“Vaping Epidemic in UW-Whitewater

The vaping epidemic is taking over college campuses, and many more students are using electronic cigarettes each year. This is becoming a major problem as there has been an abundance of health issues across the state of Wisconsin within the past year due to vaping. Many colleges across the U.S. are already taking action as they have banned vaping products on college campuses. UW-Whitewater is looking to go down that path, yet has not taken any serious actions yet. 

The JUUL is the new popular alternative to smoking cigarettes and has been the trend for young kids and especially students. It is the size of a flash drive, yet one JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. Many kids have become hooked and do not seem to mind the nicotine addiction that comes from these e-cigarettes. Even non-smokers are starting to abuse the JUUL as they want to be a part of the new trend across America. 

Caleb Dahse, a business management senior, said he started smoking cigarettes when he was 18 years-old. He felt that tobacco took control of his body, so he then switched to JUUL about two years ago. He hopes to eventually quite smoking in general, yet he does not mind the vaping sensation. 

“I think JUUL is more addicting than cigarettes in my opinion,” Dahse said. “It helps me stay focused and also helps me in stressful situations.” 

Students feel that the JUUL gives them a sense of relief when it comes to upcoming tests and projects and helps them focus on the task at hand. Whether it be before class or after class, it has become a part of their daily lives and they feel that it does not affect them at all. Although, none of these addicted abusers understand what these pods are made out of other than nicotine and have no clue how it is affecting their body. 

Michael Frasher, CEO of ASTHO (Association of State and Territorial Health Officials) and member of the American Lung Association, expressed how many teens and college students are using vaping products because think it is the better alternative to cigarettes, yet they contain chemicals that can do the exact same amount of harm or far worse to your body and lungs. 

“Both regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which researchers are gathering studies that show it may be as addictive as cocaine and heroin usage, and can be a major problem for young kids as they get older,” says Frasher. 

Frasher is encouraging students to take a “No Nicotine November” as November is the national lung cancer awareness month, this will help give students a push to get all nicotine products out of their life for good. 

Many organizations on the UW-Whitewater campus have been taking action in vape prevention and has plans to put an end to this epidemic in the near future. 

The UW-Whitewater CHIP (Communicating Health in Practice) organization works to build awareness across campus about the health issues that are current in today’s society and creates campus health-related promotional events to educate the students and help them live a healthier lifestyle. 

Katrina Montesano, an active member of the CHIP organization spoke on vaping awareness on college campuses and stated that, “these kids do not realize what harmful chemicals they are putting in their lungs… There are so many students that are abusing the JUUL and many other nicotine products and there hasn’t even been enough studies to truly tell what the long-term effects are,”

“This is for sure a major problem and will continue to be a major problem until these vaping products are banned on college campuses.”

The CHIP organization is looking for students to join and spread awareness on the health concerns of vaping across the UW-Whitewater campus and hopes to put an end to JUUL usage. On November 19-21, from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m. the CHIP organization is holding a bake sale in the University Center to spread awareness and raise money to support men’s health initiatives. If interested in CHIP, then stop by during these hours to enjoy delicious treats and talk about health awareness. 

Jefferson County Board – 2020 Budget and Badger state Solar project

The Jefferson Board of Supervisors met on Tuesday, October 27 in the Jefferson Courthouse at 7 p.m. to discuss the upcoming changes to Jefferson County. Some major topics of discussion included in the County Board Meeting are; Increasing broadband service, road reconstruction, the Badger State Solar Project, and renovations to Jefferson County buildings. The most important discussion brought by the Board of Supervisors was the calculated 2020 budget. 

The 2020 budget is a total of $85 million, and most of the spending is focused on building updates in Jefferson County. The Board of Supervisors presented a plan to renovate The Jefferson County Courthouse and make it more modernized for the new tech savvy society. The building renovations will not take place until 2020 and will span over the next two or three years, and plans to renovate other buildings within the area will be included.

Jim Schroeder, the Chair of Jefferson County Board stated that, “if you have a car that is nickel and diming you to death, it isn’t worth it… We are focused on the long run because then your money will be spent more wisely.” Schroeder is using this to refer to the major changes in Jefferson County and the Courthouse as they want to make changes that will last long term, and appeal to the new era. He also states that, “changes nowadays accept technology; going digital helps communication and is better financially.” 

The Board of Supervisors made it clear that their major focus when thinking about their budget is directed towards Human Resources. The Human Resources department is the largest by far, and each year they focus on that department as their first priority. With over 26 departments and 800 programs, the County Board breaks down each and decides how much of their budget they need to spend on each. Schroeder stated, “we break down the program cost to look at the long-term impacts, and also focus on the programs and what the outcomes of each program will bring.” 

