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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Marinette County's Share Academy Transitions to Rawhide Youth Home

Issue Date: July 13, 2022

Rawhide Youth Services, a non-profit faith-based corporation started in 1965 by renowned Green Bay Packer Quarterback Bart Starr, his wife Cherry, and John and Jan Gillespie to provide a life-changing residential and educational facilities for troubled youths, began operating the former SHARE Academy group home for juveniles on Schacht Road in the Town of Peshtigo on Friday, July 1. Name of the group home has been changed to Rawhide Youth Home.

Rawhide, Inc. continues to operate Rawhide Boys Ranch and Starr Academy near New London and provides aftercare and therapy services for young people and families in eight counseling centers and over 30 schools in northeast Wisconsin.

"We are honored and excited that the Marinette community invited us to partner with them to serve their struggling families," Alan Loux, Rawhide's CEO and president, said of the agreement in a locally issued news release. "For the first time in our 57-year history, we are able to provide our excellent residential care services to both boys and girls in other communities."

"We have a long history of success helping youth in our residential settings both in our group home and in our residential care center on our New London campus," he continued. "Now we're expanding that quality program across the state."

"We are excited to be able to help young men and women in Marinette County who struggle from trauma and loss and overcome mental and behavioral health challenges so they can thrive in their communities," the prepared statement from Loux concluded.

At the monthly Marinette County Health and Human Services (HHS) Board meeting on Wednesday, July 5, HHS Director Glenn Sartorelli reported that on July 1 the former SHARE Academy had transitioned seamlessly from Advocates for Healthy Transitional Living to Rawhide Youth Home. Sartorelli said he appreciated the professionalism from Advocates and the teamwork of everyone involved.

SHARE Academy was started by the Marinette County Group Home Association as Crossroads, a residential facility for troubled juveniles, at its present location on Schacht Road. Eventually the home provided space for up to eight juveniles, with males and females on separate floors, and numerous security cameras in hallways and around the building.

Marinette County bought the property in June of 2018, after being informed by the Group Home Association that they could no longer operate it due to liability concerns and staffing difficulties. The group home was closed for some months and then reopened after HHS then leased it to Advocates and contracted with them to run it. While it was closed juveniles who had been living there were moved to other living arrangements, some in other counties, while HHS sought new operating agreements. The home was re-opened in April of 2019 under a contract with Advocates for Healthy Transitional Living, a Green Bay area firm.

The HHS Board has now contracted operation of the group home to Rawhide Youth Services, which also operates a residential care center for juveniles in New London and provides aftercare and therapy services for young people and families in eight counseling centers and over 30 schools in northeast Wisconsin.

Under its new management, the Marinette County group home for juveniles will be called Rawhide Youth Home, and will continue to serve boys and girls in separate living quarters in its rural Peshtigo location.

At its June 28 meeting, in preparation for the transition to Rawhide, Marinette County Board approved the HHS Board recommendation to assign District 18 Supervisor Chris Gromala, Sartorelli, and HHS Clinical Administrator Melissa Freeman as Marinette County representatives on the Rawhide Community Advisory Committee. Gromala chairs the Public Services Committee, which has oversight responsibility for law enforcement related departments in the county.

HHS Board members present for the July 5 meeting were Kelly Christian, Brandon Jeske, and Supervisors Al England, Ken Hanson, Bob Hoyer, Tom Mailand, and Denise Oleszak.?Supervisor Paul Gustafson, who chairs the board, was absent and Vice Chair Hoyer ran the meeting. Others present included Chrys Bohm, County Health Officer Molly Bonjean, Brandon Daul, Melissa Freeman, County Board Chair John Guarisco, Katelyn Kruszka, County Administrator John LeFebvre, Sartorelli, Wendy Stuart, and Cassandra Tarmann.

During time for public comment Guarisco informed the HHS board that he has invited state legislators who represent local districts to attend the County Board's Administrative Committee meeting at 9 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 18 to seek solutions to financial problems counties face from state levy limits in this time of sharply rising prices . He said State Rep. Elijah Behnke had promised to be there, but Rep. Jeff Mursau and Senator Mary Felzkowski have conflicting commitments. He had no response yet from Sen. Eric Wimberger.

In other business at the meeting, new HHS staff members Kat Tippett, CPS Ongoing, and Public Health Nurse Chrys Bohm, were introduced to the board. Sartorelli reported briefly on currently vacant positions.

Bonjean presented a COVID-19 report and referred people wanting more information to www.covidactnow.org. Since COVID began in 2019 there have been 3,250 cases reported in Marinette County, 265 of them were reported in June.

Bonjean also reported on incidences of other communicable diseases in the county. So far this year there have been 23 cases of Anaplasmosis and 75 total reports of Lyme Disease. Both Lyme Disease and Anaplasmosis are spread by ticks.

There were a total of six cases of various types of hepatitis reported, one case of whooping cough, and no cases of flu, measles, mumps, chicken pox, strep or tuberculosis.

The Health Department received 18 reports of animal bites and three environmental hazard complaints. Staff served 65 birth to three clients and gave 18 vaccines.

Christopher Culotta, MPA Northeast Region Director and 140 Review Program Supervisor from the Green Bay/Northeast Region of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services gave a presentation introducing public health, reviewing legal aspects, and comparing responsibility and authority.

The board heard numerous financial reports, including reports on high cost placements in regard to impact on this year's budget; approved several slight fee increases to go into effect with the start of the 2023 budget year; and approved write-off of uncollectable accounts.

Kelly Ermis, the CPS Initial Assessment Worker, was authorized to attend the 2022 Conference on Juvenile Sex Trafficking that will be held in Fort Worth, TX from Nov. 1 through 3. A future meeting is to include a Public Health Nurses report on the NACCHO 360 Conference.

The next HHS Board meeting will be Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022 at 1:30 p.m.


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