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Council member defends La Crosse neighborhood despite shootings, carjacking



Olson calls two incidents “isolated tragedies.”

Within days, one neighborhood in La Crosse was home to a shooting during a home invasion and an officer involved killing of a carjacking suspect.

Jessica Olson, who represents that Washburn neighborhood on the city council, takes a pragmatic view about recent violent acts in her south side district.

She says violent crimes in that area over the last few days should not be defining.

“Any community of our size,” she explains, “there’s going to be these isolated tragedies that are going to happen every once in awhile and this is one of them.

“To promise utopia, that nothing bad would happen in your neighborhood, is not realistic.”

On Friday morning, a home invasion led to a shooting on 8th St. Also on 8th St., Sunday afternoon, police shot and killed a carjacking suspect.

“I don’t think it is an alarm that people need to pull up stakes and abandon the neighborhood,” Olson said. “There’s been so much investment by multiple departments in the city to take care of the physical, structural isssues but a lot of the social issues as well.”

Olson says they’re “isolated incidents,” and not a new normal. She does, understand, however, why some might not see it that way.

“I don’t deny anybody their right to feel scared, to feel shocked,” she said. “That’s a perfectly normal reaction.”

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  1. Chris Heidel

    August 15, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Something has to be done, but it is unrealistic to believe that the “city” has to do something. The drug problem is an epidemic that far surpasses the city boundaries. Just pick up a newspaper from any given community and you will see the effect of the drug epidemic in our country. It has to be more than a governmental response to engage and be successful in the war on drugs. It requires a cooperative intervention by the medical community, law enforcement, health professionals, drug treatment programs, etc. LaCrosse demonstrated its commitment in a forum that was held at Stoney Creek Inn. This forum described the efforts to combat this and to my surprise, the room was less than half full. To be effective, every citizen needs to be part. Being vigilant. Reporting suspicious activity. Interacting with community resources to become equipped to know what can be done on a citizen level to help fight this.

  2. Chris Heidel

    August 16, 2017 at 3:11 am

    In an effort to help the community to understand what was being done in the region to fight this war on opioid usage and abuse, there was a community forum held at the Stoney Creek Inn which was represented by both medical institutions in the community, health professionals, law enforcement personnel, judges, counselors, and even former addicts and there was less than half of the room filled. Besides the panel discussion, there were booths set up with a myriad of resources for people to learn more about this epidemic. To sit and wait for the community to do something is naive. We are the community. All suspicious activities need to be reported. All knowledge of illegal drug use needs to be addressed by counselors and law enforcement if appropriate. This is not something unique to LaCrosse or any neighborhood in LaCrosse. The maps that were presented at the panel discussion were eye opening and it may be shocking to see where the worst of the problem exists in LaCrosse. But this is also a major problem in Onalaska, Holmen, Sparta, Tomah, LaCrescent, Hokah and on an on. Pick up a paper for any town in the nation and you will read of issues of overdoses, meth manufacturing, drug possession, drug possession with intent to deliver, etc. It is everywhere so anyone thinking they will move “away” from the problem will have a rude awakening. Find out what you can do to partner with others in the community, using resources that already exist, to help make this problem extinct in this area.

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