Bonnie Richardson, who was released in 2012 after spending time in prison and jail, now receives mental health care at Shalom Holistic Health Services in Stoughton.

Mentally ill ex-inmates lack treatment, meds

Despite the wake-up call sounded nationwide by recent mass shootings, huge gaps remain in how Wisconsin treats people with mental illnesses who run afoul of the law. State and county officials blame a shortage of psychiatrists, growing demand for services and high medication costs.

“We know that there are folks out there who are having difficulty enrolling,” said Bobby Peterson, executive director of ABC for Health, a Madison-based public interest law firm.

Wisconsin health-care helpers getting a late start

Three weeks after the launch of federal health care exchanges, just one of the six organizations selected to receive a total of $1 million in federal funds to help Wisconsinites enroll is up and running. J.P. Wieske, spokesman for the state Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, blamed the delay on the federal government. “Functionally, when you don’t get a grant until Aug. 15 and you’re supposed to start Oct. 1, you’re going to have problems,” Wieske said.

Environmental Health and Safety Manager Duane Wilke said he has a vested interest in making sure the Superior Silica sand processing plant in New Auburn keeps the dust down: his 15-year-old daughter. “I would never do anything to harm the air quality, to harm my own daughter,” he said.

Frac sand health fears rise as mining booms in Wisconsin

Like some other west-central Wisconsin residents, Frances and Dean Sayles are frustrated with the state Department of Natural Resources’ lack of a comprehensive approach to addressing concerns surrounding potential health problems from crystalline silica dust. Now some residents, academics, local government officials and even a frac sand producer have begun taking action.

CWD national map - August 2012

Prions — in plants? New concern for chronic wasting disease

Prions — the infectious, deformed proteins that cause chronic wasting disease in deer — can be taken up by plants such as alfalfa, corn and tomatoes, according to new research from the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison. The research further demonstrated that stems and leaves from tainted plants were infectious when injected into laboratory mice.The findings are significant, according to the researchers and other experts, because they reveal a previously unknown potential route of exposure to prions for a Wisconsin deer herd in which the fatal brain illness continues to spread.