FRIDAY FINISHERS: Welcome news in the battle against homelessness
Friday Finishers

FRIDAY FINISHERS: Welcome news in the battle against homelessness

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As the winter wind chills dip below the zero mark, the Racine area got a little warm news this week during a check presentation when Federal Housing and Urban Development officials turned over $673,212 to help people to stay housed and to assist the homeless in finding and staying in a home. HOPES Center, Safe Haven, the Women’s Resource Center, HALO and the Continuum of Care were among the groups to receive funding support for their programs to assist in the fight against homelessness.

It pains us a bit each time we read about brick-and-mortar store closings as retail operations continue to struggle in the marketplace — often victims of the rapid rise in online sales. Empty storefronts weigh on the economic health of a community. That was the case earlier this month when Pier 1 Imports near Regency Mall was on the list of 450 stores to be closed as Pier 1 goes through a bankruptcy reorganization.

Fortunately, the store closing was quickly followed by the decision of Advocate Aurora Health to pick up the site and build a health clinic there to offer primary and urgent care, along with on-site laboratory and x-ray services. Even better, Aurora said it will invest $7.25 million in the project and create 20 new full-time jobs once the clinic is fully operational. That beats an empty storefront any day.

“There oughta be a law!” Well, not always. Sometimes it doesn’t take a law — it just takes an agreement. That was the case this week when lawmakers and Wisconsin insurance companies announced a pact to fight the opioid scourge by doing away with prior authorization requirements for most patients, which can delay the prescription of drugs like naloxone or Narcan to treat people fighting substance abuse.

Ten health insurance companies across the state signed on to the pact and that’s welcome news as the state fights this scourge. It will save lives — and it didn’t take a law to get it done.

And sometimes there ought not to be a law. The state Senate this week moved to advance a bill that would allow Wisconsin voters to take selfies of themselves with their marked ballots.

Wisconsin was one of 18 states that banned the showing of a completed ballot — but that was instituted in the pre-selfie era. Remarkably, the proposed change of the archaic law drew opposition from the Wisconsin County Clerks Association, which warned that it could lead to employers, unions or others forcing voters to prove they voted a certain way to receive a benefit or avoid being punished. That’s taking a big dip in the sea of paranoia.

We’re sure you’re very proud of your vote and, perhaps, soon you’ll be able to legally take a selfie of you and your ballot — and send it to whomever you want.


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