To the Editor:

(Re.“Ripon Council poised to vote on open intoxicant event ordinance,” Sept. 30, 2021) As the former coordinator of Drug Free Communities of Fond du Lac County and a downtown business owner I strenuously object to the concept of relaxing the open intoxicant ordinance for downtown Ripon.

This letter is not about abstinence, it is about common sense.

As adults, we model behavior for our children and grandchildren. What is the purpose of this proposal? Are we telling our youth that we cannot have a good time unless alcohol is involved?

Alcohol and tobacco are gateway drugs. Everyone agrees we have an opioid problem in Ripon. Law enforcement deals with overdoses, death as well as folks seeking help.

Where does much of this begin? With alcohol and tobacco.

In the near past Ripon has shown some disturbing survey outcomes among youth with alcohol use.

Youth model what they see and if their parents and grandparents cannot attend events without alcohol youth figure there is nothing wrong with drinking. Responsible drinking is best. Open intoxicants on the street are not.

I caution city leaders to use good judgement. Currently, events with alcohol are occurring in downtown.

Do not expand it to open intoxicants on the street. You will be responsible for perpetuating substance abuse. Please do not wring your hands as our substance abuse increases if you continue to model behavior suggesting that this is OK. It is not an economic development issue. The cost of alcohol abuse in both health care costs and lost work productivity in Fond du Lac County alone is $21 million annually.

—Ellen Sorensen


(3) comments

Dale Failor

Are you against communion in church with children present?

Dale Failor

It's about freedom of choice. Some people would drink and others would not. Police are at these events and would not allow people to go out of bounds. I have been to Fair's in Ripon that served alcohol so what's the difference. People can drink at some restaurants in town that allow kids. Roadhouse is a good example. Are you suggesting they give up their liquor license or not allow kids? Get with the modern times.

Jerald Davidson

Ellen: Following your argument to its logical conclusion, you would ban alcohol entirely. You seem to be advocating adult abstinence so as to present a "good example". The Europeans, particularly the French and the Italians, routinely serve alcohol with their meals and permit their children also to imbibe. What they teach is moderation, The responsibilty of parents is to teach their children responsibility. By not demonstrating responsible drinking , they are doing their children a disservice, implying that the only alternatives are not drinking or binge drinking.

And to add to her diatribe, Ellen associates alcohol drinking (apparently no matter how modest) with opiod addiction, as a "gateway" drug.

Alcoholism, or drug addiction, is a response to underlying issues - not necessarily personal, but oftentimes societal. Unfortunately, these do not have a role in Ellen's diagnosis.

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