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A decade later, group combating binge drinking in La Crosse ends mission

Brad Williams



@FamilyZoneLaCrosse on Facebook

Funding for Changing the Culture coalition ended

In 10 years of activity, a community coalition in La Crosse believes it has helped cut down on binge drinking in the area.  

The Changing the Culture group had a celebration Tuesday to mark both the group’s anniversary and the unofficial end of the coalition’s mission.

Retired police chief Ed Kondracki says young people in La Crosse don’t seem to get as drunk as they did a decade ago – drunk to the point of nearly dying.

“During the first couple hours of one Oktoberfest, at least a half dozen people needed trach tubes just to survive the night,” Kondracki recalled.

State funding for the coalition runs out at the end of the month.

The group counts among its successes new policies discouraging social hosting for underage parties, increased party patrols and increased education for bartenders.

Overall, the group has worked to cut down on excessive alcohol use.

“People finding intoxicated young folks in their yard, in their bushes, even in their living room on the couch or on the floor, those kinds of stories have diminished,” said Kondracki, who’s active in the ‘Parents Who Host Lose the Most’ campaign.

The coalition says the Family Zone at the Maple Leaf Parade will be maintained by the local Boy Scouts, starting this fall.