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It was a bit of a controversial week around the Legislature. Instead of taking up a group of bills designed to disrupt Wisconsin’s glaring inequities in maternal and child health, collectively called the Birth Equity Act, Republicans chose to bring up legislation that instead restricts women’s access to reproductive healthcare. We also saw a series of new maps introduced as part of the redistricting process. We are a long way from knowing what the final maps will look like, but in the end, I believe that people should be able to choose their legislators, not the other way around.

This update has a lot of helpful information to keep you up-to-date including:

  • Gov. Evers Celebrates Meat Processing Grant Program
  • Reminder FCC to Require 10 Digit Dialing Code
  • Drug Take Back Day
  • SSM Health Monroe Clinic for Flu & COVID-19 Booster Event
  • International E-Waste Day
  • DATCP Reminder to Check Runoff Risk Prior to Spreading Manure
  • Grant Program Information and Deadlines
  • Information on COVID-19 booster shots and the importance of getting vaccinated
  • Apply to be a senate scholar
  • Applications for Workforce Innovation Grant Deadline Oct. 25
  • Veterans Resources and additional information!

I hope you find this information helpful and please don't hesitate to reach out to my office if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
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JON ERPENBACH
State Senator
27th District

 

Gov. Evers, DATCP Celebrate Funds for Meat Processing Grant Program

Gov. Tony Evers and Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Secretary Randy Romanski celebrated the release of funds in support of the governor’s meat processing grant program. Gov. Evers proposed in his 2021-23 biennial budget a new meat processor grant program with $1 million in each year of the biennium to help meat processors expand and modernize their facilities and operation to keep pace with the supply chain. Funds for the grant program, which were ultimately reduced by the Legislature to $200,000 annually through the biennial budget process, were today released by the Joint Finance Committee.

 

“Here in America’s Dairyland, we have a strong history of meat production and processing, and we take a lot of pride in that tradition,” said Gov. Evers. “I'm proud of our work to create a meat processor grant program to help support meat processors and grow this critically important industry.”

 

Prior to the challenges of the pandemic, waiting lists for meat processing were already beginning to grow. Overall, harvest numbers have been trending higher, even with fewer plants offering slaughter services. Despite this decrease in the number of plants offering slaughter, demand for their services has risen. The global pandemic only heightened the needs to shore up the supply chain. The governor had also proposed creating a new meat talent development grant program, which was ultimately removed by the Legislature during the biennial budget process.

 

“This is an industry that has growing demand and an aging infrastructure. Wisconsin processors are having challenges addressing the growing demand for their services without expanding or modernizing facilities, and there’s a lot of need out there to expand processing facilities,” Secretary Romanski said. “We are hopeful that this funding can address some of the demand, but there is still more work to do. Ongoing funding is needed to keep the industry moving, and there is also a need to address talent development in the meat processing industry. This is an opportunity to work with our industry and legislative partners to do more to strengthen the meat processing infrastructure in Wisconsin.”

 

DATCP consulted with stakeholders to identify the best opportunity to make sure that the funding can be used to increase capacity and reduce the backlog in the supply chain. The grant program will allow meat processing facilities of all sizes to apply for these dollars. This will allow facilities to expand and modernize their facilities and increase processing capacity. Under the Meat Processor Grant Program, DATCP will award grants to meat processing facilities of up to $50,000. The department plans to release a request for proposal in the coming days.

 

For additional information on the Meat Processor Grant Program, sign up for DATCP email updates

 


REMINDER: FCC to Require 10-Digit Dialing Code for Wisconsin Residents Beginning October 24th

Beginning October 24, 2021, all customers with the area codes 262, 414, 608, and 920 will need to dial the area code and telephone number in order to connect their local and long-distance calls. This will apply to all calls that are currently dialed with seven digits.

