrolled intersection, we
look at doing something to stop it," said Lori Voves, of La Crosse. "We
need to find a solution instead of waiting for another one to happen."
Nine intoxicated college-age men have drowned in area rivers since 1997,
the most recent was Western Technical College student Craig Meyers whose
body was recovered from the Mississippi River on Feb. 16.
Lynda Mueggenborg of West Salem said the solution needs to be more than
just educating about binge drinking.
"You can educate, but they will still do it," she said.
Mueggenborg has a 19-year-old going to school at UW-Madison.
"It could have been my son," she said. "It just hits too close to home
Anywhere from 50 to 100 people gathered at the river, and organizers
invited them to share their suggestions at a microphone. Solutions
ranged from motion lights to a fence to more work to educate about binge
Three students in Western Technical College's criminal justice program
suggested groups of four students from local colleges walk around
downtown at night and help young people who are highly intoxicated. They
would like to find a way to buy some building space downtown to give
these people a place to go and sober up or wait for a cab.
Viterbo University Student Jamie Liles, 20, said she applied for a grant
from Pepsi for $25,000 for safety in La Crosse along the Mississippi
River. It could be used to buy a fence or other items.
Isaac Bauer, 21, of West Salem a friend of Meyers, suggested the city
buy phone booths with a button which people can use in case of
emergency. He's seen the booths on the UW-Milwaukee campus.
"I've had nightmares about Craig walking around by himself," he said.
"If you're lost and don't know where to go, you need a way to get in
contact with someone."
Mynx Seibert, 20, who graduated from high school with Meyers, suggested
people simply remember to take care of their friends.
"The best system is the buddy system," she said. "Take care of your
friends. That is the most important thing."
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