Ben Waymire, the County Administrator, stated that, “the process includes Inventorying all of the upcoming projects and ranking them from most important to least important and do the programs that we offer match the strategic plans, are they aligned and if not then what should we do?”

Badger State Solar Project

The Badger State Solar Project is a project that is looking to be placed in the Oakland district in Jefferson County and has plans to expand throughout the rest of the County in years to come. This area in Jefferson County is approximately 1,500 acres, and there is plans to build a 149-megawatt photovoltaic solar facility there. 

This project hopes to produce low-cost energy to tens of thousands of homes in the Jefferson area. There are could be many downsides with building this new Solar Power facility, as it may cause glare to neighboring towns, new technology may affect old-fashioned people, and hills may affect connection. Yet, they hope to outweigh the negatives with the positives. This Badger State site is located near an existing electrical infrastructure, which benefits these plans for construction, and avoids the need for long transmission lines. 

Waymire explained that, “a couple of companies across the state have been using Solar Power to various areas and have been saving a lump sum of money from their budget by doing so… We focus on bringing that change to the Jefferson County area.” 

This project is a new private investment that will bring in a large revenue added to the Wisconsin Shared Revenue Program. This Badger State Solar Project will create over a hundred jobs during the construction phase, and many full-time jobs once it is operational. 

A meeting will be held on November 6th, at the Jefferson County Fair Park grounds in the activity Center from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. for all who are interested in this upcoming project and others to come. 

More updates from the Broadband internet access project:

  • Broadband service supports environmental wellbeing and how it may be incorporated in the 2020 budget
  • Support from the County Board and the community is needed for the success of this project
  • The grant for this project must be turned in by Dec. 19, 2019

For more information on the Jefferson County Board, including meeting times, agendas, and upcoming projects, please visithttps://www.jeffersoncountywi.gov/

2020 Whitewater Budget plans

The Whitewater Common Council met on Tuesday, October 1 in the Whitewater Municipal building to speak about the recent changes and issues affecting the Whitewater community. The Common Council meets on the first and third of every month at 6:30 p.m. to discuss ongoing projects, upcoming events, and revenue related topics. The main goal of this meeting was to discuss the proposed 2020 budget through a presentation created by the City Manager, Cameron Clapper.

The council presented their annual report throughout the council meeting as they discussed the recent happenings within the Whitewater area and also upcoming events. The Herb Kohl Foundation granted scholarships to four lucky high school Whitewater 2019 graduates. Also, Mark Elworthy presented plans and updates to the playgrounds within the Whitewater area and surrounding cities as well. 

The Council discussed the plans for the upcoming budget expenditures. It was proposed that the Whitewater budget would be $9.8 million, which is about a three percent increase of last years budget. These budgets are being funded by the intergovernmental revenue and property taxes. 

Cameron Clapper, the City Council and finance manager, discussed the budget stated that, “tax levies have gone up a little over three percent each year since 2008, and this percent is only increasing,”

“We focus on creating a balanced 2020 budget where our revenues are equal to our expenditures,” says Clapper. 

Another discussion brought to the council by Matthew Sylvester-Knutson was the process of dissolving the Palmayra-Eagle Area School District (SDBAB) which gives Whitewater interest because they may be taking a portion of this region in the near future. After September 10, the school districts around the Whitewater area will meet to speak on dissolving the SDBAB. 

Knutson stated that, “the decision for this change will be made on January 15, 2019”. If this change occurs, it will take place later in July of 2020.

Brion Nash, a student at the University of Whitewater, brought up an issue to the council to request a stop sign and crosswalk to the three-way corner of prince street and Florence, due to the fact that it is not safe for students to walk through this intersection. This was passed to be discussed later on with the council, soon to be approved.  

On October 6, the Whitewater community will be holding their 29thCROP Hunger Walk fundraiser to help over 1,670 food pantries across of all Wisconsin. The community hopes that all residents within the area are aware of this event and come walk for a good cause. 

In other action Tuesday: 

  • Ribbon cutting ceremonies
  • National FFA winners
  • US Census 2020
  • Spirit Tour
  • Amphitheater Installation 
  • Major capital projects 

For more information on the Whitewater Common Council, please visit https://www.whitewater-wi.gov/308/Common-Council  

About Me

My name is Logan Meyer, I am a Senior at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and I am majoring in Journalism – Broadcast/Print/Web with a minor in Advertising. I am from Brookfield, Wisconsin, and I love sports! Although I am from Wisconsin, I am a big Chicago sports fan. My hobbies include; playing video games, playing basketball with friends, watching movies, and listening to music. My goal after college is to persue a job in the broadcast field, and my dream has always been to be on national televison at some point in my life. I have always been interested in TV and acting so I would like to find a profession somewhere in that field. I enjoy working with media and text, so I hope you enjoy my Blog which will include many of my works.