Neighborhood walk brings awareness to risky drinking - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Neighborhood walk brings awareness to risky drinking

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - The state of Wisconsin ranks higher than average when it comes to adults who binge drink, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

A recent report from the website rehabs.com rates the UW-La Crosse number one in the nation for alcohol arrests.

Facts like these have members of the Changing the Culture of Risky Drinking Behavior Coalition concerned.

Friday night members of the coalition held a late-night walk from the UW-L campus to downtown, to observe what goes on when people go out to drink.

Members of the community, along with students, local government leaders and even a police officer took part in the walk. Their primary goal was to look for safety issues in the community when people drink. They observed things like lighting and sidewalks, and how people are acting.

Ed Kondracki, Chairman of the Changing the Culture of Risky Drinking Behavior Coalition said, "The coalition isn't interested in stopping people from drinking, but from people getting hurt."

The walk is based on similar walks in Eau Claire. The Coalition wants to see what goes on when people drink, and how their behavior shifts. The group  went to 3rd Street, where most of the bars are, and walked to Riverside Park.

The group then went back to campus to de brief and discuss what they saw. Some issues they brought up were poor lighting and bad sidewalks, and how vandalism occurs in the neighborhood.

One positive they mentioned was that most people were in big groups, and didn't separate, which helps keep people safe.

But the group agrees that just one late night of observations isn't going to provide them with all the solutions, but it's a start.

This was the first community walk of it's kind. The coalition may have other walks in the future and stay out until bar time to observe what happens then.

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