 

The change comes after the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) adopted Order FCC 20-100, approving ‘988’ as the three-digit abbreviated dialing code to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline starting July 16, 2022. To ensure ‘988’ calls reach the lifeline, providers in 36 states, including Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Michigan, must transition to 10-digit dialing systems. As a result, calls made on or after October 24, 2021, will not be connected with only seven digits. Wisconsin customers with the area codes 543 and 715 already operate with a 10-digit dialing requirement, and nothing will change for those customers.

 

The 10-digit dialing requirement will not change the following:

  • A customer’s telephone number, including current area code;
  • The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services;
  • A local call will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed;
  • Customers will continue to dial 1+ the area code + telephone number for all long-distance calls;
  • Customers will continue to dial a prefix (such as “9”) when dialing from a multi-line telephone system (e.g., in a hotel, office building, etc.) as required;
  • Customers can still dial three digits to reach 711 (relay services) and 911 (emergency services);
  • If 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, or 811 are currently available in a community, customers can continue to dial these codes with just three digits; and
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can still be reached by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255) even after the ‘988’ code is in effect.

For more information regarding the 10-digit dialing requirement visit the FCC website here.

 

For more information regarding the National Suicide Prevent Lifeline number, visit here.  


Drug Take Back Day is October 23

Attorney General Josh Kaul announced that over 270 local law enforcement agencies will be participating in Drug Take Back Day across Wisconsin on Saturday, October 23, 2021. Wisconsinites are encouraged to dispose of unwanted and unused medications at Drug Take Back and drug disposal locations.
 
“Drug Take Back is a great opportunity for Wisconsinites to be proactive in the fight against substance use disorder. By bringing your unused and unwanted medications to a drug disposal box, you can help prevent prescription drugs from being misused,” said Attorney General Josh Kaul. 
 
Drug Take Back Day provides a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposal, while also educating the community about the potential abuse and consequences of improper storage and disposal of these medications.
 
To find a Drug Take Back location near you, go to: https://doseofrealitywi.gov/.

To keep everyone safe from COVID-19, please wear a mask and practice physical distancing when visiting a drug disposal site.
 
Unused or expired medicine should never be flushed or poured down the drain. Water reclamation facilities are not designed to remove all pharmaceuticals, and trace amounts are showing up in rivers and lakes.
 
To ensure the success of Drug Take Back Day, the Wisconsin Department of Justice relies on assistance from the DEA, and the generous support of Fuchs Trucking, Covanta Energy, the Wisconsin State Patrol, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Indiana State Police, Waukesha County, Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office, and all participating local law enforcement agencies.
 

GUIDELINES:

All waste pharmaceuticals must be generated by a household – no businesses are allowed. 

Bring: Prescription (controlled and non-controlled) and over-the-counter medications, ointments, patches, inhalers, non-aerosol sprays, creams, vials and pet medications. Vape pens or other e-cigarette devices (batteries removed).

Do Not Bring: Illegal drugs, needles/sharps, acids, aerosol cans, bio-hazardous materials (anything containing a bodily fluid or blood), personal care products (shampoo, soaps, lotions, sunscreens), household hazardous waste (paint, pesticides, oil, gas), mercury thermometers.
 

Participants may dispose of solid, non-liquid medication(s) by removing the medication from its container and disposing of it directly into a disposal box or into a clear sealable plastic bag. Plastic pill containers should not be collected. Blister packages without the medications being removed are acceptable.
 

Liquids will be accepted during this initiative. However, the liquids, creams and sprays must be in their original packaging. Liquids without the original packaging will not be accepted.
 

Illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine are not a part of this initiative and should not be placed in collection containers.


