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Opinion: Getting MADD!

Despite all the public awareness campaigns, drunk driving continues to be a problem in these parts.

Every week, local law enforcement agencies arrest and charge a large number of suspected drunk drivers. The huge number of offenders clog up the court system and the cases devour the time of law enforcement officials.

In last week's News alone, 24 people appear in the various police and sheriff's reports for their alleged poor judgment.

What will it take to catch the attention of those who seem to ignore the warnings about drinking and driving? It's anyone's guess.

One positive step, however, is news that a local Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) chapter is forming in St. Croix County.

A New Richmond woman, Laura Ritt, who has personally been affected by drunken driving offenses, is leading the way in establishing the chapter. We have to applaud the effort.

Western Wisconsin continues to struggle with a culture of excessive alcohol use that costs society millions of dollars in property damage and significant loss of human potential due to death and serious injury.

MADD volunteers want to shine a light on those statistics and encourage everyone to think before they drink, and to especially target those who decide to drink that they surrender the keys to their vehicle if they are impaired in the least.

If it sounds like the kind of effort you'd like to be involved in, the new local chapter can use all the help it can get.

Attend the group's first meeting -- at 4 p.m. Oct. 11 at Troy Burne Golf Club in Hudson -- and see how you can help.