SSM Health Monroe Clinic Medical Group to Offer Flu and Pfizer COVID-19 Boosters at Saturday Events

SSM Health Monroe Clinic Medical Group will be offering two special Saturday Flu & Pfizer COVID-19 Booster Clinics on Saturday, October 23, and November 6. These will take place from 8am to 2pm in the St. Clare Conference Center on the Monroe campus. Flu shots are open to all ages and Pfizer COVID-19 Boosters are open to the following CDC approved groups:

  • People 65 years of age and older
  • Residents of long-term care and congregate living facilities
  • 18-64-year-olds with certain underlying medical conditions
  • Individuals whose occupations put them at high risk for exposure to
    COVID-19

Appointments are highly recommended. SSM Health Monroe patients should use their MyChart account to schedule. For those who do not have online access or who are not an SSM Health Monroe patient, should call 608-324-1815. This line is available Monday through Friday from 8am to 4:30pm.

For the flu shot, cash, check or credit/debit cards accepted, insurance may be billed for those patients who prefer it. Reminder that masks are required.

To see additional flu clinic dates, please visit www.monroeclinic.org/flu2021. For additional information about COVID-19 vaccines at SSM Health Monroe, please visit www.monroeclinic.org/coronavirus.


International E-Waste Day

In case you missed it, Wednesday, Oct. 14, was International E-Waste Day. The day is used to highlight the importance of repairing or correctly disposing of used appliances to increase reuse, recovery and recycling rates. This year’s International E-Waste Day focused on the crucial part each of us has in making circularity a reality for e-products.

 

A 2021 DNR survey estimated Wisconsinites have 6.3 million unused computers, tablets and cellphones in their homes. If you’re not quite ready to part with your old tech, here are some reuse ideas:

  • Use an old tablet, laptop or cellphone as a dedicated video call station.
  • Use specialized apps to turn an old phone or tablet into a security camera.
  • Use your phone as a remote for streaming services on your TV, as a dedicated alarm clock or as a white noise machine (paired with a speaker).

Click here for more information on how to recycle electronics and to find an electronics collection site near you.


DATCP Reminds Farmers to Check Runoff Risk Prior to Spreading Manure

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is reminding farmers and manure applicators to check the runoff risk advisory forecas​t before spreading manure on fields. The tool helps determine the potential for manure runoff from a field depending on weather conditions and soil temperature. Spreading manure when there is an elevated risk of runoff can send manure into streams and threaten water quality.

“A nutrient management plan helps determine where and how much manure you should spread," said Andrea Topper, DATCP's soil and watershed management training and outreach conservation specialist. “The runoff risk advisory forecast can tell you when to spread that manure. Assessing current field conditions is just one step farmers should use in their decision to spread manure."

The runoff risk advisory forecast includes maps showing short-term runoff risk for daily field application planning. The maps account for soil saturation and temperature, weather forecast, snow and crop cover, and slope. The National Weather Service updates the forecast three times daily. For more information about nutrient management planning, visit https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Programs_Services/NutrientManagement.aspx.

Alternatives to High Risk Manure Spreading

Farmers should contact their crop consultant, county land conservation office, or the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for help identifying alternatives to high-risk spreading. One possible alternative is stacking manure in a safe location.

Manure Spill Requirements

DATCP reminds manure haulers and drivers to put safety first when traveling on roadways in order to avoid spilling manure, prevent injuries, and protect the health of people and the environment.

“About 31% of preventable transportation-related manure spills are due to operator error," said Kevin Erb, University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension conservation professional training program director. “An accidental spill is not illegal, but failing to properly report and clean it up is."

All agriculture and livestock operations must report spills or runoff affecting water to the DNR's 24-hour emergency spills hotline at (800) 943-0003. More information about planning and prevention is available at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/agbusiness/manurespills.html.

 


Grant Programs Accepting Applications: 

 The following is information on grant and aid programs announced by Governor Tony Evers and funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. These critical one-time investments provide a lifeline to Wisconsin communities and businesses to ensure a strong pandemic recovery.

 

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*Workforce Innovation Grant Program - Applications Closing Soon!*

The Workforce Innovation Grant Program offers grants from $250,000 up to $10 million to regional economic development partners to design and implement innovative plans to tackle their communities’ most pressing workforce challenges.

The grants will be available to nonprofit or governmental entities to meet local workforce needs, such as childcare, transportation issues, upskilling and re-skilling workers, or career counseling and coaching services, and may be used to support initiatives like training, planning, marketing, or developing pilot programs that can be applied in other communities. Grant funds cannot be used to replace existing public resources.

The grants will be funded with federal ARPA funding and administered through an inter-agency effort that includes the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the Department of Workforce Development (DWD), and the Department of Administration (DOA). Applications close October 25, 2021.  

View a recording from recent informational webinar to learn how to submit your application.  

Grant applications, frequently asked questions, and program guidelines are available here:https://wedc.org/programs-and-resources/workforce-innovation-grant/

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*Neighborhood Investment Fund - Applications Open Thru Nov. 4*

The Neighborhood Investment Fund Grant program will provide $200 million in funding for significant projects that provide long-term benefits to communities while also addressing negative impacts from COVID-19.  The program places special emphasis on projects benefitting communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, especially those in qualified census tracts.

The previously announced program will make it possible for municipalities across the state to invest in shovel-ready projects and support underserved individuals and communities. The program is funded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and will be administered by the Department of Administration.

Applications are open through November 4, 2021.

Additional information about the Neighborhood Investment Fund Grant program is available here: https://doa.wi.gov/Pages/NeighborhoodInvestment.aspx

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*Tourism Capital Grant Program - Applications Open Thru Nov. 12*

The Tourism Capital Grant Program will provide up to $10 million for local and Tribal governments and tourism-related nonprofits to invest in shovel-ready tourism-related capital projects. 

Grants of up to $3.5 million will be awarded through a competitive application process. Eligibility criteria and grant application materials for the Tourism Capital Grant Program, as well as information about an upcoming program webinar and Q&A submissions, are available on the program website: https://doa.wi.gov/Pages/TourismCapitalGrantProgram.aspx 

The grant application will be administered by DOA and will remain open through November 12, 2021.


PSC Urges Customers to Seek Assistance before Moratorium on Utility Disconnections Ends

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) encourages electric, natural gas, and water utility customers with outstanding bills to make payment arrangements with their provider or apply for financial assistance before the annual winter heating moratorium on disconnections begins. From November 1st to April 15th, utilities are prohibited from disconnecting customers’ utility service for nonpayment when that service is used for home heating.

Although Wisconsin State law prohibits utilities from disconnecting essential services to residential customers during the moratorium period, customers currently disconnected must make arrangements to restore service. Utilities are not required to reconnect service until payment arrangements have been made. To make a payment or arrange a payment plan, customers should first contact their utility provider.  

Listed below is the contact information for the largest utilities in Wisconsin:

  • Alliant Energy: 1-800-255-4268
  • Madison Gas & Electric: 1-800-245-1125
  • Superior Water, Light & Power: 1-800-227-7957
  • We Energies: 1-800-842-4565
  • Wisconsin Public Service Corporation: 1-800-450-7260
  • Xcel Energy: 1-800-895-4999

In addition, financial energy assistance is available through the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) to income-eligible households. WHEAP is part of the state's comprehensive Home Energy Plus program, which provides assistance with emergency energy needs, emergency furnace repairs, conservation service and weatherization for low-income households. Assistance with utility bills is also currently available through the Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance (WERA) program. For more information about applying for energy, utility or emergency rental assistance, call the Statewide Customer Care Center at 1-800-506-5596.

If customers cannot reach an agreement with their utility, they may contact the PSC by calling 608-266-2001 or 1-800-225-7729, or by submitting a PSC complaint online


Wisconsin to Offer COVID-19 Pfizer Vaccine Booster Doses

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) supports the recommendation that certain populations who have increased risk of exposure to or transmission of COVID-19 receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s (Pfizer) COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after having received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

DHS recommends that the following populations SHOULD receive a booster dose of Pfizer at least 6 months after receiving their second dose of Pfizer in order to further strengthen their immunity:

  • People 65 years and older
  • All residents in long-term care
  • People ages 50–64 years with certain underlying medical conditions(link is external):
    • Cancer
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • Chronic lung diseases, including COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma (moderate-to-severe), interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis, and pulmonary hypertension
    • Dementia or other neurological conditions
    • Diabetes (type 1 or type 2)
    • Down syndrome
    • Heart conditions (such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies or hypertension)
    • HIV infection
    • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system)
    • Liver disease
    • Overweight and obesity
    • Pregnancy
    • Sickle cell disease or thalassemia
    • Smoking, current or former
    • Solid organ or blood stem cell transplant
    • Stroke or cerebrovascular disease, which affects blood flow to the brain
    • Substance use disorders

DHS recommends that the following populations MAY receive a booster dose of Pfizer at least six months after receiving their second dose of Pfizer vaccine, after considering their individual risks and benefits:

  • People ages 18–49 years with certain underlying medical conditions(link is external) (see above)
  • People ages 18–64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of their job or institutional settings. Occupations at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission include front line essential workers and health care workers:
    • First responders (health care workers, firefighters, police, staff at congregate care facilities)
    • Education staff (teachers, support staff, childcare workers)
    • Food and agriculture workers
    • Manufacturing workers
    • Corrections workers
    • U.S. Postal Service workers
    • Public transit workers
    • Grocery store workers
    • This list could be updated in the future

At this time, the Pfizer booster authorization only applies to people whose primary series was Pfizer vaccine. People in the recommended groups who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine will likely need a booster shot in the near future. More data on the effectiveness and safety of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster shots are expected soon.

A booster dose serves a different purpose than the additional dose recommended in early August for certain immunocompromised people. The additional doses are for people with certain medical conditions or who are receiving certain treatments leaving them moderately or severely immunocompromised and who may not have built a strong enough immune response after their initial vaccine. In contrast, a "booster dose" refers to another dose of a vaccine that is given to someone who built enough protection after their initial vaccination, but then that protection decreased over time – also referred to as waning immunity. Evidence suggests that immunity is waning over time for some people who were initially well-protected by the vaccine. For those people, a booster dose will strengthen and extend their protection against infection, serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.

With the high-level of disease transmission in Wisconsin, DHS continues to urge everyone who is not vaccinated to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and for all people to add additional layers of protection including masking up indoors, staying home when feeling sick, and avoiding large indoor gatherings.

For additional information about booster doses, additional doses, and help accessing your COVID-19 vaccine record to determine when you may be recommended for a booster, visit the DHS Additional Doses and Booster Doses webpage.

To find a COVID-19 vaccine provider in your community, visit vaccines.gov(link is external), or call 211 or 877-947-2211. For up-to-date information about Wisconsin’s COVID-19 response, visit the DHS COVID-19 webpage. You can also follow @DHSWI on Facebook(link is external)Twitter(link is external), or dhs.wi on Instagram(link is external) for more information on COVID-19.


Students Encouraged To Apply for Wisconsin Senate Scholar Program

The Wisconsin State Senate Scholar Program is currently accepting applications from high school students aged 16 to 18. The Senate Scholar Program is a week-long educational program offered by the Wisconsin State Senate that provides high school students with a hands-on, up-close view of the Legislature’s role in our democracy. Senate Scholars will gain experience and insights of the legislative process through roundtable discussions with legislative support agency directors and staff, media, and senators. In recent years, several students from western Wisconsin have participated in this program and Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-West Point) is encouraging local students, schools, and teachers to learn more about this valuable and educational program.

The students of today will become the leaders of tomorrow and I can think of no greater opportunity to learn about the legislative process. It’s important for young adults to not only be knowledgeable of the legislative process but how they can get involved in the process as well. This program is a valuable hands-on learning experience to see how our state government functions. I would encourage anyone who is interested in this program to call or go online to learn more.

Information about this program can be found online at www.senatescholar.com or by calling (608)261-0533. All applications for the 2021 Senate Scholar program are due by November 1, 2021. Students can apply at any time and have their application considered for future programs if they aren’t immediately accepted. While this is a highly competitive program, each Senate district is allotted a minimum number of participants.


Do Your Part and Get Vaccinated! 

First and foremost, the best way to protect yourself, your family, and your community from COVID-19 and the Delta variant is to get vaccinated. 

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 prevents severe illness, hospitalization, and death; it also helps reduce the spread of the virus in communities. Unvaccinated people should get vaccinated and continue wearing a mask until they are fully vaccinated. With the Delta variant, this is more urgent than ever. Data demonstrate that COVID-19 vaccines are effective against the Delta variant. Past infection with COVID-19 does not assure protection from the Delta variant, so people who have had past COVID-19 infection are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated. High vaccination coverage will not only reduce the spread of the virus, but also help prevent new, and possibly more concerning, variants from emerging. Vaccination is the best way to protect you, your family, and your community. To find a vaccination location near you visit vaccines.gov(link is external) (https://vacunas.gov/(link is external)) or call 211.

Find a vaccination site near you:

While vaccination remains the top defense against the Delta variant, the CDC guidance also focuses on additional strategies that will provide additional protection against the spread of the virus. Because science has shown that wearing a mask over your nose and mouth can help prevent transmission of the respiratory droplets and aerosols that spread COVID-19, wearing a mask is now recommended in the following indoor settings:

  • All teachers, staff, students, and visitors of K-12 schools should wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.
  • Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, who lives in areas with substantial and high transmission as noted on this CDC map(link is external) (orange counties represent substantial transmission and red counties represent high transmission) should wear masks in public indoor settings.


Veteran Resources 

Veterans across our state and nation are reacting to the news of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Veterans may feel distressed from experiences during their service. Resources are available to veterans through the U.S. and Wisconsin Departments of Veterans Affairs.

Contacts from the Wisconsin DVA:

  • Veterans Crisis Line - The Veterans Crisis Line is a toll-free, confidential resource that connects veterans and their families to mental health resources. Connect with the Crisis Line.​​
  • County Veterans Service Officers - Your local Tribal and County Veterans Service Officers can help determine the benefits and services for which you are eligible. Find your TVSO/CVSO​. ​

Resources available right now (information provided from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs):

Common Reactions

In reaction to current events in Afghanistan, Veterans may:

  • Feel frustrated, sad, helpless, grief or distressed
  • Feel angry or betrayed
  • Experience an increase in mental health symptoms like symptoms of PTSD or depression
  • Sleep poorly, drink more or use more drugs
  • Try to avoid all reminders or media or shy away from social situations
  • Have more military and homecoming memories

Veterans may question the meaning of their service or whether it was worth the sacrifices they made. They may feel more moral distress about experiences they had during their service.
Veterans may feel like they need to expect and/or prepare for the worst. For example, they may:

  • Become overly protective, vigilant, and guarded
  • Become preoccupied by danger
  • Feel a need to avoid being shocked by, or unprepared for, what may happen in the future

Feeling distress is a normal reaction to negative events, especially ones that feel personal. It can be helpful to let yourself feel those feelings rather than try to avoid them. Often, these feelings will naturally run their course. If they continue without easing up or if you feel overwhelmed by them, the suggestions below can be helpful.


Strategies for Managing Ongoing Distress


At this moment, it may seem like all is lost, like your service or your sacrifices were for nothing. Consider the ways that your service made a difference, the impact it had on others’ lives or on your own life. Remember that now is just one moment in time and that things will continue to change.


It can be helpful to focus on the present and to engage in the activities that are most meaningful and valuable to you. Is there something you can do today that is important to you? This can be as an individual, a family member, a parent, or a community member. Something that is meaningful to you in regard to your work or your spirituality? Such activities won’t change the past or the things you can’t control, but they can help life feel meaningful and reduce distress, despite the things you cannot change.
It can also help to consider your thinking. Ask yourself if your thoughts are helpful to you right now. Are there ways you can change your thinking to be more accurate and less distressing? For example, are you using extreme thinking where you see the situation as all bad or all good? If so, try and think in less extreme terms. For example, rather than thinking “my service in Afghanistan was useless” consider instead “I helped keep Afghanistan safe.”
Finally, consider more general coping strategies that you may want to try including:

  • Engage in Positive Activities. Try to engage in positive, healthy, or meaningful activities, even if they are small, simple actions. Doing things that are rewarding, meaningful, or enjoyable, even if you don’t feel like it, can make you feel better.
  • Stay Connected. Spend time with people who give you a sense of security, calm, or happiness, or those who best understand what you are going through.
  • Practice Good Self Care. Look for positive coping strategies that help you manage your emotions. Listening to music, exercising, practicing breathing routines, spending time in nature or with animals, journaling, or reading inspirational text are some simple ways to help manage overwhelming or distressing emotions.
  • Stick to Your Routines. It can be helpful to stick to a schedule for when you sleep, eat, work, and do other day-to-day activities.
  • Limit Media Exposure. Limit how much news you take in if media coverage is increasing your distress.
  • Use a mobile app. Consider one of VA’s self-help apps (see https://www.ptsd.va.gov/appvid/mobile/) such as PTSD Coach which has tools that can help you deal with common reactions like, stress, sadness, and anxiety. You can also track your symptoms over time.
  • PTSD Coach Online. A series of online video coaches will guide you through 17 tools to help you manage stress. PTSD Coach Online is used on a computer, rather than a mobile device, and therefore can offer tools that involve writing.

If you develop your own ways of adapting to ongoing events and situations, you may gain a stronger sense of being able to deal with challenges, a greater sense of meaning or purpose, and an ability to mentor and support others in similar situations.


Get Covered Through the ACA!

Thanks to new COVID relief, health insurance premiums have decreased on Healthcare.gov and you can sign up to get covered right now! Four out of five enrollees will now be able to find a plan for $10 or less per month.

If you’ve shopped on Healthcare.gov before, look again! New, lower prices are available for more people than ever before.

If you are are currently uninsured, already signed up for a plan through Healthcare.gov, or eligible for COBRA coverage from a former employer, you may benefit from these changes. People looking to get enrolled or change their current plan are encouraged to visit Wiscovered.com or call 2-1-1 to get free, expert help.

This new enrollment opportunity won’t last forever- sign up today!


Rental Assistance

Reminder, if you or anyone you know that has experienced income loss as a result of the pandemic their is support available! 
 
The Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance Program, provides direct financial assistance for rent, utility, home energy costs, and wraparound services for individuals who qualify.
 
For information on the program, how to apply, frequently asked questions as well as local resources and contacts please click here.


- Resources - 

During this difficult time it is worth reminding Wisconsinites that 211 exists to help when you don’t know where to turn. 211 is a resource managed by the United Way of Wisconsin. Call 2-1-1 or visit their website.

Office of Crime Victim Services

End Abuse Wisconsin 

National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 1-800-799-7233, text LOVEIS to 22522, or go to thehotline.org for free and confidential support.

Disaster Distress Hotline 

Coping Resources for Kids and Parents Amidst COVID-19 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Veterans Crisis Line 

Vets for Warriors 

Military One Source 

Resilient Wisconsin

Department of Corrections Helpline: The call center can be reached by members of the public Monday through Friday from 7:45am–4:30pm at (608) 240-5700.

Wisconsin Farm Center 

24/7 Farmer Wellness Hotline

LGBTQ Crisis Line 

HopeLine Text Service 

Wisconsin Elder Abuse Hotline 

Wisconsin Addiction Recovery Helpline 


 

Looking for additional resources? If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to my office at Sen.Erpenbach@Legis.WI.Gov, or call (608) 266-6670. 

 

 
 
Contacting My Office

Feel free to contact me with any inquiries.

Please visit my website for press releases and other Capitol updates.